Normalizing the diamond trade : five things we learned in New Delhi

Avi Krawitz

The World Diamond Conference that took place last week in New Delhi, India, created a buzz in the industry that, frankly, needed a bit of a pick-up considering the state of the market. It’s not often that two heads of state attend a diamond sector event and, in doing so, offer such unwavering support for the industry.

Organizers were therefore correct to claim the success that they did as there was a tremendous feel-good factor apparent in seeing India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin inaugurate the event. Consequently, much of the focus of the two-day conference was dedicated to India and Russia’s burgeoning relationship.

However, beyond the pomp and ceremony, the conference offered another opportunity for the trade to debate its most pressing issues. Perspectives were offered from all segments, including mining companies, manufacturers, retailers and, most importantly, bankers.

After a challenging year in 2014, the conference stressed that the long-term sustainability of the industry can only be ensured if steps are taken to improve the bankability of the trade and to boost consumer demand.

Here are five things that we learned at last week’s World Diamond Conference in New Delhi:

1. The industry in India has unprecedented access to government.

When Prime Minster Modi was elected to office in May, there was excitement throughout the local diamond trade. As a former State Minister of Gujarati, the industry felt some kinship with Modi as he supported the emergence of Surat as the primary diamond manufacturing center.

Add to that the sense that the gem and jewelry trade had not been a priority of the previous government in recent years as gold and diamond import duties had been raised in an effort to control the current account deficit. Also, economic growth slowed and the rupee slumped in 2013 under the previous government’s watch paving the way to Modi’s election amid industry dissatisfaction.

The conference in New Delhi signaled that the diamond trade has the government’s ear. Not only did Modi inaugurate the conference, but other high-ranking government officials participated, among them the State Minister for Commerce and Industry, the Secretary for Financial Services, the Joint Secretary for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Secretary for the Ministry of Mines.

Modi said that the diamond industry, among other sectors, has huge potential for creating employment and generating exports and that the development of such sectors is a great priority for his government.


It appears that the diamond industry, under the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), has every opportunity to leverage that support.

2. Russia and India make sensible rough diamond bedfellows.

Modi proposed three industry-related developments in his meeting with Putin.


“If bankability is the sum of profitability and transparency, he explained, then diamond companies need to comply on both accounts.”


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Source Rapaport