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India’s love for diamonds

01 Dec 2020

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2.5 million jewellery shops contributing 7% to the country’s retail market, and 1.3 million individuals employed in the world of glitter, assuredly indicates India’s love for diamonds and gold. India’s dominance in the diamond industry can be traced as far back as the 1730s when the states were the exclusive suppliers of diamonds to the world. Since then India fondly dubbed ‘The Golden Bird’ for its abundance of precious stones has seen a major shift in the diamond trade. Today India boasts of Surat, the ‘Diamond City’ which handles close to 92% of the world’s market in cut and polished diamonds. Every 11 out of every 12 processed diamonds for jewellery around the world pass through Surat. From briolettes to modern faceted diamonds, the love and fascination for diamonds have only matured with time.

Modern India’s love for diamonds
In recent years the love for diamonds has overtaken the fascination for gold in the Indian jewellery market. With the growing young population and higher purchasing power among Indians, diamond shopping has grown manifold. In fact, after mobiles, diamonds accounted for the second-highest shopped item in India. With diamond as a symbol of love, young couples are now investing in diamond engagement rings. There is also a growing demand for diamond jewellery in the daily wear segment, as more women are making a statement with their minimalist design sensibilities. Stacking is also trending with women opting to accessorise with layers of slim, diamond-studded rings and layered neckpieces/diamond pendants including solitaires which helps in creating repeat customers. From women in the corporate to housewives to even metro males are exceedingly adorning themselves with diamond jewellery. This makes India the third largest market after USA and China for diamond jewellery, accounting for 12% of the global demand for diamonds. This shift saw a large number of jewellery brands like Tanishq, Malabar Jewellery, Forevermark, PC Chandra, TBZ, Kalyan Jewellers, Joy Alukkas, Senco, Orra and Sia promote diamond jewellery.

Diamonds symbolize ‘Status’ and ‘Achievement’ for women

Diamond is one of the most popular gemstones used by jewellers in India followed by emeralds and rubies. It has become an integral part of Indian engagement and wedding jewellery as it accentuates power, purity, beauty and eternal love for its wearer.

But there has been a significant change in the buying patterns of diamond jewellery. Brides are not just seeking a single piece of diamond jewellery as a mark of status but aspire to own several pieces of diamond jewellery that connect with them at a deeper personal and emotional level. Independent career women are gifting themselves beautiful diamond pieces to celebrate their achievements. Both, the brides and career women are now becoming more brand-conscious and are buying beyond statement pieces, mostly stylish jewellery for daily wear that reflects and expresses their personalities.

Since 2013, there is a constant growth of 21-30% in the women’s diamond self-purchase segment.

Further global travel makes the Indian buyer more aware of international trends and designs. Traditional designs have an equal rival in modern design. There are also the millennials who now buy conflict free diamonds - natural and responsibly sourced. Diamond solitaire pendants, diamond engagement and eternity rings, diamond necklaces and earrings have grown in popularity in the Indian self-purchase market.

The Bharat Diamond Bourse
The importance and growing demand for diamonds was recognized as early as 1984, by a handful of Mumbai-based diamond traders who formed the Bharat Diamond Bourse. In 2010, they relocated to the Bandra-Kurla Complex that housed 2500 members, customs office, clearing agents, commercial banks, insurance companies, gemmological labs, restaurants and travel agents. The bourse not only facilitated diamond exports but put India on the diamond world map. Until the pandemic and recent economic slowdown, India's diamond industry was growing by an average of 10% to 15%. In 2018, India imported 149.8 million carats of rough diamonds and exported 59.9 million carats. Which concurrently points toward a healthy local demand for diamonds.

India’s diamond trade 2020

IIJS Virtual, the biggest online B2B gem and jewellery trade show of 2020 organized by GJEPC was yet another indicator of India’s love for diamonds. From October 12 to 16, 2020 on account of the global pandemic restrictions IIJS could not hold their annual physical show, but that did not deter them from going virtual. They changed, converged, connected, and collaborated online with 330+ India's top jewellery manufacturers and 9000+ domestic and international visitors. It is estimated that around INR 1,000 crore business was transacted at IIJS Virtual 2020.

Similarly, from August 18 to 20, 2020, Forevermark of DeBeers Group conducted an online Forum, ‘Meaningful Tomorrows’, for its partners from 37 countries worldwide and 434 cities in India. The attendees at the Forum were introduced to two recent campaigns, Forevermark Tribute collection and Forevermark Icon Collection, which were in preparation for the re-emergence of strong demand for diamonds in India in 2021.

Sachin Jain, President, Forevermark said, “We are extremely positive on the future and revival of the diamond industry. The demand will definitely double in the next 4-5 years. In fact, in the post-Covid world, real meaningful things will take precedence where jewellery is the preferred gifting option. Consumers are looking at fewer but better pieces and natural diamonds hold value. We will see a rise in sales in the near future.”

Diamonds are forever

India is a nascent market for diamonds with plenty of room for growth both in brick-and-mortar stores and online jewellery stores. The Southern states are inclining towards diamond jewellery in high-quality diamonds FL & IF and VVS1, VVS2 while the rest of India including the Northern states is preferring design over diamond quality more easily accepting VS1 and VS2. Irrespective of the diamond type or design type, India’s love for diamonds continues to grow with every celebration and with every festival.

Trends transit but diamonds are forever.

About Rukshana -

Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.