The most talked about, and contentious, moment at the Plumb Club forum today came from International Diamond Manufacturers Association President Jeffrey Fischer. Here is the relevant portion of his speech …
Earlier today, Mike [Martin] Rapaport addressed you folks. I want to take great care to make clear that my remarks are not to be taken as criticism of Mike. They are meant as a criticism of our industry. I have great respect for Mike …
Mike’s price list – his claim to fame – has been so successful, not only because he was first, but because he continues to do it better than anyone else.
Mike just added 10 carat stones to his price list – certainly an astute move to fill a perceived void. To add this category without adding more pages to the list, he consolidated three sizes into two. Mike will say that the change in size ranges reflects the way these sizes are now being sold, but the trade does not necessarily agree. I believe it was a convenient way to make room for the 10 carat prices. Watch as an entire industry meekly changes its merchandising and pricing to suit the graphic layout of his price list, just as we have conformed in the past. Mike, hopefully you will re-consider the re-sizing.
I spoke to Rapaport later; he seemed disappointed in the comments, and the fact he didn’t get a chance to respond in public (time ran out before questions could be asked.) He ascribed the remarks to the general conversativism of an industry that fears change. Earlier in the day he said his ten carat list was an attempt to put a lid on rampant speculation, which he addressed here.
I should add that overall the Plumb Club Forum was very well-done and useful. Good job, guys!
UPDATE: Rapaport responds further here.