The 10th edition of Signature IIJS and 4th edition of the India Gem & Jewellery Machinery Expo (IGJME) sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and organized by the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India, a four-day event held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, came to a successful conclusion on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The show held hard on the heels of the Government of India’s demonetization exercise that precipitated a liquidity crisis and a total shut down of the gem and jewellery market for two to three months with a recovery only in late January, 2017, was closely watched by both the Indian and international gem and jewllery trade for signs of recovery. According to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India the industry had faced multiple challenges both local and international during the year 2016. Hence, most exhibitor’s who attended the show had cautious expectations, and were now returning generally satisfied with the overall results achieved. The GJEPC believes the holding of the 10th edition of Signature IIJS and the 4th edition of IGJME, had given the Indian gems and jewellery industry a shot in the arm heralding its recovery after the days of uncertainty.

Section of visitors/exhibitors at the 10th Signature IIJS and 4th IGJME
Section of visitors/exhibitors at the 10th Signature IIJS and 4th IGJME

Most of the exhibitors who took part in the show were upbeat about the future of the industry. A regular participant at Signature IIJS shows for the last several years, Kamlesh Punamiya of Punamiya & Sons, a manufacturer of plain gold jewellery, said, “Signature this year was a very good show, with the response even better than we had expected. Business has been slowly recovering from the standstill after demonetization, and here we saw that people are now looking ahead. There are less of the look-and-see visitors and most of the footfalls are of serious buyers who are here to see what’s new and place orders.”

Continuing further Kamlesh Punamiya said, “2017 is an important year for the gold jewellery industry with many auspicious days for weddings between now and June. The retailers are stocking up to cater to this demand and sentiment is improving all around. Over the last couple of years, the weeks preceding the Budget had seen orders slowing down since there were expectations of a reduction in import duty. However, since that did not happen, trade has picked up again and the impact was seen here over the last few days.”

He further stressed, “A jeweller has to adapt to changes if he wishes to succeed. Consumers still want large looking ornaments, so we have been creating designs that use less metal, but still appear big. Jewellers are willing to stock ornaments starting from lower price points to say an upper price range of Rs 1-2 lakhs. This range has done well at the show.”

Ashish Gandhi of Osia Gems, another regular exhibitor at Signature IIJS shows.said,“This year’s show has been OK for business. It was of course slower than in some previous years, but we are satisfied with the number of new contacts that we got among retailers in the North. However, walk-ins from the East and South were comparatively lower.”

Continuing further, he said, “These are good leads and we have to follow up and convert them into long term relationships. Forging strong ties was particularly important in the loose diamond business, and more so for his company which deals mainly in the smaller sizes of non-certified goods. We at Osia Gems go the extra mile to build confidence by screening all the stones to guarantee our customers that they receive 100% natural diamonds only.We have had devices installed in both our offices and factory for some years now, and at this show we have made inquiries about the new screening machines being offered by GII through GJEPC, which are quite affordable.”

Another exhibitor, Sudeep Sethi of Intergem, a well known manufacturer of designer jewellery studded with diamonds and precious stones, commenting in the same vein, said, “The show has been satisfying as far as we are concerned. Business hasn’t been about huge numbers and footfalls could have been higher, but the show as always has provided a good platform to interact with serious buyers.”

According to Sethi, the motivation for jewellery purchases is changing. Investment has been less of a driving force and consumers want jewellery that can be used, that satisfies a need. For many customers design is now a more important factor than ever before. In the current atmosphere where there is a feeling that financial transactions are being closely monitored, investment driven purchases are almost at a standstill. He said, “We have been taking this into account in our jewellery offerings at the shows.” In this context he pointed to the use of gemstones with white diamonds, rather than fancy coloured diamonds that were used in the past. “Prices today are therefore around Rs one lakh or so even for bigger pieces,” he said. He also pointed to necklaces manufactured with strings of ruby or emerald beads which he says are being well appreciated.

One of the participants at the India Gem & Jewellery Machinery Expo (IGJME), Christopher Sanger of the De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR)developers of the state-of-the-art diamond detection instruments that can screen out simulants, synthetics and treated stones, said the show was good for the company. “We have had walk-in customers who have inquired about our machines and services and we have received some orders as well. We have also received many leads that will have to be followed up over the next few months. IIDGR’s melee testing service and the screening machines for melee diamonds to separate confirmed natural diamonds from others that have to be submitted for advanced testing, is increasingly popular. Apart from this there is also a lot of interest in IIDGR’s recently introduced educational programme.”

The final word on the moderate success of the show was expressed by the Convener of GJEPC’s Exhibition-National Committee, Saunak Parikh, who said, “From the feedback the Council had received it appeared that the show went off very well despite all the challenges that it faced. The mood among both the visitors and the exhibitors was very positive and the business was very good. Across product segments it seems that all are happy with the results of the show.”

Finally in response to one of the commonly voiced concerns of many exhibitors, Saunak Parikh said, “the Council had almost finalized the schedule for next year’s show and it will almost surely have a weekend as well!”

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