Dateline: Tel Aviv

The diamond industry has always been image conscious—yet it was striking how much of the June meeting of the World Diamond Congress dealt with public relations concerns. From the WFDB Mark to the discussions over conflict diamonds to the surprisingly lengthy debate on whether synthetics should get GIA reports, the Congress revealed an industry increasingly nervous about how it appears to the world. “People don't buy diamonds because they are hard, or because they are shiny,” noted Gareth Penny, managing director of De Beers. “They buy them because of a dream. That dream is built on image and built on reputation.” In many ways, these concerns aren't surprising—the industry has become more consumer focused in recent years and is still recovering from the nasty spell of publicity it suffered over the conflict-diamond issue. Many hoped that adoption of the Kimberley Process

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