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The diamond industry

PRESIDENCY OF WORLD DIAMOND TRADE’S PREMIER ORGANIZATION RETURNS TO RAMAT GAN

 

History was made on April 20 – quietly in the turmoil of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic –  when the presidency of the diamond trade’s premier representative organization, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), returned into Israeli hands.

Meeting untypically in a Zoom video conference, the WFDB Board of Directors, unanimously elected Yoram Dvash, President of the Israel Diamond Exchange, as the body’s acting president, taking over from South African Ernest Blom, who had served in the position for multiple terms. Dvash had already been named President Designate at a previous congress of the WFDB.

On so doing, Dvash followed in the footsteps of a number of IDE president who had also served as head of the WFDB, including Moshe Schnitzer, Yitzchak Forem, Avi Paz and Shmuel Schnitzer.

“The diamond industry like all other industries is going through a very difficult time due to the coronavirus pandemic that has struck so much devastation in human, as well as business terms, across the world,” Dvash said. “In this situation it is imperative that the diamond industry across the world be united in the goal to restore it to its glory days, once the pandemic has receded and some semblance of normalcy returns to the globe.”

UNITING BOURSES UNDER ONE ROOF

Founded in 1947 as a body that would unite diamond exchanges under one roof, the WFDB was established to provide a common set of trading practices for bourses trading in rough and polished diamonds, as well as coloured stones.

The newly formed WFDB met in Antwerp’s Diamantclub on July 5, 1947, barely two years after the defeat of Nazism in Europe.  The first meeting was attended by representatives of the three Belgian bourses, the bourse in Amsterdam, the London Diamond Club the Diamond Dealers Club of New York.

 The first item on its agenda which was approval of admission to the body of the then Diamond Club of Palestine, which soon afterwards, following the creation of the State of Israel, was renamed the Israel Diamond Exchange.

Yoram Dvash, President of the Israel Diamond Exchange and newly named Acting President of the WFDB.

Today, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses has 30 affiliated bourse members in 26 different cities and 22 countries. Its primary role to protect the interests of affiliated bourses and their individual members, and also to further the amicable settlement or arbitration of disputes between individual members of the affiliated bourses and/or between affiliated bourses. 

At the World Diamond Congress in Amsterdam in 1975, the WFDB and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association acted together to regulate diamond grading standards, appointing a joint committee to create an international set of rules, working methods and nomenclature. In 1978, the system was presented at the World Diamond Congress in Ramat Gan, and approved as the IDC International Rules for Grading Diamonds. 

At the World Diamond Congress in Antwerp in 2000, the WFDB and IDMA acted unison once again, this time in an effort to protect the diamond pipeline from the infiltration of stones from conflict areas in Africa. Thus was born the World Diamond Council the all-industry body that, together with the United Nations, governments in producer, manufacturer and consuming centres, and NGOs, formulated the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Get Diamonds, being promoted on the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange.

SETTING UP AN ONLINE TRADING PLATFORM

One of the first challenges for the new WFDB president will be the popularization of a new diamond trading platform, for which the which WFDB is creating using the Get Diamonds trading platform of the Israel Diamond Institute. 

Get Diamonds was originally created for the exclusive use of the Israeli diamond trade, but within t new format it will operates as an independent not-for-profit entity,  governed by a board that will include bourse presidents, top manufacturers, and independent experts.

Quoted by JCK, Dvash said the new platform will debut with 622,000 listings, but he believes that it will soon reach 800,000 to 900,000, with a number of large Indian companies agreeing to participate.

The online trading platform will initially operate free of change, but the goal of the WFDB is to eventually charge users for the service. At first, it will be available only to WFDB bourse members, but that could change at a later date, with the platform being opened to a larger audience.

Its affiliation with the WFDB will remain, providing it with facilities that do not exists with other online trading platforms. One of these is legal services, through which trading disputes will be handled by the WFDB bourses’ existing arbitration bodies.