India's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Saturday said it is banking on the upcoming World Diamond Conference, scheduled in New Delhi to gain a global edge in the diamond polishing and cutting segment with an increased flow of Russian stones.
"There is a great possibility at the moment that Russian diamonds may come to India in greater numbers for cutting and polishing," council spokesman Ashok Ninawala told IANS over phone.
Alrosa, a consortium of Russian companies, is in the process of entering into long-term contracts with Indian traders. Russia is the largest diamond-producing country, by volume, and in 2013 produced 25 percent of total carats and 26 percent of overall rough diamond value.
Presently, Russia exports only 16 percent of its rough diamonds for polishing and cutting to India, which handles 90 to 95 percent of the global diamond polishing industry.
If the speculation turns out to be true, there can be a surge in employment in the diamond industry with small polishers and merchants from the small and medium industries getting increased exposure which will lead to higher profits. Besides, it will put India into the focus shadowing the centres in Belgium and Dubai.
"There can be a 15 to 20 percent annual growth in the diamond industry if the deal with Alrosa and other Russian companies gets through," Ninawala said.
Presently, the diamond industry in India is growing between 8 to 10 percent and employs over 13.5 million people for domestic and overseas trade.
According to Ninawala, India has a technical edge over other centres in Antwerp and Dubai.
"Today, the world's best diamonds are cut and polished in India. The technology involved in this is over a hundred years' old which gives us (India) the edge," he added.
Further, GJEPC is expecting south African countries to focus on India too in this sector.
GJEPC is also expecting support from the Indian government to support the gem and jewellery industry and list it as a separate industry sector.