From Jaipur to 15 countries, a gems and jewellery company's success story spanning 115 years
Hong Kong-based KGK Group’s journey began in Jaipur in 1905. Today, the group has emerged as a major player in the gems and jewellery business across Asia, North and South America, Europe, and Africa.
Back in 1905, Keshrimal Kothari began trading Burmese coloured gemstones in Rajasthan’s Jaipur. His son Ghisilal followed his footsteps and further consolidated the business, leading the initial growth and expansion. Thus,came into being.
Today, the company has emerged as a conglomerate, covering the entire spectrum of mining, sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing coloured gemstones, diamonds, and jewellery. KGK has now marked its presence in 15 countries across Asia, North and South America, Europe, and Africa, with its global headquarters in Hong Kong.
KGK Group became a leading multi-national corporation (MNC) under the third generation leadership of Navrattan Kothari. The business operations were established in Hong Kong in 1962. Navrattan’s son, Sanjay Kothari joined the group in 1986, followed by Sanjay’s brother Sandeep, who joined KGK in 1990.
“To begin with, I focused on augmenting the diamond segment which was set up by my father. Later, I moved to Hong Kong to further upscale diamond sales and marketing operations in the far east,” Sanjay, Vice Chairman, KGK Group, told SMBStory.
After moving to Hong Kong, Sanjay initially expanded the colour gemstone and diamond business. Later, he diversified into jewellery manufacturing. That is when Hong Kong became the global headquarters for KGK.
Sandeep is involved in diamond procurement and processing. He has been instrumental in expanding the business worldwide.
Having started their business in coloured gemstones more than a century ago, today KGK’s range includes stones in every possible colour, size, and shape. It offers volumes of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Additionally, KGK serves segments in the jewellery market, featuring diamonds and gemstones in platinum, gold, and silver settings.
KGK processes, cuts, and polishes its own gemstones to ensure maximum quality and value. It has invested in primary gemstone mining in South America and Africa.
“We are committed to ethical sourcing and benefiting local communities. Our gemologists and engineers extract a range of highly desirable exotic colour gemstones, including emeralds and rubellites,” Sanjay says.
Its manufacturing units are located in India, Thailand, and China. Its diamond manufacturing units are in India, Russia, South Africa, Angola, Botswana and Namibia. KGK’s jewellery is manufactured in Hong Kong, India, China, and Thailand. The company also imports and exports all gemstones, diamonds, and jewellery. “The proportion varies from segment to segment,” Sanjay adds.
KGK supplies its products to international brands, chain stores, wholesalers, retailers, and online platforms. Additionally, it also caters to end-customers through its retail jewellery brand ‘Entice.’
Establishing a jewellery business is not always a cakewalk.
“The constant shift in consumer preferences with respect to design and quality, across different geographies is a steady challenge that leads to design-led differentiation. Broader market base, consolidation, and polarisation further add to the stress,” Sanjay says.
A tech-savvy company
In order to consolidate its position, KGK is focusing on diversification and dimensions related to efficient online business model. Sanjay believes that emerging and maturing digital technologies are an optimistic and promising path towards long-term growth prospects.
KGK’s in-house digital marketing platform Digital Sales System (DSS) is a consolidated smart platform to store, update, and present all the collections instantly, and whenever required by the sales or marketing team, for its customers.
The group has also introduced a green laser machine with fibre technology that provides beam stability, reducing the weight by 12 percent in a brack of four gram to three carat products.
Additionally, Sanjay says, “There is a dangerously escalating feeling of mistrust among consumers about certification.” KGK’s Responsible Jewellery Certification (RJC)-certified products validates its practices throughout the supply chain.
“Our USP lies in the quality, customer service, and overall value,” says Sanjay.
KGK offers its products at a competitive price. “Our integrated mines-to-brands approach enables cost efficiencies that translates into exceptional value for our patrons,” he adds.
In the coming years, KGK plans to reinforce its core business and strengthen its global footprint. “Our core objective is to not only augment the business but also adhere to our commitment of offering customer-centric products, taking note of the latest trends and ever burgeoning tastes of our patrons,” Sanjay says.
KGK expects to witness a substantial rise in its rough and polished diamond business in the Middle-East region.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)