Upcoming Consumer Haven
Being one of the most populous states in the country, Uttar Pradesh (UP) is more of a consumer base than a manufacturing base when it comes to gems and jewellery industry, explores Kavita Parab
Uttar Pradesh is the fourth largest state and has a population of 19.98 crores (as per 2011 census) which is around 16.5 per cent of India’s population and is the highest amongst all Indian states. With a GSDP of Rs.11, 45, 234 crores in 2015 162, Uttar Pradesh is the third largest economy of India contributing 8.4 per cent to the country’s economy.
With growing population, Uttar Pradesh is considered to be one of the top jewellery consuming states. As the economy is more agri-based, gold is the way of life here. As is known, gold is looked at as an investment that can be liquidated in the times of crisis. Some of the important jewellery markets of the state include Lucknow, Kanpur and Meerut. Moradabad in Utttar Pradesh is famous for its metalwork and known for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings. Places like Hathras and Moradabad are famous for their brass and German silver jewellery.
Lucknow is well known for its jewellery and enamel work. Exquisite silverware with patterns of hunting scenes, snakes and roses are very popular. The Bidri and Zarbuland silver works of Lucknow have fine embroidery on excellent pieces of huqqa farshi, jewel boxes, trays, bowls, cufflinks, cigarette holders, etc. Renowned ivory and bone carvings with motifs of flowers, leaves, creepers, trees, birds and animals are widely produced in Lucknow. The master craftsmen create intricate items like knives, lampshades, shirt pins and small toys.
Meerut is referred as the largest jewellery markets of the state and has some of the well-known retailers of Utttar Pradesh jewellery industry operating from Meerut. As far as the origin of jewellery market in Meerut is concerned, it was reportedly started around 1908. Some of the known jewellery stores are located at Abu Lane Jewellery Market, Chowk Saraffa Bazar, Sadar Saraffa Bazar, Seher Chowk Saraffa Bazar and Valley bazar Jewellery market.
Kanpur is one of the most populous and largest cities in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Like any other city, Kanpur also presents before its customers a lot of opportunities to buy and enjoy gold ornaments. Gold is a very widely sought after precious metal which is considered to be very precious and auspicious for certain occasions and festivals in India. People in Kanpur use gold very intensely on wedding occasions and other festivals like Dusshera, Diwali, etc.
Gulabi Meenakari or the Pink painted enamel style was brought in Varanasi by the Persian enamellists around early 17th century during the Mughal era. This enameling style reached its peak of perfection at the Persian Court at Isfahan during the Qajar dynasty. The art of Meenakari was prosperous till about hundred years ago. A flourishing and prosperous industry till a century ago, gulabi meenakari is confined to a few artisans today who are struggling to keep alive this art of colouring or decorating a metal surface by attaching or fusing pieces of different mineral substances over it.
that would provide employment to the jewellery artisans. A lot of karigars have either moved to Mumbai or have moved to some other well-paying industries. “Uttar Pradesh does have potential to become a manufacturing hub, provided it gets required infrastructure. If you look at karigars working in jewellery factories in Mumbai, you will find that 90 per cent are from Uttar Pradesh. For them life is not easy in Mumbai, if employment opportunities for their skill sets are created in the state, then they would definitely come back,” said Vaibhav Saraf, Director, Aisshpra Gems and Jewels.
Echoing a similar thought, Himanshu Shekhar said, “Jewellery is an art and it needs to be patronized and nurtured. If the industry be it any part of India is facing problems, it is mainly because we are not nurturing the industry as an art but as a business. If we do not have good artisans then we are to blame for as the industry is not providing them enough. Therefore, the artisans today are not keen to make their next generation part of their skills. Also, some of them have diverted to other industries.”
According to Human Resource and Skill Requirements in the Gems and Jewellery Sector (2022) report, Uttar Pradesh is one of the major regions driving human resource requirements in the gems and jewellery sector. Of the total, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana together contribute 10 per cent of the human resource requirements.
The state has rich culture and heritage with many cities like Varanasi, Lucknow known for their historical and religious importance. Gold is an important part of this. Apart from the yellow metal, the consumers here have been buying diamonds and colour gemstone jewellery as well. Even silverware has good demand in the state.
India has a huge appetite for gold and Uttar Pradesh is no exception. Here, too, gold jewellery is the traditional favourite appealing to jewellery enthusiasts of all ages. The sleek and lightweight golden ornaments varying from pendants, ear rings, rings and bangles are popular for daily wear. Gold Jewellery sets comprising of earrings, neckpieces and bracelets with heavy inlays are meant for festive occasions like wedding.
Of the entire revenue, 80 per cent comes from gold and gold jewellery sales while the remaining 20 per cent is constituted by diamond and colour stone jewellery.
Moving Towards a Change
Uttar Pradesh jewellery market is currently in transitional stage. Consumers are moving towards occasion based buying like Mothers Day and Valentine’s Day. “The introduction of GST e-way bill system which is designed to eliminate interstate and national permits to ensure faster goods transport by doing away with checkposts at state borders, will be bringing a lot of positive changes in the gems and jewellery industry in Uttar Pradesh,” said Vaibhav Saraf.
Peeyush Prakash, Director, Alankar Jewelarts Pvt Ltd too agreed that Uttar Pradesh Market is current in a transitional phase. He said, “In the last ten years, the market in Uttar Pradesh has seen a major shift towards from general, middle-class based retailing has moved into higher and lower segments. Similarly, jewellery designs in small-ticket and big-ticket segments are garnering more demand. We are witnessing more of mood-based buying in the big-ticket size items. There is no more only bridal or festive buying.”
“Marketing techniques too have seen sea change. General marketing is not enough; it has become more personalized to expect more repeat customers.
Earlier, we used to choose inventory as per majority demand. However, now-a-days we select inventory as per demand from a specific set of buyers. For eg: asymmetrical, geometric designs are wanted by a particular segment and not all.,” he added.
Dedicated SEZ for gems and jewellery industry in Meerut
A special economic zone (SEZ) dedicated to the gems and jewellery industry in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh is expected to come up soon, said news reports. The District Industries Centre, Meerut and Meerut Development Authority (MDA) were reportedly in the process of identifying around 10 to 15 acres of land for the proposed SEZ. Meerut Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Society (MGJEPS) had
already started working on the project. Last known State officials were drafting the detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed SEZ. After the selection of the land, the final report will be sent to the state government for review. The proposed SEZ will have 20 to 25 units; each having an area of 1800 to 4500 sqft.
The SEZ in Meerut will be the third common special export zone in Western Uttar Pradesh; the other two special zones are located in Moradabad and Noida.
Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ), Varanasi
The Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ), Varanasi, an educational venture of The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Adityanath Yogi and BJP President & Rajya Sabha MP, Amit Shah at a grand ceremony in that city on January 20, 2018. The institute has been set up with the aim of helping the revival and modernisation of traditional skills and innovative jewellery craftsmanship in eastern India, and is in sync with the Hon Prime Minister’s vision of Skill India.
The institute will be providing quality training with appropriate certification/diploma to aspiring young students in jewellery designing and manufacturing, the GJEPC and IIGJ said in a statement. Admissions to a one year diploma course at the institute have already commenced.
The IIGJ Varanasi facility occupies over 6,000 sq ft in Kuber Mall, Rathyatra area of Varanasi. It was set up by GJEPC, along with likeminded jewellery Industry business men and together with IIGJ, Mumbai in this city of enlightenment which is one of the oldest cities in the world, with the aim of helping to revive the traditional arts in the area, which are now fighting for survival.