The Belgian Polished Diamond Traders Association

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Device Could Transform Diamond


03, 23 by Erez Rivlin

The diamond industry has faced three major disruptive factors in the past three years: lab grown diamonds, the global pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war. Spacecode, a Swiss company focused on automated diamond inventory management systems, has developed a unique diamond identification and authentication technology. Last week it announced a technology breakthrough in its research, enabling the identification of a country-of-origin for both rough and polished diamonds. If Spacecode's technology determining the origin of diamonds is proven to be commercially viable, the industry could face an additional, and probably one of the most significant transformations in its history. 
Spacecode's breakthrough announcement this week has however raised doubts among some industry experts who have long been pursuing such technology but to no avail. The enthusiasm and confidence of its Chairman and CEO, Pavlo Protopapa made me believe that he and his scientific team can actually deliver where so many others have so far failed.
One of the only techniques to achieve a precision level parallel to a human DNA in the identification process of a diamond is to identify traces of foreign elements in the stone. These elements could include copper, calcium, titanium and dozens more, all in extremely small quantities. How small?  The trace elements in a diamond are so small that a VVS1 pinpoint inclusion when compared to the average size of the trace elements used in Spacecode's technology, would be like comparing a giant mining truck standing next to an ant. 
According to Spacecode's CEO, Pavlo Protopapa, the company's physicists, chemists and engineers have already tested thousands of stones and been able to identify country-of-origin with an accuracy of over 99  per cent.  "We are now developing a commercially scalable device that implements our design and method to be deployed in large quantities worldwide," he said.
In Tokyo, on the 19th of May, the G7 and EU may well choose Spacecode's innovative technology to validate the self-declarations of traders of the origin of diamonds imported into Western countries.
Implementation in the Rough World
Antwerp and Tel Aviv may, surprisingly, actually benefit from this new development. For example, diamond traders may unknowingly purchase and mix some diamonds of different origins into their diamond shipments. But when trying to export to Antwerp or Tel Aviv, these goods would be detected by the Israeli or Belgian customs, if they were using Spacecode's device. Therefore, there might be a new trend, in which rough traders would again prefer importing their diamonds directly into the Antwerp and Tel Aviv markets. Therefore, the Spacecode device would become a must on the  diamond buyer's table, just like the color detection devices and the OGI and Sarine analytical machines.
Implementation in the Polished and Jewelry Worlds
Once Spacecode's device is proven reliable, it would enable the implementation of programs like De Beers Tracr (blockchain), GIA's Diamond Origin Report, HB-Botswana etc. It could generate an easy and reliable identification of the country of origin for the entire supply chain - miners, manufacturers, traders, jewelers and even consumers themselves. 
The G7 and EU customs authorities could employ Spacecode's devices to sample incoming goods, to confirm whether they comply with regulations. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The big brands and jewelry chains that demand a declaration from their suppliers regarding the country-of-origin of the diamonds purchased, would finally have the tool to verify those declarations.
Potential Impact on Global Trade
"Spacecode's technology provides a major opportunity to positively advance the entire diamond industry," says Protopapa. "Every single diamond will not only receive its reliable country-of-origin identification, but more importantly, it will turn every stone into a unique entity. Spacecode's technology will generate a document similar to a human birth certificate. Every single diamond will have its own 'diamond DNA' which will be similar to the human unique DNA identification. This 'diamond DNA' could be detected by any of Spacecode's devices, anywhere around the world".
Protopapa's vision could be transformed into new marketing programs that would match even Gen Z's passion for NFT and other virtual investment and collectible items. As with NFT's uniqueness, Spacecode's technology turns every diamond into a unique personalized jewel.

There is a new Diamond Kingmaker, 

and it is called "Origin" :

 A Letter from AWDC CEO Ari Epstein


This last year in the diamond industry was not what one would consider "normal". Standard business patterns disappeared, business relationships changed drastically, and traders adapted to new regulations and ways of trading. Many of us think we have seen all the possible changes one can be faced with in a year, but I believe this is just the beginning of a paradigm shift in our industry, where quality will be replaced by a new kingmaker: origin. Heraclitus said it best: “There is nothing permanent except change”. It is time to prepare for real change, as it will be at our doorstep sooner than anticipated.

How is it possible that origin will be so disruptive in the jewelry and diamond market of tomorrow?

Two reasons.

First of all, the fears of supply shortages that the AWDC expressed from the beginning of last year are becoming a reality. We got used to the idea that the world of jewelry would keep running, with or without Russian diamonds. It made us blind to the fact that many companies relied on large volumes of diamond inventory, creating a false sense of security. Diamond producers chose not to increase production, which led to a squeeze, the effects of which the industry is starting to feel today. Being cut off from 30% of the global diamond supply is starting to create massive supply-chain concerns with retailers today. The reason for that growing shortage: the wrong origin. We are seeing a trend where the market is fundamentally shifting from a quality-based assortment to an origin-based one.

Secondly, we are confronted with new technology that is becoming more mature every day. Yesterday we thought that identifying the origin with spectroscopy was still 7 years away. Today it can be done in less than 2 years and probably even faster with devices delivered to market in 2024. Companies like Spacecode, with a their Chairman Pavlo Protopapa and their scientific team led by Professor André Rubbia, an experimental particle physicist and a world leader in neutrino physics (and son of Nobel Price winner Physics Carlo Rubbia) , are innovating the way we do business at a relentless pace. They are developing an affordable AI-driven technology that will be able to fingerprint every diamond and determine its origin. The sizes they describe are ranging from 0,2-50 Ct. It puts our way of approaching this debate in an entirely different light. Suddenly traceability will need to take a backseat because qualified origin can be determined with ease, and at an affordable rate, at the end of the value chain. There will be no need for declarations or endless paperwork, and there won't be any loopholes to be used, as a simple test will tell you all the consumer needs to know. Needless to say that governments will quickly adopt and embrace this kind of technology. More importantly, it will create a more equal level playing field that eradicates rubber stamping and greenwashing.

These developments put us in a position of enormous ethical and legal challenges. Trying to replenish this shortage, Russian diamonds are currently circulating jewelry stores all over the world. When soon these detection devices start showing up in the diamond value chain with easy access to information for the consumer, the retailer will need to face the music. What will they do with their supplies? How will consumers react when they realize that the jewelry stores kept selling those Russian diamonds because loopholes allowed them to do so? What will be the future value of those diamonds when they become illegal? Will stores issue refunds?

Nothing comes quick in this industry, except change. We need to prepare just as quickly to protect ourselves and the retailers, to address the consequences of what's coming our way. Traceability in all its many facets, many of which go beyond origin and include for example positive impact on people and planet, still remains valuable, as a vital element for the actors in the diamond value chain to enhance the integrity of their supply chain, but origin verification will quickly become the new normal as a means to truly verify this. Upstream, midstream and retail are warned, a simple test using this new technology will be able to detect idle claims easily and effectively. As an industry, we should work together and strengthen our companies and institutes to embrace this new reality head-on. At the same time, governments need to understand that we need time to adapt ourselves once again to the new reality of this world. But mark my words: origin will change the diamond industry and it will do so forever.

Ari Epstein



Diamond networking event in Dubai

7-8 november 2022.

Word partner van de nationale campagne cyberveiligheid.

Infosessie projectoproepen cyberveiligheid kmo’s 

Invitation séance d’information appels à projets pour la cybersécurité des PMEe

Global personal luxury goods market on track for recovery

By Bain and company

  • Milan, May 17, 2021- Following a turbulent year, the luxury market has started its path towards recovery. The industry returned to growth in the first quarter of 2021, growing by 0-1% versus 2019, which is viewed by the industry as the last comparable year. 

China continues to drive the recovery while the United States unexpectedly rebounded. The acceleration of this key region is one of several new trends of note, along with the importance of a human touch alongside digital interactions and the increasing presence of brands in the secondhand market. 

The outlook for 2021 still remains uncertain. The market is expected to reach between €250-€295 billion, depending on which one of two scenarios outlined in the report plays out over the course of the year.

These are the key findings from Bain & Company, the world’s leading advisor to the global luxury goods industry, in the “Bain & Company Luxury Study 2021 Spring Update” released today in collaboration with Fondazione Altagamma, the Italian luxury goods manufacturers’ industry foundation.

“It’s clear that consumers still want to buy luxury goods, and this, along with the brands’ ability to adapt and innovate, is driving a return to growth in the market,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, a Bain & Company partner and lead author of the study.

A strong start to the year driven by China and the US

Comparing versus the first quarter of 2019, the market for personal luxury goods grew by 0-1% at current exchange rates (2-3% at constant exchange rates) in the first quarter of 2021. 

While China is driving the recovery thanks to continuous repatriation and acceleration of domestic spending on luxury, the US market has been the unexpected bright spot. Renewed consumer confidence coupled with stimulus and a rapid vaccine rollout has meant that luxury consumption returned at surprisingly fast pace. Europe still lags behind, hampered by a slower vaccination campaign and the lack of international tourism.  

Two possible scenarios for the market rebound in 2021

Despite signs of green shoots in the market, a high degree of uncertainty remains. There are two possible trajectories for the recovery in 2021:

Scenario 1 (probability 30%): Recovery path to continue throughout 2021, winning back 2019 market level as early as this year. In this outcome, the market could reach €280-295 billion this year. 

Scenario 2 (probability 70%): Despite the strong momentum of the first quarter, full year growth is stifled by slower domestic luxury purchases and limited intra-regional tourism. In this case, the full recovery to 2019 levels would be expected only in 2022 and the market would reach €250-265 billion this year. 

Three trends to keep an eye on

As the luxury industry navigated through the crisis, some trends have solidified. The appetite of China and Chinese nationals for luxury remains insatiable and all customer nationalities are positively growing or on a recovery path. Growth of the online channel remains robust as new clients buy luxury online for the first time, and the range of prices is widening, with more entry-level products but also more high-end items.

Among the trends to watch in the coming months:

Roaring 20s could reshape the US luxury market: The rebound in the US has exceeded expectations; improved macroeconomic conditions, a buoyant stock market, increasing consumer confidence and a fast vaccine rollout are contributing factors to a strong recovery. Bain has seen a change in the market map with new city hubs and a growing emphasis on suburban areas, as well as the rise of subcultural relevance and next-generation mindset. 

Human touch still matters: The pandemic catapulted luxury brands into the age of digital at an unforeseen pace. Bain estimates that more than 85% of luxury purchases were digitally influenced in 2021. But the human touch in luxury remains needed and whether in-store or remotely, these interactions will play a critical part in maintaining customer loyalty.  

The secondhand market touches multiple consumer segments: Bain estimates the secondhand market for luxury to be worth €28 billion euros in 2020 (up from €26 billion in 2019). The market for pre-worn luxury items encompasses not only entry level younger consumers who are mainly buying aspirational categories and products but also top spenders and collectors who are searching for high-end or collectable products. Brands are increasingly tapping into this market and becoming platforms in order to engage with them throughout the lifecycle of an item.

“Brands have been forced to rip up the playbook and innovate rapidly in light of the crisis,” said Bain & Company partner and report co-author Federica Levato. “As life hopefully begins to return to normal, customers are expecting a tech-enabled human relationship with brands. Winners will need to stay closely in touch with the key trends shaping the new normal lifestyle – all while remaining differentiated and creating a narrative that is true to their own culture.”  

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview, contact Dan Pinkney at or +1 646-562-8102. 

About Bain & Company

Bain & Company is a global consultancy that helps the world’s most ambitious change makers define the future. 

Across 61 offices in 38 countries, we work alongside our clients as one team with a shared ambition to achieve extraordinary results, outperform the competition, and redefine industries. We complement our tailored, integrated expertise with a vibrant ecosystem of digital innovators to deliver better, faster, and more enduring outcomes. Our 10-year commitment to invest more than $1 billion in pro bono services brings our talent, expertise, and insight to organizations tackling today’s urgent challenges in education, racial equity, social justice, economic development, and the environment. We earned a gold rating from EcoVadis, the leading platform for environmental, social, and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, putting us in the top 2% among other consulting firms. Since our founding in 1973, we have measured our success by the success of our clients, and we proudly maintain the highest level of client advocacy in the industry.

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IDMA's Weekly Internet News Collection - February 8, 2021

Bain & Company and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) published their tenth joint annual report on the global diamond industry today.
The report - which can be downloaded here - covers the diamond and jewelry industry's performance during 2019, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and presents an update on consumer preferences and attitudes. The report also offers an assessment of possible scenarios toward recovery in 2021 and beyond.
The report begins with critical developments along the value chain and highlights industry trends that developed, intensified, or were triggered by the pandemic.

The report reviews those factors that influenced the global rough diamond production and sales, the midstream sector's performance, and the global demand for diamond jewelry in the major consumer markets.
Bain and the AWDC also updated the long-term outlook for the diamond industry through 2030. The 2030 supply-demand forecast is founded on the miners' declared production plans; ongoing and planned changes in diamond mining operations; and new rough diamond sources expected to come on stream. Finally, the report also looks at potential changes in global and regional macroeconomic parameters and the ongoing impact of lab-grown diamonds.
The following are the major takeaways in the report:
  • The diamond industry suffered during the Covid-19 crisis but fared better than the personal luxury market overall;
  • Rough diamond production continued its downward trend, falling to 111 million carats;
  • The mining response at the start of the Covid-19 crisis helped midstream players weather the worst of the storm;
  • Despite challenges in 2019, midstream players finished the year on a strong note;
  • The midstream segment lowered its debt by half compared to its peak level in 2013; debt levels decreased to $8 billion in 2020;
  • Prices for rough and polished diamonds continued to feel pressure;
  • Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and economic uncertainty contributed to lower diamond jewelry sales;
  • Consumers continue to value diamond jewelry as a desirable gift and a key element of marriage;
  • Covid-19-related travel restrictions localized jewelry consumption in 2020;
  • The diamond value chain is becoming more digital, although brick-and-mortar stores still have value.
  • Diamond jewelry marketing needs to evolve to meet new challenges, like generational shifts and increased competition for consumers' share of wallet;
  • Continued advances in technology contributed to double-digit growth in production and lower retail prices for lab-grown diamonds in 2019 and 2020;
  • Sustainability, transparency, and social welfare are priority issues for consumers, investors, and the value chain;
  • Covid-19 prompted structural changes in the diamond industry that will help it recover from the recession;
  • The year 2020 ended with strong sales across the whole value chain;
  • The year 2021 started on a strong trajectory and growing market confidence;
  • There is still a lot of economic uncertainty ahead;
  • Encouraged by the year-end performance, the long-term outlook for the diamond market remains positive.

QUOTE from Mr. David Kellie, the new head of the Natural Diamond Council (NDC),  In a recent letter to the industry, he wrote that  “if we speak to our consumer in the language of the 'emotional dream' and we maximize our opportunities in the many digital environments, then there are undeniably significant opportunities for future growth for natural diamonds.”

(source: IDMA WINC 324-325, November 14, 2020)


To the Antwerp diamond community / Aan de Antwerpse diamantgemeenschap

Today, the federal parliament has approved a new law, guaranteeing basic banking services for all Belgian companies.
The law will come into effect 6 months after publication in the Belgian Official Gazette. 

Vandaag heeft het federale parlement een nieuwe wet goedgekeurd die voorziet in een basis bankendienst voor alle Belgische ondernemingen.
Deze wet zal van kracht worden 6 maanden na publicatie in het Belgisch Staatsblad.

Voor meer info 



Extraordinary Times Require Courage(covid-19)


By Isi Morsel, C.E.O. Dali Diamond Co.

The diamond industry, from mine to retail, is facing new challenges that are rocking it to its core. Retail stores around the world are closed and that reverberated up the diamond pipeline, bringing wholesaling activity, jewelry manufacturing, diamond polishing, and diamond mining to a complete standstill.

This unfamiliar situation is testing us. We need to protect our workforce, renegotiate our standing with the banks, realign our activities, redo our business plans, and do so blindfolded. For as much as the current situation is unprecedented, the future is even less predictable than ever before.

Over the last few years, we frequently and justly complained of the high prices miners charged us in the midstream for our rough diamond supply. While we continued to operate at near to no profitability, miners maintained their sizeable profits. On the other end of the pipeline, retailers never let go of their equally large margins, regardless of changes to the midstream’s costs.

Over the years, as veterans of the industry know, diamantaires grew weary of the closed marketing structure of the diamond pipeline’s upstream, yearning for a fragmented supply, with the hope that competition will result in lower rough diamond costs, and finally allowing for more profit.

When the number of suppliers increased, we found that our profitability continued to erode. Worse, we discovered again and again that when the industry at large faced economic challenges, the midstream remained even more exposed than before.

As COVID-19 was in progress and international travel, shipping, and consumer activity dropped to near nothing, smaller suppliers took steps that threaten us all. Small suppliers in Africa, including Angola, were so eager to sell that they dropped prices sharply, in the process endangering the entire rough diamond price structure during a fragile time. At some tenders, rough diamond parcels were offered with low or no reserve price, resulting in deep price declines and further unjustified and harmful erosion of rough pricing.

Another internal destabilizing act was caused by a drop in the Rapaport price list, although polished diamond trading activity was at full stop.

Collectively, these acts have a negative potential for the diamond industry, and may further escalate the pains of an external force majeure. This is contrary to what the diamond industry needs these days.

In stark contrast to those acts are ALROSA and De Beers. Their decision to defer all rough diamond supplies for the time being were positive acts that signaled how a responsible diamond industry should act. The two mining companies, which face our regular criticism any other day, were the only ones ready to take full responsibility for our industry during a very extraordinary time.

Doing so required courage to take the tougher route that provides long-term sustainable gains over short-term income. It took courage in the face of shareholder pressure to generate continued cash flow.

Beyond the halt of sales, the calm messages they sent out to their clients and the industry at large was deeply needed and served as a restorative agent.

I have full trust in the future of the diamond industry. If we keep our belief in the everlasting desire for our unique product, and as long as we act cool headedly, taking calculated steps as we slowly emerge from this crisis, we will thrive in the days ahead. Stores will reopen, manufacturers will return to work, and sales will be restored.

GJEPC organised a 

Webinar on Indian 

Diamond Industry

The Recovery Options Special Address by: Mr.Chaim Even Zohar, Eminent Industry Journalist & Analyst


Reimagining Marketing in the Diamond Industry

It is no secret that since De Beers stopped shouldering the promotional burden for the diamond industry more than a decade ago, investment in category marketing has steadily declined. The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) was created a couple of years ago, but by their own admission their efforts alone are not enough, and more funds are needed. Two weeks ago, Shashin Choksi, a secondgeneration diamond trader from Antwerp and director of Swati Gems, together with his son Siddharth Choksi, who has held a number of internships in the diamond and jewelry industry, penned an opinion piece published by Rapaport to address this very issue.

 Entitled "An Urgent Call to Invest in Marketing", the father-son duo laid out an ambitious strategy to inject the diamond industry with significantly more marketing funds to be used to the benefit of all in the diamond trade; namely, by imposing a small fee on all diamond exports. "We must collectively work to restore the appeal of our product among consumers," they write. "We must reinvent the way the industry tackles marketing, and to do that we need to increase our budget radically." Their missive sparked considerable discussion and left some questions unanswered. The Diamond Loupe had the good fortune to catch up with them in Antwerp.

 Loin des Yeux, Loin du Coeur (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

The Diamond Loupe: Many in the industry have lamented the lack of marketing for the diamond industry in recent years. Yours is the first structured approach I have seen outside of the DPA. Did you draw on a model from another industry in creating your budget proposal?

Shashin & Siddharth Choksi: Unique problems call for unique solutions, and given the diamond industry’s incredibly unique industry dynamics, we feel it requires a custom approach. So, no, we did not model ourselves after another industry.

 The figures outlined in our marketing proposal are drawn from decades of practical experience in the field, and are made to remain affordable for each individual, whilst still accumulating sufficient funds to properly launch a series of custom marketing campaigns aimed at reviving the fading lust for our product. Many have criticized the DPA over the years for their seemingly ineffective marketing efforts, however few realize the extremely scarce resources they have had to make do with, thereby severely limiting their potential from the onset. Thus, rather than setting ourselves up for failure, we must collectively chip in to stand a chance at seeing any tangible results.

 In the end, the sole purpose of introducing this marketing contribution is to combat stagnation at a macro level and to revive the confidence for the future generations of diamantaires. Such a marketing effort is inevitable; it has to happen and hopefully sooner than later. Unfortunately, we fail to inspire the consumer each time we slash the prices of our luxury product. It is and remains our responsibility to point out the rarity of each facet and create desirability.

 Let’s be honest, which other luxury product still holds the vast majority of its value after years, even generations, of wear, joy and pleasure?

 TDL: If the industry would succeed in raising the kind of money you suggest, how would it be collected, distributed and by whom? How would it be overseen and regulated?

S. & S. Choksi: Whilst we can appreciate the concerns regarding the deployment of the funds, we think our primary focus should be on raising the much-needed capital in the first place.

 With regards to the collection process, we see the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) playing a crucial role here; it is imperative for them to introduce and enforce the proposed fee system on all diamond exports worldwide. In fact, our plan essentially relies on the support of the WFDB, whose reach and influence over our industry will dramatically ease the launch of our proposed marketing initiative.

 The way we see things panning out can to an extent be compared to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, where miners and companies in diamond-producing countries must adhere to the norms of the KP certificate to be permitted to export the raw materials, i.e., rough diamonds. Similarly, we see this as a virtually seamless extra step in the exporting process, where a minor marketing fee will be added to the export value of the goods [for details concerning the fee, see the link to the article above]. However, as mentioned before, this fee will be imposed exclusively on exports, thereby exempting all domestic transactions.

 Plus, once the WFDB gets involved, they will undoubtedly see the importance in our collective efforts, which in turn will likely result in them taking a greater interest in the initiative by, for example, incorporating some of their own ideas, methods of working, etc. Furthermore, getting the WFDB’s support and seal of approval will stimulate all the bourses around the world to adopt and help improve our proposal.

To address your point of oversight and regulation, we will certainly need to get professionals on board to help us with this enormous task, as this indeed isn’t something the DPA or any other organization within the diamond trade for that matter can manage on their own. With that being said, we will only be able to appoint the right people once sufficient funds are raised to afford the hires. These people, preferably external to the diamond trade, will oversee the capital allocation and manage all generic marketing efforts.

 In our opinion, we believe a so-called 'board of representatives' structure would be ideal to lead this marketing fund, by which we mean a structure that would allow each major stakeholder to select one person to represent them at the table. For instance, the largest miners and the largest producing countries along with the WFDB would be allowed to elect one person each, who together would oversee the fund. This would not be dissimilar to how the G7 functions in international politics. Of course, the exact distribution of the overseeing team would have to be worked out and discussed later.

 TDL: Your proposal reminds me of calls for investment in green technology. Everyone thinks ‘something’ should be done, but few seem willing to pay the price now for benefits in the future. Do you agree with this parallel, and what could be done to overcome resistance from companies that do not think it will benefit them?

S. & S. Choksi: Great question. It must be made crystal-clear to all players just how crucial this is. It’s almost as simple as ‘marketing or bust’. If nothing is done, we are heading toward an even greater slump while other sectors in the luxury space continue to grow.

Reviving an entire industry is a costly matter, and no single player should be responsible for footing the bill when everyone benefits, so it seems only fair that all players, small and large alike, proportionally contribute to restore the repute our product once had. On the other hand, if we as a collective remain passive, it is unlikely that the smaller players will survive, given the agonizing stock losses the industry has experienced lately.

 Similarly, as the diamond industry represents a significant slice of the GDP of several diamond-producing countries, each time the value drops, said countries suffer severely as it directly affects their national budgets, thereby potentially causing tremendous issues at a macro-level. The same logic applies to the large mining companies, who will unlikely be able to continue profiting the way they have done for the past few decades if we don’t do something to push demand for diamonds.

 So far, bankers have poured a seemingly unlimited sum of capital into the trade and the miners benefitted like none other as they charged premiums. However, now, as the money tap tightens and the funds dry up (inter alia due to a rising number of frauds and bad investments outside the trade), we strongly believe that these miners will opt to support generic marketing, especially considering the amount of money that has been 'invested' in initiatives like “Forevermark”, which was pushed by De Beers with over US$100m annually, and yet could not convince the public.

 In their own words, they [De Beers] have categorically stated that “less than 1% of the world’s diamonds can become Forevermark…”, which is staggering considering they account for roughly 40% of the total diamond output, which begs the question: why isn't De Beers putting as much energy in capitalizing on the other 39% of their own supply, not to mention the 60% in the hands of the world’s other diamond suppliers?

 This is precisely why we must consolidate our efforts in marketing! The participation fee we outlined is absolutely insignificant in proportion to their profits. It is simply investing today for a better tomorrow, because if we choose not to, we will most likely all suffer.

 We have been voicing the need of marketing for years; unfortunately it's fallen on deaf ears… It has always been the ‘wrong’ time. In the meanwhile, we all have not only endured massive stock losses, but investors have lost faith in our product, bankers are hesistant to finance us, most mining countries that depend on the revenue of this commodity have had to readjust their budgets, and last but not least, tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost. And yet we are looking and waiting for an opportune time?!

 So, when will it be the ‘right’ time?

 Rather than pointing our fingers at others who should contribute on the marketing cost, we must accept that we, the manufacturers and traders, need to participate too!!

 TDL: Considering the difficulty the KP has in reaching agreements across all diamond-producing countries, would it not be extremely difficult to get them to contribute to such a scheme which could be seen - in their eyes - to mainly benefit retailers? If one refuses, others would certainly follow.

S. & S. Choksi: We guess this is why people say, ‘hindsight is 20:20’, because we all know the sheer importance of the KP certificate in our industry today and should therefore take the establishment and implementation of the KP as a learning process for how not to handle crucial innovation.

 Sure, there may have been a number of problems when setting up the KP certification scheme, but years later it has given legitimate miners and mining countries something tangible to prove to the world that they are ethical and follow the best practices. If this were in jeopardy, many countries would suffer. Nobody on their own can fight off all the NGOs that falsely claim ‘blood diamonds’ are still the norm today, whereas the KP certificate is a proof that this isn’t so; the past is the past and today we can hold our heads up high.

 Retailers are facing their fair share of challenges, and if we do not show our support, we fear more of these brick and mortar stores will close shop. The cost of insurance and security aren’t to be ignored, lest we not forget the cost of employment, taxes, benefits, etc. This marketing effort will not just benefit the retailers but the entire value chain ‘from mine to finger’. Once the retailers experience firsthand the benefits of generic marketing, we can ask them to come on board too, but not right now.

 TDL: Who would need to get on board first to start the ball rolling?

S. & S. Choksi: A very good question, we believe that the DPA will have to take the lead together with the WFDB, as they are both integral parts of this proposed plan. From there, we would have others join, representing the major stakeholders and contributors in the fund, as explained earlier using the G7 analogy.

 TDL: Have you had the opportunity to present your proposal to diamondmining companies, which would be asked to contribute the most?

Shashin Choksi: I am a tiny player of a certain age with a vision for our future, the youth. It is and remains our duty to leave a better place for them to carry on this beautiful trade.

 Lately our market leaders have been troubled about how they should compete against some of these fraudsters who never intended to repay their dues or loans in the first place, and the big miners now have to combat the unknown, CVD or labgrown diamonds.

 For most of my career I have worked with a board to develop my ideas, two of which have materialized into legislation: firstly, the “law against seizures” as we knew in +/- 2006-2008, and secondly, the “Carat Tax” in Antwerp, which is a costlier but, in my eyes, fairer taxation system for all parties. I would prefer to develop the idea along with our stakeholders, the organizations representing us, before approaching the diamond mining companies and countries, as we manufacturers and traders need to impose our participation.

 TDL: Do you believe it is possible to appeal to the global diamond industry as a collective that needs to work together in the interest of all? Are there other industries that do this?

S. & S. Choksi: Each and every company will have to participate, and with the support of the WFDB we can ensure that this happens. It is rather simple, if they refused, they would not get their membership in the local trading hall. Without having a membership at a local trading hall, they would not be able to practice in this trade, as we all are aware that every trader must be member of its local bourse, where all members have to abide by the by-laws.

 In these difficult times where a lot of injustice is taking place, the local bourses are doing their utmost to protect their members as per the law allows. Antwerp has often been a trendsetter, and other industries have taken us as an example. In fact, many companies in different countries requested their local government to copy our Carat Tax. (see, for ex., here and here).

 And, regarding the point of whether there are other industries that adopt any similar strategies, perhaps there are, but as mentioned earlier, the diamond industry is a unique one in plentiful ways and therefore deserves and requires unique approaches.


 Shashin Choksi, director of Swati Gems bvba, is a second-generation diamond merchant from Antwerp, with over 40 years of experience in the industry. Shashin is also a dedicated husband and father of three.

 Siddharth Choksi holds a degree in business administration degree from IE Business School and currently works at a venture capital fund in Amsterdam. Since a young age he has undertaken a number of internships within the diamond and jewelry industry, gaining exposure to the various stages of the trade's supply chain.

 Photo: Shruti Mehta @DiamondsandAntwerp

An Urgent Call to Invest in Marketing

Recent challenges have affected all segments of the diamonds market. To stimulate a recovery, all industry participants must contribute to raise the budget earmarked to promote the product.

By Shashin Choksi & Siddharth Choksi

RAPAPORT... The diamond industry must significantly increase its marketing spend to ensure the trade’s longevity. This need is highlighted by the difficult conditions the sector has endured over the past few years.

Recent challenges have led to a lack of confidence in the diamond trade that resulted in a seemingly endless stream of financial misconduct carried out by a minority of ill-intended merchants. Our trade representatives need to introduce stringent measures that will combat such misconduct.

More importantly, consumer appetite for our product has stagnated in this tough market, while the absence of marketing and innovation has had a further negative effect on demand. We must collectively work to restore the appeal of our product among consumers.

The diamond industry exists thanks to breakthrough marketing by De Beers, with its iconic “A Diamond is Forever” campaigns becoming entrenched in the consumer mindset.

It’s no coincidence that as De Beers’ marketing budget surged in the 1990s and early 2000s, spending on diamonds by US consumers tripled. Government data shows that net imports of diamonds to the US grew from $2.41 billion in 1990 to $7.15 billion in 2007, before De Beers shelved its generic marketing the following year. As the investment in category marketing declined, demand slowed and net imports to the US dropped to $3.96 billion in 2018.

At the same time, polished prices have been on a constant decline and our stock has devalued by some 20% in the last decade. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds is down 48% since its highs in mid-2011.

Of course, industry dynamics have changed. Increased competition in both the mining and retail ends of the supply chain has made it counterproductive for companies such as De Beers to invest heavily in generic marketing as it promotes its competitors’ product. Therefore, it is vital that all diamond industry participants contribute to category marketing as a collective.

Export contribution

We must reinvent the way the industry tackles marketing, and to do that we need to increase our budget radically. Raising the necessary funds on a continual basis is possible by taking a small contribution from all diamond exports that would be earmarked to promote the product. That would include:

• A 0.05% levy on all diamond exports (rough and polished) from non-mining countries. This translates to a mere $50 for every $100,000 of exports. Considering polished exports from just the top five exporters – India, the US, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium – that would have brought a contribution of around $41 million in 2018, based on data published by the respective governments.

• A fee of 0.5% on all polished exports and 1% on rough exports from mining countries, or $500 and $1000 for every $100,000 in polished and rough shipments, respectively. A 1% cut of rough exports from the top five producer countries alone – Botswana, Russia, Canada, South Africa and Angola – would amount to $152.5 million, based on 2018 Kimberley Process statistics.

• A payment of 2% of all exports by the diamond-mining companies, which would come to $2,000 for every $100,000 of goods shipped out. The combined sales from five of the top miners – De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto, Petra Diamonds and Mountain Province – would have brought in $228 million for the proposed marketing fund last year.

All that translates to approximately $421 million just from those parameters, which would easily exceed half a billion dollars when extended to all countries and companies. It would mark a significant improvement on the budget currently provided by seven mining companies to the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), which is charged with spear-heading the industry’s category marketing. These contributions would not be a tax, but a much-needed investment.

The cost of apathy

It may seem like an expensive challenge, but we must also consider the price of being passive and allowing our stock losses to continue. Such a scenario would be far more costly in the long run, sparing no one — from the small traders to the large manufacturers and, yes, also the miners, as demonstrated by the recent slump in rough sales.

We have already collectively lost billions of dollars, considering the dramatic stock devaluations endured since 2011. And yet, the mining companies continue to make healthy profits. Alrosa paid a record dividend of $1.18 billion to its shareholders in 2018, while De Beers reported earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $518 million in the first half of 2019.

Mining-company profits come at the expense of manufacturers and dealers, who are struggling. The continued devaluation of our diamonds emphasizes why we need to pool our resources to revive our product’s luster through aggressive marketing. It’s only fair that the mining companies bear responsibility for the larger contribution.

Real ambassadors

While some miners have increased their marketing budget in recent years, the funds are largely siphoned to promote their own retail-jewelry brands, which ultimately compete with their clients. And while the miners have funded the DPA to lead the industry’s marketing effort, the organization’s 2019 budget of $75 million is hardly enough.

We need to raise the budget so that our marketing efforts can reach all consumer markets and use all marketing media outlets. That includes educating the consumer about the ethical practices of our industry.

The consumer landscape is changing, and we know millennials value experiences over products. However, there is still demand for luxury items, when one considers the record revenue generated by the likes of LVMH, Richemont and Kering.

Comparing those to the performance of Signet Jewelers and others that sell to more mainstream consumers highlights the ineffectiveness of the industry’s marketing efforts. The fact that the luxury segment is growing but our trade is lagging should serve as a wake-up call to rejuvenate the image of our product.

Effective marketing would also combat the lure of lab-grown diamonds, which have proven to be the biggest-ever disruptor to the traditional industry. Rather than challenging the appeal of synthetics, we should separate our product by highlighting the inherent value of natural stones.

Leaving a legacy

The new fee structure from exports would require leadership from the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). The trade body should oversee its implementation to ensure that all bourses participate in and benefit from the scheme. The funds should enable the industry to spread its message across all platforms and markets, adding to the work currently done by the DPA.

Companies spend roughly 11% of their turnover on marketing, according to a 2019 study by Gartner research. The marketing spend varies across industries. But if an industry is struggling, as ours is, surely more needs to be invested. A minimal contribution from all stakeholders will provide the much-sought-after turnaround.

The diamond industry is unique. But to ensure it is sustained for the long run, we need to build on what makes it so special. We can’t rest on our laurels. A small percentage of our exports will go a long way to ensure there is still something for the next generation of eager diamond miners, manufacturers, dealers and jewelers to enjoy.

About the authors: Shashin Choksi, director of Swati Gems bvba, is a second-generation diamond merchant from Antwerp, with over 40 years of experience in the industry. Shashin is also a dedicated husband and father of three.

Siddharth Choksi holds a degree in business administration degree from IE Business School and currently works at a venture capital fund in Amsterdam. Since a young age he has undertaken a number of internships within the diamond and jewelry industry, gaining exposure to the various stages of the trade's supply chain.

Image: Polished diamonds (Shutterstock).


Synthetic Ethics   By Martin Rapaport, 23 may 2019

Synthetic diamonds are a fundamental threat to the natural diamond industry. They are not just a competitive product like gems, pearls, or gold jewelry. They are a replacement product. Their marketers shout out: Don’t buy natural diamonds, buy synthetic diamonds because synthetic diamonds are more ethical. They are cheaper. They build up synthetic diamonds by tearing down natural diamonds.

The natural diamond trade is confused and afraid. Our diamond distribution system is under relentless attack as retailers are forced to match lower prices from online sellers who operate at lower costs. Furthermore, suppliers are using the internet to sell direct to consumers, cutting out retailers. Competition is fierce, profit margins are low and people are leaving the industry.

The problem is not just distribution. Natural diamonds themselves are under direct attack. Synthetic sellers are mounting marketing and public-relations campaigns to convince consumers that natural diamonds are bad. They claim natural diamonds deface the earth and force child labor. The reputation of our diamonds and trade are being destroyed in the mind of the consumer.

Identity crisis

Our trade is having an identity crisis. Are synthetics more ethical? Are they a good product? Should we sell synthetics? If we sell synthetics, what does that say about us and our natural diamonds?

The synthetic marketing campaigns are just the tip of the iceberg. What’s really going on is an attempt to steal the identity of natural diamonds and hijack the reason people buy diamonds. Synthetics sellers are not saying “Buy synthetics because they are more beautiful, sparkly, or well cut.” They are saying “Buy synthetics because they are the same as natural diamonds but with better ethics and lower prices.” They are getting under our skin by trying to capture the idea and promise of natural diamonds.

Synthetics are parasites living off the marketing message that naturally scarce diamonds are the ultimate gift of love and commitment. Synthetics are trying to steal the Diamond Dream. They don’t have their own message. Synthetics are not more ethical.[1] They don’t contribute to sustainable economic development in developing countries. And most importantly they don’t hold value.

Synthetic prices

Synthetic sellers make a strong argument that synthetic diamonds are “exactly the same”[2] as natural diamonds. But that’s not true. Synthetic diamonds have no natural limitation of supply. They can be cranked out in unlimited quantities and will be manufactured as long as there is profit. Given a competitive market, the quantity and supply of synthetic diamonds manufactured will increase until there is very little price difference between the cost of manufacturing and the sales price. The wholesale B2B price of synthetics is limited to manufacturing costs plus a small distribution profit.

The cost of manufacturing synthetic diamonds is continuously decreasing (it currently stands at $300 to $500 per carat). Technological advances in synthetic processing are being driven by governments and companies seeking to develop a broad range of futuristic synthetic diamond technologies that have nothing to do with jewelry. These include synthetic diamond chips for quantum computers, high-powered CO2 lasers, and even biological applications funded by the US Department of Defense.[3] Extended funding for these advances will create new technology that will further reduce the cost of creating synthetics. Think Moore’s law on steroids.

There are also the tens of thousands of High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) machines in China shifting production from creating synthetic diamond abrasives to synthetic gem rough. And let’s not forget about what happened to synthetic emeralds, rubies and sapphires: Their prices plummeted as unlimited production increased supply.

For all the above reasons, it is reasonable and rational to predict that synthetic diamond prices will decline significantly over the next few years. In fact, according to some reports, prices for 1-carat synthetics have fallen over 20% in just the last quarter.

In contrast, the supply of natural diamonds — particularly large expensive diamonds — is limited by their natural occurrence. You can’t just crank them out. Natural diamond prices are based on scarcity and that is why their price per carat increases with size and quality. The scarcer something is the more valuable it is.

Synthetic values

Jewelers considering the sale of synthetic diamond engagement rings should consider the ramifications of what happens when the customer comes back in a few years and finds out that her $30,000 diamond is now worth $3,000 or $300. What will you say? What will you do? Do you think that customer will ever trust you again? Do you think the customer will ever again buy any diamond, synthetic or natural, from you or anyone else again?

Consumers are not being told of the sinking value of their synthetic diamonds. Jewelers are presenting the diamonds as a discounted item compared to natural diamonds even though they are not comparable when it comes to value retention. These jewelers and jewelry companies are misleading consumers who think they are buying a diamond that will retain value the way a natural diamond does. An entire generation of millennials is being “ethically” ripped off.

Sadly, we have an industry that is cashing in on the reputation of natural diamonds. We are destroying the long-term reputation of diamonds as a store of value for short-term synthetic profits. It’s shocking to see so many in our industry willing to take consumers for a ride without disclosing the likely price decline of expensive synthetic diamonds.

The diamond dream

So what is the diamond dream? Why do people buy diamonds? What is the promise of diamonds?

Let’s talk diamond engagement rings. When a man gives a woman a diamond,[4] there is more going on than the physical exchange of a commodity. Similarly, when a couple has a committed relationship, there is more going on than a one-night Tinder experience. We seek to transcend our physical connection by incorporating high-level emotions into a spiritual relationship. We seek to make love, not just have sex. The diamond engagement ring is an emotional and spiritual gift that transcends the physical diamond as it communicates the commitment of love forever. The universally symbolic gift of a diamond engagement ring is similar to a wedding ring, which is “worth” much more than its weight in gold. The value of the wedding ring incorporates the emotional and spiritual investment of the couple. So, too, the diamond engagement ring.

For many young women, the diamond dream is that one day she will fall in love. The perfect man will come along, ask her to marry him and give her a diamond ring to seal that love. The dream starts at a young age — maybe 10 or 12 — and continues throughout her life. Even after she gets married, she will look at the ring every day, remembering the love it represents.

The foundation of diamond demand is the engagement ring. A man does not give an engagement ring to a woman just because it sparkles. He is giving her much more than the physical product. He is giving her his promise to be there for her, for the rest of her life.

The value of values

The natural diamond trade does itself a disservice by promoting diamonds based on price. If the most important thing about the diamond is price then why doesn’t the man just give the woman cash? Many in the trade do not know how to sell the emotional power of the diamond so they just sell price discounting. It is likely that these companies will lose market share to synthetic diamond sellers.

The woman receiving the diamond does not just want price — she wants value. She does not want a commodity transaction; she wants her relationship with her lover to be more than transactional. She wants her man to give her something valuable because she projects the value of the diamond onto herself. She wants to think, “He loves me sooo much, he spent sooo much on me.” Sure, she wants the biggest and best diamond she can get for their money, but most importantly she wants him to show her he loves her by buying her something expensive. Something that has no utility other than to make her feel good and confident about his love for her.

The Achilles heel of synthetic diamonds is that they don’t have the ability to store value. Yet an important part of the diamond dream is the idea that the gift she is receiving is valuable and will stay valuable forever. That is what she is thinking and that is what she is expecting. The fact that no one is telling her the value of her synthetic diamond will deteriorate is a great injustice.

The diamond dream is about the promise of real love, based on real emotions, based on a real diamond that maintains real value. The diamond dream is not about cool technology, celebrating a transactional relationship, or a synthetic diamond that has no long-term value. There is no such thing as a synthetic diamond dream.


Synthetic diamonds are threatening the integrity of the natural diamond trade by promoting the sale of expensive synthetic diamonds without disclosing their inability to store value. Consumers are being misled about the medium- and long-term value of their synthetic diamonds. Absent full and fair disclosure it is likely that once consumers find out about the “value retention problem” they will no longer be interested in buying any diamonds, including natural diamonds.

As millennials finally come of marriageable age, we are in danger of losing an entire generation of diamond consumers due to our failure to differentiate our natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds based on value retention and other factors. Better marketing focusing on the benefits of natural diamonds compared to synthetic diamonds is desperately needed.

It looks like we have lost the battle for low-quality natural melee diamonds. The benefits of natural diamonds for inexpensive fashion jewelry are unclear. Extensive marketing efforts to brand and sell synthetic diamond jewelry by Swarovski, Diamond Foundry and others are taking place. Nothing similar is being done for natural diamonds.

All of us in the diamond industry face an ethical dilemma: Should we or should we not sell synthetic diamonds? Even with full disclosure about value retention, we will still have the problem of facing consumers who will come back in a few years with worth-less synthetic diamonds.

From the Rapaport perspective we question the ethics of establishing a synthetic diamond trading network on RapNet or publishing a Rapaport price list for synthetics. We do not think it is right to create an enabling environment for products that will hurt consumers.

So as to gain a better understanding of the trade’s position regarding synthetic diamonds, we will be holding a RapNet vote on synthetic diamond issues before the Las Vegas show. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.


GLOBAL POLISHED DIAMOND DEMAND, (Report on Lab grown diamonds)

No one should underestimate the effects that Lightox will have. It is going to disrupt the natural business to a far greater degree than has already occurred. Lightbox has made MMDs a totally acceptable product. It will incentivise those already producing MMDs to ride this new coattail and to increase production and pursue technological advancement.

It will force many retailers to the attempts by various institutions in the industry to fight the expansion of MMDs, even punish dealers who would dare to carry MMDs, is not only counterproductive, but will also guarantee that the disruption to come will be even more painful than it needs to be.

RAPAPORT FEBRUARI 2019 BY AVI KRAVITZ(report on lab grown diamonds)

The mined-diamond industry needs to get of the defensive in the synthetic-diamond debate. It can do so by amplifying the good that diamonds do – through both its corporate social-responsibility programs and its role in providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people. It should also enhance its storytelling about where a diamond comes from, building on the wave of source-verification and traceability programs that have recently emerged.

Consumers do care about what they’re buying, and they want to be assured that their purchase is making a positive contribution. Natural-diamond companies should be providing those assurances regardless of the rivalry with synthetics. It has become quite clear that the natural-diamond and jewelry brands able to garner growth in today’s challenging environment are those investing in technology and telling a meaningful story.

In that context, the synthetic-diamond debate should not be about the threat of losing market share. Lab-grown products, whether meat or diamonds, provide a different appeal and will evolve to a segmented market. £Rather, it’s about the diamond industry believing in its product. Having survived the early-disrupter challenges that cultured meat is now presenting for food suppliers, the natural-diamond trade should have the tools to sell with confidence. The growth of synthetics may continue to shake the market, but natural diamonds have a unique value proposition that still resonates with consumers.


Three trends have the highest potential to affect the diamond industry in the near terms : advancements in digital technologies, the development of lab-grown diamonds and generational shifts in consumer preferences.

Among other benefits, digital technologies are aiding transparency and efficiency efforts across all segments of the value chain. For example, in 2017 and early 2018, blockchain projects were launched to help consumers confidently identify the origin of their diamonds.

Two important events occurred in 2018 regarding the lab-grown diamond market. In July, the US Federal Trade Commission amended its Jewellery Guides, clarifying “a diamond is a diamond” regardless of its origin. In September, De Beers Group launched a lab-grown fashion jewellery retailer called Lightbox Jewellery that introduced a new pricing paradigm.

While much attention has been paid to millennial buyers, their successors in Generation Z have been gaining buying power, forcing the industry to rethink marketing and sales strategies. Self-purchased sales and social media shopping are expected to increase, attracting younger generations of diamond buyers with distinct preferences.

Nieuw voor de BVGD-leden.;

Deze service is een aanzienlijke vergemakkeling in de import en export service van geslepen diamant, en die de handelscapaciteit van de Antwerpse diamanthandelaars sterker maakt.

Dear members,

The BVGD, in cooperation with IDEX is offering a service where you can locate, authenticate and get a stone shipped to you from different diamond centres worldwide. The cost for this service is  3% of the value of the stone. This courtesy is a significant and powerful breakthrough in helping to facilitate the import and export of polished diamonds in Antwerp: This is essentially what the BVGD is about. Hopefully, the diamond sector will benefit from this global service.

For any inquiries please contact Henri Keesje at the bvgd.

 The BVGD shares the same concerns than the DPA.

By Hedda Schupak, Editor, The Centurion |  August 01, 2018.

DPA Responds To FTC Guides’ Updated Terminology.

The removal of the word “natural” was based purely on science, not commerce. The FTC’s justification for the change is that man-made diamonds did not exist in 1956 when the first definition was drafted, but now that lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as diamonds found in the earth, they are in fact diamonds.

Diamond industry leaders fear that consumers won’t differentiate between the two. In a statement, Jean-Marc Lieberherr (above left), CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, expressed grave concerns around the new terminology, especially use of the word “cultured” to describe a diamond even with additional qualifiers, and use of the word “mined” to describe a natural diamond, especially as not all are obtained through extractive mining. But he acknowledged the synthetic diamond manufacturers’ pledge to respect the new Guides in their marketing and called upon them to honor the commitment.

Here is Lieberherr’s complete statement regarding the new Guides:

“The DPA welcomes the release of the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Jewelry Guides following six years of consultation with the industry.  This document plays an important role, alongside other applicable norms and standards, in protecting consumers from deceitful communication by marketers.  The DPA commits to respecting the FTC Guides – as it has always done – in its communication, and in particular as it pertains to the way it describes synthetic diamonds – diamonds created in a laboratory – and natural diamonds.  We note and welcome synthetic diamond manufacturers’ public pledge to respect the new Guides.

The DPA appreciates that the FTC still requires marketers of man-made stones to differentiate their product conspicuously from natural diamonds in their marketing communication.  While we disagree with the change in the FTC’s definition of a diamond, we want to remind the industry that all other norms and standards continue to support that a diamond is a mineral of natural origin, and to clarify that the FTC Guides continue to ask marketers to qualify the use of the word “diamond” to describe any product that is not “a mined stone.”  

Furthermore, the DPA expresses deep concerns that the new Guides fail to provide the clarity required to avoid more consumer confusion and deception, instead introducing unnecessary ambiguity.  In particular, the Guides support the broad use of terms which – while potentially incorrect and misleading – can be qualified through communication to avoid consumer deception.  This is the basis on which the FTC approves the qualified use of the term “cultured diamonds” even though it has been demonstrated that the majority of consumers mistakenly interpret “cultured” as a description used for natural diamonds.  The DPA believes that this principle, if widely applied, would open the door to yet more consumer confusion and deception and would require the agency to address a large number of claims on a cumbersome case-by-case basis.  DPA had hoped that the agency would provide clearer guidelines for industry on these important issues and looks forward to engaging further the FTC on the subject.

Finally, the DPA is surprised at the wide use of the expression “mined diamond” throughout the FTC Guides in lieu of “natural diamond”, a terminology heavily promoted by man-made diamond producers.  Indeed, “mined diamonds” refers to an extraction process, and not to a creation process, and the vast majority of the world’s diamonds will never be mined, making this an incorrect qualification.”

Quotes and  tips.
One of the roles of continuing education is to ensure salespeople are up to date on both the facts of trade and attitudes of moden customers.
Keeping up those skills can strike and chord with clients and encourage them to buy buy and to tell others about their experience.
Education is one of the ways you can stay up there and keep delivering those costumers expectations, because you want that person coming back, you want them sharing your name with their friends and family.
The last thing you want is to miss something that the completion next door doesn't miss, because that's a competitive advantage.(Rapaport, special eduction supplement by Joshua Freedman , april 2018)

BVGD is testing the possibility of installing an imagery machine in diamond bourse of Antwerp in order to serve all the diamondtraders. (10/04/2018).


Dear colleagues,

A quick update before the Easter break :

A month ago, I made a proposal to the Diamond Bourse to put a diamond imaging machine at the service of the diamond traders.

Last week, I went with a few board members of the Bourse to see a demonstration of the Diapix machine made by Ogi.

The results were not convincing and we are going to wait until June when the new machine will come out.

In general the idea was well received, and the collaboration between BVGD and the Diamond Bourse was very good.

After the vacation i will send the membership letter for 2018, along with the fees.

Wishing you good vacation,

Henri Keesje.

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Interview  Ari Epstein ( CEO  AWDC)
De Tijd  30 maart 2018
‘Wij eisen oplossing voor diamantsector'.

Dat diamantairs geen bankrekening kunnen openen, schaadt Antwerpen als internationaal diamantcentrum. ‘De banken kunnen de diamantsector niet laten stikken’, zegt Ari Epstein, de topman van de diamantkoepel AWDC.

Dat de diamantsector met een imagoprobleem kampt, ontkent Epstein niet. ‘Dat is eigen aan het product, dat vaak met glitter en glamour geassocieerd wordt. Nochtans wordt 95 procent van de verhandelde diamant gebruikt voor industriële toepassingen, zoals in de medische wereld, voor boorkoppen of voor schoonheidsproducten.’

Dat die negatieve perceptie het voor diamantairs onmogelijk maakt om een bankrekening te openen, zoals De Tijd  meldde, vindt de AWDC-topman een brug te ver. Hij houdt een pleidooi om naar de feiten te kijken, diamantbedrijven individueel te screenen en vooral oplossingen te zoeken.

Is de diamantsector niet nog altijd te weinig transparant?

Ari Epstein: ‘De diamantsector heeft, vaak in samenwerking met de overheid, een rist maatregelen genomen om de risico’s in kaart te brengen, ze te objectiveren en er antwoorden op te formuleren. Cashbetalingen boven 3.000 euro zijn al lang niet meer toegelaten, de controles op het naleven van de antiwitwasregels zijn aangescherpt, en door de karaattaks zijn de boekhoudingen transparanter en de balansen steviger. We juichen al die maatregelen toe. Antwerpen kan die transparantie uitspelen als concurrentiële troef.’

‘Dat de maatregelen werken, blijkt uit het groeiende succes van de diamantveilingen in Antwerpen.'

'Ook grote buitenlandse diamantgroepen willen vanwege de diamanttaks hun hoofdkwartier naar Antwerpen verhuizen. Er liggen concrete dossiers op onze tafel. Maar als blijkt dat diamantairs hier geen bankrekening kunnen openen, dan is er een probleem. Om een licentie als diamanthandelaar te kunnen krijgen moet je een bankrekening hebben.’

Volgens de bankwereld zijn de dossiers die diamantairs indienen vaak niet volledig.

Epstein: ‘Het probleem vandaag is dat diamantairs zelfs niet de kans krijgen om een dossier in te dienen. Zodra banken in België zien dat iemand in de diamantsector actief is, krijgt die te horen dat hij geen klant kan worden.'

'Een medewerker van AWDC, die niet in de diamanthandel zit maar als bediende voor de koepelorganisatie werkt, kon zelfs geen lening krijgen voor een auto.'

'Bij sommige banken (Belfius, red.) staat het zelfs online dat klanten geen relatie mogen aangaan met diamantairs. Ze bekijken zelfs de dossiers niet. Een volledige sector systematisch uitsluiten mag niet, maar het gebeurt dus wel.’

Waarom zijn diamantairs personae non gratae voor de banken geworden?

Epstein: ‘Dat is nog altijd een gevolg van de perfecte storm waarin we zijn beland toen KBC in 2014 besliste de deuren van de Antwerp Diamond Bank te sluiten. De diamantsector zat daar voor niets tussen, in de nasleep van de bankencrisis werd KBC verplicht activiteiten af te stoten. Het was niet onze fout, maar we dragen er nog altijd de gevolgen van.’

‘Belgische banken willen voor diamantairs geen bankrekening meer

openen, waardoor die hun business ook niet meer kunnen doen draaien. Kijk, we zijn en blijven hier, we maken deel uit van het economische DNA van België. Maar als we geen betalingen meer kunnen doen, lukt het natuurlijk niet meer.’

Moet de diamantwereld zelf niet meer doen om het vertrouwen van de bankwereld terug te winnen?

Epstein: ‘We zijn niet bij de pakken blijven zitten. Al drie jaar reiken we de bankwereld de hand. De overheid heeft mede op onze vraag een risicoanalyse gemaakt om de reële risico’s in de handel in diamant in kaart te brengen en bijkomende noodzakelijke oplossingen uit te werken.'

'Wij zijn een samenwerking aangegaan met Bureau Van Dijck. Die Belgische leverancier van handelsinformatie heeft een databank, die ook banken gebruiken om hun klanten te controleren en na te gaan of aan alle regelgeving is voldaan. Wij doen dus al heel wat voorbereidend werk voor de banken.’

Is het toch niet te begrijpen dat de banken hun vingers niet willen verbranden aan de diamantsector?

Epstein: ‘Daarom hebben we in februari al aan Febelfin, de koepelorganisatie van de banken, een systeem voorgelegd waarbij de risico-analyse van diamant- bedrijven deels wordt uitgevoerd door de sector zelf. Dat kan dan onafhankelijk gecontroleerd worden door de overheid. Het vermindert de kosten en risico’s voor de banken en verhoogt de rendabiliteit.’

‘Wij hebben dit initiatief begin februari aan Febelfin voorgesteld, maar kregen nog geen reactie. Blijkbaar heeft Febelfin het zelfs nog niet voorgelegd aan de banken. Daar hebben wij vragen bij.'

'Na drie jaar dialoog wordt het tijd voor een concrete oplossing. Vanuit de diamantwereld nemen wij onze verantwoordelijkheid, maar nu is het hoog tijd dat de bankwereld mee aan een oplossing werkt. De banken kunnen de diamantsector niet laten stikken.’


Antwerp Welcomes Delegation of European Jewelers for "Diamond Experience"
The BVGD welcomes the initiative of the AWDC in bringing jeweler delegations to Antwerp and organising meetings with diamond manufacturers and diamond traders.
This is the kind of interaction that helps to promote our trade internationally.
We sincerely support and promote further iniatives of this sort.

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Antwerp kicks off diamond year 2017-2018

Philippe Barsamian Elected President, Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses.

The Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses (FDBD), the umbrella organization for Antwerp's four diamond bourses, has elected Philippe Barsamian as president. Mr. Barsamian has been a member since 1974 of the Antwerp Diamond Club. He became a member of the ADC's board of directors in 1998, serving as managing director from 2000 to to 2002, and as vice-chairman since 2002. He has also been a member of the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses since 2006, and was a member of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre's Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014. He takes over as president of FDBD from Willy Rotti, who completed three consecutive terms in office and could therefore not stand for office again under the Federation's by-laws.



Antwerpse diamantsector eist oplossing voor bankenprobleem. 

Antwerpse diamantsector eist oplossing voor bankenprobleem 

In een reactie op de mediaberichten rond het probleem van toegang tot bankrekeningen stelt het Antwerp World Diamond Centre dat de gehele diamantsector de facto volledig wordt uitgesloten door Belgische banken. Aan de hand van verzamelde getuigenissen, correspondentie en informatie die banken zelf publiceren kan de koepelorganisatie duidelijk aantonen dat het daarbij gaat om een systematisch weigeren van klanten die gelinkt zijn aan de diamantsector, voor zowel persoonlijke als zakelijke bankrelaties, nog voor die klanten enig dossier konden indienen.
Wetgeving en initiatieven vanuit sector
In hun weigering verwijzen de banken vaak naar de zogenoemde risico-factor. Dat de sector zich niet bewust zou zijn van deze problematiek houdt geen steek. Allereerst wordt de diamanthandel in ons land door een hele reeks wettelijke verplichtingen uitermate streng gecontroleerd. Zo kunnen bij wet enkel door de overheid erkende en geregistreerde firma’s in België diamanthandel drijven en is een zeer strikte antiwitwaswetgeving van toepassing. Bovendien wordt het internationale betalingsverkeer gecontroleerd en wordt binnen het Diamond Office elke in- en uitvoer voor 100% gecontroleerd. 
De Antwerpse diamantsector heeft in de afgelopen jaren ook bijzondere inspanningen geleverd om bovenop die verplichtingen extra initiatieven op te zetten. Zo werden sinds 2013 maar liefst 23 anti-witwasseminaries georganiseerd, bijgewoond door 544 bedrijven, het aantal meldingen aan CFI steeg van 1 melding in 2013 naar 35 meldingen in 2016, dankzij de oprichting van een SPOC door AWDC. Een specifiek daartoe opgerichte anti-witwas en compliance helpdesk behandelde vorig jaar alleen 631 vragen. AWDC sloot ook een partnerschap af met de Compliance Catalyst databank van Bureau Van Dijk, een databank met 250 miljoen klantgegevens wereldwijd die gratis ter beschikking wordt gesteld van diamantfirma’s zodat ze efficiënt de bij wet verplichte identificatie van klanten en personen kunnen uitvoeren.  
Sector neemt het initiatief voor dialoog
Bovendien nam AWDC het initiatief om de verschillende actoren in deze problematiek rond de tafel te brengen en constructief aan een oplossing te werken. Zo werd Febelfin, koepel van de Belgische financiële wereld, tussen eind 2014 en afgelopen maand maar liefst tien keer uitgenodigd voor overleg. Tijdens het meest recente overleg stelde AWDC daar nog voor om te werken met een Sustainable Bank Account Access Scheme (SBAAS), specifiek ontwikkeld voor deze problematiek. Bedrijven die instappen in dit schema, dat onafhankelijk geaudit kan worden door een officiële instantie, worden binnen dit schema uitvoerig gescreened, waardoor de compliance kost voor banken aanzienlijk afneemt. 
In dialoog met de overheid werkte de sector ook een lijvige risico-analyse uit voor de banken, die alle sector-eigen risico’s in kaart brengt en nog belangrijker, op welke manier die pijnpunten aangepakt worden. Daarnaast nodigde AWDC ook tal van financiële instellingen en relevante bedrijven en organisaties uit om de specifieke dynamiek van de diamanthandel tot in detail toe te lichten.
Karaattaks zorgt voor meer transparantie
De lang bepleitte herziening van het fiscale diamantstelsel, de zogenaamde karaattaks, zorgt voor een duidelijke kapitaalbalans en éénduidige, meer transparante boekhouding. Die transparantie verhoogt bijgevolg aanzienlijk de capaciteit van banken om controles uit te voeren. Ironisch genoeg zorgt de systematische discriminatie van de banken rond het openen van bankrekeningen er nu voor dat bedrijven die zich omwille van de karaattaks (opnieuw) in Antwerpen willen vestigen wegblijven. Zonder bankrekening is het immers onmogelijk om handel te drijven.
AWDC betreurt dat ondanks de vele inspanningen en pogingen tot dialoog van de afgelopen twee jaar, de Belgische banken nog steeds systematisch en categoriek personen gelinkt aan onze sector blijven weigeren, nog voor die potentiële klanten nog maar de kans krijgen om een dossier in te dienen.





Diamond producers associations -DPA

The DPA (Diamond Producers Association) have recently launched their campaign in the USA ‘Real is rare, real is a diamond’.

Some of the interesting points raised during the workshop is that contrary to popular belief Millennials are very interested in diamonds only they have not been exposed to the kind of advertising around it that previous generations have. Also they are quite resistant to the ritual around diamond buying (ex; has to be bought for marriage, anniversary etc).

Part of the research on millennials shows that because of the digital age we are living in and the lack of real experiences and human connections, millennials are actually very drawn to something as unique as a diamond and to something genuine around the experience of buying their diamond.

- few interesting facts:

-Within 5 years Millennials will be at their top purchasing power

-Top purchases for Millennials involve travelling abroad, weekend getaways, electronics, diamonds

-Real is rare, rare is a diamond’ was launched in the USA mid-October with a set of videos targeted to the USA and intends to start a different dialogue around diamonds.  Not  necessarily diamonds are forever concept but more life and relationships have imperfections but having something real is equally important and worth celebrating.

-Still diamonds from marriage count for 35-40% of all diamond purchases

-Self purchase capacity has gone up from 26% to 31%

What  is really intresting  is the idea of how does ‘Real is rare’ connect to what we are doing, how does it play into what we propose as diamond companies.

The BVGD is welcoming rhe new Carat Tax law, that was approved by the European commission and the Belgian parlement.  The BVGD is proud to be the vehicle that introduced the concept of the carat tax to the AWDC. Thanks to a group of committed and motivated diamond traders, the implementation of the carat tax has come to a reality. This proves that the necessity of a discussion platform where members of a trade sector come together in order to find solutions to existing  problems is a productive endeavour. I take this opportunity to thank : Mr Jean-Louis Van Strydonck, Mr Sachin Choksi, Mr Philippe Barsamian, Mr Nishat Parikh, Mr Tom Panis and Mr Ari Epstein( the AWDC) for making this happen.
BVGD  is proud   to  be  a  partner for  the
'  Antwerp Diamond Year '                       2017-2018.


Since our childhood, we wake and sleep diamonds.They follow us throughout the day, every minute of every day. It has become a part of who we are, and what we represent. We feel proud and privileged to be a part of this magical industry located in Antwerp, the Diamond capital of the world.

                          Diamonds, it's part of our DNA.


Antwerp Diamond Forum - ADF

ADF-Antwerp Diamond Forum

We encourage each and every diamond trader to join this proactive group on the Telegram app.

You will be updated on the minute with the latest news in the Antwerp, as well as the global diamond industry. Additionally, you will be able to share your thoughts and debate your ideas with the entire group.

If you want to join the group, please call Mr. Henri Keesje (0476 890305) or Mr. Abhay Nanavati, the administrator of the group.

Debate between the candidates , before the AWDC elections.
Organised by ADF  (may 2016)
The candidates are presenting themselves with their program .

Click here to edit text

NEW :  BVGD presents    'Create your company video'   for only 275 euros!   

and promote your COMPANY and the ANTWERP DIAMOND INDUSTRY.



 Board of directors  2014-2015

Chairman :  Mr Henri Keesje

Vice-chairman :  Mr Andre Gumuchdjian

Secretary :  Mr David Horowitz

Treasury  : Mr Nehal Mehta

Advisor : Mr Robert Kiek

Advisor : Mr Philippe Barsamian

Advisor : Mr  Frank Fensie

Summer 2015  :  First publication of the  BVGD  newsletter.

Changes in the Board of Directors

Dear member,

At the last board meeting of the Board of Directors on March 13th 2014, Mr Andre Gumuchdjian has offered to step down from the presidency due to other engagements. The Board of Directors has elected unanimously Mr Henri Keesje as the new president.

European court rejects the appeal of the BVGD

After an eight year battle with the European commission, the EU General Court

has rejected our case for the establishment of an open, free and competitive market for diamonds.

We need to examine closely the Decision of the Court and the arguments that were invoked, most probably the “lack of community interest” has been the predominant factor.

While it is clear that the diamond industry does not affect as many consumers as, say, a Microsoft does, there are millions of people worldwide working in the diamond and jewellery industry. For us as well as for tens of millions of consumers, the impact of an open system would have been beneficial.

To be sure the market has changed tremendously in the last eight years. To a large extent, we feel we won more on the ground rather than in the courtrooms as many aspects of SoC have been proven to be detrimental to the market.

We will examine with our lawyers our further legal options.

We, at the BVGD, feel that many stakeholders have understood the validity of our arguments. Yet the core problems still remain. To be sure, the situation is changing slowly but surely. It is to be hoped that economic reality will force real change in the end, as distorted markets can never be efficient.

In the long run, economic forces will always prevail.

Andre Gumuchdjian

President of the Board of Directors

Categories: None

Rapaport Price List Reduction : Our Reaction

The Belgium Polished Diamond Traders Association (BVGD) has always been at the forefront and is leading the struggle for a free, fair and transparent market.

The BVGD is very concerned by the latest reduction of the Rapaport diamond price list.

While we recognize that a correction in polished prices is taking place, the uniform decrease across the board from 10cts down to .30cts simply does not reflect the reality of the market.

At a time of extremely thin trading owing to a series of Jewish and Indian holidays coupled with the global economic turmoil it is very difficult to gauge the full impact of these price movements.

It is expected that the 3.00ct+ range will suffer the greatest correction as this is the area where the prices have risen the most. What is inconceivable is why the Rapaport Group considers it appropriate to reduce prices similarly in all ranges from 0.30 -10ct.

The 0.30 – 1.00ct range represents a range of polished where recent price rises were not even reflected on the Rapaport list and his decision to reduce the prices proportionately to the 3.00+ highlights once again his inability to correctly read the polished diamond market.

Acknowledging the need and usefulness of a price guide index for our industry, the BVGD appeals to other Polished Diamond Traders Associations to join it within the umbrella of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses to create a credible price index based on a clear and transparent methodology.

Andre Gumuchdjian

President of the Board of Directors of BVGD

Categories: None




De Belgische Vereniging van Handelaars in Geslepen Diamant, vertegenwoordigt en behartigt de belangen van de Belgische handelaars, de in-en uitvoerders van geslepen diamant.

De BVGD is de enige beroepsvereniging, als dusdanig erkend door de Belgische overheid, om in naam van de handelaars in geslepen diamant te spreken. Onze statuten worden door de Raad van Staat gecontroleerd.

Wij vertegenwoordigen alle handelaars in geslepen diamant, onafgezien van het lidmaatschap. Uiteraard kunnen alleen daadwerkelijke leden deelnemen aan de Algemene Vergaderingen, stemrecht hebben en elk tweede jaar de Raad van Bestuur verkiezen.

Iedere diamanthandelaar die een Belgisch handelsregisternummer heeft, kan zijn aanvraag indienen voor het lidmaatschap. De Raad van Bestuur onderzoekt de aanvragen en is als enigste bevoegd om de status van daadwerkelijk lid toe te kennen.

De doelstellingen van de BVGD zijn de invloed aan te wenden op alle niveaus om de handel in geslepen diamant aan te wakkeren en te vergemakkelijken.

Wij streven er naar om alle hindernissen en tarieven uit te schakelen die de Handel kunnen belemmeren. Wij ondersteunen alle acties die voordelig kunnen zijn voor de Belgische handelaars in geslepen diamant. Wij laten ook alle verzoeken om handelscontacten aan onze leden toekomen.

- Het vergemakkelijken van de handel van geslepen diamant.

- Het verbeteren van de werkwijze van de Diamond Office.

- Het ontwikkelen, samen met de HRD, van nieuwe idee n om de certificaten te optimaliseren.

- Het voorstellen om op markt-effici nte manieren de diamant handel en nijverheid te helpen en/of te Samen met jullie actieve deelname hopen we in de toekomst succesvoller te zijn.