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Porridge at IDMA

By Charles Wyndham.

It is strange for me to read in a press release that I ‘moderated’ at a recent IDMA meeting in Israel, this was, of course under the careful tutelage of Chaim Even Zohar.

Some unkind people might think it was some take on Laurel and Hardy.

It gives me that warm comfort feeling, like a bowl of porridge on a cold winter’s day, that there is someone out there that actually thinks that I can be moderate.

The great thing about porridge is not the tasteless cereal but the lashings of golden syrup that goes with it that makes it at all palatable and comforting, knowing that all possible good is being ceremoniously undermined as the syrup slides off a large spoon to be arranged in a dollop in the middle of the plate, in contradiction to all moderation..

To have got the phone call in the first place from IDMA’s President Jeffrey Fischer was a surprise; as I think was my agreement to trot along, came to him.

IDMA’s press release following the meeting, a press release I must stress that I had no hand in writing, is to my knowledge the first time that any significant trade body has come out and recognised the brutal fact that there is gross over capacity in manufacturing.

That we can blame a large part of this as a direct consequence on the defunct, damaging and intellectually bankrupt Supplier of Choice system which in one of its original twists forced every Tom, Dick and Harry to go and build their equivalent of the Taj Mahal of factories, or, like a stream of chocolate bunnies coming off the Cadbury’s production line in time for Easter, is beside the point.

Too many factories have been chasing ‘too little’ rough where there is ‘too much’ polished in a curious merry go around which last year saw a savaging of manufacturing margins by about two thirds leaving a miserable 10% as the overall number.

Another commendable point in the press release is the absence of any whingeing about producers and telling them where and how they should sell their rough.

It simply is not helpful, is not going to change anyone’s mind and above all is boring to have this constant scratched gramophone record bemoaning tendering or the prices producers find willing buyers to take their goods away from them.

Manufacturers and others should ask why producers are turning more and more to the transparency that tendering offers.

Simply put all other systems have too often resulted in the producers getting badly and systematically screwed.

Rather than moaning about the unchangeable, IDMA has highlighted a true and urgent need for generic advertising, effectively approaching the problem from the other end.

De Beers has relinquished this and any other custodial role, as apart from its own lack of funds, let alone independence, it cannot make up its mind what to push, the diamond, the DTC brand, De Beers brand, the Forevermark….

All producers, trading and manufacturing centres have got to realise the significance of generic advertising for their overall well being.

Such advertising is not going to solve the problem of over capacity but it will certainly help redress some of the margin issues, once the difficult decisions of shutting down capacity are actually made.

IDMA I believe is an appropriate forum for such advertising to be discussed and organised.

In this context the beauty of IDMA is that like any such organisation it has its own internal conflicts of interest, for example what is going on in say South Africa is good for the cutters there but hardly so in America.

These conflicts should ensure that the focus of any advertising campaign does not become engulfed in sectarian ego promotion but based on what is best for the general demands of promoting natural diamond against increasing competition from others hunting disposable income in strained economic circumstances.

I think it would be truly positive if all producers, manufacturing and trading centres clubbed together under the aegis of IDMA to promote diamonds.



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