De Beers Group is expanding its diamond-screening and grading operations in India at Surat plant. The company has invested nearly $10 million in the inscription and diamond-grading operations in India. The company has created a capacity to inscribe 500,000 diamonds annually.
Lussier, CEO of Forevermark, said the Surat plant was currently operating at 50% capacity but the investments are made in anticipation of growth in the export as well as domestic retail markets. The company is expanding facility to screen for treatments and identification of synthetics, and installing special equipment for the plant, he said. De Beers is seeing some recovery as inventories are disappearing and stocks are being replenished, he said.
More than 80% of the diamonds processed in India is exported while the rest is sold to domestic diamond manufacturers under the Forevermark brand. Lussier said there was a significant recovery in 2016.
US is the key market for diamonds as two-thirds of the diamonds cut and polished in India go to US, accounting for 45% in value terms. Beers has 84 sightholders who have the right to see and buy rough diamonds and resell it after cutting and polishing. Majority of the sightholders are from India and even those based in Antwerp are cutting and polishing diamonds in India, Lussier said.
Jain, president of Forevermark, said the Indian plant of De Beers was the most technologically-advanced diamond facility for DeBeers across the world.