The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) expects Dubai to become the world’s second-leading destination for the diamond trade, according to Malcolm Wall Morris, chief executive officer at the DMCC.

While full-year figures for 2011 have yet to be announced, the total volume of diamonds traded in the first half of 2011 reached $23bn, up 57 per cent when compared with the same period in 2010.

“The diamond trade is a specific, targeted market and Dubai’s location is a huge element of its success. We were in the top 4 in 2010 in terms of traded value of diamonds and I will be surprised if we do not make the top 2 this year,” says Morris.

Dubai’s proximity to India, which cuts and polishes about 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds, and its strong trade links with the country have helped to boost its ranking. It now competes with the likes of Antwerp, the world’s largest diamond centre, Hong Kong, Mumbai and New York.

“Dubai has played a significant role in supporting companies looking to expand trade links with emerging markets like India, China and the GCC,” says Rohit Dhamani, director of wholesale and trading at UAE-based Dhamani Jewels.

The Almas tower, DMCC’s headquarters, was constructed for the diamond industry and includes industry-standard boiling, grading and security facilities.

Dubai’s export of polished diamonds totalled $9.7bn in the first half of 2011, up 40 per cent when compared with the same period in 2010. Net imports rose to $9.7bn. Together, the polished diamond trade was valued at $19.4bn in the first half of 2011.