Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Florida diamond mines

The reason RtO has been silent this past week was that I was at the National Pawnbrokers Association convention, a full-time job.

One of the speakers was Martin Rapaport, a titan in the diamond trade, publisher of Rap Report of current diamond prices and buyer and seller of 2 million carats a year.

Reviewing the state of the diamond industry, Rapaport got a stir from his audience when he said, "More diamonds are coming out of Florida than Botswana."

He said he was not exaggerating, and a minister of the Botswana government told him they were worried about competing with the Florida diamonds, which are already cut and polished.

Baby boomers accumulated good quality diamonds in the '60s and '70s, and now, "A 75-year-old woman decides she doesn't need that 2-carat ring, plus she has grandchildren to help through college."

If she's 75, she isn't a baby boomer, but we got the point. He delicately did not say that the boomers are also starting to die off.

Some of the Florida diamonds of old-fashioned cut will have to be recut, and that will happen in India, where 500,000 cutters are training in the ancient gem center of Surat.

Opportunity for pawnbrokers, but he also said most will have to improve their diamond knowledge to take advantage.

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