This month marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the West. The lockdowns, the panic, the terrible human loss and the fear for our livelihoods has made this a very difficult year for all.
From the beginning the diamond industry was harshly affected by the pandemic. Some months saw almost no business at all; diamond traders, manufacturers and retailers saw their life’s work go to ruin. Indeed, some diamond and jewelry businesses did not survive, but many more did and for the diamond industry overall today the trajectory is upward.
As we enter the Spring season, a time of renewal, there are clear signs that we are on the way to some sort of “normality.”
During the year, we became used to meeting over the internet. Remember, we even held the World Diamond Congress virtually. But nothing really can replace the face-toface interactions that take place at events and trade shows. Fortunately, some organizers have announced a return to physical shows. The GJEPC announced that they will hold IIJS Signature 2021 from April 2 – 7, 2021. JCK Las Vegas is scheduled to take place in August, and the Hong Kong shows are to be held in a physical format in September.
Moreover, the diamond trade is steadily recovering, largely due to sturdy demand in the United States and China. February 2021 saw major increases in trade figures for the leading diamond centers. India’s polished diamond exports were up in February by 26.5%. Israel’s polished exports jumped 24% year on year and rough exports rose 21%. Although polished exports from Belgium were down by 6% in February, there was a 28% rise in rough imports and a 20% increase in rough exports.
The direction is clear: we are back on track. All indications are that the industry has recovered. There is cause for optimism after a difficult year.
Let’s all hope that the positive trend continues in the coming months. In the meantime, Happy Passover and Easter holidays to all.
Stay healthy and safe,