Interview with Niket Shah, Owner of Diakraft Jewels

Interview Niket Shah - Owner of Diakraft Jewels - Mumbai Diamond and Jewellery Industry

Tell us about your career in Indian Diamond Market?

I started my career as a trainee with SAMIR DIAMONDS back in 2002. It was a spontaneous call over a family dinner to join diamond and jewellery industry which is now reaping its benefits. Post my 12th grade, I was preparing to enroll in a business school in USA. After all the hard work .. getting through to the entrance examinations, admissions in the university and paying up the fees, a week before my visa application interview, America suffered with the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks. Everyone in the family and the relatives back in America were paranoid and commonly agreed against sending me to USA for further education owning to the situation then along with uncertain state of affairs in USA. There was not much to do post the college hours while doing my graduation from H R college. One fine day I was asked to take a call and utilise my free time in a more concrete manner. Options were either to join my dad or figure out something substantial for myself. While all this was going on, a family friend of ours offered me to start training in diamonds and I was to continue only if I enjoyed what I was doing. This was the beginning……..

Whom do you consider mentor in diamond market?

Not being from the industry its tough to point out a mentor or a godfather in the Diamond industry yet. But I do look up to people who have made it big in their own way starting from the scratch. One such individual I respect the most is Colin Shah of Kama Schachter. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet him in person but it’s truly amazing what he has achieved being an outsider when he started his career. It would be an honour for me to meet him once for a coffee and get an insight to him. Besides, I have always been guided by couple of close relatives who had humble beginning and today have achieved tremendous feats in their respective fields. Their guidance, enthusiasm to share the business experiences, moral support and willingness to stand by me in the hard times have made them a strong source of strength to me.

If you were not in diamond market which profession you would have chose?

I don’t know how to answer this question.. before starting my career the only dream I had was to go to America for my business studies and eventually be an MBA. I was too young when I got into the industry and there was no thought or time to think of other opportunities once I was here. I am a certified diamond grader and hold a diploma as an ADVANCE JEWELLERY TECHNOLOGIST From Indian Institute of Jewellery which is a joint venture of California Institute of Jewellery Training in India. I am very passionate about what I am currently doing to make me think of anything besides diamond and jewellery at this point in my life. These is a sense of belonging now and I am here to stay. However, over past 7 years I have realised Sales & Marketing to be my greatest strength. May the need arise to think of other avenues I shall surely fit as a Marketing individual in any industry.

What are you opinion on current diamond market – were is it heading?

The first quarter of 2012 has been quite stable if I were to compare it with second half of 2011. However, the steady increase in the price of rough diamonds and constantly volatile dollar is not helping the traders’ cause. Keeping in mind the current global economic scenario, being in luxury industry we are suffering the most. However, I see a lot of potential in Indian market compared the other major global markets. The Indian consumer is increasingly getting richer and there is a constant growth in demand of diamonds in the new educated middle class with disposable income apart from the upper segment of rich and elite. Personally, I have always been an optimist and I see tremendous scope for growth if one has the right business module.

If you get to change one thing in diamond market what would you change?

The family business approach needs to change. There is an increased need of professionalism. Specialised job roles at every levels and use of new and improved technology is the need of the hour.

Can you share good or not so good things you have seen in diamond market in last few years?

I don’t wish to see the 2007-08 like meltdown ever again. My heart goes out to all the people who lost their jobs. Mere survival for people became a huge question. We lost so many skilled work-force who are not willing to return to the diamond industry. Also, I wish if the government was more supportive and understood our industry in a better way. 2% import duty on polish diamonds and now the excise duty with the new budget is breaking our backs.

What do you think about shifting of market to Bharat Diamond Bourse?

Security and safety have always been a major concern of every diamond merchant at Opera House. Shifting to BDB is a change for good and people will gradually accept it. It’s a fantastic complex with state of art infrastructure, high tech security & safety measures, Export, banking etc. all under one roof. Let’s not be allergic to this change.

What changes will occur in Indian Diamond Industry in coming days – any thoughts?

We now have a class of educated and more aware consumers with all the information easily available on the internet and face a fierce competition amongst ourselves. Its an open market and margins are being squeezed out by the day. Everyone will have to reassess their business strategies, keep a close watch on the constantly changing demands, stock the right goods. Companies that closely monitor their business, periodically evaluate the operations and quickly adapt to the constantly changing business scenario’s will be the future winners.

Can you share some tough decision you have taken or situation you faced in your career?

There is a strong perception amongst a large number of people about quitting the JOB only when you have secured an appointment with another employer. I didn’t have anything at hand or planned when I quit my job. It was out of suffocation and feeling of not adding any value to myself by working with an organisation. One fine day I just turned up at the office and put down my papers. This was the most delicate and crucial decision I have ever had to make. I believe one should always have faith in their abilities, trust their instincts and have a constant focus of moving ahead to achieve their goals.

Favourite activities in free time?

Weekdays are pretty hectic and managing any free time is a task. Besides, when am free I read a lot of autobiographies. Getting out of Mumbai for long drives is always a prime objective on weekends. Besides I play a lot of snooker and cricket.

What advice would you like to give to readers – specially for beginners and many others in diamond market?

Always be passionate about what you do in life. Try to be different than others and carve a niche for yourself.

Nothing comes easily but at the same time how far you succeed in surpassing your goals depends on how far you strived to achieve them. Dream big, focus and have faith in your abilities.

Also check out Interview with Niket Shah on Jewellery Industry at

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