Practically the whole of last year was bad news for diamond exports. During calendar 2001, gem and jewellery exports witnessed a 17 per cent slide over the previous year. Actual realisation stood at $7.2 billion in 2001 against $8.4 billion a year ago. The new year, however, has brought in cheer for the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. For, in the first fortnight of 2002, diamond exports touched $304 million as against $242 million recorded in January 2001. A revival in the international diamond market It may well be so. To be sure, the Indian economy would be hoping for the best — given that this country is the largest exporter of cut and polished diamonds in the world and the sector tops the list of foreign exchange earners. That said, the upsurge in recent months should not give way to complacency. Nor should exporters rest on their laurels merely because India commands a 55 per cent share of the global diamond market in terms of value, or 80 per cent in terms of caratage. The industry must continuously explore possibilities of expanding the market, introduce new technologies and seek more value addition to retain its top slot. It is as well for the diamontaires to fully exploit the studded jewellery market well before the demand for ‘cheap goods’ peters out.