JCK columnist Ben Janowski just sent in his November column, with his reactions to last week’s Rapaport conference. Here is a taste, which included something I didn’t notice, but is pretty striking:
Remarkably, not once in the entire day was there a single mention of De Beers or the DTC. For as long as I can remember diamond people have fussed over De Beers’ actions and statements, worrying about what they are doing or planning to do. Now, it seems, De Beers has marginalized itself.
Then he notes the reason for this “marginalization”:
Supplier of Choice has faded to little more than an abusive application process every few years. The DTC cannot fulfill the original intent, which is to be able to offer its clients the selections they need and want. The surcharge on sights, meant to finance expert marketing assistance, has become a cash handout to clients to support their internally developed marketing efforts. And De Beers’ own marketing and advertising budget has been slashed everywhere in the world …
All this has, of course, good and bad points. When you think about it, it’s staggering that, for over 100 years, this industry was run by one company. It’s probably a pretty big reason why this industry has been slow to modernize. On the other hand, De Beers’ “abdication” is pretty monumental and the industry is still coming to terms with it. De Beers’ biggest contribution to the industry was its marketing campaign. So who will take over for them now? IDMA?