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The cutting edge

With branded diamond companies and family jewellers competing, the consumer sure is spoilt for choice.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 01:54 IST

Big B flashes a ‘one in a million’ rock on his fingers in the promos for diamond brand Solitaire, Aishwarya Rai waltzes through the Nakshatra ad, and Sushmita Sen plays the sexy seductress for Kiah. Advertising for branded diamond jewellery just got bigger and better. But the Nizam’s fabled collection still holds all spellbound. And Rekha, who continues to patronise her family jeweller, still steals the thunder.

While most of the advertising is for big brands like Orra, Sangini, Nakshatra or Asmi, it is the friendly family jeweller who is laughing all the way to the bank. While branded diamond advertisements add to the hype around the sparkling stones, there is no doubt that it is the family jewellers who are benefiting from the boom.

The diamond market in India is over Rs 6,600 crore, with the country being one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The past few years have seen the launch of more than 40 brands. However, the branded jewellery market is just about 9 per cent of the overall diamond market with family jewellers retaining their top position.

While there are various reasons for the popularity of family jewellers over the branded segment, the foremost is the price difference. Says Pritti Behl, an architect and a regular buyer of diamond jewellery, “There is no doubt that advertising by the brands tempt you and often takes you to the store but finally it’s almost always the family jewellers who score. After all, why should I pay nearly 30-40 per cent more for branded jewellery when I know my jeweller will give me diamonds that are just as good?”

Says Shehzad Zaveri, managing director of Minawala Jewellers, a family jeweller, “While advertisements and powerful imagery of branded diamonds is quite capable of stirring emotions, the customer is often disappointed when the product doesn’t look as romantic.”

A leading fifth generation of family jewellers on Turner Road, attributes the triumph of the family jewellers to the personal touch they bring along. “Buying from family jewellers is about the experience and the personal touch. The associations with customers goes back to several generations and that’s why they keep coming back.” Prices too play an important role as family jewellers charge almost 20-30 per cent less than branded jewellery companies while offering designs that best suit the buyer’s tastes.

Companies that sell branded diamonds are, however, optimistic. Says Cherie Tandon Saldanha, marketing director, DTC, India, “Branded diamond jewellery though in a nascent stage, has shown encouraging signs and made a huge impact. Brands give consumers a confidence in their purchase especially in terms of what they are buying,” she adds.

The neighbourhood jeweller, however, is smartening up too — offering a mix of both old and new designs and launching their own branded diamonds, Minawala Jewellers, Anmol Jewellers, Notandas, Tribhuvan Das Bhimji Zaveri being just a few examples.

As for diamond lovers, being spoilt for choice is something they aren’t likely to complain about.