The World Jewelry Hub, Panama, is the first and only diamond bourse in all of Latin America. It is the anchor organization of the World Jewelry Hub, the first dedicated jewelry and gemstone trading center in the region.
It was established in Panama City with the express purpose of developing into a trading headquarters for the diamond, gemstone and jewelry sectors of Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular, its founders sought to fill a vacuum in the rapidly expanding regional market, which until then had sourced almost all of its supply outside of Central and South America.
The bourse serves as a trading platform and bi-directional gateway, where suppliers and buyers from North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East could access the fast growing markets of Latin America, worth in excess of $8 billion, and where members of the industry and trade in Latin America could meet and do business in an easy to reach, and secure and stable environment, where the common languages are Spanish, Portuguese and English.
Its location is critical, at the southern tip of Central America. Within less than five hours’ flying time from any major Latin American city, members of the regional trade can now tap directly into the international diamond, gemstone and jewelry pipeline, as they would in New York, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Dubai.
The World Jewelry & Diamond Hub, Panama, was accepted as the first and only Latin American member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), at the World Diamond Congress in Shanghai, China. With WFDB membership, it obtained international recognition, and joined the global network comprised of 29 diamond bourses operating in 21 countries, whose members handle the vast majority of diamonds traded in the world today.
To create the legal and financial environment required for a world-class diamond, gemstone and jewelry center, the bourse’s leadership worked closely with consecutive Panamanian governments and the country’s parliament, which have strongly supported the project. As a result, Panama was accepted as member of the Kimberley Process, the international system that defends against the infiltration of conflict diamonds into legitimate chain of distribution and of which membership is a prerequisite for participation in the international diamond trade.
The Government of Panama also introduced legislation, which was then ratified by the parliament, according to which the area of the World Jewelry Hub will operate as free zone with special tax and custom status, similar to the one of the Colon Free Zone of the Panama Canal. This puts the World Jewelry Hub on a par with other international diamond and jewelry trading centers.
At the beginning of 2014 construction began in Panama City of the World Jewelry Hub. When complete will be the largest dedicated diamond, gemstone and jewelry trading complex in all of Latin America. Featuring a secure and state of the art high-rise building, it will be home of the bourse, and include company offices and showrooms, gem labs, banks and other service providers.
Construction of the Phase I building was completed on schedule at the end of 2014, and the World Jewelry & Diamond Hub, Panama, moved into its new headquarters, inaugurating a 300-meter trading floor in early 2015.
Construction of the Phase II of the World Jewelry Hub is scheduled to begin in the near future.