The Rapaport Group won’t publish a new price list for the next five weeks with the spread of COVID-19 bringing diamond trading to a standstill worldwide.
In a vote that closed Tuesday, Rapaport Group said 72 percent of RapNet members said they want to postpone publication of the next price list until Friday, May 1. (The Rap list normally comes out every Friday.)
Only about a quarter (28 percent) voted to continue publishing the price list every week.
The March 20 price list—the list that has caused an uproar among dealers—remains in effect until May 1.
Rapaport Group’s report on the vote follows a tumultuous couple of days in the diamond industry.
When the list came out last Friday (March, 20), RapNet members noticed prices had gone down a substantial amount, a decision Rapaport Group Chairman Martin Rapaport said he made to reflect what he saw happening in the market.
“I am doing my job—to communicate diamond prices and to establish a fair balance,” he told National Jeweler during a Skype interview Sunday 22. “I can’t put out false information.”
In other words: don’t shoot the messenger.
The rollback angered dealers worldwide, many of whom countered that prices couldn’t have gone up or down because, as Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America President Ronnie VanderLinden put it in a statement to members, the industry is operating “in a vacuum of zero trades” due to the coronavirus.
“If Rapaport was dedicated to maintaining stability in the marketplace, he could, and indeed should have, simply announced a suspension of his price list until this crisis is behind us. His actions have done nothing more than try to further destabilize a market in crisis,” the statement reads.
Rapaport told National Jeweler he will not consider rolling back the price cut but did organize the vote for RapNet members on suspension of the list—but at the March 20 levels.
Following the price cut, hundreds of diamond companies removed their diamonds from RapNet, with many vowing to find an alternative to the Rap list, which has been in use for 42 years.