The India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) Signature held in Mumbai wrapped its 13th edition on Sunday with more than 18,000 visitors (12,000 preregistered) and 700 exhibitors in 1,300 booths, according to the show organizer, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
Exhibitors reported less foot traffic than the August IIJS show but said that the February edition typically attracts more serious buyers. After a slump last year, the Indian economy is bouncing back, but a number of other factors have been affecting jewelry sales, including the increased price of gold and the coronavirus.
That said, a number of surprising categories showed strength. Silver jewelry, even within the primarily gold-centric Indian bridal market, is experiencing a jump in sales. Anita Dhingra and her son Vinayak, owners of Manmohan Exports, explained the growing acceptance of silver and gold-plated silver jewelry. “Yes, it had been taboo [in bridal], but it’s changing at a very good pace,” says Vinayak. “Soon we’ll see that silver will make its mark.” Anita explained that, like gold, brides purchase silver for investment, but silver is more versatile. “With gold, brides just keep it in their safes because there’s fear of theft,” says Anita. “Silver, you can travel easily with and you can afford to wear different pieces with every new look that you have.”
Rishabh Jain, marketing executive at Tara Fine Jewels, said that there were other bright spots offsetting the coronavirus and increased price of gold, specifically an influx of new customers. “You always see new people still entering the market, and these people are interested in buying really expensive jewelry,” he said. “So that’s very exciting.”
Milan Chokshi, partner of Tanvirkumar & Co., is capitalizing on the new regulations India recently imposed on the industry. “The Indian industry was unorganized, so we’re getting the opportunity to take business from those that can’t comply with the new regulations or standards that one must meet with to transact in today’s economy,” he said. “With new banking laws, it just becomes too much for small businesses. So the stuff that they let go is available for businesses like ours to capture.”
Rose gold is also experiencing a spike within the Indian market. Hardik Shah, director of BR Designs (also manufacturers for De Beers), showcased white diamond and rose gold necklaces and earrings that are, for the Indian market, considered quite minimal. “The jewelry that we design here are for the millennials,” he said. “Because of the Apple rose gold iPhones and rose gold watches, the younger generation has a fascination with rose gold. They prefer rose gold and white gold to the traditional yellow gold. So we have an entire collection based on rose gold. We’ll always have a mix of rose and white in combination together because diamonds look the best on white gold.”
Meanwhile, show organizer GJEPC is focused on growing Indian jewelry exports to $75 billion by the year 2025. GJEPC chairman Pramod Kumar Agrawal announced a new show in Jaipur called India Gem & Jewellery show, to be held April 1–3, especially for the international buyers.
“We have been pursuing our government constantly with a few concerns that require immediate attention, like reduction in import duty on precious metals gold/silver/platinum from 12.5% to 4%; reduction of import duty on cut and polished diamonds and gemstones from 7.5% to 2.5%; and an amendment in taxation laws enabling sale of rough diamonds. This is very important to give a level playing field to our traders in the global market,” said Agrawal.
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