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GJEPC’s Global Connect brings India and UK together is a sparkling bond




Part of a booming global sector, jewellers hardly go out of reckoning. As the industry grows at a stunning pace, most retailers and manufacturers look out for opportunities to branch beyond borders, and GJEPC’s latest series shows how the UK is a lucrative place to be.

Looking to expand your roots to the Queen’s land? GJEPC’s informative and well-rounded webinar on September 28, 2020, answered some of the burning queries that all retailers have before they plan their move to the UK. Part of its India Global Connect series, GJEPC’s networking meet brought together leading jewellery manufacturers and retailers from the UK and India. The session, moderated by David Brough, editor of The Jewellery Outlook magazine, brought out two key aspects: UK’s needs in terms of Indian exports, and India’s capability to cater to the global demand.

The UK side of the panel had Richard Hunt from Richard Hunt Jewellers, Emmett Cummuns from Company of Master Jewellers, Gemma Murphy from Jack Murphy, Pravin Pattni from Minar Jewellers, Helen Dimmick from National Associations of Jewellers, Gary Wroe from Hockley Mint, Paul Beesley from Baird & Co, Samantha Somers from Watches of Switzerland, Andrew Morton from Weston Beamor and Andrew Hinds from F Hinds/ Chapelle. Mehul Lodhiya was the honorary UK coordinator for GJEPC. Manish Singh, the economic minister, and first secretary Rohit Vadhwana represented the UK High Commission. The joint secretary of the Indian ministry of commerce, Suresh Kumar, was also present.

The Indian side comprised Vikram Advani from Goldstar Jewellery Pvt Ltd, Puneet Verma from Hare Krishna Jewellers, Bhumik Gajera from Laxmi Diamond Pvt Ltd, Shrenik Lunawat from Lunawat Gems Corporation, Milan Choksi from Moksh Jewellery, Darshit Hirani from P Hirani Exports LLP, Rimesh Shah from Sheetal Diamonds Ltd, and Aswini Agarwal from Vaibhav Global.

While GJEPC chairman Colin Shah took the attendees on a virtual tour of India’s trade capabilities, the economic minister of the High Commission connected new opportunities with Covid.  “After Covid, the bilateral mechanism has escalated between India and UK. We already have collaborations on vaccines. Representatives of both countries are meeting regularly to take care of challenges that are cropping up, and we are hopeful of finding new opportunities for both countries in the jewellery sector,” he said.


The chairman pointed out how Indian exports had peaked in the UK in 2018, just before Brexit. “UK’s share of exports can be significantly pumped up in India as it currently stands at number 9 in this regard,” he said.

India has grown in the diamond sector despite having no mines. Fourteen of the world’s 15 diamonds are polished and cut here. Since India is also at the top in diamond export and number 5 when it comes to coloured gems, Shah said the nation can produce the kind of jewellery needed in the UK.

Rohit Wadhwana pointed out how the people-to-people connect could be capitalised on when it comes to connecting the two countries. “The gem and jewellery sector creates employment, so an association with UK would only take it further.”

Milan Choksi pitched India’s diamond intent. “The industry has years in experience when it comes to cutting and polishing diamonds. It’s a craft that has been passed down through generations and perfected. This leaves no choice for the global market but to have their diamonds cut and polished here,” he said.

Helen Dimmick pointed out how Indian diamond retailers could cater to UK demands. “There has been an increase in diamond demand as luxury spend opening up. Old cuts, fancy cuts and rare stones are the key. Salt and pepper cuts are also an area of interest. Although there is a renewed interest in yellow gold and mixed metal, platinum still rules,” she said.

The good news for the Indian coloured stones manufacturers is that Covid has spiked up their need. “It’s all about the celebration of life and vibrance. Spiritual stones like rainbow gems, birthstones, tanzanites and aquamarines are flying off shelves as people have started to connect with their inner selves because of Covid,” Dimmick said. “There are plenty of opportunities for a manufacturer to develop their brands, but under an umbrella of a retailer.”

The Indian panelists made it clear that the nation is quite nimble when it came to adapt to UK needs. “The British like 9k gold. We are aware of the alloy and certification requirements and follow them. Many companies are dealing with the UK for years and they understand the design trends,” said Vikram Advani.

While he pushed for mass manufacture and export from India, Pravin Patni said a lot of work needs to be done on that front because it is not easy to ship large consignments to the UK. Andrew Hinds pointed out that certain Indian designs are difficult to ship. “The tariffs can always be dealt with, but sometimes, the make of certain designs are difficult to ship.”

Dimmick was quick to come up with a solution. “Buyers can come together so that shipping large consignments becomes easier,” she said.

For most UK jewellers, India looks like a lucrative option. As manufacturers and retailers, the only thing that needs some work is design. “We struggle with designs at times because the Indian manufacturers tend to lean towards American trends. There is some back and forth and brainstorming, but things work out in the end,” said Samantha Somers.

Others are looking out for collaborations with India by large. While Ricard Hunt said he enjoys working with Indian manufacturers and retailers, Gemma Murphy thinks Indian expertise is a must because her company buys diamonds in bulk. For future opportunities, the UK takes the term “bilateral” seriously and believes that it must work both ways.

Shah endorsed the new virtual future that was beckoning the jewellery sector and said that new export opportunities are bound to open with the whole world just a click away. “The pandemic has forced us to look for innovative ways to reach out to the global business fraternity, and India Global Connect is one such endeavour where manufacturers and exporters have an opportunity to gain crucial market insights to further enhance their business. India’s $35 billion gem and jewellery export industry has the wherewithal to deliver client-specific products to every major world market. This platform will deepen knowledge sharing between the two trade partners,” he said.


Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service


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