For the last few years, De Beers has operated the International Institute for Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR), a lab that issues reports for Forevermark-branded diamonds. (The AGS Lab grades diamonds for it in the United States.) Earlier this year, the IIDGR opened a branch in Surat, which theTimes of India said will put it into “direct competition” with IGI and GIA.
So is De Beers planning to open a lab for the trade, as Rapaport is?
No, says IIDGR president Jonathan Kendall, though he is sure to add qualifiers such as “for the near future.”
“Forevermark is taking up all the capacity we have,” he says. “We are not looking to go up against anyone else in the market.”
The Surat lab will bulk-screen melee as a service, using De Beers’ automated melee screener, Kendall says. The IIDGR also does some private-label grading and grades diamonds for sightholders who request it—but that is it, Kendall says (while adding “for now”).
“If you want to get into generic [grading] you need to be 100 percent committed,” he says. “There is a significant opportunity, but you have to go into it with a commitment that is very, very strong.”
Picture De Beers.