De Beers targets Indian women

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New Delhi, Jan 28: De Beers is working out a strategy to make a bigger dent on the Indian diamond market, capitalising on the consumption boom and taking advantage of the propensity of women for this ever precious stone.

Like all men, the company is aiming to win the hearts of women, the target of their newly-evolved strategy. ''The Indian jewellery market is worth Rs 80,000 crore of which jewellery is worth Rs 70,000 crore and diamonds Rs 10,000 crore,'' Business Director De Beers Group Marketing (India) Prasad Kapre told UNI here.

Mr Kapre said the diamond market is growing at 27 per cent per annum and this high growth rate will gather steam in the years to come.

He said the highest growth among the cities of the country was in Delhi, with the market growing at 30 per cent. Surprisingly, Delhi surpasses even Mumbai, known to be the financial hub, where millions roll on luxury spending.

Mr Kapre attributed this phenomenal growth of the diamond market to a number of factors. Diamonds in India have always been cherished and historically, it has been a great market place. Besides, with India growing at around nine per cent there is a tremendous potential for growth of consumption, particularly in the luxury segment.

The Indian woman is particularly enamoured by the dazzle and and sparkle of diamonds. She likes to adorn these on every other occasion, with marriage ceremonies finding a special place.

Indeed, such is the seductive appeal of diamonds.

Mr Kapre said according to research by De Beers the two main factors for buying diamonds in India are it being a status symbol and a gift of love.

The very mention of diamonds evokes fantasies of fabulous riches.

Until the middle ages, they were so rare and expensive that only powerful potentiates were able to afford them.

However, in modern times even ordinary people are able to possess a few, thanks to the discovery of numerous diamond deposits all over the globe and huge production facilities that have come up.

India appears to have being the only source of this valuable gem, until about the early 18th century when diamonds were discovered in Borneo, the third largest island in the world which is located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. By this time, diamond mining had practically ceased to exists in the country.

Giving details of the strategy, Mr Kapre said the company has launched 'Forever mark', a service which provides a certificate from IGI (International Gemological Institute) and a De Beers' special certificate from Nick Oppenheimer, Chairman, De Beers Group. It's a hallmark unique to diamonds and comes with all diamonds sold by De Beers, even those as small as a 30 cents with a Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Stamp embedded under the table.

Another part of the strategy relates to undertaking research based on customer response and changing tastes. Besides, there is a sustained effort to create customer awareness and knowledge relating to 4 C's, namely -- 'cut', 'colour', 'clarity' and 'carat'.

Mr Kapre said the target at the moment is not the diamonds adorned by men as they constitute just five per cent of the total market.

The De Beers representative in India avowed that in just two years time, India will occupy second position in diamond sales, up from the third rank at present.

The highest consumers of diamonds in the world is the United States followed by Japan.

De Beers, through its sales and marketting arm, the DTC, has been successful in heightening the clamour for diamonds. The famous advertising line -- A Diamond is Forever -- attempted to discourage diamond owners from putting their older diamonds onto the secondary market, thus limiting competition. It was coined in 1947 and the company has created many successful campaigns since then.

One of the most effective of these has been the marketing of diamonds as a symbol of love and commitment, and thus the ideal jewel for an engagement or a wedding ring.

Incidentally, 'Diamonds Are Forever' was also the title of a popular Hollywood film in the series of James Bond, based on a novel by the same name.

The diamond market is dominated By De Beers companies, which were originally formed in South Africa by British owners. De Beers now owns 70 per cent of diamond mines in Africa. The De Beers family of companies collectively are responsible for around 40 per cent of world diamond production by value.

Diamond, the mystical gem, has some interesting facts surrounding it. Here are some of them -- every diamond is immensely old, formed long before dinosaurs roamed the earth. The youngest diamond is 900 million years old, and the oldest is 3.2 billion years old.

Every diamond is unique; no two are alike. The very word 'diamond' comes from the Greek term 'adamas' meaning unconquerable. Diamonds exist in many colors, the rarest of all being red. Diamonds were first mined in India more than 2800 years ago. Each stone loses, on average, more than half its original weight during cutting and polishing.

The word 'carat' comes from the carob tree whose seed was used as the standard of weighing precious stones. Less than 5 per cent of all the diamonds made into jewellery are larger than one carat.

De Beers is active in every category of diamonds mining; Open-pit; underground; large-scale alluvial coastal and deep sea.

The company, however, is not involved in informal small-scale diamond mining, which is rarely economical for large mining companies.

It comprises companies involved in rough diamond exploration, diamond mining and trading.

Founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1888, De Beers has become synonymous with diamonds, with its products sold in 25 countries.


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