Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Diamonds are forever in Dubai

Dubai hopes to promote the emirate as one stop on "The New Silk Route" for diamonds.

The trading floor of the Dubai Diamond Exchange is designed to appear like the prow of an enormous transparent yacht sailing across the crystal clear waters of Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

At the centre of this modernist cathedral to the most precious of gemstones sits a huge hunk of plastic sculpted to the shape of a round brilliant cut diamond.

The floor towards the foredeck of this artificial ship is also transparent and hangs in the air over the lake.

The futuristic and sparse surrounds are enough to give any diamond trader the uneasy feeling that he is in some sort of Bond villain's lair and could fall to his death in shark-infested waters at any moment.

But there are no trap doors in Almas Tower, the tallest commercial building in the Middle East that is named after the Arabic word for Diamonds. Neither are their any sharks in the lake beneath the trading floor.

That floor, and the primary coloured chairs and sofas surrounding it, will be bowed under far more weight than usual today and tomorrow, as 500 of the world's leading diamond experts attend the Dubai Diamond Conference, the first of what is hoped to be a biennial event.

"The Dubai Diamond Conference is extremely significant, especially given the context of the current economic climate and global shift of businesses from West to East, North to South," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), host of the conference.

"The New Silk Route" is the theme of this year's event. "It is about the new trade routes from Africa to the new consumer nations in South Asia and the Far East," he said.

"We chose that title because with Africa rising, we will see this new route - where Dubai will be at the centre as facilitator and logistical hub - becoming a reality very soon."

The DMCC was established in 2002 as the gateway to commodities trade in the region. Less than US$5 million (Dh18.3m) worth of diamonds were traded through the emirate in the DMCC's first year but by the end of 2011 the trade in stones had swelled to more than $39bn, making Dubai number three in the world.

Today there are 600 companies involved in the diamond trade at DMCC.

"We have polishing and boiling facilities at Almas Tower; we have security services via Brinks; we have diamond financing via international financiers such as ABN Amro and Antwerp Diamond Bank and we have state-of-the-art vaulting services for both diamonds and gold," Mr bin Sulayem said.

"The majority of our diamond companies, however, are traders - a mix of wholesalers and retailers, rough and polished traders, from Damas and Dhamani Jewels to Rosy Blue, Dimxeon and Diarough."

Dubai has quickly climbed the global diamond trade ladder.

"The global shift in the diamond trade is a generational one and has been caused by a variety of reasons," Mr bin Sulayem said. "Most important is the rise of India and the Far East as consumer nations but also the proximity of Dubai to these two regions and Africa, with which it has historic trade ties."

To underscore this historic shift, De Beers, the world leader in the diamond industry, has moved the headquarters of The Diamond Trading Company, its rough diamond distribution arm, from London to Gaborone in Botswana.

"Dubai is naturally and conveniently located at the centre of trade - between producing and consuming nations. It has excellent air and sea links which makes doing business here easy," Mr bin Sulayem said.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National