Israel’s Diamond Trade Sees Strong February

Israel Diamond Exchange complex in Ramat Gan.

 Israel’s diamond exports improved in February amid steady jewelry demand in key retail markets and the opening of a trade channel with Dubai, according to government data.

Polished shipments out of Israel jumped 24% year on year to $251.6 million for the month, with volume increasing 20% to 122,784 carats, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Industry reported last week. Rough exports rose 21% to $124 million, while volume slipped 9% to 188,317 carats.

The ministry attributed the growth to higher demand for studded jewelry in the US and China. As for rough trading, 16% of exports were to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with which Israel reached a peace deal in August, the government noted. Before that, Israel was unable to ship goods directly to Dubai, an important center for rough tenders. The improvement also came despite a February lockdown in Israel, which affected the availability of flights, the ministry pointed out.

“The industry has cause for optimism after a difficult year,” said Ophir Gore, Israel’s diamond controller. “The data that the global diamond sector has seen in the past two months — especially in the American diamond and jewelry market — indicate demand has recovered. The first half of this year is expected to be particularly positive for the industry.”


Israel, Dubai Diamond Sectors Sign Trade Deal


Diamond bourses in Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a cooperation deal following the recent peace accord between the two Middle East countries.

The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will open a representative office in Dubai, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) will establish an office Ramat Gan, the organizations said Thursday following a virtual ceremony. The two nations’ diamond sectors will also work together to promote trading, and agreed to organize an Israel-Dubai diamond fair.

“Through the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), we have come to know and value the leaders of the Dubai diamond industry,” said Yoram Dvash, president of the IDE and the WFDB. “The agreement will enable us to build on these relationships to the benefit of the members of our respective bourses.”

On August 13, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations and cooperate on trade. While diamond executives had quietly been traveling between the two nations for some time, the peace treaty enabled formal business ties.

Image: The Israel Diamond Exchange and executives at the opening of the redesigned


Israel, Dubai diamond exchanges begin strategic collaboration

The Israel and Dubai diamond exchanges have signed an agreement to promote cooperation in a deal certain to boost direct trade between the Middle East’s main diamond hubs.

The agreement was announced on Thursday two days after Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an historic agreement to normalize ties and marks a further development in economic collaboration.

The diamond deal, finalised in a video conference ceremony, was welcome news for an industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and overall weaker global demand.

As part of the agreement, the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will open an office in Dubai and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) will open one in Ramat Gan, home to the Israeli exchange.

The two parties said they will share experience and knowledge, work to promote bilateral trade and collaborate on exhibitions, visits and conferences. They also agreed to arrange an Israeli-Dubai diamond fair to be held in Dubai and Ramat Gan and to promote electronic trade.

Israel is one of the leading exporters of polished diamonds. IDE President Yoram Dvash said that Dubai, with its free zone and convenient business conditions, has become one of the most important diamond centers in the world.

The Dubai Diamond Exchange is part of the government-owned DMCC. The total value of rough and polished diamonds traded in Dubai last year exceeded $23 billion, the DMCC said.

“This agreement will attract businesses to the emirate as well as boost the regional and international trade of this precious stone,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the DMCC and chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange.

Israel’s diamond exports fell 28% in 2019 to $4.9 billion.

Reporting by Tova Cohen and Ari Rabinovitch

Israel Bourse Unveils ‘Real Diamonds’ Campaign

The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has launched an international awareness campaign, highlighting the unique features of natural diamonds.

The bourse will promote its “I love natural diamonds” campaign — which it says is the first international initiative by a global diamond center to differentiate real diamonds from synthetics — over social media. It will feature several short videos, released over a number of weeks, starting with a piece entitled “Fake Times. Real Diamonds.”

The project was first announced at the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) executive committee meeting, held in Israel last week.

“At a time when counterfeit products and fake reproductions flood almost every market, few commodities remain as rare and exceptional as natural diamonds,” said IDE president Yoram Dvash, who hosted the WFDB meeting.

“In this campaign we want to highlight the exceptional qualities of natural diamonds, as symbols of love and timelessness over the generations and throughout the world,” he added.

View the first video here:


Synthetics: Coming to a Bourse Near You?

Israel Diamond Exchange

Exchanges in Mumbai, Dubai and now Israel are dipping their toes in the water.

The rise of lab-grown diamonds might finally be trickling through to the historic heart of the trade: the diamond exchanges.

It began last November, when Anoop Mehta, president of Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), told Rapaport News some of its members had asked for a rethink of its total ban on synthetics in the complex. The BDB delayed taking action due to “issues” in the market in the last six to eight months, but could hold a vote later this year, Mehta said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Diamond Exchange hosted a tender of rough synthetic diamonds earlier this week — the first of its kind at any member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).

And in a Hebrew Facebook post on May 7, Yoram Dvash, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), announced he had sat down with senior bourse members to discuss how to approach the lab-grown question.

The James Allen effect

Dvash’s move was perhaps inevitable, after James Allen entered the synthetics sector earlier this month. The Israeli trade is a major supplier to James Allen through a special arrangement the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) has with the e-commerce business that is owned by Signet Jewelers. The Israeli trade sold about $30 million of goods to James Allen in 2018, according to a spokesperson for the IDI.

But the opportunities in synthetics go beyond just one client. The category has made headway in the US, though demand is less strong in Europe and the Far East, participants at Dvash’s May 6 gathering concluded. There were voices for and voices against entering the market, he reported, with some arguing that promoting man-made stones would damage the natural market.

It’s not clear what form any Israeli market entry would take. The bourse currently bans lab-grown diamonds from its IDE trading floor, and has no plans to change that, Dvash said. It doesn’t monitor what goes on in companies’ offices within the rest of the exchange building.

“Other members felt we must join [James Allen] in carrying synthetic stones,” he wrote. “A decision was made to continue to investigate the issue more deeply, and to hold a further discussion in the near future.”

In the meantime, the IDE plans to tighten its rules to ensure that any activity in lab-grown diamonds doesn’t lead to undisclosed mixing with natural stones. It wants traders to put a clear mark on the small envelopes for diamonds (commonly called “brifkas”) to indicate that a stone is synthetic, as well as on invoices, Dvash explained. The bourse will also allocate part of its budget to improve segregation of the two markets. The exchange has approved the budget, and is waiting for its legal committee to finalize the other two provisions.

Bourses’ independence

Bourses have the autonomy to make decisions on these issues themselves, so long as they ensure clear differentiation and ethical marketing, noted Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). Recent actions by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Diamond Producers Association have successfully alleviated many of the concerns about lab-grown producers misleading the public with their marketing, he added.

“[Bourses] have the right to decide if they want to have lab-grown diamonds on their bourses or not,” Blom said. “Whatever their decision is, we will basically support it.”

That gives the diamond bourses freedom to pursue ventures that benefit their members. The question that remains is whether that will result in the introduction of synthetics to the trading floor, thus entrenching the product in the industry’s core.