Ronald Friedman, the new president of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers of America (DMIA), says he wants to reunify the splintered group.
Last year the group split over how to respond to Supplier of Choice, with some pushing an aggressive stance but sightholders urging a less confrontational approach.
Friedman is not a sightholder—although his company, William Friedman Diamonds, used to be one—but he says he wants his group to represent “all its members.”
“We want to represent the consensus without offending any group of members or jeopardizing anyone’s position,” Friedman says. He wants to partner with other groups like the Diamond Dealers Club to explore issues such as cut grading. And he hopes the forthcoming World Diamond Congress in New York will be a “showcase” for the city.
Still, the divide in his organization is shown by W.B. David’s recent lawsuit against De Beers and its sightholders. One of the group’s vice presidents—Walter David—is a plaintiff, while other officials and members are defendants.
Friedman says this is all symptomatic of “tough times” for the American manufacturers he represents. “People are having a lot of difficulty figuring out how to make money,” he says. “A lot of people in New York are getting squeezed very badly. And unless something dramatic happens, I don’t expect this to ease up very quickly.”