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Monday, October 18, 2010

World’s Largest Diamond Bourse Opens in India

Nearly two decades in the making, the world’s largest diamond exchange opened Sunday in Mumbai. It will no doubt challenge the dominance of traditional bourses in Antwerp and Tel Aviv. On its first day the new facility did about $7 million worth of diamond import business, according to a published report.

The 20-acre Bharat Diamond Bourse has eight interlinked nine story office towers, containing 2,500 offices, four walk-in vaults, 24,500 safe deposit boxes and a 6,200 square foot trading floor. It is designed to house exporters, importers, clearing agents, banks, and customs departments. Other amenities include restaurants and food courts for visitors, businesspersons and clients.

India is already the leading diamond manufacturer in the world. It accounts for 70 to 75 percent of world diamond exports, worth about $28 billion annually and employs approximately 850,000 people. India diamond officials are hoping that the bourse, at a cost of $200 million, will the allow country to gain dominance in the diamond trading business as well.

Disputes between the committee overseeing the diamond bourse, its architects and contractors and payment defaults by members during the 1995-99 property slump put the project on hold in 1998, according to published reports. It was restarted in 2001. The delays resulted in estimates ranging from a 20 percent to a doubling of overall costs once the project was completed.

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