Being generally handed down from father to son, the diamond trade remains the privilege of a small circle of traders throughout the world. Between confidence and know-how, it requires a little more than just learning. One is born a diamantaire much more than one works to become a dealer. Within the great diamond families of several generations, diamonds are often a passion. Thus, the founder of Woodeex, is a third-generation member of a long line of diamantaire from Antwerp, one of the world’s leading diamond exchanges. Diamond negotiations involving large sums of money are essentially based on trust. In fact, it is worth remembering that in the diamond exchanges, a simple handshake has the power to validate transactions, which are only made orally.
In general, but particularly within the diamond exchanges, the profession of diamantaire implies trust but also the requirement of guarantees and guarantors, which explains why it is transmitted almost exclusively within closed family circles. The guarantors are those persons of trust who commit themselves and vouch for the diamantaire. They are often members of the same family. In order to enter the almost sacred diamond exchanges world, diamantaires are subjected to very strict controls and must be able to justify an exceptional curriculum, recommendations from qualified diamantaires and the guarantee of several guarantors.
The complex diamond trade profession includes several specializations or levels in the diamond production chain. There are diamond manufacturers, wholesalers and brokers.
What is the diamond trade profession?
The diamantaire devotes him-/herself exclusively to the trade of the diamond which he/she buys and sells. He does not trade in jewelry but only in diamonds. It is important to specify that the diamantaire is a trader unlike the stone cutter, also called lapidary, who is a craftsman. The experience and know-how of diamantaire are found more in his/her knowledge and recognition of diamonds. There are many very specific criteria, such as the 4C’s, which correspond to international standards defined by the diamond industry, and allows for the quality and value of each stone to be evaluated. However, the exciting diamond trade profession requires a real expertise in the evaluation of a diamond which goes well beyond the criteria of the 4C. As a trained expert gemologist, he/she alone is qualified to evaluate a diamond and set its price according to a rigorous expertise.
It is also important to note that buying a diamond is a real experience that requires more than a perfect mastery of the objective criteria that the 4Cs represent. In order to choose the right diamond for the occasion, for our selection criteria, for our budget and for our quality requirements, the diamantaire’s sharp eye is essential to evaluate the brilliance in a stone as well as the emotion it emits.
Who are the diamond manufacturers and Sightholders?
Diamond manufacturers are able to purchase rough diamonds directly from large mining groups such as De Beers, Alrosa or Rio Tinto, leaders in diamond mining and marketing. For example, the De Beers group, which has been producing diamonds since 1888, has manufacturing diamond merchants as customers, who are able to purchase rough diamonds from the group’s marketing department. De Beers’ customers, known as Sightholders, build up their inventory either through direct sales, which take place several times a year, or through auctions. Direct sales account for 90% of the group’s sales. At these sales, Sightholders are invited to inspect and select merchandise. The remaining 10% of sales are made through auctions offered to 950 registered buyers on a dedicated platform.
The Sightholders, which are among the largest diamond dealers, have direct access to diamonds that have just been extracted from the diamond mines. After acquiring all of their stones, the diamond manufacturers have them cut and polished in various cutting countries such as India, China, Thailand or Russia, and then transport their goods to their offices in the worldwide diamond exchanges.
Thus, the diamond supply chain follows precise rules, passing through different types of professionals along the way from their mining through commercialization to the individuals.
What is the role of wholesale diamantaires?
Wholesale diamantaires generally do not have the capacity or the means to purchase large quantities of rough diamonds directly from the major mining groups. Therefore, they are second only to the manufacturing diamantaires in the overall diamond production chain. They buy their merchandise at the exchanges from the manufacturing diamantaires or other wholesalers.
Who are the diamond brokers?
It is common to find many brokers in the diamond exchanges. They are independent commercial agents who work within the exchanges only by playing the role of intermediary between the various diamantaires, manufacturers and wholesalers. They receive a 1% commission on each sale wherein they participate.
What is the diamond supply chain?
The rough diamonds, purchased from the major mining groups and then polished on the initiative of the diamond manufacturers, are sent directly to the world’s diamond exchanges where trading is in full swing between manufacturers and wholesalers who sell their stock there. The diamond manufacturers also offer their merchandise directly to international dealers, who then resell it to jewelry manufacturers, and then to retailers and so on to the final consumer. This is how the entire diamond supply chain is created on the market.
The diamond exchange, where the decisive exchanges take place, is a key meeting place for the diamond trade which allows all the diamonds in the world to circulate on the market between the different hands of manufacturers and jewelers until they reach the jewel boxes that can illuminate any moment. Before taking the next step in the production chain, while diamonds are still being traded on the exchanges, Woodeex offers its customers, an unprecedented direct access to this stage of the negotiations thanks to the presence, on its online platform, of the largest active diamantaires on the world’s major diamond exchanges.
Here is a graph of the diamond supply chain that allows you to understand and compare the Woodeex process with the traditional process and thus better identify the savings.
Diamond embellishes our neck, illuminates our fingers and designs our wrists. However, before getting to our bodies, it has come a long way, from the extraction at its native land wherein it has evolved for over thousands of years, through the large diamond mines, the worldwide diamond exchanges, the diamantaires, and then the jewelry manufacturers and retailers. In a unique and innovative concept, Woodeex has decided to offer individuals direct access to the Diamond Exchange.
By the way, what is the Diamond Exchange?
When you wish to buy a polished diamond, there are several ways to proceed. You can go to the jeweler to choose your diamond and have it mounted or you can now, thanks to Woodeex, have direct access to the source of the supply chain of polished diamonds: the worldwide diamond exchanges. Thus, a very large choice of certified diamonds, selected for their ethical origins, becomes accessible to individuals who also benefit from the source’s prices, without the margins of the various intermediaries. The Woodeex online platform offers direct access to diamantaires and their stocks from the world’s largest diamond exchanges before they continue on their way to the retail jewelers…
Let us, however, start with some clarifications about the diamond exchange, how it works and what it does.
The Diamond Exchange… where it all starts?
Only a few large mines in Africa, Russia and Australia contribute to the totality of diamond extraction and exploitation in the world. Most of the extracted stones, about 90%, are used as industrial diamonds and are mainly used as abrasives in drilling, cutting, grinding and polishing materials for different industries such as oil, automotive or armament. The remaining 10% of the world’s finest gem-quality stones are shipped to the various world markets.
From the mines that extract the diamonds off the ground, the diamond exchange represents the very first step in the commercialization of diamonds, the starting point of this incredible industry. The diamond exchanges bring together a wide variety of diamonds offered by diamantaires from all over the world who must meet extremely strict selection criteria to gain access.
Where are the locations of the main diamond exchanges?
Of the 29 diamond exchanges around the world, only four major exchanges share a large majority of the polished diamond trade: Antwerp, New York, Tel Aviv and Mumbai. Others, such as those in Dubai and Hong Kong, are becoming increasingly popular. All the exchanges are grouped together within the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, whose mission is to set the framework and rules and to protect the interests of its members. It is also responsible for promoting diamonds internationally.
How does the Diamond Exchange work?
The diamond exchange is reserved for selected professional diamantaires and is governed by very strict trading and operating rules. Not only does it have its own guidelines, but it also has its own judicial system for resolving any disputes between member diamantaires. The diamond exchange thus appears to be a place of choice, a guarantee of trust, security, know-how and high standards, a place for meetings and exchanges between diamantaires, brokers and manufacturers, wherein the individual has no place. The selection conditions of the diamantaires who have access to the diamond exchange follow extremely strict criteria.
What if we visited the Diamond Exchanges…
In the large buildings and ultra-secure architectural complexes in the heart of cities, trading is in full swing in the rules of art and in strict respect of traditional ways. Operations are only carried out verbally and validated by a handshake… If we drill through the mythical secret of these magical places, we will discover the daily life of thousands of experts gathered around a bustling trade. Regardless of whether you are in India, Belgium, Israel, the United States or elsewhere in the world, the exchanges all look pretty much the same. If you take a walk through the famous business district of Bandra, which houses the Bharat Diamond Bourse, or in the heavily guarded diamond district of Antwerp, in the magnificent architectural complex of Ramat Gan or at the Diamond Dealer Club in New York, you will discover that the diamond exchange is not an abstract concept as one might think, but the place where many specialists work and trade. It is the place where each member diamantaire’s office is located, as well as a trading floor, administrative offices, security services, maintenance services, restaurants and safe deposit boxes. These closed and highly supervised areas are reserved for a privileged audience: diamond manufacturers and wholesalers, brokers and some setters. They discuss, negotiate, and exchange pricesm as well as drinks and a few handshakes. The informal yet regulated aspect of the negotiations makes it a special institution.
It’s not hard to imagine that such a high level of security requires flawless organization and surveillance. A badge is required for every entrance and exit. Visits by guests are subject to strict controls.
How does one become a member of the Diamond Exchange?
Although access to the diamond exchange remains the prerogative of privileged diamantaire, it is not without reason. A tough selection process and highly selective criteria are a guarantee of quality and trust. To become a member, it is necessary to follow a precise curriculum and to comply with all the stipulated requirements. Firstly, only diamantaires with a long experience in the diamond business, either on their own, or for an employer, are eligible for this distinction. The applicant must have a clean criminal record and must undergo a rigorous examination with numerous documents to be provided, and must go through a series of interviews, at the end of which they are subjected to a lie detector test. The new candidate must be recommended by several experienced diamantaires, provide financial guarantors who are ready to commit themselves to him/her and, if necessary, to pay his/her debts. He/she must also be a personal guarantor of all his/her assets. It is easy to understand that after having successfully passed these different steps, one can boast of being a member of a diamond exchange.
Diamonds attract us at first sight. Yet it is all the more fascinating to unravel their mystery. It is interesting to discover more about diamonds than just the basics.
Did you know, for example, that the “diamond shape” is not limited to the classic, timeless or fancy shapes we usually find, such as the Princess, Oval, Heart, Pear, Cushion, or other basic geometric shapes?
The most incredible sizes exist and are worth knowing.
Although the traditional diamond shapes are still appreciated by all for their classic appearance, others will surprise and seduce the lovers of originality and exceptions.
Indeed, diamond cutting is a true art that requires, beyond the exceptional know-how of the lapidary craftsman, creativity and imagination to highlight the diamonds and make them sparkle.
In traditional jewelry stores, you will mostly find classic and fancy diamonds that generally belong to one of the 12 popular diamond shapes we mentioned above. However, there are many other shapes that are much rarer and therefore harder to find on the market as like the horse’s head, the flower, the butterfly, the Kite, the half-moon or the briolette.
These rare shapes are less prized than the others and often belong to a different sales category. Very, or even too special, sometimes patented, these sizes are sometimes sold exclusively to certain brands, which make them uncommon and expensive.
While these original and unique shapes are often used, on jewelry, as classic shape accent stones, they can also be used as centerpieces.
There is no official diamond price, as diamonds are not listed on the stock market.
The diamond price is managed by professionals in the field and not by an external financial authority.
The Rapaport Diamond Report, a true institution in the trade, serves as a reference for the world’s diamond dealers in fixing the price of diamonds. It is the most popular and well-known report in the global diamond industry.
The first Rapaport price list was compiled by Martin Rapaport, the founder of the Rapaport Diamonds Group, in 1978.
The Rapaport Diamond Report is updated weekly based on actual inventory, world production, and supply and demand. It is designed to reflect the market situation, report fluctuations and serve as the basis for calculating the price of diamonds on the world market.
The report is published in tabular form and values diamonds based on carat weight, color and clarity. The price quoted based on this information is expressed in dollars per carat.
Two weekly reports are published: the list of round diamonds and the list of pear-shaped diamonds, which is actually valid for all fancy shapes.
For colored diamonds, there is no specific price list; they are sold according to market supply and demand. Rare colored diamonds are usually sold at public auctions around the world.