The UK jewellery industry is in a bad way and Birmingham firms must focus on upmarket, one-off pieces if they are to survive, according to Gerald Ratner.
Mr Ratner - famous for wiping millions of pounds off the value off his firm by labelling one of his products "total crap" - said he no longer bought gem-set jewellery from Birmingham.
"When I say that I prefer to buy from India it is not criticism. It is a fact that products there are cheaper.
"I do buy some gold stuff from Birmingham, but the gem-set pieces I get from my partner in India.
"It is like a lot of industries where foreign imports have taken over and UK producers have to change their products.
"Birmingham jewellery producers need to be more specialised and upmarket. Really lovely pieces will still sell."
Mr Ratner made his comments at the B2B Midlands Conference at Coventry's Ricoh Arena, where he was speaking on recovering from a disaster.
Mr Ratner made his disastrous speech to the Institute of Directors in 1991 while at the helm of Ratners - the firm his father founded in 1947.
The error led to Mr Ratner getting the chop after profits tumbled. Ratners was renamed Signet in 1993 and re-launched with a focus on the US market.
Now Mr Ratner, which launched his own internet jewellers Geraldonline last year, is now in talks with Signet over the purchase of high street jewellery chain H Samuel - one of the companies he bought while at Ratners.
Mr Ratner refused to comment on the progress of the bid.
"When I announced that I had made a bid it was day-by-day updates in the newspapers, which was that was obviously unsettling and unhelpful," he said.
But he said that he had no intention to merge Geraldonline with a high street chain.
"Whatever happens Geraldonline will continue to operate as its own entity", Mr Ratner said.
Mr Ratner said online jewellers had weathered the slowdown in consumer spending much better than those on the high street.
But, he said, this did not necessarily spell the end of traditional store trading.
He said: "The jewellery industry is in a bad way.
"But people make predictions all the time and I'm not so sure that this is the end of high street shopping.
"There is no panacea, one way to shop.
"Also one thing I have learnt in business is that you can never predict what is going to happen.
"I could never had predicted that a speech could have such disastrous effects or that, 15 years later, I would be back in the jewellery industry again."
Mr Ratner said he was far more aware of managing his public image and had hired publicity guru Max Clifford to help promote Geraldonline.
"Max said I had to hold my hands up and not try and give excuses for what I did, he said I wasn't allowed to say I was hard done by, by the press, even though that is how I felt.
"For 15 years I was the butt of jokes, now I have decided to join in.
"I realise I can't escape from it so I am trying to exploit it."