Diamonds: The Most Influential People Of the Decade.
Diamonds Standards Organization honors the commitment of the professionals around the world whose outstanding work in the last decade contributed to create ethical awareness in the diamond and jewellery sectors and helped promote the entire industry.
Mike Aggett is on the Board of Directors of the Dubai Diamond Exchange working to promote the benefits of Dubai in the global diamond industry. He works at Trans Atlantic Gem Sales as both CEO and Consultant. His role is to organize and execute rough diamond tenders from the facility in the Dubai Diamond Exchange. Mr Aggett received the Honoray Membership.
Why is ethical sourcing important in a modern society?
Diamonds are not a necessity and therefore to maintain and promote their position as the ultimate luxury purchase it is paramount to protect their reputational position, and at the source they must be a force for good in the countries in which they are mined. The proposition of purchasing an object that has funded violence and suffering is unacceptable to the modern consumer.
Why informing customers that their purchase conforms to ethical standards has become a necessity?
We live in an age of ‘information’ where a purchaser’s choices are unlimited. Ethical sourcing and provenance is a growing concern to the modern consumer across almost every purchase, and it is important for consumers to know that the diamond purchase they are making is having no negative impact on the environment or people around the world. From a retailer perspective being able to present more of the story behind a natural product of some 3 billion years in the making, can be a strong addition to the buying experience.
What is your background?
I enjoyed a 32 year career with De Beers, during which time I worked on the Overseas Buying staff in several locations in Africa, and spent many subsequent years on the sales side living and working in Mumbai and Antwerp. My final years with the group were in the Sales department in London where I worked with Sightholders and potential Sightholders in every cutting centre in the world. I ended my employment with De Beers Head of Global Client Management. I then spent 6 years working as Managing Director for one of the recognized De Beers Brokers, where I managed the relationship and accounts of a number of leading De Beers Sightholders. The last 4 years have been with Trans Atlantic Gem Sales.
What area do you focus on?
We supply regular original rough diamond productions from both South Africa and Angola as well as productions from several smaller artisanal diggings in South Africa. Productions focus primarily on gem quality goods 0.50 points and up, and we present a number of Exceptional and Special stones +10ct. We host 10 tenders currently each year with an average value of $30-40m each.
“The proposition of purchasing an object that
has funded violence and suffering is unacceptable to the modern consumer,,
How would you describe the last ten years?
In an industry facing the challenges of little or no mid-stream profitability, loss of confidence from the banks and the impact of the lack of bank finance, lab grown diamonds, political policies that impact the industry, high levels of polished stocks and flat polished prices, against a backdrop of a generation of consumers who don’t necessarily concur with the ‘diamonds are forever’ tagline the challenges of the past decade have been enormous. I firmly believe that Tenders for rough diamonds are the way forward when placed next to the traditional contractual arrangements that have been so successful in past decades for the industry’s leading players. Tenders afford the buyer the choice of goods that reflect their current requirements in terms of polished stock and current demand, and at a level of financial commitment at which they are comfortable. Trans Atlantic Gem SHead of Global Client Management. I then spent 6 years working as Managing Director for one of the recognized De Beers Brokers, where I managed the relationship and accounts of a number of leading De Beers Sightholders. The last 4 years have been with Trans Atlantic Gem Sales.
Sales has seen the benefits of this business model with an exponential growth in sales and a very consistent range of clients who purchase on a regular basis and a vast growth in new company registrations.
“I firmly believe that Tenders for rough diamonds are
the way forward,,
What can we expect in the next decade?
This industry has always faced challenges and they will no doubt continue in one form or another. I believe that lab grown diamonds will establish their own place in the market and become less of a threat to the natural product, as they become cheaper to produce. World supply of natural diamonds is set to reduce and with greater marketing efforts by the industry they can remain a product to aspire to for the modern consumer. I believe there will be a shift away from the old contractual methods of selling and a move towards the flexibility of tenders/auctions.
On a more personal note, what is your favourite shape?
The Brilliant cut: timeless beauty which through modern polishing techniques maximizes the natural qualities within the stone.
What is your favourite diamond color?
My preference is for white diamonds which are affordable and feature in daily wearable jewellery for everyone.
What is your favourite gemstone?
Diamonds: the ultimate precious stone.
What is your favourite jewllery brand and why?
What is your favourite watch brand and what model most attracts you?
Rolex Daytona: classic style, great quality.