In early September, the head of the IDEX design team sent me the draft of the info mailer that announced the publication of IDEX Magazine’s September issue. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. It’s a great issue with a brilliant cover story by IDEX’s former head of research, Ken Gassman, that was inspired, so he said, by several of my Eagles-themed Memos. There is also an insightful article by Rami Baron and an important profile of Victoria McKay, who heads the Women’s’ Jewellery Network.
Speaking of IDEX associates, you may have noticed that the Eagles-themed Memos have stopped coming. This is because I am no longer with IDEX. My Eagles-themed pieces, however, will be continued here, on my own blog site, one that, during my almost eight months with IDEX, was neglected.
One of the headers of the a.m. IDEX mailer said: “[Diamond] price drops bottoming out in August.” While we could launch into a discussion as to whether this sentence is grammatically correct, it was its content that counted: the drop in polished diamond prices, while ever so moderate to date in 2019, is bottoming out. “At least some relatively good news,” I wrote back to my then-colleague at IDEX.
Indeed, the mood in the diamond industry is nothing to write home about. My long-time colleague Rob Bates wrote an editorial in which he noted that we’re getting “drenched by a ceaseless downpour of negative news” in the business media. He then went on to list all the afflictions we are currently suffering from: the sagging world economy; the perpetual problem of financing, the continued issues with midstream profitability, and last but not least, the perceived competition from lab-grown diamonds. He went on to say that the diamond supply pipeline looks dangerously overstuffed with De Beers’ sales and those of other major producers at the lowest of levels.
In the polished market, analysts long noted that billions in gems were dumped onto the market, predominantly by Indian firms at low prices. “Manufacturers reached the breaking point, and they’ve decided they can’t keep losing money,” Rob observed. Most importantly, he asked, while the diamond industry has been able to cope with crises in the past, “can it cope with two crises in five years?” A lot of questions – but who has the answers?
For those who did read my – last – IDEX Memo of September 5th, please read my explanation about how the diamond industry is now operating on a vertical axis instead of on the historically comfy horizontal axis.
On the consumer side, the girls of yesterday, those who when planning to get engaged visited the local jeweler to buy a diamond engagement ring, have been replaced by a generation that wants to spend its money on experiences, not on “useless” assets, and on top of that, is saddled with debt such as student loans and so forth. A $2,500 diamond ring, or one dearer, is just not on their radar.
In closing, following numerous requests – I will try and continue to publish my Eagles-themed columns on a weekly basis and make an effort to send them out on Thursdays.
There’s a handful of song titles left….