Jewellery design: Sparkling opportunities for jewellery designers

The rising demand for gems and jewellery products both nationally and internationally has given birth to a new generation of jewellery designers
In the worlds first jewellery design awards organised by the World Gold Council in 2000, five Indian designers made it into the ranks of the top 30 from among 1,000 global contestants. Consequently, the designs of these top five crowned ‘Gold Virtuosi were prime exhibits at the Vicenza Fair — the worlds largest jewellery exhibition held in Italy in 2000. With the gems and jewellery industry having emerged as one of the highest forex earners for India, business opportunities for jewellery designers are multiplying rapidly. The rising demand for gems and jewellery products both nationally and internationally, has given birth to a new generation of qualified jewellery designers with gilded ideas supported by formal education.

India manufactures and exports gems and jewellery products valued at over Rs.70,000 crore annually. And burgeoning demand has resulted in the mushrooming of jewellery manufacturing enterprises — all of which want designers — all over the country. This has made a career in jewellery design very attractive.

Most jewellery design education programmes teach the rudiments of design, stone-setting, various finishes, the techniques of fabrication etc. Students are trained to design on paper giving complete details of size and weight of stones, the size of the final product, the weight in metal etc. Some of the important institutes for training in jewellery design are: Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Jaipur, and the Jewellery Product Development Centre, Mumbai, which offer short-term courses. The GJEPC with the help of German government and the Union commerce ministry has established the Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ), Andheri East, Mumbai, to provide the trained technical manpower urgently required by the countrys high-potential gems and jewellery industry. IIGJ is the first institute of its type to fully concentrate on all aspects of jewellery right from the conceptualisation stage to marketing the final product, including jewellery designing. The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Hauz Khas, New Delhi, also offers a three-year diploma programme in accessories and jewellery design for students who have completed the Plus Two or equivalent examination. Admission to this course is on the basis of performance in the institutes entrance examination which is usually held in February.

SNDT Womens University, Mumbai, and Indian Diamond Institute, Surat, also offer highly-acclaimed jewellery design programmes with a highly trained faculty. Jewellery Design and Technology Institute, with branches in Noida and Chandigarh, offers a wide range of courses on various aspects of jewellery design and technology.

Jewellery designers hone their artistic ability to create new designs for various types of clients and markets, often designing set pieces according to specifications of special customers. Permanent employment is offered by big exporters, fashion houses, and/or by small exclusive enterprises. Given a background in gemology, jewellery designers can strike out in a big way with export houses and designer jewellery firms. With the demand for Indian jewellery designs on the upswing worldwide, export opportunities are multiplying for producers of all scales. As with all creative work, success depends on talent, luck, personality, ability to forecast trends, and marketing savvy, preferably with capital backing.

GLAMOROUS CAREER. One of the talented five who was crowned a Gold Virtuosi at the World Gold Councils jewellery design fair in Italy in 2000 is Saayli Saaket (32). Though armed with a 1995 BFA (applied art) degree from the Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai, Saaket began her career in an ad agency. But with her heart set on jewellery design (she used to design handmade jewellery in her school days and even participated in a jewellery exhibition when she was in art school), Saaket soon signed up with a jewellery manufacturing export firm (Elegant Collections) in suburban Mumbai where she acquired expertise in jewellery design, model making, and product development.

Comments Saaket: Jewellery designing is a new and glamorous career which is attracting many youngsters as the industry has been growing continuously. With competition intensifying, innovation and precision are becoming necessary qualities in this business. Its ultimately design creativity that sets you apart in a world where run-of-the-mill creations abound and its a challenging proposition to break through the clutter

A career in jewellery design brings to mind international watch brands, dazzling De Beers diamonds, and charming costume accessories. Its all this and a glittering lot more. But success in this industry requires the designers ability to conceptualise, craft, shape, and hone natural stone, gems and precious metals to satisfy customer needs. Trained designers are in demand in urban areas because of exports. Trends normally are set from international jewellery shows such as Basel show.

The Indian jewellery industry still has a long way to go. But as long as the fashion industry grows, there will be growing demand for accessories. So theres no shortage of professional excitement,” says Saaket.

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