Rapaport Magazine

Bigger was Better at JCK

Israel Market Report

By Leah Granof

Israeli diamantaires arrived at JCK Las Vegas in full force, with more than 60 booths showcasing an array of stones in all sizes, colors and qualities. At least 25 diamantaires were positioned within the pavilion sponsored by the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), with the rest setting up independent booths.

Dealers with the right goods walked away satisfied, and those who had goods larger than 3 carats reported the best results, as the general market demand for larger, higher-quality diamonds was also evident on the show floor. Some dealers reported sales of several million dollars. Longtime sightholder Espeka Diamonds defied the trend toward big diamonds, reporting strong sales of their 2.5-carats-and-under stones.

Amihai Zivan-Shussholz, Espeka’s sales and marketing director, explained that soft markets favor high-quality dealers. “When the market is strong, people will buy whatever moves,” he said. “When the market is soft, however, people are seeking good quality and better services — people are more particular.” Espeka also made sure, however, that it followed its strategy of having plenty of inventory on demand to offer potential buyers. “People don’t like it when you make a list of stones and the stones are not here,” said Yechiel Gutwirth, Espeka sales consultant.

Although Moshe Sinai, vice president of Ovadia Diamonds, described show activity as “slow and low,” he also noted that marquise and pear shapes from 0.10 carats and up were selling well.

Making Connections, Not Sales

Many diamantaires say that the slower pace and declining activity at U.S.-based shows over the past few years has led them to shift their focus at JCK to creating new relationships and making new connections, rather than actively pursuing sales and unloading goods. Those dealers noted that a large part of the sales activity took place before and after the show in private gatherings rather than on the show floor, resulting in less floor movement but a generous amount of turnover after the show’s conclusion when they cashed in on new client relationships.

“Since it’s hard for us to meet our customers personally, we now use the show for that,” said Yosefa Hirsch from H & F Diamond Cutters inside the Israeli pavilion.

Lior Izboutzaky, director of Briza Color Diamonds, explained that many diamantaires were unfamiliar with his color-enhancing process, in which he treats natural polished diamonds with an electronic beam and high temperatures to produce an array of blue, red, yellow and green colored diamonds. He closes most of his sales after the show when dealers have had a chance to learn more about the process and understand it better.

Product Innovations

Israeli diamantaires were also on hand with items that do double duty, such as H & F’s interchangeable jewelry. Available in white or yellow gold with optional diamonds, the unique line allows women to combine a stand-alone piece — such as a white diamond necklace — with add-on enhancers like yellow diamonds to create an entirely new piece of jewelry with a relatively different look. “Today’s woman travels a lot, so this way she can take one piece of jewelry with her and have different pieces for night and day,” Hirsch said.

In the area of new product introductions, Premier Diamond Technologies debuted its new “Vibe” digital tweezers at JCK. The Israeli-patented technology weighs all types of polished diamonds to four decimal places within seconds, using internal algorithms. Company officials say the tweezers will allow diamantaires to process diamonds far more quickly than they do now with traditional scales.

With the conclusion of JCK, diamantaires are now waiting to see if their efforts at the show will bear fruit. Although market activity is still slow within Israel, dealers can take heart from a quickening market in India, which some experts believe leads the Israeli market by a few weeks.

The Marketplace

• Pears between 0.70 and 0.90 carats are doing well, with shortages in 1 carat.
• Square cuts are not as hot as they used to be.
• 1 carat and under is moving well in all colors and clarities.
• Demand is good for 2 carats in F+ and VVS+ but other clarities are moving slowly.
• Demand is good for 3 and 4 carats and strong for 5 carats.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2007. To subscribe click here.

Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share
Comments: (0)  Add comment Add Comment
Arrange Comments Last to First