India’s Growing Influence in Global Jewellery Market: Reeds Jewelers Explores Opportunities at IGJS Jaipur

Judith Fisher, Senior Vice President – Merchandising at Reeds Jewelers, shares her reflections on the International Gem & Jewellery Show (IGJS) in Jaipur, offering valuable insights into the evolving landscape of the jewellery industry.

Share your impressions about IGJS Jaipur.

So, my initial impressions of the show was that it was very well attended and had a very significant group of vendors, which was nice because it crossed over several different product categories, including loose and finished. I think regardless of what we were looking for, there was something for everyone, if you will.”

Talk about the role that India is playing in the global jewellery market. And have you managed to find potential new vendors you would like to work with?

I’ve been in the industry for probably over 40 years, and I’ve been working with vendors from all different areas of the world. It’s been really exciting to see the Indian vendor community evolve over that period of time. In my early career, the focus was really more on Israel for diamonds and a lot of Asian manufacturers from China for bridal and that sort of thing.

However, the level of finishing and manufacturing in India has increased to such a high level of perfection that they are becoming a significant portion of our vendor base. We probably have a larger Indian base than any other nationality, which is a testament to how far along they’ve come based on their focus on advanced technology and processes. I’ve been very, very pleased with what we’ve seen, and they do meet the requirements that we need in the US to satisfy what our customers are looking for.

So yes, the exhibitors we saw here were already familiar to us because we’ve been in this industry for so long. However, it provided us the opportunity to have more quality one-on-one time with them, rather than communicate via email or arranging meetings with us in the United States. Instead, they had our undivided attention, and we were happy to sit down and have richer conversations about their company background, history, and so on. Our primary purpose here wasn’t necessarily to make physical purchases; rather, we aimed to learn more about the companies’ capabilities.  Then, when we return to the United States, we’ll gather pricing, pictures and other details. Subsequently, we will review the portfolios of each of the companies and assess their strengths, whether in manufacturing, finishing, their financial capabilities, etc., to determine whom we want to collaborate with. Yes, there’s definitely potential with a couple of individuals whom we believe will be a good fit for our current vendor portfolio.

Are you currently working with Indian vendors for LGD, since you will be visiting the GJEPC’s LGD buyer-seller meet in Surat?

We are, and we’re very excited about this Surat trip. I’m super excited about this segment because at Reeds, we’ve actually been in the lab-grown business since 2016. We were one of the first adopters of lab-grown diamonds, because I believe the company really prides itself on being a little more entrepreneurial. And so, we had and we worked exclusively with one partner at that point in time. But as the business has grown, it has required us to bring on additional partners in the lab-grown space. We are really looking forward to Surat so that we can really see some of the growing facilities. Obviously, we’ve been to factories before with diamond cutting and diamond manufacturing facilities. But we have never been to a factory showcasing lab-grown growing facilities. So we aim to better understand that aspect of the business by visiting those factories. We also seek to identify the largest players and those with the highest capabilities in terms of machinery and more.

What do you think about the future of the lab-grown diamond jewellery business in the US?

That’s probably a million-dollar question. If I had a crystal ball, I probably wouldn’t be standing here today. I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that. It certainly has been a huge disruptor within the jewellery industry, but obviously, the customer is comfortable with lab-grown diamonds.


We’re seeing the biggest impact probably in the bridal business, which is where the bulk of the energy is. I think we’ve reached this point where it’s going to be part of the jewellery industry going forward forever. I think that we will reach a balance between lab-grown and mined.

Lab-grown is the shiny new penny right now, if you will. And I think that the consumer as well as the industry are both maximising that opportunity. I also believe that we need to preserve and protect the mined business because it is the foundation of who we are as an industry. We must nurture it, as without mined diamonds, we certainly would not survive as an industry.

So, it’s a balance I think we’re all trying to figure out where that balance is for each of our businesses individually and independently. But obviously educating the consumer on both lab-grown and mined diamonds and letting them understand the pros and cons of each. Because I think the current focus has been so heavily on lab-grown diamonds and educating the consumer about them, that we haven’t had enough discussions with the consumer about mined diamonds. So at Reeds, we’re trying to make sure we’re talking about both and not just one over the other and letting those customers understand the options. Then it’s up to them whichever they choose because that’s not for us to decide. It’s for the consumer to decide.

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