“It’s a really weird market,” Martin Rapaport told media assembled in a Venetian suite prior to the opening of Vegas 2008, responding to concerns that the Rap price lists of the Friday before the opening had increases as high as 25 percent. Citing volatility in diamonds and the global markets at large, Rapaport advised the industry simply to “relax, keep the same price per carat,” words later echoed in an e-mail sent out to some 12,000 in the industry.
Still, many dealers called the move “destabilizing” and even “an attempt at price fixing.” “He’s been doing this for years in Basel,” says an Antwerp diamantaire, “and always hitting Antwerp right in the sweet spots the week before the show opened. Still, these hikes are huge.”
Others at the show noted that the new prices were not that far off of current B2B trading levels, where it was far from uncommon for dealers to hold off, even on significant sales, fearing replacement costs would nullify even significant margins. Some laid the onus on DTC sights, up an average 8.5 since January, while others noted that diamond price hikes are not only in line with, but lower than most other commodities worldwide. — Ivan Solotaroff