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Gemstones Indian jewel merchants find their niche at Baselworld

The “stones and pearls” section of the world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair may be tucked away into a corner but it is buzzing with optimism. At the Indian pavilion, diamond merchants are looking to make their mark. (Carlo Pisani,

Indian traders have a strong presence in the international crowd in Hall 3, the dedicated space at the fair for precious stones and pearls. Around 30 stalls have been reserved for them by the Indian government, which negotiates with Baselworld to obtain favourable rental rates on their behalf.

Most of the Indian vendors at Baselworld are not jewellers. They specialise in sourcing precious stones for jewellery and watch brands. Diamonds are their specialty. They are looking to supply diamonds of all sizes to watch and jewellery brands. 

India is the world’s number one hub for cutting and processing diamonds. According to the Global Diamond Industry 2015 Report by consultancy firm Bain & Company, India now cuts and polishes more than 40% of rough diamonds over one carat. High-cost hubs like Belgium, Israel and the US, that traditionally handled high-end stones, are experiencing a decline in revenues as more and more large stone processing has migrated to India.  

Lower labour costs and a shift towards quality has meant that Indian dealers are a better fit than ever for international buyers at Baselworld.

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