The Art Of Gemology And Its Relevance To India's Economy

In India, the gems and jewellery industry is one of the oldest in the country, dating back thousands of years. It has traditionally been a family business that has seen the participation of generations.

Gems have been an object of fascination since time immemorial. Gemology is the scientific study of gemstones which gives one insight into the character and behaviour of gems, and is the backbone of the gems and jewellery industry. The study of gemology is vital to traders, dealers, artisans, and anyone else associated with the industry. Gemstones are not just about monetary value; at the very core of gemology is the science of gemstone identification. It’s important to understand the specific physical characteristics of each gem to determine its type, quality and how it can be used. This knowledge is vital for gem cutters, or lapidaries, to determine the appropriate cutting and polishing technique for each gem. How a gem is cut greatly impacts its finished appearance and value.

 Industry knowledge is passed on informally and workers are often trained within the factories themselves. Thus, for many years, the sector has seen many unorganized players. While industry players possess a wealth of information, there is a need to move with the times and work to unite them and bring the industry practices on a par with that of global standards. 

Gems such as rubies, sapphires and emeralds have maintained consistent positions in the Indian market, while tanzanite, tourmalines and peridots have also begun dominating consumer preferences. The gems and jewellery industry is expanding with the entrance of international companies such as De Beers and Argyle into India. Whether creative or business-oriented, there are several job opportunities within the gems and jewellery industry. Some options include a gem assessor, grader and assorter, jewellery design, buying and trade, retail and gem appraisal. 

The current status of the gems and jewellery industry in India is extremely promising. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in India and plays an important role in the Indian economy, accounting for 7 percent of the country’s GDP and 15.7 percent of its total merchandise exports. Globally, India contributes to 29 per cent of the world’s jewellery consumption, with the USA, UAE, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Latin America and China being the biggest importers of jewellery from India. Being labour intensive, the industry also provides ample opportunities for employment — it currently employs over 4.64 million workers, which is projected to reach 8.2 million in 2022. 

Therefore, while there is a wealth of knowledge in India’s gems and jewellery industry, it is important to constantly upgrade that information. One of the best ways to ensure that the gems and jewellery industry of India are on a par with global standards is through education. It is important that gemology institutes provide the latest pedagogical practices to train students with updated information about the various aspects of gemology, which includes gem identification, sorting and grading, polishing, and retail best practices. Students should be up to date with the latest technologies used in the industry. It is also necessary to learn the terminology and techniques of conducting business according to international standards along with ethical trade practices. 

In order to unite the gems and jewellery industry, it is important not only to educate future entrants but also existing players. Existing players need to be not only updated with the latest international practices, but they also need to learn how to present and conduct their businesses on a global platform. Refresher courses on retail as well as public speaking and personality development are therefore also equally important. 

The gems and jewelry industry is a prestigious sector that has a high level of trust and credibility. It offers a place for workers of various skill levels and interests. The industry is seeing an incredible boom in India and if its players work together to improve their skills and bridge the gaps in the functioning of the industry, India is poised to be a global player to be contended with. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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