India's imports of gems and jewellery fell over 11 per cent to Rs 15,735 crore in December, 2013 after a sharp drop in shipments of gold bars and jewellery due to government curbs, the industry body said.
The country had imported gems and jewellery worth Rs 17,692 crore in the same month in 2012, it said.
"There has been a significant decline in import of gold bars and jewellery because of restrictions. However, import of diamonds is on the rise," Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Vipul Shah told PTI.
Import of gold bars fell 45 per cent to Rs 2,111.58 crore last month from Rs 3,816 crore a year earlier, according to GJEPC data.
Inward shipments of gold jewellery dropped 25 per cent to Rs 453.95 crore from Rs 606.26 crore.
India, the world's largest gold consumer, meets its entire demand through imports. The government introduced restrictions on gold imports last year to curb the current account deficit, which had widened to a record high in 2012-13.
Besides gold bars and jewellery, the country imports diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, platinum and synthetic stones among others.
Purchases of rough diamonds from overseas rose 6 per cent to Rs 10,230.83 crore. Shipments of cut and polished diamonds were 24 per cent lower at Rs 2,355 crore.
Import of rough coloured gemstones increased 14.34 per cent to Rs 176.63 crore, while shipments of rough synthetic stones rose to Rs 41.84 crore from Rs 18 crore.
Import of raw pearls increased to Rs 4.79 crore from Rs 3.16 crore.
During the April-December period, gems and jewellery imports declined over 10 per cent to Rs 1,33,980 crore from Rs 1,49,570 crore in the year-ago period, the GJEPC data showed.
The government increased import duty on gold thrice to 10 per cent, banned inward shipments of gold coins and medallions and made it mandatory for importers to export 20 per cent of their shipments before purchasing more of the metal from overseas.