Old is gold, but new is diamond

- Ekantipur Report, KATHMANDU
Old is gold, but new is diamond

Apr 25, 2012-

The demand of diamond jewellery has skyrocketed in recent days, thanks to a significant rise in the price of gold and changing customer preferences.

In the last few years, the domestic jewellery market has seen expansion beyond expectations, with consumer preferences shifting to lighter and trendier ornaments.

Traders say diamond jewellery command a market share of around 10-15 percent in the overall jewellery market and the penetration is surging notably. They expect diamond jewellery could emerge as one of the dominant jewellery products within next five years. A major percentage of raw materials for diamond jewellery arrive from countries like Dubai and India.

“Diamond today is no longer rich man’s possession. A significant rise in the gold price has narrowed the difference between gold and diamond prices, increasing people’s interest in diamond jewellery,” said NK Gupta, managing director of Shree Ridhi Sidhi Jewellers.

According to Gupta, the diamond jewellery market is swelling massively, prompting jewellery stores to expand their portfolio by introducing diamond products. Shree Ridhi Sidhi opened a separate showroom dedicated to diamond jewellery in Bishal Bazaar in 2004.

Realising the bright future prospect, over a dozen stores, including premium names like Ebisu, Classic, RK, Shree Ganapati and Gem House, are specialising in diamond jewellery. While many of them have opened separate outlets in premium locations, others have refurnished their existing showrooms, allotting half the space for diamond products.

Jewellery stores, which mainly trade in diamond, are witnessing a 35 percent growth in sales, compared to two-three years ago. “The market for diamond jewellery seems to be very good with a large number of people gradually shifting towards it,” said Amir Maharjan, executive director of Classic Diamonds. “Compared to two-three years ago, our sales have increased by around 50 percent,” he added, attributing the growth to increasing trend of using diamond in the western market which has a direct influence in domestic customers.

“Buy back guarantee schemes offered by stores deducting a certain amount has also played a crucial role in boosting sales,” said Rakesh Manandhar, executive director of Gem House, New Road.

A significant rise in the number of working women, who are financially independent and are required to flaunt elegant looks, has also catalysed demand for diamond jewellery. Working women seek simple earrings, pendants, tops, rings and bracelets, among others. Teenagers are also fascinated with diamond items and they do not mind paying a bit more to acquire it.

Dipak Malhotra, chairman of Ebisu Jewellers, which has been dealing in diamond jewellery for the last 22 years, said people are slowly getting aware about diamond and are opening their wallets for the precious stone. “Diamond is such a thing which people buy only after being full confident about the trader they are dealing with. As domestic traders are supplying quality products people are now accepting diamond jewellery and products without any reluctance,” Malhotra said.

According to him, the way diamond market is growing, it’s amazing. “Around two years ago, the trend of buying diamond jewellery was marginal. The current growth is phenomenal,” he said.

Fusion of eastern and western designs 

Shakti Kumar Begani

Chairman, Shree Ganapati Jewellers

Unlike other stores, which predominantly deal in gold and diamond jewellery, Shree Ganapati Jewellers is known for silver and fusion jewellery. Ganapati started operations in 2010 ‘after doing a detail market research’. “We carried out a market research which suggested that there is a need of international-standard jewellery showroom in the city,” said Begani. The showroom in Bishal Bazar is spread over 2,000 sq ft. Begani says the store has focused on prompt delivery, quality and innovative designs since the beginning.

Ganapati has hired two designers from the United Kingdom and India in its bid to come up with the newest designs. “The jewellery market is all about design. Our designers work hard on giving new touch,” said Begani. “As most Nepali women are influenced by Indian TV serials and movies, our designers monitor new designs introduced in India and give them a local taste.”

Ganapati has also come up with fusion jewellery made up of a combination of metals like gold, diamond and gem stones.

The diamond expert

Dipak Malhotra

Chairman, Ebisu Jewellers

Located in Kathmandu’s high-end shopping street—Durbar Marg, Ebisu Jewellers has been in the business for the last 20 years. It is also among one of the oldest shops in the valley dealing in diamond, gold and silver.

“When it comes to diamond jewellery, we are undoubtedly the first choice,” said Dipak Malhotra, chairman of Ebisu Jewellers. “Diamond is such a thing which requires trust before buying or selling. We have established our name in the diamond market.” He added the store has a huge number of pocket customers.

Almost all items available at Ebisu are crafted in Nepal. The store also imports a few products from Dubai and India. As most of Ebisu customers prefer designer jewelleries, we don’t make several copies of a product. “It is necessary to maintain exclusivity in jewellery as women have turned choosy and want something different. We bring in new catalogues from foreign markets and create new designs based on them,” said Malhotra.

Besides, the store has also focused on service and visibility of products. For those who want jewellery to be designed as per their choice, the store can prepare it within 15 days. According to Malhotra, they are planning to introduce a wide variety of new designs within two-three months. 

Nepali multinational

Amir Maharjan

Executive Director, Classic Diamonds

During wedding ceremonies, shopping at Classic Diamonds is a must. This is what we have become successful in putting into customers mind,” said Amir Maharjan, executive director at Classic Diamonds.

According to Maharjan, the store located in Harihar Bhawan, Lalitpur, specialises in diamond and within just four years, it has become successful in creating a huge customer base. All its products are manufactured at its own factory in Gwarko.

The store, through its semi-modern designs, has become successful in winning people’s faith, says Maharjan. The store has also become successful in captivating foreigners and Nepalis rescinding abroad by opening an outlet—Queens Diamond and Jewellery Inc—in New York, United States.

Encouraged by the amazing response in New York, Classic Diamonds is coming up with another outlet in the US. “The New York store was opened targeting at Asian people. We are planning to come up with one more store in Virginia within a year,” said Maharjan.

Although Classic Diamonds mostly deals in diamond products, it also offers gold ornaments. The store features jewellery priced from Rs 10,000 to around 600,000-700,000, in its bid to cater to customers from all economic backgrounds. As the store has developed expertise in bridal sets, they prepare only one set of a particular design. “Until and unless an order is placed by members of the same family, we don’t make its copy,” said Maharjan.

Published: 25-04-2012 09:20

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