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Time to Boost India’s Diamond Industry Like the Israelis Did with a Diamond Startup Incubator

Israel is opening an incubator to promote new technologies and startups to boost their diamond industry, while India’s is seeing a decline.

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Diamond processing centre in India

The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), the largest in the world for business transactions between diamond importers, exporters, cutters, marketers, buyers, sellers and all diamond merchants has just joined the small nation’s potent Startup initiatives. The IDE hopes to drive innovation and technology with the opening of a technological incubator for Israeli and international diamond-related startups. The incubator called Diamond Tech, will provide a home and financial support for startups from the diamond industry in their initial stages of development.

At present India has the largest diamond polishing and cutting industry in the world, even larger than that of Israel’s, processing 85 percent of the world’s mined diamonds. However, numbers show the sector is waning in brilliance.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said that cut and polished diamond figures for the 2016 fiscal year, has shown that exports declined 13.66 percent to $19.97 billion. In the previous fiscal year (April 2014 to March 2015), cut and polished diamond exports totalled $23.16 billion. The 2016 fiscal year results follow a five-year pattern of falling gross gem and jewellery exports, but that it was the first time in six years that cut and polished diamond exports fell below the 20 billion dollar threshold.

Provisional data from GJEPC shows that cut and polished diamonds exported from April to May of 2017 show a marginal decrease of 2.3 percent from the corresponding time last year. Demonetization wasn’t a good move for the industry either with a diamond trader from Surat telling a leading daily immediately after demonetization, “The export houses may still be better off as they have US dollars with them, but the players who operate in the local market have no option at the moment. For the next two to three months, we do not see any payments happening.”

It seems like the home grown country is in need dire need of a similar technological startup style face lift. The Israeli Diamond Tech incubator will promote new technologies for diamonds in the broadest sense. This includes industrial platforms, robotics, semi-conductors, medical technologies, space technology, software, finance, and B2B and B2C marketing platforms.

IDE will be partnering with Sarine, the Israel-based world leader in technologies for the diamond industry and the Hennig Diamond group, which has an international investment arm specializing in diamond technologies. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has signed on as a strategic partner for research and development. Key international organizations Brinks Global Services, CIBJO - The World Jewellery Confederation and Pantheon Pacific Group from China have expressed support for the project.

IDE President Yoram Dvash said, "We made a strategic decision to establish Diamond Tech Innovation Center because we are convinced that the diamond industry must advance technologically. Israel is a world leader in technology - with over 1500 new startups established every year. We will harness the energy and creativity of the startup nation for the good of our industry. The Israel Diamond Exchange is committed to ensuring the success of these startups and their contribution to the diamond industry."

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