That was fast.
Two months after Martin Rapaport (pictured) announced he would be publishing his influential price list on a monthly basis, he has reversed himself and announced that the list would be published weekly again.
In April, Rapaport announced he would print his widely read “benchmark” list on a monthly basis and supplement that monthly list with a weekly “trade sheet” based on prices on his online trading service, RapNet.
But the trade sheet ended up “freaking everyone out,” he says.
“People said, ‘Oh, my God. That’s the price you can actually buy diamonds at,’ ” he says. “It was very very problematic for people. The Rapaport list is powerful and helpful because it gives everyone an umbrella.”
He added that, given the current volatility in the market, publishing prices weekly made more sense.
“We did not think that we would be serving the industry well if we had to wait for every month to make any changes,” he says. “I want the freedom of action to make changes when they occur. It’s hard enough to track prices and be accurate and do the best that we can without putting any constraints on ourselves.
“Once a month was fine when there was a coronavirus around,” he adds. “But it’s time to get back to where it was.”
Rapaport does plan to expand the price list that’s offered to RapNet members, which provides the “best average price” of diamonds on the site, as well as their discounts from the Rapaport list.
Rapaport originally decided to change the list’s weekly schedule—which has been in place since it started publishing in 1978—in response to widespread trade criticism over his decision to lower prices by an average of 7% on his March 20 price list. That led hundreds of companies to remove their goods from RapNet.
Rapaport says that his listing service has mostly recovered from the revolt and now lists $5.7 billion in goods for sale. That is up from the $1 billion–$2 billion it carried at the revolt’s height—though still not at the $8 billion in inventory it listed before the furor started.
“We did have this major boycotting campaign from some of the bigger companies,” Rapaport says. “But we are here for the little guys, and that’s okay. There may be [less goods] but I don’t know if there’s a lot of goods offered on the market right now anyway.”
He also reversed a decision to form an advisory board, which would have provided input on the price list’s decisions.
“The advisory board became a big problem for a number of reasons,” Rapaport says. “I am concerned about price fixing. I can’t have a situation where these guys get together and they say this is what prices should be. But we’re having one-on-one discussions with people, but I can’t have a group of people meeting together to say this is where prices should be.
“We have to keep doing what we do,” he continues. “We’re not going to be blackmailed. If people say that if you don’t go up with diamond prices, then we’re not going to use RapNet, or not advertise, or we’re not going to participate in your business, we don’t believe in that.”
He notes that, while the prices of most diamond qualities have fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic, some items have gone up, such as D flawless stones.
Following the RapNet revolt, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses announced plans to offer its own online exchange, get-diamonds.com. The site is getting a refresh, which should debut in a few weeks, but it currently lists $5.6 billion in inventory, says WFDB acting president Yoram Dvash.
Dvash noted that both Malca-Amit and Chow Tai Fook recently joined the WFDB as associate members, which should expand the group’s reach and influence.
(Image courtesy of Rapaport Corp.)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine