Monday, December 19, 2011

Diamonds continue to sparkle despite all the global gloom

Whatever the state of the global economy, the diamond business gets by on its own steam. That would explain why it did not miss a beat over the last 24 months as the economies in its core consumer markets imploded and diamond values spiked by 30 per cent this year.

But a period of stability beckons as far as value goes, according to Amit Dhamani, CEO and managing director of Dhamani Jewels, the diamond and gemstone wholesaler which has just set up a 10,000 square foot base in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

"We believe prices will become more stable in 2012 compared to the spiking trend which we saw in the first quarter of 2011," he said. "Even if there is a spike it will affect the commercial categories and not the end-user interests here.

"The diamond business in the UAE at all levels —rough, polished and jewellery — has seen tremendous growth due to the policies adopted at the government level and the entry of more suppliers from around the world."

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Such is indeed the case. Currently, diamonds represent more than 50 per cent of the jewellery trade in Dubai and last year the number of diamond specific transactions were valued at a record $35 billion.

According to Dubai Diamond Exchange data, the growth was driven by demand from India, Belgium and Switzerland, as well as new markets such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And last January, polished diamonds valued at $7.2 million were offered at auction at the Dubai Diamond Exchange in the first sales event of its kind in the Middle East.

"The recent figures released by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre clearly shows that Dubai is now in the No. 2 spot in the world," said Dhamani. "This certainly has helped to establish the UAE as the best place to buy diamond jewellery."

It also explains the reason why his company decided to set up base here. Its entire operation will be centralised out of Dubai. A 4,000 square foot factory for diamond jewellery — with a focus on the high-end and the bespoke — will add its own sparkle. The plant is expected to process an output of $30 million a year.

"The trends which are emerging in the global and regional marketplace show a preference for single larger pieces of gemstones and diamonds which are better investments," said Dhamani.

"High networth consumers are looking at more aspirational jewellery which at the same time makes a style statement.

"Since establishing the new corporate base in Dubai we have strategised our marketing and sales policies to reach a different mix of customer segments. We are looking at strengthening our business across all the verticals and have specialised teams for high networth individual clients as well as our wholesale jeweller and manufacturer customer base.

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