Winter is over and spring is in full bloom. It’s a time of renewed growth, fresh beginnings and many changes. In London last week, DTC held the last Sight of the previous contract period. A new Sightholder roster is out, and with it a change in venue is around the corner. Most of the Sightholders on the list are existing Sightholders and will return in May for the first Sight of the new three-year contract period. For a few, however, the March Sight was their last. They will now need to get used to the new reality of sourcing most of their goods elsewhere. They may also be facing the harsh situation of a less regular supply. For them this also marks a new beginning.
Industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar has just published his annual Pipeline (we will have it on IDEX Online very soon). This important documentation of the diamond industry’s economy includes a new category – Recycled Polished. For the first time, goods coming into the trade from consumers were at such a significant level that Even-Zohar dubbed it the “Consumer Diamond Mine” – a source of an estimated $1 billion worth of goods.
Unlike a mine that produces rough in remote corners of the world, this mine produces polished in the heartland of America. The “miners” are mostly pawnshops. It’s no surprise that the open secret at JCK Las Vegas last year was that many snuck over to Pawn Expo to buy diamonds at much lower prices.
Now the secret is out and at least 16 diamond and diamond-related companies are among the exhibitors at Pawn Expo, including GIA and DTC Sightholder Stuller, which is a sponsor this year, as are two other diamond companies. New indeed. But will the trend last? If the economy improves, this “mine” will dwindle, but it won’t disappear.
Diamond traders around the globe are forming large and small ad hoc buying groups and are sharing information on Facebook to improve the efficiency of business. This is a smart way to harness social media, and we expect to see more such initiatives in the future.
Four diamond mines were put on the block this past winter. Expect to see a few new and surprising mine owners and a growing fragmentation of the rough supplies.
There is a flurry of initiatives that will bring fresh money to the diamond sector with polished wholesalers the most likely to benefit from them. These are diamond funds and other forms of investment in diamonds that are being examined, thought about, researched and steadily materializing. We expect to see some of them starting to operate in the coming year.
Also new, and very refreshing, is a growing appetite for quality data. Interest in unbiased and objective data is growing and with it the degree of transparency in the sector. This is both commendable and brave.
Change is not easy, but it is inevitable; a perpetual and unstoppable motion machine that carries us ahead.
Here’s to another spring and continued change – may we know how to go with the flow and benefit from the ride. Happy Passover and a blessed Easter weekend.