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Surat jail prisoners polish 25k diamonds a month

In the dim environs of a Gujarat jail, 25,000-odd tiny pieces of rough-cut gemstones get every month in the hands of prisoners polishing them into shape and shining a new light on their lives as diamonds in the rough.

Lajpore Central Jail in diamond city Surat, which is known to polish 95% of the world's showroom stock of the most coveted precious stone, currently has a team of 107 prisoners skilfully chipping away at small-size diamonds in the prison's polishing unit daily. Their combined output of finished natural diamonds earns each of them up to Rs 20,000 a month, depending on the skills they bring to the polishing table.

"Ours is possibly the only jail in the world where cutting and polishing of natural diamonds takes place. The unit has been working smoothly without any complaints," said SP JN Desai, who heads the prison.


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