The trading floor of Diamantkring in Antwerp, on the city’s four diamond bourses, in pre-COVID days.
Consequently, one of the definitive signs that people are returning to work is the reopening of the bourse trading halls. The latest to do is the Israel Diamond Exchange, which for many years has operated one of the most active trading floors anywhere in the world. It resumed functioning on May 24, after having closed on March 15.
But there are restrictions for using the giant hall, which has been divided into two parts, with 100 working positions for polished diamond traders in the one and 40 working positions for rough diamond traders in the other. A Perspex partition screen is placed at each position, separating the trader from whoever he she is dealing.
IDE rules for using the trading hall impose social distancing practices, with members on the trading floor being asked to maintain a two-meter distance from one another, to wear masks and to sign a daily health declaration.
Nonetheless, despite the restriction, Eran Zini, IDE managing director, said that the reopening “marks a return to normality and symbolizes that the diamond industry is back in business.”
TRADING STILL LIMITED IN INDIAN CENTER OF SURAT
Not all trading centers are ready for a full return to business, however. In India, where infection rates are still rising, The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council issued call this week to diamond merchants not to assemble in the informal trading facility in the Varachha Mini Bazaar in Surat.
In their call, the organizations asked the diamond merchants to rather use online trading sites, saying that gathering in the crowded bazaar would pose a threat to their health and safety.
Reportedly, hundreds of diamond traders had gathered at the Varachha Mini Bazaar this week against government orders, and had been dispersed the police who were called in to enforce the lockdown order.
“We have appealed the merchants not to gather in the markets,” said Babu Kathirya, President of SDA, in conversation with the Times of India. “Only the diamond offices must operate with less than 50 percent of the workforce.”
The packed trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange, prior to the outbreak of the global pandemic.
There are about 5,000 merchants who regularly use the open-air market of Varachha and Mahidhapura in Surat.
Source: MVI marketing’s Mother’s Day 2020 Research Report.
WFDB’S NEW TRADING PLATFORM GROWING RAPIDLY
In the meantime, in the six weeks since the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) acquired the digital trading platform Get Diamonds from the Israel Diamond Institute, the platform has grown to become the world’s largest B2B diamond digital marketplace.
According to its operators, more than 1.2 million are listed on the Get Diamonds platform, with a total value of over $5.5 billion.
The site now has 3,500 registered suppliers and 26,000 registered buyers, most of which are retailers.
To meet demand, Get Diamonds is being translated into several languages, including English, Mandarin, Gujarati, Russian and Hebrew are already available. An Arabic-language version will be available shortly.
“Diamantaires have traditionally based their business on visiting clients and attending international trade shows, but the pandemic has necessitated a change,” said Yoram Dvash, Acting President of the WFDB and President of the Israel Diamond Exchange. “With the launch by the WFDB of Get Diamonds as an international platform we are offering the industry a transparent, convenient way to continue to trade worldwide. It is truly ‘By the industry, for the industry.’”