As another possible way to solve the problem of fragmentation in the diamond sector beyond consolidation, Ehud encouraged the industry to explore strategic alliances. “Looking at other industries, there appears to be various ways to address the challenges of excess fragmentation in parts of the diamond sector. One option our sector can consider, especially given the slow trend in consolidation between players, is to make more use of strategic alliances.”
Ehud explored possible methods of addressing the issue of fragmentation, drawing in part on lessons from other industries. First among them was simply consolidation, whether natural or through mergers and acquisitions.
Delving further into the issue of fragmentation in the midstream (manufacturing) of the diamond sector covered in last week's post, Ehud said in August 2015, "The more we examine the facts, the clearer it becomes that the main problem faced by the diamond industry is that the midstream – the manufacturing sector of the diamond pipeline that mainly polishes diamonds – does not get its fair share of the pie."
Beyond the issue of restoring demand for diamonds, Ehud also discussed in depth supply-side challenges he thought the industry should seek to overcome. Ehud was particularly concerned by the deep fragmentation in the diamond sector, which prevents players across the diamond pipeline from operating profitably and, therefore, sustainably.
In addition to improving pricing transparency, Ehud believed that the diamond industry should also tackle the other issues that have led to a decrease in trust in the sector as a whole.
Improving the pricing transparency of polished diamonds is the first part of the two main components of the Crystal Clear philosophy. The other part, driven by the first, is the ability to then determine the prices of rough diamonds. The rationale that Ehud used here was that, ultimately, it is consumers who determine the price of a rough diamond based on how much they are willing to pay for its polished output.
The introduction of a transaction-based polished diamond price list is possible. The Mercury Diamond™ Price List which Ehud founded, provides wholesale polished diamond prices based on transaction prices in the wholesale market.
As yet another key pillar of Mercury Crystal Clear™, Ehud emphasized the need to improve pricing systems by using actual transaction prices rather than benchmark pricing, which has traditionally been more common in the diamond industry.
A key component of Mercury Crystal Clear™, the diamond pricing system which Ehud founded, is expanding consumer knowledge of diamond characteristics beyond the 4Cs (Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut) known to the ordinary buyer.
Ehud's case for pricing transparency in the diamond industry was made clear in the previous Insight blog. This means making every piece of information about a diamond available to consumers. To help demonstrate how this can be put into practice, Ehud shared his own diamond pricing model, which he used for decades to price both rough and polished diamonds. "Mercury Crystal Clear™ is an innovative methodology for valuing rough and polished diamonds, which I have been developing as principal of Mercury– a rough and polished diamond pricing consultancy", Ehud recounted in October 2015. "Mercury Crystal Clear™ is about making diamonds' value known and transparent, based on the conviction that diamond buyers today lack sufficient clarity about what they are paying for."