Parcelpaper - 't Partijbriefke NO.9

The 9th European Precious Stones Conference was a tremendous success. The typical surroundings of Marrakech warmed by a spring sun, at the feet of the Atlas mountains under the snow, was the ideal place to put together more than 160 experts, gemmologists, wholesalers of diamonds and precious stones and jewellers from Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, India, Belgium and of course from Morocco.

The 9th European Precious Stones Conference was a tremendous success. The typical surroundings of Marrakech warmed by a spring sun, at the feet of the Atlas mountains under the snow, was the ideal place to put together more than 160 experts, gemmologists, wholesalers of diamonds and precious stones and jewellers from Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, India, Belgium and of course from Morocco.
After the welcome of the President of the Moroccan Association of Gemmologists and Jewellers Mr. Azedinne Mestari, the conference was opened with a brilliant speech by H.R.H. Prince Jean of Luxembourg, President of honour of the Guild of Diamond and the Precious Stones of Antwerp.
Yves Mauritz chairman of the review “Le Bijoutier” gave an exposé on the economic situation in the jewellery sector in France but also in Europe.
The Vice President of the Guild of Diamonds and President of the Institute of Gemmology of the HRD, Eddy Claessens, gave an overview of the assets of Antwerp and services offered by the HRD to the sector.
Thomas Morel director of DTC International showed the importance of promotion for our sector that is often too conservative. The spots of promotion of the DTC remind of the emotion and the passion that diamonds can cause and which are beneficial for the entire sector. The strategy of the DTC towards new markets as well as an overview of the international trade was brilliantly presented. “The international market of diamond” under this rather vague title.
Marc Goldstein journalist and consultant on diamonds gave a lecture on the strategy of De Beers seen under an unexpected angle. Why did De Beers choose for the vertical integration of “sight holders“? Which is the reason for the famous “supplier of choice”? see his article on page 9. The response is that for De Beers to re-enter the stock exchange , it must now become profitable. Its dominant position is finished which allows it a paternalistic policy of control of fluctuations in prices and the investment of million dollars in promotion of polished diamonds.
In view of the appearance of new actors such as Rio Tinto, BHP, Alrosa and others De Beers does not control more than 50% of the world production . For this reason the customers of the DTC are also obliged to invest in promotion.
Dr. Jef Van Royen of the scientific research centre of diamonds of the HRD (WTOCD) gave a lecture on synthetic diamonds, which made a lot of noise these last 10 years. The situation is worrying but not alar-ming because the problem is under control. Detection is rather easy, and the certification laboratories have the expertise on synthetics and manipulated diamonds.
The President of the Association Française de Gemmologie (AFG) Didier Giard took us along in the mines of emeralds of Afghanistan and Colombia, the long journey which this precious stone take from the mine to the jewel and especially the vocation to become jeweller.
The certificates Department of the HRD gave an overlook of the department. The director of quality control, Peter Borgmans stressed the importance of the anonymity of the expertise (especially after the scandal at the GIA about which he had the finesse not to speak) at the time of the certification of diamond. The HRD is also the only laboratory having obtained ISO certification.
Erwin Aelbrecht of the Institute of Gemmology of the HRD gave an extremely interesting lecture on the newest handling of precious stones. Detection of oiled emeralds, glets filled products ,opticon and heating processing of the rubies and sapphires were covered. This constitutes an important subject for the wholesalers and retailers that must know the new products coming on the market.
The new curator of the Antwerp diamond museum Liene Geeraerts told us the history of the silk road of diamonds from India towards the Mediterranean towards Europe and finally to Bruges and Antwerp. The day ended with a presentation of the promotion service of Indian jewellery, a dynamic presentation for the jewellery trade fair of Mumbai.
A dinner and an official reception closed this tremendous day in a palace of Thousand and One Nights where the participants could admire hand made jewels such as belts in massive gold set with diamonds and precious stones and also new creations, collars, earrings, rings and pendants in white and yellow gold with diamonds and precious stones.
The following day was devoted to the security of the jeweller and his personnel in case of theft or aggression. G.Atlan and F.Rouseau made a presentation the day before on the subject. The morning ended with laboratory work under the microscope, the detection of synthetics with gemmological instruments made by the HRD. The whole day was in the framework of “B2B”. The Belgian delegation and the wholesalers of the different countries could exchange their business cards and discuss “business” relations. Several participants have established new trade contacts.
An exceptional 2 days, that fit perfectly in the cycle of the European Precious Stones Conference, organised since 1985 by the Guild of Diamond and the Precious Stones of Antwerp. The only shadow in these days was that following the internal difficulties and the sabotage of some badly intended directors of the HRD and in spite of the approval of the GI committee and the finance committee, the promised sponsoring arrived only after the event which caused additional expenses. The Guild had to advance 10.000 € to the HRD so that the HRD should not lose face in a foreign country. This amount has not yet been refunded.
Eddy Vleeschdrager

We know all that the red color of the ruby and the green color of emerald are caused by the negligible presence of chromium. But why this difference in color? According to Prof Miguel Moreno of the university of Cantabia in Santander a field of electricity emitted by ions of the crystal lattice is very strong in the ruby and almost non existant in emerald. Chromium does not absorb the same wavelengths and thus transmits a different color according to Prof Emmanuel Fristch of the AFG.
Prospection of diamond with smell.
The institute of Geological Research of Moscow developed an original system of prospection: It is a technique already employed in the prospection of oil, namely one heats samples, in the case of the diamond, kimberlite, taken on the surface and heat these samples at more than 200°C. The content of carbohydrates is measured using a chromatograph with gas. More the gas contains carbohydrates more chance that the ground would contain diamonds.
The added value through the chain of production of diamonds.
By Marc Goldstein
1. Since the end of apartheid in South Africa at the end of the Eighties, the name of the game has changed radically. The end of the embargo, in particular, has had a considerable impact on the financial world. While before the national investors were almost obliged to invest in national companies, such as De Beers - which was then South African , the world opened suddenly for them. And conversely, the foreign investors were suddenly allowed to invest in South Africa. But then another thing also changed. Henceforth, South African companies would have, like all the others in the Western world, to prove that they were profitable. Indeed, hitherto, since the investors were almost obliged to invest in national companies, for lack of alternatives, the preoccupations with respect to profitability were certainly not of primary importance. But henceforth, everything would be different, and to hold colossal stocks for example, even if it was intended to maintain the prices of diamonds on a given level -and to make it possible for De Beers to hold its role of Custodian of Prices is not acceptable anymore.
2. The investors were not willing to leave their money invested in a diamond stock which yielded less that if they placed their money in the bank. It is amongst other things for this reason that De Beers since then hastened to get rid of some 3 billion dollars of inventory by forcing it downstream in the pipeline. It is only pure logic to note that following this movement, the total global debt of the diamond industry grew by 3 billion dollars, the stock of Beers having been financed by the downstream levels of the diamond production chain.
3. In brief, everything happened as if the investors asked De Beers to prove to them that it had an added value and that it was worth to invest in their company rather than in any other company in the world.
4. Following that, it was De Beers’ turn to require of its own privileged customers to prove that they could bring more added value than the others, in the framework of their new policy called Supplier of Choice. Indeed, to generate profitability for their investors, De Beers needed customers who themselves were able to generate a maximum of profit out of the same rough, and thus to generate extra added value.
5. So in cascade, all the actors of the various levels of the diamond pipeline were gradually brought to prove their added value or to disappear.
6. And finally, the world diamond centers are undergoing the same type of pressure. If Antwerp does not show enough competitiveness and does not differentiate from the other centers by quite real qualities, its place of world diamond center might end up being seriously compromised.
7. Fortunately, the inhabitants of the Antwerp diamond mile have started to understand and realize the importance of the problem and they have undertaken the reorganization which is essential in order to be able to propose to their customers more adequate, more specialized and more competitive services. Consequently, Antwerp is reinventing itself, and this is to the advantage of all the actors of the international diamond market.
8. Finally, as if life was to confirm once more that “the wheel turns”, it is now the turn of the producing countries – which are the upstream top of the chain of the diamond production pipeline- to ask for proofs to De Beers. Indeed, after having seen the Russians, the Australians, and then the Canadians developing their own distribution systems of diamonds, the South-African producing countries wonder as well “Which is exactly the added value of De Beers in the distribution of our diamonds? Perhaps we could also develop our own circuits or call upon other distributors which are prosperous and highly respected already, and thus maximize our profits! “.
Copyright Marc Goldstein, Brussels 2006.
On June 22 we will organise a seminar in the diamond club concerning security, this is a consequence of our conference in Marrakech where we had similar lecture, the idea is to aware the diamantairs and their employees but also his family concerning this serious problem. The figures concerning crime given by the government statistics do not correspond with reality. Crime increases each year, jewellers and diamond dealers are the targets for criminals. How can we prepare ourselves on this? what has to be done and what can we do? What can we do to protect our employees and family? These are all points which will be discussed with life video during our conference. The question is not, will it be happen to me? But when will it be happen and how can I avoid this risk?
French association of Gemmologie.
In front of a full booked hall at the French Senate, André Ferrand Senator opened 7th “Conference Gemmologiques of Paris” which will be declare of public utility still this year by the French Government. The day begin with a conference on the lithotectonic history from the African continent, presented by the BRGM, where the origin of diamond and precious stone finds their sources.
Stephen Lussier director of Beers told us the history of the mine of Willamson. It insisted especially on the positive side of the diamond mining taking in example Namibia and Botswana. The poorest countries in the world, it becomes only a few decades on top of the most developed African countries, thanks to a good management of country the diamond production.
The greatest task that it is given all the representatives at the congresses in the same target, being the adherence of the entire sector from the producer to the jeweller, of good governorship, transparency and especially of the benefit that diamond and the precious stones can bring to all in the application of the strict rules of ethics and responsibilities. At the request of a participant concerning the situation of the HRD Stephen Lussier answered: The combat of Antwerp to remain if not the greatest world center of diamond, at least one of the great centers, is not the fight interns the small ones and the large ones, but the competition of Mumbay, and Tel-Aviv. Another relevant remark was: why De Beers does not occupy either others of the precious stones? the answer was that De Beers does not have the expertise but which would accept with pleasure a collaboration with the sector of precious stones which make in any way part of the jewellery.
The other very interesting conferences were dedica-ted to Africans tourmalines, tsavorite and corundums. A delegation of the Guild was present and was at the end of congers announced by the President of the AFG and applauded by the audience.
At the last meeting of the committee PR, the director Y.Steverlynck gave his resignation following the permanent conflict atmosphere at the HRD. In our letter to the different trade associations at the end of December 2005 we had already announced it, as well as the departure of the general manager Peter Meeus, the disappearance of Vrije Diamanthandel and the workers trade union out of the HRD. The management committee for the time being appointed a new general manager Mr. Freddy Hanard well-known ex-director of ABN-Amro well appraciated by the diamond traders. The Guild always had his faithful support at the time of our different initiatives of promotions. The director committee also engaged, for the time being, David Van Riel the organizer of great events such as Euro-sail, Antwerp Tall Ships Race and well of other international organizations. Strong defender of the airport of Antwerp it will replace Y.Steverlinck as director PR, end of the year an evaluation will be made. Under the direction of Jennie Baeten, PR officer of the HRD, a new edition of the “Awards 2007” will be launched under the topic “A night at the Opera”, the creators can this make sponsored by a Belgian diamond cutter or a jeweller who will be appointed by lottery.
The only shadow in this days was that, following the internally difficulty and the sabotage of some badly intended directors of the HRD and in spit of the approval of comity G.I and the comity of finance, the promised sponsoring arrived only after the event what had made additional expenses. The Guild due to advance 10.000 € to the HRD so that the HRD does not lose his face in a foreign country. This amount is not yet refund until now. On the other hand during his last meeting at HRD big boys tokens allocations out of HRD before his restructuration. The Federation of diamond bourses took 100.000 €, the Kring 70.000€, the rough dealers (pore guys) 30.000€ and BVGD 25.000€ for there expenses of lawyers and bailiff for lawsuit against DTC and ...HRD! Why not?
We are proud to announce our members that following members of the Guild where nominated as member of the board of directors of HRD: Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncer que les membres suivants de la Guilde ont été nommé dans le conseille d’administration de l’HRD:
Wij hebben het genoegen u te melden dat volgende leden van de Gilde benoemt werden in de raad van beheer van HRD:
Looking for a new future for Antwerp, un nouvel avenir pour Anvers plein d’espoir. Een nieuw vooruitzicht voor Antwerpen.

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