Make no mistake: This was an excellent year for the industry. And still, for all the good news, people are nervous about the future.
People are worried about treatments and synthetics, what De Beers is really up to, and, most importantly, the Internet.
The walls between retailing and wholesaling are getting increasingly hazy. Where once there was a clearly delineated pipeline, now sometimes you can’t tell who fills what roles. Tiffany is going to mines to buy rough, sightholders are selling over the Internet to consumers, and De Beers is selling its “brand.” Auctions used to be limited to a few houses and customers. Now everyone can do it.
The Internet has become such a free-for-all that consumers are deluged with information about diamonds — much of it very good, but there is also plenty of misinformation. (If you search for “diamonds” on E-bay, you get a post listing a “diamond CZ.” Another site talks about diamonds “carots.”)
With the Internet, anyone can put up a site and sell. There could be fall-out when people have bad experiences with some of the scam-artists and fly-by-night “dot.com” companies. All these companies are not going to make it.
Through the Years …
When we started, in the 1960s, people sold diamonds.
In the 1970s, they sold investments.
In the 1980s, they sold “paper” (certificates).
In the 1990s, they sell lists of diamonds (via the Internet.)