(IDEX Online) - De Beers CEO Al Cook says he sees the company's future developing far beyond mining, as he plans a further expansion of its jewelry retail operations.

He's set a target of opening 60 new De Beers jewelry stores by the end of decade (there are currently 40) and developing new product lines.

The future for De Beers, which had a monopoly on global diamond supply for most of its 136-year history is unclear. Parent company Anglo American, the subject of a failed takeover bid last month, is ditching De Beers to focus on copper and other more profitable commodities.

In addition, De Beers has been hit by a downturn in demand for demand and a surge in the popularity of lab growns (although it announced last week that it's halting its own production of lab growns for Lightbox).

 Nonetheless, Cook is plotting a clear future path for the company. "If I look at the future of diamonds, it is way beyond mining," he told the Financial Times.   

"I'm really excited by the idea that we can really deploy our full strategy all the way to creating the world's greatest jewellery maison, which would not be a natural part of a mining company."