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Gems and Jewellery

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Gems and Jewellery Industry in India

February, 2018


The Gems and Jewellery sector plays a significant role in the Indian economy, contributing around 7 per cent of the country’s GDP and 15.71 per cent to India’s total merchandise exports. It also employs over 4.64 million workers. One of the fastest growing sectors, it is extremely export oriented and labour intensive.

Based on its potential for growth and value addition, the Government of India has declared the Gems and Jewellery sector as a focus area for export promotion. The Government has recently undertaken various measures to promote investments and to upgrade technology and skills to promote ‘Brand India’ in the international market.

India is deemed to be the hub of the global jewellery market because of its low costs and availability of high-skilled labour. India is the world’s largest cutting and polishing centre for diamonds, with the cutting and polishing industry being well supported by government policies. Moreover, India exports 75 per cent of the world’s polished diamonds, as per statistics from the Gems and Jewellery Export promotion Council (GJEPC). India's Gems and Jewellery sector has been contributing in a big way to the country's foreign exchange earnings (FEEs). The Government of India has viewed the sector as a thrust area for export promotion. The Indian government presently allows 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector through the automatic route.

Market size

Gold demand in India rose to 454.4 tonnes between January-September 2017. India's gems and jewellery exports stood at US$ 24.89 billion in April-December 2017. During the same period, exports of cut and polished diamonds stood at US$ 17.2 billion, thereby contributing about 69 per cent of the total gems and jewellery exports in value terms. Exports of gold coins and medallions stood at US$ 1,736.02 million and silver jewellery export stood at US$ 3,114.85 million during April-December 2017.

The gems and jewellery market in India is home to more than 300,000 players, with the majority being small players. Its market size is about US$ 60 billion as of 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 100-110 billion by 2021-2022. It contributes 29 per cent to the global jewellery consumption.

India is one of the largest exporters of gems and jewellery and the industry is considered to play a vital role in the Indian economy as it contributes a major chunk to the total foreign reserves of the country. UAE, US, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Latin America and China are the biggest importers of Indian jewellery. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) and monsoon will steer India’s gold demand going forward.


The Gems and Jewellery sector is witnessing changes in consumer preferences due to adoption of western lifestyle. Consumers are demanding new designs and varieties in jewellery, and branded jewellers are able to fulfil their changing demands better than the local unorganised players. Moreover, increase in per capita income has led to an increase in sales of jewellery, as jewellery is a status symbol in India.

The cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in diamond and gold ornaments in the period April 2000 - September 2017 were US$ 1,045.58 million, according to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Some of the key investments in this industry are listed below.

  • An international diamond exchange will be set up in Surat by October 2020 at a cost of Rs 2,400 crore (US$ 372million).
  • Companies such as PC Jewellers, PNG Jewellers, Popley and Sons, are planning to introduce a virtual-reality (VR) experience for their customers. The customer will have to wear a VR headset, through which they can select any jewellery, see the jewellery from different angles and zoom on it to view intricate designs.

Government Initiatives

  • The Government of India would notify a new limit for reporting about transactions in gold and other precious metals and stones to authorities, to avoid the parking of black money in bullion.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has revised the standard on gold hallmarking in India from January 2018. The gold jewellery hallmark will now carry a BIS mark, purity in carat and fitness as well as the unit’s identification and the jeweller’s identification mark. The move is aimed at ensuring a quality check on gold jewellery.
  • The Government of India has planned to set up a Common Facility Center (CFC) at Thrissur, Kerala.

Road Ahead

In the coming years, growth in Gems and Jewellery sector would be largely contributed by the development of large retailers/brands. Established brands are guiding the organised market and are opening opportunities to grow. Increasing penetration of organised players provides variety in terms of products and designs. Online sales are expected to account for 1-2 per cent of the fine jewellery segment by 2021-22. Also, the relaxation of restrictions of gold import is likely to provide a fillip to the industry. The improvement in availability along with the reintroduction of low cost gold metal loans and likely stabilisation of gold prices at lower levels is expected to drive volume growth for jewellers over short to medium term. The demand for jewellery is expected to be significantly supported by the recent positive developments in the industry.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0155 as of January 4, 2018.

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Reserve Bank of India, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Union Budget 2017-18