Young Diamantaires Aim To Lead The Industry ForwardSeptember 15, 16
As with just about any other industry, members of the diamond trade are preoccupied with day-to-day issues. Competition has never been tougher. Marketing – whether to millennials or any other section of consumers – is complicated.
Then there is the concern with synthetic stones and whether or not they pose a threat to the natural, mined diamond industry. There is also the pressing issue of banking and financing for the industry, which is really the oxygen on which it lives.
But the preoccupation with ongoing issues, serious and understandable as it is, may stop the industry from thinking about something even more fundamental: who is going to carry it forward. Often in the United States, for example, the closure of retail jewelers is not always due to falling sales or bankruptcies, but that there is simply no younger member of the family willing to continue the tradition.
I don't know how many times I have heard, especially in the last several years, of companies where the head has been unable to persuade his children that they should carry the torch forward and take the company into the future. The concerns affecting the diamond trade and the feeling that it is not profitable have apparently convinced many younger people that this is not a business to enter.
It was these, and other arguments, that persuaded members of bourses around the globe to create a new Young Diamantaires initiative at the World Diamond Congress (WDC) in Dubai in May. The WDC is the biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and International Diamond Manufacturers Association. The group is not limited to WFDB members since its aim is to be inclusive and bring in as much input to discussions as possible.
Members of both organizations were keen to join up to the WFDB's Young Diamantaires group. And they wasted little time after leaving Dubai: setting up a WhatsApp and Facebook groups and using other social media to create an ongoing dialogue to discuss the group's aims and the challenges that face them. There was clearly a feeling that the members, aged 45 and below, wanted to be part of a larger grouping that can bring about real change.
Solidifying concerns and taking the group forward was on the agenda when the Young Diamantaires held its inaugural meeting at the Hong Kong Gems and Jewellery Fair on September 15. In an indication of the new mindset the members are bringing to the industry, the meeting was broadcast on the Internet to similarly-minded individuals and groups in the diamond centers and elsewhere. And the strength of feeling that the time was right for such a grouping was amply demonstrated by the turnout for the event which the WFDB said far exceeded expectations.
The diamond and jewelry industries have never needed communication and cooperation more. And encouraging the real sense of passion about the trade so apparent among the younger generation is also critical.
In addition, there is also a need to foster cooperation and the dissemination of information and assistance that will help all members of the trade for the greater good of the global industry.