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De Beers Group brand Forevermark is on an expansion drive to take its pan-India footprint to 250- 260 by the next year as the market is slowly picking up, a top company executive has said. "The market is slowly picking up and we are witnessing positive consumer sentiment. As we work with retail partners, we are planning to expand by 20-30 doors to take the total to 250-260 doors by the next year," Forevermark India President Sachin Jain told PTI here. He said the expansion will be across India, with more footprint in central and eastern markets, which are new to the company. Forevermark also plans to deepen its presence in metro cities. "For diamonds, we see south as the strongest market in terms of sales. After that, it is west and then north and east, which are almost at the same level," Jain said. With the market gradually picking up, he sees positive momentum in volume. "In 2017, we feel the momentum will be strong as the market in India is maturing," he added. Meanwhile, for quality assurance, Forevermark set up the International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR) in Surat in 2014, its biggest facility in the world with an investment of USD 16 million.
IIDGR also has two more facilities in Maidenhead (UK) and Antwerp (Belgium). In Surat, IIDGR carries out grading of 2.5 lakh diamonds and inscription on 3.5 lakh annually. "We are expecting to handle 50 million diamonds and accordingly have a manpower of 247 by 2020. It all depends on the market demand," added Amitabha Das, IIDGR Director, Operations. "With synthetics getting mixed, consumers as well as retailers today have become very conscious of quality. Consumers also want assurance of each diamond studded in a jewellery piece. This makes IIDGR, with latest technology, very important for the industry," he claimed.
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