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Jewellery industry needs well-trained people

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As jewellery industry has immense potential, it is badly in need of good training, Renu Kapoor, Director, Indian Institute of Jewellery, Mumbai, tells G. Satyamurty.

A chartered accountant by profession with 26 years of experience in taxation, she set up the institute in August 2003 in a bid to “add value to the society.” In order to provide quality education, she entered into a collaboration and got the curriculum from the California Institute of Jewellery Training. Her institute offers education in Manufacturing, Design, Gemmology and Business. It opened its doors for the first batch on June 21, 2004 and till date it had had over 1,200 students enrolling for its programmes.

Initially, it launched Jewellery Technology programme of 1,000 hours duration. Then it added several more in the form of short courses and workshops in Enamelling, Diamond Grading, Identification and Valuation, Lac Artistry, Digital Gold Smith, Matrix 3D, Basic and Advanced Jewellery Designing, Professional Designing, Casting and Metal Embossing. “Now we have a good model in place. When our children are going abroad not knowing that many institutions are offering only mediocre courses, is it not our bounden duty to provide them good ones here?” She is confident that her institute has come of age. Her dream is that some day, students from overseas would vie with one another to study in India.

Ms. Kapoor points out that the jewellery export has also improved from one to four per cent of the global trade. The Indian Gem and jewellery sector is growing rapidly and has exports of $ 16 billion, well before its targeted period of 2007. Today the country is well poised to leap into the big arena of international jewellery. For that to happen, the domestic industry should professionalise its standards. “But it is unfortunate that our quality is not trusted.” She asserts that craftsmanship and manufacturing technologies of jewellery are extremely important if “we are to take this industry towards an exponential growth.” Design (drawing) is only a miniscule portion of making jewellery. “To consider design as the most vital work is a misconception.” Knowledge of metallurgy and quality control are the sine qua non of jewellery making. “Our major problem has been the laid-back approach. We do not bother about the finish.”

What is important at present are the linkages and technically astute people who can understand the production.

Though this is a traditional craft, it should think of the contemporary requirement and carry forward. “That is why the institute organises creative craft festival called- Aakiri- inviting the public. Then the trainees themselves work in their presence for two-and-a-half to three hours and if their work wins their appreciation, that is incorporated in the working of the institute. Thus, this festival opens their vistas of creativity .The participants will have something of their own to cherish.” Is diamond replacing gold? She comes out with a resounding ‘no’. With goldsmiths being in plenty in Coimbatore region with a lot of skilled English-knowing technocrats around, this is an ideal location for setting up an institute that could provide “skill-based technical training.”

The IIJ is on the lookout for an accommodation for setting up an institute in Coimbatore which might cost about Rs. 1 crore.

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