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Where Are We Now?
How has the diamond industry changed in response to the global economic crisis? We asked leading diamantaires from around the world to assess where the industry is headed.


ASHISH “BOBBY” KOTHARI
JEWELEX

"Diamonds seem to be moving in bridal but fashion seems to have come to a screeching halt. I believe that diamond fashion will see a huge change from gold to silver or silver and gold or alternative metal combos. It will remain in the $199 and below for silver with diamonds and $299 and below as far as volume movement for gold and diamonds. For all categories of diamond jewelry other than bridal and anniversary, sales will slow down and we have to accept it. Lower risk and price point articles with alternate metals and diamonds will have to be used to show off new styles."


KAUSHIK MEHTA
EUROSTAR

"We cannot be blasé about the impact the global financial environment has had. One very positive value that the diamond carries is emotional value. Even during a crisis, people get engaged, get married, and deliver babies. To celebrate these emotional milestones, diamonds are the best positioned gemstones. While many consumers have reduced their budget, they will still buy diamonds. The long term value of diamonds remains solid. The way we can emerge from this is to all align ourselves with prevailing demand. Miners are already cutting back production, which will accelerate the stabilization process. Manufacturers must adjust to this dynamic of buying less for less. Retailers must buy exactly what they can sell. When we arrive at a point of market equilibrium, the diamond supply chain will be much healthier and better poised for growth."


VARDA SHINE
DE BEERS

"I think we can all agree that the diamond business is operating well below its potential. However, global consumer demand has not fallen off a cliff. It contracted marginally last year and will do so again this year. The real challenge is financial liquidity combined with the large polished stock overhang in the pipeline. There can be no doubt that we are all going to have to get used to thin levels of business for quite some time. But with effective stewardship, diamonds will make a very solid comeback."


EDWARD ASSCHER
ROYAL ASSCHER

"There are businesses who think that the only way to compete in tough times is to live day to day and slash prices to make minimal margins. Come the end of 2009 there will be companies who will not make it, simply because they have entered into a price war. The mining industry for rough diamonds will become much more competitive. Rough prices will become realistic again. Everybody should be assessing their business very objectively, reviewing how they market, brand, and promote, and where they could increase knowledge and further establish market presence. Be innovative and improve on what you do best to ensure that your current customers are happy because of great service and that you attract new ones through reputation."


DILIP MEHTA
ROSY BLUE

"The rough diamond business has been a suppliers market until now. This will change for the next three to four years until the world restarts consumption. The sharp fall at retail had a serious impact on the wholesale trade which will stabilize in the coming months. Although retail in the U.S. is off sharply, the rest of the world is not down as much. The biggest change we need is in the mindset of the diamantaire. We all swing like a pendulum from exuberant excitement, to doomsday scenarios, creating problems for ourselves. We fail to understand the pipeline well and make wrong assumptions. We need to stay focused and not get carried away comparing our industry with others. We cannot chase moving targets all the time. We must set our own targets and try reaching them."

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Diamond and platinum necklace
Cover: Diamond and platinum necklace from the “Legacy” collection with 62.37 carats total weight in diamonds by Kwiat, (800) 927-4367, www.kwiat.com.
Diamond
Diamond courtesy of Venus Jewel, (91) (22) 2367-4444, www.venusjewel.com.
Ring with pink radiant cut center diamond
Ring with pink radiant cut center diamond and half moons by Dynamic Design Group, (800) 347-9999, www.ddgny.com.
Flower ring in platinum with 12.59 carats of pear-shaped diamonds
Flower ring in platinum with 12.59 carats of pear-shaped diamonds by Rahaminov Diamonds, suggested retail $250,000, (800) 742-8864, www.rahaminovdiamond.com.