Rapaport Magazine

Antwerp Revs Up Rough Business

By Marc Goldstein
Antwerp’s Rough Diamond Days (RDDs) in late February introduced a new synergy to the diamond trade by scheduling two days of rough diamond trading during De Beers sight week. The reasoning was that buyers from around the world were coming for the producer’s sight anyway, so why not give them the opportunity to make additional purchases in Antwerp and supplement their inventory with product from the diamond center’s rough companies. The result was an opportunity for expanded rough trading by sightholders who were bringing their goods from the sight directly to Antwerp, where they could sell sight goods as well as acquire additional rough from the city’s rough dealers. In addition, rough buyers at the event could conveniently access a wider range of goods from sightholders as well as Antwerp rough suppliers at a single time and location.
The Antwerp Diamond Kring, the world’s only diamond bourse dealing exclusively in rough, hosted the event. It provided rough dealers from all four Antwerp diamond bourses with free space on the floor of the bourse to exhibit their goods. Buyer attendance was estimated at 2,500.
While other diamond trade fairs attract both rough and polished dealers, this is the only trading event in the industry dedicated exclusively to rough. Antwerp’s first Rough Diamond Day, held in November 2014, attracted 37 exhibitors and 1,500 visitors. The city’s rough traders were so impressed with the traffic and sales — almost 100,000 carats of rough were reportedly sold at the inaugural event — that the decision was made to extend the second installment over two days.
Coordinating with Sights
Freddy Inzlicht, president of the Kring, said the event is part of the bourse’s efforts to “develop something that will create global added value by relying on our strengths. You see, the sights attract people for our RDDs and the occasion of the RDDs will draw more producers to sell their output in Antwerp, generating more traffic at the event. The support we’re getting from New York, Mumbai and Tel Aviv is an indication that we’re clearly going in the right direction.” Inzlicht said the bourses in those cities promoted the RDDs directly to their members.
Sammy Goldberg of Gemgol added that “I made sales and others did too. I talked to two Israeli buyers who scheduled their travel to Antwerp based on the RDDs.” Speaking on the morning of the second day of the event, Dilip Thaker of Diajewel said, “Yesterday, we sold five big stones ranging from 10 carats to 20 carats and today, we have already sold melees. What’s even better is that we discovered new clients who weren’t familiar with our production. I heard that from exhibitors, too, who also met new clients.”
While he admitted that the show was “wonderful” for making contacts, Steve Pollak of IDE said that “We sold some stones, but for the more complex goods that need sorting, I did send the buyers to our office.”
Raising the Profile
Michael Vaughan, chair of the RDDs organizing committee, commented, “We hope that our endeavor will help raise the profile of the diamond business from the point of view of the ones in between, those squeezed between the producers and the retailers.”
“A wide range of rough diamonds were on offer during this two-day trading event, so everyone could find what he was looking for,” concluded Inzlicht. “But, above all, the personal contacts boosted the confidence level, which is something that many dealers can use in these difficult times.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2015. To subscribe click here.

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