Simple Diamond Profit

The well-heeled diamond travels many a continent before it reaches New York, the world’s largest diamond market. Total U.S. retail sales for the diamond jewelry category — more than 50 percent of sales worldwide — were $33.7 billion in 2005, a $2.2 billion increase over 2004 sales of $31.5 billion, according to the Diamond Information Center.

After being mined in South Africa, Asia, South America or Australia, the stone is cut and polished in Asia or Europe before it is sold via one of the 24 registered diamond exchanges around the world or direct to wholesalers or diamond jewelry manufacturers. It is then crafted into jewelry commissioned by a retailer or jewelry designer. Manufacturers sometimes also design the jewelry and sell it directly to retailers.
Smaller players can make money by owning parts of that process as they desire. For example, aspiring entrepreneur can set up as a jewelry designer to secure a foothold in this lucrative market. This is similar to my Coffee Maker for Cash idea in the coffee industry.

Outside of Asia and Africa, it is Antwerp,Belgium, that is the major diamond trading hub for the West. Israel is also a complementary trade center, mainly supplying North America. Dubai is the regional distribution center for the Middle East.

Today, India dominates the polishing business, although the country produces no raw diamonds of its own. India enjoys a near-monopoly in the diamond-cutting industry, but it is the low wages and easy availability of labor that keep the industry profitable. Whether you live in the United States or Japan, if you buy a diamond ring today, there is a good chance the stone was crafted in India.

An estimated 92 percent of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat, an industrial city in western India. It is the highly skilled yet cheap workforce that has made India one of the major players in the industry. India spends $10 per carat on the polishing and cutting of diamonds, against China's $17 and South Africa's $40 to $60.

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