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Rami Baron trying out Myndar Technology

The following is reproduced from 
DDCA President Rami Baron’s blog
.

For those who know me, know that I love technology and that I am constantly searching out the latest gadgets. I recently purchased a fabulous little tool which allows me to drag photos and movies off my iPhone and iPad onto a memory stick. The same stick has a USB plug on the reverse side so you can just plug it into your computer and drag the files across when you don’t have a reasonable phone or Wi-Fi connection… this is a life saver!  I ended up buying four to give as gifts to some techno buddies.

This article isn’t about current tech gadgets; it’s about what innovations are to come, and how you might be able to innovate in your world.

Two months ago I wrote about the World Diamond Mark Conference and some of the innovations that we saw there.

In particular, the scanner to manage stock (see image) that Chow Tai Fook is using in their 2000 stores, and now available to any jewellery retailer through Myndar (www.myndar.com).

Then there is Cooksongold who have a CAD program that interfaces directly into printing an item of jewellery into gold or Platinum.  That’s right, you don’t have to make a wax mould! You can print direct into metal! Check out www.cooksongold-emanufacturing.com.

Are you aware that the both HRD and GIA are using a scanner to grade the colour of diamonds, and in HRD’s case, they have been doing so for a number of years already?

I can comfortably predict that a company like Sarine Technologies – if not the GIA themselves – would be close to developing a machine which is able to accurately and consistently grade the clarity of a diamond. This has to be the case as they are grading thousands of stones a day.

After all, we are talking about simply entering stored data from all the millions of certificates that they have on file. These have already been plotted in their data base against the results and, with the sophistication that Sarine has in grading rough diamond; this would be a “fait de complete”.

In fact, I don’t know what we are waiting for. Computer analysis would surely remove the issue of inconsistent grading that has, and will continue, to damage both the consumer confidence and the reputation of our diamond industry.

You might well ask, ‘what is next to impact on our industry’?

My answer? It’s called “deep thinking”.

A 3D printed gold sculpture by Cooksongold
A 3D printed gold sculpture by Cooksongold

Right now when you buy from Amazon it makes suggestions as to what other products you may wish to buy. The natural progression to this is where analytics programs are looking at your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. In fact your overall web searches.

And this is just the beginning.

For now, this software can see what you are following, your interests, the brands you like, the famous people you watch, the food you like and the events you are interested in.

Now let’s go another level deeper.

What about the fact that this “deep thinking” software can actually see the images you look at. Let me explain.

The program doesn’t look at an image as a host of colour pixels; it actually understands what it is seeing. It is seeing you on Facebook wearing, for example, a red high neck, mid-thigh dress.

It looks at your shoes, your hair style, and other people in your photo who have been tagged, and scans their profile, so it understands your socio economic status. The analysis identifies brands associated with you and your friends and possible price points.

Is it so farfetched to think that a website could recommend to you a piece of jewellery you or your customer would love, and that falls into the perfect price range? In the future, this information could be available to the retailer!

Your customer walks into your store and you get a message on the screen of their buying history and suggestions of what they would like.

This is not science fiction!!!

During my most recent stay in my favourite Hong Kong hotel I was impressed when a staff member approached me and asked to take my photo. Why? So that other staff members could identify me in future as one of their regular patrons.

I must say I had never thought of doing this in a store, though it begs the question, why don’t we?

Frankly, why not?  It’s not an invasion of privacy – providing you ask first.

What if you issued your customers with a rewards card with a built in RFID chip? With a small RFID reader at the entrance, when the regular customer comes into your store, their picture and purchase history would automatically pop up on your screen.

Who doesn’t love being remembered and identified by name? It’s personalising service that is making the difference in today’s market.

The wild innovations I have just touched on are already being implemented by some; but many of these innovations are things you and I could do now!

Let me finish with a story I heard at breakfast. A men’s tailor in Sydney was just kicked out of a major shopping centre. Determined to succeed he started to put photos up every day on Instagram. He began following every male fashion model and every bridal site he could worldwide. He became more creative with his suits and just worked off referrals.

Using this tried and tested technique, he sent one of his suits to a top model as a gift to wear and asked that he post some pics of himself on Instagram. In less than two years he has been asked to exhibit in New York at one of the most renowned fashions weeks…

Let’s not complain about how things are bad or different, but ask ourselves how we can use the innovative technology around us today in business.

Trade well.

 

DDCA President Rami Baron recently returned from the WFDB Exco Meeting and Asia Summit. The summit ended after comprehensive talks on critical issues affecting all WFDB members. He also managed to snap a few pics in the process, see below!

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) Executive Committee (Exco) Meeting and Asia-Pacific Presidents’ Summit held in Shanghai on March 9 and 10 have ended after two days of intensive discussions on a range of crucial issues affecting the global diamond industry. Regional WFDB presidents, along with WFDB President Ernie Blom, were hosted by the Shanghai Diamond Exchange.

Among the issues discussed by Blom and the presidents of diamond exchanges in the region, including China, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Russia, were declining profitability for the WFDB’s members due to high rough prices and falling polished prices, as well as the decrease in bank credit to the diamond trade and the necessity of boosting consumer demand via generic promotion campaigns…

Click here to read more via the WFDB website

From left to right: Rony Unterman, Martine De Bruyne, Dieter Hahn, Elna Blom, Ernest Blom, Lin Qiang, Julien Drybooms, Michio Iwasaki, Caroline Yuan, Meir Wertheim, Rami Baron, Clark Jin
From left to right: Rony Unterman, Martine De Bruyne, Dieter Hahn, Elna Blom, Ernest Blom, Lin Qiang, Julien Drybooms, Michio Iwasaki, Caroline Yuan, Meir Wertheim, Rami Baron, Clark Jin
Rami trying out a machine which tests accuracy of your Mandarin
DDCA President Rami Baron trying out a machine which tests the accuracy of your spoken Mandarin.
Shanghai from Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai as seen from an elevator on Shanghai World Financial Center

IMG_0048WFDB President Ernie BlomIMG_0275IMG_0262IMG_0234IMG_0224IMG_0092

Diamond cutting vastly improves the brilliance and sparkle of rough diamonds. Diamonds often come out of the ground looking like any other rock – we can step in to release their inner beauty and lustre.

But sometimes, a rough diamond can also be a thing of beauty. When they form, diamonds crystallise as octohedrons, cubes or dodecahedrons, can even exhibit two or more of these shapes, and little triangles called trigons may be visible on the surface.

Many of the images below are higher resolution than they are displayed, click on them to see the larger version.

29.6-carat blue diamond discovered in the Cullinan mine, South Africa.
29.6-carat blue diamond discovered in the Cullinan mine, South Africa. The “exceptional” vivid blue stone could “yield a polished stone of great value and importance”, the company said in a statement.

 

Rare blue diamond discovered at the Cullinan mine, South Africa.
Another shot of the 29.6-carat blue diamond discovered in the Cullinan mine, South Africa.

 

Leibish Pink Promise as 4.96 carat rough diamond The Type IIa 36.06-carat pink stone has “exquisite gemological characteristics”.
Leibish Pink Promise as a 4.96 carat rough diamond.

 

Natural Rough Blue Diamond
Natural Rough Blue Diamond

 

The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a rough pink diamond and the largest rough pink diamond unearthed in Australia. Weighing 12.76 carats, it was found at the Rio Tinto Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.
The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a rough pink diamond and the largest rough pink diamond unearthed in Australia. Weighing 12.76 carats, it was found at the Rio Tinto Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.

 

This 498 carat diamond was discovered in Lesotho, Africa.
This 498 carat diamond was discovered in Lesotho, Africa.

 

trigons on the surface of a diamond
Trigons on the surface of a diamond

 

91.65 carat gem quality octahedron rough diamond
A high resolution photo of a 91.65 carat gem quality octahedron rough diamond sold by Diamcor, a Canadian diamond mining company. It went for $817,920.00 (US), or $8,917.58 (US) per carat. Click on this photo and have a look in full screen – you’ll see lots of little triangle shapes (called trigons) on the surface of the diamond.

 

A demonstration of how rough diamonds can be divided before being cut into round brilliants.
Before and after: a demonstration of how rough diamonds can be divided before being cut.

 

This is a diamond with a garnet inclusion from Siberia.
This is a diamond with a garnet inclusion from Siberia. Unfortunately it’s only 2mm in diameter. This kind of stone is of special interest to scientists, as they give chemical clues to their age, how they were created, and how the earth’s crust behaves over massive timescales.

 

The "Incomparable" in its rough 890ct form on the left, and the finished 407.48ct stone in its gold ornament stand, right.
The “Incomparable” in its rough 890ct form on the left, and the finished 407.48ct stone in its gold ornament stand, right. The rough also yielded 14 satellite stones of various colours from yellow with a slight brown overtone to pale yellow, and the rest were virtually colourless. The Incomparable sold as part of a necklace for $55 million, gaining an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s most expensive necklace.

 

The 253.7-carat Oppenheimer Diamond is in the shape of an octahedron (an eight-sided double pyramid), which is the common shape for diamond crystals. This diamond is 3.8 cm (1.5 in) in height and was discovered at the Dutoitspan Mine near Kimberley, South Africa in 1964. The Oppenheimer Diamond is unusual because diamonds of its size are rarely left uncut. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.
The 253.7-carat Oppenheimer Diamond is in the shape of an octahedron (an eight-sided double pyramid), which is the common shape for diamond crystals. This diamond is 3.8 cm (1.5 in) in height and was discovered at the Dutoitspan Mine near Kimberley, South Africa in 1964. The Oppenheimer Diamond is unusual because diamonds of its size are rarely left uncut. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Three diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Australia.
Three diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Australia.

 

Lucara Diamond Corporation recovered this 239.2 carat diamond from its Karowe mine in ‎Botswana. Two more exceptional stones were recently found at ‎the mine, including a stone weighing 124 carats and another weighing 71.1 carats.‎
Lucara Diamond Corporation recovered this 239.2 carat diamond from its Karowe mine in ‎Botswana. Two more exceptional stones were recently found at ‎the mine, including a stone weighing 124 carats and another weighing 71.1 carats.‎

 

Group of natural diamond crystals.
Group of natural diamond crystals

 

Petra Diamonds recovered this 25.5 carat blue diamond at its famous Cullinan mine.
Petra Diamonds recovered this 25.5 carat blue diamond at its famous Cullinan mine.

 

The most common shape for rough gem quality diamond is the octahedron, which looks like two pyramids back to back. Crystals that are almost perfect in shape and transparency are called glassies.
The most common shape for rough gem quality diamond is the octahedron, which looks like two pyramids back to back. Crystals that are almost perfect in shape and transparency are called glassies.

 

Twinned diamond crystal, called a "Macle"
Twinned diamond crystal, called a “Macle”

 

Rami Baron Collage
Click to see larger image

The following article by DDCA President Rami Baron was recently published in the Jewellers Trade Magazine

I had intentions of writing a very different article this month, however in light of the launch of our new website and the exciting goals that the DDCA plan to achieve for our members, I felt it appropriate to share with you why I am a member of this club and in particular, what it means in the world of diamonds, and for me personally.

Many of you may have received emails from the club announcing a new website, and in particular having Tamara Gabay brought on as General Manager. Having someone who has been exposed to the international diamond community will definitely help members better understand the interconnected nature of our industry.

The new website we have created is targeting two different segments. The first is the traditional diamond dealer in Australia. We understand that the local diamond dealer has to deal with trade shows, RAPNET, IDEX, international dealers’ websites, and the odd merchant flying in from overseas, trying to dump goods.

The issue is what can, and does, the local diamond dealer provide you with and what can we do as a club to protect this local interest? Let’s not be naïve. Retailers need dealers and visa versa. No retailer nor wholesaler can carry everything and (in particular) for a retailer to be able to access goods within 24 hours is the difference between the make or break of the big sale.

To this end the club has demanded that all the merchants who want to become a member of the DDCA have a business set up and offices in Australia. Above all else when they list their goods on the new diamond trading portal they must have these goods in country. Yes there are times when you will pay more for these diamonds than the price listed on a foreign website, but you didn’t have to put up the money upfront to bring the stone in, nor demand your customer pays upfront before you can even show it to them.

The diamond trading portal is simply about connecting wholesalers to retailers, it’s about giving you choices, it’s about giving you a price guide of diamonds in Australia. Specifically for the diamond wholesaler, it’s about connecting them to small and often under the radar jewellery workshops that they may never have known existed nor had a chance to get to.

Our portal will have a rating system built in by the time this article is published. This means that both the merchant and the retailer will be able to rate each other and their standards of service. For a wholesaler, in time this will mean that when a new retailer makes a request to see a stone – from someone they haven’t ever dealt with, but they see a five diamond rating for this business – they could be very confident that this is an excellent referral, and could work quickly with this new jeweller to secure a sale. For the retailer, or a young and up-and-coming bench jeweller, they could build an excellent reputation in the trade by paying their bills on time and showing their professionalism to unknown merchants. This could be the difference between having two or three merchants happy to send them a couple of larger stones to show customers.

For the retailer the DDCA is about us promoting the retailer to the consumer, in terms of them being a person of integrity. How impressive is it being a member the International Diamond Organisation, the WFDB .
The DDCA is investing heavily in a social media programme to raise the profile of the club in the eyes of consumers. Every retail member will be given a space on the front page of the site to promote themselves and a link to their website.

As many of you know last year we held – in conjunction with the Gemmological Association, The Jewellery Association and the Valuers Association – a presentation about synthetic diamonds. We are determined to present programmes in a similar vein once or twice a year to bring members of the industry together; to open a line of communication and to see how we can all increase our sales in the luxury market.

However, doing all these things means sacrifice, time and even some money. Being able to have a conversation with a jeweller from another region, ask questions from someone who experiences the same issues and problems that you do, but isn’t competing with you directly. Just a couple of helpful tips or pointers on who they use, how they overcome an issue – it’s all so helpful when you can speak to a colleague who really understands the pressures you are faced with day to day.

There are numerous other benefits that the club will bring, but let me share some of my experiences to date.

Since I began participating in the DDCA, I have met and become friends with diamond dealers in 30 Clubs around the world, invited to the USA, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Antwerp Dubai, Turkey, Singapore, London, Russia and China and some, multiple times. Dinned with CEO’S of the biggest diamond mines in the world and visited cutting factories with thousands of employees. Entered diamond dealers worlds where hundreds of millions of dollars of goods were at my fingertips. Pinching myself when I have participated in discussions on fair trade and banking regulations which could change the face of how diamonds are traded worldwide. The highlight of it all is being instrumental in the launching of the World Diamond Mark, a generic marketing program for diamonds.
(More about that later)

I could go on and on about the incredible private tours, the entry into rarefied spaces where so few have ever been invited.

However at the end of the day it’s about the people, the different cultures, the camaraderie and the ability to be exposed to what the world has to offer.
Yes I do this travel at my expense, but who wouldn’t?
Since I was elected to the executive board of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses I have invested hundreds of hours willingly, contributing ideas and participating in discussions which improve the conditions for all in the trade, but I am one of a number who have done so for years and continue to do so.

I consider it an honour and a privilege to do so, and I am the first to admit, it is so inspiring to participate. I consider myself so fortunate.

We all get caught up in day to day life. Business is hard and seems to be getting harder. The only solution I see is that one needs support and inspiration. What better way to gain this than being a member of our club? With nearly 20,000 members worldwide and the ability to learn about the next big thing before it hits the market, I would recommend you to visit our website, ddca.org.au and contact Tamara to know more.

I personally invite you to become a member of the DDCA and together lets ignite the Australian Diamond Jewellery industry; we all know we live in the best place in the world… let’s make it even better.

Trade well.

Ernie Blom at International Diamond Week

WFDB President Ernie Blom responded optimistically while fielding questions at International Diamond Week:

“I have no doubt that within the year, and the years to come, that diamonds and diamond jewellery will definitely grow in value. Especially as the supply cannot meet the demand that is going to come from the Far East.”

UAE's Pure Gold Group is first international retail jewellery chain to adopt WDM's Authorised Diamond Dealer programmeUAE's Pure Gold Group is first international retail jewellery chain to adopt WDM's Authorised Diamond Dealer programme
UAE’s Pure Gold Group is first international retail jewellery chain to adopt WDM’s Authorised Diamond Dealer® programme

Press Release – Dubai, December 31, 2014:Pure Gold Jewellers, a leading international retail jewellery chain headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, has become the first jewellery retailer to adopt and introduce the World Diamond Mark’s Authorised Diamond Dealer® (ADD) programme. Pure Gold Jewellers, which operates more than 100 jewellery stores in the UAE and India, will be implementing the ADD programmes to enthuse consumers and enhance their buying experience. The agreement was signed with Pure Gold Jewellers’ CEO & MD, Karim Merchant during the recent inaugural World Diamond Conference in India (WDCI)).

WDMF Chairman Alex Popov said that by adopting the ADD programme, Pure Gold Jewellers marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the World Diamond Mark programmes in the downstream market. “With the Pure Gold Jewellers applying the ADD principles and programmes in its stores, we will be able to greatly improve the reputation of and demand for high-end diamond jewellery, increase the knowledge and awareness of diamonds and diamond jewellery among consumers, and enhance the desirability of diamonds and diamond jewellery,” he said.

“It is not a coincidence that we’re launching the ADD programme in the UAE and the Gulf countries. The Gulf region is a vibrant growth area for jewellery consumers that will be well served by a body that helps increase consumer confidence in diamonds and diamond jewellery,” he continued.

World Diamond Mark, Pure GoldDuring the WDCI Gala Evening, Karim Merchant received a framed copy of his company’s WDM’s Authorised Diamond Dealer® membership certificate. Pure Gold Group was founded in 1989 by Firoz Merchant. The company operates two large jewellery factories in India and China, runs 130 stores in Asia and the Middle East and plans to open another 200 stores in the coming years.

Merchant said he was very excited that his company would be spearheading the ADD programmes in the UAE, as well as in India. “We are happy to be the very first adopter of the ADD programmes. We look forward to supporting the World Diamond Mark in designing and implementing WDM’s promotional campaigns and events in the UAE and India. In practical terms, this means that Pure Gold Jewellers will be endorsing and recommending the WDM to our customers, business contacts and industry organisations in the UAE, the GCC countries and India. In addition, we will be engaging the governmental and jewellery trade organisations as well as retail associations for local support,” he stated.

Popov thanked Merchant for his endorsement and said that the WDM in turn will be endorsing and recommending Pure Gold Jewellers throughout its international network, especially to consumers, business contacts and industry organisations.

How to stay competitive in a global marketplace.

DDCA President Rami Baron interviews several successful Australian Diamond Dealers and asks how they stay competitive in a global marketplace.

New York Diamonds Magazine has interviewed DDCA President Rami Baron after taking an interest in our activities here in Australia. The entire article is reproduced below:

DIAMOND DEALERS CLUB OF AUSTRALIA SHOWS PRO-ACTIVE APPROACH IN PROMOTING BOURSE TO MEMBERS

New York Diamonds MagazineEmploying a wide range of social media tools, the Diamond Dealers Club of Australia (DDCA) is boosting its public profile by providing a dynamic website and a large variety of media in order to launch an aggressive membership drive. DDCA President Rami Baron says the bourse has embraced social media and a continually updated website as a way of attracting interest to the benefits the exchange can provide to members.

The site features news, interviews, features, blogs and other items relevant to the diamond and jewelry industry.

“We made a conscious decision to use modern methods to create an attractive and vibrant website,” said Baron. “We want existing members and especially new members to see just how much is going on. The site provides information for everyone – from dealers to retailers and consumers.

“New members registering on the site receive free access for a certain period. We have a trading platform to encourage members to trade with each other here in Australia. The site creates the introduction for people to trade with each other and in this way we are contributing to an ongoing healthy market. Another tool is that a day or two after the trade the dealer, wholesaler or retailer receives an email inviting him to provide feedback to help us weed out the bad guys just as you have, for example, on eBay.”

DDCA featured in NYD magazine

The bourse is also cognizant of the need to develop the next generation of jewelers and to ensure they become part of the wider diamond community in the country via the exchange. To that end, the bourse site offers reduced membership costs for jewelers who have been in the business for two years or less. “I believe this is critical as we must help bring through the next generation to ensure that a vibrant diamond and jewelry community continues.”

World Diamond Council and kimberly process logosThe World Diamond Council (WDC) has announced an update to the WDC web site to provide easier access to the System of Warranties guidelines. The System of Warranties (SoW) is a voluntary system of industry self-regulation created to support and strengthen the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The SoW is a cornerstone of the WDC, whose goal is to serve as a global communication point regarding the UN-mandated Kimberley Process, a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.

“One of my priorities as president is to enhance the WDC’s outreach to the industry,” states Edward Asscher, president of the WDC. “Providing easier access to the System of Warranties guidelines on the WDC web site is a first step in a series of improvements to our communication with the industry.”

The System of Warranties requires the buyers and sellers of rough diamonds, polished diamonds, and jewelry containing diamonds to include specific wording on every invoice. The actual wording and additional information about the System of Warranties can be found in two places on the WDC website at www.worlddiamondcouncil.org: a direct link from the homepage, and also under the Resources tab.

About the World Diamond Council
The primary objective of the WDC is to represent the diamond industry in the development and implementation of the regulatory and voluntary systems to control the trade in diamonds embargoed by the United Nations or covered by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Visit www.worlddiamondcouncil.org to learn more.

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