Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1998, Vol. 34, No. 1

The Rise to Prominence of the Modern Diamond Cutting Industry in India

The modern diamond cutting industry in India began slowly in the late 1950s but did not gain momentum until the mid-1960s. In the 30 years from 1966 to 1996, the industry grew at a remarkable rate: 82-fold by polished weight and 249-fold by polished (wholesale) value. Today, India accounts for about 70% by weight and 35% by (wholesale) value of the diamonds polished annually worldwide (excluding the effects of recent temporary surpluses of Russian rough diamonds in the market), and it has a near-monopoly in smaller (less than 7 pt) stones. Using production, sales, and other statistics, this article reviews the rise of the modern diamond cutting industry in India and its impact on the world diamond trade. India has had a profound effect on this trade because of the enormous quantities of small, low-cost diamonds manufactured there.