The India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) 2018, a four-day event at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon, Mumbai, wrapped up on Monday. About 14,500 people attended the 11th edition of the show compared with 11,000 one year ago. The exhibition space also grew by 200 booths compared with last year’s exhibition.
Organized by the Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) supported by the Indian government’s ministry of commerce, the show featured everything from Indian-made traditional gold jewelry to Western-inspired gold and diamond jewelry, and even lower-priced fashion jewelry.
Pramod Kuman Agrawal, GJEPC’s newly appointed chairman, projects exports of Indian jewelry, stones, and diamonds to grow between 15 and 20 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, driven by existing markets in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. “We are looking for new markets which are being left behind, for example, Russian countries and Latin America,” he says. “There’s a lot of interest in [Indian] manufacturing, quality, and design.”
Newly installed GJEPC chairman Pramod Kumar Agrawal
At the exhibition hall, it was clear sales of yellow gold still reign supreme in India with some of the busiest booths selling polki (traditional Indian jewelry), temple jewelry (featuring images of gods and goddesses found on many of the country’s temples), as well as the ever-popular stackable bangles. Western-style etched bead chains, link chains, and bracelets appeared to be catching on as well.
Traditional 18K gold bridal jewelry, M.L. Kanhaiyalal Jewels; $56,000 wholesale
Manufacturers of diamond jewelry also turned out, thanks to the country’s Diamond Producers Association’s (DPA) commitment to investing $7 million to promote diamonds to Indian consumers in 2018. Ironically, although diamonds were discovered in India and it is one of the largest diamond jewelry exporters in the world, fewer than 10 percent of women in India own a diamond, according to the DPA. Compare that to 20 percent of women in China and 70 percent of women in the U.S. who own a girl’s best friend. Thanks to a robust economy and a growing middle class in India, the DPA is confident it can grow the market over the next decade.
Diamond and emerald necklace and earrings on 18K gold, Sawansukha Jewellers; $80,000 wholesale
Uncut diamonds and emeralds on 18K gold, Rosentiques Fine Jewellery; $36,000 wholesale
Speaking of a growing middle class, fashion jewelry is becoming ever more accepted in India. In a culture that has always treated fine jewelry as more than just adornment, but wealth that can be amassed and passed down to younger generations, it is somewhat surprising that the fast-fashion equivalent of fine jewelry is gaining a foothold. Delicate chains featuring precious stones interspersed with cubic zirconia maintains the look of fine jewelry but keeps price points affordable at an average of $300.
(Top: The IIJS show floor; all photos by the author)