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Eileen McClelland

Rapaport Calls for Diamond Hallmark System

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LAS VEGAS — During the annual Rapaport Breakfast at JCK Las Vegas on Sunday morning, Martin Rapaport called for a “hallmarking” system that can be used in the diamond industry to differentiate ethical players who use responsible sourcing.

“We need to sell the idea of a better product, not just as a defensive move, but as a proactive move to be better,” he argued.

Rapaport stressed that the diamond industry should do this not only because millennial shoppers want responsible sourcing and it could improve sales, but because it is the ethical and moral thing to do in an industry built on trust — for generations.

Such a tradition of trust must continue. And a hallmark can go beyond a brand to restore trust in the industry.

“We need a systematic way to determine who is playing fair and who is not,” he said.

And if certain systems or organizations in place now are not ideal, the diamond industry must be proactive about making certain they will be in the future.

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“If we spend all of our time fighting the bad stuff, we will never succeed. Let’s support what’s good. Don’t just sit back and take it.”

Consider who you are dealing with when sourcing diamonds – “Do you trust that person? Do you love that person?” It’s those kind of relationships that built the diamond industry and kept it going in the past.

Rapaport also urged the natural diamond industry to take a stand against synthetics, because they pose a very real threat to the sale of natural diamonds and what Rapaport called “diamond dream”.

New technology-oriented consumers are interested in synthetic diamonds and want them – like they want the Apple Watch, he said — which is bad news.

“It could ruin our business, because it’s busting up the diamond dream,” he said. “We have to proactively fight to retain the diamond dream or we will lose it. We cannot sit around and wait to see what happens.”

Rapaport proposed the following solutions to meeting challenges in the diamond industry:

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  1. Reduce credit for rough diamonds while increasing credit for polished diamonds to maintain market liquidity.
  2. Create an ethical hallmark for diamonds. “We have to put our hearts and souls behind our product,” Rapaport said.
  3. Call for miners to invest 3 to 5 percent of their revenue on marketing. “The absence of generic marketing is a huge threat to this industry,” Rapaport says.

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