Israel, where diamonds continue to shine

Israel Diamond Exhibition, 40th World Congress & 40th IDMA Congress
Israel, where diamonds continue to shine

Just back from his Israel trip, Gunjan Jain has some interesting experiences and insights to share about the diamond industry of the country, and the way the trade functions there

The 10th Israel Diamond Exhibition 2023 opened to a record number of participants: 450 buyers from over 40 countries, on the huge trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange. This is the first Israel Diamond Exhibition since 2020, and the overwhelming response shows the importance of this exhibition to traders the world over. The International Diamond Exhibition and the 40th World Diamond Congress were held from March 28 – 30, 2023 in the Israel Diamond Exchange trading hall and the Leonardo City Tower Hotel in the Diamond Exchange district respectively. The opening ceremony held in the Rough Trading Hall of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), featured greetings by IDE President Boaz Moldawsky, DRC Minister of Mines H.E. Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, GIA Executive Vice President and Tom Moses, Israel Diamond Week Chairman Aviad Bashari and IDE CEO Eran Zini. IDE President Boaz Moldawsky said, “We welcome the many guests from all over the world, presidents of diamond exchanges, representatives of important diamond companies, buyers, and jewelry designers. With over 150 exhibitors from Israel and around the world, I am sure that every buyer will find the diamonds he is interested in. I wish you great business deals and lots of fun. Mazal u’bracha.”

Israel Diamond Conference
The first Israel Diamond Conference, which brought together the senior leadership of the global diamond industry, opened a week-long series of events sponsored by the Israel Diamond Exchange, after a three-year break. The conference was opened by Israel Diamond Exchange President Boaz Moldawsky, who said, “Our industry is currently facing many challenges that directly affect the market situation and the demand for our goods. We believe that your participation testifies to the appreciation and trust that the Israel Diamond Exchange has gained from around the world.” The President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog sent a video message praising the contribution of the diamond industry to Israel’s economy. The audience was also treated to a behind

the-scenes talk about Israel’s national vision and international geo-political situation by former Mossad director, Yossi Cohen.

The first Israel Diamond Exchange Dignitary Award was presented to Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi- Commodities Center for his contribution to the growing trade between Israel and the UAE.

Former CEO and Co-Chairman of the De Beers Group Bruce Cleaver was a key speaker, who was interviewed by moderator Edahn Golan about his long experience in the industry and coming trends

Industry analyst Edahn Golan gave a comprehensive picture of how the industry has fared in recent years and his forecast for the future. A panel on Rough Diamond Supply included Eira Thomas, CEO of Lucara; Chris DelGatto, Chairman and CEO of DelGatto Diamond Finance Fund and Ophir Gore,Israel Diamond Controller. Two fascinating talks touched on natural diamonds, LGDs and marketing were given by David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council and Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group.

40th World Diamond Congress
The Congress, whose theme was “Change and Innovation in the New Diamond Reality, was attended by Presidents and officers of most of the 27 member bourses, as well as dozens of Young Diamantaires. In addition to speeches by WFDB leaders -- President Yoram Dvash, VP Moshe Salem and Israel Diamond Week host Boaz Moldawsky -- the Congress featured talks by DRC Minister of Mines HE Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, De Beers Co-Chairman Bruce Cleaver, WDC President Edward Asscher, Natural Diamond Council CEO David Kellie, Chow Tai Fook Vice Chairman Conroy Cheng, Young Diamantaire Rachel Sahar, Sarine CEO David Block and representative of the Minister of Mines of Zimbabwe Elton Makumbe. In addition, there were enlightening talks by Prof. Alon Chen, President of the Weizmann Institute and Aryeh Lightstone, former U.S. special envoy for the Abraham Accords. WFDB President Yoram Dvash addressed the theme of the Congress in his opening speech. He said, “Today conditions are changing, the business climate is changing, the consumer is changing, and the competition is changing. We must study the changes and take steps to adapt. If we as leaders of the world diamond industry won’t adapt, the industry will remain behind.” Dvash called upon the industry to embrace the wisdom of the younger generation, and to invite the Young Diamantaires to join in shaping the future of the industry. During the Congress Yoram Dvash was re-elected as WFDB President and elections were held for WFDB Officers and the Executive Committee. They include Vice Presidents Moshe Salem and Philippe Barsamian, Secretary-General Rony Unterman, Treasurer-General Mehul Shah, as well as Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Lin Qiang, Elliot Krischer, Boaz Moldawsky, Anoop Mehta, Rami Baron, Alan Cohen, Molefi Letsiki and Lawrence Ma as the Executive Committee

The Congress reviewed topics that are currently affecting the industry. Various delegates expressed reservations about the GIA’s move to digital certificates, and it was decided that the WFDB would present these to the GIA. Another discussion focused on generic marketing of diamonds and resulted in a decision by the WFDB to begin a collaboration with the Natural Diamond Council. A committee was established to enhance the image of the WFDB globally. Lastly, it was decided to involve the Young Diamantaires in the institutions and decision-making of the WFDB.

IDMA’s 40th Congress
From March 27 to 30, IDMA held its 40th Congress in Tel Aviv and at the Israel Diamond Exchange complex in Ramat Gan. The IDMA Congress was co-organized and sponsored by the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association (IsDMA) and the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI). The 40th Congress covered a wide scale of topics and generated intense discussions. The four topical sessions included a conversation between De Beers Group Co-Chairman Bruce Cleaver, Elodie Daguzan, Executive Director of the World Diamond

Council (WDC), and Shai Schnitzer, President of S. Schnitzer Diamonds and board member of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association. Daguzan and Schnitzer, both members of the Young Diamantaires Initiative, questioned Cleaver about De Beers mining rights in Botswana, its traceability program, and gender equality. Three other conversation participants tried to make sense of the industry's future course. They were Dave Bonaparte, CEO of Jewelers of America, a renowned diamond industry analyst; and David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council

The conversation about Natural Diamonds and LGDs was spearheaded by Martin Rapaport, who spoke for six hundred seconds about his battle against synthetic diamonds. Consequently, Tom Moses, Executive Vice President of GIA; David Kellie, CEO, Natural Diamond Council (NDC); and Steven Benson, Communications Director of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, delved deeper into how synthetics are affecting the diamond jewelry market. The afternoon's highlight was the conversation between David Block, CEO, Sarine Technologies, Ophir Gore, Israel Diamond Controller, and Pranay Narvekar of Pharos Beam Consulting. They discussed the interrelation between financing and technology in the diamond industry and trade.

In IDMA's closed meetings, the attending delegates discussed, among others, the challenges of diamond manufacturing in Africa, the shortening of the diamond supply pipeline, traceability, and the World Diamond Council's new System of Warranties. While the association's President, Ronnie VanderLinden, and Secretary- General Matthew Schamroth will serve another term, IDMA bid goodbye to its long-time Treasurer, Stephane Fischler. Fischler is the association's longest-serving treasurer. Thanking Fischler for his contribution to IDMA, VanderLinden said: "We're honouring our long-time Treasurer, Stephane Fischler, who concludes his service at this Congress. From 1998 to 2008, Stephane served both as Secretary-General and Treasurer. After that, he served "only" as IDMA Treasurer, passing the role of Secretary-General over to me. From 1975, and onward, no IDMA member has served longer terms than Stephane Fischler!"

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