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Design : An effective tool to grow your business

Nirupa Bhatt

I once read that the definition of Creativity was thinking up new things and that the definition of Innovation was thinking of the same things differently. This struck me as an appropriate way to describe design and innovation in the gem and jewellery industry.

Throughout the world, the “building blocks” we use in our business are essentially the same: gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Any jewellery brand or retail business works with some or all of these same raw materials. While each retail business is a brand in itself, its distinct identity needs to be established in the minds of the consumers. One of the key routes to doing that is to create excellent standards when it comes to the quality of design.

Jewellery aesthetics – deep rooted in history

Jewellery aesthetics have been a part of human civilization for thousands of years. They have evolved across various periods of time and almost all cultures, especially in the Middle East. From the early Mesopotamians to the Bedouins and the renowned pearl divers to modern day consumers flocking to jewellery souks, the Middle East boasts a rich tradition in jewellery. Whether using organic materials like natural pearls and mother of pearl or gemstones like emeralds, rubies and diamonds or metals like gold, silver and platinum - design aesthetic is deeply rooted in the culture of this region. Design innovation carries those artistic traditions forward for future generations. Traditional motifs and inspirations taken from Arabic calligraphy or pottery are just some of the ideas that can be translated to create stunning original pieces of jewellery.

Importance of jewellery design in the modern retail environment

Today, design plays a vital role in the dynamics of retail jewellery. A uniquely designed jewellery piece is highly valued and tends to be sold at a premium. A one-of-a-kind piece has even greater appeal. For this very reason, fine jewellers across the world work to trademark their designs and treat them as intellectual property. Other retailers offer personalised services such as counter sketching and the allure of custom jewellery pieces to attract customers. The robust jewellery industry presence in the Middle East showcases eclectic designs ranging from traditional to modern, luxurious to edgy. The sheer size of the region and its love for jewellery offers designers numerous career opportunities. A jewellery designer plays a critical role in the success of business strategies for retailers, so retail business owners continually look for skilled and innovative designers to translate their visions into reality. A recent study sited jewellery design as one of the top career options in the employment market by the year 2015. It is hardly a surprise considering the growth of the global jewellery industry. Every brand today is looking for talented designers to inspire and create a lasting connection with the consumer. GIA is at the forefront of this momentum, creating opportunities for aspiring designers to hone their skills and positively contribute to the growth of this industry.


Nurturing jewellery design talent at GIA

For more than 81 years, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has been recognized as the “Harvard of gem and jewellery education.” It has led the way in gemmological research, instrumentation and laboratory services, translating knowledge into world-class training in all areas related to gems and jewellery, including jewellery design training. Designing jewellery is an art that needs to be polished just like a diamond. A jewellery designer unites their own creativity with nature’s wonders (diamonds, rubies, emeralds, gold, etc.) to create stunning masterpieces. GIA’s jewellery design courses help aspiring designers gain a professional edge and provide them with the opportunity to have their talent and ability recognized worldwide. From an intensive certificate course in Jewelry Design to a SWIFT Jewellery design programme in Dubai, the courses are selectively designed to suit the needs, design interests and schedules of budding designers or professionals looking to hone their skills.

GIA’s Jewelry Design Certificate gives students the skills to illustrate their ideas like an artist. The extensive nine-week course starts with the basics of designing and provides an in-depth understanding of jewellery design theory and artistry. Participants also learn to illustrate the shape, form and texture of metal; render faceted gems, cabochons and pearls; and apply traditional drafting techniques to design jewellery. Students finish the course with a portfolio of designs that showcases their work for potential employers, and gain enhanced skills to build their collections and the confidence to enter the jewellery industry’s creative domain. The course includes a visit to a jewellery manufacturing factory to provide an understanding of how design translates into creation.

GIA’s SWIFT Jewellery Design is a perfect fit for those looking for a shorter course. This five-day programme teaches participants the basic principles of design and composition, settings and representation techniques and the role of a jewellery designer. They learn to draw basic shapes; render diamonds, coloured stones and metal forms; and create basic counter sketching of rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and bangles. The course provides the fundamental knowledge for designing collections and provides insight into manufacturing and pricing of design. Both of these courses are geared toward a variety of aspiring professionals, from jewellery designers and manufacturers to hobbyists and entrepreneurs who wish to build their own jewellery business, or any other individual wanting a career in the gem and jewellery industry. For additional details or to inquire about these programmes, please contact giamideast@gia.edu.

GIA’s showcases design talent
GIA is committed to supporting students long after they have completed their education. One initiative benefitting GIA alumni is the GIA show at the India International Jewellery Week (IIJW). For the past three years, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) in India has organised a jewellery fashion week featuring renowned Indian and international jewellery brands and designers. GIA uses this platform to showcase the talent of its alumni to national and international audiences attending the show. Each year, GIA handpicks 9-10 alumni from an extensive talent pool to display their individual collections at the show.

The show is a truly unique opportunity for alumni to showcase their capabilities to the world, interact with national and international media and network with the buyers from around the globe.

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