The gems and jewellery industry has an important role in the Indian economy. India is the largest market for gold jewellery in the world. Gold dominates the Indian jewellery market and formulates almost 80 per cent of the market share, which is followed by fabricated studded jewellery including diamond and gemstone studded jewellery. Further, India has emerged as the largest cutting and polishing industry for diamonds in the world.
In fact, the two major segments of the gems and jewellery business in India are gold and diamond jewellery, as per an Exim Bank report.
Moreover, Southern India is poised to be the biggest and the fastest growing jewellery market in the whole country. While Tamil Nadu and Kerala are known for plain gold jewellery, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have emerged as good markets for studded jewellery.
Indian gems and jewellery sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 13 per cent during 2011-2013, as per a RNCOS report titled 'Indian Gems and Jewellery Market Forecast to 2013'. At present, Indian gems and jewellery market is highly fragmented, and is rapidly transforming into an organised sector due to the growing acceptance of branded jewellery market.
Gold with its intrinsic luster and ease of fabrication has always been the jewellers' favourite metal and forms the backbone of the precious jewellery industry. India's culture and mythology embrace gold. India's traditions of unparalleled craftsmanship and skill are exemplified by its gold jewellery manufacturing, with the majority of pieces still made meticulously by hand. India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world.
Diamonds have always enjoyed a special place among precious gemstones. India has the distinction of being one of the first countries to introduce diamonds to the world. Earlier, diamond jewellery was limited to a very small elite segment of the population but now it has found way in various segments of consumers. Besides, India has emerged as one of the world's leading diamond cutting and polishing centres.
The colored gemstones segment includes remaining forms of jewellery which includes precious gemstones like emeralds, sapphires, rubies and tanzanite; and semi-precious gemstones like silver, pearls, etc. Traditional Indian gemologists identified around 84 precious and semi-precious stones, amongst them nine stones form the 'Navratnas or the nine gems'.