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De Beers plans top-end store in India

De Beers plans to retail its top-end diamond jewellery in India and expand its existing Nakshatra range.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2007 12:38 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

De Beers plans to retail its top-end diamond jewellery in India and expand its existing Nakshatra range that is promoted by its marketing arm, the Diamond Trading Company, a member of the Oppenheimer family said.

"We have a 50:50 venture with Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton to retail exclusive diamond jewellery. We have these stores in six countries from the US to Japan," said Jonathan Oppenheimer, head of De Beers' producer relations in Africa.

"We now have plans for one in India," Oppenheimer, who is based at the De Beers corporate headquarters at Johannesburg in South Africa, said on the margins of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings.

The first De Beers store opened in London as a result of a strategic review in 1999 and which has since expanded to other large cities around the world, such as New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris.

"We will also expand the Nakshatra constellation of diamond jewellery which we launched in India a few years ago under a partnership with our sightholders. Aishwarya Rai was signed up as the brand ambassador for this range."

The Diamond Trading Company sells its rough diamonds only to its 93 sightholders through 10 'sights' a year. As many as 35 of these sightholders are of Indian origin, Oppenheimer explained.

The De Beers - which is also well known for its slogan 'A Diamond is Forever' - is also looking at aggressive product placements through Bollywood movies.

"India is an important market for us and we will continue to expand in that market," Oppenheimer said, handing printed statistics of his company that says the country exported cut and polished diamonds worth $11.2 billion in 2005.

Ninety per cent of the world's diamonds by volume is polished in India.

De Beers has also invested in exploring diamonds in India and has a joint venture with the government - Hindustan Diamond company - to sell roughs to small and medium enterprises.

Exploration is currently on in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh where some 30 new kimberlite discoveries have been made. Applications are also pending in some other states.

First Published: Jan 27, 2007 11:15 IST