The diamond industry may have reached a tipping point in India where diamonds are no longer the preserve of the privileged but an aspiration for the masses. The most important driver of this market is the desire of women who do not wait for anyone to buy for them but do it on their own because they can now afford these precious stones.
A technology breakthrough at DeBeer Group’s diamond brand Forevermark has helped them bring diamonds to the market at price points never seen before. Diamonds have become accessible and more women have the money to buy it and Forevermark sees this as an opportunity to expand its presence in the Indian consumer market. It has triggered a growth in diamond retail in the country and now every family jeweller wants to join the party. Forevermark has seen a significant uptick after it started selling the 10 points inscribed diamonds.
The breakthrough in the inscription technology they have developed makes it possible to offer diamonds in a price range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 9,000. This opens up the market, said Stephen Lussier, CEO of Forevermark. Till now, the smallest size diamonds Forevermark sold was 14 points but with 10 points, the costs are lowered by 30%, he said. India is the third important market for diamond retail after US and China and it has been the fastest-growing market with 20-30% growth per annum, said Lussier.
The Forevermark diamond is present in 32 markets and 200 doors (point of sale) in the country. A 10 points diamond is proving to be the tipping point for Forevermark. The company has been able to inscribe diamonds 10 points through in-house inscription technology. This inscription is invisible to the naked eye but is the identification mark of authenticity. Women buying diamonds for themselves is a worldwide trend and this is seen in Japan, Hong Kong and US too, said Lussier. “In India too they are looking for simple designs that can be part of their everyday life; for example, more solitaire ear studs are getting sold in large numbers. So, Forevermark is focused on simple wearable designs,” he said.
Sachin Jain, president of Forevermark, said the focus is rapidly shifting from gold jewellery to diamonds. Here too, it is not about investing but actually using the precious metal. People are buying to wear diamonds and not to keep it in a locker, said Jain. During the Akshay Trithiya season, a couple of months ago, when traditionally gold is bought, there was a lot of diamond sale, indicating that the pendulum is shifting and triggered a lot of expansion of retail, Jain said.
This market has opened up and majority of their customers now are first-time buyers, said Jain. These small or petit diamonds were among the range of diamonds showcased at the three-day Forevermark Forum being held in Pune. Prominent diamantaries, manufacturers, and jewellers from across the country were here to know the latest trends and developments in the industry.
Every big name in the business in India from TBZ, Joyalukkas, Orra, GRT, CKC, Malabar, M Notandas, AS Motiwala, Abaran, Neelkanth, VBJ, Tanishq, Geetanjali were there with their designs. In 2002, DeBeers estimated that the acquisition rate of diamond jewellery among the Indian middle-class was around 2%. The acquisition rate has jumped to 9 % in 2014, nearly five times. And now, with the 10 points diamonds, the market just got bigger for them with diamonds now within the rich of middle-class households.