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Diamonds in 2008: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Jan 6, 2009 4:02 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... If there was any doubt, 2008 certainly proved we live in interesting times. To borrow from another clichéd Chinese saying,"the times have produced their heroes" -- as well as their villains. It was a year when sportsmen broke boundaries, politicians smashed glass ceilings, and businessmen became mere mortals at best. We won’t very quickly forget Barack Obama’s “yes we can,” Michael Phelps’ eight-medal splash, Usain Bolt’s 9.69 second 100-meter jog, or Beijing’s Olympic perfection. Vladimir Putin and Robert Mugabe certainly made their presence felt, and amid the angst of Wall Street and Main Street’s panic, Bernard Madoff left his own $50 billion mark on, or hole in, the world.

From the diamond industry's perspective, there were few superstars in 2008. As we transition into 2009, one gets the feeling that what is in store may simply be more of the same. As the world’s wealth suddenly plummeted, with major stock market indices dropping 30 to 40 percent in the final quarter, demand for diamonds fell just as dramatically. Prices followed suit, leaving dealers with the stark choice of whether to hold on to stock in the chance of a market upturn, or to sell at a loss. Diamond people, so confident and riding the commodity wave of ever-rising prices at the beginning of the year, found themselves at its end caught between a rock and a hard place. 

We start our reflections on 2008 with a tour through the diamond pipeline to assess how the economic crisis impacted the industry.

Mining companies, which in the first half of 2008 were comfortably in the driver's seat, enjoying strong demand and rising rough diamond prices, suddenly had difficulty selling their product. Rough prices increased by an average 15 to 25 percent at Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sights in the first eight months of the year, and probably more on tender. But companies -- De Beers in particular -- did not drop prices as demand slumped in the final quarter. Instead they chose to limit production to satisfy the lower order levels. DTC recorded its smallest sight in history in December, clocking in one-sixth its average sight value. Smaller companies reported a similar lack of movement at their tenders, in some cases noting that they were receiving offers as much as 30 to 50 percent below prices earlier in the year. The mining fraternity responded by suspending production en masse, leaving few mines operating from mid-December through mid-January. From the largest companies -- De Beers, ALROSA, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto -- to the medium-sized and smaller players -- Harry Winston, Petra, Gem, Rockwell and Namakwa Diamonds -- few have been spared the effects of higher production costs and fewer dollars for their diamonds.

The cutting and polishing trade also saw price volatility throughout the year with large polished stones of 3 carats and up rising on average about 25 percent in the first half, and losing some 10 to 15 percent in the final quarter. The effect on diamantaires and dealers was clear, as uncertainty took hold and sales trickled in, often at a loss. Most significantly, credit tightened and in response, the industry sought to trim debt levels. Manufacturers cut their rough buying, preferring to concentrate on selling off existing stock. In a more dramatic move, India ordered a complete freeze on rough imports in December. Manufacturing centers -- India and Israel in particular -- appealed for government assistance in December to help their respective industries gain easier access to credit.

Jewelry retailers experienced a lull in sales throughout the year before being hit with a disappointing Christmas. Jewelry was, by some counts, among the worst-performing categories during the holiday season, as sales of luxury items plummeted 34 percent and general retail fell 8 percent. Similarly, online holiday retail sales dropped 3 percent while online sales of jewelry and watches declined 24 percent. Promotional items and discounts became more prevalent than ever and helped to drive holiday season sales.

Having dealt with the crisis -- so to speak -- we now come to our picks for the top stories of the year…

We Want Generics Now!

Synopsis: Even before the economic crisis hit, the diamond establishment spent much of 2008 calling for a promotional body to lead a generic advertising campaign for diamonds. This was the main theme to emerge from February's Rough International Conference in Israel; major players then met in St. Petersburg to further the initiative. The issue of generic advertising was again prevalent at the meeting that was called in Antwerp in November to brainstorm a collective industry strategy to deal with the economic crisis.

As the industry gathered in Antwerp, De Beers defied its long discussed plan to let the industry take over general marketing and launched its Christmas campaign aimed at boosting both sales and confidence, doubling its holiday advertising-spend in the process. While not, technically speaking, a generic campaign, the promotion was for all intents and purposes a campaign for diamonds in the U.S., and it was certainly the most extensive such campaign carried out in the industry to date.

Outlook: While the call for an industry-wide vehicle to promote diamonds certainly has intensified, there remains little indication that real practical steps have been taken to make it a reality. If progress is to be made in 2009, it will most likely come from the major players -- De Beers, ALROSA and the like. Either way, as the industry seeks ways to raise confidence about diamonds, we expect the issue to dominate the conference circuit once again. In the short term, however, it is more likely that any widespread marketing will remain predominantly brand-focused.

Making its ForeverMark

Synopsis: Having all but completed the restructuring and downsizing of its mining portfolio, De Beers turned to its marketing strategy, launching the ForeverMark brand in the Far East. Among other things, this furthered De Beers’ reach along the diamond pipeline as jewelry retailers and non-sightholders could now partner with its brand. De Beers also introduced its ForeverMark grading service.

On the production side, De Beers completed its sale of the Cullinan mine and sold its Williamson Diamonds operation to Petra Diamonds, basically completing its 2-year program of divestment from non-profitable assets. The financial crisis also impelled De Beers to pull out of various exploration projects and joint ventures. Nevertheless, the year was an unprecedented one for the company in that it opened three new mines -- the Snap Lake and Victor mines in Canada, and Voorspoed in South Africa.

De Beers’ sales unit, the DTC, cut its customer base from 93 to 79 sightholders, who are spread between London, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada. The company got its sights in southern Africa up and running, and established its main sorting facility in Gaborone, marking its continued support for beneficiation of diamonds in Africa. DTC also introduced its "Accredited Business Program," naming four non-sightholders who comply with De Beers’ Best Practices Principles, and who will thus receive support from DTC.

Outlook: De Beers will continue its ForeverMark expansion in 2009 with launches in Asia and southern Africa, and it is inevitable that the brand will become more prominent in the company’s marketing. Production will be restrained in at least the first quarter to the first half of the year to stay in line with the lull in rough diamond demand, and this will be reflected in smaller DTC sights during the period.

Beneficiation Tried & Tested

Synopsis: South Africa, Botswana and Namibia implemented their respective beneficiation policies with varying degrees of success. The State Diamond Trader (SDT) in South Africa eventually managed to pen supply deals with the smaller mining companies, but controversies regarding the quality of diamonds being supplied by De Beers dominated concerns. The legislation still allows for mining companies to supply "run of mine" diamonds to the trader, much to the frustration of the cutting industry, which maintains that such stones are not "polishable." Representatives of the industry threatened to sue the government for losses incurred due to the new beneficiation structure and claimed the legislation was unconstitutional. Futhi Zikalala, the former deputy director general of the Department of Minerals and Energy, replaced Abbey Chikane as the SDT’s chief executive officer (CEO) and claimed that the trader has access to funds necessary to acquire 10 percent of the country’s supply for distribution to cutters.

In Botswana and Namibia things went more smoothly. The countries' respective 16 and 11 sightholders managed to set up shop and start receiving goods from De Beers. Botswana announced its plans to become a “diamond hub.”

Outlook: Manufacturers in Botswana and Namibia will need to adjust to the smaller volumes of production that will be filtered through to them by De Beers, making 2009 a challenging year for these centers and their fledgling cutting and polishing industries. Similarly in South Africa, lower supply to the SDT will affect cutters and polishers in the Johannesburg Jewelry Centre. South Africa will also have to address the fundamental flaws in its beneficiation legislation to ensure the long-term prospects of the industry.

Africa, Conflict and Diamonds

Synopsis: African politics again reared its ugly head as violence flared up in diamond-producing countries the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea and Zimbabwe. In the DRC, fighting between government forces and Tutsi rebels erupted in August and intensified in October, leaving 250,000 people displaced and sparking fears that the 1998-2003 war, which ultimately killed 5 million people, could be reignited.

Following the death of President Lansana Conté, Guinea’s longtime dictator, a military group seized control of the country, saying it would hold elections at the end of 2010. The turmoil sparked concerns over an escalation of violence in west Africa and raised questions about the Kimberley Process controls, or lack of them, in Guinea.

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party, under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, all but ignored its loss in an election, and did little to combat rising poverty and the endemic spread of cholera in the country. Mugabe certainly did not ignore the country’s alluvial diamond riches, however. He cracked down militarily on the illegal trade that has developed at the Marange diamond fields, thinking his government was being cheated out of a billion dollars a month in diamond revenues; a more realistic count would have had it at tens of thousands of dollars worth of smuggled diamonds each month. Either way, NGOs and diamond organizations eventually cried foul on Zimbabwe but fell short of having it banned from the Kimberley Process. At the same time, neighboring South Africa failed to lead a diplomatic effort to bring stability to Zimbabwe, despite the impact that millions of refugees were having on its economy. South Africa had enough other problems to deal with. The electricity shortage there caused a temporary shut-down of the mining industry and a 10 percent scale-down of operations until generators were deployed to help restore full production and help relieve the country’s overused power grid.

Elsewhere, Venezuela volunteered to take a two-year leave of absence from the Kimberley Process to get its diamond house in order, and the U.S. banned the import of gems from Myanmar in the face of the ruling junta’s human rights violations. And in The Hague, the highest-profile conflict-diamonds case to date got under way, as Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, went on trial for his role in using diamonds to fuel the decade-long conflict in Sierra Leone.

Outlook: The issue of Zimbabwe is likely to take center stage in Kimberley Process circles as the organization is forced to take a stance on illicit diamonds that may not necessarily be fueling conflict, but are benefiting a corrupt government. This will be particularly interesting as neighboring Namibia takes over the Kimberley Process chairmanship in 2009. Eyes will also turn to South Africa as it elects and swears in a new president.

AL-Russian Advances

Synopsis: Russia, that other great source of diamond wealth, also saw some political change, so to speak. Vladimir Putin’s presidential term came to an apparent end as he moved to the Prime Minister’s office. Russia showed its military might, declaring war on Georgia after the latter sought to quell separatists in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia provinces. Fueled by the political tensions, Russia’s economy took a greater-than-expected hit from the global recession.

The Russian government, meanwhile, acquired a majority stake in ALROSA, while the country’s second-largest bank, VTB, sold its 10 percent share in the mining company. During the year, ALROSA shelved its IPO plans, hinted at an $800 million investment in Africa and said it may introduce a sight-style system of select clients. The company also saw the last of its sales to De Beers in 2008. The economic downturn had a marked impact on ALROSA as well, as it acquired 45 percent of KIT Finance Investment Bank in an apparent bailout deal, but then took a $1.6 billion loan from VTB to help pay its creditors. Like De Beers, ALROSA cut production in the final quarter to cope with the lull in sales.

Outlook: ALROSA will continue to scale down its production in the first three to six months of the year, but will probably also engage in some stockpiling as it sells goods to the government. The company will also likely continue to test the sight system waters. Having promised a widespread marketing program of its own and having initiated the St. Petersburg Conference, ALROSA may take a leading role in the move toward generic marketing.

Other Centers Make Their Moves

Synopsis: The year also saw the entrance of some of the smaller centers into the limelight. In particular, Dubai saw the opening of the Almas Towers as the city’s main diamond center, while the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) started hosting rough tenders again and announced it will launch polished tenders in January 2009. Panama inaugurated its diamond-exchange project, the first in South America, and officially joined the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). The Istanbul and Australian exchanges also became WFDB members, and Thailand expressed its intention to develop into a jewelry hub for the Southeast Asian market.

Israel, celebrating the 70th anniversary of its diamond exchange, took a more active political role, as Avi Paz, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), and Moti Ganz, president of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association (IsDMA), were elected to head their respective world bodies. The country then agreed to take over the vice-chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in 2009, and therefore the organization’s chairmanship in 2010. Israel’s diamond industry also looked to strengthen ties with rough-producing countries in Africa, as representatives met with President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone.

Some of the more traditional diamond centers also exhibited some interesting trends during the year. Most notably, India saw its polished diamond imports soar -- up 81 percent in the first 11 months of the year -- as the local consumer market continued to grow. Also in the U.S., traditionally an importer of polished diamonds, polished exports grew significantly -- up 37 percent in the first 10 months -- most likely as the occurrence of returns increased.

Outlook: It is certainly our hope that the emerging hubs of Dubai, Panama, Turkey and Thailand make progress. From a practical point of view, the recession may put the brakes on their ambitions, but we continue to watch  the activities in Dubai and Panama with particular interest, as growing wealth there brings new opportunities for the industry.

Big Buys, Great Finds

Synopsis: Turning our attention back to Africa -- the continent certainly had its shining moments in 2008, continuing to produce the world’s largest and most beautiful diamonds. Among the highlights was a 39.19-carat special blue diamond recovered by Petra Diamonds at its newly acquired Cullinan mine in South Africa, which sold to Alisa Moussaieff for $8.8 million.

The headlines, however, belonged to Gem Diamonds’ Letseng mine in Lesotho and to Laurence Graff, who seems to have an insatiable appetite for its diamonds. Letseng again produced among the largest diamonds in history this year, the 478-carat flawless D-color Laseli la Letseng. Gem Diamonds sold the stone to the Graff Diamonds-SAFDICO partnership for $18.4 million. Graff also unveiled the polished version of Letseng’s 603-carat Lesotho Promise, which his company transformed into a 26-piece diamond necklace.

Outlook: While global production will be subdued in the first half of 2009, we wait with anticipation to see what will emerge next from Letseng, and what else Petra can find at Cullinan. We probably won’t see record prices, though, unless something really special comes around to entice the Graffs or Moussaieffs of the world.

Auction Action

Synopsis: Graff was also pretty active on the auction circuit, hammering out an impressive list of deals for his portfolio. These included a 3.73-carat fancy vivid blue pear-shaped diamond he bought for $4.96 million; a fancy light pink diamond ring of 6.26 carats for $1.59 million; and, perhaps most significantly, the Wittelsbach Diamond, a 17th-century 35.56-carat cushion-shaped deep grayish-blue VS2 stone, for which he splashed out $24.31 million.

The auction circuit also took a knock in the recession, however, as both Christie’s and Sotheby’s held smaller sessions than usual in the latter half of the year. The events were hardly quiet, though, and the houses continued to provide the goods, and the buyers, at their jewelry sales around the world, particularly in the colored diamond category. In addition to those mentioned above, some highlights included the Ponahalo Diamond, a 102.11-carat rectangular-cut LSI1 stone, which sold for $4.11 million to Dubai-based dealer Amer Radwan. He also snatched up the second of the Ponahalo diamonds, a 70.87-carat rectangular-cut LSI1, for $2.714 million. The two stones were cut from a 316.15-carat rough diamond discovered at the Venetia mine in 2005. In addition, a pair of pear-shaped D-color flawless ForeverMark diamonds of 17.01 and 17.79 carats went for $3.55 million to an unnamed private buyer. Equally telling, however, were some high end-diamonds which failed to sell at auction, including the 71.73-carat emerald-cut Lesotho 1, and a 102.56-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond necklace, both at Sotheby’s.

Outlook: We expect the auction market to stay relatively stable and to remain one of the more attractive outlets for selling high-end polished diamonds and diamond jewelry. 

Wholesale and Retail Losses

Synopsis: On the wholesale and retail side, things seemed a bit bleaker, as a number of household jewelry names went bust. To begin with, former sightholder LID auctioned off its assets and closed up shop, while the House of Taylor lost the license to its brand name and acknowledged an $11.2 million debt when it entered into a peaceful possession of collateral with New Stream Secured Capital.

Among the retailers, Friedman’s Jewelers, which operated 455 stores in the U.S., went into liquidation. Whitehall bought 78 of the stores, but then filed Chapter11 itself. Fortunoff also filed Chapter 11 but later had its case dismissed after being acquired by NRDC Equity Partners, Lord & Taylor's parent company. The year ended with Christian Bernard Jewelers filing Chapter 7 and closing its shutters.

In an effort to save $65 million, Zale restructured by closing 23 stores and cutting staff at its headquarters by 20 percent. Similarly, Finlay said it needed to reduce expenses and was considering closing underperforming locations, while Signet Group closed its rough sourcing business as a cost-saving measure in response to volatility in the rough market. Home shopping network Jewelry Television restructured by cutting more than 200 jobs, and the Jewelry Channel closed its doors just 16 months after launching, laying off 106 workers in the process.

Outlook: Jewelry retailers will continue to come under pressure and streamline their operations as consumers adapt their spending habits to the current environment. We expect, for example, that many will seek to partner along the supply chain with niche brands such as the De Beers ForeverMark or the "Made in Botswana" initiative.

Acquisitions, Partnerships & Narrow Escapes

Synopsis: A few such partnerships already began to take shape in 2008. Day’s Jewelers and the Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL) teamed with sightholder MotiGanz to launch the Made in Botswana program in the U.S. in an effort to raise the profile of Botswana’s diamonds there. African Romance stirred a good deal of interest with its concept of a “purely African luxury jewelry brand”; it launched operations in South Africa, sourcing its diamonds from Etruscan Resources. Other worthwhile mentions include a partnership between Tiffany and Swatch.

On the acquisition front, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired Geneva-based watchmaker the Hublot group, and New Zealand-based Michael Hill bought 17 Whitehall stores, marking its entry into the U.S. India-based Gitanjali Group focused on its presence in the U.S. market after acquiring Rogers Jewelers in 2007. Gitanjali also bought the Nakshatra brand from De Beers, the Lucera brand from Renaissance Retail, teamed with the Morellato and Sector Group to distribute the Italian watch maker’s goods in India, and bought the Trinity Watch Company and Hoop Silver Jewellery.

Online diamond retailers also made some significant moves last year. Abazias was acquired by OmniReliant. Novori announced it would merge with Zalemark, but the jeweler later pulled out of the deal. Meanwhile, several bigger players focused on international expansion. Bidz.com launched German, Spanish and Arabic versions of its site, and Blue Nile said it would start shipping to countries in Europe and across Asia and the Pacific.

Expansion was also prevalent among brick-and-mortar jewelers, as Leviev opened stores in Moscow and, through a partner, in Dubai, and Tiffany & Co. expanded in the U.K., Canada, China, GermanyKorea, Japan, Australia and the U.S. De Beers Diamond Jewellery increased its U.S. store count to 11 and opened boutiques in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

In mining, Laurence Graff bought 9 percent of Gem Diamonds, while Saudi-based Saad Investment upped its stake in Petra Diamonds to 44 percent. Rockwell Diamonds narrowly avoided a takeover by Pala Investments, and the financial crisis ended BHP Billiton’s quest for Rio Tinto. Holding company Pallinghurst Resources bought the Fabergé brand and sought to restore the Fabergé name to its former glory. To further this strategy, Pallinghurst bought a majority stake in colored gemstone producer Gemfields Resources and hinted at a possible marketing partnership with ALROSA. Gemfields later acquired Madagascar-based gemstone producer Oriental Mining, but withdrew its bid for TanzaniteOne.

Competition also flared in the diamond-grading services world, as many laboratories focused on expanding into new international markets. Dubai-based International Diamond Laboratories (IDL) launched services in Italy, Saudi Arabia and Turkey; European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) debuted in Hong Kong; and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) opened offices in South Africa with plans to open in Botswana. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) opened a laboratory in New Delhi, India, and Israel’s World Gemological Institute (WGI) expanded onto the international stage as well.

In financing, the Dutch government acquired ABN AMRO Diamond Bank, the largest lender to the industry, as part of its bailout of Fortis Bank Nederland Holding N.V.

On a slightly different note, diamond and jewelry industry organizations bandied together to broaden the terminology used to refer to diamonds created in a laboratory to include “synthetic,” “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” or “man-made,” always to be followed by the word “diamond” or “diamonds.” The term “cultured” was ruled out.

Outlook: While most companies will likely restrain their M&A activity in 2009, those with cash may find some good bargains out there as troubled jewelers seek alternative ways out of their hard times. This may be particularly relevant for international companies looking to enter the U.S. market.

Some Didn’t Get Along So Well…

Synopsis: Many famous, or rather infamous, lawsuits also came to fruition this year. Most notably, De Beers agreed to set up a $295 million fund from which individual consumers and diamond-trade members could claim restitution for anti-competitive and monopolistic practices employed by the mining giant in the past.

A federal court judge dismissed Tiffany & Co’s claim that eBay should be held accountable for trademark infringement that occurs on the auction site. Tiffany appealed the ruling. And in Ohio, a jury found that Julius Klein Diamonds was unjustly enriched by its acquisition of 5.56-carat natural fancy intense-pink diamond, without compensating Stafford Jewelers. In this "Pink Diamond Case," Stafford sent the stone for grading, but Julius Klein claims never to have received it. Julius Klein was ordered to pay damages to Stafford.

Merrill Lynch requested the reorganization of diamond jewelry retailer Fred Leighton via a court-appointed Chapter 11 trustee after its lawyers found that company owner Ralph Esmerian, "secretly and systematically misappropriated millions of dollars of Merrill Lynch’s cash and non-cash collateral for his own personal benefit."

In Belgium, authorities continued the practice of seizing diamond stock in lieu of payments owed the government, reportedly taking in several hundred million dollars worth of diamonds in the past two years. In the largest such occurrence, customs officials raided the offices of Omega Diamonds and seized some EUR 100 million ($128 million) worth of goods.

Jacob Arabov, better known as “Jacob the Jeweler,” was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for lying to investigators looking into a multistate drug ring. In an unrelated case, Arabov later sued Wyclef Jean for $319,680 worth of watches and jewelry that Jean had bought from him.

Diamond dealers weren’t so clean themselves. In Israel, Moti Weisbrot and Amos Sulimani were arrested for posing as representatives of jewelry companies, among them Bulgari and Chopard, and scamming diamantaires out of about $600,000. More outrageously, New York-based Avi Taub was indicted for stealing more than $3 million worth of diamonds consigned to him by some 45 other dealers by falsely claiming he had been robbed of them.

Life on the street wasn’t safe for dealers either, as a string of hits on traveling salesmen was reported throughout the year. With almost Hollywood-style audacity, four armed robbers pulled off one of the biggest jewelry heists in history, getting away with EUR 80 million ($102 million) worth of diamonds and valuables from Harry Winston’s famed Paris store. This followed an earlier hit on the same store, when EUR 10 million ($14 million) worth of merchandise was stolen.

And in actual Hollywood style, an actress who was featured in a Szul.com video advertisement sued the jewelry company for $5 million, saying its Internet campaign defiled her wholesome image by portraying her in a sexually explicit manner without her consent.

Outlook: Diamond and jewelry companies will show greater vigilance in security matters as their businesses become more attractive and vulnerable targets for those seeking a quick, albeit risky, fix in tough economic times.

And Finally, Tragedy Struck

All the industry’s woes were put well into perspective as the world watched in horror as terror attacks hit Mumbai in November, not far from the city’s diamond district. The violence claimed the lives of nearly 200 people and brought the bustling city to a halt as gunmen infiltrated the Oberoi and Taj hotels and a Chabad House Jewish center. While many in the industry were in town and staying at the two hotels for a DTC event, thankfully none were killed in the attacks. Memorial services were held at diamond exchanges around the world for the many friends of the trade affected, and the incident certainly ranked as one of the diamond industry's, and indeed the world’s, top news events of the year.

In Summary

Apologies for ending on such a somber note, but it was certainly a sobering year for the diamond industry. In hindsight, however, 2008 will likely go down as a reference point and a very important year for the sector. One in which, just as some political, athletic and economic norms changed, different standards were set for the diamond industry. Most notably, polished prices started to become more realistic, distancing themselves from the rough-pricing bubble. Credit conditions tightened among banks, which stopped financing inventory purchases, and among sellers, who cut their memo terms to 30 days-plus. Most importantly, cash became king once again.

We expect these trends to accelerate in 2009. We also expect DTC's rough prices to drop and, in De Beers’ words, to "reflect conditions in the polished market" in a realistic way. Miners will adopt more modest production and development ambitions, cutters and polishers will scale back their operations as a result, and wholesalers and retailers will be embroiled in a game of survival of the fittest.

Indeed, it will probably take all of 2009 to fully appreciate the impact 2008 had on the industry. As a result, we expect to report in these pages a year from now, a fitter, stronger, more streamlined industry. Here’s wishing you all a prosperous New Year.






NC

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Tags: Abbey Chikane, Alrosa, Australia, Banks, Belgium, BHP Billiton, Bidz.com, Bulgari, Charles Taylor, China, Conflict Diamonds, Consumers, De Beers, DTC, Dubai, Economy, Finlay, Gem Diamonds, GIA, Government, Graff, Guinea, Harry Winston, Hong Kong, IGI, India, Industry Organizations, Israel, Israel Diamond Exchange, Japan, Jewelry, Kimberley Process, Laboratories, Lesotho, Letseng, Leviev, LVMH, Manufacturing, Michael Hill, Mining Companies, Myanmar, Namibia, Petra Diamonds, Polishing, Production, Rio Tinto, Rockwell, Russia, Safdico, Sightholders, Sights, Signet, Sotheby's, South Africa, Tenders, Tiffany, World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Zale, Zimbabwe
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Excellent summary
Jan 28, 2009 6:40PM    By Donn Pearlman
Thank you for the compelling summary and interesting perspective commentary about 2008 and the prospects for 2009 and beyond.
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