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The Replica of the Great Imperial Crown of the Russian Empire is a masterpiece of Russian gem cutters and evidence that they are among the best artisans in the world
maxim_shkadov_x.jpgIn early September, Interfax hosted a press conference with the participation of Maxim Shkadov, CEO of Russia's largest diamond manufacturer Kristall on the further fate of the Replica of the Great Imperial Crown made by Smolensk gem cutters. Maxim Shkadov told the audience how his company had come over the idea to recreate the Crown of the Russian Empire and discussed its further fate, as well as answered questions from Rough & Polished regarding the state of the diamond market and its prospects.

Ari Epstein, CEO of AWDC: Diamond pipeline to unclog and demand to pick up in 2-3 months
ari_epstein_xn.jpgIn early September, ALROSA hosted a meeting on New Development Drivers of Global Diamond Business in the framework of the Asia Pacific Eastern Economic Forum meeting in Vladivostok. The panel session looked at the current state and future prospects of the diamond industry. Leading diamond and jewelry industry figures took part in a debate on the challenges facing the business on September 3, including Ari Epstein, CEO of Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), who was interviewed by Rough & Polished on this occasion. Epstein shares his views on demand recovery in the diamond market, competition with India and the establishment of a diamond bourse in Vladivostok.

Moscow to host the Third International Economic Jewelry Forum
galina_ananyina_x.jpgOn October 2, 2015, Moscow will host the third edition of the International Economic Jewelry Forum to be held at the Congress Centre of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Ilyinka Street under the headline "New Realities, New Challenges, New Strategy in a Changing Global Market" with the support of Russia’s Finance Ministry, Gokhran, Assay Chamber, ALROSA, Russian Jewellery Trade Club and RESTEC JUNWEX media holding. In the run-up to the Forum, Galina Ananyina, President of the Foundation for Development of Jewelry Art in Russia and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Third International Economic Jewelry Forum answered the questions from Rough & Polished.

Young customers consider diamonds as preferred investment
suraj_shantakumar_x.jpgAfter graduating in Business Management (Finance) from California Polytechnic State University, Suraj Shantakumar returned to India to focus on managing the family’s many businesses. But being most passionate about Kirtilal Kalidas Jewellers Pvt Ltd (a jewellery chain with an unblemished reputation with over 74 years in retailing and exporting of fine diamond jewellery), Suraj concentrated on Kirtilals’ showrooms spread across South India. Here, he talks to Rough&Polished about the current Indian domestic market and the changes that he has seen in the demand pattern across the country.


ALROSA extracts another king-size diamond, this time weighing 103 carats
In September, ALROSA recovered a large diamond of 102.85 carats from Jubilee kimberlite pipe. The diamond was extracted by the company’s business unit Aikhal Mining and Processing Division (MPD) at the processing plant No.14.

Antwerp Diamond Night in Moscow to be held in Dec
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Ambassador of Belgium to the Russian Federation, H.E. Alex Van Meeuwen, are inviting diamond companies to an exclusive meet and greet in the presence of the Governor of Antwerp, Mrs. Cathy Berx and the President of ALROSA, Mr. Andrey Zharkov at the residence of the Belgian Ambassador in Moscow on Wednesday 9 December 2015 at 7 pm.

Botswana diamond output continues on downward trajectory
Statics Botswana said the country’s output fell by 5.4 percent in the second quarter of the year compared with a 1.5 percent drop, a year earlier.

India as a world diamond centre


From ancient times to the present day

Since ancient times, India has been a historical center of diamonds. Several thousand years ago people there were able to mine diamonds and used them to make jewelry. Merchants from many countries exchanged goods and gold for Indian diamonds. Moreover, in the Indian treatise Arthashastra (literally “the doctrine of wealth”) by Kautilya there is a mention of duties imposed on diamonds, which indicates the importance of diamond trade among other goods.

The first diamonds were found and then mined in India more than 1,000 years BC. It is known that Alexander of Macedon brought the first diamond to Europe from India in 327 BC. Almost two thousand years, until the end of the 19th century (1896), India was the only country in the world where diamonds were mined. The diamond mines of Golconda near the modern city of Hyderabad are renowned around the world for the most famous diamonds in history found there.

Diamond cutting also originated in India, where diamonds were skillfully cut and polished by Indian craftsmen since the beginning of the 16th century. Not surprisingly, the evaluation of diamonds and gems also appeared there. Diamonds in India were evaluated similar to the division of society into castes (varnas): Brahmans - transparent colorless diamonds, Kshatriyas – diamonds with a reddish hue, Vaisyas - diamonds with a greenish or yellow hue, and finally Shudras - gray or dark color diamonds. Varna in Sanskrit means quality, color, category.

Production of and trade in diamonds in India

In India, the Madhya Pradesh state has a primary diamond deposit (Majhgawan) and a few placers, the total reserves of which are estimated at 2.6 million carats. Their diamond output is insignificant (Table 1, Fig. 1).

India is the largest consumer of rough diamonds in the world. At the same time, as it was mentioned above, its diamond output is negligible (Table 2).

Table 1

Diamond mining in India, 2006-2011

According to the Kimberley Process

Table 2

Import and export of diamonds in India, 2006-2011

According to the Kimberley Process

India - the world's largest diamond cutting center

India is the undisputed global leader in the polished diamond market: it holds a 60% market share by value, 80% by volume and 92% by the number of stones. India’s diamond and jewelry business involves about 1.3 million workers engaged in 25,000 enterprises.

Today the country produces 8 out of every 10 polished diamonds in the world. If earlier it was mainly the so-called "Indian goods" - small diamonds, now there is a trend to increase the range of processed diamonds including stones of two carats and above.

India is engaged in intensive construction of new factories with modern equipment, where laser diamond processing and computer diamond marking are being brought to perfection.

India’s diamond cutting industry is concentrated in the west of the country in Mumbai, Surat and Ahmedabad. The entire diamond business is concentrated and controlled by 2,500 families who practice Jainism and are closely linked by ties of kinship. This community, adding up to 0.5% of India’s population, plays an important role in trade and finance.


Fig. 1. Diamond industry of India

India is confidently in the first place as the world's largest producer of polished diamonds. The number of employees in Indian diamond cutting companies is about one million people.

The diamond cutting industry in India is a highly organized sector with a hierarchical structure. At the top of the "management pyramid" is the Indian Gems and Jewelry Export Promotion Council. The aim of the Council is to coordinate the interests of the state and industry, as well as to assist in promoting Indian jewelry industry goods on the world market.

The second tier is occupied by major private import-export companies. All of them are engaged in cutting, except for two. MMTS – the state-owned export-import company trading in minerals. The second one, Hindustan Diamond Company Private Limited (HDCPL), is a joint venture of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of India and De Beers Group, which hold equal stakes in the company. HDCPL was established in 1978 and is one of the leading agents in rough diamond trade in India. HDCPL is a DTC sightholder and supplier of diamonds to the Indian diamond industry, mainly to small and medium factories.

The third tier consists of small and medium-size enterprises in the formal sector of the industry. They are working under contracts with major importers of rough. Their main distinction is that they are highly specialized depending on the nature of processed products.

The fourth tier may include small-scale enterprises of the informal sector operating within a system of subcontracts and specialized in processing very small diamonds. Actually, they source their rough in the secondary market.

Jewelry production in India

India's jewelry industry is export oriented. Jewelry companies in India are highly organized operations using all the modern technologies of management with due account for local conditions. Even small factories (25-50 persons) in this sector have modern equipment.

India’s jewelry industry is mainly producing jewelry pieces of Western design. Still they leave a place for exclusive and expensive products made in the traditional Indian manner.

Jewelry manufacturers use the most up-to-date equipment, casting techniques and elements of computer design.

The Government of India and Gems and Jewelry Export Promotion Council contribute their efforts to win leading positions not only in diamond cutting, but also in manufacturing and exporting jewelry. It was the government’s policy which facilitated high production and export performance being aimed at liberalizing the jewelry sector and domestic market of precious metals and stones.

India’s prospects to preserve leadership in the global diamond business

The high competitiveness of the diamond industry in India is defined by the following factors:

1. Historical traditions and a large number of people employed in the diamond business with a relatively low wages, as well as introduction of modern techniques and equipment making it possible to develop the diamond and jewelry industries in a dynamic way.

2. State protectionism practiced to maintain import and export of goods and virtual absence of state control over the circulation of diamonds and jewelry.

3. High rates of GDP growth in India, as well as high rates of growth in certain branches of India’s industry contributing to higher living standards and thus to an increase in domestic demand and consumption of jewelry and diamonds, which is a huge potential for further development in a country with a population of over one billion people.

Yuri Danilov, Ph. D., Director of the Department of Regional Subsoil Management Economics, Institute for Regional Economics of the North at Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University


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