This compares to exports worth ₹19,597 crore in April 2019 and ₹22,151 crore in May of the same year.
“Last month’s (May) numbers would have been better had the airports not shut or the local manufacturing units and supply lines not been disrupted due to rising Covid-19 cases,” said Colin Shah, chairman of the GJEPC.
“But the situation is better now; the whole world is open. US and Chinese markets are doing well, and Europe and Gulf countries are catching up. We did see a rise in demand from Western markets during Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day. We hope to do better than what we did in 2019,” Shah added.
Apart from jewellery manufacturing, India is the largest hub for polishing ‘roughs’ (rough diamonds) into fine diamonds.
In April and May this year, Indian diamantaires imported rough diamonds worth ₹21,853 crore.
In May alone, the industry procured roughs worth ₹9,214 crore against ₹6,978 crore in May 2019.
“We will be more stable in the coming months, and the industry will do well across domestic and export markets,” said Richa Singh, managing director (India), Natural Diamond Council (NDC), a body representing top miners.
“E-commerce has taken major
forward in this period, and the use of websites and social media for research and first point of discovery has increased. There will be greater use of digital interface in B2B export,” she added.
According to NDC, India is the most preferred country for sourcing gems and jewellery.
The country exported $18.66 billion worth of cut and polished diamonds in FY20 — it contributed nearly 64% of the total gems and jewellery exports.
The United States accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country’s total gems and jewellery exports, while some European countries, Japan and China are the other large buyers.
The recovery in exports is a positive sign for the industry as it is grappling with a significant decline in domestic demand.
According to industry sources, retail sales have dropped by 60% to 80% since the onset of the pandemic last year.
The industry booked meagre sales between September and February last fiscal year, when Covid-19 cases were down across the country.
“There were no sales in April and May due to lockdowns across states,” said Joy Alukkas, CMD of Joy Alukkas Jewellery, a large Indian retailer.