The 37th World Diamond Congress opened in Dubai yesterday (May 17) under the themes of transparency, responsibility, sustainability.

Welcoming delegates from across the diamond world, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and chair of the Kimberley Process, said: “We often say that our city has a pivotal location between east and west. The important global events here this month show that diamonds are particularly big on the agenda with today’s opening of the World Diamond Congress and the Kimberley Process Intercessional meetings next week. The fact that the world’s industry leaders are taking part in these conferences also show that we are united in our pursuit of industry excellence.”

On the opening day World Federation of Diamond Bourses presidents unanimously re-elected Ernie Blom as president for a further two-year term, and Israel Diamond Exchange president Yoram Dvash as vice-president, replacing Julien Drybooms. India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council was accepted as a WFDB member.


In addition, Dubai Diamond Exchange chairman Peter Meeus spoke of the growing role of Dubai in the global diamond business, saying it traded more than $30 billion of diamonds in 2015.

Meeus added that banks in Dubai are looking at financing options for the diamond business.

IDMA Secretary-General Ronnie Vanderlinden, delivering a speech on behalf of president Maxim Shkadov who could not attend, spoke about the difficulties of manufacturers in making a profit and hoped the banking sector would provide financing.

Diamond Producers Association (DPA) chief executive officers Jean-Marc Lieberherr then described the work of the organisation, particularly research into the likes and dislikes of the millennial generation of 18-35-year-olds. He explained the DPA will be revealing its marketing plans at the JCK Show Las Vegas next month.

Meanwhile, World Diamond Mark (WDM) chairman Alex Popov told the WFDB working session about its wide-ranging operations. He said that Authorized Diamond Dealer status has been awarded to 98 stores in 10 countries, and also mentioned the magazine that it publishes, its revamped website and the extra services it provides, and the WDMuseum – Facets of Mankind.

WFDB executive director Louise Prior spoke of her work since taking up the position in August 2015, with the aim of growing the WFDB membership and increasing its role as the authoritative voice of the diamond sector.

Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, the president of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, spoke warmly of the strong relations between CIBJO and the WFDB, and the closeness of the two bodies on a range of critical industry issues.