The Jewelry District, Episode 19: Guest Bruce Cleaver

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates conduct their first intercontinental podcast as they interview Bruce Cleaver, chief executive officer of the De Beers Group. You’ll hear them discuss what’s going on in the diamond industry, including production, supply and demand, and sustainability.

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Show Notes
00:30 Introduction of Bruce Cleaver, CEO of the De Beers Group
03:55 Rob asks how the diamond industry is doing in the face of COVID-19
09:54 Rob asks what we can expect regarding production this year, and Bruce recaps the enormous relief efforts De Beers has provided to countries of mining communities
15:41 Rob asks about supply and demand
19:17 Vic asks about Lightbox and how stores in the United States can begin to reopen
22:51 Rob asks about new sustainability projects such as Tracr and reducing carbon footprint

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Katey Clifford and Kathy Passero

Show Recap

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of the De Beers Group
Bruce Cleaver has been with De Beers since 2005. He has been a board director since 2008 and CEO since 2016. He was born in South Africa, but now lives just outside of London, making him the first intercontinental guest The Jewelry District has seen, as Rob and Victoria chat from the United States. Bruce explains his background and how he came into the diamond mining industry.

Diamond Sales During COVID-19
Rob asks if diamonds are being sold despite the global affects COVID-19 has had on all industries—and Bruce says yes. China has bounced back well, and sales are improving. The rest of the world hasn’t seen as high of a demand, however. You’ll also hear Rob ask about how business is doing on a wholesale level rather than just retail. The diamond industry is a global, interconnected one, and where there is demand, De Beers is determined to service it.

Diamond Production and COVID-19 Relief
You’ll hear Rob ask what we can expect regarding production this year. Bruce says that all of the mines are in slightly different places, and the company wants to start things back up when the time comes in the safest way possible. In better news—De Beers has made significant contribution to COVID-19 relief across South Africa and Canada. It’s working to keep mines open and working with governments to step up health care, set countries up with top of the line testing, and other health supplies such as thermometers and food donations. It has also donated $200,000 through UN Women for gender-based violence relief.

Supply and Demand
You’ll hear Bruce talk about supply and demand in the diamond industry, including how last year saw production peak, so less production toward the end of the crisis is likely than before it began. De Beers spent $170 million in advertising last year, and it’s committed to driving demand.

Coming Out of the Crisis and Lab-Grown Diamonds
Victoria asks Bruce about Lightbox and the demand for lab-grown diamonds, and Bruce explains that they have been largely unaffected by COVID-19. You’ll also hear Bruce talk about what companies are in the best position to get back into their stores quicker while still maintaining their customer base. Bruce also discusses the importance of keeping your store unintimidating to consumers while still maintaining proper safety precautions.

Sustainability and Traceability
De Beers is working on projects such as Tracr—the interface it uses to trace diamonds through the pipeline and show consumers where their diamonds come from. Consumers are now expecting their products to be as carbon-neutral as possible, and it’s important to show that.

(Photo courtesy of De Beers Group)

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