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Day Two – Issues and Insights

Retail Jeweller India



On the second day, a panel discussion on ‘Lab-grown diamonds and their disclosure: Is there a problem’ sparked a new thought-wave. The panel was moderated by Peter Meeus, Chairman, DDE, and Tim Dabson, a former De Beers executive, who tried to understand whether the current detection equipment available is sufficient to uncover synthetic diamonds mixed with natural stones, if sanctions are strong enough to deter such activity, and whether the diamond trade can get ahead of the curve and not appear to always be simply responding to incidents. Meeus adds, “The entry of synthetics into the supply chain has been controversial. The panel experts addressed this and how to maintain integrity of products and consumer confidence at the Dubai Diamond Conference in October”.

The panel featured people like Kevin Ryan, CEO, Damas Jewellery Group, Ernie Blom, Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief research and laboratory officer of the Gemological Institute of America; Praveenshankar Pandya, Ayesha Al Mazrooei, a gemstones expert from the Dubai Central Laboratory, and Debbie Azar, Co-founder of Gemological Science International.

“The issue of synthetic, or laboratory-grown, diamonds is one that has grabbed the attention of the industry in recent years as production has grown and the size and quality of synthetic diamonds has improved,” says Moses. “From the point of view of industry labs, the need to continuously update detection methodology and instruments is a high priority.”

“We don’t have a problem with synthetics as long as they are disclosed. Lack of disclosure is our main concern. We rely on out 30 affiliated bourses to aid us in this,” comments Blom.

That thought-provoking panel discussion was followed by another panel debate on ‘Bankability, transparency, innovation. The panel discussion had a range of banking figures discussing the reasons for the increasing difficulty faced by diamond firms in securing credit. Bankers agreed that further efforts to boost transparency are needed to change the situation.

DDC then moved on to discuss the issue of KP Reform: A reality or a never-ending story?The discussion focused on how far the KP has progressed in the 14 years since it came into being and what should be its future path.

‘The impact of value added tax (VAT) or GST on wholesale diamond trading; Diamond trading centres – working together to create global wealth’ -was another keenly anticipated discussion where the participants analysed possible implications of new tax regime both in India in the form of GST and in UAE in the form of VAT.

The panel had Rajesh Mehta, chairman, Super Gems Group, Tawhid Abdullah, chairman, Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, Karim Merchant, CEO and managing Director, Pure Gold Jewellers, Praveenshankar Pandya, Alexander Pshenichnikov, head of corporate governance in precious metals and precious stones, ministry of finance of Russia; Thomas Scaria, head of corporate finance, Joyalukkas Group and Rihen Mehta, chairman, 7Cs Group.

In that panel discussion, Pandya says, “We held extensive discussions with government officials during the consultation process. Small businesses are being heavily impacted by compliance issues and we are hoping the government will move to reduce these demands.”

Commenting on the UAE Government’s plan to implement VAT at 5% on 1 January 2018, Meeus says, “In my view, it is clear that for the UAE to sustain its position in the global diamond trade, polished and rough diamonds would need to be exempted and have a zero tariff as is the case in other wholesale centres. Dubai is also a young diamond marketplace and therefore needs to provide incentives and services that not only match but go over and beyond those of other top diamond hubs to continue to attract the trade to the Region.”

In the final panel discussion titled “tender or auctions: temporary phenomenon or new business of the future”, the panellists looked at the relatively new marketing method and how they are affecting the prices being paid by the industry for rough goods.

The second day also saw the launch of the Nemesis International diamond polishing factory and the display by Nemesis International, De Grisogono and Christie’s of an extraordinary 163-carat diamond necklace to be offered for sale by auctioneer Christie’s.

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