India is the largest manufacturer and exporter of gems and Jewelry. This sector that employs a massive number of artists and skilled professionals, considered amongst the best in the world, is always in need of talented professionals.
With the global economy taking a huge hit, the gem and jewelry industry too has been affected. Prior to the Union budget, that was presented recently. The recession has not only debilitated the industry from within, but has also led it to the precipice of non-competitiveness and loss of market share. However, all is not grim as this industry, that contributes over 12 per cent to the total export earnings of the country and has an estimated domestic market of around $ 10 billion, has adapted well to the crisis. The retail landscape is witnessing dramatic changes with many international players venturing in to the Indian market and domestic brands going on an aggressive expansion spree. Furthermore, policy decisions have led to 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) permit in the sector and dedicated special economic zones (SEZs) and gem and jewelry parks have been set up to promote investments. Thus, opportunities in this industry still flourish.
The industry offers multiple prospects in the fields of manufacturing, designing and marketing of either gems and jewelry or diamonds. Manufacturers are usually unskilled laborers who are taught the trade by independent entrepreneurs.
Those interested in gemology can rise up to the level of designers after beginning their careers with gem identification, gem cutting, sorting, grading and valuation, engraving etc. Gemologists and jewelers work in tandem to create masterpieces of value and in-depth intrinsic beauty. Jewelry designers also have the choice of working with jewelry stores or corporate houses.
Working in the diamond industry is another option that can be truly rewarding. Considering that nearly nine out of every 10 diamonds sold world wide are cut and polished in India, opportunities abound in this industry. One may look towards working with international firms or with diamantine abroad. The diamond trading industry of Antwerp, Belgium, too provides various opportunities for people wanting to make it big in the diamond business. Back home, one can look at firms in Surat, other parts of Gujarat and even Rajasthan. Also designers can work on a freelance basis by selling their designers.
One may also consider designing and manufacturing jewelry with pure metals such as gold, silver and platinum. In fact, India stands as one of the world’s biggest gold consumer. Designing jewelry for men and even celebrities is also a good option that requires special skill, talent and a highly vibrant creative streak.
Marketing presents itself as a rewarding opportunity in the field. As more and more consumers grow brand conscious, private as well as government house are trying to position themselves as more and more attractive and lucrative. Retaining and attracting newer consumers by means of offering them personalized products is something that the industry is consciously working on. In line with this option, one can even choose to work in the designing packaging segment.
Various institutions across the nation that offer jewelry designing/making and gemology courses as well as export houses dealing in the business do invest in research in this field.
After acquiring some experience, you may even initiate your own business either by setting up your own shop or training institute. In this scenario, however, investment and contacts play a key role. Finally, one may choose to be in pure consultancy and selling.
As a trainee designer, one can expect an initial pay of rupees four to five thousand per month in small showrooms. However, multinational organizations pay up to Rs 10,000 as initial salary. Within a few years’ times, one can expect the pay to rise up to Rs 25,000.
One must have a genuine interest towards creative art an talent, in order to succeed in this field, especially if one wants to pursue designing. A keen eye for details and a good sense of design helps in constantly analyzing, innovating and updating oneself on the industry’s requirements. Patience the ability to concentrate for long periods, and working in an organized manner is imperative. The cliché working hard and putting in extra efforts will take one far does hold true. Also aspirants must have an acute urge to stay updated with the latest trends. One must be ready to visit various trade shows, exhibitions, and keep a watch on celebrity jewelry. This specially holds true for freelance and independent professionals.
Lastly, the ability to work with honesty is of utmost importance. It takes time for a person to get involved in the profession. One has to learn the standards, patterns and trade practices of the firm he/she is working for. Getting acclimatized with the same ensures that there is a slow but steady progress within the field.
There are many organizations and schools that offer various degree and certificate courses in gems, jewelry making and designing.
1) Indian Institute of Gemology, New Delhi
2) National Institute of Design (NID), Ahemdabad
3) The gemological Institute of India ,Mumbai
4) Indian Diamond Institute, Surat
5) Jewelry Design and Manufacture Department, SNDT women’s University, Mumbai.