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IGI President Avi Levy featured on Smiling Rocks podcast

Avi Levy, President of IGI North America provided diamond industry insight to Smiling Rocks CEO and Co-founder Zulu Ghevriya in a recent company podcast.

Topics included Levy’s professional history, IGI’s position on laboratory-grown-diamonds, the current world situation, and the importance of education, transparency and authority going forward.

Blending two worlds

Levy discussed his early entry into the diamond business as an 18 year old working on 47th street. Learning from bench jewelers and gemologists simultaneously, his growth in the diamond business has occurred from the ground up.

My history is all on the manufacturing side. When I was introduced to IGI to potentially take the job I thought it would be a great challenge to continue, first and foremost, my learning in the industry. And second, I thought it would be great for me to take the knowledge that I have – working from manufacturing, understanding that side, understanding what people such as yourself and the retailer need from the lab – and start blending two worlds together. I thought that would help and so far it’s been that way.

IGI’s importance

Ghevriya put forward the importance of IGI’s position in the global diamond trade, and voiced appreciation for the institute’s proactive stance in identifying, disclosing and providing full grading for laboratory-grown diamonds.

You chair IGI, one of the most reputable gemological institutes in the world, and we all know how important this institute is for the diamond industry… When lab grown diamonds started booming and expanding in the market, getting fully acknowledged by consumers,  we saw that IGI was the first international institute who has taken a strong initiative to introduce certification of lab-grown diamonds. I personally admire that because consumers need those kinds of certifications and authority.

This was an important position for IGI to take, Levy explained. Such grading is needed, especially with the different advancing technologies, growing and treatment processes. To that end he cited the importance of education: Not simply because the lab-grown sector is constantly evolving, but because industry professionals can benefit from gaining knowledge which makes clear the separate channels natural and laboratory-grown diamonds can occupy.

There are two lanes that both of these products can operate in and be accepted by consumers. That’s the great part here. If everybody does their part and does it right there are two different lanes that can live simultaneously.

Opportunity to evolve

Ghevriya asked about the current world situation and future outlook. Levy acknowledged obstacles created by the pandemic while underscoring the opportunities the situation has created, including the need to continually evolve.

IGI is continually evolving. We have to be ready to shift. We have to continue to take care of our customers at the same level they are expecting, even though the levels of business aren’t there yet. We are kind of reinventing ourselves, seeing how we can become more efficient, how we can become more important.

Levy concluded with the importance of ultimately serving the end consumer as a transparent authority.

We get questions from them, even today. We can explain to them what they should be looking for. And if they have any questions or needs or want to check we’ll always be there for them. We have to give that consumer the information because they are looking for it. They’re looking on the internet, they’re asking people, they’re shopping. They see it out there so it’s only natural that they’re going to ask more and more questions. The more transparent we can be, and the more transparent people such as yourself can be, the better it’s going to be for the consumer at the end.

Click below to enjoy the entire 26-minute podcast on Spotify, Anchor or Apple.



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