The rising demand for gems and jewellery products both nationally and internationally has given birth to a new generation of jewellery designers
In the world’s 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 world’s 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 $40 billion 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.
STUDY PROGRAMMES. 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. GJEPC with the help of the German government and 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 country’s 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 Plus Two or equivalent examination. Admission to this course is on the basis of performance in the institute’s entrance examination which is usually held in February.
SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, and Indian Diamond Institute, Surat, also offer highly-acclaimed jewellery design programmes with highly trained faculty. The Jewellery Design and Technology Institute, with branches in Noida and Chandigarh, offers a wide range of courses in 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.
A career in jewellery design brings to mind international watch brands, dazzling De Beers diamonds, and charming costume accessories. It’s all this and a glittering lot more. But success in this industry requires the designer’s ability to conceptualise, craft, shape, and hone natural stone, gems and precious metals to satisfy customer needs.
(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)