IDWI SUMMARY: WITH THE FACE TO THE FUTURE
The 7th International Diamond Week (IDWI, February 5-7) came to a close today (Wednesday) with a prevailing sense of optimism. The event hosted 500 buyers from 30 countries, with 200 diamond and jewelry companies exhibiting their goods at the Trading Hall of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE). The three-day event was accompanied by GET DIAMONDS, the Israeli Diamond Industry’s official online B2B trading platform, which helped buyers to locate stocks on offer by Israeli exhibitors at the event.
The IDWI promoted several tech innovations and three new projects were unveiled by the IDE: a new online store on Alibaba.com, and IDE’s new tech incubator, Diamond Tech.
“Back to the Glory Days”
The opening ceremony of the event on Monday was attended by Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen and other senior officials. IDE President Yoram Dvash said that Cohen is the minister “who has done the most for the Israeli diamond trade”, adding: “Together with Cohen, the bourse management is making every effort to push the industry forward so it can be great again”.
Cohen said that he is committed to bringing the Israeli diamond industry to its glory days, and spoke about the work of the governmental committee established to examine credit guidelines and growth in the industry. The committee is headed by Naama Kaufman-Pass, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Economy and Industry responsible for industry. At the end of his speech, Cohen handed the committee’s report to Dvash, who congratulated the committee for its work, and said that the committee’s recommendations could help the Israel diamond industry grow and become a world leader.
The report’s central recommendation focuses on giving the diamond industry $1 billion in credit, backed by the state. The committee also recommended investing in IDE’s tech incubator; help fund conferences abroad and bringing buyers to Israel; promoting online trade platforms; investing in a factory for polishing large diamonds, and more.
Other speakers at the opening event included Ramat Gan’s Mayor Israel Zinger, Alrosa representative Evgenny Agoric, and President of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association (IsDMA) Kobi Korn.
Following the opening ceremony, the IDE officially launched a partnership with Alibaba.com, making it the first diamond bourse to offer polished diamonds and diamond jewelry on the platform, directly from the source. Through this partnership, up to 150 IDE members will be able to establish virtual diamond and jewelry stores on the site, under the auspices of the Israeli diamond industry’s official body.
Tech Incubator: Bringing Back Manufacturing to Israel
On Tuesday, the second day of the IDWI, IDE officially launched its new innovation center, Diamond Tech. The technological incubator, operating on the 30th floor of the Yahalom Building at the IDE complex, will host and support diamond related start-ups in a variety of fields.
Among the start-ups being considered are projects dealing with robotics, lasers and other advanced technologies for diamond manufacturing, virtual reality for innovative marketing platforms and more.
The dedication ceremony was attended by Dr. Ami Appelbaum, the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Economy. At the event, IDE President Yoram Dvash said that the incubator will merge the expertise and experience of the Israeli Diamond Industry with the originality and creativity of the Start-Up Nation. The Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) Acting Chairman Boaz Moldawsky, who also chairs the Innovation Center, commented that there is great deal of thought being put on selecting the startups that will move into the incubator. Appelbaum praised he project and promised to assist it financially. He called the tech incubator a “game changer” that “can return a large part of the diamond manufacturing to Israel”.
On Tuesday evening, the IDE hosted a cocktail party at the Lenoardo City Tower hotel, which included a light meal and Greek music.
The IDWI closed on Wednesday, after three exciting days of robust activity and the unveiling of new projects, which put Israel back on the map as a global diamond hub.