IIJS Once Again Shows The Power And Strength Of the Indian Gem And Jewelry Sector

Attending the 35th edition of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) recently once again brought home a very clear fact: the extraordinary size, scale and strength of the Indian gem and jewelry industry.

No surprise there, of course. We all know the power of the Indian diamond, gemstone and jewelry trade. We are all familiar with the famous statistic that Indian polishes close to 90% of the world's diamonds, in volume terms. In value terms the figure is around 60-65%.

But it is not just a case of looking at the dry statistics. Walking around the IIJS showgrounds is a multi-day affair – so it's just as well that the fair lasts four days. And with Mumbai's awful transport infrastructure and the show taking place during the monsoon season, it's highly recommended to get there early. This year, there were tales of the normal 30 minute ride from the show to hotels nears the airport taking two hours.

And leaving requires planning as well, with the incredible lines that build up from around 5pm onwards due to the somewhat strange security checks on the way out.

Just like India itself, the IIJS is an extraordinary event, especially this year which was, said the GJEPC, a record-breaking edition of the show which saw more than 40,000 visitors. The show was expanded this year with an extra 800 booths.

Loose diamonds of all sizes, shapes and clarities all the way up to the extraordinary jewelry created for the wedding season set with diamonds and gemstones, there is something for every visitor and buyer. The sheer volume of polished goods in India is mind-boggling.

While Thursday and Friday – the first two days of the show – are manageable, the Saturday and Sunday of the fair are heaving with people and make it difficult to say the least to walk the show.

It seems that next year's is all set to be even bigger – and maybe in a different venue. Many visitors and exhibitors have complained for years about the showgrounds and the length of time it takes to get in and out of the fair.

The show too will expand in size. “We will definitely increase the number of booths next year and accommodate more companies from the waiting list,” said GJEPC Convenor Shailesh Sangani. “The committee is looking at various options to achieve this. One possibility is to move some sections of the show to a new venue, like say the upcoming Reliance Convention Centre at BKC, if it is ready and deemed suitable,” he says.

“But, even if a new venue is not identified in time to do this by the 2019 show, we will implement some plans to ensure that more booths are added within the present location itself,” he said. Among the plans are a special section for silver jewelry, seamless interconnection between halls, smoother entry and exit and other features.

As for results on the ground this year, the GJEPC Chairman Pramod Agrawal said: “We not only had a new hall and about 800 new booths, but we had visitors from all over the country and many from abroad, including official delegations from 15 countries.”

Pointing to the changes in layout, with an extra hall allowing for bigger booths and extra space as some of the other reasons behind the success of the show, Agrawal said that the Council “does not try to quantify the actual turnover or numbers of deals struck, but from the inputs we have received almost everyone has done better than in earlier years”.

"Most exhibitors agreed that the business transacted was significantly higher than in the last few years, the GJEPC said, while many quantified it as a double-digit increase."

Meanwhile, GJECPC Vice Chairman Colin Shah described the show as a reflection of “the definite vibrancy in the market at present. The success of the India story is reflected in the energy seen at the show.”