By Charles WyndhamAugust 24th, 2016
I have a confession to make.
I have become hooked on watching the Olympics, not necessarily what would be deemed the main sports but more the ‘odd balls’, or what in my conservative mind set would define as ‘odd ball’, which says more about me than any sport.
Obviously, this has been driven to some extent by the extraordinary success of Great Britain (or team GB as the PR gurus have styled it) in the Games, but that is just my parochial interest.
I have never watched an international hockey matches, but decided to watch the women’s Holland v GB game.
My own personal experience of hockey was fairly shortlived.
At my secondary school hockey was compulsory and I was told to play right back and a hockey stick was thrust into my hand and ordered to make sure that no one got by me.
Well, that is not particularly difficult if you have a club in your hand, but the consequence was that I was never invited to play again.
If ever a team deserved to win it was Holland, rarely have I seen such a one sided game in any sport as Holland had wave upon wave of attacks deflected primarily by an amazing performance by the GB goal keeper, and as things turned out GB won in a penalty shoot out.
To claim that GB deserved to win would I think be a total travesty, but the fact is that they did.
Our industry is performing a bit like Holland.
It holds all the aces but only manages to lose.
I have written before about the abysmal comparative performance of diamonds compared to either any other comparative commodity and also to other luxury goods.
Now on top of that there is the growing threat of synthetic or cultured diamonds to natural diamonds.
‘Growing’ is a polite way of saying that there is a tidal wave building up out of view ready to come ashore.
What does our industry do, pretty well nothing apart from some facile response of an advertising campaign based on the ‘Real Thing’, about as innovative and telling as trying to light a cigarette with a match in a Gale 8 wind.
At a recent meeting to celebrate a chum of mine’s 1000th birthday, I met with a few similar dinosaurs and the one thing we could agree on was that nothing had really changed in the diamond industry during our involvement.
Yes, there have been the most extraordinary advances in the cutting of diamonds, but in the basic structure of the business absolutely zero.
This ever kicking the can down the road is seriously risking the industry’s longevity.
The very underlying strength and attractions of diamonds as a consumer product has allowed a state of stupor to overcome the industry.
The first half year has been much stronger than I thought it would be in rough, in polished it has been about as disappointing as predicted.
I find it difficult to believe that the second half will see any improvement in polished and presumably rough will have to take up some of the effects of this weakness, compounded to by the ever growing problem of liquidity.
What the Olympics demonstrated yet again is that however good a set of cards you are dealt that does not provide certainty as to the outcome in your favour.
Our industry really better start to think about changing its mindset if it wants to stay in the game.
Instead of going for Gold in its current state it is going for Lead.