In an exclusive interview with Mines to Market, Rupak Sen, Vice President, Marketing & Sales of Fura Gems Inc. shares Fura’s strategic vision that will nurture its significant position in the emerald market.
Where does Fura Gems Inc. stand in the emerald market today and what is its growth objective?
Fura Gems is the first publicly listed company in the world to start operations in Colombia, the world’s largest supplier of emeralds. We own one the most iconic mines in Colombia – The Coscuez Emerald mine. During the 70’s and 80’s Coscuez was producing almost 90% of Colombian emeralds. It is recognized worldwide, as it has produced renowned pieces like the 1,759 carat Guinness Emerald, believed to be one of the largest gem-quality crystals.
As a progressive and imaginative company, we aim to set the new precedent for best practices in the gemstone industry by transforming current standards into the premiere example of employee-friendly, sustainability-driven, community-centered enterprise.
Our growth objective is to capture 8% to 10% market share of the $2 billion global gemstone market in 3 years.
Any comments on the supply/demand ratio in the industry today?
The long-term outlook for the emerald market remains positive, with demand expected to outpace supply. We are seeing healthy growth coming in from markets like USA, China and India. We are also seeing an increase in offtake from large European brands. We expect demand to further grow by about 15% to 20% year-on-year over the next decade.
What does the production graph at Fura Gems say?
We are still in the early stages of production and will be able to give out numbers only by the end of this year.
Any plans of market expansion?
At Fura the current plan is to get our two operations – Colombia and Mozambique, up and running. We expect to get into production in Colombia in May and in Mozambique in June. We would also be starting a marketing campaign to increase the awareness and build demand for our product category. We are also looking at some more possible mining acquisitions. One which we would surely bid for is the Bunder Diamond mine in India.
Where is the demand for emerald jewellery heading?
As emerald continues its reign as one of the top stones in the colored gem world, demand for emerald jewellery remains strong. Today, the main source for emeralds, and the place that continues to supply what are generally known as the finest quality stones, is Colombia. We at Fura plan to further boost this growth pattern globally. There is 30% to 40% growth every year in the emerald jewellery sales. And I think that over the next decade the sales will grow 15% to 20% year-on-year.
In the next decade, which markets would lead demand for this segment?
USA would lead demand being the biggest consumer of Colombian emeralds, next would be China and then India and the Middle East. The very high-end emeralds are generally consumed by the European markets since big brands like Cartier, Bulgari etc use higher-end Colombian emeralds.
What is the current Indian market appetite for this segment?
India has a huge appetite for emeralds and colored stone jewellery; emerald is now the most sought-after in the domestic market, with large stones being the most preferred. Emeralds are on the top of the charts all over India. With more and more retailers and designers using emeralds in their jewellery, it is picking up extremely well in the Indian market.
Any plans to promote emeralds at the consumer level in India?
Yes, our plans include further building the category of Colombian emeralds in India, and building an overall aspiration for the segment through Social media promotions, educational platforms and collaborations with various designers and brands. We have also appointed The Thompson Group as our creative agency globally; they will lead the development of a marketing initiative to build awareness and establish prestige branding for Colombian Emeralds and Mozambique Rubies. This is part of the Company’s overall plan to structure the coloured gem market and unlock significant value. The brand campaigns will be executed globally, and include digital, design and traditional communication channels. We plan to have a powerful presence in India and build the brand through advertising and PR activities focused around Colombian emeralds. We are here to stay more detail Fura Gems.