Catching up from Russia … one piece of not-particularly good news from the World Diamond Council meeting is that the International Diamond Board, meant to oversee “generic” marketing for the industry, remains basically dead.
The board was first proposed by the former head of Alrosa, Sergei Vybornov, who held the initial meetings for it in Russia. But when Vybornov was fired from Alrosa, apparently the will to do industry-wide generic marketing went with him.
As Alrosa is currently the second largest diamond producer (and, over the past year, on occasion they have been the largest), their assent is considered crucial to any kind of meaningful effort. Alrosa vice president Sergei Oulin, when questioned why Alrosa is standing in the IDB’s way, wasn’t very clear about his company’s objections. He told me that Alrosa was leery of creating a new “bureaucracy” for the industry.
One source told me that, in discussions about this, Russian authorities have talked about something that would resemble the old De Beers cartel — which is somewhat backed up by some Alrosa statements on the first day of the World Diamond Congress. Oulin denies this is the company’s intention, and, needless to say, other producers would never agree to it, for legal and a million other reasons.
There is currently talk about a diamond “yearbook,” which is basically a way to keep the discussions going. But obviously that’s a token thing and it’s hard to be optimistic about any of this. The International Diamond Board is badly needed in the industry. It was born in St. Petersburg. And it may die there.