October 19, 2006
DTC Kicks Off International Roadshow in Israel
RAMAT GAN, Israel - At the invitation of Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) president Avi Paz and former World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) president Shmuel Schnitzer, the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) kicked off its second roadshow of international diamond capitals here on October 17, 2006, with a lecture for non-sightholders about consumer confidence and global marketing. Last year lectures were held in Antwerp, Mumbai, and Ramat Gan.
The seminar, open to all IDE members, was entitled "An Industry Call to Action," and featured DTC consumer confidence manager Andre Marais and communications manager Louise Prior.
Avi Paz praised the DTC for presenting to non-sightholders. "In the 21st century, information is the most important business asset. What we hear today will influence the entire industry, including Israel," he said.
Louise Prior noted that the DTC recognized that it had not communicated enough in the past with the industry. She recapped the company's involvement with Israel over the past year, which included a seminar for Israel Diamond Manufacturers' Association (IsDMA) young manufacturers and support for the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv. Prior said that Diamdel's Central Processing Office in Israel, which will serve the company's 500 non-sightholder customers around the world, will be opened in January 2007.
Despite a market challenged by profitability, liquidity, and consumer confidence issues, global diamond jewelry sales continued to grow, she said, adding that 2006 is expected to be a good year at the retail level. Prior said that in 2006 the DTC will invest $200 million to promote diamond jewelry sales globally, and that additional funds are being invested in the U.S. to drive demand during the second half of 2006.
Andre Marais discussed challenges to consumer confidence, listing conflict diamonds, money laundering, treated and synthetic stones, and humanitarian and environmental abuses as causing consumer confusion or concern. He called on the industry to ensure the integrity of the entire supply chain: "The industry must be vigilant. Disclosure must be pro-active, accurate and complete. It's the responsibility of each and every member," he said.
Both Marais and Prior noted the success of the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties, which reflect unprecedented cooperation by the entire industry, 68 governments, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations. The result has been that within three years, 99.8 percent of rough diamonds now are conflict-free, said Prior. Despite this, she said, the film Blood Diamond, which is scheduled to debut mid-December in the United States, may affect sales during the Christmas season.
IsDMA president and Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) chairman Moti Ganz said that marketing has become no less important than manufacturing in the diamond equation, and called for more Israeli diamantaires to take advantage of DTC's marketing initiatives.