The gems and jewellery industry has an important role in the Indian economy. Traditionally, India has been the world's largest consumer and importer of gold. 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.
India and China are driving global demand for platinum jewellery, according to Dr Jonathan Butler, an expert on the precious white metal.
Kolkata, the cultural capital of the east, witnessed its first-ever Gem & Jewellery Regional Leadership Summit at ITC Sonar Bangla. The event was jointly hosted by Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the All India Gem & Jewellery Federation (GJF).
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'.
Shipments of gems and jewellery constitute 14 per cent of India's total exports, and employ 3.4 million workers, with the Middle East taking most of the market.
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. Gold with its intrinsic luster and ease of fabrication has always been the jewellers' favourite metal. Gold jewellery forms the backbone of the precious jewellery industry.
Kerala-based Malabar Gold and Diamonds, the flagship division of the Malabar Group of Companies, plans to invest Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 18.77 million) to expand its retail network to 120 outlets from the current 80 in India and abroad by December 2013.
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 centers.
Likely to come into commercial production in 2017, discovery of the Bunder diamond project in 2004 by Rio Tinto, signals a new chapter in an alliance with Rio Tinto presenting a unique opportunity for India to mine, manufacture and market its own diamonds. Once developed the Bunder project is expected to place Madhya Pradesh in the top ten diamond producing regions of the world.
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'.
Gitanjali Group, the world's largest integrated branded jewellery retailer-manufacturer, has acquired two well known Indian jewellery brands, Nirvana and Viola through its subsidiary 'Spectrum Jewellery Ltd, adding to the vast spectrum of branded jewellery it offers to the Indian consumer.