NTERVIEW WITH Jim Vimadalal, Director, Mumbai Representative Office, ALROSA (Interview at The Retail Jeweller website)
As Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA is set to open its representative office in Mumbai, Jim Vimadalal, Director, Mumbai Representative Office, ALROSA talks about how ALROSA will enrich the diamond trade narrative in India.
The Retail Jeweller (TRJ): What are the key objectives you will initially pursue after assuming office?
Jim Vimadalal (JV): India has emerged as the largest diamond cutting center in the world. According to various estimates, 70% to 90% of all diamonds in the world is sent to India for cutting. And, being the largest diamond supplier in the world, ALROSA is keen to deepen its trade relations with the gems and jewellery market in India. ALROSA accounts for about 30% of the global rough diamond supply, which means, every fourth stone being cut in India has arrived from Russia. Opening the representative office in India – planned in March-April this year – is a logical step in that direction. However, ALROSA representative office in India will not carry out any trading activity.
While heading the Mumbai representative office, my key role and responsibilities involve negotiating deals with the new clients, exploring possibilities of cooperation with them, solving technical issues of the existing clients, as well as discussing opportunities for cooperation and joint initiatives with the trade bodies.
Overall, ALROSA wants to be in sync with the industry to leverage the evolving market opportunities in India.
TRJ: What is ALROSA’s business and supply outlook for the Indian market?
JV: Well, ALROSA has long and successful trade collaboration with India. In the new contract period (2018-2020), ALROSA has signed 14 long-term contracts with diamond manufacturing companies in India. But, the volume of trade goes beyond that those contracts. ALROSA currently works with more than 140 Indian companies that buy diamonds from the spot market or auctions. As a whole, in CY2017, ALROSA directly supplied diamonds worth almost $700 million to India. However, the numbers will become much bigger if ALROSA rough diamonds traded in other diamond trading centres are taken into account. Going forward, the cooperation between ALROSA and the polished diamond manufacturers in India will continue to grow.
TRJ: What role will the India office play in enhancing cooperation with local industry organizations as well as advising the existing clientele?
JV: India office will drive the interactions with the industry stakeholders forward. For instance, the company has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the GJEPC, which includes many important issues such as trade in the SNZ (Special Notified Zone), measures to counter the penetration of synthetics into the supply chain. We will support the measures aimed at separating the trade of natural diamonds from the trade of synthetics in the market. We’ll be exchanging information on companies that are engaged in illicit trafficking of diamonds.
TRJ: You have been associated with the diamonds and diamond jewellery market in India. What are your key observations on the market?
JV: In my opinion, the Indian diamond jewellery market has a huge growth potential. The fact that Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has initiated a generic marketing program in India last year proves that there are strong opportunities to strengthen the demand for diamond jewellery at the retail end.
In addition, thanks to various policy and economic reform initiatives in the country, the trade narrative has changed for the better. The diamond jewellery market in India is developing and, thus opening up opportunities for productive cooperation with major retail players.
TRJ: What are your suggestions to the retailers to increase diamond jewellery demand at the consumer level?
JV: I think retailers have to understand their consumers better. They need to come up with different methods of interaction with the consumers. They should offer products that reflect the emerging design trends. In addition to participating in generic promotions by the DPA and other miners, retailers should also increase spend on strategic marketing initiatives, as such initiatives are effective in triggering demands at the consumer level.