Two investment bubbles, 340 years apart, provide living proof of Edmund Burke’s famous observation that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Rough diamond broker and founder and president of N.Rothmann, Nurit Rothmann recounts the history of two remarkably similar speculative bubbles: the spectactular rise and sudden collapse of the tulip market in 1637 and the rough diamond market in the late 1970's and early '80s. Reprinted here by special arrangement.
A Canadian environmental group is taking diamond giant De Beers to court over their alleged failure to provide a full report on the mercury levels at their Victor diamond mine in Northern Ontario. Since mining could trigger mercury pollution, Ontario’s government requires De Beers to self-monitor and report on the mercury levels found in creeks near the mine.
“What we want is to improve the quality of our portfolio. I would love to have more diamonds to be very explicit. That’s a priority area.”
- Rio Tinto Group chief Jean-Sebastien Jacques on wanting to expand and invest in diamond mines rather than divest.
The recently published Global Diamond Report 2016 prepared by Bain & Company and AWDC covers industry developments in 2015 and early 2016 and takes a close look at the millennial generation (roughly speaking, people born between 1980 and the early 2000s) as a new category of diamond buyers.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, has unveiled a US$5 million expansion of its diamond grading and testing centre in Surat, India. The move follows the Group’s initial investment of US$10 million in 2015 to establish the facility, which has the capacity to process over US$500 million of diamonds every year.
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group in November 2016 amounted to $245.6 million, while polished diamond sales for the same period amounted to $9.6 million. Total diamond sales in November 2016 amounted to $255.2 million, 63% higher compared to the same period last year. However, November sales represent a 43% decline from the $430.8 million in rough diamonds sold in October, whilst recording a healthy increase over the $8.2M in polished sold last month.
Zimbabwe has produced only 924,000 carats of diamonds this year from its Marange fields, or just a third of the 3.2 million carats produced over the same period last year, as court cases filed by miners against a government decision to expropriate their claims drag on.
Lucara Diamond has issued a press release announcing that it has indeed terminated its contract with Eqstra Botswana to provide mining related services at its Karowe Mine. However, "Contrary to recent media reports in Botswana, the Company is unaware of any fraud or illegal activities, of its current or former employees, in relation to the mining contract. While the performance of Eqstra under the contract remains a subject of discussion between the parties, an orderly transition to a new mining contractor is underway.
Bain & Company together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has published their sixth annual report on the global diamond jewelry trade, with the lead insight being that in 2015 - not a banner year by any stretch of the imagination - retail sales grew 3% at constant exchange rates but declined about 2% in US dollar terms due to currency depreciation and slower demand in China. This followed a period of growth from 2012 through 2014, signifying that diamond jewelry consumption has entered "a moderation phase".
On the occasion of Botswana’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebrating 50 years of independence, De Beers partnered with Career Diversity, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana and Leadership 2020 to host the inaugural W Summit, on October 13 in Gaborone.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) on December 5 published the following press release: Following a five-month pilot program which started in June 2016, clients are now able to submit round D-to-Z melee-size diamonds through their fully automated GIA Melee Analysis Service.
A 3D printing startup from Hong Kong, called POESIS, has successfully completed its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for a smart 3D printing jewelry system which allows anyone to easily create unique and resilient rings and bracelets. A study by YouGov, a prominent data research firm, indicated that marketing efforts by high-end jewelers for Millennials are proving to be inefficient.
Antwerp's rough diamond trade surged again in the month of November, as the dollar value of rough imports to and exports from the diamond capital rose 60% and 63% respectively compared to the same period in a year ago, according to figures from Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). These figures essentially seal the positive verdict on Antwerp’s 2016 rough trade, as rough exports for the year (January through November) have risen nearly 10% in carat volume and 11.50% in value; rough imports fared just as well, recording a 10.40% increase in volume and a 10% increase in value.
"Any payment above Rs 5,000 to suppliers, contractors, grantee/loanee institutions etc by Government departments to be made now through e-Payment," reads the statement from the Indian Government. The Finance Ministry on Monday made it mandatory for all government departments to make payments above Rs 5,000 ($73) through e-Payment facility and not cash, and has directed all the departments to implement the fresh order with immediate effect
Black Friday's online sales beat estimates as shoppers moved online for the shopping holiday, with mobile devices driving more purchases than ever, writes Adobe Digital Insights. ADI adds that this year's online sales shattered 2015's record as the convenience of mobile likely spurred more shoppers to make purchases remotely, rather than navigating crowded brick-and-mortar locations. ADI reported total online sales for the period Nov. 1-30 at $43.9B, with total online sales growth at 7.4%. Thanksgiving Day alone saw $1.15B of online sales for y-o-y growth of 13.6%.
We endorse the need for an ‘on-the-ground’ approach in countries which have been subject to sanctions. As a result, this should not be limited to the area of generic policy-setting, rather, there needs to be concrete push towards establishing workable structures through which issues can be managed in a sustainable way, such that it allows people in sanctioned countries to continue to make a living without not having to engage in illicit trade to survive. In the same spirit, we have constantly been advocating for the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat in the UN for the KP. As the PAC study correctly notes, the actual rough diamond production of Cameroon is extremely small; 250 carats per month on average over the last 3 years. The larger picture is the illicit trade coming from CAR. In particular, when we consider that 1 out of 4 people in CAR live directly or indirectly from mining diamonds, we must ensure that we are not inhibiting or starving a population by making rules, procedures and guidelines that will prevent them entirely from being economically active.
- UAE KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, in response to PAC’s latest report about conflict diamonds from CAR entering international markets via Cameroon.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) elected industry veteran Dione Kenyon, recently-retired president and CEO of The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), as Chair of the GIA Board of Governors, seceding John Green, president and CEO of Lux Bond & Green jewelers, who remains on the board. GIA also inducted Dr. Barbara Dutrow, a professor of geology at Louisiana State University; and Stephen Kahler, senior vice president of global sales operations for Swarovski Gemstones, as its newest members during its November 2016 board meeting held at the Institute’s Carlsbad, Calif.
Lukoil has sold its 100% stake in a joint stock company (JSC) that controls a diamond mine in the north of Russia for $1.45 billion. The sale of Arkhangelskgeoldobycha to the holding company behind Otkritie Financial Corporation Bank is expected to go through early next year. The JSC is developing the VP Grib diamond mine in the Arkhangelsk region, which was discovered in 1995.
Cameroon is allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption, Partnership Africa Canada said in a report published today.
ALROSA held a second test trading session of rough diamonds in the Eurasian Diamond Centre in Vladivostok on November 21-25, selling $5 million. The rough diamond sales are the second in succession in the scope of operation of the Eurasian Diamond Centre. This time Russian and foreign long-term clients were offered, including industrial grade diamonds. “In order to study potential demand, we offered average and small size rough diamonds to our clients in test mode at the last trading session. We assess the trading session results as successful,” says Yury Okoemov, ALROSA Vice President.
Botswana Diamonds, an AIM-listed diamond exploration and project development company that holds exploration licences in Botswana has announced the appointment of James Campbell as Managing Director of Botswana Diamonds plc with immediate effect. He will be based predominately in Johannesburg and will work closely with Alrosa on our Orapa and Gope licences and with the shareholders in Maibwe on the Gope discovery.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from The De Beers Group of Companies, unveiled The Forevermark Black Label Collection, a new generation of beautiful fancy shape diamond cuts creating an exceptional sparkle. The brand developed its own propitiatory technology that maximizes the brilliance of each stone, as a diamonds beauty is intrinsically related to the way light is refracted. The new technology allows for perfectly symmetrical cuts which are presumed to be unprecedented in accuracy in every shape.
LUCARA Diamond Corporation, a Toronto-listed firm that mines from Botswana’s Kaorwe mine, has published its Operating Outlook for 2017, budgeting for revenue of $200 to $220 million excluding the sale of the Lesedi La Rona diamond - which could theoretically add another $70m(+) to company revenues in 2017. It has also not included other high value diamonds, as their recovery is unpredictable. As a result of its encouraging prospects, Lucara said it would increase its annual dividend to 10 Canadian cents per share for its 2017 financial year.
ALROSA plans to increase diamond mining by 5% in 2017 compared to the level of the current year, the company’s president Andrey Zharkov told Rossiya 24 TV channel in an interview broadcast on Wednesday. This year the company aimed to mine 37 million carats, which would consequently increase in 2017 the volume to 38.85 million carats. The company does not expect global diamond outpput to increase by more than 10%, Zharkov noted. Annual revenue from selling Alrosa’s diamonds in the framework of the Eurasian Diamond Center (EDC) in Vladivostok may reach $100-150 million, he continued.
Russia's leading oil and gas company Lukoil has reported revenue from sales of rough diamonds from its Grib mine in Russia in the amount of $62.5 million (RUB 4bn) for the third quarter of 2016, representing a 33% increase over the $46.9m (RUB 3bn) for the same period in 2015. Rough diamond sales for the first nine months have more than doubled to $234 million (RUB 15 bn) from the $109m (RUB 7 bn) for the first the nine months of 2015.
Tiffany & Co.’s shares rose by more than 6% following the announcement of their third quarter update, reporting the jeweler’s first sales growth in over 2 years. Net sales worldwide advanced by 1% to $949 million, and comparable store sales declined 2%. These figures reflect the mixed results across geographic regions and the various product categories. Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany’s chief executive officer, said “We are encouraged by early signs of improvement in sales, but we clearly need more positive data over time before this can be considered an inflection point.”
Botswana's Debswana, the world's biggest diamond producer by sales value, is on track to produce its first diamonds from the expanded Jwaneng Mine by next year, a company official said on Tuesday. Known as Cut 8, the $3 billion expansion project aims to prolong the Jwaneng mine's life and produce 100 million carats. “The Jwaneng pit expansion is on track and will start delivering first ore to plant in 2017,” Debswana Corporate Affairs Manager Matshidiso Kamona said.
Lucara Diamond CEO William Lamb spoke with Rough-Polished (R-P) about their future plans for the 1,109-ct Lesedi La Rona, their exploration projects and expectations for the industry going forward. Lamb told R-P, "With the financial strength of the company, there is no rush to sell the [Lesedi La Rona]. At this time, we have sent the stone for advanced analysis to fully understand the potential yield for the stone.
In response to Walmart selling their $18,000 Diamond Watch on walmart.com, Cartier issued a statement clarifying that Walmart is not authorized to sell its products. Walmart has more than tripled its online offering of products over the past year, and made headlines last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that a third-party vendor, New York-based Jewelry Unlimited, was selling a $18,000 diamond watch by Cartier on walmart.com on Black Friday. Cartier took aim at Walmart on Monday, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of the watches sold via walmart.com.
The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has announced that it is now a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). This makes LDB the first diamond bourse in the world to join the standards and certification organization. The LDB said its council of management unanimously voted to apply to join the RJC and will now undertake an independent audit to achieve full RJC certification, LDB said in a statement.
Tuesday November 29 was a big day for jewelry auctions in Hong Kong, as Christie's Magnificent Jewels Auction achieved a total (incl. buyer's premium) of US$78.8 million (HKD 611,146,250 million), while Sotheby’s sold $3.5 million (HKD 26.8 million) worth of jewelry at its Important Jewels and Jadeite auction.
Last Friday, Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Government of Flanders hosted a seminar on innovation in diamond financing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. A standing-room only crowd packed the stately Reynolds Room in Burlington House, surrounded by a series of 20th-century British impressionist paintings appropriately titled "Reinventing Landscape", and reinventing the diamond financing landscape is precisely what AWDC has in mind: "Innovation is driving the financial industry forward at an unprecedented pace.
The diamond market has been going through difficult times for a while now, but diamond trade data paint a far more optimistic picture than in June, signalling that trade has turned the corner, writes Georgette Boele of ABN Amro in their "Insights" report. Back in June when ABN last published their diamond insights report, Boele still doubted if global diamond trade would improve, but trade data have clearly improved in all centres, most noticeably in Antwerp, Israel and India.
The Timex Group Swiss Luxury Division - which manages the watch business for luxury fashion brands Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus and Nautica through licensing agreements - is the latest company to leave the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. According to Paolo Marai, president and CEO of the division of the Timex Group, the money the company spends participating in Baselworld - $3 million - could be better spent elsewhere. “I think that Baselworld is a huge investment for everybody and is in my opinion losing some effectiveness,” he said.
The Angolan Minister of Mines and Geology has formally approved a new kimberlite exploration licence for the Lulo Diamond Project - known for yielding large, type-IIa diamonds, which account for less than 1% of global supply - operated Australian diamond miner Lucapa. The new kimberlite exploration licence is for a period of five years and covers the entire 3,000 square km concession.
On November 14, Richemont announced they would cut 210 jobs, this following the announcement from Chairman Johann Rupert, who abolished the CEO position in the company’s biggest management shakeup since 2009.
Rockwell Diamonds, the troubled South African junior miner in need of a comprehensive operational turnaround, has stated in an interim update that a sale process in respect of Remhoogte/Holsloot and Saxendrift mines is now well underway.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan breaks down the rough diamond valuation system that was one of the key topics this year in Kimberley Process (KP) discussions. The heart of the issue is whether a method can be hashed out so that rough diamond producers receive a "reasonable" (read 'fair') price for their rough diamond parcels on the international market. The solution suggested is that rough diamonds would be valuated by converting the transaction prices retailers and jewelry makers pay for polished diamonds into rough prices, minus the manufacturers' costs and margins.
Small and medium diamond traders in Surat, the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing center, are facing difficult days due to the cash crisis and the government's demonetization decision.
London's Hatton Garden jewelers are planning a potential move away from the famous quarter to establish a new centre in suburban London, writes the Evening Standard. "Industry leaders are discussing the creation of a 'new Hatton Garden' as jewelers face being forced out of their historic Farringdon home by rising rents." ES's Tom Powell says that Victoria McKay, COO of the London Diamond Bourse, told ES the district’s businesses agreed they must begin looking at potential new homes in cheaper locations. Ms.
Back in May 2016, Canadian diamond exploration and development company Peregrine Diamonds announced a maiden Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 4.23 million carats for the CH-7 kimberlite pipe at it's 100% owned Chidliak Diamond Project, Nunavut, Canada, with an overall average grade of 0.85 carats per ton, bringing the combined Inferred Mineral Resource for the CH-6 and CH-7 kimberlites of Chidliak to 15.62 million carats, raising its resource estimate by 37%
Rare Diamond House – Antwerp (RDH) holds the world’s largest selection of investment grade D Flawless diamonds of 10 carats and up. Since 2008, RDH has been involved in buying, selling or valuing the majority of diamonds of this caliber that have appeared at auction.
Botswana's diamond cutting industry faces another blow as more jobs are lost due to the fact India based Shrenuj, one of the largest diamond cutting and the single jewelry manufacturing facility in the country, is closing shop. Parent company Shrenuj & C° has been troubled by financial woes over the past months, with reports claiming some 20 Indian banks are said to have exposure to the groups entities amounting to US$450 million which Shrenuj is failing to pay back.
According to a report on the Israeli news site Hamodia, the country's tax authorities, following Israels commitments to the US and international organizations to apply a more stringent anti-money laundering policy, are targeting the Israeli diamond industry, generally considered the biggest offenders in this domain. Officials said that as of January 1st, the administration will go after tax fraud more agressively, implementing extended powers of investigation and enforcement.
Stornoway Diamond announced the completion of the first sale of its Renard Mine diamonds, which took place between the 14th and 23rd of November, in Antwerp Belgium. Reportedly a total of 38,913 carats were sold at an average price of US$195 per carat accounting for proceeds of US$7.6 million. Last month the Canadian Corporation announced they would be going on sale two months prior to what had previously been anticipated.
Cheetos, the finger-lickingly good snack brand owned by Frito-Lay, has launched a high-quality jewelry collection to ring in the holidays. The jewelry set, ‘Eye of the Cheetah from the Chestora Collection’, includes a one-of-a-kind gold and diamond encrusted earring and ring set which retails at $20,000. The dazzling Eye of the Cheetah, an 18k yellow gold ring, features a magnificent 4.7 carat orange sapphire. Each earring boasts matching orange sapphires, totaling 2.89 carats.
For the past three days a delegation of 21 leading jewelers from China, who collectively represent more than 8,000 points-of-sale, have been getting acquainted with the Antwerp diamond industry. The visit took place in the framework of a new initiative by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the “Antwerp Diamond Experience”, intended to provide groups of foreign jewelers, wholesalers and manufacturers inside access to the world’s diamond capital. Seeing as how China is currently the second largest jewelry market following the United States, this served as an incredible opportunity.
Signet Jewelers, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry, reports its same store sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 (ended October 29) fell 2.0%, while total sales fell $30.2 million to $1.2 billion, a 2.5% decline. Nonetheless, the results outstripped the company’s own guidance of a 3 to 5 percent decline. As Mark Light, Chief Executive Officer of Signet Jewelers said, “We expected challenging market conditions to result in a sales decline.
Today proves our determination to strengthen our efforts to prevent armed groups around the world from using trade in minerals to finance their activities and propagate conflict. This regulation will put into practice the EU's commitments to this effect. At the same time, no additional red tape for European companies that trade respecting the rules, while EU citizens can be assured that their purchases do not affect human rights in conflict-ridden countries."
- Peter Žiga, Slovak Minister in charge of trade and President of the Council, on EU reaching landmark agreement on conflict minerals regulation.
Chow Tai Fook, the Hong Kong based jewelry powerhouse that has taken Asia by storm, operating more than 1,800 stores in Mainland China, has finally made its way to the U.S.
The group opened their first shop-in-shop at Macy’s in Flushing Queens, colloquially referred to as ‘the Chinese Manhattan’, on November 12 2016. The shop spans approximately 500 square feet, and is based in one of the most dynamic districts in New York City with a large customer base of immigrants and tourists.
Following their prior announcement in the "Q3 and 9M 2016 Operational Overview" showing modest declines in production but a significant increase of revenue, ALROSA today published its financial results for the period, noting a 67% increase in profit during the first nine months of 2016 to $2.34 billion.
Controversy is brewing in Namibia about who is selling their diamonds to whom, for how much, and whether the country is obtaining fair value from its precious resources. The Namibian newspaper previously raised concerns that a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which is designated to sell stones worth over an estimated US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a 10-year agreement
India's diamond industry continued in October its strong recovery set forth the first half (April - September) of 2016, as preparations for the Diwali holiday season had a positive effect on the month prior to the holiday recess, and the upheaval of the government's demonitization policy had yet to be unleashed.
The United States Supreme Court became the seventh separate court to agree with PJSC LUKOIL (Grib Diamonds is a 100% owned subsidiary of LUKOIL) that Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC) Liquidation Trust’s case against LUKOIL could not be pursued in the United States. By this decision the Supreme Court has put an end to ADC’s pursuit of any further litigation in the United States. The verdict of November 7, 2016 is final and non-appealable. The case was initially filed in November 2001 in Colorado State Court.
The Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary held in UAE this week concluded with the announcement that that it has appointed the European Union as its Chair for 2018. The EU will assume responsibility as KP Vice Chair in 2017 with Australia as Chair, and India will be the Vice Chair in 2018 when EU becomes the organisation’s Chair. Consequently, in 2019 India will become the KP Chair.
Dominion Diamond Corporation reports that third fiscal quarter sales 2017 (three monthds ended Oct. 31, 2016) of rough diamonds from the Ekati Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine fell 29% to $102.7 million from $145.0 million despite the total volume of carats sold increasing by 56% to 1.2 million carats from 0.8 million carats.
As the 2016 Kimberley Process Plenary comes to a close, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and its president Andrey Polyakov applaud the positive steps taken in 2016, the initiatives undertaken by KP Chair UAE during the plenary itself, and look forward to the continued success of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme under the leadership of the new KP Chair, Australia.
"Uncertainity looms large over the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing industry in Surat following the scrapping of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency note by the government," writes the Times of India (TOI) on the sudden currency ban.
Karelian Diamond Resources, the AIM-listed diamond exploration company focused on Finland, has published its results for the year ended 31 May 2016, "A year in which highly encouraging progress has been made towards achieving its objective to discover, or acquire, and develop diamond deposits in Finland", and has announced a proposed capital reorganization to be voted on December 9, 2016.
Lucara Diamond Co. earned $38.7 million from the sale of 12 stones totalling 1,098 carats - or $35,230 per carat - at its second exceptional stone tender of 2016. The company identifies the following highlights of the tender: 5 diamonds sold for more than US $2.0 million each. Lot 1001 (pictured above), a 224.5-carat Type IIa diamond sold for US $11.11 million (US $49,497/ct), which was also the highest value per carat diamond.