Suraj Poddar

Diamonds: The Most Influential People Of the Decade.

Diamonds Standards Organization honors the commitment of the professionals around the world whose outstanding work in the last decade contributed to create ethical awareness in the diamond and jewellery sectors and helped promote the entire industry.

Suraj Poddar is an entrepreneur and expert in the diamond industry, Uniglo Diamond’s director and principle diamond trader. Based in Antwerp, he oversees the marketing and content management of the company, ensuring that the value proposition is communicated globally. He oversees the company’s compliance to ethical sourcing and trading regulations. Mr Podar received the Honorary Membership.

Why is ethical sourcing important in a modern society?
It is important not to be a part of any violence, death or unrest associated with conflict or blood diamonds, let alone propagate it. We remain determined towards ethical, transparent sourcing and functioning. Uniglo Diamonds obeys all laws and regulations of the Kimberly Process -a process established in 2003 that unites administrations, civil societies and the industry to reduce and prevent the flow of conflict diamonds, which are rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments, around the world.

Why informing customers that their purchase conforms to ethical standards has become a necessity?
Keeping the customer informed and being transparent is Uniglo Diamond’s number one priority. We believe the customer is king and they are entitled to know all the details about the diamond they are interested in, from its origin to how it conforms to ethical standards. And in that stride we provide all the specific documentation,certificates and details they would like to know. One thing to bear in mind is the Laboratory ratings speak only to the quality of a diamond and does not specify that it is conflict free or not. Uniglo Diamonds adheres to all this ensuring a customer’s peace of mind while making the purchase.

What is your background?
I started my career at a very early age, inspired by my father, and built the foundation of Uniglo Diamonds way back in 2001. I completed my bachelors of Commerce and went on to do a course in IGI certification. In my younger years I used to play close attention at what it took to lead from ahead and the nuances of the industry and today I have reached this position with sheer dedication, hard work and constant thorough learning and training, every step of the way. From its inception, the trajectory of Uniglo Diamonds has been significant. It went from being a smaller, lesser known name in the industry to a well-established and respected pioneer in the world of diamonds, growing each day with the finest in class customer base. And the underlying tour de force has been that Uniglo Diamonds have been the greatest price drivers since 2009, all strategically manoeuvred by myself.

How would you describe the last ten years?
Despite the diamond industry always being in a state of flux, Uniglo Diamonds tries to keep up with changing trends, technologies and techniques, constantly learning and adapting every step of the way. Some of the training activities I myself have initiated are International IGI certification workshops, skills programmes involving the manufacturing and grading of rough and polished diamonds and other such activities. Some of the challenges that we have faced is the price challenge with artificial, synthetic stones or lab manufactured diamonds. However, with our best in class and competitive pricing models we have been able to steer ahead quite effectively and efficiently.

“We remain determined towards ethical, transparent sourcing,,

How would you describe the last ten years?
One of the most impactful transitions is going to be the rough diamond supply. With some very renowned mines closing down permanently in this new decade, there will be a supply shortage which will in turn cause a price boost, thereby raising the value of large and coloured diamonds. As a direct consequence of the closure of Argyle, one of the most significant sources of pink diamonds in the world, I believe pink and coloured diamonds will gain value. Also as a consequence of the shortage of pink diamonds in the supply chain, I believe a new diamond segment could take off -and that is fluorescent diamonds. These diamonds, regarded for their glow under ultraviolet light, are mostly mined in colder climates like Russia and Canada. The new decade is also likely to see a lot more of technology playing a role in streamlining the manufacturing process, like how artificial intelligence is becoming very importantly in automating diamond cutting and grading.

“ensuring a customer’s peace of mind while making the purchase,,

On a more personal note, what is your favourite shape?
While I have always been a big fan of the classic round shape for its pure and timeless elegance, with changing times and tastes, I think I am leaning more towards geometric shapes and minimalist designs because of their versatility and appeal across younger demographics.

What is your favourite diamond color?
White will always remain an all-time favourite.

What is your favourite gemstone?
When it comes to rare beauty, I love tanzanite.

What is your favourite jewllery brand and why?
Tiffany & Co is an old-time favourite for its pioneering, elegant and minimalist designs while Chopard is brilliant for its extravagance and unique creativity.

What is your favourite watch brand and what model most attracts you?
Rolex and my favourite model from their pedigree would have to be the Submariner because it is so wearable, day or night, casual affair or elegan. Another watch brand I admire is Audemars Piguet.