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India Romancing Big Sparkling Diamonds…
Diamonds are all season sellers
By: Diamond World News Service
Jul 19 2008 12:55PM
Reference: 2837  

Diamonds are all season sellers; and India is importing huge quantities of larger ones to meet the increasing demand. Good sparkling quality and big size are driving diamond demand in Indian markets. This sudden preference for larger sizes makes one wonder about the reasons thereof. Shweta Dharia gets in touch with companies in the two main global diamond trading hubs- Antwerp and Israel, to know in depth and detail about this changing trade pattern with India.

Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) : Israel is a major centre for both the manufacture and trade of polished diamonds. Processing about one-half of the world’s gem-quality rough in dollar terms, Israeli diamond companies provide the gemstones that garnish a vast amount of the diamond jewellery sold worldwide. Israel’s experienced diamond polishers rely on a rich tradition of know-how and expert craftsmanship. That’s why Israel is renowned for specializing in large and medium sized diamonds, of all shapes and cuts. In the past decade Israeli diamantaires have used their talent and ingenuity to introduce many new cuts into the market.

“In the past several years Israel has expanded its manufacturing capabilities to various offshore locations – in India, China, Africa and elsewhere. Most of the diamonds processed abroad are imported back into Israel for grading and sorting, and are eventually exported by Israeli companies to markets in North America, Asia, Europe and elsewhere. The Israel diamond centre in Ramat Gan is the largest in the world. The Israel Diamond Exchange today consists of four interconnected high-rise buildings that form a virtually impenetrable fortress, and a fifth tower is currently in the planning stages,” explained Eli Avidar, Head of Israel Diamond Institute (IDI).

In 2007 Israel imported US$47.4 million in rough diamonds from India, compared to US$24.5 million in 2006. We imported polished diamonds amounting to US$1.1 billion in 2007, compared to US$349.1 million in 2006. Exports of rough diamonds from India stood at US$760.4 million in 2007 compared to US$725.1 million in 2006. Polished diamond exports to India totalled US$108.5 million in 2007, compared to US$48.1 million in 2006. The rise in exports of polished diamonds from Israel coincides with India’s gradual reduction of taxation on polished diamonds.

Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) : Antwerp, which has served as home to a thriving diamond community for almost six centuries, is the world diamond industry’s undisputed business centre, with representatives of almost all the world’s leading diamond companies, the headquarters and representative offices of the most important banks financing the industry and more. Antwerp World Diamond Council (AWDC) wants to further develop Antwerp as a world diamond centre, on the one hand by representing the sector in Belgium and abroad to public governments and professional organizations in the sector and, on the other hand, by supporting the image of the sector and by promoting the activities on the jewellery and gemstones markets in order to optimize the knowledge in and about the diamond sector.

AWDC is constantly promoting its companies and encouraging trade with emerging markets. As part of its new campaign to promote the diamond industry, in June the Antwerp World Diamond Centre introduced to the market the catchphrase slogan: ‘Diamonds Love Antwerp’. “Antwerp wants to remain the leading diamond centre and above all, the Centre of Confidence. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has always been associated with unique qualities: specialization, craftsmanship, trust, elaborated services,” says Jacky Roth, President of AWDC.

While the highest quality diamonds continue to be cut in Antwerp, labour costs in Belgium have meant that the bulk of manufacturing activity no longer takes place in the region. However, many of the world’s largest manufacturers including the world’s two largest – Rosy Blue and Eurostar – are headquartered in the city. “This is because in the global economy, manufacturing migrates to those areas where it is most economical. The management and sales operations typically remain in Antwerp – also because this is the correct economic alternative. “This is inherent in our being the primary diamond business centre,” explains Mia De Dooy, Senior Manager Marketing for AWDC.

In 2007, India imported 102.14 million carats of rough diamonds from Antwerp, worth US$5.51 billion, which was respectively 2.35 per cent and 15.59 per cent more than the equivalent amounts reported in 2006. Imports of polished diamonds into Antwerp in 2007 totalled 3.27 million carats worth US$1.74 billion, respectively 10.79 per cent and 23.74 per cent more than in 2006. Exports of polished diamonds from Antwerp to India stood at 790,914 carats worth US$449.08 million, which was 136.57 per cent more in volume and 246.48 per cent more in value than the amounts recorded in 2006. While the last set of figures is clearly much smaller than the two previous sets, they clearly reflect the rapid growth of the domestic diamond jewellery market in India.

When it comes to rough diamonds, Antwerp is by far the largest rough diamond marketplace from which Indian companies essentially fulfil almost all of their requirements. Indeed, when Indian companies were originally set up in India in the 1960s and 1970s it was primarily to create rough diamond buying operations. All of the major rough suppliers operate offices in Antwerp, as do many of the independent dealers and tender operators.

In terms of polished goods, it stands to reason that India is sourcing those goods that are not being produced by local factories. This obviously would imply the larger and higher quality diamonds, but because Antwerp is the nerve centre for so many companies manufacturing in other countries around the globe, it is likely that other’s diamonds are being thrown into the mix.

“There is an increase in the average price per carat in all the key categories, with the dramatic rise reported in polished diamond exports to India. In that case, the change in Indian buying habits, brought on by the rapid growth of disposable income and its pool of wealthy consumers, clearly can be attributed to be the main reason. In the case of rough diamonds, we should keep in mind that there has been a general increase in the cost of goods, with the falling value of the U.S. dollar also playing a role in the process,” adds Dooy.

Backes & Strauss Group (B&S) : Backes & Strauss Group of Companies (B&S) established in 1789, is one of the oldest diamond company in the world. They are a leading manufacturer of finely crafted diamonds from 0.10 cts.to 10cts. B&S is headquartered in Antwerp and has distribution offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Shanghai & Toronto. Certified diamonds from HRD, GIA & IGI can be accessed online through their website www.groupbs.com.

Large carat diamonds make up 40 per cent of B&S sales and are mostly exported to India, Thailand, Middle-East, Hong Kong, Indonesia and United Kingdom. India has increased its imports of large sizes. “We have seen a tremendous change in the buying patterns of Indian traders. They have become very important for the trade fairs and their buying has become more annual than seasonal. They are buying more of 3ct+ stones mainly H below VS+ goods. The shortage of VVS quality goods makes it difficult to meet the increase in demand,” says Christopher Bull of B&S.

“The increase can be attributed to increasing income level in India, growing popularity of diamond jewellery and people splurging more on self. India is definitely an emerging market for +1ct goods,” adds Bull.

B&S is present at all the three major jewellery shows in India, at Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. “It acts as a venue for meeting more local players and jewellers who don’t travel abroad for the shows. When dealing in certified goods it helps in generating leads during the shows and then through internet and phone one can do business,” explains Bull.

He has a thorough knowledge of his customers and knows exactly what different regions in India to look out for. “India is a very versatile market as one can sell a whole range of VS+ goods in all colors. South India is more particular about cut and therefore they use top clarity mainly choosing high colors. North India is at the other end of the spectrum and is more prices-sensitive. East India uses lower color but higher clarity and the West uses off whites VS+ goods. Fancy shapes especially pear shape, princess shape, oval shape and emerald cut have become very popular in India,” says Bull as he explains the preferences of his customers in India. “The liberalized tax structure has boosted diamond imports into India especially in larger size goods,” observes Bull.

Lili Diamonds: This company of Israel has very long trade links with its Indian clients and recognizes the buying patterns and consumption patterns of different regions in India. Lili Diamonds, a Diamond Trading Company Sightholder since 1995, was formed by Siman-Tov brothers in 1981. It is identified as a world leader in the manufacturing of straight edged diamonds, and an innovator of special cuts and global registered patents and brands such as Lily Cut®, Crisscut®, Wondercut®, Orchidea Cut®, Caressa™ Cut and other signature cuts that are currently under development. They have launched a new strategic plan including widening of their business into the jewellery (under Lili Jewelry® brand) and timepieces (under Lili Watches® brand) markets, to meet the changing needs and demands of the trade

The ratio of their trade in large size diamonds to smaller sizes is 6:4. “India, Hong Kong and Bangkok buy large size diamonds and there is not much difference in their buying patterns. India always was a consumer of larger diamonds. But there aren’t too many larger stones to meet the increasing demand,” says Nadav Attar Marketing Manager of Lili Diamonds.

Lili gets in touch with its customers mostly through trade shows and referrals. They participate in Hong Kong Shows, IIJS (India), JCK (LasVegas) and Bangkok Show. “We met a lot of new potential customers and successfully introduced our own cutting and shown the specialty of Lily Cut to the market,” explains Attar.

They have adopted certain strategies to tap into emerging markets so they are trying to do more shows and releasing more advertisements to the target region magazines. The change in Indian Tax structure has boosted their trade. “The Indian traders started to move the trading market from local supply to the overseas, thus our business with the Indian market becomes stronger,” says Attar.

Rachminov Diamonds : Rachminov Diamonds has been in the business since 1891 and is a natural fancy color diamond specialist that markets fancy color from melee up to large gemstones. Their selection of goods includes loose, matching pairs and diamond layouts, with a wide variety of fancy yellow, pinks and blue diamonds. They also produce Old Mine Cushions. colors range from D to K, and clarities from SI2 to VVS. Their major markets are the US, Europe (mainly Switzerland and the UK) and Hong Kong.

Rachminov’s 60 per cent trade is in large size diamonds which are mainly sold to countries like the United States, Russia and the Far-East. Recently the name of India has been added to the list. “I have seen a change in the buying patterns of Indian traders. They are buying more large size goods. I would attribute this reason to growing wealth in the country. People are becoming wealthier,and want to celebrate their success by buying more large size gems. This is also due to the fact that people are more exposed to Western culture and their buying habits are influenced, therefore they are becoming more aware of high quality gemstones,” says Eden Rachminov- CEO of Rachminov Diamonds 1891.

“There were a majority of Indian buyers for +1ct diamonds. The trend is moving towards above +3ct but there are not enough large size goods to meet the increasing demand. There is a shortage and it is getting increasingly worse. This shortage is due to the fact that the wealthy population in India is growing faster than the diamonds can be mined—again, there simply is not enough supply for the growing demand. Those who buy large stones, buy +8 ct. They buy low color, and high clarity,” explains Rachminov.

Their strategy to get in touch with Indian clients is through a joint venture with a local Indian dealer who will be leading the group in terms of marketing and sales. They are also dedicating more attention to Indian customers in trade shows. And finally, they participated in a DTC trade show in Bangalore last year; though they are not participating in any trade shows in India this year their Indian partner will participate in IIJS for the first time.

Simdiam Astra : Simdiam Astra is a ten year old company specializing in 0.45-10.00cts (large sizes). The company was established as a new joint venture between Astra and Simdiam, a local and well respected diamond manufacturing company in India. Simdiam Astra is Astra Diamond Manufactures’ sales & marketing arm in India. This company markets the entire group’s basket of products to the local Indian market.

The company mostly deals in large size diamonds, as much as 90 per cent of its trade is in large sizes. The United States and India mostly buy large size diamonds. “I have definitely seen a change in the buying patterns of Indian buyers. All of our clients are looking for increasingly larger sizes. Our sales are booming in these goods,” said Roshan Sethia – CEO of Simdiam Astra. He attributes this reason to a combination of the economy doing well and the shifting mentality of Indian people from a preference for gold towards a preference for diamonds. Unfortunately sufficient supply of large size goods is not available to meet the increasing demand, which is continuously overtaking the increasing supply,” adds Sethia. “India is definitely an emerging market for +1 ct trade. This is mainly due to the changing trend of the economy and the changing spending habits of the Indian people.”

Simdiam gets in touch with Indian clientele through direct and personal relationship with them. They aim to cater to and to fulfil all of their needs. When it comes to targeting their clients, they firmly believe in trust, timely service, and personalized attention. Their customers generally buy low color, high clarity. Most often, their customers buy diamonds for weddings and engagements and on family functions as well.

Getting to know the customer’s preferences is important and Simdiam knows who prefers what and in which areas of India. North usually buys small goods; I-J-K-L, VS1- SI3, South buys DEF VVS1 & IF’S only, West buys G-H, VS1-VS2 and East buys H-I VS.

“The new tax structure has definitely strengthened India’s international diamond trade. We now have more choice when it comes to buying goods from overseas markets,” concludes Sethia.

SDE Group : SDE Group has been in business for the past 15 years and it focuses on servicing small retail chains and independents in the United States, Belgium, United Kingdom and Italy. They specialize in white certified goods, +1 ct, SI2-VS+ clarities.

They sell 80 per cent large size goods and 20 per cent small sizes. The countries that buy most large size diamonds from them are equally spread among the United States, countries in Europe and countries in the Far-East.

Didier Stein- CEO OF SDE Group says he has observed a change in the buying patterns of Indian traders. “They are definitely buying more of large size goods and more high quality goods. I attribute this trend to a rapidly growing high-end market in India, and to more wealth among the Indian people. India is an emerging market for +1Ct stones and yet there are not enough large size goods to meet the increasing demands,” states Stein.

SDE Group is in the process of opening a branch in India, where a local Indian dealer will be leading the group in terms of marketing and sales. They participate in several trade shows but contrary to the belief Stein states that he doesn’t believe it’s true that there were a majority of Indian buyers for +1 ct diamonds.

The company is participating in IIJS for the first time this year and hopes that this show will help to open up the Indian market for them. They are dependent on Business to Business sales to target clients and to tap into emerging markets—they believe that B2B sales ease the sales process.

The Indian markets are spread between low color and high clarity, JVS and better, in fine makes. The new tax structure has made it easier to import goods into India. “As a result of the new tax structure Indian people are buying more from overseas markets.

The certificates that most people ask for are those issued by theIGI and IGA. I do not know what percentage of people buy without certificates, but I do know that it is very small,” declares Stein.

Astra Diamond Manufacturers Ltd. : Astra is a well-known name in trade circles and was formed 20 years back in 1988. Since inception Astra has grown to a well balanced group of six companies involved in manufacturing and marketing a wide range of diamonds. Astra sources rough and manufactures white polished from 0.50 cts and up, in a wide range of cuts and sizes, in white and natural fancy color, with clarities mainly from I2-VS.

Astra has witnessed strong demand for large stones from the United States, Hong Kong and India. Roni Stadler- CEO of Astra Diamond Manufacturers Ltd. has observed India and noted the changing patterns in trade. “I have seen a change in the buying patterns of Indian traders. They have changed from a preference for gold to a preference for diamonds. Indian traders are also buying larger size goods of +1 ct. This is due to the increasing awareness of +1 ct diamonds, along with the Indian population’s exposure to the Western world (predominantly the United States). I believe that this is also due to the growing middle class in India,” notes Stadler.

“There is definitely a shortage of supply, especially of large and expensive stones- F and above, and VS and above,” observes Stadler. He adds that India is an emerging market for +1 ct trade. This is a market that is destined to grow and in the next couple of years, will become one of the best in the world.

The company participates in several trade shows; they believe that now more than ever, a majority of Indian buyers are interested in +1 ct diamonds. The +1 ct diamond market is a rapidly growing one in India. They are participating in IIJS for the first time this year and hope that the show will help to open up the Indian market for them and will help to project the relationship between Israel and India to the Indian market.

“The dealer we have teamed up with in India leads our marketing initiatives in India—he has in-depth knowledge of the Indian market and of Indian business culture in general. We at Astra are providing knowledge of international trade and marketing from our experience in the United States, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong,” explains Stadler.

Taking about the abolishment of tax on diamond imports Stadler says, “The new tax structure has greatly helped our trade—it has opened up the Indian market for us, and has certainly strengthened India’s international diamond trade.”

PDD Diamonds : PDD Diamonds, a twenty year old company markets medium-better quality goods, from 0.50 carat and up in a wide range of colors and clarities. PDD focuses on marketing in Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and the US. It has offices in Israel, Antwerp and Tokyo. With such wide-spread network its no wonder that their entire sale is in +1 ct diamonds. 50 per cent of their sales are in +5 ct stones.

“There is a trend of buying large stones in emerging markets such as Asia and India. The trend continues in the United States and in Europe. I have seen a change in the buying patterns of Indian traders. They are buying more large size goods, and more high quality goods,” observes Yoni Serrouya, CEO of PDD Diamonds. He attributes his observations to the good economic situation in India. “People are making more money, and choosing to celebrate their rising wealth by purchasing larger size and high quality diamonds,” he states. He is happy to see the demand exceed supply from a manufacturing point of view.

The company participates in several trade shows to reach new markets and customers. They believe that a majority of Indian buyers are interested in +1 ct diamonds. However they are not participating in Indian shows but their Indian partners will participate in IIJS. Their goods are marketed through the internet, advertised through ads in diamond journals, and most importantly, they have a partnership with a diamond dealer in India who displays and markets their merchandise.

Serrouya says, “Indian companies tend to buy GHI colors—low colors, H and below, with high clarity.” The recent changes in tax structure have helped much their trade. “It has opened us up to the Indian market, and has strengthened India’s international trade as well,” he concludes.

Gemstar & Eshed Diam : Gemstar & Eshed Diam Ltd. is manufacturer and wholesalers of large diamonds and high end emeralds. They manufacture emeralds and diamonds of 2 to 25 carats in all shapes, including fancy colors and matching pairs. The company has maintained its position as a key player in the Isarel diamond industry supported by its superior service and understanding of its customers’ needs.

They have mastered a niche and their eye for new opportunities and professionalism has made the company stand out. Their networking with clients through shows like Hong Kong, Basel and others has made them a known face amongst their customers. “The shows are most importantly an opportunity to meet clients, to forge a relationship with them,” says Avraham Eshed, President of Gemstar–Eshed Diam, noting that the Basel show attracts different clients from Europe, the U. S. and the Middle East who were not at Hong Kong.

India is buying larger stones from Israel and the buying-trends are undergoing a drastic change almost everywhere. Talking about the changing trends Eshed said, “The currency markets would ultimately help the diamond trade, particularly in Israel’s specialty big stones, as consumers move their money to real assets. People consider diamonds to be a commodity, which they can transport and which have some liquidity.”

He explained that the growing wealth in the world may also work in the diamond industry’s favor. “The dollar is lousy, but there are still a lot of buyers in the market despite the economic downturn because there is still enormous wealth in the world today, even in the U.S.,” Eshed said. “There is more money than goods.”

MID Diamonds : MID is amongst the top 10 diamond manufacturers in the world in size and most respected manufacturer of polished diamonds. 90 per cent of its trade is conducted in large size stones. The company mainly exports to United States, United Kingdom, India and few other countries.

Dana Meirov, Marketing Head at MID Diamonds says, she has observed some changes in Indian buyers. The rapid development in India has made Indian consumer more aware of diamonds and the demand has increased.

Indian traders mostly demand VS-VS2, colors H, I, J, K and sizes between 2ct -10ct.

The change in tax structure has pushed up imports go up in the recent times by roughly around 60 per cent.

MID keeps in touch with its clients through trade shows, conventions and later follow up action. They use e-mailing and telephoning to stay in touch with their clients. They attend the Hong Kong show and a few others.

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Thank you, Mr Mamady Konaté Community representative Siguiri Gold and diamond local mining community company, S.A zone C industrielle, Siguiri-BP:3005, Siguiri, Republue de Guinea E-mail: k.mamady82 at yahoo dot fr
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Dear Sir We are miner and Dealers in Gold and diamond based in Accra Ghana. Soliciting a genuine buyer, we mine from Sierra Leone , Conakry , Angola , Congo and Ghana Gold Coast.The following are quantity of alluvial Gold Dust, Bars, Dore and Diamond Originated from different part of Africa for sale. The details stated as follows: Gold PRODUCT: ALLUVIAL NUGGET GOLD/GOLD BAR AND DORE. QUANTITY: 300KGS. QUALITY: 22Carat Plus. PURITY: 97+ Country of Origin: Angola, Congo, Sierra Leone, Conakry and Ghana. TERM OF PAYMENT: NEGOTIABLE. DIAMONDS 4Cts in stone, 7Cts in stone, 11Cts in stone 17Cts in stone, 34Cts in stone 104Cts in stone, 108Cts in stone Purity: Rough Uncut Diamond Transparency: Pink, Bluish, Yellowish and white Quantity: 4330.50Carats Country of Origin: Angola, Congo, Sierra Leone, Conakry and Ghana. I Will really appreciate your support in marketing this precious as soon As possible. Please Contact: akwaabagolddiamondltd@ymail.com
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