Harnessing Innovation and Technology for Positive Change

The diamond industry is at a major inflection point, with disruption being the new phenomenon that goes far beyond any market shift witnessed to this point.
Profitability, bankability, rough and polished inventory levels are top of mind of all diamond companies, impacting day to day decisions. To compound this, developments such as automated manufacturing, Lab Grown Diamonds and what consumers demand from our supply chain will have an impact on everyone’s future in the diamond business.

Within this context of disruptive change, there was a real and immediate need for the industry to convene and engage in forthright debate.

The 4th Dubai Diamond Conference (DDC) took a look at how these disruptive forces could affect the diamond industry, and the opportunities there are to create change in our sector. We tackled the issues head on and were not scared to enter uncharted waters.

Disruption in Diamonds: Harnessing innovation and technology for a positive change was an apt theme for DDC, and stakeholders from across the diamond spectrum came together to share their views.

Sitting at the crossroads of the globe, Dubai provided the perfect setting. The emirate of just three million people has become one of the world’s largest diamond trading centres, and serves as the gateway to one of the fastest growing consumer markets for luxury goods.

Over 400 government officials, financiers, retailers and investors joined the Dubai Diamond Conference in September 2019, and helped shape a positive future for the diamond industry.


Panel 1

How will increased manufacturing automation affect our supply chain?

Technological advancements in diamond manufacturing processes have led to increased automation. What this would mean is a dramatically less labour intensive process, whereby we can get from a rough to polished product with limited intervention. There are a handful of technological companies pursuing this aim.

In parallel, developments in automated polished grading entails a transition from human quality judgement to technology based judgement.

This panel aimed to explore the implications of these developments.

Panel 2

The advent of lab-grown diamonds - what does it mean for the diamond sector?

Technology now allows gem-quality diamonds to be produced in laboratory/factory conditions, such that they are considered physically equivalent to their mined counterparts. The method of creation is the core differentiator between the two.

The technologies used to create lab-grown diamonds (LGDs), namely CVD and HPHT, are continuing to improve and become highly cost-effective, at a time when costs of mining are increasing.

The key issue addressed was how natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds will interact in the consumer markets.

Panel 3

How do we bring positive change given the disruption and current market conditions?

Diamantaires have struggled with profitability in recent times, squeezed between rough and polished, while facing increasing financial risks and market uncertainty.

On top of all this, diamantaires have to deal with major disruptions that present both challenges and opportunities.

The panel discussed what diamond companies can do to improve their chances of success, the best response strategies, and how people can bring their fate in their own hands.


Just off the famous Sheikh Zayed Road, the Almas Conference Centre sits within the prestigious Almas Tower in the heart of JLT, minutes away from the city's most iconic attractions and walking distance from Dubai Metro.

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