Press Release: The third day of the U.S./International Diamond Week at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) on March 19 counted 200 foreign buyers taking part, and among the foreign diamantaires inspecting the goods on offer was British jeweler Laurence Graff, a leading global buyer of large special diamonds and specializes in the top end of jewelry retailing.
Known as the 'King of Diamonds,' the London-based jeweler bought a 50-carat, rectangular-cut, D-color, potentially flawless diamond ring for $8.37 million at Christie's New York Magnificent Jewels auction in December. In 2010, he bought a rare pink diamond weighing 24.78 carats for a record-breaking $46 million at auction, and immediately named it The Graff Pink. In 2008, he bought the famous Wittelsbach Diamond for $24.3 million.
Graff was personally escorted around the trading hall by IDE's president, Yair Sahar, and New York Diamond Dealers Club president Reuven Kaufman. More than 150 Israeli diamond companies are offering in excess of $1 billion of polished goods for sale.
Graff said the U.S./International Diamond Week was an "excellent idea, well-planned and executed with a tremendous number of people taking part. Is it like this every day?" he asked as he left the hall.
The largest group of buyers is from the U.S., while there are also buyers from the U.K., Belgium, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Turkey, Japan, China, Spain, Canada, Russia and Switzerland.
Following Graff, Vladimir Lakeev, the director of international auctions at diamond mining giant ALROSA, toured the trading hall and commented that ALROSA may expand its diamond sales activity in Israel in 2014. "The Israel Diamond Exchange has many large diamond firms, and we have been doing business with dozens of IDE members for many years," he noted.
"We are very pleased to have auctions in Israel because we believe the potential here is very good. This year, we will hold three auctions of large diamonds of 10.8 carats and larger. It is safe to assume that in light of this strong potential, the number of auctions that ALROSA will hold in Israel will rise, though this is a decision that will be taken at head office in Moscow," Lakeev added.
Wrapping up the third day of the Diamond Week was Tom Moses, the senior vice president of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), who spoke on new developments in gemology. Moses spoke on the subject of synthetic diamonds, describing the two main methods of producing them - HPHT and CVD - and said the technology in creating them was continuously improving. There was a danger to the industry if undisclosed stones make their way through to jewelry and are discovered to be synthetic by consumers.
However, he said the GIA was able to identify synthetic diamonds by employing thorough screening techniques, state-of-the-art instruments, well-trained staff and technicians, ongoing research and experimentation, and a large and well-characterized database.
The final day of the Diamond Week on March 20 will feature a speech by diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar on the rough diamond market. That will be followed by an auction of spectacular white and colored diamonds and gemstone jewelry by Tzoffey's 1818.
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