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[India] [Very Long] Industry Trends


#1

Respected Hanuman and Fellow Orchidians,

This is my first ever initiative in expressing few of my viewpoints
on Orchid. Apologies for any errors of any kind whatsoever.

I’ve been a subscriber to orchid and receive the Ganoksin newsletters
in my mailbox. Real interesting info and knowledge enhancing.
However, it’s time new topics are put up for discussion and info
sharing and thus my objective of the contents hereunder.

Life is an experience and the more we all share amongst fellow living
creatures, the more we participate in the family of promoting
brotherhood, love and compassion.

I am not a jeweler, but born in a jeweler’s family of India/Bombay.

My Great Grandfather was possibly, as narrated to me by my Late
Grandmother the first jeweler to have ventured out of India during
the days of the British Raj (year being 1904) for jewelry business
and had taken along with him a few interpreters.

My Grandfather was India’s pre-eminent jeweler of the 1940’s and 50’s
and on the day of his demise all jewelry markets in India were closed
as mark of respect in his honor.

Well, that’s about my ancestors.

I’ve got excellent knowledge, all practical experience, and it’s been
hereditary - ALL IN MY BLOOD and have never taken any tutorials or
course/classes to gain knowledge in appraisal of color stones, cut &
polished diamonds or old-enameled jewelry. I can also evaluate old
mine cuts/fancy shapes/rose cuts and briolettes.

With the emergence of many new semi-precious stones, and with various
heating treatments, color enhancements and other intricacies, not
every jeweler or individual in the trade could be in a position to
appraise and identify ALL color stones. However, it’s my superb
God-gifted business acumen and marketing skills, which have enabled
me, achieve astounding success and I seek the BLESSINGS of all
Orchidians in my career.

I’ve been Non-Resident Indian (living out of India) for the past 18
years, last 11 of them in Hong Kong, representing interests of Indian
diamond mfrs. /merchants and operate as an Indenter. I only deal with
HK jewelry mfrs.

With God’ s blessings, aggregated cumulative sales of 60 million
dollars in a decade and could have done much much MORE - BUT for the
morally bankrupt temperament of Indian diamond merchants.

This is a subject which I’m keen on have it debated and discussed on
Ganoksin/Orchid and if Hanuman is fairly broad-minded, it would be an
eye-opener to all concerned in the gems & jewelry business/industry.
This subject matter requires a hot debate, given the serious
ramifications. If Global Witness and other NGO’s and International
Watchdogs on Human Rights have been so outspoken on Human Rights and
conflict diamonds why not discuss this issue hereunder:

Almost 95%, in fac6t, conservatively and more precise, it could be as
much as 98% of ala Indian sales representatives/sales clerks selling
diamond son behalf of their superiors in India are being exploited.
They’re all working FREE. There isn’t even a basic job application
form in the Indian diamond industry/market, these boys too, all
either distant relatives or diamond assorters (with poor skills in
grading, pricing, etc) all naEFve, rustic background possessed,
unfortunate too to have been deprived of basic formal education in
their livers just like their superiors, are randomly hand-picked,
asked to take a flight to either USA, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or
Bangkok, and get started selling their diamonds.

There aren’t any medical benefits, no insurance coverage (except for
goods in transit and their value as a whole of the product0, no
travel perks, no compensation/retirement plans /benefits, no
performance-linked incentives, nothing, nothing ET all!

Imagine then, the exploitation of the cheap source of labor in this
industry.

In fact, boys in the age groups of 14-18 are cutting and polishing
diamonds in the smaller urban locales /cities of Surat and Bhavnagar
in the Western Indian State of Gujarat.

Is this not worst than child slavery? No salaries paid? Yeah, the
boys are asked to economize on lodging/boarding, they carry with them
foodstuff from India. Else, obviously, travel and related expenses
are borne by their superiors.

The remaining 2 to 5% are just paid salaries of 50 to 100 dollars
each month, all paid in the home country in equivalent Indian
currency./

Any comments from fellow Orchidians?

Some loopholes in US Immigration, e.g. the L-1 category intra-company
visa and other manipulations adopted by these applicants have enabled
them circumvent the provisions of US Imm laws. If there aren’t any
records about salaries received, etc. how is it that they have
submitted so called ’ fraudulent ’ applications to the INS and other
US govt. departments, particularly the Inland revenue Service wherein
they must have made false claims on salaries and claimed deductions
of various sorts., etc.

It is time the INS wakes up, crosschecks on the identity of these
Indians selling India’s cut & polished diamonds in that country. The
other centers where such sales clerks are spread are Antwerp, (New
York and LA in the USA), Tokyo (as also Osaka and Kofu in Japan),
Hong Kong and Bangkok.

The Hong Kong Immigration department had come to its senses after a
decade. They sued to issue 3-month tourist visas to people arriving
into HK from India. The latter is a member of the Commonwealth and
many Indians took undue advantage of this provision, and loophole in
HK’s Imm laws. One boy used to come and live for a period of 45 to 55
days, before expiry of his 3-month stay he would make it across the
border into Mainland China and again return by late- evening or after
a stay of 2 to 4 days, whitewash the brains of the Imm officers at
check-points and were again granted 3-moth so called " tourist -
visitor " visa. Thus, Indians raped their own happiness and screwed
up the entire trade. Chinese buyers, all jewelry mfrs. who used to
give good decent profits and returns on Indian goods have now become
smarter than the vendors. Indians have been used to leg-pulling each
other, coupled with other characteristics which permitted the Muslim
Mogul Rulers to rape our country’s happiness for over 4 centuries and
later followed by the British Colonial rulers, and further compounded
by the pathetic chaotic state of affairs prevalent in today’s INDIA,

  • whereas many of these so called ’ visitors ’ dumped diamonds, they
    managed their imports into HK thru covert means, thereby depriving
    the HK customs and excise administration of legitimate revenues as
    also the Inland Revenue dept. of profits-taxes as they made it back
    to India without paying taxes. It’s easy for any individual to
    register and establish a company, particularly the sole proprietor
    company in HK. So also, on the strength of the passport, it’s simple
    to open a bank locker. They’d thus keep their valuables in safe
    lockers, next day get started selling the diamonds and this entire
    circumvention made the HK govt. incur a cumulative loss of almost 1
    billion HK dollars, or even more. (Just rough estimates-judging from
    the huge imports of Indian diamonds into HK. The territory ranks as
    the second largest importer of Indian diamonds after the US) HK is an
    important distribution center in the Far East catering to
    requirements of neighboring China, Taiwan, few ASEAN markets and
    Korea. Thus, HK govt. has woken up, they’ve realized their BIG
    mistake, and now Indians are only issued 14 days visas upon arrival
    in HK, at HK intl. Airport.

It has now become a level-playing field and very few suppliers are
now operating in HK. Its yet a crowded market, given that today there
could be around 50 Indian diamond companies compared with almost 200
Indians present physically in HK at any given point of time during
the 3-moth visa era.

Thus, Orchid Digest should initiate discussions to a certain extent
on labor issues, appraisals, valuation techniques, conflict diamonds,
etc.etc.

I’m aware, Ganoksin/Orchid is primarily focused on jewelry making
techniques and goldsmithing, etc. allied subjects, but topics like
these would create more awareness, the message would be relayed as
far till top echelons of government departments and proper action
taken in order to stop exploitation of helpless sales clerks.

There could be some element of humanitarianism and therefore I
personally opine, this topic should be discussed in full together
with pay scales prevalent in the gems and jewelry industry throughout
the world, the US in particular.

Kind regards,

Lalit Jhaveri

Indenter - cut & polished diamonds

Hong Kong Permanent Resident

E-mail: lalittara@yahoo.com

Fax: 91-22-3642157


#2

M. Jhaveri, Respectfully, 1) You can have all the jeweler’s blood in
the world in you and it won’t do you any good in today’s marketplace
without a proper education. My great grandfather was kidnapped by
Cossacks in Russia and taught to bejewel sword hilts but it didn’t do
a damn thing for me in terms of identifying synthetics that have been
developed in the last 5 years.

  1. Orchid has dealt with the many humanitarian topics you raise in
    the past. It is not however the sole focus of the group and as such
    should not dominate the discussions to the point of excluding the
    other topics.

  2. As has become apparent in the conflict diamond issue, there is
    very little that jewelers as a group can truly do to monitor the
    sources of gem materials. Suggesting a general boycott against Indian
    goods would ultimately probably harm more people than it would help.
    India is also such a huge country that actually physically stopping
    goods from crossing the borders somehow would be just about
    impossible. Personally, I have almost always boycotted Indian cut
    gems, however it is not for humanitarian reasons. The quality of cut
    goods coming out of India is so low that I cannot sell them in my
    store. It would probably be better for India if you started a
    movement to improve the quality of the goods (which, incidentally,
    would force the manufacturers to pay more talented people more money)
    than any other kind of action.

  3. If you haven’t lived in India for so long, how do you know that
    things haven’t been changing there of late?

  4. Immigration rules are not something that most individuals can have
    any impact on. Corruption in the immigration systems are not
    something any of us can help. We can only know that we are presenting
    our product in an honest and forthright manner.

  5. Since most Orchidians are relatively small manufacturers of
    jewelry, and since many of us produce our own product, there is very
    little we can do about large importers and retailers who bring Indian
    goods into the US or any of the other countries represented on Orchid.

  6. Might I suggest, in the future, that you bring up one issue at a
    time. It would make it easier to understand what you are trying to
    say.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G. Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140 617-491-6000 @spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#3

Daniel,

Congratulations on your bold response to this Indians’ poignant
lament about the Indian jewelry industry. India is a landmark symbol
of what can go wrong with the human experience. Rambant proliferation
is akin to cancerous infection. When societies self replicate beyond
their ability to assimilate, a self destructive malaise sets in. I
agree that our Indian friend should address himself to cleaning up
his own back yard. Ron at millsgem.com