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RJ Market Watch

Colour gemstones category shining brightly



Written by Suneeta Kaul

Diamonds might be forever, but, if current trends are anything to go by, colour gemstones are not far behind. Of late, these stones have become an integral part of jewellery, and demand is rising unabated. In fact, over the past two to three years, the market for precious colour gemstone jewellery has grown by 15%-20%.

Evolving trends

Earlier, colour gemstones were the choice of only those who preferred traditional jewellery, but now they have become aspirational products, particularly for millennials, especially in view of several celebrity designers promoting their use. Says Neerav Challa, Head of Merchandising, PMJ Jewels, Hyderabad, “There is a huge opportunity for colour gemstone jewellery. The demand drivers for us are small-sized products like rings, earrings and pendants. We are seeing colour gemstone-buying happening in all age groups. The only difference is that millennials prefer more of pastel shade stones, whereas the older age group prefers traditional colours like red and green.”

Agrees Rohan Sharma, Managing Director, RK Jewellers, New Delhi, “The dark green and dark blue colour gemstones have been there in the market for a long time, but we have seen a change in the past few years. Today, the consumers are looking for pastel colours in colour gemstones. Over the past year, we have observed that most of the customers are asking for colour gemstone chokers, with a combination of diamond or polki, which can also be worn as bracelets. The middle-age and senior ladies prefer classic gemstones, which are in dark colours, whereas new age-women are looking for pastel colours.”

Explains Nakshatra Mehta, Managing Director, Mehta Emporium, Mumbai, “Much of the demand for colour gemstones is for classy designs, incorporating both gemstones and diamonds. Most of the customers in this category are from the elite and upper-middle-class, and there is also a sizeable percentage of millennials buying precious colour gemstones.”

Interestingly, customers are also curious about the provenance of colour gemstones. Says Rohan Narang, Managing Director, Hazoorilal Legacy Jewellers, New Delhi, “Customers are now more conscious about colour gemstones and curious to know about their origins. For instance, if it’s an emerald, they want to know whether it’s a Zambian or a Columbian stone. Colour gemstones are attracting every category of customers. Even a person who buys 22K gold jewellery wants to experiment with them.”

Explaining his point of view, Anand Nahar, Managing Director, Vinati Jewellers, Hyderabad, says, “The latest trend is toward colour gemstone jewellery, as customers are bored with plain gold jewellery and are looking for something new. The category has seen lots of change recently, for instance, antique gold jewellery is being mixed with rubies, emeralds and other gemstones.”

The sheer scope for creativity in this category is a big plus. “We have recently seen lots of creations in colour gemstone jewellery, such as nakshi, navratan work and temple jewellery. Colour gemstones are in high demand, with items between 15-30 grams in the non-bridal category, and above 100 grams in the bridal category, selling very well,” says Fanish Agarwal, Partner, Rameshchand and sons Jewellers, Hyderabad.

Growth opportunities and hindrances

Retail jewellers say that with colour gemstones becoming more and more aspirational and popular, the market is expanding considerably. “We now see a number of growth opportunities for colour gemstones,” says Sanjay Gulabani, CEO, P Mangatram Jewellers, Hyderabad. “Earlier, demand was centred mainly around Hyderabad, but now the market has grown to include North Indian territories as well. Earlier, we were more focused on traditional and South Indian designs. However, designs are now more modern and contemporary. Necklaces, bangles, and locket sets below 50 grams are currently very popular in colour gemstone jewellery,” he adds.

Seconding the opinion, Sanjay Sanghi, Managing Director, Sanghi Jewellers, Hyderabad, says, “Colour gemstone jewellery is an integral part of jewellery trade now, and since the last decade, it has become mainline, like gold and diamond jewellery. Things are looking very bright, as year on year, we are witnessing growth. The best thing about colour gemstone jewellery is that on the one hand, it offers an attractive margin to retailers, in comparison to gold and diamond jewellery, and on the other hand, designers can exhibit their creativity in just one piece.”

The colour gemstone sector is likely to perform much better if some niggles are taken care of. Says Nahar, “More changes, such as more mixing of contemporary with traditional, are required in the designing part for the category to truly take off.” Adds Sharma, “In order to instill more confidence in this sector, retailers should come up with more attractive buyback offers.”

Sourcing and transparency are other concerns voiced by industry players. “The transparency level in colour gemstones is low and there is a lack of awareness and education amongst the middle class,” opines Mehta. Agrees Challa, “Transparency about sourcing, stone type and quality, along with widespread certification, will definitely help the consumer to believe in the gemstone they are investing in.”

With inputs from Manoj Chakraborty


Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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