India's high-end jewelry market is seeing sales climb, the Economic Times reports. While the general demand for jewelry is growing at some 20%, there is a 50% rise in the demand for diamond jewelry worth over $11,000.
Gitanjali Gems, listed as one of the top five retail jewelry chains in India, has seen a 15% rise in its share of high-end jewelry. "Diamond jewelry is increasingly looked upon for investment," says Gitanjali Gems Chairman Mehul Choksi.
Choksi pointed out that 60% of the sales of expensive diamond jewelry were made ahead of marriages, with a diamond set becoming the "norm" for upper-middle-class Indian families.
Su-Raj Diamonds' retail arm, Forever Jewelry, reported that high-end jewelry comprised 40% of its turnover, with that sector seeing 50% growth. According to Managing Director Jai Gegani, customers spending over $11,000 on diamond jewelry are seeking exclusive design, and the company is planning to offer custom-design services in its stores.
Sources in the jewelry and diamond industry attribute the rising demand for high-end jewelry to a strong economy, a flourishing agriculture sector, and record gold prices.
India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) notes that while there is definite growth in the demand for diamond jewelry, the "real growth" is in the mid-range: $1,000 to $5,000.
"These days, our youth travel around the world where they see the craze for diamond jewelry," says council official Sanjay Kothari, explaining that the exposure was helping broaden India's local customer base, prompting even "small-town jewelers" to stock diamond jewelry.
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