Gems and jewellery form an integral part of Indian tradition. A legacy passed from one generation to another. The components of jewellery include not only traditional gold but also diamond, platinum accompanied by a variety of precious and semi-precious stones.
According to Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE), the domestic jewellery market in India is pegged at US$ 16 billion.
India, the largest consumer and importer of gold in the world, imported around 400 tonnes of gold during 2008-09.
Global consultancy firm GFMS Ltd estimated India's total gold demand at 432 tonnes in 2009.
With consumer consciousness increasing, the future of organised retail in India is very bright. The organised sector of the gems and jewellery industry in India is estimated to grow at 40 per cent per annum to US$ 2.2 billion by 2010.
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's (GJEPC) performance figures for the financial year 2009-10 showcased the true resilience of the Indian industry over the last year whence it continued with its consistent plans of building trading relations and penetrating newer markets.
In its bid to enhance the market strategy, a gems and jewellery special economic zone (SEZ) sprawling over 40 acres with an investment of US$ 441.1 million is being planned to be set up by Gold Souk, the jewellery mall developer. The company plans to have residential apartments named Gold Souk City, apart from having gems and jewellery manufacturers from Thailand and Dubai who will open their units in India.
Total net imports of gems and jewellery in April 2009- March 2010, touched US$ 27.49 billion (provisional figures) posting a growth to the tune of US$ 19.9 million over corresponding month in the previous year, according to the GJEPC.
India is one of the largest bullion markets in the world. It has been until now, the undisputed single-largest Gold bullion consumer. Gold imports in the period of January-April 2010 were pegged at 126 tonnes, up 74 per cent from 72.3 tonnes in the previous year.
Gold imports stood at 739 tonnes during the period April 2009-March 2010. According to Sanjiv Batra, Chairman and Managing Director, MMTC Ltd - the country's top gold importer, stated that the company is likely to import 200 tonnes of the precious metal in the current fiscal year.
India is the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world with 11 out of 12 diamonds sold in the global market being processed in the country.
Surat is India's diamond processing hub, contributing over 80 per cent of the country's diamond processing industry with annual revenue of around US$ 13.03 billion.
Data from Rapaport—the primary source of diamond price and market information—indicated that during April 2009 to January 2010, India's polished diamond exports were up by 11 per cent at US$ 13.8 billion from the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, while polished diamond imports increased 15.5 per cent to US$ 8.5 billion.
"The direct supply of US$ 490 million of rough diamonds from Russia to India is a major step forward in the democratisation of the global diamond industry. Consistent supply will empower India, as the primary diamond production centre and encourage international completion, as it promotes the development of India's domestic diamond demand market," said Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group.