The History of Lab Grown Diamonds: Value Proposition

Diamond expert, industrialist and industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado takes an incisive look at the value proposition of synthetic diamonds, taking their producers and marketers to task on their main selling points. Reprinted in full with the permission of the author.

Opinion pieceIn-depth

“To me, synthetic diamonds are not diamonds. It is a different product. We don’t know what their value is now or how this is going to evolve. So we are not financing lab-grown at the moment, but we may consider it over time, when it is a more mature product."

- Erik Jens, when asked by moderator Rob Bates (JCK) if ABN AMRO is currently financing lab-grown diamond companies during SRK panel debate with Paul Rowley (De Beers) and Tom Moses (GIA) at JCK Las Vegas

The Diamond Loupe

JCK Interview: Cecilia Gardner on the KP and Vigilance In the Diamond Trade

JCK's Rob Bates conducted an in-depth and personal interview with Cecilia Gardner, who recently stepped down after 18 years as president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to compliance with laws pertaining to the jewelry industry.

Opinion pieceComplianceMining and ExplorationJewelryPoliticsIn-depth

Ian Smillie, Chair of DDI, on Kimberley Process: "Fix what doesn't work"

Continuing the published opinions on whether or not the Kimberley Process (KP) is "bullshit" - in the words of Martin Rapaport - JCK's Rob Bates invited Ian Smillie, chaair of the Diamond Development Initiative, president of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development and formerly one of the key architects of the Kimberley Process, to respond to Brad Brooks-Rubin's response to Rapaport's original

Opinion pieceSustainability

In Defence of Kimberley Process, An Open Challenge To Detractors

"The Kimberley Process (KP) is one of the key institutions that the diamond industry depends on to deliver the assurance that not only are rough diamonds responsibly sourced," writes Vinod Kuriyan, chief editor of GEMKonnect and a veteran analyst of the diamond industry, "but that they deliver fair value to artisanal miners and the local communities in the sourcing area." His defence of the KP was prompted by Martin Rapaport's statement on stage last week at the

Retail and Consumer ConfidenceSustainabilityOpinion piece

Thomas Biesheuvel: Diamond Industry’s Crocodile Graph Not Whole Story

The diamond industry's famous supply and demand chart - the 'hungry crocodile' - representing its forecast of rising rough diamond prices as production falls to shortage levels, "Not only has never materialized, it oversimplifies the fact that the industry’s 15,000 different categories of diamonds are performing in very different ways," writes Thomas Biesheuvel for Bloomberg.

Market AnalysisRough MarketOpinion piece

Martin Rapaport Sends Sparks Flying at GJEPC’s “Mines to Market" Conference

"Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on India to show reciprocity in its trade relationship with the United States," writes eponymous Rapaport News of their founder's “State of Diamond Industry” presentation at GJEPC's "Mines to Market" conference yesterday, marking 50 years of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

Opinion pieceManufacturingFinance and TradePolished

Why Are Diamond Mining Stocks Struggling? Paul Zimnisky Has An Ideas

Diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, author of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, provides his thoughts on the recent struggles of diamond mining stocks. Given what is now being widely considered as a recovery and stabilization of the diamond industry last year, an optimistic post-election U.S.

Opinion pieceFinance and TradeMining and Exploration

"When I joined the diamond industry 10 years ago, I discovered the significant contribution diamond mining makes to entire regions and communities, through local employment and investments, construction of infrastructure, and development of health and education programs. I would assume that most consumers today are not aware of the contribution diamonds make to the world. Diamonds matter to the livelihood of millions, and they matter to all of us who want to express to our loved ones the sincerity of our commitment. Not all is perfect, but it is good today, and it will be better tomorrow. I take pride in the fact that diamonds make the world a better place."

- Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association (DPA)

Luxury Must Transcend Price: On the Dilemma of Diamond Value Proposition

Canadian jeweler and diamond industry analyst Mel Moss explores a core dilemma concerning the value proposition of diamonds. It is a dlemma the diamond industry has yet to resolve, leading to confusion and false expectations among consumers: how can a diamond be presented both as a luxury product and a price-based commodity? "Some in the diamond industry are pushing hard to promote generic diamonds as a commodity that can be traded transparently in futures markets, commodity exchanges and as a wealth preservation asset", writes Moss.

Opinion piecePolishedRough Market

Chaim Even-Zohar: Potential Impact of Trump on U.S. Diamond Trade, KP Certification

In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefs, “Keeping Stock of U.S. Kimberley Process Certificates”, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar takes another hard look at the U.S. rough diamond trade and the country’s half-hearted approach when it comes to implementing Kimberley Process (KP) certification standards domestically.

ComplianceIn-depthPoliticsRough MarketOpinion piece

Retail Predictions To Adopt In Order To Stay Relevant In 2017

National Jeweler’s Editor-in-chief Michelle Graff made 3 Predictions regarding the retail market for 2017 based on current market trends and the way consumer demand is changing with the times. Retailers, including larger chains, will continue the 2016 trend of closing down. Women’s clothing retailer The Limited announced that they were closing all their stores and operating strictly online.

Retail and Consumer ConfidenceJewelryOpinion piece

The diamond industry is changing, and the global environment in which we operate is changing too. There is a constant and inseparable interaction between the two. We must continue to evolve ... The diamond industry should change its traditional approach towards consumers. My proposed new approach towards current and future consumers is one based on openness and transparency. For most consumers, the diamond mining and manufacturing process is opaque. If we become more open about how diamonds reach the consumer, we will change the consumer’s perception of the diamond industry and of diamonds themselves. In my opinion, it is transparency that will transform end consumers’ behavior and bolster their confidence.

- Ehud Arye Laniado, from his "Year-End Wrap Up: How the Diamond Industry Can Move Forward in 2017"

Ehud Arye Laniado

Trump Effect Could Boost U.S. Diamond Trade Short-Term, Long-Term Uncertainty Remains

Reflecting on the impact of the Trump election victory on the future of the diamond trade, particularly on the U.S. and India, independent industry consultant Pranay Narvekar writes in GJEPC's Solitaire International that America's share of the global polished diamond market - already the highest by far at 45% of total value - should only increase in the coming years, while the strength of the dollar and other expected policy moves will only exacerbate uncertainty throughout the trade.

Opinion pieceIn-depthEconomyFinance and TradePolitics

"The ethical aspect of trading does not weigh more heavily now than in the past. It remains as critical as it has always been. Indeed, we may be confronted with a more inquisitive public than in the past, but our focus on ethics has never changed. People who intentionally misrepresent their product are criminals and must be treated as such. Diamonds must continue to be traded, as in the past, responsibly and ethically. The challenge is for the synthetics producers to find their own niche not by denigrating diamonds but by praising their man-made product in, and I stress it again, a both responsible and ethical manner."

AWDC President Stéphane Fischler on ethics, synthetic diamonds and the Antwerp diamond industry in an interview on Rough & Polished

The diamond and jewelry trade will benefit as the new policies create a more prosperous middle class and greater numbers of wealthy consumers. Global uncertainty will also increase demand for investment diamonds as a store of wealth.

- Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, on his positive view of Trump presidency for diamonds & jewelry.

Clarification of Opinion Suggesting Equal Price For Small Natural & Synthetic Diamonds

Two weeks ago, IDEX Online published an opinion piece by Thierry Silber, CEO and founder of Diamaz International and Madestones, entitled "How to Kill Four Birds With One Stone". Here Silber makes the following proposal on the way to tackle the heated issue of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic diamonds: "Why not remove the mixing issue by selling both types of smaller diamonds at the same price up to a certain size?" The main problem as he sees it is the cost of detection involved in screening for synthetic diamonds, particularly for smaller manufacturers.

Opinion pieceGradingManufacturingPolished

Pursuit of Diamond Perfection: Visionary Atelier Boehmer et Bassenge Debuts at Christie's

On 15 November in Geneva, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction will be led by the exceptional jewels of Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Harry Winston and Boehmer et Bassenge, the newly launched Maison de Haute Joaillerie.

JewelryIn-depthOpinion piece

Anyone telling you that lab created diamonds are cheaper [than natural] is straight out lying (they just use weaker certificates to make inflated quality claims; the oldest scam in the book) ... You shouldn’t ignore value entirely. Say an average natural diamond retains roughly 50% of its value after purchase. Eventually the value of the diamond will rise, so if you ever try to sell it, you should be getting at least half (or possibly much more) of the original purchase price. Lab-created synthetic diamonds have no resale value. So, from a value perspective, you would need to buy the lab-created diamond at a massive discount to justify giving up the value retention of natural diamonds ... The companies selling lab-grown diamonds claim that their diamonds are 30-40% cheaper. That is an outright lie. So If you are planning on buying a diamond and looking to get the best bang for your buck, natural diamonds are a far better choice than man-made diamonds.

- The Diamond Pro, on the losing value proposition of synthetic diamonds.

Rob Bates on GIA CVD Discovery: Real Threat and Zero Tolerance

In his latest article, JCK news director Rob Bates looks at the impact of GIA reporting the discovery of the biggest ever undisclosed CVD synthetic diamond at its Hong Kong lab. Bates argues that even though most cases of undisclosed synthetic diamonds occur in India and China, this latest discovery demonstrates synthetics pose a real and present threat to the entire industry, including the retail segment.

Opinion pieceIn-depthLaboratories

Taxation to Protect Bona Fide Diamond Businesses: on Tax Inspectors Becoming Compliance Officers

By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement. Click here to read the first article. 

Finance and TradeOpinion pieceIn-depthCompliance

The Belgian Carat Tax: Can New Fiscal Regime Trigger Industry Climb to Prosperity – or Did It Come Too Late?

By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement. Read the second part of this article here.

Finance and TradeOpinion pieceIn-depthEconomy

Rob Bates on Kimberley Process, American Culture & Leonardo

JCK's award-winning news director Rob Bates sat down for a chat with Internet radio program "The Daily Beat" on Breakthru Radio (BTR) to talk all things diamonds, and in particular the Kimberley Process and diamonds in American culture. 

BTR: What effect did the movie Blood Diamonds (2006) and reports after that have on the diamond industry?

Opinion pieceSustainabilityCompliance

Opinion: An Appeal For a Truly Unified Diamond Marketing Approach

In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated.

Opinion pieceRough Market

Diamond Intelligence Briefing: U.S. a "Transfer-Pricing Paradise" for Rough Diamonds

In the lastest installment of the Diamond Intelligence Briefing (DIB), diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar presents a searing indictiment of the rough diamond trade in the United States, "The world's most convenient and 'uncontrolled' rough transfer market", claiming that, "The main justification for the overwhelming bulk of the (U.S.) rough trade is pure transfer pricing*." This rough diamond 'stopover' in the U.S. also "endangers the integrity of the legitimate U.S.

Opinion pieceFinance and TradeRough Market

Challenges, Optimism & Taxes for Indian Diamond Trade: Thoughts From IIJS

Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his rundown of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) that took place last week in Mumbai. While noting that IIJS is currently a niche domestic show focusing on gold jewelry - which saw steady business, with jewelers expecting demand to rise along with gold's upward trend - Krawitz sensed optimism about the diamond market even though domestic diamond consumption has slowed recently. "India’s jewelry industry has some hurdles to climb before the diamond trade can grow domestic supply [and demand - DL].

Opinion pieceMarket AnalysisJewelry

The term ‘mined diamonds’ is slowly entering mainstream language in the press and elsewhere, and I find it troubling. We need clear differentiation between natural diamonds and lab-grown goods, and it needs to be far more distinct than mined vs. lab-grown. Natural diamonds were always diamonds. They were formed billions of years ago and were mined after huge sums of money were put into exploration. Comparing these ancient, historic, difficult-to-find wonders of nature to a simple, mass-produced product invented only recently and pounded out of a factory puts both on the same playing field – and does not make sense. That is why we should not use the word ‘diamond’ in connection with lab-grown goods. ‘Diamond’ should be used exclusively for diamonds.

- Ehud Arye Laniado, on why price of synthetic diamonds should not be pegged to natural diamond prices.

Ehud Arye Laniado

Diamond Industry Profitability Needs Luxury Mentality, Not More Cost-Cutting

Comparing the current mentality of the diamond industry - in particular the midstream manufacturers - to that of mass production in the textile industry, Ehud Arye Laniado argues that the way to restore dwindling profitability is by restoring the luxury aspect of diamonds, and not by slashing labor costs, seeking favorable tax regimes and free trade zones. "How is it possible that an industry that manufactures luxury products is operating as though it provides low cost, price-point driven items?

Rough MarketManufacturingOpinion piecePolished

Zimbabwe Independent: "Diamond Mines Merger a Mess"

The Zimbabwe Independent today published an opinion piece accusing the government and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) of everything from violation of property rights to compliance failures, lack of transparency and failing to meet promised revenue targets due to the very low prices received for their diamonds.

ComplianceOpinion pieceMining and Exploration

De Beers' CEO Cleaver Stresses Partnerships and Consumer Demand

New De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver, has highlighted the importance of relationships with all the company’s partners, saying they are the “cornerstone of the business”, the company stated in a press release citing his blog for the company website. Mr Cleaver, who took up the role on 1 July, said: “De Beers holds a unique position with consumers, our rough diamond customers, governments, communities and retailers ...

Opinion pieceMining and ExplorationRetail and Consumer ConfidenceSustainability

Ehud Arye Laniado Warns Diamond Trade About Ignoring What It Knows

Drawing a worrying analogy between the film The Big Short (2015) - which depicts how everyone took part in the ultimately disastrous play on U.S. subprime mortgages even though the fundamental truth was, or should have been, known to those familiar with the mortgage market - and the current trend in the diamond market, Ehud Arye Laniado issues a warning about ignoring the lessons learned as a result of the diamond downturn of 2015.

Opinion pieceMarket AnalysisRough MarketPolished

The vast majority of the diamond bankruptcies of late, however, have NOT been a result of business miscalculations, market downturns, or bad timing. They have all been planned, well-orchestrated moves to intentionally defraud other diamond industry stakeholders, particularly banks, of large sums of money. Many of these people - particularly in India - have been declared wilful defaulters by the banks and the authorities. And we’re all braced for many more. In the Indian diamond industry, you can declare yourself bankrupt, leave dozens of banks and other diamantaires poorer by tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, and exit without any action being taken. What is really shocking is that within months of declaring bankruptcy, many of these people are back in the diamond business, usually with a newly set-up company or in partnership with a relative already in the diamond industry.

Sanjay Kothari, former multi-term chairman of India’s GJEPC, on bankruptcy fraud in Indian diamond industry.

On Election Anxiety, Clones and Major Miners: Edahn Golan Visits JCK Las Vegas

Industry analyst Edahn Golan provides a rundown on last weekend's JCK show in Las Vegas, touching on traffic in the jewelry and diamond areas, the Diamond Producers Association's (DPA) marketing campaign, the hot topic of synthetic diamonds and ALROSA's strong presence in the desert. Particularly the high-end jewelers reported positive results, though much of the time the area was distinctly quiet.

Opinion pieceMarket AnalysisRetail and Consumer ConfidenceEconomy

Bates: De Beers' Appointment of Cleaver as CEO Reassures Sightholders

Rob Bates of JCK writes that De Beers sightholders are likely to be relieved by the appointment of Bruce Cleaver to replace Phillippe Mellier as CEO, noting that he is already "striking a different tone than his predecessor." Bates summarizes Mellier's tumultuous five-year tenure, during which, "Oppenheimer’s family sold its shares to Anglo American, De Beers transferred sales to Botswana, the company settled its U.S. antitrust issues, and it decided to move from its longtime home on Charterhouse Street.

Opinion pieceRough Market

I don't simply throw diamonds at buyers and pressurize them into buying with all kinds of sales tricks. Buyers have faith in me; everything is on the table and very clear. Integrity is very important to me. Rough needs to be seen and inspected before it can be sold. This is a business that needs a personal touch. You have to create a pleasant atmosphere and give clients the feeling that they will not lose out and that they can make a profit on the goods. [The same need for transparency is true of the industry in general]. If sellers try to cover up information, then buyers will have no belief in their suppliers and that can stop the flow of prosperous trading. If you act in good faith, then people will return to buy again. Many people in the diamond trade simply do not understand this.

- Nurit Rothmann, rough diamond trader, on women in the diamond trade and the recovery of the industry

Extreme Rarity Generating Extraordinary Value at Diamond Auctions

Following a week that saw the Oppenheimer Blue break all auction records for a polished diamond, and in which the sale of his own Unique Pink Diamond broke the record for a pink stone, industry analyst and veteran diamond trader Ehud Arye Laniado examines the 'how' and 'why' of the recent spate of diamonds achieving record prices.

Opinion pieceMarket Analysis

Charles Wyndham on "Surprising ... Extraordinary" Price for Lucara's 813 Ct. Diamond

"The unsurprising news being shouted from the rooftops is that De Beers has signed a 10 year marketing agreement with the Government of Namibia," writes Charles Wyndham in his latest candid commentary on polishedprices. "Of much greater interest to me was the price that the 815 [813, ed.] carat stone from Lucara fetched, namely some $77,000 per carat or total price of $63 million. This I did find surprising, surprisingly good ...

Opinion pieceMarket AnalysisRough Market

Conflict Between Dubai & NGOs Undermining Kimberley Process

Award-winning news director of JCK Rob Bates, in his opinion piece "Why the NGOs and Dubai Still Can’t Get Along", addresses the persistent conflict between Kimberley Process (KP) chair UAE and the KP civil society coalition - the group of 11 human rights groups that participate in the KP - that is threatening to turn the upcoming KP interessional meetings into a failure: "the recent turn of events looks like we are in for another year of stagnation and animosity, and the scheme will once again fail to make needed improvements, despite the UAE’s promises last year of a fruitful, pr

Opinion pieceCompliancePolitics

The goal is to change the perception that a diamond is a financial expenditure and to facilitate the perception of a diamond as an asset ... With the increase in synthetic diamonds, which when placed in jewelry are no less beautiful than natural diamonds, we must highlight the financial value of natural diamonds. I believe that synthetic diamonds are here to stay but their existence and usage in the jewelry industry can only boost the notion of natural diamonds as an asset with potential wealth preservation value. This value of natural diamonds is derived from their economic rarity: the difficulty involved in locating them underground and in mining them, and not just their beauty. If we fortify diamonds’ resale value, we will create a new attitude towards the value of diamonds, a value beyond their use in jewelry. Buying diamonds must be seen as an investment in an asset and not as an expense.

Ehud Arye Laniado, global diamond expert, on the need for a transparent and precise diamond valuation method.

Ehud Arye Laniado

The natural and lab-grown diamond industries are now openly feuding with each another, and some are calling for a ceasefire. Yet that might not be as easy as it seems. For one, there is little overlap between the companies that produce man-made diamonds and those that mine naturals. Both sectors have no obligation to help the other. To the contrary, they both have reasons for the current cold war to continue. [Lab-grown diamonds are] a threat to [natural diamonds'] business model. It may not be a large threat, but why take that chance? You are ultimately gambling with the fate of not just an industry, but the livelihood of several countries. [On the other hand], eco-friendly and conflict-free pitches have taken center stage. Millennial consumers clearly care about these issues more than past generations, and the natural industry has done a poor job in responding to concerns about diamond provenance. The lab-grown industry smells an opportunity. Why pass it up? ... The current standoff hurts both sectors. A cessation of the hostilities indeed makes sense. I’m not counting on it happening soon.

Rob Bates, news director of JCK, "Can the Natural and Lab-Grown Diamond Industries Really Get Along?"

My perception of the diamond industry is that it is probably doing a little bit better than most of the other commodities. The only reason is that it’s a very different market. So if you look at the bulk commodities … those guys are dependent on infrastructure growth, development in the countries where they are doing their production ... So where the economies start to diminish, you cut back on infrastructure, you cut back on the major projects ... De Beers [production cutting] strategy is probably right as the world economy is down. They have to ensure that they are not flooding the market with product, which drives the prices down and obviously affects their own profitability ... The days of mining companies just putting production onto the market, whether its diamonds or any other precious or base metal, I think those days are over for a while. The mining companies are going to look at low cost, high quality diamonds to put onto the market and slow down on the inefficient and high cost production.

Tony Zoghby, mining analyst and partner at Deloitte, interview with Rough & Polished

Living Up to the Diamond Promise

Diamond industry analyst Ehud Laniado takes an in-depth look at why diamonds are not fulfilling their economic 'promise' as a luxury investment that will appreciate in value. Comparing the performance of diamonds to other luxury items bought out of 'passion', he determines that the lack of marketing is hurting diamonds' potential to be perceived as an asset rather than just an expense. But he has a plan.  

EconomyOpinion pieceMarket AnalysisRetail and Consumer Confidence

"I see or rather have been told that my mate Boney (ed: Rapaport) has lowered prices in the better end of the larger sizes

Given that his price list is concocted by him for him, except those who willingly enrich him by buying it, he of course has every right to do whatever he wants with prices…, which of course is exactly what he does anyway.

I would presume that most in the industry would be less than amused at his latest participation in the workings of their daily life.

But as Boney can so correctly point out, no one is forced to use his information."

 

Industry analyst Charles Wyndham comments on industry news on PolishedPrices.com

Rapaport Rejects 'Ethical' Claims of Synthetic Diamond Producers, Draws Battle Lines

Martin Rapaport has written an in-depth diatribe rejecting the claims of sythetic diamand producers that their product is more ethical than naturally mined diamonds, exposing the value proposition of synthetic diamonds as a ruse and calling natural diamond miners to join together to aggressively market and natural diamonds and attack synthetics. It is nothing less than a call to arms for the natural diamond industry, and he goes so far as to call the way synthetic diamonds are marketed as "evil".

In-depthOpinion pieceMarket Analysis

Diamond Industry Needs Positive Approach to Fend Off Another Market Glut

Diamond industry analyst and wholesale diamond supplier Melvin Moss believes the diamond industry is heading down the same road that led to a "glut of unwanted goods" last year, and that this will soon lead to a fully-fledged buyers' market. He writes, "Total rough supply to the market in the first quarter of 2016 is estimated at 3 billion dollars. Manufacturers have purchased large quantities of rough but their purchases are not converting into a greater demand for polished diamonds.

Opinion pieceRetail and Consumer ConfidenceRough Market

Laniado’s Reflections on BaselWorld

Diamond industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado reflects on uncertainties and lingering questions about the direction the diamond trade is taking in the wake of BaselWorld, and wonders whether it is even appropriate to sell loose diamonds at such a high-luxury show? We have selected a few choice comments: "Business [in the diamond section] was not good. This luxury-oriented show is not a good fit for small goods or even 1-2 carat items.

Opinion pieceMarket AnalysisPolished

Disruption & Diamonds

Bart De Hantsetters, Chairman of the Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry, discusses the need to embrace the new forces ‘disrupting’ a traditional business like the diamond trade. The ship of innovation is setting sail with or without you, so it is better to get on board – as Antwerp has – and build the new on the foundations of the old.

Opinion pieceFinance and TradeMining and ExplorationTechnology

Global Witness: Zimbabwe's Diamond Industry Needs Comprehensive Reform

Press Release: In his 92nd-birthday interview on 3 March President Mugabe stated that the diamond sector had made $15 billion but the country had only received $2 billion from it and suggested various options for reforms. This came after the Zimbabwe Mining Minister announced on the 22 February that all diamond companies must cease operations with immediate effect after months of wrangling over the government’s proposal to merge all of the companies into one amalgamated entity. "It’s been clear for many years that Zimbabwe’s diamond industry needs to be radically reformed.

Opinion piecePoliticsMining and Exploration

What we are seeing is a group of manufacturers buying enormous amounts of rough at very high and unprofitable prices, which will yield less than needed polished, using credit they may have difficulty paying off because the prices they’ll be able to achieve for the polished can only be low… What better definition for the circumstances that lead to a market to peril. Do you feel this is sustainable? Isn’t it our experience that when rough is purchased in (overall) large quantities with high premiums, the miners raise prices? Is demand for polished strong enough and prices high enough to make increased rough prices reasonable? I don’t think so.

- Ehud Arye Laniado on mid-size and small manufacturers in India being willing to pay a large premium for goods that the larger companies passed over, and the large supply of goods in a market with a few specific shortages and demands.

Ehud Arye Laniado

Is ‘Ethical’ Marketing of Natural Diamond Substitutes A Double-Edged Sword?

In his latest article, "How Do We Talk About Ethical Sourcing?", Rob Bates of JCK unpacks some of the key tensions lurking underneath marketing strategies that promote the ethical or eco-friendly advantages of synthetic diamond products, and even some of their natural counterparts. Analyzing recent statements by Suzanne Miglucci, the new president and CEO of moissanite manufacturer Charles & Colvard, Bates points out how the strategy they imply could rub retailers the wrong way and even involve "certain perils" when it comes to integrating into the diamond industry as a whole.

Opinion pieceRetail and Consumer ConfidenceLaboratories

WFDB President Responds to Nurit Rothmann on Lack of Transparency in Rough Diamond Trade

Nurit Rothmann's most recent blog, entitled “Playing the High Stakes Game with a Marked Deck of Cards,” which considers the lack of transparency in the rough diamond trade as well as measures designed to remedy the situation, has instigated a good amount of debate, much of it positive and constructive. Among the persons who reacted was Ernest Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, who requested that his response be published:

Rough MarketTechnologyManufacturingOpinion piece

Nurit Rothmann: Playing The High Stakes Game With A Marked Deck Of Cards

More than 600 Israeli diamond manufacturers have signed a letter that calls on the bourses to support a decision taken by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, which is meant to improve transparency in the rough diamond trade. If enforced, it will greatly reduce the level of risk that has for so long been part of the business.
Let’s think for a moment about a game of poker. All those around the table understand that, even though some players may be more talented than others, the mathematical risk is equally distributed.

Opinion pieceRough Market

Paul Zimnisky Talks Diamond Supply, Demand, Profits and Marketing

In an exclusive interview with Rough & Polished, analyst Paul Zimnisky discusses a wide range of issues, from diamond production volume and prices to oversupply and mid-stream purchasing trends, profit margins, consumer demand and synthetic diamonds. A few key takeaways:

In-depthOpinion pieceRough MarketEconomyRetail and Consumer Confidence

I have been a strong proponent of generic diamond marketing. Fragmenting the diamond market with diamond brands is having a negative effect on the consumers’ perception of generic diamonds. Currently, we are not only witnessing diamond brand wars but a new war is developing involving diamond reports. De Beers is taking on the GIA by opening their grading facilities to the general trade and Martin Rapaport is taking on the world with his new Investment Diamond Report ... These reports, like branded diamonds, are harmful to the marketing of generic diamonds. De Beers will market their report as superior to GIA. Rapaport will promote GIA as a secondary and a weak report. This new war of reports will cause consumer confusion and distrust. Put succinctly the consumer will suffer from ‘paralysis by analysis’. Rather than working together to encourage the sale of diamonds, our industry is continuously finding new ways to fragment and denigrate itself while destroying consumer confidence.

- Mel Moss on the growing fragmentation of diamond grading, oversupply and jewelry chain stores

There is need to urgently come up with effective interventions to rein in chaos ignited by the order for the miners to immediately stop operations. It is not a secret that what transpired [in the chaos of years gone by] damaged the country's image ... we should not invite this upon ourselves again at a time when Zimbabwe has more pressing issues ... The U.N. has placed embargos on conflict diamonds, a tag Zimbabwe's enemies can easily place on the country if the situation in Chiadzwa is allowed to spiral out of control ... It is against this background [Kimberley Process and Clean Diamond Act] that Government must do all in their might to ensure that no room is left for Zimbabwe's diamonds to be labelled conflict diamonds.

- Editorial in Zimbabwe Herald after reports of looters storming Marange diamond fields following government order for miners to close

Op-Ed: Rapaport's Investment Diamond Grading Report An Attempt To Monopolise & Manipulate Market

"It was with profound disbelief that I read your press release today entitled: "Rapaport Launches New Investment Diamond Grading Report". In all honesty, my initial response to this press release was simply: Has Rapaport totally lost their f----g minds? It’s not enough that the “Rap Sheet” ruined the profitability of the retail diamond markets, or that the effort to “commoditize” diamonds was such an incredibly absurd (read: failed) idea. Now Rapaport wants to promulgate the selling of diamonds to consumers as “investments” like stocks and bonds?

Opinion pieceGradingPolished