The upbeat sentiment among exhibitors and visitors at IIJS Virtual has lifted the mood of the entire Indian gem and jewellery industry. The positive trend could perhaps continue through the festive and wedding season and well into the first quarter of 2021.
“IIJS Virtual is simply fantastic; it’s magical!” exclaims Abhishek Sand, Co-founder & Director, Savio Jewellery, Jaipur. “The virtual platform is engaging, and a transformative step for the entire industry. We have had 600+ visitors so far and held 42 meetings. There’s excitement in the air! Buying is finally happening and in good numbers.”
Sand informed that some retailers are buying a few exclusive pieces for weddings, and others are interested in booking orders for daily wear jewellery. A couple of layered chains made by Savio have received hundreds of orders. “I realise that the prêt segment in diamond jewellery is growing exponentially,” notes Sand. Coloured gemstones are being favoured, too. “Thanks to social media posts by influencers, jewellery that is set with gemstones really stands out. That, in fact, gets more number of likes. All types of gems are accepted in fine jewellery now, but Zambian emeralds, especially the octagon shapes, are doing phenomenally well. The year 2021 will be the year of coloured gemstones.”
Savio Jewellery has received orders from Sri Lanka, California, Dubai and London, and the remotest of regions in the South. “Most of our buyers are from the South, and I guess, they are tech savvy and find it easy to conduct business virtually.”
Hardik Shah, Director, BR Designs, Surat, informs, “The IIJS Virtual platform has given us an opportunity to interact with jewellers and wholesalers from tier 3 and 4 towns, which otherwise would not have been possible during the ongoing the pandemic. The response has been fantastic and I would go ahead and say it is better than the physical show! We are able to showcase our entire catalogue of designs and product, and are not limited by the size of the booth. The visitor, therefore, gets to see a wider variety of our collections, and that is a huge plus.”
Demand for handcrafted gold jewelry is on the rise this season. Prakash Chandra Pincha, Owner, Jewel India Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata, commented, “We were keen on meeting new buyers through the IIJS Virtual format and we did some good business, too. Most of our buyers were from South India and they preferred our handcrafted gold jewelry for the upcoming wedding season. I would definitely be part of another such virtual show if the Council is planning one.”
And diamond jewellery was not far behind in terms of popularity. Shailesh Sangani, Founder, Priority Jewels, Mumbai, stated that the show has garnered decent orders from its regular buyers, from the South, West and North regions. “Most preferred our 18-karat pink and yellow gold collections studded with diamonds.”
Colour Climbs The Popularity Charts
Exhibitors with creations focusing on coloured gemstones revealed that customers were ready to embrace gems which were hitherto not used in fine jewellery. Colourful sapphires, tourmalines, coral and many more are the centre of attraction. Sakhil Dhadda, Director, Gem Plaza, Jaipur, says that the show in terms of visitor data has been stupendous. “We have had over 500 visitors and received serious enquiries. IIJS Virtual has given us a good reason to connect with regular buyers and meet new ones. Many of our buyers want something radically different from our brand – they are buying a few, oneoff pieces. We aren’t getting bulk orders, which is fine.” Top of the charts for Gem Plaza are cocktail rings and earrings with affordable price points. “Among our customers, multicolour sapphires and morganite are gaining popularity.”
Pranay Nigotiya, owner, Desert Jewellers, remarks that IIJS Virtual has revitalised the industry, which was in a state of inertia for some months. Slim and smart bridal chokers crafted in 14-karat gold and encrusted with emeralds, rubies and pearls ranging between Rs.5 and Rs.7 lakh were being preferred by his buyers.
The very auspicious navratnas (nine gems) can’t be far behind in popularity, isn’t it? Sanjay Jain, Owner, Manoj Ornaments, exclaimed that IIJS Virtual was a milestone and game-changer. “We had designed an innovative range of ethnic and navratna jewellery, but email and WhatsApp did not yield sales. However, IIJS Virtual made a great difference! A virtual face-to-face meeting resulted in 100% confirmed orders, especially from existing buyers who are familiar with our designs and quality. We did not miss the touch-and-feel of the physical exhibition. The entire process made the transaction uncomplicated and troublefree. The show has proved to be a great success and an achievement we all are proud of. GJEPC has worked hard to make this virtual exhibition a success.”
If anyone missed the one-onone meetings, some exhibitors ensured that they welcomed their visitors with full honour. Among them was Sanjay Jain. “As I hail from the Marwari background, we believe in ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. Here, too, we treated our virtual guests like God with care and attention. Before the appointment, we would book coffee and cookies for visitors through Zomato or Starbucks to create a ‘feel-good’ mood. With the success of the virtual show, I am left wondering what will happen to the physical exhibitions now in the coming future.”
Offering some useful tips is Jugal Choksi, Owner, Bariki Jewellery. “My observation, as an exhibitor, is that we could do more to increase the number of visitors to the show, and the Council should give the visitors more training and guidance on how to use the IIJS Virtual platform.
“The timing of IIJS Virtual is perfect and this is not only a novel, but a necessary way of selling jewellery in the pandemic era. The technology has helped us save time and expenses. Business at the show has been very good and exceeded our expectations. The upcoming wedding season has stimulated demand for big earrings, jhumkas, and grand pieces.”
Bhavik Shah of R.P. Ornaments, Rajkot, states, “We had a good number of meetings that converted into sales. The interesting part of IIJS Virtual was that buyers first went through the inventory catalogue before fixing up meetings with us, and that pushed the conversion rate higher.”
R.P. Ornaments is known for fancy jewellery collections in gold as well as Rajkot gold jewellery, which is found in almost every retail store in India and the world. Shah specially made new collections to augur positivity for the new virtual show – a new beginning for the industry. “Also, people would expect something different from our brand.”
Shah wishes that the show should be viewed even on a cellphone. “We want this show to be conducted post Diwali (end of November), so traders can stock up for the NRI season in December, January and February.”