January 31, 2021 – A few days ago, I sat down to write out a check. But I had to throw it out and write a new one, as I had inadvertently written: “January xx, 2020.” Thank heavens, 2020 is gone – and for good. We are now going forward and already a full month into 2021.
On the whole, the good news is that contrary to our apprehensions, the diamond, gem, and jewelry industry and trade performed relatively well in 2020. Industry specialists, such as Paul Zimnisky and Edahn Golan, among others, have all pointed out the current “bounce back” the diamond industry is experiencing, with price levels coming close to those before the pandemic. That is indeed encouraging.
But don’t think for a minute that our industry will revert to the pre-pandemic business models.
Back in 2008, we were forced to enter an economic “New Normal” for that time; in 2021, we have been also forced into the structurally different “Next New Normal”.
The Covid-19 pandemic has behaved like a tsunami, coming at us in waves. It has caused and will continue to cause tremendous human tragedy and suffering, death, and severe illness, with many long-lasting side effects and repercussions. Without a doubt, it is a life- and world-changing event. In particular, within our industry, it has swept away a lot of the long-time, ingrained business models and practices we were used to.
Who would have thought – just one year ago – that diamond manufacturers would actually even consider buying rough online, without touching the goods and examining the stones with their own eyes? But, not only did they consider it, they successfully bought rough, produced it, and in the next round came back for more. Throughout the diamond supply pipeline, we’ve seen businesses adapt, increase and beef up their online abilities and presences.
In our niche of the business, i.e., diamond manufacturing and trading, it is imperative that we continue to adapt. Not only must our individual businesses have online capabilities, but we also need our own, local, online platforms that enable us to communicate, share information, and most importantly, trade with eachother. In practice, we need to be able to knock on one another’s digital doorjamb and ask, “Hey, do you have a 1.30. PS, commercial, SI-1-2?” Far and wide, the call will be heard!
While the pandemic has been devastating, it also has compelled us all to look beyond that what was, and look forward to what can be. Every so often, we can identify a benefit or something good that has come through all of this. As IDMA president, I ask all our members to consider: if you already have not done so, have an online presence, so that your business will not only be local, but also “glocal.”
Globally, many of our members have no or only a minimal online presence. Locally, a good number of members of the renowned Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA), do not have a significant online presence, but hopefully soon will.
During the next IDMA board meeting, which will take place within the next few weeks, this – and other relevant topics – will be discussed. We realize that many of our members will need helpful advice on strategies to make their online presence a success.
Let us all communicate, adapt and work together for the benefit of all in this “next normal” world that we have been thrust into.