MUMBAI, January 10, 2011 - A visit to the retail jewellers clustered around Turner Road in Bandra, a smart district of north Mumbai, revealed a variety of Indian finished fine jewellery creations to suit all budgets.
Shops such as Saga, VM Jewellers and Popley Eternal stock fine jewels set with 22-carat gold, diamonds and gemstones, such as sapphires, emeralds and rubies, often at more competitive prices than if they were purchased abroad.
Taxation on jewellery purchases in India is modest.
On a recent visit to Bandra, a reporter found a ring for sale at Saga, featuring a high quality, well-cut sapphire surrounded by white diamonds in a similar style to the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring, for 73,000 rupees (973 pounds.)
A similar ring in a shop in London would easily cost double that price.
Sales people in Mumbai can offer modest discounts on the tagged price.
Rajiv Jain, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC), believes tourists to India should take home a jewel as a souvenir, because India has a great history of craftsmanship.
Indians are skilled in the cutting and polishing of diamonds, and in the manufacturing of finished jewellery for the domestic and international markets.
Prices of jewellery manufactured in India have not risen in the shops in recent months, Bandra jewellers said, because local demand has been slow due to the impact of a weaker rupee and the high and volatile cost of precious materials.
This makes shopping hubs such as Bandra increasingly appealing for foreign tourists in search of high quality jewels at attractive prices.
Bandra, a residential neighbourhood popular with Bollywood stars, is dotted with fashion shops and stalls located near the sea.
Coffee shops along the seafront attract the young, affluent crowd.
Along the Turner Road, Popley Eternal stocks a variety of wedding sets in 22-carat gold and diamonds, as well as sets with large, finely cut precious stones such as emeralds and sapphires.
A large team of well-informed sales staff are on hand to inform tourists about their prospective purchases, with the most exquisite items on the upper floor under the watchful eye of security.
On the ground floor, 22-carat gold bangles predominate.
Saga, a tall building stocking jewellery as well as fashion, rugs and tourist souvenirs, stocks a large selection of sapphire jewellery, including rings and pendants, many of them set with diamonds and white gold.
The sapphires vary in clarity, colour and cut, presenting a wide range of products to suit all tastes and budgets.