Surat (India) - the fascinating city of girls' best friend - diamonds

Diamond works at a factory, Surat, Gujarat

Rough diamonds to be

Surat, being a Diamond Hub of the World is  equally famous for its  textile industries. The city, followed in output by the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, is a major hub of diamond cutting and polishing. Established  in 1901 by Gujarati diamond cutters emigrating from East Africa, the industry slowly, but steadily,  gathered momentum and, by the 1970s, Surat-based diamond cutters began exporting stones to the US for the first time.

India has long been associated with diamonds for several centuries  and invariably most of the famous diamonds in the world  are of Indian origin, taken from the mines of Kollur, Golconda near Hyderabad city, an important IT center in the world. India was once the major producer of diamonds and in the late 1700s and 1800s  the diamond mines became dormant and now diamonds are  mainly produced in the  mines of and Brazil. The volume of production of raw  diamonds in India is very low and the GSI (Geological Survey of India) has a proposal to concentrate on the  diamondeferous rocks of  Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to improve the production of diamond.

However, even now, India is hogging the limelight in the areas of cutting and polishing and is the major supplier  of finished diamonds to the world, though Indian diamond mines are not active now as centuries ago. It is said that 11 out of 12 diamonds set in any jewelery in any nook and corner of the world are cut & polished in India. The surprising fact is that no matter where you live in this wide world and  buy diamond studded jewelry, there's  every possibility the diamond,  that is caressing the body of Baltic Ballerina to Hollywood's damsels, it is  processed in the city of Surat, Gujarat, India. 

The diamond cutters - locally called ‘'hira karigars'' used to shape the rough diamonds using ‘ghantis’ or polishing wheels - a traditional method which had  practiced for a long time. In the last decade or two Surat 's diamond  cutting and polishing sector, with the change of time and demand, has consolidated into large professionally managed facilities, using the most sophisticated  and latest technology. 

The diamond cutting & polishing industry, as a whole, in India is the largest manufacturing center in the world, employing more than a million people accounting  for 60% of world's supply in terms of value and 85% in terms of volume.

Diamond works at a factory, Surat,

The city of Surat in Gujarat is the major center for diamond cuttings in India and one of the best ones in the world. Though it is not an organized industrial sector like a company or corporation, there are about 700,000 workers in the employ of 100,000 small and big units in Surat. Globally India completes 90% of diamond cutting and polishing work - mainly in  Surat and this city takes care of 80% of India's requirements, not withstanding th fact that as none of the unpolished diamonds comes from Indian mines,. Most of the diamonds processed here come from African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Namibia and  also from Russia.

As India is now the world’s third-largest diamond consumer (after the United States and China), The thriving diamond business is  not only due to the availability of cheap labor, but also  due to superior quality of finished products produced by the highly skilled people. The cost of processing one carat diamond is $ 17.00 and 40.00 to 50.00 in China and Africa respectively, Whereas in India it is just $10.00 which is a good bet. Further, the quality is superior and far better than other countries. No doubt Surat has gained a reputation as the 'diamond city' of the world just like Antwerp which is famous for  international diamond trading business. 

World famous

The new competition from China is undoubtedly a huge threat to India’s diamond industry, which is currently at 60% of all diamond finishing business.This increasing consumer base in China has given India a good opportunity and has exported nearly US$ 7 billion worth of diamonds to China. Even though China’s growing cutting and polishing industry represents a threat, the growing consumer base is a boon.With India having its own thriving domestic and international market, the government is taking steps to see to it that India gets steady supply of raw diamond for its vast diamond processing industries.
Surat city - Tit-bits:

01  90% of the world’s total rough diamond cutting and polishing;

99.99% of the nation’s total rough diamond cutting and polishing;

90% of the nation’s total diamond exports;

 40% of the nation’s total man made fabric production;

 28% of the nation’s total man made fib re production;

 18% of the nation’s total man made fibre export; and

 12% of the nation’s total fabric production.

 02   Hindus  believe that  the city was founded  by a Brahman named Gopi, who called it SuryapÅ«r (City of the Sun) probably towards the later part of the fifteenth century B.C.E.

 03 Gujarati Poet Veer Kavi Narmad was also born in Surat.

04 In 1513, the Portuguese traveler Duarte Barbosa described Surat as an important seaport,

05 In 1512 and again in 1530 Surat was ravaged by the Portuguese Empire.

06 At the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese were undisputed masters of the Surat sea trade. On the banks of the Tapti River, there is still a picturesque fortress that was built in 1540.

 07 A  The English East India Company started using Surat as a trade post as  well as a transit point and started docking ships in 1608. Surat subsequently became  a presidency of the East India Company in 1615 after defeating the Portuguese    under   Captain Best, followed by Captain Downton ending their naval supremacy, and later   establishing an English factory at Surat after obtaining Firman from the Mogul ruler.

 07B After Bombay became  part of the British through a marriage alliance with the Princess of the Portuguese ruler, the prosperity of Surat drastically came down, as in 1680s Bombay became an important  British seaport and trade  post

08 A small colony of  Baghdadi Jew  arrived here  in 1730. 

09 ''The 280 sq ft video wall in the diamond city has been installed at the Command & Control Room of Surat Police Headquarters. The images caught at up to 1 km distance are very sharp and clear.  They can catch the minutest activities on the road, be it a woman counting money on the roadside or a thief stealing a laptop from the backseat of a car at a red light signal. Likewise, in case of road accident victims, the Control Room can ensure that quick medical help in the form of an ambulance reaches the spot swiftly.  The system allows the footage of 5000 cameras to be stored for a full one month—all of it accessible at the press of a button. The cameras allow for close up shots as well as zooming in at the exact location to get minute details of the spot. That is why police response to calamities as well as mishaps, accidents can be swift and well informed.'

 280 sq ft video wall , Surat Police

'(Read more from: madhukishwar.blogspot. com).                    

10 Surat ranked 8th in India with a GDP of $40 billion in fiscal year 2011–2012

11.It is the eighth largest city and ninth largest metropolitan area of India. Surat is the 34th-largest city by area and 4th-fastest developing cities  cited in a in a study conducted by the City Mayors Foundation, an international think tank on urban affairs.
From Indian Express  article written by Kamal Saiyed Published on: October 21, 2014:

cars as Dipawali gift  diamond wokers,Surat.

'' ....  From the time in 2009 when diamond barons had to cut short the Diwali vacations of the workers to recover from the global recession and restart units early to meet the Christmas demand, to last year when Savji Dholakia, owner of Hare Krishna Diamonds decided to gift cars to his employees, the glitter seems to be coming back to Surat’s diamond industry.

Surat which is said to polish 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds, has nearly 4000 polishing units employing over five lakh workers mainly from Saurashtra, north Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Last year in December, Dholakia had given Chevrolet Beat cars to 72 of 100 employees who had met targets, just before Christmas, while the rest were given cash above Rs three lakh to pay up their home loans. Many of those who got cars, did not even know how to drive. The beneficiaries were short listed from 2000 artisans.....''

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