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Didier Giard: Stiff competition among the diamantaires is one of the factors of the price war

16 september 2019

didier_giard_xx.pngOn September 9, 2019, the French Association of Gemmology (l’Association Française de Gemmologie, AFG) held its regular Paris Gemmological Rendez-Vous. Its organizer, Didier Giar, the head of the AFG kindly agreed to answer questions from Rough&Polished on the eve of this event.

Please, tell our readers about the French Association of Gemmology.

The French Association of Gemmology (AFG) has been created in 1961 and therefore will celebrate its 60th Anniversary within 2 years. We welcome and gather all lovers of gems, diamond miners, cutters, manufacturers, gems and pearls dealers, wholesalers and retailers, members of the big brand names companies, scientists from universities and gems labs, students and all lovers of gems having followed gemmological courses.

We issue the Quarterly French Review of Gemmology AFG, we organize various activities like courses, study of stones, conferences, visits and gemmological journeys all over the world allowing our members to have access to particular mines and gems areas, factories, or to meet important personalities. We also edit books on gemology like our famous “Gemmes” a unique book with gemmological informations about 240 gems, or “Emerald”. At least, we organize the famous Paris Gemmological Rendez-Vous.

What is the main goal of the Paris Gemmological Rendez- Vous as such?

We have created the Paris Gemmological Rendez Vous in 1998, this year it will be the 18th edition. Eleven editions were held in the French Senate, 2 times at the Paris and Ile of France Chamber of Commerce and Industry and since 2015 at the Conference Hall near the seat of UNESCO, the Invalides Museum and the Eiffel Tower.

Since the origin, we wanted to use the magic image of the Parisian jewellery but our goal was to welcome in Paris the highest personalities of our field. This lasts for 21 years. We have already welcome more than 60 nationalities in our various editions. For 2019, we really consider that we are in a strategic time considering diamonds. This is the reason why we decided to dedicate our Rendez-Vous entirely to diamonds, we only did that two times before.

The tittle that we have chosen, express our approach of the situation: “DIAMONDS: The Time of Great Challenges and Opportunities.”

How do you explain a weak and difficult situation in the cutting and polishing market?

They are already many years that great voices in the business explain that cutting and polishing diamonds is not a very profitable activity. Very often, the price of rough has been too high compared to the real possibilities of the market. This has been repeated year after year and now cutting and polishing market is in great troubles.

Do you share the opinion that the tender system has created stiff competition among the diamantaires resulting in a price war for rough diamonds in the last few years?

It makes sense to say that the tender system tries to maximize the price sold by the manufacturers. Therefore, there is a stiff competition among the diamantaires, and it is one of the factors of the price war.

Many believe that it was the new edition of the US Federal Trade Commission’s jewelry guides that changed the attitude towards lab-grown diamonds. What is your take?

The words included into The US Federal Trade Commission’s jewelry guides allow the two parties – pro synthetic diamonds and the ones who want clearly to specify what is natural and what is synthetic – to claim that the Act is in favor of their ideas. But, if I well understood, this has been done by the Trump Administration for promoting American exports of synthetic diamonds.

Then of course, due to the still important American market and influence, it has provoked a change in the attitude, which was the objective!

How high is consumer interest in lab-grown diamonds? Do you expect the share of synthetic stones will continue to grow?

I believe that the share of synthetic stones will be very different according to the countries. For that, I am referring to the debate in gold jewellery going on for 50 years, after the great increase of gold price, between the supporters of 9KT, 14 KT or 18KT. For example, 9KT in France never took a great part of the market as it did in England for instance.

Will the price of synthetics go down effectively, or not, especially for the little stones, is a key point. Surveys show that the general synthetic market will grow within 15 years from US$ 4 billion to 30 or more. That is possible, but not sure. The battle has started, and one should be cautious not to announce abrupt judgments.

In my case, I will fight for a better knowledge of what natural diamonds really are, as well as for a strict differentiation between natural and synthetics diamonds.

What are your plans for the nearest future?

Already 280 participants are registered for the 18th Paris Gemmological Rendez-Vous so we hope the 9th of September will be a great day for all of them.

Then, from the day after, we shall start to prepare the 19th edition, which will be very different.

We shall issue a new edition of our book “Gems”, and we shall organize a new gemmological journey for our members. At least, we shall increase our involvement in social networks, and we shall try to be even more present in international activities.

Alex Shishlo, Editor in Chief of the European Bureau, Rough&Polished