That Indians love colour is an understatement. Coloured gemstones have been part of our bridal and couture wear. But sales of gemstones in our country are also driven by astrology, and people believe that these beautiful bounties of nature have a role to play in safeguarding the wearer from misfortunes and ill health among others. Worn as talismans or charms, rings or lockets, gemstones, especially in the times of Covid-19 are in demand.
We have been dealing in precious and semi-precious gemstones – and that is our primary business. Barring the usual big 3 gemstones, the younger generation is preferring tourmalines, aquamarines, tsavorites and more. Cameos are a big rage and we have a tie-up with a German company to mass produce them, and cater to orders punctually — the USA, Germany and France are our main export markets. Fine quality cameos are hard to come by, and we have a range of inspirations from flora and fauna to fun elements like the compass, anchors, etc, for millennials.
Due to the pandemic, gemstone sales are being driven due to astrological reasons. In the domestic market, sale of yellow sapphires has suddenly zoomed, especially the unheated ones between 4 and 7 carats. Among other gems that most Indian consumers are opting for are emeralds, cat’s eye, and all the navratna stones. People need a spiritual ‘cushion’ to feel protected, and hence the rise in sales of gemstones. Since I also design jewellery and I do take bespoke orders. I am soon coming up with an interesting collection encrusted with gemstones. I am already seeing a lot of revenge buying happening and I am bullish about Q4. We will end the year on a good note.
Digital is the way to go
Ever since I took over the reins of the company seven years ago, I sorely felt that that industry should transition from physical to digital mode. And I am thrilled that the GJEPC took the first step towards that direction. IIJS Virtual has many pluses: one, we have already been visited by 100 visitors, and some of them are big leads from retail chain stores across the country. We are actively following up with them and am confident that we may strike some good deals. Two, the world is e-selling small-ticket loose gemstones for a long time.
Why can’t we fine gemstone dealers enter that segment? This not only inculcates a culture of transparency in terms of certifications, hallmarking and more, the payments, too, are quick via RTGS. GJEPC’s step in going virtual is an applaud-worthy act!
Markets have been affected by the pandemic and lockdown, and most people are scared of leaving their houses and visiting stores. But I believe nothing lasts forever and am hoping markets will buck up a little more and little sooner now. Sales of gemstones have increased, especially for astrological purposes (touchwood!) and beads and tumbles are moving well. The pandemic has been psychologically scarring people – fear of catching the dreaded virus, social distancing and losing loved ones. Work is moving slowly and most colour gemstone dealers are facing problems because of lack of karigars. We are hoping that with strict safety measures in place, we should be able to get them back to work. I am a part of this industry and I will participate in any event that GJEPC holds. It’s the trust that we, Lal Gems, have in the Council and their conduct. I am not expecting too much out of this virtual show as it’s the first time for us and even the visitors, but certainly it’s a huge learning curve for all of us. Whatever business we get, it will be a bonus for us.”
Gemstones varying from pink tourmalines to aquamarines are the colours of the season across the globe, according to Prateek Kala of Kala Gems, Jaipur. But the movement is slow to moderate. Virtual shows will be the next best option to tap new clients.
Everything is in moderate demand from pink tourmalines to aquamarines; however, emeralds are the evergreen gems.
IIJS is an extremely popular show and its Virtual platform will help us reach a far bigger audience, as travel restrictions are only partially lifted. Loose gemstones are selling on many other e-commerce platforms, so why not on IIJS Virtual? Sure, it will require building the trust and confidence of buyers, especially the new ones, but with the right product and prices, sales can be achieved. IIJS Virtual is a great initiative by GJEPC. A lot of international clients rely on sourcing gemstones from the Indian market, but find it hard to connect with the right suppliers. This platform can be a solution to meet a wide range of suppliers in just a few clicks.