Surat Diamond Bourse will be an undisputed global diamond powerhouse in the 21st century
For decades, diamantaires in Surat, the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing center, relied on Panchratna, Opera House, and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB)—a diamond trading hub in Maharashtra’s Mumbai—to trade the sparkling gems to international buyers. Every stunning gem processed in the Indian city of Surat would end up in Mumbai, the country’s economic capital. Surat’s diamond dynamics are set to change in 2022 when India will get its second diamond exchange, the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), which will be three times larger than its Mumbai counterpart, the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), and much larger than the Pentagon in the United States of America (USA).
The SDB, which is being built at the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) city at Khajod village is an upcoming business district project by the Government of Gujarat. SDB is the first project at DREAM city, which is being billed as the world’s largest office building, spanning 6.6 lakh square feet—bigger than the Pentagon, which spans 6.1 lakh square feet. The SDB project, worth Rs 2,500 crore, will be a game-changer for India’s diamond industry and the Surat economy in the coming years.
“The SDB project is the only one in the world,” declares Mathur Savani, spokesperson and member of the SDB diamond bourse’s core committee. “The SDB has infrastructure and facilities that other diamond bourses around the world, such as Israel, Dubai, and Belgium, do not have.” In a nutshell, the SDB project is the culmination of other diamond exchanges around the world,” Savani added.
SDB will accommodate about 4,200 offices—ranging from 300 square feet in size to more than 5,000 square feet. It has set standards in the commercial sector with the development and maintenance of ecological standards, hence accoladed with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) ranking of Platinum rated building.
The SDB’s buildings structure is focused on energy efficiency and sensitive to the industry’s dependence upon sunlight, mainly for the assorting and grading of diamonds, thus letting ample daylight in all office spaces.
There are nine building towers, which are connected with 24 feet wide spine corridor. All entrance foyers, spine corridor, lift lobbies on ground floors are airconditioned. The spine corridors at the upper floors have a radiant cooling system to maintain a pleasant environment, during transit.
Further, each building has eight feet wide office corridors, 13 feet floor height and the ground floor height is 19 feet. All the nine buildings at SDB will have 125 elevators, with a speed of 3 meters per second. All the offices are centrally air-conditioned, through a chilled water-cooling system, with each sighting onto the exquisitely designed landscape courts, which are designed on the concept of “Panchtatva” (five elements of nature; Air, Water, Fire, Earth, Sky) spanning almost 200 ft wide and 300 ft long.
SDB project has 100% power back up, for common areas and offices. For sustainability, Microclimate-– to maintain the temperature within the confined spaces, Solar control – to reduce the direct heating due to sunlight and wind analysis – to evaluate and maximize natural ventilation, orientation according to sun and wind direction, energy performance– for energy efficiency and WWR.
‘Surat’s diamond dynamics’
Surat, in the Indian state of Gujarat, is the world’s largest polished diamond manufacturing center. Surat processes approximately 93 percent of the world’s diamonds. The sparkling diamonds from Surat’s larger factories are traded at BDB in Mumbai, while the smaller diamond units trade in Surat’s Mahidharpura and Varachha diamond markets. The tiny gems processed in Saurashtra’s diamond cutting centers such as Bhavnagar, Amreli, Savarkundla, Botad, Visnagar, Junagadh, Jasdan, and Deesa are traded in Bhavnagar before being transported to Surat for their final trading destination in Mumbai. Small alleys in the diamond markets of Varachha and Mahidhapura remain teeming with diamond traders, with diamonds worth over Rs 700 crore changing hands in a single day. The gleaming gems are then delivered to Mumbai by ‘Angadias,’ couriers who transport valuable goods between Mumbai and Surat daily.
Chalo Surat is the buzzword in Mumbai
‘Chalo Surat’ is the buzzword in the diamond industry, especially in Mumbai. Kiran Gems, the world’s largest manufacturer of natural diamonds and India’s premier diamantaire, announced the shifting of its office headquarter from the BDB at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) to the world’s largest SDB project at Khajod village in Surat.
Vallabh Lakhani, chairman, Kiran Gems, who is the brainchild behind the world’s largest SDB project, has acquired more than 1 lakh square feet of office space covering four floors of the 15-storey building at SDB. The interior work of Kiran Gems’ new office facility at SDB has already started and it is set to be completed before the next Diwali festival in 2022.
Managing Director of Kiran Gems, Mavji Patel, and directors—Dinesh Lakhani and Rajesh Lakhani visited the SDB to oversee the interior and other construction work going on at the Kiran Gems’ new headquarter at Khajod in Surat. According to Kiran Gems, the office space of Kiran Gems is being designed and executed by Manish Choksi of Design Core and the project consultants Magnate Projects, to accomplish the overall goal of the project.
Following Kiran Gems’ announcement, small and medium diamond traders operating from Mumbai’s BDB have started shifting their base to Surat. The diamond brokers in Mumbai, to are planning to shift to Surat with all the leading diamond companies setting up their shops at the SDB.
The dream project
Chairman of Kiran Gems, Vallabh Lakhani is the brainchild behind the world’s largest diamond exchange in Surat. Operating business from Mumbai for the last many years, it was Lakhani’s dream to set up the world’s biggest diamond exchange in Surat. “SDB’s infrastructure is unmatched in the entire world. International diamond companies from Dubai, Antwerp, and the U.S have bought office space at SDB and many are willing to set up shops in Surat. Once the SDB is operational, Surat will have a distinct place on the world map” says Lakhani.
According to Lakhani, SDB will realize the dream of transforming India into a modern and sophisticated market for diamonds and jewellery. International buyers from around the world will have a world of opportunities to transact with scores of diamantaires under one roof.
Surat’s diamond turnover is set to increase
According to the latest data from the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s total gems and jewellery exports are pegged at $37.4 billion per annum. The SDB project is expected to bring in an annual turnover of $33.56 billion with buyers from more than 175 countries visiting for trading in diamonds. Since the SDB is located in the diamond manufacturing hub of Surat, the international buyers will be able to buy the precious gems at the best prices and would cut down on the overhead expenses such as traveling and maintaining offices and staff at BDB in Mumbai.
SDB will give a booster dose to Surat’s economy
The SDB project is set to boost Surat’s economy in many ways. The sectors including real estate, hospitality, gems & jewellery, and textiles will get a further boost with the visit of international and national buyers to the SDB. In the last three years, realty prices in neighborhoods such as Vesu, Althan, Adajan, and Pal — which are within 5 to 8 kilometers of the bourse — have appreciated by almost 15% to 20% following the SDB-related spike in demand for housing.