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Jan. 2000

* First the good news. We think the year 2000 will be another “year of plenty” for the U.S. economy, which bodes well for the diamond industry as a whole.

* The recoveries of the Far East and Japanese markets are progressing very slowly, but they will continue, although it will take a while before the people in those countries have enough money to buy luxuries.

* You’ll be seeing the De Beers name even more as the company looks likely to go ahead with “branding.” The only thing that could stop De Beers is anti-trust considerations. One possible solution could be that the “new De Beers” will no longer be a “producers cooperative,” and stop contracting with outside producers and concentrate on their own, more profitable operations.

* As worldwide consumption is expected to increase, so will diamond mining. With more venture capital available in Canada and other places, there should be no lack of commercially profitable mines.

* There’s no question about it: There will soon be synthetic colorless and fancy-colored diamonds available. These won’t kill the prices of natural diamonds, but jewelers will have to learn to identify them. Also, expect new kinds of treatments — although we think there will eventually be a way to identify the Lazare Kaplan-General Electric “Pegasus” (now “Monarch”) process.

* Inscriptions will become more popular. GIA and others may also start advertising this service directly to the public. In fact, a lot more wholesalers will be advertising directly to the public.

* E-commerce will continue to grow, but established retailers won’t be hurt for many years.

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