Rajkot: Synonym of Gold Ornaments
Rajkot always had a strong industrial base and good connectivity with other urban centres in Gujarat. Improvement in infrastructure over the past few years has added to the demand for real estate. The emerging contemporary style, which is beautifully blended with the cultural roots of the city, is very well reflected in the everyday life of the people here. Rajkot is famous for its gold and silver jewellery market, silk embroidery and watch parts. It has one of the largest gold markets in India.
For many jewellery lovers, Gujarat’s Rajkot city should be best described as a synonym of gold ornaments. These artisans are expert in making wedding and ethnic jewellery, which has put Rajkot on the world map. Rajkot meticulously designs some of the most exquisite wedding jewellery. The unique selling proposition of Rajkot’s wedding jewellery is that it is hand cut and not machine made.
Be it the swanky malls, the hustling and bustling open air markets, the posh departmental stores or the retail outlets, Rajkot offers a plethora of shopping options. Rajkot has more than 1,000 jewellers who are now witnessing fresh demand from retail buyers. Rajkot jewellery industry gives direct and indirect employment to 60,000 goldsmiths and artisans. Till recently, with a total gold consumption of over 2,000 kg per day, it accounted for production and sale of 50 per cent of all wedding jewellery in India.
Not just the various showroom owners but also buyers from all parts of India visit Rajkot city for gold made wedding jewellery. Rajkot’s jewellery industry enjoys a distinct cost advantage because of lower labour costs and the ability of the city’s bullion traders to make profitable gold investments.
The goldsmiths here keep an eye on changing trends and customers’ liking to ensure this knowledge adds to their novelty in catering the finest and appealing designs. Hence, matching with the changing times, these jewellers are fashioning out ornaments studded with gems or covered with enamel work.
FLOROSCENT interviewed some jewellery veterans of Rajkot, to know and analyse the changes that have taken place in Rajkot jewellery market, which has developed tremendously over the years.
Rajkot Employs 60,000 Goldsmith and Artisans:
The narrow lanes and by-lanes of Soni Bazar and Palace Road dotted with gold shops and jewellery manufacturing units, usually bustle with clients and traders. It has over 5,000 small and big manufacturing units in City and GIDC.
These artisans are expert in making wedding and ethnic jewellery, which has put Rajkot on the world map. Lightweight gold and silver jewellery made here have found domestic as well as overseas clients for unique designs and perfect polish. The worldwide recognition of Rajkot designs has also led to a thriving retail market with over 250 shops.
Rajkot gold market, which is a hub of traditional jewelery manufacturers, nearly has 60,000 artisans who design exquisite handmade wedding jewellery in India. The gold industry provides direct employment to nearly 30,000 artisans, and as many people are employed in the manufacturing of silver ornaments.
Rajkot is going truly global and the changes are showing in the luxury goods market. With changing lifestyle, globalization, architecture, people’s mindset and rise in disposable income, the buying patterns have undergone major transformation especially in jewellery trade. Today because of a cosmopolitan culture, burgeoning middle class, increase in purchasing power and increase in the desire for consumers, Rajkot is catching eye of everyone.
“Since last 10 years, the market has been developed so much. The trend and the taste has been change a lot. Now the bullion market is stuffed with more feature and securities. Consumers now prefer readymade jewellery,” said Ashokbhai of Dhakan Jewellers.
The main change is technology which has shows tremendous improvement in manufacturing process, safety and security, accounting and auditing. Buyers are now educated and awarded. Jewellers have shoulder to shoulder competition in market with fewer margins.
Mayur Soni of Vajubhai Jewellers said, “Jewellery Industry has not seen much of the development, but consumers taste and preference has changed a lot. Like, constantly soaring prices of metals led consumers to invest more in metals rather than buying jewellery. Consumers are buying according to their budget.”
Aswinbhai said, “Three aspects of jewellery business drive consumer’s purchase behaviour Design, Price and Trust. Design and price are impacting consumers purchase behaviour very fast in last five year. Now customers taste has changed from traditional jewllery to designer and studded jewellery and from Maniben to Monica but in all craze of gold is perpetual from ancient India to Modern India.”
The vision of the jewellers has developed to reach out the consumer in mass. The jewellery business movement is witnessing constant changes and infrastructural developments in Rajkot city lead the retail culture awareness and development.
Gems & Jewellery sector experts feel that as Rajkot swears by innovation and entrepreneurship, people have been always more open to experimentation. So, no wonder then even in the Walled City of Rajkot, one gets to taste jadau, antique, vilandi, kundan meena and diamond jewellery. It’s a city that loves to toy with new ideas and that definitely shows in the changing demand for jewellery of the city.
As per Manish Bhindi, Bhindi Manufacturing observations recent trends are more inclined towards handmade, traditional and antique jewellery. Budget is the important factor in buying jewellery as gold price rises more often. The consumer desire right combination of design and budget while buying jewellery.
He further explains, “Young generations prefer contemporary and sophisticated jewellery. Contemporary designs, experimenting with different combination of material and techniques in jewellery, unique style, and statement jewellery are the recent picks of the season,” he adds.
Rajkot Gold Glitters all the Way to Europe:
What came in as a big advantage to the industry is that there is a large diaspora of Gujaratis in the US and Europe. They quickly detect the trend, and made business out of it.
“Jewellery from Rajkot is famous all over the world. People of Rajkot as well as others from various parts of the country including Ahmedabad, Baroda and Gujarat come here to buy exquisite jewellery. NRI customers, originally from Saurashtra, also flock to purchase jewellery from here,” said Manish Bhindi, Bhindi Manufacturing.
Handmade gold jewellery from Rajkot has crafted its way into Europe. Its designs have a huge demand in Spain, Germany and Portugal. “People in Spain and Germany are enamoured by our traditional jewellery. More demand is pouring in,” said Bhayabhai of V. G. Gold.
“Demand is coming in especially for lightweight jewellery items like chains, necklaces, bracelets, rings and pendants. Some of the exports are being branded and positioned against big retail brands,” said Ronak Barbhaya of Dhaval Jewellers.
Since past 5 years, Rajkot is on the world map and more and more leading jewellery bands are thriving into the city. Jewellers of Rajkot are adopting latest technology and hiring best jewellery designers from the industry to make unique and exquisite jewellery, so that they can cater global demand, claims Ashwinbhai.
Switch Over to Light Weight Jewellery:
Gold has maintained the Rs 32,000 per 10 gm level for a long time and the demand touched an all-time low last year. Hit by low demand due to record high gold prices, jewellers are utilising their spare time for value-addition. Jewellery designing is now picking up and customers are being offered more options to choose from.
According to Remji Valji Jewellers, the gem and Jewellery industry over the past decade has witnessed significant changes. Among the various types of jewellery, light weight gold jewellery and plain diamond jewellery accountants for the largest share. Traditionally, gold has held the leading position in the jewellery markets because of its value as well as tradability factor. Demand for platinum jewellery has gained ground in the last few years due to the ‘elite’ tag and being the rare metal.
However, with jewellers getting creative, innovation in gold, silver, diamond and platinum lightweight jewellery are attracting new takers. Some city jewellers say higher prices have helped them revive customer contacts.
Ashokbhai of Radhika Jewellers, a local jeweller admits that the demand for heavy-weight jewellery is declining world over, and Rajkot’s businessmen are therefore forced to shift focus to produce light-weight designs.
Jewellers here are confident that exports of lightweight jewellery will grow at about 15% over the couple of years. The design, a vital input in ornaments, incorporates a mixture of gold and precious stones.
“There people like delicate, soft and relatively low-priced products,” said Mayur Soni of Vajubhai Jewellers. China has been exporting large variety of gold jewellery to these countries, but at relative higher price.
Sensing a robust growth in demand for handmade gold jewellery in the coming years, jewellery makers have started upgrading software for jewellery designing and are expanding their capacity to explore these markets. The decade-old jewellery cluster of Rajkot traditionally had markets in the US, Canada, UAE and Australia, for its products.
Over 60,000 goldsmiths and artisans of Rajkot meticulously design some of the most exquisite wedding jewellery and account for more than half of the total trade across the country. The unique selling proposition of Rajkot’s wedding jewellery is that it is hand cut and not machine made. It takes about five to 10 days to prepare a jewellery set.
“In 21st century, despite era of technology, consumers love to ornate handmade jewellery. Across the World, Rajkot is known for its exquisite craftsmanship of light weight handmade gold jewellery. It also gives employment to more than 60,000 goldsmiths and artisans in Rajkot”, claims Manish Bhindi.
The competition is fierce as fashion trends evolve every day. We keep a check on the available designs, latest trend, and exclusive designs as per the consumer’s taste, and make designs accordingly. Our manufacturing process begins with generating ideas and sketches as per required market trends, and producing an art that would have value for tomorrow; we make jewellery designs to achieve the right artistic value a value for tomorrow. We make jewlelry designs to achieve the right artistic value and we keep on changing our designs as per the prevailing market trend, claims Premji Valji Jewellers
Education and Hallmarking:
Educating people with various technical facts about jewellery like carat, wastage, finish and colour, clarity and cut in diamonds has yielded good results as it not only leaves the consumer more aware but also helps the jeweller strengthen their trust among their clientele.
Premji Valji always promotes hallmarking in their marketing and promotional campaigns. In fact, they have pioneered the hallmarking jewellery movement in Rajkot. At Premji Valji, imparting all technical facts like carat, wastage, colour, clarity etc to the consumers is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) because we believe that its our moral and social duty.
Shilpa Lifestyle have in-house caratometer for clients to identify the purity of jewellery and they only deals in 100% hallmarked gold jewellery and certified diamond Jewellery. Also educating clients helps us to build relation with customers. Prabhudasbhai Praekh of Shilpa Lifestyle believes that through guiding customers, we always give customers best possible option for their optimum use of spending rather than to earn. This is our assets with customers. Customers buy jewellery with trust and in return they get good quality product and increase volume.
Consumers require trust since it is difficult for them to understand and evaluate how the price is determined for a jewellery piece. Overall consumers care what they buy, but it seems that they have insufficient information on their purchases and this is the main problem.
“Thanks to the media, they’ve spread the awareness about such certifications and hallmarks, which marks a safety and trust in buying any such precious metal or stone. Indeed, as per our customer based study about 80% consumers are well known about hallmarking and BIS 916 but only for jewellery not for gems” said Ronak Barbhaya.
Consumers of Rajkot are aware and educated about jewellery buying decisions and planning. Consumer buys jewellery after a basic market research of trend, price, quality and surety.
However, Ashwinbhai of Siri Designer Jewellery feels that in era of 3G technology, where we have speedy communication and internet facility so it’s impossible not to have knowledge about Hallmark gold jewellery, BIS 916, certified coloured gemstone.”
Rs. 600 crore Imitation Jewellery Industry:
Rajkot is now the only city in the country manufacturing casting or brass based jewellery, and one of the few cities producing world class imitation jewellery meeting both national and global requirement. Rajkot imitation jewellery industry, with over 1,000 imitation jewellery manufacturers and turnover of Rs. 600 crore, provides direct and indirect employment to more than 300,000 people in the Rajkot district.
With a glittering future, 80 percent traders and manufacturers in Rajkot have also switched their generations old silver products business to imitation jewellery business. The city suffered a setback with the rise in silver prices but the art never died; now the skills are used for making imitation jewellery, turning into a labour oriented cottage industry.
The industry offers a large range of jewellery that could cost anywhere between Rs 5 and Rs 5000. As Rajkot offers cheap labour and finished jewellery, there is an increasing demand from outside of Gujarat for imitation jewellery. The growth of the industry is more than 40 per cent but it is still largely unorganised.
For exporters, Sri Lanka, Gulf and African countries are some of the major markets. But supply of jewellery to other parts of the countries or globally is routed via Mumbai.
Jewellery buying has become safest investment because of certification, hallmarking, better consumer service, innovation, transparency in the transaction and re-sale value of the product,. Now people won’t feel cheated when buying or reselling their investment, which have increased the trust and confidence in industry.
As India makes a rapid progress, Rajkot jewellery market is undergoing a gradual metamorphosis from unorganized to organized formats. Jewellery retailing is moving from a ‘Storehouse of Value’ to Precious Fashion Accessory’ Consumers are more quality conscious than ever before.