Türkiye is pulling out all the stops to reaffirm its position on the world stage as a premier jewellery manufacturing centre. JNA talks to Burak Yakin, chairman of the Turkish Jewellery Exporters’ Association (JTR), to see how the country aims to achieve its goals.
This article first appeared in the JNA November/ December 2022 issue. Türkiye is setting the stage for further global expansion post-pandemic. Production capabilities are expanding, exports are on the rise, and new markets are showing promise. In April 2022, Burak Yakin, CEO of Nadir Metal Rafineri, was elected chairman of the Turkish Jewellery Exporters’ Association (JTR). In an interview with JNA, he shares his plans and strategy for the industry.
JNA: What is your vision for the Turkish jewellery sector?
Yakin: Türkiye is one of the world’s top three producers of gold jewellery, along with India and Italy. We intend to maintain the forward momentum of our jewellery exports, which have increased significantly in the last 10 years. Our high value-added products, manufacturing expertise and fast and flexible service set us apart from the competition. We aim to become number one.
JNA: How did the industry perform in 2022?
Yakin: As of September, the total value of our jewellery exports and re-exports stood at US$4.5 billion. The goal is to finish the year with US$7 billion worth of exports, compared to US$6.7 billion in 2021. Our target for 2023 is US$10 billion.
JNA: How will Türkiye reach this target?
Yakin: The Turkish jewellery sector is extremely fortunate to have strong government backing for its export promotions. We receive varying amounts of subsidies for international exhibition fees, overseas expenses and new market research, among others. Companies also get gold credit and can avail of financial instruments such as funding for exporters. JTR is also committed to facilitating business expansion for our members. International exhibitions have proven a valuable vehicle for promotions and sales, and we will intensify our participation moving forward. Innovation is another key priority. Jewellery Technology Research, a homegrown laboratory, launched recently and introduced its first product – a lab-grown diamond detection machine, which is top of the line and fully developed and produced in Türkiye.
JNA: What opportunities lie ahead?
Yakin: Hong Kong and Dubai are our main export hubs. The US however is showing much promise. Turkish jewellery exports to the US went from US$962.2 million in 2020 to US$1.3 billion in 2021. Moving forward, we will bolster our efforts in the US to get a bigger share of the pie. South America and Mexico also have strong potential – our exports to these markets are also on the rise. Demand from Asia, particularly Hong Kong, is likewise getting stronger.
JNA: How will you handle growing demand?
Yakin: Türkiye is world-renowned for its jewellery manufacturing prowess. Our production capabilities are second to none. We are even expanding our manufacturing facilities to accommodate more orders from around the world. At present, jewellery production in Istanbul is concentrated in three industrial areas – Kuyumcukent, Vizyon Park and Ermas Kule, which occupy a combined 900,000 square metres. A new 120,000 square-metre industrial area near the city’s main exhibition centre will be operational in two to three years’ time. This will bring manufacturing space for gold, mountings and jewellery to over one million square metres in Istanbul alone. Turkish companies are also technically proficient, using the most advanced technologies available. This enables them to fulfil jewellery orders within two to three weeks, compared to other manufacturing hubs that often require a minimum of two months for deliveries.
JNA: What are Türkiye's competitive advantages in the gem and jewellery field?
Yakin: Türkiye is known for its designs, craftsmanship and competitiveness. Gold jewellery and mountings are among our strongest product categories. Our companies excel in the production of mountings, serving customers from around the world for this particular category. We are likewise a leading manufacturer of silver jewellery and gold jewellery. Our production flexibility is a major strength. We closely monitor design trends and are quick to adapt our production to market preferences. The goal is always to provide our customers with high-quality products that would appeal to their markets. Türkiye also has two gold refineries that hold LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) certificates. There are only 63 such refineries in the world. This attests to our expertise and helps create confidence in the market.
JNA: At the height of the pandemic, JTR maintained its presence in the market through digital initiatives. Will these continue now that Covid restrictions have eased in many parts of the world?
Yakin: Digital marketing will continue to be a pillar of our promotional efforts. Our portal – turkishjewellery.org – enables our members to upload their profiles and products to tap international clients. We will soon organise an extensive campaign to further promote this website and help Turkish jewellers expand their business in the international market.