Bonas uses online platform to market uncut diamond

Mining companies are good at mining diamond, but for know-how to set up an efficient sales organization, they often work with a third party. Bonas, an innovative company in the centre of the Antwerp diamond district, now offers a solution: an online platform to trade uncut diamond globally at the best possible price.

Didier Backaert, manager at the Antwerp branch of Bonas, explains how it works. “Young or smaller mining companies do not always find the most efficient way to trade their products. Developing a strong in-house sales organisation takes a lot of time and money. Bonas offers the solution. We organise tenders to sell the mining companies’ diamonds globally. It doesn’t matter where a prospective buyer lives and works. He can bid on the lots he’s interested in.”

Buyers can subscribe to the tenders via an online platform. An appointment is then made to come and look at the lots they are interested in at the Bonas office in Antwerp.

Safe, transparent and compliant

Bonas has invested a great deal in the online platform supporting the tenders. Buyers can bid on one or several lots, after having examined the diamonds at the Bonas office. Didier Backaert: “Our platform is thoroughly protected and comprehensively tested. The platform itself, as well as our processes, are fully audited. Security, transparency, and compliance are paramount. Prospective buyers are screened extensively before they can participate in a tender.”

Currently, some 800 buyers of uncut diamond participate in a Bonas tender on a regular basis. Didier Backaert: “Our customers come to our office for a full day or for half a day. They examine the lots they want to assess in the fully equipped and closely guarded view rooms. Afterwards, they determine the amount they are prepared to pay and submit a bid on the online platform.”

Bonas doesn’t know who has submitted which bid, which means it can’t influence the bidding in any way. “The platform is a black box. We only know who has made a bid, but we don’t know the amount. The tenders are closed under the supervision of a bailiff, using a live teleconference connection with the mining company that offers the diamonds for sale. Only then do we know who has submitted the highest bid for each lot and the amounts offered. We go through each lot with the seller and ask his permission to sell it to the highest bidder.”

Getting the best price

Working via the Bonas tenders offers the mining companies considerable advantages. Didier Backaert: “On average, some 200 prospective buyers come to our office to assess the lots of a tender. When a tender closes, we often see that 20 to 30 buyers actually made a bid on a lot. This means that the mining company can be sure it is getting the best possible value for its diamonds. Furthermore, it enjoys the reassurance of having full access to the market in the world capital of diamonds.”

The fact that Bonas has an office in Antwerp is an important factor for both buyers and sellers. “Everyone wants to be represented in Antwerp. All elements are present here to market your goods in the best possible way, efficiently and with full compliance in mind. Via Bonas, a mining company can reach out to buyers all over the world without investing in a sales organisation of its own in Antwerp.”

The advantages the Bonas tenders have to offer to buyers are equally clear. “We try to organise two tenders at the same time. If we manage to do that, buyers can examine lots from two tenders on the same day. That’s an interesting prospect for buyers from other countries or even continents. One visit to Antwerp offers them many opportunities to assess interesting lots and submit a bid, in a very efficient way.”

Innovative data mining

The online platform for tenders is not the only Bonas innovation. Didier Backaert: “Our tenders also offer an incredible amount of information to the mining company. Immediately after closing the tender, the company is provided with a complete and detailed survey with statistics and graphs. The information is processed in a thorough analysis, revealing trends that may be very important to the mining company. That’s another Bonas innovation.”

Statistics show that Bonas’ innovative take on the diamond trade leads to impressive results. “In 2018, we sold five million carats via 40 tenders. The added value for the diamond industry in Antwerp is quite considerable. By continuing to innovate and invest, we also contribute to the future of the industry in our city. Being born and bred in Antwerp, we tend to be proud of what we’re doing.”

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