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.