Shortage of gold as raw material and the consequent decline in gold jewellery exports have opened up avenues of growth for silver jewellery. Efforts to lift silverware and jewellery manufacturing to international standards have started bearing fruit too, as demand from developed markets has improved.
Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council data showed silver jewellery exports rose 109 per cent between April 2013 and this February to Rs 8,140 crore from Rs 3,885 crore in the same period last financial year. In dollar terms, exports rose by 90 per cent.
According to Pankaj Parekh, vice-chairman of GJEPC, not just jewellery, exports of silver utensils, artifacts and other articles to countries like the US, parts of Europe and Japan have also grown significantly.
“With the price of gold and palladium moving up, 14 carat white gold, which is preferred by customers in these countries for diamond-studded jewellery, is becoming unaffordable. Sterling silver, an alloy with 92.5 per cent silver content, has become acceptable as it is identical in looks but cheaper than white gold. Indian jewellers are now increasingly exporting diamond-studded sterling silver jewellery. Scarcity of gold as a raw material is also making them shift to silver jewellery,” he said.