Diamond City of India
Surat, commonly known as the “Diamond City of India,” is a precious gem located within the state of Gujarat. Celebrated for its expertise in the diamond-cutting and polishing industry, this bustling urban center boasts a history as sparkling as the precious stones it is renowned for. With a storied heritage, lively culture and a thriving economy, Surat stands out prominently on India’s geographical landscape.
A Glittering Legacy of Diamond City of India
Surat’s journey to a diamond dominance began in the 18th century when skilled diamond cutters from Africa made it their home. Over time, the local Gujarati population honed their expertise in processing, polishing and cutting diamonds, creating a thriving diamond ecosystem. This led to an influx of laborers from around the world, seeking employment in Surat’s burgeoning diamond industry.
A Diamond Hub Reinforced by Resources
Surat’s diamond industry flourished, in part, due to its rich resource base. The city had access to the Ukai Dam for hydroelectric power, the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station for electric supply and the Tapi River for water resources. In contrast, other districts in Gujarat lacked the infrastructure necessary for such a specialized industry.
Trust and Credibility
A unique feature of Surat’s diamond trade is its culture of conducting transactions on credit. Most business dealings involve purchasing, keeping and selling diamonds on credit, rather than immediate exchanges of money. This practice fosters trust and long-lasting relationships within the industry.
Favorable Government Policy
The Indian government has played a significant role in supporting Surat’s diamond industry through various schemes and subsidies. Economic zones have been established, making the diamond business even more lucrative. These policies have paved the way for continues growth.
Adaptability and Expansion
Surat’s diamond industry has not remained stagnant. Initially focused on polishing, many businesses have expanded to include trading and selling diamonds worldwide, showcasing the industry’s flexibility and adaptability.
A Global Diamond Hub
Remarkably, around 90% of the world’s mined diamonds are polished in Surat, contributing to approximately 80% of India’s annual diamond trade. This extraordinary feat has led to Surat’s well-deserved moniker as the “Diamond City of India.”
Between 2001 and 2008, Surat experienced an astonishing annual Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 11.5%, the highest of any Indian city. The city’s exponential growth earned it the distinction of being the fourth fastest-growing city in the world.
A Thriving Community
The diamond industry in Surat has deep-rooted connections with the Patel community of Saurashtra, who kickstarted the trade in the 1960s. The proximity to the financial capital, Mumbai and market-oriented economic reforms in the 1990s further fueled the growth. As a result, a burgeoning middle class embraced diamond jewelry alongside traditional gold ornaments.
A Diamond Association for Progress
Surat Diamond Association (SDA), a non-profit organization founded in 1988, comprises major leaders of the local diamond industry. With over 4,500 members, SDA strives to foster the growth of the diamond sector through various initiatives, such as technology awareness seminars, educational programs and advocating for tax reductions. Moreover, they work towards resolving labor-related issues within the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.
Top Diamond Companies
Among the many companies that contribute to Surat’s diamond prowess, some of the leading names include Sarvada Jewels, Paras Diamond Co., OM Diamond, Asian Star Co. Ltd., Pokia Impex Pvt. Ltd., S. Vinodkumar Diamonds and SkyBlue Diamond, just to name a few.