In your opinion, will Swatch Group’s official departure of Baselworld fair affect the list of diamond buyers?
The departure of the Swatch Group will affect not just the diamond buyers, it will affect the Baselworld fair as a whole. Baselworld has been based on the presence of three giants that generated the flow of customers and caught the industry's attention internationally. The Swatch Group is one of those three giants, and their departure emphasizes the fact that something is problematic with Baselworld. For the past three years, exhibitors and visitors alike have been expressing concerns to the organisers about the pricing of the exhibition, the infrastructure of the city (hotels, restaurants, entertainment, etc.), the location of Hall 3 (Hall of Elements), and so on. Baselworld management never addressed those concerns. While all the other watches and jewellery shows in the world have been expanding, over the past three years, Baselworld has lost its dimension and glory with the number of exhibitors being reduced by more than 50 percent. It is not a surprise that Baselworld's prior management has been recently replaced and that the new team is trying to recapture the lost momentum. The departure of Swatch is a consequence of Baselworld's poor management and its departure will directly affect diamond buyers by reducing the importance of the fair and the attraction of newcomers.
At the end of May 2018, De Beers announced the launch of a new company, called “Lightbox Jewelry”. That company will market a new brand of laboratory-grown diamonds. What, in your opinion, shall be the impact of this new company on other companies?, Will it harm the profitability of manufacturers who manufactured and/or sold diamonds so far?
De Beers’ strategy in launching lab-grown diamonds is motivated by internal reasons that only their management can respond to. De Beers has long lost its DNA as a diamond industry leader and their action to launch lab-grown diamonds was a disappointment to the entire diamond industry. DeBeers' action in this case is not the main issue. The real issue here is the development of the lab-grown diamond industry. I believe that lab-grown diamonds will meet the needs of a new population that has never purchased a natural diamond before, or that was very price sensitive to the value of natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds create a new market segment and if anything they will have a positive impact by making natural diamonds more desirable. In the past, every time man has tried to synthesize or treat a gemstone (such as rubies, sapphires or emeralds), the demand for the natural product expanded and its price increased. Therefore, I am confident that people will always want to purchase natural diamonds. However, I’m aware that our industry will have to embrace and respond to some serious environmental issues. It will have to invest massively in more responsible and sustainable ways of extracting diamonds and running the diamond business. This is the real issue that we have to address in order for jewellery customers to regain confidence in our industry and to secure the future generations’ interest in the hardest, rarest and most valuable natural element on Earth.