Ronnie VanderLinden

IDMA President

Diamonds in The Age of the Consumer

September 11, 2022 – Not all is well in our industry, as the diamond mining sector faces multiple challenges. In South Africa, disaster struck at the Jagersfontein diamond mine when a dam broke, flooding a nearby neighborhood and killing several people. Illegal mining is just one of the many problems the diamond and precious metal industry is coping with within that vast country. Also, in earlier editions of our WINC newsletter, we reported extensively on the shortcomings of South Africa’s government in encouraging alluvial diamond mining.

Russia’s entanglement in Ukraine continues to hamper rough diamond supplies to the diamond industry. It is disrupting the diamond supply pipeline in general. Sanctions against Russia are poised to upset the relationship between the various diamond manufacturing and trading centers. Each center offers reasons for observing or circumventing them.

We want to call your attention to the recordings of FACETS 2022, the diamond conference held on September 14 and 15, 2022, in Antwerp, IDMA’s hometown. The Antwerp World Diamond World Center (AWDC) organized the meeting under the header “Diamonds in The Age of the consumer.” The two-day event was attended by captains of the diamond industry and politicians.

Expertly emceed by diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan, we saw, among others, interviews with Botswana’s minister of mining and De Beers’ CEO Bruce Cleaver. Reportedly, before the first invitations were sent out, ALROSA announced it would not be attending.

One of the panels discussed sustainability. Iris van der Veken, the newly minted Executive Director at Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030, led a prime-time panel on the topic. She recalled that, while sustainability now is firmly on the industry’s agenda, 15 years earlier, at a similar industry event in Antwerp, she had to push really hard to get a discussion on sustainability to be included at the end of a conference day. “Things have definitely changed for the better,” van de Veeken noted.

Another panel discussed diamonds and diamond jewelry marketing. The only jewelry manufacturer at the table was Roberto Coin. Coin noted that the leading jewelry brands, chains, and mass marketers – were sorely missed at the table in the otherwise lively and engaging discussions.

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