Sourcing

Diamond Manufacturing: India’s Technology Journey

SourcingOct 19, 2022

Diamond Manufacturing: India’s Technology Journey

New supply chain dynamics backed by digitalization, AI, and human capital are changing the economics of the Indian diamond industry.

20221019_Galahad Compass.jpg
Lexus Group’s Galahad Compass is one of the technologies that is helping India’s diamond manufacturing sector to evolve, particularly among Indian manufacturers that are opening factories in Africa.
Surat, India—With 90 percent of the world’s diamonds cut and polished in Surat, India is a global hub for diamond manufacturing. 
 
Traditionally, the diamond industry has followed the trail of low labor costs. 
 
Once upon a time, New York was a major diamond manufacturing center. Lower wage costs in Europe brought the industry to Belgium, followed by Israel and then India. 
 
The processing of diamonds was a slow and expensive process. 
 
Even highly skilled artisans could not avoid waste. The inclusions present in the diamond could not be identified easily, which led to poor quality diamonds.
 
Cutting and polishing was mostly a manual process. 
 
Rudimentary tools, such as a knife and a hammer, were used to break the rough. This was an inefficient process, as it would result in the loss of some pieces of the diamond and, thereby, the loss of potential profits.
 
The emery wheels were hand-operated in those days, which meant the workers would process fewer than three chunks of rough per day.
 
Laser machines brought a revolutionary change to the diamond manufacturing industry. The diamond processing machines provided all the applications, from planning to polishing. These minimized waste as well as scanned the impurities, which boosted the quality of the diamonds.
 
SLTL (Sahajanand Laser Technology Ltd.) Group and Surat-based technology company STPL have been  pioneers in bringing laser technology to India. 
 
In 1992 Arvind Patel, managing director of SLTL Group, set up a factory in Gandhinagar in the state of Gujarat, India, to manufacture laser cutting machines. 
 
He imported a laser machine from a Swiss manufacturer and re-engineered it to launch an Indian version at less than half the price. 
 
SLTL Group provides a one-stop solution for diamond processing, starting from planning and marking, to cleaning or sawing, and bruting and polishing. The measurement of the rough diamond is done by an AI-assisted planning process that provides insights regarding the optimal diamond yield to the user. 
 
About half of the 10,000 diamond processing units in Gujarat using laser cutting machines are based in Surat.
 
Large Indian diamond manufacturers, such as SRK Exports, Karp Group and Hari Krishna Exports, use sophisticated machines made by Switzerland-based Synova that uses an advanced proprietary Laserjet Micro System (LMJ) technology. 
 
LMJ is a hybrid method combining a laser with a hair-thin water jet that precisely guides the laser beam by means of total internal reflection at the water/ air interface. 
 
Synova has set up two micro-machining centers in Surat and Mumbai to better serve their existing customers and to meet growing market demand.
 
There’s also DiaBot, a multipurpose robot from InnovSeed. The robot has “helped us to improve security, efficiency and cost reduction in rough sorting and auto-polishing,” said Vipul Sutaria, director of Dharmanandan Diamonds.
 
20221019_DiaBot.jpg
Multipurpose robot DiaBot needs just one operator and can perform the work of 22 employees.
 
At the forefront of India’s tech revolution is Surat-based Lexus Group, founded in 1992 by its CEO, Utpal Mistry, and his brothers.     
 
The company has invented, patented and launched several high-tech diamond machines. At the core of Lexus Group’s offerings are machines featuring Artificial Intelligence Supported by Human Intelligence, otherwise known as AISHI, and “phygital” technologies, meaning technologies that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. 
 
One of the company’s most recent patented products is the digital adaptive light scope, or DALS, a powerful microscope that offers reflection-free illumination of the stones under it. 
 
There is also Cutwise Live, a small desktop device that lets jewelers examine and compare a diamond’s optical performance under different lighting conditions. 
 
20220919_DALS.jpg
The DALS microscope provides reflection-free illumination to improve human observation and enhance machine vision by removing glares, flickers, over-exposures and reflections.

Using DALS, teams from different locations can exchange ideas by sharing microscope images of rough, semi-polished, or polished diamonds in real time without physically having to send the diamonds from place to place. This facilitates quick decision making.
 
Sales teams also can shoot videos to highlight specific features and share them with their team members or online buyers. 

 Speaking at the Dubai Diamond Conference 2022, Bernold Richerzhagen, CEO of Synova, said the processes of cutting, polishing and grading are getting integrated and fully automated. 
 
Technology has made it possible to produce bigger and better diamonds with the same quality and quantity of rough. And it is now possible to cut and polish diamonds in a single day.
 
Richerzhagen said Synova’s DaVinci Diamond Factory can produce diamonds at the speed of 1 carat per hour of round brilliants as well as fancies and arbitrary shapes. 
 
It is an automated laser cutting and shaping system for diamonds that offers two key advantages. 
 
For one, there is no need for manual polishing skills on a larger scale. 
 
Secondly, by combining several workflows in one machine, production time is substantially reduced. 
 
 
In a bid to increase their share of the diamond value chain, African mining countries have placed restrictions on the export of larger diamonds. They are also investing in diamond polishing facilities to export finished gems instead of rough stones. 
 
That’s why proactive Indian manufacturers are setting up factories in Africa. 
 
Around 20 companies, including some De Beers sightholders, have set up diamond manufacturing facilities in Botswana, a key diamond mining nation. 
 
The Galahad Compass, a revolutionary product developed by Lexus Group, has given the new diamond cutting centers in Botswana, Namibia, Angola and South Africa a huge boost. 
 
In layman’s terms, Galahad Compass is a “3D digital printer for a diamond,” or, to put it another way, a Google Map for diamond polishing where the artisan just aligns two dots—source and destination—to get precise facet angle.
 
It offers digital assistance so that even novice polishers can exactly produce all 57 facets to obtain a higher yield.
 
India’s diamond manufacturing story has evolved from low cost to high-tech in order to survive and thrive in this highly competitive industry.

This story is one of three included in the special India Diamond Report newsletter. The stories are produced  by an independent editor based in India. 
Anil PrabhakarAnil Prabhakar is an industry analyst, journalist and consultant associated with the Jewelry and watch industries.

The Latest

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Radhika Merchant’s Wedding Portrait
EditorsJul 17, 2024
6 Lavish Looks from the Ambani Wedding

Feast your eyes on the elaborate jewels worn during the wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

Macy’s Herald Square store
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Macy’s Ends Buyout Talks

The retailer will not be making a deal with Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management, opting to focus on its turnaround plan.

Crime police cars
CrimeJul 16, 2024
Thieves Nab $500K in Jewelry in Calif. Group Smash-and-Grab

The Berkeley robbery follows two other Bay Area robberies involving multiple suspects, one in May and one in June.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsJul 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: Awareness Starts With Your Online Store

Lilian Raji discusses the importance of having an intentional website design that aligns with your brand or store’s goals.

Catbird The Met collection
CollectionsJul 16, 2024
Catbird Debuts New Met Collection

It’s the second collaborative offering from the jewelry brand and the New York City art museum.

Craftsman holding Pomellato Arengario necklace
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Pomellato Acquires Valenza Setting Lab

The Kering-owned brand bought VSL to reinforce its manufacturing capabilities.

Ewa Abrams, Kering’s new president for the Americas
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Kering Appoints New President for Americas Region

The luxury conglomerate promoted General Counsel Ewa Abrams to the role, succeeding Laurent Claquin.

Tanzanite ring
MajorsJul 15, 2024
Signet Falls 11 Spots on NRF’s ‘Top 100’ Retailers List

The jewelry giant came in at No. 67 on the list, down from No. 56 last year.

 2025 Gem Awards logo
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Nominations Are Open for the 2025 Gem Awards

Submissions in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence will be accepted through Aug. 23.

Sunlit’s Sun Goddess Supreme Ring and Pyramid Rutilated Quartz Necklace
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
NY Now Expands Emerging Designer Segment for Its Summer Market

Curated at Luxury Lifestyle will build on the former initiative, the Emerging Fine Jewelry Designer Incubator.

Collage of Caitlin Albritton and her jewelry
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Halstead Announces 2024 Grant Winner

Caitlin Albritton won the 19th annual Halstead Grant for emerging jewelry businesses.

Myne London
CollectionsJul 12, 2024
Myne London to Support Malala Fund

The emerald supplier will donate a percentage of sales from its “Star Power” earrings to the nonprofit in support of girls’ education.

The Jewelry Symposium logo
Events & AwardsJul 12, 2024
The Jewelry Symposium Is Looking for Speakers

TJS is seeking jewelry manufacturing and technology experts to speak at its 2025 event.

Sculptural Freeform Earrings
CollectionsJul 12, 2024
Piece of the Week: Marrow Fine’s ‘Sculptural Freeform’ Earrings

The earrings were inspired by the landscape at Joshua Tree and Jean Arp’s abstract sculptures.

Madeline Fraser Gemist
EditorsJul 11, 2024
Q&A: Gemist CEO Madeline Fraser on Jewelry Visualization Technology

Fraser shares why she decided to shift from a direct-to-consumer retailer to a B2B technology company.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy