Leading a small team from the promotions committee of the WFDB, we concluded at the World Diamond Congress in Dubai of June this year that we would create a Young Diamantaires Group.
It was created for the purpose of bringing together people involved in the diamond trade, whether it be manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers under the age of 45 (myself excluded) who wish to share new ideas and stimulate conversation as to where the diamond industry will head into the future.
The inaugural event was a huge success, with over 60 people from around the world attending from countries like Israel, Belgium, India, South Africa, Canada, England, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and USA. In addition through our restricted Facebook page, we broadcast the event live.
The central mode of communication from the start has been a WhatsApp group, which is growing every week with new people asking to join.
So let’s stop and reflect for a moment where we are in the world today. I would like to paraphrase some of my thoughts expressed on the night.
If you speak to major diamond manufacturers and wholesalers today from all the major diamond centres in the world, you will hear about problems with the lack of credit, pricing and worst of all bankruptcies. Add all these things together, and who has time to think creatively about the future of our industry?
The older generation saw what many would describe as the golden years. Today those who experienced those times can’t help being disenchanted and skeptical of our future prospects. As I quoted on the evening, an Indian philosopher once stated “there are not enough years in your life to experience the mistakes made by others” meaning it is critical that we learn from those before us. However, let’s not forget Einstein’s famous definition of insanity “Do not expect to do the same thing again and again and get a different result”.
I think it’s fair to say that many continue to run their businesses, or at least seem to run their businesses no differently to how they did five or 10 years ago if not longer. Therefore why should things change – never mind improve – for them?
I went on to say that every person in that room has a mobile phone and on every mobile phone we have a camera. My analogy is as follows:
- Focus on what’s important, then take a shot;
- If that shot was successful, enjoy the moment, learn from it and don’t forget to share with others;
- If it failed – so what! Just take another shot.
I’m sure you can see my philosophy that we all could either implement or at least contemplate.
Today, we have a group of Diamond mining companies who have finally come together and are attempting to create a generic marketing program. Although they spoke about doing this 10 years ago, it’s fair to say that they weren’t compelled to do something about it until the World Federation of Diamond Bourses took the initiative and created the World Diamond Mark Foundation for this exact purpose.
Regardless, we commend them for taking action. They commissioned a major research project and produced a report targeted at millennials, with the campaign centred around the slogans ”real is rare” and ”real is a diamond”. The World Diamond Mark is looking to focus on providing jewellery retailers with the alternative or complimentary statement “Find part of you in a diamond”.
The Chairman of the World Diamond Mark Foundation Alex Popov was asked recently if he was optimistic about the future of diamonds in the luxury segment. He didn’t hesitate to say yes, but he went on to suggest that maybe our optimism is based on a degree of insanity… Here comes Einstein again.
No – on a serious note, he believes that our industry to a large extent is based on our love for the product, and all that is connected to it.
“You see,”Alex goes on to say, “without this industry we lose those inherent relationships, the emotions, and like bees to honey our passion for beautiful things which sparkle in our hands and stimulate emotions of trust, love and passion throughout the world and through the ages. Electronic gadgets, synthetic diamonds, and even the Birkin bag will all have difficulty creating the emotions of a natural diamond… maybe we are crazy, but how else do you describe love?”
An exciting initiative by the World Diamond Mark foundation is Facets of Mankind – the World Diamond Museum. This exhibition will show rough, polished and jewellery pieces, the way they have influenced the fate of people, countries, and continue to excite the public. The exhibition will be made up of a combination of multimedia installations, actual stones and famous jewellery. Facets of Mankind will travel the world (Australia included) creating interest and educating the next generation as to the important role diamonds have played in history, with a strong online educational component to complement. The aim is to launch this museum in late 2017.
When I asked one of the Young Diamantaires what he wants from joining the group, his answer was as follows: “don’t tell me to think outside the box, I don’t want a box to start with”… I love it, with this approach it’s just the beginning of fresh thinking and wonderful new ideas.