Diamond Trading Company sightholders gathered in London Tuesday for the annual DTC Client Reception, hosted by DTC managing director, Varda Shine; and joined by Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers Group, and Gareth Penny, De Beers Group managing director.
The annual event provides sightholders with an opportunity to discuss the year ahead, with this year’s reception taking on added importance as all businesses plan for bold action in the face of the global recession.
The event, which takes place during the first sight week of every year, was punctuated by speeches from Oppenheimer, Penny and Shine.
In his opening remarks, Oppenheimer acknowledged the difficulty of the times and reminded attendees of the resilience the industry has shown in the past during challenging periods.
“I recall the tales with which my father and grandfather used to caution me,” he said. “As a result two things are clear to me. First, our industry has survived previous downturns, including the Great Depression. However long the recovery may take to arrive, recoveries will inevitably follow a downturn. Secondly, the industry only survived because we were willing to be courageous in the face of those uncertainties.”
Penny spoke about some of the steps De Beers has already taken to weather the economic downturn, and the importance of treating diamonds like finite treasures of nature.
“Conventional wisdom says that this will be one of the industry’s most difficult periods. I say it will be our proudest moment,” Penny said. “Years from now, when they write the history of this period, I believe it will be those who kept their head, those who remembered the intrinsic qualities that make diamonds the most desired product on earth, and treated them how a natural treasure deserves to be treated, who will emerge from this unprecedented period set for long-term growth.”
He added, “Make no mistake, the near-term will be difficult. Nobody knows how long the recession will last or how deep it will go. But it will be difficult for nearly every industry the world over, and, if given the choice, I know what product and which partners I’d bet on for the long-term.”
In her speech, Shine articulated the need for bold action and outlined some of the steps that the DTC has taken in response to the needs of sightholders.
“In consideration of some of your recommendations, we will continue to actively promote the equity of the product that we sell,” Shine said. “We will take a long-term view when making decisions on our strategy, in the context of prevailing consumer demand, stock and liquidity challenges. We will continue to drive demand by investing in the highly regarded generic marketing campaign in the US that highlights the enduring value of diamonds.”