The Indian diamond industry: The hands that toil
A diamond is valuable not just because of its rarity but because of the effort taken to craft one. It is the hard work and skill of several people that makes a diamond beautiful and special. The Indian diamond industry employs over a million people.
Diamonds don’t reach us directly from the mines; you might not even want one if you see its original form.
At every stage of refining a diamond, there are dozens of people involved. When we think about the price of a diamond, expensive is the first word that comes to mind. Along with the 4Cs (colour, cut, clarity and carat) of a diamond, labour also influences the pricing.
One cannot easily master the art of cutting and polishing a diamond. It takes years of expertise and experience to refine this art. In the Indian diamond industry, a majority of people are traditional craftsmen.
Diamond cutting and polishing are difficult jobs as even a little discrepancy in the cuts can affect the pricing. Since a diamond is a very valuable rock, the craftsman has to ensure that there is minimum wastage.
This is because the generation before theirs worked in the same field and passed on the skill to them. A career in the diamond industry starts with the right kind of training and diamond education.
Diamond graders also form an important part of the diamond industry. This skill is also quite advanced and takes a lot of effort. In most cases, graders can easily tell the difference between two diamonds which the consumer can’t.
The internet is full of articles that briefly describe what diamond education is. But at a professional level, the learning never stops. And there is always some new development in the diamond industry.
In this process, it is not just their tools that they sharpen but also their knowledge.
There are, however, a handful of challenges that the employers in the Indian diamond industry face.
The biggest problem that stares this industry in the face is fresh talent. Unlike the previous generation, not many from this generation are keen on jobs related to diamond cutting, polishing or grading.
Most diamond businesses are family-run and so they pass on from the father to the son. Since this is not the case anymore, the industry now hires solely on the basis of qualifications.
The existing solution involves bringing unskilled craftsmen into the workforce and training them to perfection. Here, the plus point is that new age craftsmen are quite open to accepting new technology. They don’t just use it to their advantage but also improve their skills to keep up with the latest tech.
Given that diamond cutting and polishing jobs are quite difficult tasks, the wages should justify the effort. However, over the years, there has been little improvement in this area.
Despite all these challenges, most diamonds all over the world are still polished in India. In the past, the Indian diamond industry has hired more people than other industries have. The industry has tackled most of its challenges with the help of new technology and a broader outlook.
When was the last time you cross-checked the change in the price of the diamond jewellery you bought from your …