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Australia on show at Indian jewellery fair

While the India International Jewellery Show in Mumbai is one of the industry’s largest, few people realise the importance of Australia to the Indian diamond market. COLEBY NICHOLSON reports.

The prestigious India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) is always a large and busy event and this year’s 34th edition was no different. Organised by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and running in late July, the trade fair’s exhibitor numbers peaked at more than 2,200 and visitor numbers increased to more than 35,000 compared to the previous year’s 33,500.

Visitors came from not only India but also from the Middle East, South East Asia, the Far East and Australia.

Perhaps more than ever before, this year’s show demonstrated the connection between the Indian and Australian diamond markets. On entering the major exhibition halls one could not help but notice the large and prominent advertising for Rio Tinto Australian diamonds.

In addition to having a prominent marketing message at the event, Rio Tinto’s vice president of sales and marketing, Alan Chirgwin, took an active role in the official inauguration of the show.

Noting that this year’s IIJS was the 34th edition, Chirgwin said, “This is a significant number for Rio Tinto because it’s also 34 years since we began mining for alluvial diamonds from our Argyle diamond mine.

“Thirty four years ago, very few people would have predicted that diamonds from creek beds and streams in a remote part of Western Australia would lead to a strategic partnership with India, creating new markets for fashion jewellery in the world’s largest retail diamond jewellery market.”

Chirgwin went on to explain that as the Argyle mine virtually doubled world diamond production overnight, the Indian diamond industry worked hand in glove with Rio Tinto to truly understand the supply chain in order to create demand for Argyle diamonds.

Future goals

GJEPC chairman Praveenshankar Pandya also outlined the council’s vision to boost gross export revenue of Indian gemstones and jewellery from its current US$43 billion (AU$55 b) to US$60 billion (AU$76.7 b) by 2022.

“I am overwhelmed with the ever increasing response for IIJS and this kind of participation has taken this show and the Indian gems and jewellery industry to a different level altogether,” Pandya said.

“We are working towards the introduction of jewellery parks on the lines of IT parks across India in the prominent gems and jewellery areas. We are looking for a bigger venue to host the next IIJS to accommodate more jewellery enthusiasts who wish to participate in IIJS.”

Saunak Parikh, convener of GJEPC’s national exhibitions sub-committee, said this year’s IIJF was the “largest ever”.

“There were good sales reported from all segments, and while exhibitors in the gold jewellery segment did extremely well, those in the diamond jewellery segment were also extremely satisfied,” Parikh said, adding, “It is a reflection of the current situation in India – the market is doing reasonably well.”

Major initiatives announced

The IIJS was also used as a platform for several other initiatives such as the International Diamond Monitoring Committee.

Organised by GJEPC and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), the new committee aims to increase consumer confidence in diamond jewellery and will reportedly focus on making affordable detection machines available at every level of the supply chain, as well as implementing standardised language on how to refer to synthetics.

World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) president Ernie Blom explained that he was one of several industry representatives who participated in committee discussions during the trade show.

“All the major diamond industry bodies, including the WFDB and the Diamond Producers Association, took part in exhaustive discussions on the subject,” Blom said at the time.

“We stress that we do not have any objection to trading in synthetic stones, only that they are fully disclosed so that consumer confidence in our product is not damaged in any way,” he added.

Charity dinner

GJEPC, in association with De Beers Group, hosted the second edition of the Jewellers for Hope gala charity dinner on the first evening of the IIJS.

The event aims to contribute to the education and empowerment of young girls and was said to be attended by celebrities as well as prominent members of the gemstone and jewellery industry.

“The gem and jewellery industry has been involved in large-scale philanthropic and charitable activities particularly in the field of education and health long before CSR (corporate social responsibility) became mandatory,” Pandya said, adding, “I am overwhelmed by the contribution by the industry donors and convey gratitude to De Beers, whose support made this event successful.”

GJEPC also organised a special event one day prior to the show. Appropriately titled ‘Prelude to IIJS 2017’, the inaugural B2B affair was described as a fashion showcase of jewellery collections specifically created for the 34th edition of the IIJS.

The 2017 IIJS took place in Mumbai from July 27 to July 31.

Coleby Nicholson attended the IIJS courtesy of the fair organiser.

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Sunday, 16 December, 2018 07:16am
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