For those aspiring to get into gem-studded jewellery business, those already in the industry and even the buyers, learning more about diamonds, other precious and semi-precious stones, the products made of these, and the designs, will be easier now.

This will be possible with the distance education courses planned by the Gemmological Institute of India, established by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. The courses can be conducted by the institute in different cities jointly with local institutions or agencies.

K.T. Ramchandran, Chief Gemmologist and Executive Secretary of Gemmological Institute of India, who is here to take part in a two-day seminar on “Present and Future of Gems and Diamond Trade”, told The Hindu on Saturday that the focus of the institute was to address the challenges faced by the gem and jewellery industry and educate the public and the industry on the products. The Indian gem and jewellery industry was export-oriented.

Though the international market was not doing well for the last two years, the industry was not affected much because the domestic consumption was growing. Those aged between 20 and 35 and living in the tier-one cities had higher purchasing power now.

The demand in the domestic and international markets was more for diamond-studded jewellery. About 60 per cent of India’s gem-based jewellery was diamond jewellery. Globally, India was the sixth largest consumer of diamond jewellery, he said.

During the last four or five years, several branded diamond jewellery players had come and now there were 40 or 50 brands in the country.

Purchase of other stones (precious and semi-precious) was also growing. It was largely for astrological and investment purposes. However, the industry also faced challenges. There were several treated diamonds and synthetic diamonds and those in the trade and industry too need to be equipped to identify these. “Product knowledge is essential for buyers and sellers,” he said.

The institute was holding seminars in different cities to create awareness among the public and the industry. Programmes, similar to the one organised here, was held in four cities during the last one month.

The institute offered courses, testing facilities and certification. The students were able to start their own business or become consultants. The scope was growing because of the increasing demand in the domestic market.

T.R.C. Muralidharon of Diamonds India said the institute planned to start a collection centre here for testing the stone-studded jewellery and the gems.