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ICA Congress 2017 – Issues and insights

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INTRO: The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress 2017 recently held in Jaipur saw congregation of renowned gemmologists, jewellery designers, miners, cutters and lapidaries and other industry stakeholders from across the globe. Their perspective on the latest development on the international trade has paved way for knowledge-driven growth in the industry.

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In the four-day ICA Congress, more than 275 members from 25 countries took part in various knowledge and networking sessions on various aspects of the trade such as mining, manufacturing, designing , marketing, etc. Almost 100 jewellers from India also participated in this event.

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“As many as 35 speakers from India and abroad participated in sessions pertaining to gemstone mining, gemstone manufacturing, marketing, design and trends, ethics, blogging, laboratory, among others. The speakers at the Congress will cover the most recent and important development in the international trade scenario. The attendees got a feel of the global markets and trends at this prestigious event, informs Rajiv Jain, chairman, ICA Congress Steering Committee.

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In the ICA Congress, in his keynote address, Praveenshankar Pandya, chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), stressed on the need for an aggressive generic marketing for colored gemstones. He emphasized on the need to focus on colored gemstones after diamonds, mainly in terms of aggressive promotion. A marketing model similar to diamonds should be adopted, he said. “Almost $200 million was spent for the generic promotion of the diamonds. A similar amount, if not more, should be spent on the consistent generic promotion of coloured gemstones,” says Pandya.
He also said that the mining operations of colored gemstones must be structured and should be carried out on a largescale. A Mining Policy also needs to be in place for colored gemstones. Modern facilities must come up for colored gemstones in the manner they came up for diamonds in Surat. A change in the method of selling also needs to be adopted. E-Commerce platforms specifically designed for gems and jewellery is need of the hour.
Pandya further added that consumer confidence is significant to success in this industry. Customers need to be educated and provided with certified preferences. Specialized workforce should be educated in the crafts of the industry, human behavior and management to break the bounds of this traditional industry and introduce new blood.
In a presentation called Colored Gemstones for New Generation, Indira Malwatte, chairperson and chief executive, Sri Lanka Export Development Board says, “coloured gemstone market is growing and there is growing interest among influential designers as well as fashion industry.”

In a presentation, Zhi Wei Li, president of Guangdong Gem & Jade Exchange (GDGJE) gave precious insights into the current consumption trend of coloured gemstones in China. Li said that the country has total annual sales of $80 billion per year and $10 billion per year for coloured gemstones. China is the second largest jewellery trade market in the world. Li expects the value of the gems and jewellery market size to reach $25 billion per year by next year. The country is well on its way to become the world’s largest gemstone consumption country.
Speaking on the topic of ‘Mass Production of Gemstones’, Nirmal Bardiya, chairman & managing director, RMC Gems India Ltd, spoke about how technology has streamlined the chain from mining to cutting and polishing. Mining machinery has witness major technological advancements which have helped in availability of not only a higher volume of stones but also a wider variety. Assortment of stones with perfect colour is now easier to procure, he said.
He also explained how technology has impacted each process of gemstone manufacturing namely, rough gemstone planning, making perform, giving finishing shape and size, drilling hole in gemstone, among others. Mass production has assured the jewellers high accuracy, precise polishing, development of new shapes and better-quality control. This method of production has also made it easier to produce fashion jewellery as jewellers now have more choices for designs. He went on to say that, the future of the Gems & Jewellery industry will be determined by mass production.

Sudhir Kasliwal of The Gem Palace, a leading jeweller from Jaipur, in his presentation, spoke about the legacy of jewellery in the Indian sub-continent. He highlighted the uses of jewellery from the early ages of the Indus Valley civilization.
He further added that, with the influx of European influence in the jewellery industry by renowned jewelers like Cartier, setting, placement and design of pieces began to change. Cartier began creating pieces for the royal family who became regular patrons of his designs and transformed their earlier gold jewellery into modern designs.

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