Indian jewellers find good market in Europe
Vicenza: Indian exporters are finding a good market in Europe for mid-priced jewellery as European producers struggle with high costs, Shishir Nevatia of India's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council said.
He said as Italian jewellers focus on innovative pieces using small-scale production methods, exporters from India and other manufacturing countries are meeting demand for more accessible designs.
"Italian manufacturers are getting more and more niche," said Nevatia, whose organisation is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce. "For basic items, other manufacturing countries are able to do well."
He said while Italian jewellers were focused on innovation, producers in other countries are also looking to the future.
"Italians, because of high expenses, tend to work on very special items (using) high technology," he said. "But the technology is being absorbed very fast in other countries."
Nevatia said Italian producers looking to sell their goods in the huge Indian jewellery market had to appreciate the difference between European and Indian tastes.
"Manufacturers from Europe still have opportunities (in India), but they have to adapt, they have to learn very fast about the culture, the tastes, and the reasons for buying," he said.
"The fact is, there it is considered an investment, rather than a fashion."
Nevatia, who is director of Mumbai jewellery manufacturer Sunjewels, said his factory had used consultants previously employed by Toyota to streamline production methods.
"One of the differences between Italy and India is that Italians are good individual goldsmiths, whereas China and India have an organised way of manufacturing," he said. "Few (Italian producers) focus on modern methods of production."
Nevatia said he was fairly optimistic on the outlook for Indian jewellery sales in 2010, after a sharp drop in demand last year as gold prices soared to record levels.
The World Gold Council estimated last week that gold fabrication in the Indian subcontinent fell 31 percent last year in tonnage terms to 459 tonnes. India is one of the world's leading gold consumers.
However, it forecast a pick-up in Indian demand in the first half of 2010. Nevatia said he also believed U.S. jewellery sales were also recovering in December after a generally weak 2009.