In an unprecedented step, India’s Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council asked its members to cease rough diamond imports for a month. The interruption began Nov. 25 and ran through the last week in December.
The measure sends a signal to jewelry industry banks that the Indian industry will not increase its indebtedness at a time when its clients are able to meet consumer demand, a GJEPC statement said.
“There is a recession all over the world, and in a recession the first thing affected is the luxury segment,” said GJEPC chairman Vasant Mehta. “If one side of the pipeline is basically blocked, it makes sense that you shouldn’t keep putting goods into it. There is certainly plenty of rough on the market right now.”
The council planned to review the situation the last week of December and ask manufacturers if they want an extension.
Some reports say as many as 1 million Indian diamond workers have been laid off, but Mehta thought the number was around 25,000 to 35,000 out of a total workforce of 700,000.