Louise Prior of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses spoke during a panel discussion on consignments and the dangers to owners and sellers. She described the diamond trade as a sector trying to tackle an image of being opaque, largely family run and heavily reliant on cash transactions and handshake deals.
But, with the rise of threats to the industry including the production of undetected synthetic pieces, scrutiny from outside groups (including anyone from the FBI to ‘millenials’) and the negative coverage created by some market practices, she said the threat of state regulation had steadily increased.
“We had to start regulating from inside,” said Prior. “You don’t want outside organisations to start making legislation against you.”
She pointed out that change is slow in an industry led by small- and medium-sized businesses. “There’s still enormous resistance to change. I tell businesses that they have to start making their practices more transparent and conduct due diligence but I sometimes feel that many aren’t listening,” Prior said.
Essentially, she added, it all comes down to the bottom line. Businesses will start to change when they realise they are losing out financially.
Better to make a start before that happens.