Arun Mehta Opens Innovation & Incubation Centre

Mumbai: The Founder and Chairman of Rosy Blue, Arun Mehta, widely considered to be the patriarch of the Indian gem & jewellery industry, today inaugurated the Innovation & Incubation Centre at the Indian Institute of Gem & Jewellery (IIGJ), Tardeo. The IIGJ is a project of The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The institute operates out of two campuses in the city: in Andheri (in the western suburbs) and Tardeo, in south Mumbai. There are other IIGJs in various other gem & jewellery centres – the latest addition to the roster was inaugurated in Varanasi a short while ago.

In a warm ceremony, in equal measure nostalgic and forward looking, various speakers spoke of the journey of the institute thus far and the resolve to take it to greater heights, reaching out to newer horizons. This is clearly the direction that of the committees of both the IIGJ and the GJEPC, and the faculty of the IIGJ wish to take; a shared vision to ensure IIGJ plays its role in taking the gems and jewellery industry to the next level.

Kirit Bhansali, Chairman of IIGJ in his welcome speech lauded the efforts of the IIGJ committee and faculty in achieving the goal of setting up the Innovation & Incubation Centre which, he said, would bring about a qualitative change in the training imparted by IIGJ Tardeo. He was particularly full of praise for Namita Pandya, Convenor of IIGJ Tardeo and Sanjoy Ghosh, Head of the Institute, IIGJ, Andheri; and other faculty members of the institute in their efforts towards achieving this milestone moment.

Calling Arun Mehta the Bhishmapitah of the industry, Bhansali said it was only fitting that the veteran industry leader should be inaugurating the facility as he has played a pivotal role in the lives of so many leading business persons and been mentor and guide to them, including himself.
Monica Jhaveri, HoD IIGJ Tardeo, traced the history of the institution since it was first set up as the Jewellery Product Development Centre, way back in the 1960s to the present day, when it has developed into the IIGJ and upgraded its campus, technology and courses, to cater to the new era. She stressed that the students of the institute had brought much glory to their alma mater by winning awards, successfully occupying important positions in industry, with some of them even going on to become entrepreneurs.

Sanjoy Ghosh, outlining the specific objectives of the new centre, said that it would foster research and entrepreneurship. Saying that the inauguration of the centre had fulfilled a long cherished dream, he noted that industry experts would be at hand to provide guidance. The areas covered by the centre would include conducting research; and there would be a stress on manufacturing technology and the use of the internet for sales and marketing amongst other innovative streams.

Namita Pandya pointed out that though India has a long tradition of jewellery making, the reasons people wear jewellery have changed over the centuries. From wearing jewellery for therapeutic purposes in olden times, consumers now adorn themselves with jewellery for personal enhancement, she said. Pandya stressed that designers needed to understand the present day consumer as well as the various markets – each of which have different characteristics – to be successful in their chosen field. She said the new centre would take training to the next level.

Arun Mehta, addressing the gathering said though recent events in the gems and jewellery industry may be of a nature fit to shake the confidence of those in this industry, “we should not lose our dignity or strength”. He recalled his early days when he entered the business in 1960, and the immense development that had been made by the industry. “Whatever happens — whether we go down in the gems business, whether we polish natural rough or lab grown diamond — I am confident our jewellery industry will remain strong. And I am sure India will emerge as the largest jewellery exporter in the world,” he concluded.

Sanjay Kothari, Member of the IIGJ Committee, presenting the vote of thanks exhorted students to consider the jewellery industry as the place where their careers lay. He said that at the time he and his generation entered the industry, there were no institutes like IIGJ and facilities of the kind being inaugurated, which are available to those entering the industry today. Thus, those entering the business in his time had to spend several years getting informally trained.

Saying Arunbhai was a guiding force to a large number of persons in the industry today, to whom all went with their problems, he thanked him fulsomely for his presence at the event.

All the industry speakers made a special mention of the late Tanvirkumar Chokshi, the founding chairman of IIGJ, whose vision and efforts had established the institution as a leading one. His wife, Shilpa Chokshi who attended the function was also felicitated at the event.

A large number of students received their trophies for various achievements at the event.