Mr Ernest Blom, President, WFDB expresses his approach as, “always optimistic as I believe that is the best way to approach business.”
As the festive season approaches, what is your outlook on demand for the diamond jewellery?
Demand for diamond jewellery is good. It’s a pity that the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair came to an early end because of Typhoon Mangkhut as the show is a very good indicator of global demand, but I believe that exhibitors were satisfied with the results. I am always optimistic as I believe that is the best way to approach business.
What is your opinion on the diamond price meter for the next six months?
Well, we all wish we could have a crystal ball to see what the future will bring! Clearly, we hope for a strong festive season in the last quarter of this year and I am very hopeful that this will be the case.
Does Lightbox pose any competition to the diamond segment?
I believe that De Beers’ Lightbox jewellery launch is very positive for the diamond trade. It will assist in the fight against unethical trading products. It brings synthetic diamonds to the level that they should be when De Beers said that a 1-carat stone will cost just $800. It is aimed at the costume jewellery market so there is not a threat to the diamond market.
With De Beers allowing its clients to reject cheap goods, how will it impact the industry?
We should bear in mind that De Beers has simply allowed sightholders to defer the purchase of smaller and cheaper goods at a later date when the market has stabilised for those items. Clients are still committed to buying them. This is a part of De Beers’ sales strategy.
We know there must be a balance between governance and industry. Yet, what proactive measures can the industry take to promote India as an ideal and leading market in the world?
All diamond bourses have a duty to promote themselves. We see this taking place on a regular basis at the large exchanges, such as in Belgium, Israel, New York and India.
India is, of course, a great success story. It is a huge manufacturing centre and has promoted itself very successfully to the global market. The latest example is the Bharat Diamond Week taking place in October. These are the kinds of steps the bourse must take to increase business activity for their members.
How far has consumer awareness for certification, transparency increased over the years? How can it be improved?
Over the last decade, at least, we have seen that consumers are much better educated about diamonds due to the vast amount of information readily available on the Internet and on the Social Media. The consumer knows what he or she should be looking for and a lab certificate from one of the better-known labs is one of these things.
What are your Inputs about Kimberley Process Certification Scheme?
The WFDB has always fully supported the important work of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which carries out extremely important work in ensuring that conflict diamonds do not enter the global rough diamond supply chain. Indeed, the WFDB was at the forefront and was involved even before the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was created.
Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain: Are they a boon for the industry?
I would say that the jury is still out while testing work is going on. However, it seems clear that Blockchain can have a big role to play in the diamond industry in the future. We are actively engaging to see how we can be a part of it and what it entails and the benefits it could bring.