Interview with Rajul Patel

Tell us about your career in Diamond market?
I started my career about 25 yrs back, 1986, in Khambat Gujarat. First 5 years I was working in manufacturing, I was doing Diamond polishing (હીરા ઘસવાનુ કામ) . After this I was working as Manager for 5 yrs. I was looking after Diamond Factory ( hira karkhana ) . Again for next 2 – 3 years did Diamond Polishing. after all this, came to Mumbai. Been in Mumbai for last 10 years.

In Mumbai I started working for company named Endal, worked for a year then moved to D Naveen for sometime. After this, went to Gem International for 3yrs. Since last 5 years, working for Maruti Jewels in Diamond Assortment department.|

How was your experience during 2008 Recession?
Market always goes through UPs and Downs in business. Slowdowns always come after uptrend gets over. Once 2008 was over, market improved in 2009 and we started labelling 2008 as Recession and what not.  So if you want to be in market, keep in mind that there is always slowdown after good times and vice versa. આનેજ ધંધો કેવાય. તેજી મંદી ચાલ્યા કરે. In business you make money only when there is uptrend or downtrend. In a flat world you dont get to do anything.

Even, at present people are talking about slowdown. But smart ones are still cracking deals and making money.

What do you think about Diamond Valuation ?
People inside market know value of what goods they buy. It should be up to buyer and seller to decide price or value. Unfortunately our market has given lot of importance to third party companies like Rapnet. A foreign based company decides  price of Diamond that gets sold in Mumbai market. Valuation should be in people’s mind who understand diamonds and its process, not dictate by some third party company.

I dont like the idea that a Foreign company decides Valuation and everyone in our market simply follows it. It wasn’t like this few years back. Indian Diamond Industry is very seasoned and matured. It is sad that we give so much emphasis to Rapnet and not trust our business knowledge. We have given up our business to them to run, earlier it was level playing field.

Why are Diamond Prices not going up as Gold prices are?
Gold is universally accepted. You can sell it at 10 different places, if you want to liquidate. Selling Diamonds is not so wide-spread. Only well to do people buy Diamonds. Those who buy Diamonds like to keep it forever hence it doesn’t get considered in to Investment basket.

What is your observation about Diamond Industry as a Career choice?
Things have gone bad. Salaries and respect have gone down. And we are our-self to take the blame. We do not give enough respect to people who work on Manufacturing floor. Assorters and Polishers are not given enough respect, neither they are paid well. These people are base of our Industry. Only if you take care of them rest of the Industry will thrive well.

What do you think about Mumbai Diamond market moving to Bandra Kurla Complex?
I dont think BKC is going to work for us. There are 500 boss in our market for whom 50000 Karigars do work. For convenience of 500 Bosses, 50000 will go through tough time.

More then 95 percent market people use Trains and Bus for commute. Try catching train from Bandra. Want to catch Bus? You have to wait in queue, let 10 bus leave and then only you get to enter 11th bus. Rickshaw costs Rs 20 per person, one way. Isn’t that strange that whole BKC came up without doing anything about connecting it to Bandra stations. With present available infrastructure and transport, you are simply going to add 2 hours more in commuting time for those majority of people.

New AC buses have been started between Bandra station and BKC. Such measures should make life easy?
Right now less then 5% of people have moved. If 100% market moves, then even 300 buses will not solve the problem. There is so much Traffic and Crowd.

Bharat Diamond Bourse is safe once you are inside its compound. but until you reach the place, it doesn’t feel safe enough. Nothing beats convenience of reaching Opera house.

If most of the companies in Market get listed on stock market, which one will you invest in?
First on my list will be Maruti Jewels. I work here. I know how well we are doing. I will make my company go up. Why should I invest in any other company.

Any message for people in Diamond market?
I will be frank. Do not teach all important things to outsiders. We have toiled for years and years to gain expertise. When you share all business details with outside country, you are slowly handing over business to them. I know people who take their Chinese associates to their Kharkhana ( Diamond Factory) and tell them everything they have learned over years.

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