I find that Rough Diamond procurement is not evolving with times and the main cause why the Diamond industry is stalled and not moving forward.
C Sithole – Gemmologist/ Mineral Evaluator (MMCZ)
It seems that Rough Diamond procurement techniques are just not keeping with times.Instead of naturally evolving forward, I find it is getting more and more complicated for the small to medium-size manufacturers to get the actual products they require.
Today a Diamond cutter has basically two conventional options:
1) Purchasing through second and third-hand dealers while paying premiums on the already hefty costs originating from long term (overly financed) client contracts.
2) Participating in the plentiful rough
Diamond tenders (auctions) where the highest bid wins (usually).
In both cases, the downside is a tremendous burden on Diamond manufacturers and in turn hurt the downstream sectors as well.
Instead of adapting to current industry requirements with the ability to service the special needs of cutters, major rough producers (including Zimbabwe) choose the comfort zone of supplying huge (and few) conglomerates with massive quantities of rough materials.
I believe in today’s world, a cutting facility should have the ability to acquire the exact material requirements for their business. In turn, these cutting facilities will need to evolve and bring innovative & added-value products in order to compete with mass-market manufacturers (introducing variety – fancy cuts, etc)
What we have instead is a constant oversupply of mass-produced generic cuts (round brilliants and a few other fancy cuts) which flood the markets with Diamonds competing to be sold at higher discounts as best scenario or worse to be consigned (memo) to jewellers and will sit on shelves waiting to be purchased.
Such old-world thinking and habits! It might help some companies, but bottom line, it is hurting business in general, it stalls innovation, advancement and mostly it keeps the industry awareness in the sleeping mode.
C Sithole – Gemmologist/ Mineral Evaluator (MMCZ)Associate Member, Accredited Gemologists Association, CA, USA
Student Member, American Society of Appraisers, NY, USA
GIA Alumni – GD, AJP
Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers – Technologist Member
This article first appeared in the September 2019 of the Mining Zimbabwe Magazine.