Formed as the Diamond Importers Association of Singapore (DIAS).
Organised first jewellery design competition and trade show, Jeweltime - first ever such trade event in Asia.
Accepted as a full member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).
Re-branded as the Diamond Exchange of Singapore (DES); developed new rules and by-laws.
Hosted the WFDB 24th World Diamond Congress. A GENERAL BODY GATHERING attended by 600 delegates from 16 countries
Hosted the WFDB and IDMA Presidents’ Meeting. A BI-ANNUAL EVENT
Celebrated DES’ 25th anniversary
Hosted the wfdb asia-pacific presidents summit, an annual GATHERING of asia-pac bourse presidents
The Diamond Exchange of Singapore (DES), Asia’s first diamond exchange, was formed and registered in 1976 as the Diamond Importers’ Association of Singapore (DIAS). The founding members consisted of a group of dedicated Singapore diamantaires who recognised the need for an organisation to represent, moderate and promote their trade.
The first task of the new organisation was to expand membership to reputable individuals in the trade - a task that remains relevant to this day.
The next task for the committee was to raise professional standards in the diamond and jewellery trade in Singapore. To that end, the DIAS organised jewellery design competitions and sponsored “Jeweltime”, Asia’s first jewellery trade show, which was held in Singapore in 1979.
The efforts of the DIAS to moderate and stimulate the diamond trade in Singapore were duly recognised in May 1980 when it was accepted as a full member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), the first trade association from our region to receive this honour.
As membership and activity grew, the need for trading rules and a trading floor became evident. In October 1984, a newly formed Diamond Exchange of Singapore (DES) took over the functions of the DIAS with a new set of by-laws and rules.
In the early years, trade in diamonds and jewellery continued to grow - both in Singapore and the region. And likewise opportunities and challenges facing members grew in tandem. Singapore’s reputation for safety, efficient infrastructure and geographical position enabled the DES to meet both the challenges and the opportunities placed before it. In August 1988, the DES played host to the 24th World Diamond Congress - a sparkling event attended by more than 600 luminaries of the diamond world from 16 countries including Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer, Chairman of the Central Selling Organisation (CSO-DeBeers).
The DES, a non-profit organisation, continued to thrive through the years. To assist its members to expand their business to the regional countries, the DES organised trade missions in collaboration with the then Trade Development Board (TDB) of Singapore. Missions consisting of small groups of members seeking new opportunities were organised to Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In August 1997, the DES again played host to an important international diamond event. This time it was the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) Presidents’ Meeting. A bi-annual gathering of bourse presidents and ex-co members.
While much success had been achieved in the last quarter of a century in building the reputation of Singapore’s diamond industry, the DES continues to strive to maintain its relevance by identifying developments and issues that would impact its members and the industry as a whole - such as the increased awareness around ethical mining and sourcing of diamonds, the advent of synthetic or lab grown diamonds (LGDs), and advanced technology’s impact on the treatment of diamonds.
We do this by inviting speakers to our members-only events. Some speakers included: in 2010, Mr George Bosshart, a distinguished gemologist from the Gubelin Gem Lab, to update us on the treatment of diamonds; in 2015, WuYi Wang, deputy director at GIA, spoke on the topic of synthetic diamond identification; and in October 2018, the DES hosted industry guru and publisher of the Rapaport Diamond Report, Mr Martin Rapaport who presented a seminar on a pertinent topic titled ‘A Brave New World of Diamonds’ detailing the many challenges and opportunities facing members of the downstream diamond industry.
Allure of Natural Diamonds
From the time Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in a hit Hollywood movie through the rest of the 20th century, the status of diamonds as a symbol of love and romance flourished. Diamonds were an integral part of any lasting relationship. ‘A Diamond is Forever’ was firmly embedded in the hearts and minds of both women and men across the globe.
In the late 1990s, ‘conflict diamonds’ captured much attention. Civil war in a handful of African countries made diamonds one of the casualties. Our industry acted responsibly and quickly put in place rigorous measures to stop the flow of diamonds originating from these conflict zones entering our trade.
Awareness of responsible practices has grown over the past two decades, both among members of our industry and the consumer. It is paramount that our industry members and supporting organizations continue to meet and surpass the requirements of a more socially aware community.
Lab grown (or synthetic) diamonds are a recent phenomenon. With reducing cost of production and an unlimited supply, lab grown diamonds will only decline in worth. We believe they have a place in the jewellery industry and can be an option for low cost fashion jewellery. Synthetic will not do as a symbol of love, commitment or family. Natural diamonds will continue as the mainstay and a secure reserve of wealth.
Our vision and goal is for our industry to maintain the value, desirability and allure of natural diamonds. ‘A Diamond is Forever’ must remain firmly embedded in the hearts and minds of us all.