Surat to Get De Beers' 1st Research Institute

logo.ashxSurat: With the diamond consumers in the country accounting for the third largest share in the global polished diamond demand, a fiery competition is all set to start in the diamond certification business, reports The Times of India.

De Beers, the world’s biggest mining company, has zeroed in on Surat to set up its International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR) for the precise grading and assessment of both rough and polished diamonds. The institute is expected to enter into the direct competition with the renowned international gemological laboratories such as Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and International Gemological Institute (IGI).

The facility, which is second in India after Antwerp, is expected to start its operations by the end of this year in the posh Piplod area. The institute would issue comprehensive analyses on the diamonds in their grading report. The report would contain all the information needed by a diamantaire to authenticate a diamond and its awarded grade.

The report would also include a comprehensive study of the diamond’s carat weight, colour, clarity and cut. An accurate to-scale diagram of the diamond’s cut dimension will also be provided, with any inclusions plotted.

India accounts for $8billion worth of annual diamond jewellery sales and the polished diamond demand is pegged at $2billion per annum.

The Indian consumers prefer buying diamonds and diamond-studded jewellery along with the certificates from reputed gem-testing laboratories. This was not the case a few years ago. However, the GIA and IGI have set up their bases in Surat, Mumbai and other centres to cater to the ever-increasing demand of diamond certification from the retail jewelers and diamantaires.

Talking to TOI, Jonathan Kendall, president, IIDGR said, “We have recruited a staff of around 200 people at our facility in Surat. The final training and other infrastructure is being set up at the new facility. We plan to operationalize the institute by December-2014.”

Kendall added, “This is the facility where we are also going to inscribe forever mark diamonds. Surat is the world centre for diamond cutting and polishing and we are closely attached with the diamantaires as around 60 per cent of our clients are Indians.”

According to Kendall, the institute will also provide facilities for the testing of synthetic diamonds, especially the small sized melle stones in its Automated Mellee Testing (AMS) machines to the small and medium diamantaires, who do not have access to the equipment as yet.