A career in jewellery sector in India is definitely an option today. Traditionally jewellery business in India was purely a family-owned business. A student was a next-gen family member who learned the trade on-the-job. It is only in the recent few decades that the jewellery business has stepped out of its shadows to emerge as a professionally managed business. Professional businesses hire experts to bring a new perspective to the business with their proficiency. The business expands and becomes answerable to stakeholders. It becomes process oriented, performance driven, and larger in scale. Often it branches out nationally and internationally from a single-operation unit to a multi-location establishment. This initiated an intrinsic educational qualification essential to opt for a career in jewellery in India. A new wave of educators, trainers, teachers, institutes, and students emerged. Students are now looking for cutting-edge, skill-based learning from a reputed educational institute to get a threshold into the gems and jewellery industry.
The Indian gems and jewellery industry contributes close to 7% of India’s total GDP and employs over 5 million people. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) India’s gems and jewellery sector is one of the largest in the world contributing 29% to global jewellery consumption. The sector is home to more than 300,000 gems and jewellery companies. Its market size is estimated to grow by USD 103.06 billion during 2019-2023.
Here are the 10 things to know about gems and jewellery industry and jewellery education in India before opting on a career in jewellery: –
1. Is jewellery education adapting to the changes in the industry?
Apart from short term courses in diamond grading, jewellery designing and identification of gems, yes, today institutes like Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ Mumbai) and NID, Delhi, are offering a complete 3-4 years academic course which is an intensive industry oriented programme. The students are imparted training on every aspect of jewellery – Design, Manufacturing, Diamond Grading/Gemmology, CAD, Merchandising, and Management. Besides, they constantly upgrade modules to address industry concerns e.g. a pressing need for additional knowledge in the emerging low-end lab grown diamonds (synthetic diamonds made by the HTPT and CVD processes), its detection, retail and consumer education.
2. How has the jewellery trade impacted jewellery education?
In the last three decades with increased competition, jewellers are working on areas of advertising, branding, and marketing to increase footfalls in their stores. They are also selling inventory online, mostly, small ticket jewellery up to INR 1 lakh. It needs a new set of skills. This means know-how is a must from strategic management, manufacturing, craftsmanship, designing, marketing to laws governing the industry. Teaching that was earlier a secret passed down from one generation to another, has expanded to professional institutes that can now empower anyone to study jewellery.
3. Have jewellery designers in India come of age?
Earlier, education in jewellery was restricted to a few select families who ran the business of jewellery manufacturing and jewellery designing. Even designers were only synonymous with the apparel industry in India. But with the growing demand for trending designs, multifunctional designs, the jewellery industry has opened its doors to young talent who can design for the millennials today. These computer-aided jewellery designers use software like CAD Rhino and Matrix to learn various latest international techniques.
4. Is the next generation of jewellery sellers equipped to handle the requirements of the millennials?
Millennials have some unique needs. They may look for multi-functional jewellery, custom designs, brands with ethical values, celebrity trends, and online shopping options. Their demand for jewellery has to be recognized as different from traditional demand. Today, students from non-jewellery family backgrounds and the interiors of India are taking up jewellery education as a means of livelihood. India’s jewellery education system is designed to provide the industry with the next-gen jewellery professionals to handle the requirements of the millennials.
5. Is professional training in jewellery important for the next generation to enter the business of gems and jewellery?
Yes. In the coming years, growth in India’s gems and jewellery sector would be largely supported by the development of large retailers/brands. The organized jewellery retail sector is expected to continue to grow at the rate of 10-11% until 2022. The main growth drivers of this industry are increased store openings in Tier II and Tier III cities, promotional schemes and growing brand awareness. Also, diamond exporters are eyeing new markets like Russia, Vietnam, Brazil, France, Australia, and Singapore to expand the business. Companies are upskilling the existing manpower through training and by recruiting young professional talent to reach their goals.
6. How do innovation and state-of-the-art technology and machine tools influence the methods of teaching?
India’s jewellery sector is one of the major foreign exchange earners for the Indian economy. The exports stood at USD 25.11 billion in FY2020p (April 2019 to January 2020). Its competitiveness in the global market can only be sustained through continued innovation, state-of-the-art technology, and access to modern machine tools. Today India’s institutes of jewellery education are equipped with various advanced software programs and latest machine tools which are available to students to gain a high level of preparedness for the industry.
7. Does the Indian education system offer a recognized degree in jewellery?
There are specialized short-term practical courses but the exponential growth in the gems and jewellery retail and exports sector, was leaving a lacuna for professional jewellers. This has led to India’s top jewellery educational institutes like NID, NIFT and IIGJ to offer undergraduate (UG) / post-graduate (PG) programs in jewellery to get the best human resources ready to steer the growing gems and jewellery industry to the next level.
8. Is jewellery qualification mandatory to enter the gems and jewellery industry?
Since the Indian gems and jewellery industry is highly labour intensive, the companies require a skilled force to be able to compete with the best in the world. Professional qualification has become an added advantage at entry-level in the industry. Companies prefer to recruit students with a degree/diploma in jewellery, so as to reduce their training costs. No longer is the business a family owned/ family run unit and thereby there is a requirement for professionals to bring in fresh perspectives.
9. What are the chances of getting a job after doing a jewellery course?
The top jewellery institutes in India have a profile of companies attending placements. These companies include jewellery retailers, e-retailers, exporters, manufacturers, international brands and start-up firms. Campus placements and recruitments not only assist to find a job immediately upon completion of the UG/PG course but also provides a better annual salary package for a beginner. Career opportunities in jewellery in India are plentiful.
10. Does one need to be creative to study jewellery or join the jewellery industry?
Yes and No. Yes, creativity helps in any job but surely not a deterrent if you lack it. Like in any other industry, jewellery industry goes beyond jewellery designing. Departments like manufacturing, grading, etc. require skill and not creativity which is easily taught. During a UG and PG course in the jewellery institute and during company internship a student gets a fair insight on the branches and can decide on what’s most suited for his/her capability and interest.
The Gem and Jewellery sector has many opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in India. Today the industry prerequisites a workforce that is both knowledgeable and skilled to sustain global competition. Thus, jewellery education has stepped beyond empowering knowledge to become specialized, focused, innovative, research based, and skill enhanced for students to embark upon a career in jewellery in India.
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