Monaco Diamond Exchange (MDE) has been incorporated in the Principality of Monaco as a non-profit association to advise and inform its members on diamonds and ensure that trade is achieved in respect of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
The association and its council will act as the central point of communication to ensure compliance with the regulatory and voluntary systems in order to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds and commerce with countries embargoed by the United Nations. Furthermore, the association points at regulating the afflux of synthetic diamonds into the mainstream market.
Monaco Diamond Exchange was founded by Antonio Cecere and Claude Cardone, President, and Antonio Cecere, Vice President. Mr Cardone and Mr Cecere are joined by two highly prominent honorary presidents: Mike Asscher, Vice President of Royal Asscher, cutters of the Great Star of Africa, the largest polished white diamond in the world and part of the British Crown Jewels; and Derek Palmer, formerly and for three decades Head of Communication of DeBeers’ DTC, today director at Pluczenik (DTC Sightholder).
Mr Cardone, who is also president of the Chambre Monegasque of Joaillerie et Horlogerie and of Creations Lizhel SAM, speaks about the necessity to create an entity that has as priority that to support individuals as well as corporation in the transactions that involve physical diamonds: “Although trading may take place between members, Monaco Diamond Exchange does not publish an index. We have spent a considerable amount of time discussing the importance of commoditising this sector and we felt that creating an index was not the priority, while regulating the commerce of conflict and synthetic diamonds was an urgent task.”
Mr Cecere, Director of Cecere Sarl – specialist in alternative investment in precious gemstones, vintage watches and antique jewellery and professor at IUM (Inseec) – has considerable experience in the sector with a pedigree that includes Richemont Group and Swarovski Group. He says, “Due to macroeconomics and the evolution of the sector the importance of diamonds as investment class is destined to grow mid-term from its current five percent share of global demand. Our aim is to support investors as well as consumers in their diamonds transactions by educating, informing and advising members.”
Members are verified and applications are submitted to the council for consideration. The membership is suitable for individuals as well as tax advisors, family offices, banks and wealth managers with interests in physical polished diamonds. Amongst other services, members access MC.EXCHANGE, a private off-market diamonds reserve developed exclusively for Monaco Diamond Exchange.
Elena d’Ischia, principal of Monaco-based DCS Global, is the Treasurer of the Exchange; with a background in banking including Edmond de Rothschild and BNP Paribas, she supports and advises members from a financial perspective. Simon Piggott is Secretary General of the association and director of Abaco Global Resources; formerly a senior banker with HSBC and Merril Lynch with proficiency in mining, he completes the board of directors.
Mike Asscher, of the sixth generation of the Asscher family, creators of the Asscher cut, Trilliant cut and the Royal Asscher cut, comments: “My father, Edward, was one of the forefathers of the Kimberley certification scheme, and it is our mission with the Monaco Diamond Exchange to inform consumers as well as investors on the significance of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.”
Derek Palmer, former global marketing and communications director of De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company, currently international marketing director of Pluczenik, adds: “Increasingly Asians are turning to diamonds as a portable asset due to the volatility of the financial markets. This phenomenon is not isolated to Asia, but it is in fact a growing trend globally that is further accentuated today by the shared awareness that the supply of diamonds is limited whilst demand is ever-growing. This renders this class attractive to investors beside the traditional role that diamonds had of preserving, storing and relocating wealth”.
Mr Cecere concludes: “Although diamond prices have been stagnant for a decade, they may gradually increase before 2019; this is when the projected gap between supply and demand of rough diamonds widens with demand growing three to four percent and supply declining at a rate of between one and two percent annually. Early investors with a mid to long-term view benefit from today’s plateauing pricing.”