Israel kicks off Diamond Week in time for Valentine's Day

World's biggest diamond trading floor glistens with display of precious stones.

Israel kicks off Diamond Week in Ramat Gan in time for Valentine's Day (credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Diamond Exchange hosts its sixth International Diamond Week which it hopes will strengthen its position as a major hub in the world's diamond industry.
Several dozens of companies crowded the world's biggest diamond trading floor in Ramat Gan, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, where buyers, under heavy security and armed with eye loupes, ambled through rows of tables that displayed of precious stones.
Public Relations Director for the Israel Diamond Institute, Sharon Gefen, explained the challenges facing the industry in the coming years at the opening event on Monday.
"One of the greatest challenges is trying to make diamonds relevant to the millennials, which is actually the new generation who we must appeal to, who don't know a diamond is forever, didn't grow up with that," she said.
She added that 400 buyers from 30 countries attended this year's event.
The Chief Executive of Russian diamond miner Alrosa, Andrey Zharkov, said Israel was an important diamond center for the industry.
"It's very important for the diamond industry and for all diamond mining companies, for all diamond manufacturers, it's important that different diamond centers are developing. And so that's actually why we're here," he said.
Alrosa, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, displayed three massive rough diamonds that drew public attention, as well as a replica of the Russian Imperial Crown.
The replica, Gefen said, which contains 4,800 diamonds and over 1,000 carats, is worth $20 million.
Together with Anglo American's unit De Beers, Alrosa produces about half the world's rough diamonds.
An Alrosa auction during the week will offer 108 boxes of rough diamonds of 11 to 199 carats and white and colored polished diamonds of 10 to over 80 carats, a press release for the International Diamond Week said.
Diamond sales recovered in 2016 as the entire industry bounced back from a slump in 2015.
Israel is already a key trading center and diamonds account for about 20 percent of all industrial exports.