Israel Diamond Week, taking place in Ramat Gan between the 8th and 12th February 2015, has officially opened during a ceremony attended by dignitaries from all over the world, including Dan Shapiro, the United States ambassador to Israel. Guests from over 24 different countries, including Russia, countries in Europe and Asia, as well as a large delegation from Turkey, are attending this edition of the IDW, and the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) was packed with traders doing business.
Israel Diamond Exchange President Shmuel Schnitzer opened the ceremony, welcoming the numerous guests and dignitaries as well as leaders of the Israeli diamond industry. He praised his fellow bourse presidents from Belgium and New York, describing them as “brothers in leading the diamond industry to advancement and development, brothers in thinking together for the good of all our members and the promotion of our business”.
Referring to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Russian diamond company Alrosa and the Israel Diamond Exchange as the highlight of this Israel Diamond Week, Schnitzer told the audience of the importance of such events. “These diamond weeks are unique in providing a chance not only for large companies that can afford large expenses, but also for medium-sized and small players, for whom our project is the only opportunity to take part in an international show. An important feature of International Diamond Week is that we provide a platform for each and every diamantaire to make international contacts,” he noted.
The United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro thanked the IDE for its warm welcome and recognized the strong United States delegation at IDW. “I am especially proud of the more than 100 United States diamond dealers attending this show.” Shapiro stressed that the close ties between the Israeli and the United States diamond industry “have played a significant role in the relationship between the United States and Israel.”
“Our share in economic prosperity is the newest pillar in our close relationship,” continued Shapiro. Shapiro spoke of the diamond industry being one of the pride and joys of both the Israeli economy and the United States economy.
While Shapiro recognized that the global economic crisis had imposed challenges that were felt by the entire diamond industry, he said that he believed that “we are pulling though and turning the corner”. He predicted that the global diamond industry is poised for a great comeback in 2015.
Shapiro praised the Israeli industry as a whole, stressing that the country had played a pioneering role in the diamond trade. “The murmur you hear is the sound of diamond trading,” said Shapiro, referring to the noise of the busy Israel Diamond Exchange trading hall.
President of the New York Diamond Dealers Club Reuven Kaufman explained that the aim of the cooperation in such shows is that the trade and trust increase between both countries. Kaufman also praised Shapiro, explaining that his own job is to pick out gems all day long. “You are a true gem for our country,” he told Shapiro.
Referring to the political situation concerning the meeting between United States President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Kaufman joked, “we could teach them how well Israel and America can get along”, referring to the close and positive relationship of the diamond industries in both countries.
President of the Beurs voor Diamanthandel in Antwerp Marcel Pruwer spoke of the only recently begun cooperation between the Israel Diamond Exchange and the Belgian bourse. “We’ve seen how the contacts made at these shows have developed into business relationships,” he said. Referring to the challenges imposed by the economic situation, he noted that “we see a light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to come through that and we’ll make the business bulletproof and we will have a great future.”
President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses Ernie Blom praised the Israeli diamond industry, “Israel is a small country but its people have big hearts,” he enthused. Blom spoke of the importance of shows such as the Israel Diamond Week. “I know and understand that shows can play a fruitful role in our industry”, expressing his delight at such a strong turnout.
Blom noted some of the advantages of the Israel Diamond Week, including direct and easy access to sellers, the minimal costs involved for participants, and the creation of opportunities for buying diamonds. He spoke of the importance of meeting face to face noting that some diamond traders had forgotten about this aspect of doing business.
President of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association Kobi Koren welcomed all the visitors and exhibitors and expressed his hope that the show would be productive. “I am seeing buyers here who I haven’t seen here for 10 years as well as new buyers,” he enthused over the activities on the trading floor. “I wish everyone a very successful show,” he added.
President of the Israel Precious Stones and Diamonds Exchange Shlomo Eshed stressed the importance of the Israel Diamond Week. “I think that today is a celebration for the diamond industry due to the presence of so many diamond buyers, diamond sellers and guests. It is clear today that the Israel Diamond Week is one of the major events among all the international events of the industry,” he noted.
Following the end of the opening ceremony, the Israel Diamond Exchange and Russian diamond company Alrosa signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of numerous guests to Israel Diamond Week as well as Israeli diamond industry dignitaries.