I read today that for the first time in Japan more nappies (diapers) have been sold to the old rather than for use by babies.
I thought that this was a particularly succinct way of underlining just how predominant the aging population is becoming in many countries.
The grey vote in our industry is more than amply represented and I would suggest explains to a large extent why the industry has become so moribund.
Pretty much all the businesses in the industry are family businesses and the impact of the grey vote is and has not been conducive to change.
There is a curious juxtaposition in that in so many ways we are firmly in dinosaur country, and yet for example, the way some in the industry have embraced technological change in manufacturing is impressive.
However, where that technological change threatens the status quo, the industry goes back into its state of retarded group think.
To an outsider, if obviously not to insiders, it must appear odd that people use the most modern equipment to mine diamonds and manufacture them and then let a compromised individual, if only because he is trading in diamonds, tell them the price they should be selling their polished at, based on the highest New York asking price, that is ‘highest’ as determined solely by this one individual.
Again, when the whole issue of cultured, or as the industry insists synthetic, diamonds become an economic reality, they fight tooth and nail against the inevitable, drive it underground, and then we have to endure alarmist drivel from the great guru of our industry Chaim Even Zohar.
It was interesting to read that the GJEPC (India’s Gem and Jewellery Council) have published their research where they claim that gem quality ‘synthetic’ rough diamonds is less than 350,000 carats per annum, compared to around 125 million of mined natural gem quality rough.
It is as unlikely that the GJEPC will go out of its way to exaggerate the volume of ‘synthetic’ rough, indeed as unlikely as the prospect of Zohar minimising the problem.
It must be impossible to come up with an accurate figure for cultured diamond production, which in itself is where much of the problem lies, as it allows for the huff and puff stories to pour from the likes of Zohar, just as it allows many in the industry to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the problem does not exist.
As a proportion of pieces I am sure that synthetic diamond is by far a lesser problem than that faced by other luxury products such as leather goods, watches, scents and so on, which is not to say that it is not a problem, but it is important to keep things vaguely in perspective.
When Zohar splurted out his stunningly boring scoop about the leaking of the De Beers price book and production figures from its South African mines, I actually sat down and wrote a long piece.
“As a proportion of pieces I am sure that synthetic diamond is by far a lesser problem than that faced by other luxury products.”
As is my wont, I left it to read the next day.
I found it, my burble, even more boring than usual and, more to the point, it did not answer the critical question ‘so what?’, so it was binned.
De Beers or ‘DTC’ price books have been known to be floating around since the mists of time.
More to the point, De Beers cannot understand their own price book so why should they or anyone else be worried about others having access to it?
I suppose that De Beers could ask them to explain it to them.
Indeed, the more transparency in pricing would only benefit the market, and De Beers.
But instead there was all this hullabaloo stirred up by our one and only, leading, independent and balanced etc. etc. journalist, Zohar, shouting from the roof tops in a blaze of self publicity.
When the CEO of De Beers Monsieur Mellier was reported as commenting on the matter that it was ‘toxic’, I was not sure if he was referring to the leak or to Zohar.
It will be good news for the industry when all the old lags have moved onto their next stage in their evolution, namely nappies, and the youngsters who have been out of their nappies for some time, can shake things up.
I have certainly rushed out to buy some nappies before there is a rush on them.