WFDB aims to lead diamond world as perfect storm continues to brew



The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has whittled down applications to a shortlist of three candidates for the post of executive director for the global organisation.

The new executive director will join an organisation battling to contain a crisis of confidence in the world diamond industry fuelled by modern treatment techniques that artificially improve the appearance of stones.

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There is also turmoil in pricing, with rough prices rising at the same time as finished stones are falling.

Leaders of exchanges around the globe met in Tel Aviv on Monday to hear about developments over the past year from WFDB president Ernie Blom (pictured above) who, ahead of the meeting, had admitted that: “Rarely have we had to deal with so many challenges and so it is critical that all the bourse presidents attend to present their particular perspective and to hear the input from their colleagues across the globe”.

On Monday Blom gave an update on the recent case where the GIA in Israel discovered more than 400 diamonds that appeared to have been subjected to a colour treatment in order to increase their colour grade. “Tom Moses, the GIA’s vice president and chief laboratory and research officer, told us on Monday that the GIA is investigating the nature of the treatment and they will keep us updated,” Blom said.

He also reported on the issue of diamond price lists, specifically the list published by Martin Rapaport. He said there is considerable concern about the list, particularly following a recent drop in prices that was not regarded by the industry as justified. “Martin Rapaport has said he will sit with us to discuss the issue. We have set up a committee with IDMA to see how this can be done, and it has a high priority.”

The new executive director will need to tackle these and other issues, Blom asserted. “The aim of the new executive director will be to drive forward our agenda and to make us an even more dynamic force in the global diamond trade,” he told the meeting.

Blom said the WFDB continues to hold meetings with banks, producers and labs in order to maintain strong relations. He told members of the concerns of the banks regarding the diamond trade and the specific issues that the banks would like to see dealt with, such as unqualified reports, price discovery, pre-post delivery and mitigation risk.

He also spoke about the different types of WFDB membership categories available, since the body is keen to expand its membership beyond purely bourse members. In addition to bourses, there is a national category for states to join, and associated members in which category India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and ABN Amro Bank have joined the WFDB.


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