India’s Diamond Industry Strengthening

A string of new developments from India forecasts a strengthening diamond industry. Surat’s diamond processing industry had been hurt by the economic downturn. Almost half of the employees in the country’s diamond center were laid off, and output had been cut drastically. However, the increase in demand not only from China, but worldwide has fueled the rebirth of India’s diamond sector. On Friday, a deal was announced between Russian diamond giant Alrosa and three major Indian diamond processors.

Over the last half century Surat, India has become the world’s most important diamond center; responsible for an estimated 90 per cent of the global polished diamond output, their value on the world market is 55 per cent. Belgium and Israel are still the power houses of the industry.

But their power is waning ever slightly. “Traditionally, Israel, India and Belgium are responsible for 90 percent of US imports … imports from Israel declined by 41 percent, from Belgium by 30 percent, and from India, only by 21 percent. India was able to stem the declines and weather the storm better than others,” as reported in a commodity online article.

India has weathered the global economic downturn as good as any nation; however, the domestic diamond industry did suffer. Of the 450,000 employees in Surat’s diamond sector, nearly 250,000 people left the industry, or were laid off due to the struggling economy. Theboost in demand for diamonds not only from the emerging Chinese diamond market, but worldwide as well has positively helped Surat’s diamond sector. “Everyone who left the industry and wanted to return has come back,” Said Rohit Mehta, President of the Surat Diamond Association.

As of now the city is operating at 80 per cent of pre-downturn levels. With increasing world demand and a new supplier of rough stones, Surat’s diamond sector should be back to its full output levels soon. Considering that 11 out of every 12 diamonds sold worldwide were processed in Surat, the return to full operating levels shows a robust recovery.

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