"I began charting out my vision for a future for diamonds, in which they serve as a wealth preservation tool. It is a broad vision, and I want to start discussing how I think we should get there" Ehud wrote in a post in January 2017.
Financial institutions are another key stakeholder in the diamond supply chain, which Ehud believed expected greater transparency from the diamond sector.
"Bank financing is the lifeblood of the industry. Without it, there would be no money for exploration or new store openings," Ehud stated in 2015. He also stressed the need to boost confidence in the diamond industry. This lack of confidence is evident in, for example, the decline in available bank financing over the past several years.
Beyond diamond players, Ehud explored other supply-side topics that have sparked debates over the years where he believed that similar to demand-side issues, greater transparency is central to address them. Lab-grown diamonds provide a good example.
While their emergence was accompanied by rising concerns across the industry, Ehud believed lab-grown diamonds can play a complementary role to that of natural diamonds, provided consumers gain a better understanding of the inherent value of natural diamonds.
As another possible way to solve the problem of fragmentation in the diamond sector beyond consolidation, Ehud encouraged the industry to explore strategic alliances.
"Looking at other industries, there appears to be various ways to address the challenges of excess fragmentation in parts of the diamond sector. One option our sector can consider, especially given the slow trend in consolidation between players, is to make more use of strategic alliances."
Ehud explored possible methods of addressing the issue of fragmentation, drawing in part on lessons from other industries.
First among them was simply consolidation, whether natural or through mergers and acquisitions.
Delving further into the issue of fragmentation in the midstream (manufacturing) of the diamond sector covered in last week's post, Ehud said in August 2015, "The more we examine the facts, the clearer it becomes that the main problem faced by the diamond industry is that the midstream – the manufacturing sector of the diamond pipeline that mainly polishes diamonds – does not get its fair share of the pie."
In addition to improving pricing transparency, Ehud believed that the diamond industry should also tackle the other issues that have led to a decrease in trust in the sector as a whole.
Improving the pricing transparency of polished diamonds is the first part of the two main components of the Crystal Clear philosophy. The other part, driven by the first, is the ability to then determine the prices of rough diamonds.
The rationale that Ehud used here was that, ultimately, it is consumers who determine the price of a rough diamond based on how much they are willing to pay for its polished output.
The introduction of a transaction-based polished diamond price list is possible. The Mercury Diamond™ Price List which Ehud founded, provides wholesale polished diamond prices based on transaction prices in the wholesale market.
A key component of Mercury Crystal Clear™, the diamond pricing system which Ehud founded, is expanding consumer knowledge of diamond characteristics beyond the 4Cs (Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut) known to the ordinary buyer.
"The importance of a transparent and easily understood pricing system for diamonds cannot be stressed enough. For many years, the general press and many consumers have been stating that the misunderstood differences in diamond prices are a turn-off."
The recent holiday season provided us with a great opportunity to ponder the past year and assess the impact of 2014’s major developments, with a view to improving our overall performance in the year ahead.
The diamond industry is an international industry that reaches across the borders of our global world. It bridges across cultures, nations, religious beliefs, languages and ways of life. The information we share comes from many and diverse sources and spreads around the world to spark the industry.
Many people believe natural diamonds are rare, while others doubt it. So how rare are diamonds in reality? Sceptics claim the rarity of diamonds is a De Beers fiction. They couldn’t be more wrong. Few countries have diamond resources. Of these few resources only a few are commercially viable and the commercially viable one are home to very few high quality diamonds. Added to that, the natural process through which diamonds are created takes so long that the rarity of diamonds is only increasing.
The diamond sector has a Volatility Index. Unlike the S&P 500 VIX (Volatility Index) it cannot be accurately measured. But it is very much felt in the gut feelings of diamantaires and it can become a fear factor.
I'm delighted to have been quoted in an article just out in Optima, the magazine published by Anglo American, majority owners of De Beers. The article, Diamond Deficit, explores the pivotal challenges now facing the diamond industry as it looks towards the future. You can read the article in full here.
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