Interview with KGK Group vice-chairman Sanjay Kothari

© Written by Rachael Taylor for BaselWorld Brand Book 

You grew up around gemstones, as KGK is a family business. Did you always want to be part of it?

I always wanted to be a part of the KGK business, as when I was growing up three generations were already in this business. With the colored stone and diamond business already initiated by the elders, there were a lot of opportunities and I always had a strong desire to take this business forward. Entrepreneurship is in our blood.

If you’d had to pick another career path, what would it have been?

There was never any other path for me right from the beginning KGK offered me such a strong foundation, history and bank of opportunities that I always wanted to get into the business of diamonds, gemstones and jewellery. Having said that, music has always been close to me and I wonder if I had not been in this business that I might have been a musician.

KGK has enjoyed success in the market for more than a century – what is it that makes it stand out? Our history is our USP. Very few groups have such a history in the gemstone and diamond industry in all categories – from semi precious to diamonds, then jewellery and now retail. It is one whole integrated pipeline and that makes the group special. Another USP for our group is our worldwide presence with distribution in every important center in the gem and jewellery industry. Our refined management skills to manage business in various countries, products and business verticals are what keep the group strong and moving ahead.

The company has evolved over the years, adding diamonds to its coloured stones expertise in the 1970s and moving into retail in 2000 with the launch of jewellery brand Entice. Will we see more stages of evolution at the company soon?

Definitely. We all live in an ever-evolving world and KGK will need to keep up pace with changing times. At KGK we are currently doing a backward and forward integration simultaneously. Where on one hand we are going closer to the end consumer with Entice, on the other hand we are going close to the source by acquiring two mines, one in Brazil and the other in Africa.

In your line of work you must have seen some incredible gems, but what is the most exquisite stone you have ever come across?

A 90ct deep blue Burmese sapphire, natural and unheated, which belongs to the family.

And which gems will turn heads at BaselWorld this year?

We will display an assortment of Paraiba tourmalines. It is a very vibrant gemstone that has been catching many an eye in the industry lately.

 

Be it a triumph in business or life, what is your proudest achievement?

Besides a lot of successful moments in my business, the one that I am most proud of is that my wife and I have successfully been able to imbibe the deep-rooted Indian culture of being a good human being in my children.

What would you say are your best and worst personality traits?

I am a perfectionist, and this is both my best and worst personality traits. If I want to achieve something, my go-getter attitude kicks in and I make sure I achieve it with perfection and through a correct path. But, at times, this also leads to a tough time for the people around me.

Who do you most admire and why?

I admire both my parents, the most, in this world. They both are great individuals in themselves and have their own distinct personalities. They have both done well in their own fields and earned great respect from everybody around them, yet they are the most humble people I know.

Read the original article in the BaselWorld Brand Book 2014 here (pages 201-211).

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