GIA presents internationally recognised jewellery design course

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) will offer its internationally recognised Jewelry Design (JD) Certificate in Mumbai beginning December 01 and Graduate Diamonds (GD) Diploma program in Mumbai. The JD course is an extensive nine-week that helps students understand jewellery design concepts and acquire a working knowledge of jewellery artistry. GD is a seven week programme commences on December 22.

The extensive nine-week JDcourse helps students understand jewellery design concepts and acquire a working knowledge of jewellery artistry. Taught by experienced instructors, students learn the art of conceptualizing and rendering jewellery designs by combining technical and practical skills.

The GD programme combines theory and hands-on practical learning to teach students the GIA-created 4Cs (Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat weight) of diamond quality and how to grade diamonds in the D-Z colour range. Students will learn how to use gemmological instruments to grade and identify diamonds; how to detect synthetics, treatments, simulants and fracture-filled diamonds; and how to confidently speak the language of diamonds to suppliers, vendors and customers.


Diamond Sales by Anglo’s De Beers Decline to Lowest This Year

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, said sales of the gems at its most recent auction fell to the lowest this year. The company, owned by Anglo American Plc, sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million at its previous offering, it said in a statement.

The diamond industry is seasonal, with the holiday period from Thanksgiving in November through the Lunar New Year in Asia in January or early February typically the busiest period for jewelry sales. De Beers’ customers tend buy more rough stones earlier in the year to prepare for this period.

While rough-diamond prices gained 7.4 percent this year, Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani and other executives have cautioned that the final six months of 2016 could be more difficult for the industry.


Gold bonds worth 14 tons sold in six tranches: Govt

The government has collected 5.73 tons of gold under the gold monetisation scheme, launched a year ago to mobilise idle gold lying with Indian households, the finance ministry said in Parliament. But, the government did not clarify how much of it was deposited by temple trusts, how much by households and what part of it was renewal of gold deposited under a previous scheme. Data was collected up to November 14.

The sovereign gold bond scheme, however, has met with more success, with six tranches or six issues of sovereign gold bonds being issued so far. The total collection, the government said, came to 14.071 tons worth of gold, with bonds amounting to `4,127 crore, being subscribed to.

A press note issued by the finance ministry said while “there are no firm statistics with the government regarding the quantum and value of gold” in the possession of public and with private gold loan lending companies, it is estimated that more than 20,000 tons of gold was held by households, trusts and other institutions. The latest estimates by the World Gold Council, however, suggest gold with Indian households and temples would be around 24,000 tons.


No tax on ancestral jewellery, purchase from disclosed income

Amendments to the I-T laws do not seek to tax inherited gold and jewellery as also those items that are purchased through disclosed or agriculture income, the government said on Thursday. The Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, which proposes a steep up to 85 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed wealth that is discovered by tax authorities during search and seizure.

Dispelling rumours that jewellery would be covered under the amended law, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the government has not introduced any new provision regarding chargeability of tax on jewellery. “The jewellery/gold purchased out of disclosed income or out of exempted income like agricultural income or out of reasonable household savings or legally inherited which has been acquired out of explained sources is neither chargeable to tax under the existing provisions nor under the proposed amended provisions,” the CBDT said.

The Bill, which is currently under consideration of the Rajya Sabha, will amend Section 115BBE of the Income Tax Act to provide for a steep 60 per cent tax and a 25 per cent surcharge on it (total 75 per cent) for black money holders. Another section inserted provides for an additional 10 per cent penalty on being established that the undeclared wealth is unaccounted or black money, taking the total incidence of levies to 85 per cent.


GST one of the biggest concerns for G&J Industry in coming times: Ashok Minawala, Member of Gems and Jewellery Federation

In a networking meet hosted by Jewellers Youth Forum in association with Jewel Trendz, Mr. Ashok Minawala, Member of Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF) threw some light on the recently introduced Government Service Tax (GST). He said, “GST is going to be one of the biggest concerns for the industry in coming times.” Explaining further he said that GST is actually nothing but tax supply on the gold. He further added, “In order to understand GST, we need to understand how GST functions. The introduction of GST will be a landmark indirect tax reform and is in the process of replacing the present indirect tax structure. The concept of GST in gems and jewellery industry was introduced after taking the suggestions and recommendations from more than 60 associations of India into consideration. Keeping in mind, the unique characteristics of the gems & jewellery sector, the kaarighars and small jewellers were kept out of purview of the Excise Duty. Therefore, while we welcome GST we request the GST Council to kindly recognize the practical issues faced by the gems and jewellery sector.”


Edujobs Academy launches GJSCI’s Recognition of Prior Learning-Goldsmith, Kolkata

Edujobs Academy launches GJSCI Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Goldsmith Program. In the esteem presence of Shri. Sadhan Pande, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Self Help-Group and Self-Employment, Government of India, Smt. Smita Bakshi, member of West Bengal, Legislative Assembly, Government of West Bengal and Shri. Binit Bhatt, C.E.O, GJSCI. The RPL program is an initiative by Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) formed under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. The program will help 8000+ unorganized Goldsmiths of West Bengal to be certified.

GJSCI has been relentlessly contributing towards Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India program and has been taking several measures and steps to nurture the 3.5 million skilled yet uncertified labourforce of the gems and jewellery industry. The unstructured nature of the industry where artisans who contribute majorly to the jewellery creation process have inherited skills but no certifications and ironically live quite a lackluster life with everyday struggle to make ends meet in the otherwise glamorous industry. RPL program will help candidates to identify their inherited skills and get certified for the same which will equip them to get better and more stable jobs and avail of entrepreneurship opportunities. While struggling to make a living many of them switch careers to upgrade their lives. Need of the hour is to bring a change in an artisan’s life to ensure that they are retained in the industry as with them will also die several Indian jewellery making styles and techniques.

“We are working towards ensuring that a skilled & certified labour force is created in the industry which has the right work environment which ensures their financial and physical wellbeing apart from increasing their productive. For this initiative we are constantly working with several state governments. RPL is the first step for an individual to explore career choices in the industry on the other hand our initiative Dakshagram will play as a catalyst towards the transition of the Gems & Jewellery Industry from being unorganized to organized,” said Prem Kothari, Chairman, GJSCI.

“At GJSCI our aim is to create awareness and counsel candidates about career choices and prep them to enrol for courses. RPL program will play a very important role to achieve this aim. We have so far trained 80,000 plus candidates and certified 20,000 plus candidates in RPL. We have a massive target of training 2.7 million individuals and at the same time attract bright talent to create a career in the industry that has several roles and job opportunities to offer. Also, the nation needs to recognize the latent talent that has been present in the gems and jewellery industry through RPL,” said Mr. Binit Bhatt, C.E.O, GJSCI at the event.


Platinum Jewellery for men’s forays into Lucknow

Randeep Hooda – the award-winning actor, recently launched the platinum jewellery collection for men at Mohan Shyam Kalyan Das Jewellers in Lucknow. The collection includes an elegant mix of designs that spell out sophistication and style. Through the ages, the most discerning of men have preferred platinum when it comes to their jewellery. The metal is a classic reflection of style, strong beliefs and success.

The men’s platinum collection design takes inspiration from ‘Digital Fantasy’ an international design trend. It is a communion of classic designs with modern sensibilities. It includes some of the most captivating, bold yet minimalistic pieces inspired by geometrical shapes and patterns, which has a bold interplay of lines and structures. The combination of matt and satin finishes in digitized patterns add character to this collection. The classic bracelets, rings, chains and kadas with a modern interpretation makes this a collection one must watch out for. Each piece in the collection is crafted keeping in mind the discerning urban man.

The evolving demand for men’s jewellery in India, makes this naturally white platinum a fitting choice. Platinum is 95% pure and can withstand the rigors of daily wear. Randeep Hooda, one of the many men who admire platinum jewellery said during the launch, “It’s a known fact that platinum has fascinated many through the ages and the classic and sophisticated designs in this noble metal continue to be fitting choice for men in jewellery. Naturally white, it looks absolutely classy and perfect for me because I like a minimal piece of jewellery on me. To me it is a statement of individuality. Also I don’t have to restrict myself while wearing platinum jewellery as its durability and unchanging quality ensures that it will last a lifetime of wear or maybe more.”

Commenting on the launch of the new platinum collection for men, Amit Rastogi, Owner, Mohan Shyam Kalyan Das Jewellers, said, “We are privileged to have Randeep Hooda at our store, to launch the platinum jewellery collection for men. We have seen a growing interest amongst men for platinum jewellery. Platinum as a metal is distinctive and has a refined charm that men prefer when it comes to jewellery. The men’s collection includes a wide variety of rings, chains bracelets and kadas. We believe in the category and are very positive about growth in the men’s segment.”

Rajesh Rajendran, Director Trade Marketing and Development, Platinum Guild International added, “The platinum market has been growing steadily and men’s platinum jewellery is the fastest growing segment albeit off a smaller base. In the recent years, we have seen a great demand for platinum rings, chains and bracelets as it is understated, yet sophisticated. The promising growth of this category has not only excited the trade but has also given us the confidence to expand this segment further.” The price range starts from 80,000 onwards.


Forevermark celebrates its five-year association with Notandas Jewellers

Forevermark Diamonds and Notandas Jewellers marked their five-year association by launching a range of exquisite diamond jewellery with actress Nimrat Kaur at the Notandas store in Bandra. While Forevermark encompasses the promise of beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced diamonds, Notandas Jewellers is a trusted brand for quality and craftsmanship. The synergy of these two brands has brought about an ideal collaboration by creating hallmark jewellery pieces.

Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Jain, President India, Forevermark stated, “Notandas Jewellers has supported us from the time of inception in India. Their exquisite design and craftsmanship enhances the beauty of the Forevermark diamonds and we look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with the brand.” Notandas is an award winning jeweller and has captured audiences from India, UAE, Indonesia, Spain, U.S.A and U.K.

Highlighting the partnership, Mr. Kishan Jagwani, Managing Director, Notandas Jewellers said, “Forevermark has the most stringent process of selection only offering the best quality of diamonds to its partners. Using these diamonds in our designs not only enhances the jewellery but has also increased our credibility with our customers. It is an honour to continue our association.”

To mark this celebration, Bollywood actress Nimrat Kaur attended the event wearing a stunning Forevermark diamond necklace and earing set. With Diwali around the corner, Forevermark and Notandas presented their Festive Collection which included rings, pendants, earrings, bangles, all crafted with sparkling Forevermark Diamonds from .10 carats onwards set in 18 k gold. “The festive collection launched at Notandas Jewellers includes some fabulous pieces with these brilliant diamonds,” said actress, Nimrat Kaur.


Demonetisation leads to job cuts in the industry

As business continues to decline over 80 per cent in last two months, jewellers plan to lay off workers to reduce their fixed costs.

Jewellers estimate an 80 per cent decline in business since the cancellation of `500 and `1,000 currency notes on November 8. Despite this being the wedding season, which usually sees a spike in jewellery sales, the liquidity crisis has hit jewellers’ business. “Business is paralysed following demonetisation of high-value currency notes. Job cut fears have gripped the sector,” said GV Sreedhar, Chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation to Business Standard.

India’s jewellery industry is pegged at 4,15,000 crore and it employs close to 2.5-3 million workers. According to a joint study by the National Skill Development Corporation and KPMG the sector is expected to create 3.59 million additional jobs by 2022. During the global economic crisis in 2008, the industry had lost 15-20 per cent of its skilled and unskilled labours to other sectors. “Jewellers are currently reducing variable payments to workers but retrenchment is on hold awaiting changes in taxes and relaxed rules for cash transactions,” one of businessmen told. In the jewellery sector, 15-20% of workers, who are paid daily, have been affected.

Jewellery demand was earlier hit this year as Government made PAN card mandatory for the jewellery purchase of 2,00,000. The slack in the demand will continue further for couple of months due to non-availability of cash among jewellers to pay the artisans. Due to demonetisations workers were forced to open their bank accounts, however their money is stuck in the bank on account of withdrawal limit of `24,000 per week, which is making their livelihood miserable.

“Sellers are also not able to monetise their gold because jewellers are paying in cheques that cannot be cashed due to the weekly withdrawal limit,” said Ranka Fatechand Nagraj, President, Maharashtra Rajya Sarafa Mahamandal, a Pune-based jewellers’ body to Business Standard. Ranka expects 10 per cent job cuts in the next two months. As many as 4 lakh people, mostly daily wagers, may have either lost their jobs or shunned work temporarily due to the lack of payment so far, and the number is only going to grow if the cash crunch persists, senior industry executives said on condition of anonymity.

The major sectors of the economy including FMCG, jewellery and SMEs have been hit post demonetisation, while the unorganised sector is seeing job losses, according to industry body ASSOCHAM. In an interview to PTI, Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said, “In unorganised (sector), which is the daily wage earner, there will be some impact at the moment… The sales will get affected so they (vendors) will not be able to pay on a daily basis. The small, unorganised sector of the economy will have some impact.” Sharing the ground-level scenario post the scrapping of 500 and 1,000 notes and the ensuing cash crunch, Kanoria said jewellery firms have been hit hard whereas the consumer goods area and small and medium enterprises have also been impacted.


Gold Loses its Sheen

Post 2 months after demonetisation, the jewellery markets in India continues to register a dropdown in sales figure that would have been shot up otherwise on account of the wedding season.

The season of big fat weddings season that lasts till May-June — usually means a money-spinner for the jewellers. However, this season things are not looking same. Thousands of big, small jewellery shops and glittering showrooms across the nation eagerly await the elusive customers. Demonetisation has hit the world’s second-biggest gold consuming nation and consequently to the demand for gold.

The demand for gold jewellery has dropped as much as 80 per cent with jewellery shops witnessing drastically reduced footfalls and low volumes. Two-months later, footfalls continue to be lackluster, especially, at a time when weddings are held across the country. Business has thinned down to 10-15 per cent says jewellers. Demonetisation has been the biggest crisis ever for the business, said Ashok Minawala, partner in the Mumbai-based Danabhai Jewellers and Sons. The purchases have come down below 2 lakh, which is also the budget most weddings are trying to stick too with the cash availability issues in the country.

Jewellery is a high value purchase and customers are putting their decision to shop for the yellow metal on the back burner as they are focussed on taking care of the essentials items. People are focused on having cash reserves until they can access their money easily given the fact that banks and ATM are cash-strapped and are rationing money. Unless there is a wedding in the family which necessitates spending or buying a gift for a close relative’s wedding, people are reluctant to enter jewellery stores. “We do not see our regular customers coming into the stores anymore,” said Minawala. He pegs the drop in business to almost 40-50 per cent where cheques are given for gold purchases. Sales in cash purchases of gold has plunged to over 50 per cent, he said.

The jewellery industry has seen highs and lows in the current year. The industry had shut shop post the budget when the government reintroduced a one per cent excise duty on jewellery after four years. Industry estimates the loss incurred on account of the strike to be at `18,000 crore. Dhanteras brought a shine to the yellow metal which was otherwise lacklustre for nearly six months. The country’s gold demand had fallen 30 per cent to 247.4 tonnes during the first six months of 2016, from 351.5 tonnes in the year-ago period, as per World Gold Council.

Post-demonetisation, the demand is down to almost 90 per cent now, said jewellers. The reason for the fall can be mainly attributed to the limited availability of cash at ATMs and the banks in the country, said Sreedhar GV, chairman, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation to Firstpost. “We are witnessing a drop of around 75-80 per cent. If there is not much circulation of money in the country due to demonetisation, business cannot be buoyant,” he said. Two-month after demonetisation, the situation continues to be grim. Shailesh Sangani, Director, Gitanjali Group, creators of Gili jewellery, said Firstpost that though the trade has undergone several challenges particularly in 2016, demonetisation was the worst of it all. “We have been affected as sales has been dismal.” Most jewellers said that they had clocked sales of 80-90 per cent during Diwali and post-Diwali too and also on the day the demonetisation announcement was made. Now there is hardly 10 to 15 per cent growth, they said.

Demonetisation has brought down business to almost 90 per cent in the South. But some of them are happy at the trickle of footfalls in their stores. “We thought there would be hardly any business post-demonetisation,” said Ananthapadmanabhan, MD, NAC Jewellers, a 43-year-old jewellery chain with nine stores in Chennai to Firstpost. “Usually, the big ticket buyers purchase their jewellery months in advance. It is the middle and lower middle classes who make their purchases closer to the wedding dates,” he said, adding that the latter’s purchases have been negligible so far.

After mid-December, non-resident Indians arrive in the country to attend weddings or to buy jewellery, said Ananthapadmanabhan. He was worried wondering how their shopping behaviour would turn out to be under the prevailing circumstances post-demonetisation in the country. Those jewellers dealing in small tickets like the south-based Muthoot Jewellers are seeing increased footfalls. The company deals in low-ticket purchases averaging 4 grams. “I don’t stock product and customers have to make bookings,” said Keyur Shah, CEO, Muthoot Pappachan Group, precious metals business to Firstpost.

In Calcutta too, limited shopping and footfalls have dampened the sales during the wedding season. According to reports, P C Jewellers said the demand for wedding jewellery has fallen up to 60 per cent due to demonetisation. The company expects the pent-up demand to drive revenue growth in the coming months. Jewellers expect this dismal phase in the gold jewellery business to continue until February. However, exchange of old ornaments for new is keeping the business going at showrooms, with prices holding firm after demonetization.