Diamonds being easily transportable and being of high value allows them to be moved to the most efficient and economic locations for further processing. The several factors that are considered in determining the location of a diamond cutting facility are access to rough, taxation, financing, trained workers and marketing of polished diamonds.
Traditional and famous diamond cutting centers are Antwerp, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, New York, and Tel Aviv. Recently, diamond cutting centers have been established in China, India, and Thailand. Cutting centers with lower costs of labor, notably Surat in Gujarat, India, handle a larger number of smaller carat diamonds, while smaller quantities of larger or more valuable diamonds are more likely to be handled in Europe or North America.
Most of the rough diamonds of small carat weight are cut and polished in India due to low cost of labor. About 90 percent of Argyle Mine's (Australia) rough diamond production is sent to be cut and polished in India, the major Diamond cutting centre being Surat in state of Gujarat.
The Indian gem cutting industry started in the 1960s. The major attraction for the rough diamond sellers was low labor costs. However, the Indian government also encouraged the development of the industry with a favorable tax structure. The supply of rough diamond was difficult to this region until the opening of the Argyle mine in the early 1980's.
Israel is another major diamond cutting and exporting country and has established itself as a leader in this field. Most sophisticated technology is used such as lasers and robotic arms that cut and polish a diamond. Israel offers a wide range in diamond cut shapes and is renowned for fancy cuts. The Israeli diamond industry was founded after the Second World War. Financing and a favorable tax system were provided and a trained work force quickly arrived after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. In recent years, however, Israeli cutters have had more and more difficulty obtaining a steady supply of rough diamonds.
In Belgium, Antwerp had been a centre for diamond trade for centuries. After the Second World War, it flourished as a cutting centre due to low taxation rates, a flexible Belgium banking system (supported and funded by government and De Beers) and the availability of rough through the trading centre. It is now renowned as the major diamond cutting centers of the world.
The largest gem quality diamonds are cut in New York. In 1996, polished trade in the United States was US$2.2 billion exports and US$5.8 billion imports.
New York developed as a diamond cutting centre around 1800 and flourished in the 1920s and 30s. Immediately preceding the Second World War, Jewish polishers from Amsterdam migrated to New York. With the assistance of an import tax on polished diamonds, the number of cutters continued to grow. New York has developed as a trade and import centre for the large American diamond market. It still is an important cutting centre for large stones, where knowledge and skill are given importance, rather than labor costs.
Diamonds cut in Russia are mainly from Yakutia, and other major diamond mines in Russia due to need of increase in employment. Most of the production in exported, as domestic sales are not significant. The Mir mine also called the Mirny mine, is a former open pit diamond mine, now inactive, located in Mirny, Eastern Siberia, Russia. The mine is 525 meters (1,722 ft) deep (4th in the world) and has a diameter of 1,200 m (3,900 ft), and is the second largest excavated hole in the world, after Bingham Canyon Mine.