Ronnie VanderLinden is New IDMA President

Dubai:  The International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), the representative body of the world’s diamond manufacturers, concluded its meetings at the 37th World Diamond Congress in Dubai, UAE, on May 19 with the election of a new President and Executive Board. Ronnie VanderLinden is the new President, while Philippe Roolant is Vice President. Kim Lanny is the new Secretary General and Stephane Fischler is Treasurer. IDMA President VanderLinden said the IDMA meetings were “challenging, energetic and sometimes very forceful.”

Outgoing IDMA President Maxim Shkadov was unable to attend due to developments in the Russian diamond market that required hisimmediate attention. In his speech, which was read for him by VanderLinden, he reiterated his concerns about the health of the industry.

“The pulse of the manufacturers remains weak. Why? Because we’re undernourished and anemic and while we’re working our fingers to the bone, after a day’s work, we are not making enough to keep our strength up. True enough, the diamond manufacturing business is not dead yet, but we’re very unhealthy,” Shkadov wrote. The speech can be read on the home page of the IDMA website:

As has become traditional at IDMA meetings, members heard industry reports from the World Diamond Council’s outgoing President Edward Asscher and WDC Executive Director Patricia Syvrud. In addition, there was an update on synthetic diamonds from the International Diamond Council and an in-depth, detailed presentation by Krisztina Kalman-Schueler, Programme Director of the World Diamond Mark, who walked the participants through the WDM’s 2017-2019 business plan. IDMA holds a seat on the World Diamond Mark Board.

Commenting on the meeting’s participants, content and subtance, VanderLinden noted he and his colleagues were very pleased with the participation of younger representatives. “It was inspring to meet new delegation leaders and members, and have them participate actively, and sometimes forcefully, in our discussions. This also was obvious in the extensive and vigorous discussions we held about the future imprint of IDMA on the diamond industry,” he added.

Newly elected Vice President Roolant said he had taken upon himself to begin liaising with leading diamond manufacturers and to help coordinate the strengthening of IDMA’s industry network.

Naturally, the topic of synthetic diamonds was also featured on the agenda. While the attending IDMA membership took care to recognize the legitimacy of the synthetic diamond business, it strongly denounced the synthetic sellers’ current marketing practices that seem to focus on generating negative publicity about natural diamonds.

In addition, members emphasized that for millions of people in the African diamond countries, diamond mining is their sole source of income, a fact that is blatantly ignored and misrepresented by synthetic diamond sellers and marketers.

IDMA also called upon the synthetic diamond producers to act responsibly and help insure synthetic diamonds do not inadvertently or unscrupulously get mixed into the natural diamond supply chain; in order to protect the gem and jewelry supply pipeline and consumers from fraud.

As to the format of Presidents’ Meetings and World Diamond Congress gatherings, IDMA members asked that the IDMA leadership make proposals that will assure future meetings will, first and foremost, address the needs of diamond manufacturers and importers.

At the close of the IDMA meetings, VanderLinden praised Maxim Shkadov for his service as president since 2012, recognized the outgoing vice presidents David De Toledo, Eduard Denckens and Suresh Shah, and thanked parting IDMA secretary Linda Vancauwenberghe for her many years of service.