Historic Diamond Markets Unfazed by the Glitter of the Surat Diamond Bourse
Sharad Mehta, a seasoned diamond trader with over three decades of experience in Mahidharpura's labyrinthine lanes, is unfazed by the SDB's allure. "Mahidharpura is my home," he declares with a reassuring smile. "This place has seen me through thick and thin, and I can't imagine doing business anywhere else."
Surat : In the heart of Surat, Gujarat, where diamonds have danced their way into the soul of the city, a curious phenomenon is unfolding. The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), the world’s largest diamond trading hub, opened its doors on November 21, promising a glittering future for the city’s diamond industry. Yet, amidst the fanfare and excitement, an air of nonchalance prevails in the historic diamond markets of Varachha and Mahidharpura.
Sharad Mehta, a seasoned diamond trader with over three decades of experience in Mahidharpura’s labyrinthine lanes, is unfazed by the SDB’s allure. “Mahidharpura is my home,” he declares with a reassuring smile. “This place has seen me through thick and thin, and I can’t imagine doing business anywhere else.”
Mehta’s sentiment echoes through the bustling alleys of Varachha and Mahidharpura, where generations of diamond traders have honed their craft, forging unbreakable bonds of trust and camaraderie. The traditional diamond markets, with their vibrant energy and intricate network of connections, hold a special place in the hearts of these seasoned traders.
The small alleys of diamond market in Mahidharpura are witness to the decades of ups and downs that the diamond market has faced. The diamond merchants still find the solace in doing business standing in the groups or sitting on the pavements with their diamond loupes, sipping on the tea and chewing mava (a concoction of betel nuts, lime or chuna and tobacco).
“I can’t even think of trading diamonds on the neat floors and shining office floors in Surat Diamond Bourse” chuckles Narendra Patel, a diamond merchant operating at Varachha diamond market for the last 25 years. “It (Surat Diamond Bourse) is a place for big companies and traders, there is no room for small people like us”.
The reluctance of these small-time diamond traders to embrace the SDB’s modern facilities and centralized trading platform is not a sign of resistance but rather a testament to the deep-rooted traditions and strong local ties that have defined Surat’s diamond industry for centuries.
The SDB, with its gleaming towers and state-of-the-art infrastructure, undoubtedly represents a significant step forward for Surat’s diamond industry. However, it is the historic diamond markets of Varachha and Mahidharpura that continue to embody the city’s enduring spirit, a spirit that is as resilient and sparkling as the diamonds themselves.
While the SDB may attract the big players in the diamond industry, the heart of Surat’s diamond trade will continue to beat in the historic markets. For the small-time traders, these markets are more than just places of business; they are a community, a legacy, and a way of life.
So, as the SDB continues to shine its light on Surat’s diamond industry, the historic markets of Varachha and Mahidharpura will remain steadfast, their legacy etched in the very fabric of the city’s diamond soul.