Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 12:32 IST
'Heera to highlight', Surat Diamond Bourse and growth prospectus
Experts have allayed apprehensions of the new Bourse in Gujarat affecting Mumbai's Diamond market.
Pearl shining bright
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the 'Surat Diamond Bourse', one of the world's largest commercial establishments. On the back of it, Surat has got a new identity and the PM, at the launch event lauded the spirit of this latest Diamond hub. While the Diamond trade, that flourished in Mumbai, is now gradually moving to Surat, experts and trend watchers, with whom Republic Business spoke to ruled out any 'sibling rivalry' and said it will not affect Mumbai's diamond market in the slightest.
Prashant Kadam, a Mumbai-based YouTuber, whose explainer on the trends in the Diamond market, got widely shared on social media on Tuesday, says a boost to Surat will rather provide the country's Diamond industry a much-needed impetus. "Both Mumbai and Surat are diamond hubs, but both the cities have distinct characteristics. Surat remains the manufacturing hub while Mumbai remains the export hub," said Kadam. Interestingly, the Pentagon building, the defence headquarters of United States, was considered to be the largest administrative building in the world. Now surpassing it, the diamond bourse of Surat is the largest administrative/commercial building in the world. This diamond Bourse has been set up at a cost of Rs3,400 crore and has nine luxurious buildings of 15 floors. As many as 4,500 diamond companies have their offices here. The Surat Diamond Bourse is spread over an area of 67 lakh square feet. Amid apprehensions of Mumbai "suffering" due to the opening of the Surat Diamond Bourse, there is also a strong opinion that the Diamond market system of Surat and Mumbai has the potential to work in synergy. "Exports of Rs5 crore in 1963 have seen growth to become worth around Rs 38 trillion as of 2023.
"First Zaveri Bazaar then Opera House and then BKC, and now Surat. This means the business has increased. Mumbai's diamond industry will not be affected," a Mumbai-based owner of a publication tracking Diamond trade for the last three decades told Republic Business.
Rough diamonds are brought to Surat from mines in Africa, Russia, and Belgium. 90 per cent of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat. After polishing they are sent to Mumbai. And the reason they come to Maharashtra's capital, is that Mumbai has an international airport.
This dual arrangement of Mumbai and Surat, in the Diamond market has continued since 1960. Initially, the Diamond market was operated from Opera House in Mumbai, but later in 2010, it was transferred to India Diamond Exchange, after its inauguration. The recently inaugurated Diamond Bourse in Surat has much more floor space compared to the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai.
Heera & History
The experts say it is a known fact, that earlier the Diamond industry in the country was under the direct control of 'Palanpuris'. It is now in the hands of 'Kathiawadis', said the Diamond Publications' owner. The Diamond industry was first established in the world by Palanpuri Diamond traders. Kathiawadi people were the first gem artists, who by their hard work grinding diamonds have today progressed a lot in the diamond industry in the whole world.
In the world diamond market, nine out of ten diamonds are cut in India. Be it Mumbai or Surat, the state governments of both the places had given space at reasonable rates to increase the diamond trade, but some diamond traders have converted the building into a business by setting up an office in that place and now the same thing is happening in Surat.
If media reports are to be believed, Kiran Gems, the largest company in the diamond market with a turnover of Rs 17,000 crore, has decided to shift its office from Mumbai to Surat. The firm employs 12,000 people. Experts have pointed to a similarities and difference between Surat and Mumbai Diamond hubs, in terms of both the wages and the cost of space are less. Surat is quite good for the Diamond production and is also found to be reasonable for gem artists as compared to Mumbai. Among the traders who have offices in Mumbai, many also have set-ups based in Surat.
The past and future; growth in numbers
The sibling rivalry?
The foundation of the present hub
The initiative to go to Heera Bazar Surat was not started today but had already begun twenty years ago, say experts. It is said that a major Diamond trading company, which had joined together many small companies, had moved to Surat two decades ago. The owners of these companies have earned a huge name in Surat, which in turn also has a big name in the country's business circles.