Silver is one precious metal that has outperformed others during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Silver exports from April to August saw a growth of 74% to $632.73 million as compared to same period last year.
Manufacturers of silver jewellery and artefacts expect that the IIJS Virtual will further boost the growth of this segment. Exhibitors in the silver segment have brought in a host of ethnic and contemporary jewellery designs and silver artefacts and objet d’art catering to different markets.
Rahul Mehta, Managing Director, Silver Emporium, said, “At the IIJS Virtual, we are focusing on gifting products for weddings. Customers look out for showpieces, dinner sets and more and we are expecting a good demand in this segment. I believe that if we are able to offer products with good designs at good price points, the demand is going to be huge. Gold prices are at an all-time high, and consumers are looking at alternatives – silver jewellery and silver investment demand is better than gold currently.”
Citing the reason for steady growth of silver jewellery and artefacts over the last three years, Rahul Mehta, explained, “India has an edge in silver handcrafted jewellery. The silver market is growing year- on-year, and Indian manufacturers have started realising the importance of design, product, costing, quality, and using the right kind and quality of gemstones. This has been an ongoing process and we will continue to see growth in this category in the coming years, too.”
Considering the situation, Ram Babu Gupta, from Silver Mountain, comments, “IIJS Virtual will be beneficial for both the buyers and sellers equally. We are expecting good business from IIJS Virtual. Our company will be showcasing silver jewellery with different ethnic designs to cater to the domestic market and buyers from the USA, Europe. Earlier there was no demand for gold-plated silver jewellery but now we are witnessing demand for that category, too. This is because of the rising price of gold. In comparison, the rate of silver has not climbed much.”
Anita Dhingra, Director, Manmohan Exports said, “We have come to the IIJS Virtual with great anticipation, and are presenting wedding jewellery in silver featuring the radiance of kundan-meena in our collections, which are inspired by the royal period of Rajasthan.”
Hallmarking in silver jewellery is something that will add trust in the silver sector says Rahul Mehta. In silver, 925 is the purity standard that is accepted globally. “I strongly recommend to all the trade bodies that there should be compulsory hallmarking for silver jewellery and artefacts. To raise consumer confidence, and boost the silver jewellery/artefacts segment, it is imperative to have consistent hallmarking standards across the industry. Though there would be challenges in the initial phases of implementation, and many manufacturers may have to do distress sales of their inventories or melt goods or rework on their existing products, it will be a temporary hurdle. However, the longterm benefits of selling certified silver jewellery will be manifold. I am confident that two or three years down the line, the Government will implement hallmarking for silver jewellery too.”
Talking about whether silver jewellery should be hallmarked, Ram Babu Gupta said, “Hallmarking is not easy. Sometimes the costing of hallmarking equals the cost of a product, thus increasing the overall making cost of silver jewellery. For products weighing more than 30 grams, though, hallmarking should be made compulsory, and for products weighing less than 30 grams, hallmarking should not be compulsory; but such lightweight pieces should bear the mark of the percentage of silver content and the company name on it.”
Silver manufacturers expectation from the trade bodies and the Government are:
- Provide more market information about silver exports; countries that are buying more silver so that Indian manufacturers can promote silver handcrafted jewellery in those regions.
- Currently, getting duty-free silver in smaller quantities is very difficult. Manufacturers would like to procure duty-free silver without a cap on quantity from nominated agencies.
- Open up silver exports through e-commerce and courier mode.
Silver manufacturers are of the view that the growth potential for the segment is huge, and opportunities are plenty. Manufacturers and retailers need to promote and sell fine quality hallmarked products. The sector will grow manifold, if we do the right thing at the right time, giving good price points and by educating buyers.