The Latest Rap on “The List”

Complaints about the recent dramatic price increases on the Rapaport price list has come not just from the usual suspects, but others who have called me, genuinely mystified about the change, particularly since it came right on the eve of the all-important Vegas show.

Here is what Rapaport said about the changes in his “market comments”:

The significantly higher prices in this week’s Rapaport Price List do not reflect any sudden change in diamond prices but rather adjustments made to reflect the level of premiums in the trading markets. The trade is cautioned that current high price levels for top quality diamonds reflect volatile external economic forces and may not be sustainable. There is also significant risk that prices for commercial quality diamonds may decline due to unfavorable conditions in the U.S. and other consumer markets. At their current high levels diamond prices are subject to significantly greater volatility and downside risk exposure 

The problem is, many aren’t taking these words to heart, and prices have in fact gone up, to reflect the new prices on the list.

Yes, the current high price levels on certain goods are a serious issue, and Rapaport has been banging the drum about this as loud as anyone. Having known Martin for many years, I know he is an extremely ethical person who sincerely believes in doing the right thing. 

But to me, it seems like he is changing the mission of his list somewhat – from a tool that not just reflects prices, as he always had it, to something that gets more involved in the market – in this case, a tool to stop speculation. Quite a change (and we’ll see how well it works.)

People tell me there is significant uncertainty about what will happen next – if the prices went up so much this week, what will happen the next? Should people hold on to their goods and wait to sell in anticipation of another price increase?  (And won’t everyone who some who sold diamonds last week feel they got a raw deal?)  If Rapaport is changing the role of his list, that’s his right. But it would be nice to have a road map from here on out.

I’m sure he will have things to say on this, and I’ll bring them to you when he does.

One other thing: Apparently nothing of note was said in the depositions that happened last week and yesterday, in that Ohio jeweler case, the one that has now taken a detour into everyone’s favorite grading scandal. Legal maneuvering stopped some of the questioning, but apparently there will be more. We’ll see what happens.

JCK News Director