Professional Jeweler Archive: India: Jewelry's Gateway to the World

May 2004

Diamonds/News


India: Jewelry's Gateway to the World

By Robert Weldon, G.G., and Peggy Jo Donahue
Photos by Robert Weldon except where noted

Mumbai is the bustling gateway to India’s growing jewelry manufacturing industry. The city’s Gateway of India, pictured here, was built almost 100 years ago to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary of England.

India secured its place in industry history when it became the world’s largest diamond cutting center. Now the subcontinent has set its sights on a new goal: To significantly boost its share of the world’s jewelry production and create compelling brands that resonate with consumers. India cuts close to 90% of the world’s diamonds by number and nearly 60% by value and is well on its way to becoming a jewelry powerhouse too.

India’s combined gem and jewelry exports rose 22% in 2002 and again in 2003. Jewelry accounted for almost $2 billion of its $10.6 billion in total exports last year. The nation’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council predicts gem and jewelry exports will soar to $16 billion of what the council estimates is a $60 billion global market by 2007 – representing 25%-30% growth, says Sanjay Kothari, GJEPC chairman. The lion’s share of that growth will come from jewelry manufacturing.

Tsunami Coming

The U.S. has lifted a 5.7% tariff on finished jewelry from India so retailers here can expect to see more of it in coming months. “There is a tsunami coming,” predicts supplier Alex Weindling of Alexander B. Weindling, New York City. “You can get crushed by this wave or you can surf it. We decided to surf it.” Weindling is unveiling an equal partnership with M. Suresh & Co. and Ashwan Mehta of A.S. Exports, both Indian companies.

Weindling isn’t alone. A host of U.S. jewelry manufacturers have already established links with Indian manufacturers or are creating them (see “Indian-American Partnerships” on p. 30). Many sell not only to major retail jewelry chains but also to independent jewelers.

Big Backers

Low wages, economies of scale and investment in technology are the main factors driving India’s growth. But in the future, design excellence and global marketing skills will become equally important, as the Indian diamond community complies with the Diamond Trading Co.’s Supplier of Choice initiative (“Branding and Marketing,” p. 38). DTC showed its faith in India’s ability to add value to its diamonds by allotting more of its 2004 sights (periodic allocations) to India than any other cutting center – almost 40% of DTC’s clients are now Indian.

Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is another longtime believer in India’s potential. Its Indo Argyle Diamond Council has worked for 10 years with a group of Indian companies to provide marketing and design advice. In January, it held a 10-year anniversary celebration in Mumbai and rolled out a new design program, more merchandising, trend analysis and other plans (“IADC & the Indian Miracle,” p. 42).

Educational Support

Another sign of India’s growing importance as a jewelry-making center is the opening of new schools. The Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery in Mumbai opened in September 2003. A diploma course in jewelry design and manufacturing technology takes almost three years of full-time study to complete. The Gemological Institute of America is opening an educational facility in India also, says Brook Ellis, vice president of education. GIA hopes to begin classes there this summer.

Indian diamond and jewelry manufacturers are endeavoring to change U.S. perceptions of labor conditions in India too. The image of workers gathered in crowded, dirty sweatshops is outdated. All major players adhere to best-practices principles articulated by DTC, Rio Tinto, large retail buyers and many industry associations. Leading Indian companies make sure these high standards filter down to every level of the Indian industry. “In a box of mangoes, if one is bad, the whole box will be rejected,” says Vikram Shah, director at India’s CM Group. “We must all work together so there are no bad mangoes.” He says so much is at stake – for the growing industry and India itself – all companies must adhere to the highest standards in social, ethical and environmental responsibility.

As a result, more Indian workers now report to comfortable, efficient factories that are becoming technologically state-of-the-art and safe (“Surat & SEEPZ: India’s Factory Towns,” p. 54). Proving the change is real, large U.S. retailers are buying more jewelry directly from India – even with the knowledge that consumers increasingly hold retailers accountable for the practices of their overseas suppliers. In fact, Jewelers of America recently established a Supplier Code of Conduct to press for positive changes worldwide in social, ethical and environmental practices to address retailers’ concerns.

The following pages provide a look at the future of India’s industry and some of its key players. From well-publicized brands and partnerships with U.S. suppliers and retailers to changes in manufacturing, the Indian tsunami is destined to alter the jewelry supply picture for years to come.

Mumbai’s Opera House district is the heart of the diamond trade in India. Indian leaders say a new diamond bourse is about a year away from completion.
India’s view of the world – and the world’s view of it – are changing rapidly. Jaipur, one of several cities receiving incentives from India to produce jewelry, is becoming a major finished jewelry center. Pictured is the Amber Fort in Jaipur.


Indian-American Partnerships

These high-profile unions put more Indian companies on the map in the U.S.

Indian diamantaires and U.S. suppliers have announced a series of partnerships that combine Indian production power with U.S. know-how in marketing and distribution. Many involve Indians and Americans who’ve already profited from decades-long relationships with each other. Following is a look at some partnerships destined to affect both markets.

Suashish & star diamond

Suashish Diamonds, a Diamond Trading Co. client in Mumbai, negotiated an equity partnership with Star Diamond Group-USA this past fall to create a new company called SuashishStar, headed by CEO Nicky Polak. SuashishStar makes diamond jewelry in Mumbai and has design, marketing and distribution offices in New York City. “SuashishStar will be one of the world’s strongest fully vertically integrated diamond houses,” says Ashish Goenka, CEO of Suashish Diamonds.

Among the products the partnership developed is the Star 129,™ a diamond cut aimed at independent jewelers with one to 11 stores. “For retailers, cost is not a competitive advantage because it offers no product differentiation,” says Marzin Shroff, the Suashish Group’s marketing president, who Professional Jeweler met in India. “Instead, we provide retailers with a brand, market research and consumer information based on our own consumer studies. We also support jewelers with everything else: point of sale merchandising, brochures, advertising slicks and packaging.”

Alexander B. Weindling

Alexander B. Weindling, New York City, has unveiled its equal partnership with M. Suresh & Co. (a DTC client) and Ashwan Mehta of A.S. Exports, both of Mumbai.

All partners pooled their companies’ shares to form one company called M. Suresh Private Jewelry Ltd. “We saw natural similarities in our business philosophies, and we had all done business with each other for dozens of years,” says Alex Weindling. “Working as three companies was inefficient – the partners ended up working against each other. What we have now is a powerful marriage of experts at diamond sourcing, jewelry manufacturing, advertising and merchandising in the U.S.” M. Suresh Private Jewelry Ltd. plans to move into the 529 Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City to serve U.S. retailers.

Laxmi & Suberi

Laxmi Diamond Group, another DTC client, recently merged with Suberi Bros., a New York City power, to sell Laxmi products in the U.S. using the name Suberi Bros. LLC.

Suberi’s management will remain in place and continue to sell its own brands, but also will sell Laxmi’s jewelry brands and many of its loose stones, says Suberi CEO Marvin Markman. “This merger gives us a direct link to loose diamond resources, and we can contribute our marketing and branding expertise,” he says.

Laxmi processes 400,000 carats a year and employs 10,000 people in nine factories in India’s Surat and SEEPZ areas. Though the family’s core business remains diamond cutting, Laxmi’s Noor jewelry brand will be distributed in America through Suberi Bros. Suberi also will introduce a higher-end jewelry line called Lucca featuring Laxmi diamonds. “It makes sense for our family to branch out into jewelry,” says Ashok Gajera of Laxmi Diamond Group.

Mahendra & Plainville Stock

Mahendra Bros. of Mumbai and its associated companies, Emby International and Diarough, formed an equal partnership last year with Plainville Stock Co., Plainville, MA, to sell a branded diamond and branded diamond jewelry called the Fiancée™ Collection.

The collection is targeted at smaller jewelers, with whom Plainville has longstanding relationships.

The Fiancée collection comes with an extensive marketing and training programs. Mahendra, a longtime DTC client, has three factories employing 20,000 workers.

India’s legacy of diamond mining (the Golconda mine was the source of the world’s first commercial diamonds) and cutting skill make it an historic choice for partners from other nations. India cuts Australia’s champagne diamonds and is now cutting larger and cleaner rough from various sources.
Manish Pethani of M. Suresh & Co. in Mumbai, India, stands before a model of three new jewelry factories the company is building in Surat. The company recently formed a partnership with Alexander Weindling of New York City and Ashwan Mehta of A.S. Exports, Mumbai.

So, You Wanna Buy Direct From India?
Simplex Diam offers outsourcing services for U.S. retailers

If you’re considering a relationship with a supplier in India, you can take many paths but may encounter just as many obstacles. You have to figure out how to find the right companies, get quotes, evaluate samples, place and track purchase orders, ensure consistency and quality, and get the jewelry on time. For U.S. jewelers unsure of how to proceed, Simplex Diam, a New York City jewelry wholesaler, offers a solution. You can outsource the entire buying process to Simplex – or just the parts you’d rather not do internally.

Simplex Diam has been a familiar face in the U.S. market for 25 years, selling Indian diamond jewelry and closeouts for 15 of those years. It has a wide knowledge base of the Indian diamond and jewelry scene and already performs this outsourcing service for one of the largest retail jewelry chains in the U.S. The company says it can help other U.S. retailers discover the vast world of Indian diamonds and jewelry too.



Branding & Marketing

Indian companies, like the rest of the world’s diamantaires, are moving forward on this important front

Many large Indian companies promote their branded jewelry lines to U.S. consumers and the trade. These efforts will increase and intensify as the Diamond Trading Co.’s clients respond to its Supplier of Choice initiative. Even non-DTC clients are learning to name their jewelry collections and performing other marketing services, such as advertising, consumer research and forms of retailer support, from point-of-sale packages to promotion and publicity. Here’s a sample.

Rosy Blue

Perhaps the most consumer-oriented advocate of diamond branding is Rosy Blue, a diamond giant with offices all over the world. The company began in Mumbai in 1960 and now has international headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium. “Rosy Blue accounts for 7% of the rough diamond trade and is one of the top five De Beers’ customers,” says CEO Dilip Mehta, who announced many of his company’s branding programs just a year ago at BaselWorld. “We’re looking for ways to market and brand.”

Rosy Blue’s most publicly visible effort so far is its partnership with apparel designer Vera Wang, whose jewelry line debuted in April to a chorus of admiring voices in the consumer fashion press. “Jewelry is the biggest thing happening in fashion right now,” Wang told Vogue. Her fine jewelry line features light, airy micropavé diamond designs she says also inspired her spring apparel. Wang’s pendants, brooches, big rings and dangling earrings also tie into current jewelry trends.

Rosy Blue also heavily advertised a new prestige brand called Rosiblu in consumer magazines during the 2003 holiday season. Its prestige division is headed by former Mikimoto COO Koichi Takhashi, no stranger to branding. The company also is involved in a branding push for colored diamonds and was a founding member of the new Natural Color Diamond Association, of which Mehta is vice president. NCDIA recently had its first success placing fancy color diamonds on stars at the 2004 Academy Awards.

CM Group

Another DTC client, as well as a perennial supporter of the Indo Argyle Diamond Council, CM Group has launched branded designer jewelry lines such as Ciemme into the U.S. CM Group has offices and factories worldwide, with U.S. jewelry sales bases in New York City; Houston, TX; and Los Angeles, CA. “Today’s consumers want the promise of a brand – it gives them a feeling of luxury and pleasure,” says Vikram Shah, director at CM Group. “Indians learned after Sept. 11, 2001, that diamonds as a commodity aren’t easy to sell in hard times. But trusted brands, like Tiffany & Co., continue to do business. The Indian community now understands this.” Shah says one of the many areas in which Indian companies are improving is design, by doing research into what European consumers want. Because so many jewelry design trends are influenced by Europe, Shah thinks it’s only a matter of time before India perfects its design sense.

Lakhi Group

Gemglow is the Lakhi Group’s jewelry brand in the U.S. market. A member of the Indo Argyle Diamond Council, Lakhi Group has offices in Belgium, India, Canada and the U.S. It designs jewelry in India, where a young team headed by a De Beers’ Millennium Design Award-winner, works on fashion-oriented styles tailored to U.S. retailers’ needs. The group plans a high-end designer collection as well. It also sells fine-make small diamonds in the U.S. through its Vishinda division. “The industry is reinventing itself,” says Prakash Lakhi, chairman of Gemglow and president of Vishinda. “It is time the jewelry industry turns professional and not give away its market share to competing industries.”

Jewelex

Jewelex, a division of DTC client P.D. Kothari & Co., is a pioneer in the branding of diamond jewelry. It began by selling diamonds in the U.S. through its Impex Diamond Corp. 25 years ago. In the early 1990s, the Jewelex brand was created to sell jewelry in the U.S. In January 2004, the two divisions united under the Jewelex name. “Our jewelry is known for its creativity and innovation,” says Atul Kothari. The company’s latest collection line is called The Perfekt™ Right Hand Ring, capitalizing on one of the newest DTC marketing campaigns. Jewelex makes its jewelry in and near India’s SEEPZ area and sells to the top 40 major U.S. jewelry retailers and to independents through several large U.S. retail buying groups. Its Indian jewelry-making division, Jewelex (India) Pvt. Ltd., recently received a certificate of merit from India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council for coming in second in exports of diamond studded precious metal jewelry.

Ads for the Rosiblu collection, produced by Rosy Blue’s prestige jewelry division, appeared in many consumer magazines during Holiday 2003.
A spring 2004 ad for Vera Wang’s new jewelry designs. The designer is in a partnership with Rosy Blue.
The CM Group produces Ciemme-branded designer jewelry.


IADC & the Indian Miracle

For 10 years, Indian companies have relied on the Indo Argyle Diamond Council

As the Indo Argyle Diamond Council celebrated its 10th anniversary in Mumbai in January, dozens of founding members met to review their successes.

IADC aims to facilitate business liaisons between Indian diamond and jewelry manufacturers and American retailers. IADC was originally sponsored and supported by Australia’s Argyle mine, which supplied Indian companies with diamonds. Argyle is now owned by mining giant Rio Tinto.

On hand at the anniversary celebrations were Rio Tinto’s top executives, who recalled IADC’s initial relationships with Indian diamond manufacturers. “It was an amazing bit of good fortune,” says Gordon Gilchrist, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds. “Our thanks to the Indians, who made so much of our product and without whom there would have been no point in digging it out at all.”

To introduce Indian companies to American retailers, IADC hired MVI Marketing, a California company run by Martin Hurwitz and Liz Chatelain (“From Brooklyn to Bombay,” p. 44). MVI and Argyle earlier developed a campaign to introduce Indian-cut champagne diamonds to the U.S. market. The champagne diamond initiative and IADC’s other marketing actions met with resounding success, and India’s jewelry exports to America skyrocketed.

A growing list of major jewelers, as well as some independent jewelers, buy jewelry from India today, thanks to IADC’s work. Some retailers – including Sterling, J.C. Penney and Wal Mart – have permanent buying offices in Mumbai. Charlene Wuellner, president of corporate merchandising for Zale Corp., was at the anniversary celebration and announced Zale, the biggest jewelry chain in the U.S., is setting up a logistics system to buy jewelry directly from India after formerly buying only from domestic wholesalers. “My boss, Mary Forté, Zale CEO, has identified India as the best opportunity for growth,” says Wuellner. An IADC initiative had drawn Forté and her team to Mumbai in 2003, at which time their interest was piqued.

Today, IADC members have embraced Rio Tinto’s Business Excellence Model, which tackles issues such as environmental standards, health and safety standards and ethical business practices. Like every initiative in the past 10 years, IADC members believe this one will help them with their continuing goal: to become suppliers of first choice for America’s jewelers.

Founding members of the Indo Argyle Diamond Council, officials from Rio Tinto Diamonds and MVI Marketing celebrate the 10th anniversary of IADC.


From Brooklyn to Bombay

Can a kid from Brooklyn, bar mitzvahed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, truly be the only Jewish Hindu in America?

By Martin Hurwitz

In 1989, the Argyle Diamond mine, in a revolutionary campaign to provide market support for its direct rough customers, introduced the Champagne Diamond® to the U.S. fine jewelry market.

This innovative marketing exercise was based on years of market research showing consumers would pay a premium for champagne diamonds if the industry would just call them champagne and not br*wn (contractually, I’m not allowed to use this word).

In 1993, after the champagne diamond campaign succeeded, the Indo Argyle Diamond Council was born and immediately set its sights on the monumental task of changing an industry. Argyle embarked on a journey with the Indian diamond community to provide the marketing support needed to overcome obstacles and grow Indian diamond jewelry manufacturing.

Together with the MVI Marketing team, I embarked on a journey that brought this Jewish kid from Brooklyn as far from Flatbush as imaginable. In 1993, I arrived in what was then Bombay and is now Mumbai, and experienced the first-timer’s standard shock – the poverty, overpopulation, smell and sheer mass of humanity was over-whelming. But within a few hours I came to realize that India, as much as any country in the world, was a powerful force populated with a kind and eternally optimistic people.

Before the end of my trip I was convinced India would become the dominant industrial power of the new millennium. Similarly, it was clear to me that as India goes, so goes the planet. The challenges India faced socially and geopolitically would need to be dealt with globally for the planet to survive.

What I encountered on that first trip (and in all of my more than 30 trips since to cities including Delhi, Bangalore and Madras) was a people filled with warmth, spirit, determination, courage and absolutely no self-pity. India is the ultimate expression of the spirit of democracy and capitalism.

Frankly, I was surprised U.S. jewelry retailers and manufacturers took so long to see that India was going to be the dominant player in the diamond jewelry business. To those of us working in IADC, it was obvious this was a freight train moving quickly. The choices were to get on board or get left behind.

With Indian diamantaires manufacturing a large portion of the world’s rough diamonds and having some of the most sophisticated diamond jewelry factories in the world, India is poised to dominate the industry for many years to come.

On my most recent trip I was amazed at the infrastructure growth. The Indian economy is booming, everyone who wants to work has a job, the standard of living is improving and all types of industries are expanding in all different parts of the country.

My wife, Liz [Chatelain], and I have many friends on the subcontinent, and some day soon we hope to bring our children to India so they can see it for themselves. All our children in the U.S. are isolated from the wider world.

I’m proud of the work Argyle, Rio Tinto and MVI have done. We’ve helped create jobs, and we have helped revolutionize an industry … but we really didn’t do anything the Indian people wouldn’t have accomplished on their own. We just helped it happen a bit faster.

There’s still much work to be done helping the Indian industry better serve the needs of the U.S. market, and the IADC is resolutely focused on achieving that goal.

Martin J. Hurwitz is CEO of consultant MVI Marketing Ltd., which he founded in 1985, working exclusively in the gem and jewelry industries. In 2001, he developed the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council to provide strategic market research, analysis and insight to MVI’s clients.

Martin J. Hurwitz (left) receives an award from Gordon Gilchrist, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds, at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Indo Argyle Diamond Council, in Mumbai in January.


Family Ties

Strong families are the bedrock of the diamond and jewelry business in India

The younger generation joining India’s family-owned diamond businesses is representative of the industry’s optimism. “If they study abroad, they come home with their knowledge,” says Vasantlal Sanghavi of Sanghavi Exports, a 35-year-old company based in Mumbai. “We have no brain drain in India, especially now because the country is strong.” Sanghavi, whose $200-million-a-year company is a Diamond Trading Co. client, says everyone in his family plays a role, whether it’s overseeing the 1,700 workers at various factories in Surat, a manufacturing center north of Mumbai or manning sales offices in New York City and cities around the globe. “For security reasons, we trust our family the most.”

All in the Family

Other diamantaires have family members buying diamonds in different parts of the world. “One brother looks after our five small factories in Surat,” says Sanjay Shah of J.B. & Bros., “while others are in buying offices in Belgium or other sources. We just aren’t trustful of third parties.” J.B. & Bros. estimated sales for 2003 were $125 million, up 60% over 2002. Its target market is the U.S., but sales are conducted also in Europe and the Far East. The company, a DTC client, specializes in round and fancy-cut diamond solitaires. “Four family members in the younger generation are awaiting their turn to be trained,” says Shah.

Many of these family-run companies began as diamond-cutting operations and now are adding finished jewelry. Some of the jewelry is destined for the growing Indian middle class and the rest is exported.

Outside the Family

India’s strong family units, primarily a bonus for the strength of their businesses, do create a few drawbacks, says one industry observer who asked not to be identified. “These businesses can get insular and begin to lose the creative edge. New blood and new perspectives stimulate a business; that’s something many of these companies need as they grow.”

Some Indian companies have recognized this. Suashish Diamond, for example, hired Marzin Shroff, a non-family member, as marketing president. An outside marketing talent, Shroff admits he’s somewhat of a rarity in India – he attributes his hiring to the forward thinking of CEO Ashish Goenka.

Principals Vasantlal Sanghavi and his son Kalpesh of Sanghavi Exports say their 35-year-old company started making jewelry in 1994. Their new 35,000-sq.-ft. factory at SEEPZ will begin operating this year.
India’s diamond and jewelry business is a family affair. Dilip Mehta and son Ajesh of InterJewel hold a family portrait. InterJewel and its parent, DTC client D. Navinchandra, are founding members of IADC.


India’s Factory Towns: Surat & SEEPZ

These bustling diamond and jewelry cities house mind-bending technology

To see Indian manufacturing capacities fully engaged, Professional Jeweler took a three-hour train ride from Mumbai to Surat during its January visit and also spent time at SEEPZ, the factory center near Mumbai committed to boosting exports by providing a host of facilities for manufacturers in various industries. Here’s what we found.

Surat

Surat is an industrial town north of Mumbai in the state of Gujarat. Driving through the dusty streets paints a colorful picture of industrial India. The main street – with parts unpaved – is lined with acres of new factory complexes holding dozens of buildings ranging from 10,000 to 80,000 square feet. Diamonds and jewelry are fast overtaking Surat’s other main manufacturing sector: the garment industry.

Older buildings often house diamond-cutting factories, while new ones are set up to make finished jewelry. Sales offices for these factories are often headquartered in the Opera House district of Mumbai. In the older buildings, like in Mumbai, the ragamuffin exteriors encase clean, high-tech and comfortable interiors.

One diamond cutter, Godhani Gems, employs 4,000 in more than a dozen factories across town. “The factories have the capacity to cut 23,000 stones per day,” says Manoj Godhani. The hallways are spotless, and chambers sizzle with the sound of laser-sawing machines or the hum of auto-bruting machines and multistone polishing machines imported from Israel.

SEEPZ

At the Santacruz Electronics Exports Processing Zone, known as SEEPZ, a walled compound contains hundreds of factories of “softer” industries, including software and jewelry companies. In the zone, government taxes and paperwork are kept to a minimum and customs offices are expeditious. Imports of capital goods, such as machinery, are customs-free.

Gold Star Jewellery Ltd., like many other businesses in the zone, takes full advantage of tax-free imports for its seven factories. A tour through one shows dozens of designers using computer programs and CAD-CAM machines to produce wax jewelry samples and laser stamping. An impressive 300 to 400 new designs are generated monthly. The company, part of RT Diamonds, a Diamond Trading Co. client, produces 100,000 pieces of jewelry per month, including high-end invisibly set diamond jewelry, bridal jewelry and high-fashion styles such as chandelier earrings and titanium designs.

Gold Star makes jewelry tailored to consumer tastes. “We’ve even studied the Hispanic market in the U.S., and have a line of jewelry tailored to it,” says Vice Chairman Alkesh Shah. He says each factory is geared to produce a specific kind of jewelry. “We are working at full capacity – last year we had to turn down a 100,000-piece order,” he laments.

Tara Group is a relatively new set of factories, three in total, producing high-end jewelry for domestic use and export. Eighty percent of its products are destined for export to the U.S. “Our core activity is producing jewelry, not diamonds. But we have redefined the way jewelry is made,” says Ravi Menon, general manager of sales. “We have studied the very best business practices performed by major companies across the globe and have adopted some of their best practices and added our own.” Among them is employee training and education. The factory is a modern model of efficiency, with movement of products performed on a pneumatic basis as opposed to pure electricity. Says Prasant Rege, general manager of production, “This cuts down dramatically on cycle times and product turnover, it saves energy, does not pollute and is very quiet.”

“All machines are air-pressure-operated so there are fewer moving parts, less noise [10 decibels lower than in comparable electrical-based factories] and less breakdown of the machinery,” says Rege. “Safety and health are paramount. All employees sit in ergonomically designed chairs, which we have found help boost employee morale and productivity. We also deionize and process any water used in manufacturing to make it environmentally safe.”

Employees are educated in multitasking so there’s full accountability for the quality of a product as it goes through the manufacturing cycle. Quality control in every department fixes any problem on the spot, dramatically reducing production time.

Tara also has a secure visual link-up with its customers that it calls a quality alert communication system. “If a customer has a problem with a design aspect of a jewel, for example, we can communicate in real time with the factory and customer looking at a specific piece and institute any changes overnight,” says Rege.

“For the longest time our industry has been a cottage industry,” says Tara CEO Rajeev Seth. “As such, the best and the brightest managers [in other sectors] have long bypassed this industry. Our goal is to bring our industry to the professional and manufacturing level of other industries. In everything we do, we ask employees, managers and engineers to think out of the box. We ask them how to make something better and more efficiently.”

Shrenuj & Co. Ltd., a DTC client, once specialized in large fancy-cut diamonds and has transitioned into finely made jewelry such as the Shrenuj Collection. Photo courtesy of Shrenuj & Cp. LTD.
These tiny diamonds are one of Karp Impex Ltd.’s many cutting specialties. India is the source of some of the world’s tiniest fully faceted gems.
Brothers Alkesh and Ankur Shah of Gold Star Jewellery Ltd. show off just a few of the 10,000-strong line of jewels produced by their family’s many factories at SEEPZ.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications