Ernie Blom speaks of working closely with DPA at 2017 Presidents Meeting

DPA plans to enter the Indian market in September 2017
Ernie Blom speaks of working closely with DPA at 2017 Presidents Meeting

Speaking to the participants of the 2017 Presidents Meeting held in Mumbai, WFDB President Ernie Blom mentioned WFDB will work closely with the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) to boost its generic diamond promotion efforts. He mentioned reports that the DPA was looking to boost its annual budget from the current $6 million, he said the increase will allow it to invest in more sophisticated and long-term programmes.

"Advertising today is a different world to the one most of us here grew up with," he commented. "Markets are incredibly fragmented, with people getting their information from a wide range of sources, especially the Millennials. That means researching the market and allocating resources in a way that enables you to reach your target audience in the most efficient way possible. The WFDB-supported World Diamond Mark (WDM) initiative will work with the DPA because we recognize that generic marketing is critical for our business."

Blom spoke of challenges like financing, mixing of undisclosed synthetic stones and others, and urged colleagues to deal with them by staying positive. He cited ‘bright spots of the trade’ including the tax agreements in Belgium and Israel last year and the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's (GJEPC) generic diamond promotion campaigns in India with De Beers, as some to inspire the trade. The GJEPC has become a full WFDB member and the Federation is working on bringing in more members. The WFDB is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and will be celebrated with events and a special commemorative book to be published this year.

DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr provided an update on the work of the body, its plans to increase investment in the United States, and enter the Indian market in September 2017 and China in January 2018. He revealed a DPA initiative to combat undisclosed synthetic diamonds by establishing an independent diamond screening equipment testing lab to test the range of detection machines available. "The project will be led by the DPA, but will involve key industry organizations, including the WFDB and GJEPC, and main equipment manufacturers so that the solution delivered meets the needs of the industry and satisfies the manufacturers' expectations of independence and objectivity," Lieberherr explained.

Welcoming the WFDB Presidents to India, Bharat Diamond Bourse President Anoop Mehta spoke about synthetic diamonds and the widespread efforts of the Indian diamond trade in providing trade detection equipment and seminars on the issue. GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said, "Unless the midstream is strong the rest of the industry cannot be strong." Ashish Mehta convenor of the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee spoke of GJEPC’es efforts in monitoring the scope of synthetic diamond trading, especially undisclosed mixing.

A report from World Diamond Council President Andrey Polyakov on the work of the organisation was also presented.

Ending the meeting, the WFDB Presidents agreed a proposal to engage with the International Grown Diamond Association, with Ernie Blom saying he will seek to create a dialogue with the organisation.

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