The Gems and Jewellery Export and Promotions Council (GJEPC), formed in Jaipur by the Ministry of Commerce in 1966, works to promote the Indian gem and jewelry industry on behalf of some 6,000 exporters. During the organization’s first year, Indian exports of gemstones and jewelry were US$28 million. By 2014, that figure had risen to US$35 billion (http://www.gjepc.org/about_us.php). Much of this growth could be attributed to polished diamond and diamond jewelry exports, which far exceeded those of colored stones and colored stone jewelry (R. Jain, pers. comm., 2015).
In Jaipur there are at least 100 factories cutting colored gemstones. There is also a huge cottage industry of artisan cutters working on a contract basis (R. Jain, pers. comm., 2015). The industry is in many ways a complementary blend of traditional artisans in the cottage industry and large factories that employ thousands. Some of the large modern factories also contract their cutting work to the artisan cottage industry to expand their production capabilities when needed.
While Thailand and Sri Lanka control the global corundum cutting industry, Jaipur excels in many different colored gemstones, particularly emerald. The impact of television retailers and their jewelry manufacturers has been significant, driving demand for a variety of colored gemstones, including large volumes of calibrated sizes. If the supply of one type of gem diminishes, others that are available can be cut and marketed through television. With this constant demand, Jaipur’s rough buyers are purchasing a wide range of colored gemstones from sources all over the world
Determining the total number of people working in the Jaipur gem and jewelry trade is difficult. The sector includes the city’s organized gemstone cutting and jewelry factories, as well as surrounding areas and a sizable cottage industry where families and households do contract manufacturing. The leaders we interviewed agreed that the figure is over 200,000, and some estimates put it closer to 300,000, with around 150,000 involved in the gemstone cutting sector.
In 2012, Gold Souk opened in Jaipur, with 95 showrooms and 150 offices featuring the city’s leading jewelers (“Gold Souk opens in Jaipur,” 2012). The souk caters to the flourishing tourism industry, offering a variety of jewelry styles to those visiting the city. The Jaipur Jewellery Show (JJS), held in December, attracts around 30,000 visitors annually to the Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Center (http://10times.com/jjs). The show, which started in 2003 with only 64 booths, features more than 700 vendors and includes finished jewelry and loose stones, and in 2015 it unveiled a new brand ambassador, Bollywood actress Amrita Rao (“Film actress Amrita Rao…,” 2015).
Jaipur’s gem and jewelry exports from April 2014 through March 2015 totaled more than US$574 million. Within that total, the largest category was colored gemstones at more than US$264 million. It is notable that finished gold jewelry was US$112.5 million and non-gold jewelry US$145 million