C. Krishniah Chetty Group stops using Chinese cultured pearls
Amid the rising chorus to shun Chinese products, Bengaluru’s C. Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers are considering sourcing pearls from Japan, Venezuela and Australia instead of China.
The first such move has been taken by C. Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers. The 150-year-old jewellery group’s gemologists would stop procurement and use of Chinese-origin pearls, and instead use Japanese, Venezuelan or Indian pearls, according to a statement.
The decision also comes at a time when there is rising clamour for boycotting Chinese products after at least 20 Indian Army personnel died last week during a violent standoff between the two countries in Ladakh.
"Although Chinese pearls are much cheaper and plentiful, the import duties must be increased to make it unprofitable and to discourage these imports. With the possibility of China being behind the global pandemic, we profess a total ban on use of Chinese gems by Indian jewellery industry," the jewellery group's Managing Director and Director, Dr. C. Vinod Hayagriv said.
"The government should discourage Chinese imports and make efforts to strengthen the Indian industry," C. Krishniah Chetty Group Director, Chaitanya V Cotha said.
In FY-20, India imported raw pearls worth Rs 79 crore, up 38.28% (in value terms) from the previous year.
While India may lose some investments, or exports to China, in the bigger scheme of things it is important to support Indian manufacturers and their products or alternative international sources, he added.
China has increased production of freshwater pearls and has been cultivating pearls surpassing Japan in quantity over the last decade.
Origin disclosures have been taken seriously in the last decade by the company and it is important jewellers ensure origin tracking of the more expensive gems, both for environmental and political reasons, he said.
India imports jewellery products and related items from China. This includes loose gemstones, loose pearls, synthetic diamonds and gemstones jewellery, costume and fashion jewellery, and jewellery boxes, among others.
Surendra Mehta, National Secretary, India Bullion & Jewellers Association, said “Dependence on Chinese products cannot be reduced overnight. But over a period of time, jewellers can look at other destinations like Taiwan, Vietnam and Japan to procure pearls. Production in India can be increased too.”
Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said jewellers should shun Chinese products right away. CAIT, which has stepped up its anti-China campaign, has around 70 million traders and 40,000 trade associations within its fold.
According to Dr. C. Vinod Hayagriv, the group is adding more strength to its own production of jewellery and focusing on training more artisans.
“Although, we have been using man cultured Chinese pearls which are not natural, these were always considered inferior to those cultured in Japan. Hence, we are happy not to use pearls of Chinese origin,”