In recent years a new niche market has opened up in Israel – trading in natural colored diamonds.A readily available supply coupled with high demand in the consumer market has prompted more and more Israeli companies to trade in the coveted pink and yellow diamonds. We approached these companies to discover how the year 2010 had passed for them. From our conversation, it turns out that these companies haven't been left out of the general positive trend seen in the diamond sector in 2010, and that colored diamonds continue to appeal to consumers.
Leibish and Co. trade in natural colored diamonds in a variety of hues and sizes. The company specializes in pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia and in yellow diamonds of all sizes up to 20 carats. The company also manufactures unique jewelry in designs that incorporate diamonds from its own stocks.
CEO Yossi Polnauer says: "While the wholesale market was pretty stable in 2010, without any special incidents, we saw a very impressive growth in sales in the private market via our website. We checked and found that the number of visitors to our site grew 61% in 2010 compared to the number of visitors in 2009. We believe that there are a number of reasons for this increase: a massive presence on social networks like Facebook; presence in professional forums and blogs in the diamond and jewelry sectors and our entry into the jewelry market.”
"In recent years we've noted that there tends to be market demand for finished products and not just polished diamonds. Last year we decided to rise to the challenge and offer our customers the opportunity to design their own jewelry. After choosing the diamond and determining a budget for the piece of jewelry, the customer – working in full cooperation with our jewelry designer, Havi Yitzhakov, designs the jewel of his dreams step-by-step. This process has left our customers highly satisfied, as a result of which we're now working to expand our jewelry design and manufacturing department. We definitely see this field as an area of development and growth, since many people are looking for unique statement jewelry – something out of the ordinary – which they can find at Leibish and Partners."
Do you feel that the market is recovering, and what are your company's expectations for this year?
"During the past year it was visible that confidence was coming back into the market and people were buying more, because they believed in the merchandise. This was also seen in the prices of Vivid and Intense Fancy yellow diamonds. Pink diamonds also gained strength, especially the Argyle pink stones, due to a lack of merchandise and the rumors that the mine would close in the next few years.”
"We believe that the trend towards recovery will also continue this year in the field of natural fancy colored diamonds, especially the rare colors that attract collectors and investors who are tired of the stock market and are looking to diversify their portfolio with something stable that not only keeps its value but also has proven appreciation over the years."
Roni Zarfati and Elad Zohar, owners of Reddiam, say that the financial crisis in the US prompted them to turn towards the eastern markets. Reddiam deals with the import, manufacture, and export of diamonds from half a point to 10 carats in size in a variety of cuts and colors, and specializes in colored diamonds.
"Because of the financial crisis, we decided to sell more pink diamonds, which are increasing in popularity in Asia. Our main difficulty this past year was obtaining rough merchandise – the demand outpaced the supply,” explains Zarfati.
Turning to the coming year, he continues, “We predict that the recent rise in colorless diamond prices will affect fancy diamonds and there will be a corresponding increase in prices. We hope that this year we'll be able to meet the demand."
Dor Diamonds (S.E. Vogel Ltd.) also deals in pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. Ori Vogel, Deputy CEO, explains what the company devoted much of its time to in 2010. "Last year we were busy expanding our personal connection with our customers via the Internet, Skype, Facebook, etc. However, despite all the technological tools, we don't forget that - at the end of the day - its people we're dealing with.”
As for the future, Vogel explains, “In 2011 we intend to keep expanding our connections inside the sector. In light of globalization and the world market changes, cooperation and innovation are the obvious solutions.Along with our specialty of colored diamonds, we will develop our secondary specialization – matching pairs of high-quality pear-cut diamonds and round colorless diamonds. Personally, I intend to promote business and public action for the good of the local industry as a whole."