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The Global Diamond Industry - Lifting the Veil of Mystery

Lifting the veil of mystery

  • December 02, 2011
  • min read


The Global Diamond Industry - Lifting the Veil of Mystery

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Diamonds are one of the world’s major resources—and historically one of the least understood. For many years observers and even many participants have considered the diamond industry to be complex and difficult to comprehend, even impenetrable. This report is the first step in the process to shed light on the multibillion-dollar industry, which spans the globe and involves a wide spectrum of players, from mining to retail.

Major changes over the past 50 years have transformed the diamond industry. New diamond supplies have emerged, and mining and production have expanded beyond southern Africa to Russia, Australia and Canada. Structural changes introduced by De Beers and its Central Selling Organization (CSO), which once led the industry, have opened up the field to more competition.

In this report we trace these developments, explain the mechanics of mining, and explore the two main uses of diamonds: in jewelry and for industrial applications. We touch on the structure of the value chain, from the financial risk involved in early exploration to the economics of the retail trade. We devote one chapter to the potential impact of synthetic diamonds on the jewelry sector.

We also explore potential future scenarios through a supply-demand forecast. With the prospects for demand rising in key consuming countries, demand for rough diamonds is set to outpace supply over the coming decade. We have conducted numerous interviews with players in all segments of the value chain and gathered a consensus opinion wherever possible. Other sources of information were the latest public announcements, presentations and annual reports of diamond companies.

For readers who want a quick overview of the report’s findings, each chapter ends with key takeaways that summarize the chapter contents. Given Antwerp’s leading role in the diamond industry, it is fitting that AWDC sponsored this report. Over hundreds of years, Antwerp has created a robust diamond cluster that includes a multitude of specialized players, including producers, sightholders, high-end cutters and polishers, and specialized financial and educational institutions. The dynamics of competition and cooperation ensure that the city remains at the heart of the international diamond trade.

We hope you find the insights in the report useful, and we welcome further conversations on the subject.

Bain & Company
Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC)

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