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Antwerp Summer University 2018

3 - 6 Sep 2018

Are you ready for the future of the diamond industry?

The Antwerp Summer University keynote program focuses on the burning issues in today’s diamond industry and their future impact, from mine to finger. Internationally-recognized experts serve as your guide on a deep dive into alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.  

Listen and participate each morning from 10:30 - 12:00 during this week of informative and provocative presentations. The presentations will run for 50 minutes, followed by Q&A discussions.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends.”
- Benjamin Franklin

The Antwerp Summer University is a collaboration between the University of Antwerp (UA) and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.


When: September 3 - 6, 2018 | Each day from 10:30 AM - 12:00 Noon
Venue: Antwerpsche Diamantkring, Hoveniersstraat 2 - Antwerpen

DAY 1 | Monday, 3 Sep - 10:30 AM

A Retail Paradigm Shift: What Lightbox Means for You
Ben Janowski, featuring Chaim Even-Zohar

In late May, De Beers dropped a bombshell on the diamond industry that would spread shockwaves for months to follow: the world’s most famous miner was entering the synthetic diamond jewelry market with its new brand of fashion jewelry, Lightbox. A stroke of genius, or the beginning of the end? The dust may have settled, but the debate has not. Two of the industry’s most engaging and outspoken analysts address the long-term impact Lightbox may have on the diamond retail, mining and manufacturing sectors. Hold onto your hats folks, there’s a “fire in the hole.”

Download Ben Janowski's presentation here

DAY 2 | Tuesday, 4 Sep - 10:30 AM

Digital Is Eating The Luxury Segment Too
Dr. Sarah Steenhaut

Digital is not merely an avenue of communication, but is now integrated into the very structure of businesses and how they identify and interact with their customers. Even traditional industries now have to think carefully about appropriate strategic solutions. Professor Sarah Steenhaut takes a fresh look at how digital is impacting industries, consumers and consumer expectations, and the role of digital marketing in today’s world, drawing conclusions about what all this means for the luxury segment.

Download Sarah Steenhaut's presentation here

DAY 3 | Wednesday, 5 Sep - 10:30 AM

Positive Impact of Diamonds: Focusing on What Matters, Where it Matters
Marie d’Huart

Today’s consumers demand ethical diamonds, but do they understand the hard realities when it comes to small-scale and artisanal mining? As co-creator of the My Fair Diamond brand, Marie d’Huart knows first-hand about the challenges of bringing ethical diamond jewelry to market. She will address the issue of fair pricing for rough diamonds from the perspective of the state, the workers and consumers. She will examine what constitutes ‘ethical’ diamonds and take a hard look at the financial feasibility developing an ethical diamond brand.

Download Marie D'Huart's presentation here!

Day 4 | Thursday, September 6

Alternative Funding for the Industry’s Midstream
Varda Shine

Arguably the most critical operational issue in the diamond midstream currently is the difficulty of access to funding. In this climate, the AWDC undertook an industry survey on (alternative) financing, and will present several key outcomes from this study, followed by a presentation by one of the major industry powerbrokers, Varda Shine. Assuming the perspective of an alternative financer, she will clarify alternative financing and how it differs from traditional bank financing, explaining its potential benefits for midstream companies. She will provide insight into how a provider of alternative financing views the diamond midstream, discuss the qualities and requirements that midstream companies need to have to be attractive to alternative financers and explain what midstream companies should do to become more attractive to alternative financers.

Download Varda Shine's presentation here!

Keynote Speakers

Marie d’Huart in 2003 founded CAP conseil, a consultancy specializing in sustainable development and social responsibility. She is an expert, professor and auditor in ethical, social and environmental standards, with a focus on responsible supply chains. In 2016, she co-founded CAP source, creator of the My Fair Diamond brand, which has demonstrated it is possible to work with ethical artisanal diamonds and gold, traceable from mine to finger.

Chaim Even-Zohar’s impactful career in diamond industry journalism and analysis spanned nearly 40 years. He was the founder and principal of Tacy Ltd, a Tel Aviv-based consultancy specializing in all aspects of the international diamond business. The company was involved in the industry for over 30 years. Involved in the diamond trade since the early 1970s, he spent nearly fifteen years working in various capacities and companies for the Israeli Government before turning to journalism and consulting. He was editor or founder of various diamond-industry publications, including the authoritative bi-weekly Diamond Intelligence Briefs (founded in 1984), monthly magazine Mazal U'Bracha Diamonds (IDEX Magazine), and other titles. He is the author of Diamond Industry Strategies to Combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (2004) published jointly with ABN-AMRO Bank NV, From Mine to Mistress: Corporate Strategies and Government Policies in the International Diamond Industry. 

Ben Janowski has been in the diamond and jewelry industry for over forty years, first in top management positions at major manufacturing companies in the US, and then as President of Janos Consultants since 1992. In that capacity, he has advised dozens of companies on strategic planning for the US market, program development and merchandising. He has presented full day government-sponsored seminars in a number of countries on the structure and demands of the US jewelry retail sector.  He has written columns for a number of trade magazines for many years, and currently publishes a blog on industry issues.

Varda Shine is an Advisor and Vice Chairman at Channel Capital Advisors and member of the Advisory Board at Sarine Technologies. She has over 30 years’ experience in the diamond industry, joining De Beers in 1984 and serving as CEO of the De Beers Diamond Trading Company (DTC) from 2006 until 2014. There she developed extensive expertise in government relations, corporate strategy, the growth of markets in emerging economies, personal development for senior employees and business development.

Sarah Steenhaut is the founder of brand consultancy bureau Callebaut Collective and has been building brands and concepts for more than 10 years across multiple industries. As Professor of Digital Marketing at Ghent University, she combines academic knowledge and experience into hands-on advice how to adapt businesses to the digital era.