After a diamond is cut and polished, its journey continues. Some manufacturers have retail outlets, and they supply their own jewelry manufacturers with polished diamonds. Most, however, aim to sell their polished goods to other companies who make jewelry, or to those who wholesale polished gems. There are many ways that those with polished goods find ways to sell them, and this creates jobs for thousands of people around the world. Let’s take a look at some of these specialized jobs in polished diamond sales, as well as some of the ways that polished diamonds come to market.
Today, many polished diamonds are sold through online trading platforms. These transactions are typically B2B, and the buyer can be a jewelry manufacturer, a jeweler, or a polished wholesaler or trader. The trading platforms themselves are large databases that deal with many transactions in a relatively short period. These platforms don’t actually hold any inventory, but rather serve as a broker between buyer and seller. As with any complex database and retail portal, these companies employ technical staff who may or may not know a great deal about diamonds, but who are experts in managing complex web designs and e-commerce sites.
The major diamond trading portals also offer other services beyond just their trading platforms. This includes journalists and op-ed writers, who produce news and opinions pieces in the diamond industry. Of course, these people must be highly knowledgeable about diamonds, and keep a close watch on what is happening every day around the world. Pricing and price trends are another key service offered with a membership to the site, which requires diamond market analysts who remain abreast of changes and new developments.
The global retail jewelry market is highly fragmented. There are tens of thousands of jewelry stores around the world, ranging in size from large international chains to single owner units. These different stores obviously have very different needs in terms of the polished goods they require, and the sales outlets they use to buy them. Large retailers tend to have dedicated manufacturers that produce strictly for them, and are often involved in downstream businesses. Some may actually have ownership stakes in the mines themselves, and their own manufacturing pipeline. Smaller retailers, however, require polished wholesalers to sell them diamonds.
The job of polished wholesalers is to supply their customers with the goods they need, when they need them. Smaller retailers tend to be very specific in what they’re looking for, often to cater to an individual jewelry buyer. This means that wholesalers must keep a stock of goods on hand to be able to satisfy their clients’ needs quickly. Wholesalers often buy from online sources, direct from the manufacturer, and at trade shows, as well as from other wholesalers. It can be a complex network of people, each with the goal of making a small margin from their list of customers, and turning over goods as quickly as possible. A wholesaler’s most important asset for his clientele is the ability to quickly source goods, which may or may not be readily available in his market.
Over the years, trade shows have developed into an important selling platform for diamond companies. Major global diamond or jewelry shows are big spectacle events, and are reserved for large players in the industry. A growing percentage of polished goods are sold at these events, which often send signals to the industry and set prices for traders and rough producers. The big shows often draw tens of thousands of visitors each day, and must employ countless people in functions such as security, logistics, and banking, as well as the booth staff that aim to draw in customers. Just the number of people working in food service at an event this scale is sizeable.
Polished diamond sales, like the retail customers they serve, are fragmented, and encompass very large corporate businesses, down to self-employed individuals. Without this network of people, there would be no diamond industry to speak of. Next week, I will look at some of the jobs involved in jewelry manufacturing.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity. No one should act upon any opinion or information in this website without consulting a professional qualified adviser.
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Diamond industrialist Ehud Arye Laniado is a man passionate about diamonds. From his early 20s in Africa and later in Belgium honing his expertise in forecasting the value of polished diamonds by examining rough diamonds by hand, till today four decades later, as chairman of his international diamond businesses spanning mining, exploration, rough and polished diamond valuation, trading, manufacturing, retail and consultancy services, Laniado has mastered both the miniscule details of evaluating and pricing individual rough diamonds and the entire structure of the diamond industry. Today, his global operations are at the forefront of the industry, recognised in diamond capitals from Mumbai to Tel Aviv and Hong Kong to New York.