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November 30, -0001


The gems and jewellery industry has an important role in the Indian economy. India has the distinction of being one of the first countries to introduce diamonds to the world. The two major segments of the gems and jewellery business in India are gold and diamond jewellery, as per an Exim Bank report.

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. India has emerged as the largest cutting and polishing industry for diamonds in the world.

Industry Structure

The Indian gems and jewellery industry has increased by about 5 per cent at Rs 2,000 billion (US$ 36.17 billion) in 2011-12, as compared to Rs 1,950 billion (US$ 35.26 billion) in 2010-11. The sector accounts for 14 per cent of the total merchandise exports in India.

The jewellery industry in India is estimated at Rs 150,000 crore (US$ 27.12 billion), of which only 5 per cent is organised, thus creating opportunity for the foreign players to enter the Indian market.

Mr Anand Sharma, the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles, has called for institutional linkages between the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the diamond facilities in India, specifically in the areas of diamond and gem stone grading and sorting; research and development; certification; cutting and polishing, in a bilateral meeting with Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs, Belgium. The Belgian Minister also discussed the scope of AWDC organising training/ graduation courses in gemology and cutting and sorting of rough and polished diamonds/ gem stones. Mr Sharma emphasised that the trade between both the countries is dominated at present by the gems and jewellery sector, which accounts for about 69.84 per cent of the bilateral trade.


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.

India accounts for nearly one-third of the total world demand for gold, according to an industry body report titled 'India's Gold Rush: Its Impact and Sustainability'. The report also highlighted that the percentage share of gold and silver combined has risen from the 3rd most imported commodity in 2000-01 to the 2nd most imported commodity in 2010-11.

Gitanjali Group has opened its first global multi-brand store in Meena Bazaar, Dubai. "The store will display the top most renowned Indian jewellry brands endorsed by famous celebrities under one roof close to the heart of the discerning clients here in Dubai," as per Mehul Choksi, Chairman and Managing Director, Gitanjali Group.


The diamond business in India is growing at 20 per cent year-on-year. "We hope India will contribute 10-20 per cent of our worldwide sales in five years," as per Stephen Lussier, CEO, De Beers Group.

Gems and jewellery exports to Malaysia from India has the potential to record five-fold growth this year from US$ 78 million last year.

Belgium is an important trading partner for India. In the year 2011, the bilateral trade between India and Belgium was US$ 17.75 billion, which increased from US$ 12.30 billion in 2010.

Colored Gemstones

This 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. The Indian industry is highly fragmented thereby generating business opportunity for organised retailers and dealers to flourish.

Gemfields, the world's largest color gemstone producer, has announced further office openings in Mumbai and Jaipur, which will source and supply cut and polished Zambian emeralds to the Asian market with an emphasis on India.

The exports of coloured stone/ gems from India have grown by 15 per cent to record Rs 1,653.13 crore (US$ 298.94 million) this year, from Rs 1,432.54 crore (US$ 240.07 million) last year. Coloured gemstone processors of Jaipur, one of the world's major hubs for coloured stone processing, have come together to form a company. About 50 colour stone makers have initiated procedures to form a company called Color Stone Gems India (CIL) with an equity capital of Rs 100 crore (US$ 18.08 million).

Export of Gems and Jewellery

The total exports of gems and jewellery during April 2011 to June 2012 stood at US$ 10,151.55 million, including that of cut and polished diamonds at US$ 4,045.70 million, gold at US$ 5,511.95 million and coloured gemstones at US$ 66.80 million, according to the provisional data by Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC).

The gems and jewellery sector will help India earn about US$ 25 billion to US$ 35 billion in form of export revenue by 2015, as per estimates of a RNCOS report 2010, indirectly supported by the findings of a leading industry body and published in the same year.

Government Initiatives

India appears as a very attractive opportunity for major brands to establish their presence. The growing domestic market in India along with export advantage of the industry and the Government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI), up to 51 per cent in single brand retail stores, have attracted various foreign players to the Indian market.

Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  • The Government of India allows 100 per cent FDI in gems and jewellery sector through the automatic route
  • For exploration and mining of diamonds and precious stones, FDI is allowed up to 74 per cent under the automatic route
  • For exploration and mining of gold and silver and minerals other than diamonds and precious stones, metallurgy and processing, FDI is allowed up to 100 per cent under the automatic route

Foreign Trade Policy (2009-2014) Initiatives

Import of gold of 8 karat (k) and above is allowed under replenishment scheme subject to import being accompanied by an Assay Certificate specifying purity, weight and alloy content. Duty Free Import Entitlement (based on Free on Board (FOB) value of exports during previous financial year) of consumables and tools, for:

  • Jewellery made out of:
    • Precious metals (other than gold & platinum) - 2 per cent
    • Gold and platinum - 1 per cent
    • Rhodium finished silver - 3 per cent
    • Cut and polished diamonds - 1 per cent
  • Duty free import entitlement of commercial samples shall be US$ 6187.9
  • Duty free re-import entitlement for rejected jewellery shall be 2 per cent of FoB value of exports
  • Import of diamonds on consignment basis for certification/ grading & re- export by the authorised offices/agencies of Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in India or other approved agencies will be permitted
  • Personal carriage of gems and jewellery products in case of holding/participating in overseas exhibitions increased to US$ 5 million and to US$ 1 million in case of export promotion tours
  • Extension in number of days for re-import of unsold items in case of participation in an exhibition in USA increased to 90 days
  • In an endeavour to make India an international trading hub for diamond, it is planned to establish "Diamond Bourse (s)"

Road Ahead

India is harnessing its traditional craft-skills, low-cost labour, and fabrication techniques in some of the gems and jewellery segments (such as processing of small-sized diamonds) to lead as a global player.

India is emerging as a huge consumer market for jewellery and other luxury products and thereby appears as a very attractive opportunity for major brands to establish their presence in the Indian market.

Moreover, the GJEPC's 12 member delegation signed a seven-point agenda with the Pakistani counterparts at the Pakistan International Gems & Jewellery Exhibition in Karachi. The goal of this first ever Indian delegation to Pakistan, led by Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairperson, GJEPC, was to explore a long-term partnership to leverage the US$ 12 billion worth gem and jewellery sector in Pakistan.

Exchange rate used: INR 1= US$ 0.01808 as on August 8, 2012

References: Media Reports, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), RNCOS, Bullionvault, World Gold Council (WGC)