Doing business face-to-face still matters in the diamond trade, bourse officials said after dealers packed the Israel Diamond Week held last month at the Diamond Dealers Club in New York City.
The third edition of the event, held Nov. 10–12, drew 160 Israeli traders to the exchange, leading to the rare sight of a too-crowded bourse floor.
“When you look at each other, things happen,” says DDC president Reuven Kaufman. “[One trader told me] a New Yorker called him up about a month ago for a 5 ct. stone, a $150,000 stone. He had very good references. He still couldn’t bring himself to send it to the guy, he never met the guy. Here, he met a guy for five minutes, he sent him the stone.”
With about $1 billion in goods on offer, some big sales took place, with one trader telling Kaufman he bought $1.3 million in stones. It even sparked local members to trade among themselves.
“When you come to the club you start to schmooze,” Kaufman says. “You have a coffee, a cake. Schmoozing always leads to something.”
This is the third time the bourse has held Israel Diamond Week, and plans are already under way for the next edition, says Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange.
“If you want to sell $10 million, it’s not the place to come,” he says. “But if you want come and make connections, it’s nice to be there. The interaction between the Israeli diamond dealers and the American dealers is very important.”
“Diamonds have been a personal business for years,” Schnitzer adds. “Everyone has the same product. You want to do business with people you like. How do you know? You meet them.”
Kaufman wants to make a Market Week once a month, possibly working with state jeweler associations to bring in their members.