De Beers, a member of the Anglo American group, today said it has invested USD 5 million in expansion of its diamond grading and testing centre at Surat in Gujarat.
The move follows the Group’s initial investment of USD 10 million in 2015, to establish the facility, which has the capacity to process over USD 500 million of diamonds annually.
The facility represents a world-leading resource for India’s diamond cutting and polishing sector, providing polished diamond grading services, diamond verification services and melee (small diamond) testing and screening, International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) President Jonathan Kendall told reporters here.
The company is expecting to launch the Melee Testing Service and a new Melee Grading Service next year, he added.
De Beers, world’s leading rough diamond suppliers hopes to invest more in India as it sees India and China as strong markets, Kendall said.
“From cutting and polishing rough diamonds to consumer demand for diamond jewellery, India is vital to the diamond industry and the industry is vital to India. Through the IIDGR, De Beers Group is investing in innovations to ensure India maintains its position as a global diamond hub,” Kendall said.
Around 90 per cent of the world’s rough diamonds are cut and polished in the country, with the sector employing around 800,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.
India has also experienced almost uninterrupted growth (in Rupee terms) in consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the last 20 years and now makes up eight per cent of global demand, Kendall said.
Commenting on its global investment plans, Kendall said, De Beers group is investing USD 5 billion in increasing diamond mining in Botswana, Canada and Namibia and plans USD 120 million in marketing efforts.
De Beers Group has also announced that, via the IIDGR, it will launch its first ever education service to cover the entire diamond pipeline and support further growth in the Indian sector.
The service, scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2017, will be run out of Surat and comprise courses that cover essential areas, including polished diamond grading, diamond foundation and synthetics.