National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Panama to open jewelry center in March

February 11, 2014

Panama--The Panama Diamond Exchange will launch the new, yet unfinished, Panama Gem & Jewelry Center next month, and a website has been established so visitors may register and book accommodations for the event.

The launch is slated for March 17 and 18, and those interested in attending may book flights and hotels here.

The Panama Gem & Jewelry Center will be the first dedicated facility for the diamond, jewelry and colored stone trade in the region that includes South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The first stage of building, which includes a trading floor and offices, is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter.

The center will be anchored by the Panama Diamond Exchange, the first and only diamond bourse in Latin America. The bourse is a member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), having joined the organization in 2008.

Costing more than $200 million to build, the center will include a structure that will house a trading floor and offices of the diamond bourse, as well as extensive office space for companies.

The second phase of the project will incorporate a high-rise tower, which will include a jewelry mall, service providers and offices for diamond, colored gemstone, pearl and precious metals companies.

Industry leaders attending the March launch include Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli; Eli Izhakoff, honorary president of the WFDB and World Diamond Council; Ernest Blom, president of the WFDB; Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation; Avi Paz, president of the World Diamond Council; Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange; and Reuven Kaufman, president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York, among others.

“This is a real milestone for the global diamond, jewelry and colored stone industries, and one that ranks in order of importance with the establishment of the trading centers in Shanghai and Dubai. Just as they were catalysts for the dramatic growth of massive new markets, I am confident that the same will be the case for Panama and Latin America,” Izhakoff said.

The Panama Gem & Jewelry Center has received the support of the Panamanian government and parliament, with parliament passing legislation that recognizes the area of the Panama Diamond Exchange as a “free zone,” where residents do not incur customs duties on goods traded within the center and are exempt from paying corporate taxes.

Overall, Latin America’s diamond, jewelry and colored stone sector is estimated to be worth $8 billion in sales annually, encompassing more than 11,500 jewelry outlets, 320 mining outlets and nearly 750 wholesalers.

“This is a country that is experiencing a substantial economic boom, largely as result of it serving as a hub and world access point for Latin America, which likewise has grown into a major world market force,” said Panama Diamond Exchange President Erez Akerman.