Sentiment was strong at International Diamond Week in Israel as traders displayed optimism about the market and noted shortages were supporting prices.

Visitors observed increased traffic and exhibitor numbers from last year, with dealers from around the world attending the Monday-to-Wednesday event at the Ramat Gan bourse.

It’s a positive market, and we are happy to be here,” said Digesh Shroff, senior sales executive at Venus Jewel, one of many India-based traders who came to exhibit at the fair.

Shortages of goods are boosting the market for sellers, visitors told Rapaport News.

While demand for the categories that Venus manufactures — higher-quality solitaires — is always strong, Shroff said, lower supply is supporting the market further.

With availability of such polished production being less, the demand is high,” he noted. “There is all-round demand from Israel, America, Asia, which is a positive sign.

High rough-diamond prices are resulting in the lower manufacturing levels and limited polished entering the market, according to an Israel-based trader who wished to remain anonymous. He observed shortages in the I-to-K color ranges, and VVS-to-VS clarities.

There are not a lot of goods on the market,” he said. “Either rough prices will come down, or polished will go up. I think polished prices going up is more likely.

Strong US retail sales over the holiday season also lifted sentiment, commented Shaul Shiri, president of G.S. Diamonds, an Israel-based manufacturer and supplier focused on fancy shapes.

The market has been recovering, both at the end of [last] year and now,” said Shiri, whose business is mainly focused on the American market. “There are many reasons — workers got their bonuses, the economy is good. There is an improvement. I don’t know if it’s significant, but it’s an improvement.

At the event, the Israel Diamond Exchange launched an e-commerce partnership with Chinese online retailer Alibaba, opened an innovation center to house startups, and unveiled CARATS.IO, a diamond-based cryptocurrency.

The Israeli government will also give more than $286.6 million (NIS 1 billion) to support the nation’s diamond industry, Economy Minister Eli Cohen announced at the event.