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28 Oct 2009
Palanpuri diamantaires were noted businessmen in Burma nearly 100 years ago

Two Palanpuri diamantaires, Surajmal Lallubhai and Amulakh Khubchand were well established gem and jewellery traders in Burma over a century ago and find mention among the prominent members of the business community in a historical volume “Twentieth century impressions of Burma: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources” written by Arnold Wright and first published in 1910 by Lloyd's Greater Britain Pub. Co from London; Durban; Perth (W.A.).

The manuscript notes “….one of the most interesting establishments” among the jewellers “is that of Messrs. Surajmal Lallubhai & Co at 14 Mogul Street”. It adds, “The head of the firm, Mr. Surajmal Lallubhai, began his commercial life in Mumbai in 1893….on the death of his uncle…..he founded the present establishment in 1902 taking into partnership his younger brothers, Keshavlal, Manilal and Hiralal. Mr Surajmal Lallubhai is a member of the Jain community, who are prominent in the pearls and precious stones business in India and Burma. He has studied English, Gujarati, Sanskrit, and Persian and has a working knowledge of the Burmese language.”

Another firm that is covered is Mansookhlal Soorajmal, described as a ”firm of jewellers, commission agents and diamond merchants who transact a large business.” The author writes that “the enterprise was started by Mr Mansookhlal Dawlatchand… a native of Patan, North Gujarat….. (who) entered into a partnership with Mr. Amulakh Khubchand, with the intention of opening a business in Rangoon, and this was finally established in 1889.”   

The book is available online in the Cornell University library and the references to the Palanpuri diamantaires can be viewed at http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=sea;cc=sea;idno=sea362;size=S;frm=frameset;seq=366;view=image;page=root


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