Revolutionising Gems & Jewellery Education: A Closer Look at IIGJ Mumbai

Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai stands as a centre of excellence in the gems and jewellery industry, providing comprehensive education and training to aspiring professionals. Established in 2003 under the auspices of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), IIGJ Mumbai has continually strived to meet the evolving needs of the industry and produce skilled individuals who contribute to its growth. With its state-of-the-art infrastructure, industry-oriented curriculum, and collaborations with leading stakeholders, IIGJ Mumbai has earned a reputation as a premier institution that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience necessary to thrive in the competitive world of gems and jewellery, Bharat Vaswani, Head of the Institute, tells Solitaire.

Please provide an overview of the IIGJ Mumbai and its role in the industry?

Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) is an initiative of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The Mumbai centre was setup in 2003 and is located in MIDC, near SEEPZ. The institute was created with a vision to provide comprehensive education and training in jewellery design, gemmology, manufacturing, and merchandising. Over the years, IIGJ Mumbai has earned a reputation for its exceptional teaching, state-of-the-art infrastructure and industry-oriented curriculum.

The IIGJ Mumbai campus is a testament to the institute’s commitment to providing students with an environment conducive to learning. Equipped with modern CAD laboratories, gemstone library, design studios and manufacturing workshop, students have access to cutting-edge facilities that foster practical learning. These resources allow students to gain hands-on experience in gemstone identification, jewellery manufacturing techniques and the latest design trends.

IIGJ Mumbai offers many different courses tailored to meet the demands of the ever-evolving gem and jewellery industry. With an option to choose from short-term certificate courses and comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, students have the opportunity to choose a path that is aligned with their interests and career aspirations. The curriculum blends theoretical knowledge with practical training, ensuring that students are well-equipped to enter the industry with confidence.

Recognising the importance of industry exposure, IIGJ Mumbai has forged strong ties with leading jewellery houses, gemstone dealers, and manufacturers. The institute regularly organises workshops, seminars and guest lectures by industry experts, enabling students to gain insights into the latest trends, technologies, and market dynamics. Furthermore, IIGJ Mumbai facilitates internships and placements, providing students with invaluable real-world experience, thereby enhancing their employability.

With access to modern design software and guidance from experienced faculty, students are empowered to create innovative and exquisite jewellery pieces that reflect their artistic vision and have been consistently well-received by the industry.

IIGJ Mumbai focuses on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset among its students. The institute offers courses and workshops on jewellery entrepreneurship, providing students with the knowledge and skills required to start their own jewellery businesses.

With its unwavering commitment to quality education and industry-oriented training, IIGJ Mumbai has played a vital role in shaping the future of the jewellery industry in the past and will continue to do so in future.

Two-finger ring by Vaishnavi Divate
Earrings by Dev Mudgal

What are some of the key initiatives taken by IIGJ Mumbai to produce trained professionals in the gems and jewellery sector?

The gems & jewellery sector is a significant contributor to India’s economy, renowned for its rich heritage and craftsmanship. By providing comprehensive education and training programmes, IIGJ Mumbai is empowering individuals to excel in this thriving industry. In order to meet the industry’s growing demands for skilled professionals, the IIGJ Mumbai has undertaken several key initiatives, few of which are:

Robust Curriculum and Course Offerings: IIGJ Mumbai has developed a comprehensive and industry-oriented curriculum to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills. The curriculum is regularly updated to stay aligned with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies used in the industry, ensuring that students receive relevant and up-to-date education.

State-of-the-Art Infrastructure and Learning Environment: IIGJ Mumbai provides an environment that is conducive to learning, with modern facilities and infrastructure. The institute has well-equipped classrooms, advanced gemmological laboratories and gemstone identification centre, design studios, computer-aided design (CAD) labs and a manufacturing workshop. This enables students to gain hands-on experience with industry-standard tools, machinery and software thereby enhancing their practical skills and understanding.

Industry-Expert Faculty: IIGJ Mumbai boasts of a teaching team of experienced and highly skilled faculty members who are industry experts as well. These faculty members bring in-depth knowledge, industry insights and real-world experience to the classroom, enriching the students’ learning experience. The faculty’s expertise helps bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and practical applications, preparing students for the challenges of the industry.

Immersive Industry (Factory/Retail Setups) Visits: The students are exposed to real-life jewellery manufacturing setups to experience and learn industry practices adopted for limited-edition as well as mass produced jewellery. Visits to retail setups help the students understand the importance of the art of storytelling involved in the sale of manufactured jewellery pieces.

Internship and Industry Collaborations: Collaborations with reputed jewellery companies helps provide students with industry exposure and practical experience. This also benefits IIGJ Mumbai and industry organisations. The institute facilitates internships, enabling students to work with industry professionals, understand workflow processes and gain hands-on experience. These collaborations also create networking opportunities, enhancing students’ prospects for employment after graduation.

Skill Development Workshops and Seminars: IIGJ Mumbai organises regular skill development workshops, seminars and guest lectures featuring renowned experts from the gem and jewellery industry. These events cover a wide range of topics, including gemstone grading, jewellery manufacturing techniques, market trends and business management. Such interactive sessions provide students with valuable insights, foster creativity, and enhance their understanding of the industry’s nuances.

Career Placement Assistance: IIGJ Mumbai provides dedicated support for career placement to its students. The institute maintains strong ties with leading jewellery companies and facilitates campus recruitment drives. Additionally, it offers career counselling, resume building workshops, and interview preparation sessions to equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in job interviews and secure employment in reputed organisations.

How does IIGJ Mumbai ensure that its training programmes are aligned with the evolving needs of the industry?

In a rapidly evolving gem and jewellery industry, staying ahead of the crowd is crucial for professionals and educational institutions alike. The Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai understands the significance of aligning its training programmes with the ever-changing needs of the industry. With its unwavering commitment to providing relevant and practical education, IIGJ Mumbai has become a pioneering institution that ensures its students are well-equipped to excel in the dynamic world of gem and jewellery.

IIGJ Mumbai recognises that the gem and jewellery industry is a diverse ecosystem encompassing various segments, including design, manufacturing, gemmology and retail. To ensure its training programmes meet industry requirements, the institute maintains close ties with professionals and experts from each sector. Regular interactions, industry collaborations, and partnerships allow IIGJ Mumbai to gain valuable insights into emerging trends, evolving technologies, and skill demands.

The insights gained are leveraged by updating the curriculum accordingly to develop the desired industry skills and knowledge creating a winning opportunity for all stakeholders.

Design briefing session

Could you share some information about the faculty members at IIGJ Mumbai and their expertise in the field of gems and jewellery?

The faculty members at IIGJ Mumbai represent a collective wealth of knowledge and experience in the gems and jewellery industry. Through their diverse areas of specialisation, including gemmology and diamond grading, jewellery design, manufacturing, CAD and merchandising they equip students with the skills and expertise required to thrive in this competitive field. The dedication and guidance of these esteemed educators contribute significantly to IIGJ Mumbai’s reputation as a leading institution for gems and jewellery education.

What steps does IIGJ Mumbai take to ensure that its students gain practical experience and hands-on training during their education?

Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai has devised a comprehensive approach to education, ensuring that its students not only acquire theoretical proficiency but also gain invaluable practical experience and hands-on training. With a focus on bridging the gap between academia and industry, IIGJ Mumbai employs various measures to equip its students with the practical skills necessary for success in the gem and jewellery domain.

Cutting-edge Infrastructure: At IIGJ Mumbai, the emphasis on practical learning begins with its state-of-the-art infrastructure. The institution boasts an ultra-modern workshop equipped with advanced tools and machinery to simulate real-world gemstone crafting and jewellery manufacturing environments. These well-equipped facilities enable students to explore various techniques and develop proficiency in gem cutting, polishing, stone setting, and other essential skills.

Industry Experts as Faculty: One of the hallmarks of IIGJ Mumbai is its exceptional faculty comprising industry experts, master craftsmen as well as skilled artisans. These experienced professionals bring a wealth of practical knowledge and expertise to the classroom, providing students with insights into the latest industry trends, techniques and best practices. By learning directly from those actively engaged in the field, students benefit from a blend of theoretical concepts and real-world experiences, enhancing their understanding and practical application of skills.

Industry Partnerships and Collaborations: IIGJ Mumbai places great importance on forging strong ties with industry players, including gemstone dealers, jewellery manufacturers, and renowned jewellery brands. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, the institution provides its students with invaluable opportunities to engage with the industry. These partnerships manifest in various forms, such as internships, workshops and guest lectures. By participating in these initiatives, students gain exposure to the industry’s inner workings, refine their skills under expert guidance, and build valuable networks.

Practical-Oriented Curriculum: The curriculum at IIGJ Mumbai is meticulously designed to integrate practical training seamlessly with theoretical learning. The institution places strong emphasis on hands-on projects, allowing students to apply their knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom. These practical projects encompass jewellery design, gemstone grading, metal casting, CAD/CAM modelling and more. By working on real-life assignments, students develop problem-solving abilities, hone their creativity, and familiarise themselves with industry-standard techniques and tools.

Experiential Learning Opportunities: To further enhance practical exposure, IIGJ Mumbai organises field trips, industry visits, and participation in exhibitions and trade shows. These activities enable students to observe the industry’s dynamics first hand, interact with professionals, and witness the application of theoretical concepts in a real-world context. Such immersive experiences not only broaden their horizons but also cultivate a deeper understanding of market trends, consumer preferences and the business aspects of the gem and jewellery industry.

What kind of collaborations or partnerships does IIGJ Mumbai have with industry stakeholders to enhance the training and employment prospects of its students?

Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai, renowned for its excellence in jewellery education, understands this necessity and actively fosters strategic alliances to enhance the training and employment prospects of its students. The key collaborations and partnerships that IIGJ Mumbai has forged to provide its students with a competitive edge in the industry are:

Industry-Recognised Certifications: To ensure that its students are well-prepared and equipped with the required industry knowledge, IIGJ Mumbai collaborates with various industry stakeholders to offer industry-recognised certifications. These certifications hold significant value in the job market, allowing students to showcase their skills and expertise to potential employers. SPPU (Savitribai Phule Pune University) and Gems & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) are few of the collaborations.

Guest Lectures and Workshops: To bridge the gap between academia and industry, the institute collaborates with industry experts, renowned designers and experienced professionals to conduct guest lectures and workshops. These sessions provide students with insights into the latest industry trends, technological advancements, and market demands. By interacting with industry stalwarts, students gain valuable industry perspectives, networking opportunities, and a deeper understanding of the jewellery business.

Internship and Placement Programmes: One of the most crucial aspects of enhancing employment prospects is providing students with hands-on industry experience. IIGJ Mumbai collaborates with leading jewellery companies, design houses, and retail chains to facilitate internships and placement programmes for its students. These partnerships enable students to gain practical experience, develop industry-specific skills, and establish professional connections. The institute’s strong network of industry partners ensures that students have access to a wide range of internship and job opportunities, thereby increasing their chances of securing employment upon graduation.

Collaborative Design Projects: To foster creativity and innovation among its students, IIGJ Mumbai actively engages in collaborative design projects with industry stakeholders. These projects provide students with the opportunity to work on real-world design briefs, gain exposure to client requirements, and understand the commercial aspects of the jewellery business. By partnering with established jewellery brands and manufacturers, IIGJ Mumbai ensures that students’ designs are not only aesthetically appealing but also commercially viable, preparing them for the industry’s competitive landscape.

Manufacturing workshop

In your opinion, how has IIGJ Mumbai contributed to the growth of the gems and jewellery industry in India?

The Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai has been a catalyst for the growth and development of the gems and jewellery industry in India. With its commitment to excellence in education, cutting-edge research, and industry collaboration, IIGJ Mumbai has played a pivotal role in nurturing talent, fostering innovation and shaping the future of this thriving sector.

Unleashing Talent: One of the most significant contributions of IIGJ Mumbai to the gems and jewellery industry has been its relentless focus on nurturing talent. By offering comprehensive and specialised courses, the institute has equipped countless aspiring individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in this industry. From gemmology and diamond grading to jewellery design and manufacturing techniques, IIGJ Mumbai provides a solid foundation for individuals to kickstart their careers. The institute’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and expert faculty ensure that students receive hands-on training and exposure to the latest industry trends.

Empowering Creativity and Innovation: IIGJ Mumbai recognises that creativity and innovation are crucial drivers of growth in the gems and jewellery industry. Through its design courses and workshops, the institute has nurtured a new generation of jewellery designers who bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the industry. By encouraging students to push boundaries, experiment with new materials, and embrace sustainable practices, IIGJ Mumbai is fostering a culture of innovation that is transforming the sector.

Industry Collaboration and Research: IIGJ Mumbai has actively fostered collaboration between academia and industry, recognising the importance of a symbiotic relationship. The institute regularly invites industry experts, renowned designers, and business leaders to share their experiences and insights with students. This exposure to real-world challenges and opportunities helps bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Additionally, IIGJ Mumbai’s research initiatives and collaborations contribute to the development of cutting-edge techniques and technologies, ensuring that the industry remains at the forefront of innovation.

Promoting Ethical and Sustainable Practices: As the gems and jewellery industry continues to evolve, there is an increasing emphasis on ethical sourcing and sustainability. IIGJ Mumbai has been at the forefront of promoting responsible practices within the industry. The institute educates its students about the importance of ethical sourcing, fair trade, and environmental conservation. By instilling these values in future industry professionals, IIGJ Mumbai is shaping a more sustainable and socially conscious gems and jewellery sector in India.Top of FormBottom of Form

Can you provide any examples of successful alumni from IIGJ Mumbai who have made significant contributions to the industry?

Here are some examples of alumni who head departments and play important roles in their respective companies.

  • Neel Pethe of WHP heads his company’s Merchandising department and uses his knowledge to further the company’s progress.
  • Krishna Chauhan, Country Head, India, for Tous Jewellery oversees vendor management, supply chain, gem sourcing and other important functions of Tous’ Indian operations.
  • Anushree Bora, Designer, young jewellery entrepreneur & influencer with her own line of jewellery (named “Eterno India”), has an Instagram following of almost 80K.
  • Kapila Gada Bhuta, Jewellery Designer and Business Owner has been creating fine, bespoke jewellery for more than 15 years. She is well-established in the industry.
  • Chirag Soni, Jeweller and Business Owner, started his own brand quite recently and has made his mark in India and the US.
Bharat Vaswani, Head of the Institute, IIGJ Mumbai

What are some of the challenges faced by IIGJ Mumbai in producing trained professionals for the gems and jewellery industry, and how does the institute address these challenges?

The gems and jewellery industry holds a captivating allure, blending artistry and craftsmanship to create timeless pieces of beauty. Behind the glamour, however, lie various challenges that need to be addressed to avoid hindrances in the training of professionals for this flourishing industry. Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ) Mumbai faces and addresses the challenges as mentioned below:

Embracing evolving industry trends: The gem & jewellery industry is dynamic, with ever-changing trends and evolving technologies. Keeping up with these changes presents a significant challenge for educational institutions. IIGJ Mumbai is well aware of this and continuously updates its curriculum to incorporate the latest trends, techniques, and technologies. By offering comprehensive and industry-relevant courses, the institute ensures that its students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in a competitive market.

Bridging the skills gap: The gems and jewellery industry demands a diverse range of skills, including gemstone identification, jewellery design, manufacturing, and marketing. Bridging the skills gap requires a well-rounded curriculum and practical training. IIGJ Mumbai addresses this challenge by providing a balanced mix of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience. The institute boasts state-of-the-art workshops and laboratories, allowing students to practice their craft under the guidance of experienced faculty members and industry experts.

Industry Collaboration: To stay relevant and produce industry-ready professionals, educational institutions must establish strong ties with the gems and jewellery industry. IIGJ Mumbai recognises this and actively fosters collaborations with renowned jewellery brands, manufacturers, and industry associations. These partnerships enable students to gain exposure to real-world scenarios, internships, and job placements. Such interactions facilitate the smooth transition of students into the professional realm, making them well-prepared for the challenges of the industry.

Promoting Entrepreneurship: IIGJ Mumbai motivates students to pursue an entrepreneurial route. Courses and workshops on jewellery entrepreneurship helps to provide students with the necessary skills required to start their own jewellery businesses. By creating an understanding of market trends and methods of developing marketing strategies, IIGJ Mumbai equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills required for success in the competitive world of the jewellery industry.

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