Dubai has quickly emerged as a global diamond trading hub, with stones worth US$39 billion (AED 143.25 billion) changing hands in 2011.Although figures for 2012 are not yet available, it is generally thought that the city's precious stone industry is growing by the year and it is now the third-biggest diamond investment hotspot on the planet, the National reports.It is no secret that Dubai is a haven for high net worth individuals and the emirate has an abundance of riches when it comes to investment opportunities.The Middle Eastern city has one of the most lucrative property sectors on earth and many of the world's most successful and profitable companies now have a base in the UAE too.Dubai appears to be catching up with Mumbai and Antwerp in the diamond trading stakes, which is incredible when you consider that just $5 million worth of stones were traded through the city in 2003.The emirate is hosting the Dubai Diamond Conference this week (March 18th - 19th), which will be attended by key figures from important African diamond mines.Chairman of Dubai Diamond Exchange Peter Meeus said there has been a noticeable shift in the global precious stone industry in recent years, with most of the activity switching to eastern regions.A lot of the diamonds come from Africa and Mr Meeus thinks that Dubai benefits from having excellent trade links with the producing countries and consuming nations in the Americas, Europe and Asia.Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, told the news provider that Dubai's rising status in the industry is welcome, but the emirate has not set any specific targets."We are an important part of the global market, but we are partners with Antwerp, Mumbai, New York, and all the other major centres," he was quoted as saying."There is no finish line in view for us. We will continue to drive the business with excellence. But there is no first or second or third."