Hong Kong: The World Diamond Mark Foundation (WDMF) was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting held by a number of the major producers – as reported by Bloomberg – who gathered in London to discuss diamond marketing, industry research and the threat to consumer confidence from undisclosed synthetic stones entering the market. Reportedly, the meeting was attended by representatives of De Beers, Rio Tinto, Alrosa, Dominion Diamond Corp., OAO Lukoil, Petra Diamonds Ltd., Gem Diamonds Ltd. and Lucara Diamond Corp.
“‘A meeting was held to assess the need for a producer association similar to other commodity-based organizations,’ Rio Tinto said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News, declining to name all the participants. ‘The idea of the body is to promote the interests of diamond producers and the diamond sector more generally. We will continue the discussions with industry participants,” according to Bloomberg.
It was also said that the producers had discussed the need for an industry association that “would help to formalize an industry response to questions from consumers and investors” on issues such as synthetic diamonds, as well as promotion and marketing. William Lamb, chief executive officer of Lucara, was quoted, saying that the producers agreed “that it was time that we had something like this in place.” The news agency further reported that “the group will have an initial budget of $6 million a year…..”
Speaking from Hong Kong, Ernest Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and WDMF Vice Chairman said: “As the WDMF is already pushing forward and is in advanced stages toward the implementation of a comprehensive strategy and programme for the generic promotion of diamonds, we hope to engage with the producers and get them on board with us, as their participation and stated willingness to fund such efforts will be crucial to the success of generic promotion throughout the supply pipeline.”
WDMF Chairman Alex Popov commented that at the same time that the producers were meeting in London, in Hong Kong an exclusive group of diamond industry members was discussing diamond promotion as well. “While the producers were meeting in London, we were holding the first edition of a think tank meeting on diamond marketing in Hong Kong — suggested by Rio Tinto and implemented by the WDMF – that was attended by representatives of retailers, manufacturers, bankers and producers met for the first time to discuss the game plan for joint generic promotion. The parties agreed not to disclose the nature of discussions but expressed optimism and determination to take generic diamond promotion further,” Popov said.
“Obviously, the London meeting offers proof that also among the producers there is a growing recognition that we need to come together on the topic of generic diamond promotion. We sincerely hope, for the sake of the entire supply line, that the producers will throw their full weight behind the efforts of the WDMF and join us in this most important endeavor,” Popov added.