The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, recently unveiled a US$5 million expansion of its diamond grading and testing centre in Surat, India.
The move follows the Group’s initial investment of US$10 million in 2015 to establish the facility, which has the capacity to process over US$500 million of diamonds every year. The enhanced facility represents a world-leading resource for India’s diamond cutting and polishing sector, providing polished diamond grading services, diamond verification services, as well as melee (small diamond) testing and screening.
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 subjects for India’s diamond sector, including polished diamond grading, diamond foundation and synthetics.
To help meet demand for this range of services, the IIDGR is expanding its Surat facility and will now occupy an additional floor in the current building, adding a further 10,000 square feet to its existing 15,000 square foot space.
Jonathan Kendall, President, IIDGR, said: “From cutting and polishing rough diamonds to consumer demand for diamond jewellery, India is vital to the diamond industry and the diamond 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, as well as ensuring that the sector has the skills and tools to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Representing a key source of export earnings for the national economy, the diamond sector is vital to India. 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.1
The IIDGR is also set to expand its Melee Testing Service and launch a new Melee Grading Service next year.