News

Feb 10, 2017

10th Signature IIJS & IGJME Gives Business a Boost

As the shutters went down on the fourth and last day of the 10th edition of Signature IIJS and the 4th edition of IGJME, there were ample signs that the Indian gems and jewellery industry had received a shot in the arm heralding that relatively better days lie ahead. Over the last year, the industry has faced multiple challenges be it in the form of continued global uncertainities or policy changes that have affected the way the domestic trade goes about its business.

In such a scenario, most exhibitors had come to the show with cautious expectations, but were returning generally satisfied with the overall result

Kamlesh Punamiya of Punamiya & Sons, a manufacturer of plain gold jewellery, said, “Signature this year was a very good show, with the response even better than we had expected. Business has been slowly recovering from the standstill after demonetisation, and here we saw that people are now looking ahead.”

A regular at Signature IIJS for the last many shows, Punamiya said it has always been a good show for them. “There are less of the look-and-see visitors and most of the footfalls are of serious buyers who are here to see what’s new and place orders,” he said.

According to him, 2017 is an important year for the gold jewellery industry with many auspicious days for weddings between now and June. “The retailers are stocking up to cater to this demand and sentiment is improving all around.”

He also said that over the last couple of years, the weeks preceding the Budget had seen orders slowing down since there were expectations of a reduction in import duty. However, since that did not happen, trade has picked up again and the impact was seen here over the last few days.

Punamiya stressed that a jeweller has to adapt to changes if he wishes to succeed. “Consumers still want large looking ornaments, so we have been creating designs that use less metal, but still appear big. Jewellers are willing to stock ornaments starting from lower price points to say an upper price range of Rs 1-2 lakhs. This range has done well at the show,” he explained.

At the stall of Osia Gems, another regular exhibitor at Signature, Ashish Gandhi said that this year’s show has been ok for business. “It was of course slower than in some previous years, but we are satisfied with the number of new contacts that we got among retailers in the North,” he said, adding that walk-ins from the East and South were comparatively lower.

“These are good leads and we have to follow up and convert them into long term relationships,” he said. Forging strong ties was particularly important in the loose diamond business, and more so for his company which deals mainly in the smaller sizes of non-certified goods, Gandhi explained. He said that Osia Gems was going the extra mile to build confidence by screening all the stones to guarantee its customers that they receive 100% natural diamonds only.

“We have had devices installed in both our offices and factory for some years now, and at this show we have made inquiries about the new screening machines being offered by GII through GJEPC, which are quite affordable also,” he said, pointing out that the diamond trade has traditionally been a trust based business.

Sudeep Sethi of Intergem, which is a well known manufacturer of designer jewellery studed with diamonds and precious stones also echoed similar sentiments. “The show has been satisfying as far as we are concerned. Business hasn’t been about huge numbers and footfalls could have been higher, but the show as always has provided a good platform to interact with serious buyers,” he said.

Sethi feels that the motivation for jewellery purchases is changing. Investment has been less of a driving force and consumers want jewellery that can be used, that satisfies a need, he says, pointing out that for many design is now a more important factor than ever before. He feels that especially in the current atmosphere where there is a feeling that financial transactions are being closely monitored, investment driven purchases are almost at a standstill.

“We have been taking this into account in our jewellery offerings at the shows,” he said, pointing to the use of gemstones with white diamonds, rather than fancy coloured diamonds that were used in the past. Prices today are therefore around Rs one lakh or so even for bigger pieces. He also shows us necklaces manufactured with strings of ruby or emerald beads which are being well appreciated.

In the Machinery section of the show, Christopher Sanger of the De Beers’ lab IIDGR described the show as good for the company. “We have had walk in customers who have inquired about our machines and services and we have received some orders as well,” he said, “as well as many leads that will have to be followed up over the next few months.”

IIDGR’s melee testing service and the screening machines for melee diamonds (a variant can also be used for certain types of diamond jewellery) to separate confirmed natural diamonds from others that have to be submitted for advanced testing, is increasingly popular, Sanger said.

He also stated that there has been a lot of interest in IIDGR’s recently intrduced educational programme.

Saunak Parikh, Convener of GJEPC’s Exhibition-National Committee, said that from the feedback the Council had received it appeared that the show went off very well despite all the challenges that it faced. “The mood among both the visitors and the exhibitors was very positive and the business was very good.  Across product segments it seems that all are happy with the results of the show.”

Responding to one of the commonly voiced concerns of many exhibitors, Parikh said that the Council had almost finalised the schedule for next year’s show and it will almost surely have a weekend as well!