In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefs, “Keeping Stock of U.S. Kimberley Process Certificates”, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar takes another hard look at the U.S. rough diamond trade and the country’s half-hearted approach when it comes to implementing Kimberley Process (KP) certification standards domestically.
Rough-Polished, citing Russian News Agency Tass, reports that nine new diamond deposits in two Arctic regions of Yakutia will be commissioned by 2025 by ALROSA subsidiaries, according to Vasily Zakharov, the first deputy minister of Industry and Geology of the Republic of Yakutia. "In 2016-2025, the two companies – Nizhne-Lenskoye and Diamonds Anabara (ALROSA subsidiaries) will commission nine new locations in two Arctic regions," - he said.
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
Provisional rough diamond sales at De Beers Cycle 1 sight of 2017 earned $720 million, the highest total sales in more than a year. This represents a more than 70% uptick from the last sight, Cycle 10 in 2016, and is 32% higher than first Cycle sales ($545M) of 2016. Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “We saw good demand across the majority of our assortment during the first sales cycle of the year, as the industry entered the period when rough diamond demand is traditionally strongest.
In October Firestone Diamonds announced the recovery of its first diamond from the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho since the the re-commissioning of the new plant. Liqhobong is owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of Lesotho. Firestone has been ramping up production since then, and will hold its first tender of approximately 80.000 cts.
The Queen of Kalahari, a 342-carat rough diamond that Lucara Diamond mining company recovered in Botswana’s Karowe Mine two years ago, has been transformed into a six-piece jewelry set. Lucara took over the mine, previously owned by the De Beers Group, in 2010.
Petra Diamonds, the London-listed mining group focused on Southern Africa that operates four mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, has reported that for the six months ended 31 December 2016 (H1 2017), rough diamond production, revenue and rough carats sold increased significantly year-over-year, continuing the upward trend established earlier in the year, though rough prices remained flat.
Diamcor Mining has completed the installation of additional operational equipment and expansions underway at its Krone-Endora Mine at Venetia project in Limpopo, South Africa. The junior diamond project developer confirmed that all the work is now complete and all the items are now operational.
Southern African diamond mining, development and exploration company DiamondCorp announced last week it would raise £1million ($1.23M) through a placing at 4p ($0.05). The South African-focused diamond miner initiated the funding round as a first step in pulling its Lace mine out of Business Rescue, and now reports that the placing is progressing well. They have extended the closing date for the round of funding that will bring its diamond mine out of the South African equivalent of administration.
The Seattle-based online jeweler Blue Nile has partnered with online diamond buyback company Mondiamo to create what it calls a transparent process for those looking to sell their diamond jewelry, writes The Seattle Times. The service works like this: Customers enter details of their stone’s grading report on the site and receive a minimum guaranteed cash offer. (For non-GIA reports, the price is adjusted based on a proprietary algorithm.) If there is no report, no offer is given.
"As consumer expectations lean increasingly toward transparency, a brand’s dedication to sustainable business practices is more important than ever before," write Jen King for Luxury Daily in her report on the “Sustainability is the New Black: Consumers Expect Ethical Transparency” session at Luxury FirstLook: Time for Luxury 2.0 on Jan. 18. She writes, "Panelists from the jewelry, spirits and hospitality sectors discussed how their businesses approach corporate social responsibility.
Rob Bates of JCK has gathered his sources to put together an overview of holiday jewelry sales and says that, "The data shows a mixed, but not altogether downbeat, picture. This year, holiday results appear to be all over the map—some independents did great; others recorded a 1 to 2 percent gain, which has become standard for many since the recession. In a surprise, we also saw mixed results at the mass-market level as well." Below are a few notable takeways from the information JCK has gathered.
Following 'Pink Panther', this week Europol organized, together with Austria and Switzerland, the first international conference on jewelry robbery and burglary under a new umbrella project entitled ‘Diamond’. Hosted at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, the event brought together more than 70 experts from almost all EU Member States, as well as third parties from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Eurojust and private jewelry/watch companies. ‘Diamond’ was initially composed as a follow-up project to Interpol’s ‘Pink Panther’ project, which ended in 2016.
An armed man walked into a Harry Winston jewelery shop in Cannes without opening fire, before walking away with €15 million ($16M) in diamonds. A man in his thirties showed up at the store on January 18 at the store on the city's famed Croisette waterfront promenade and initially passed himself off as a customer. "He asked to see diamond ornaments on behalf of a sponsor. The saleswoman was suspicious and gave him a catalogue," the prosecutor said. His face uncovered, hidden only behind sunglasses.
The 15th annual GEM awards presented by the Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, took place on January 13 in New York and was hosted by jewelry designer Stephen Webster. The winners in the categories of Jewelry Design, Marketing & Communications, Media Excellence and Watch Excellence were announced live to an audience of 500 elite members of the watch and jewelry industry, celebrities and members of press.
According to Thomas Biesheuvel of Bloomberg, the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) - an international alliance of the world’s leading diamond mining companies whose mission is to protect and promote the integrity and reputation of diamonds, and of the diamond industry - will ask its backers to raise its budget to as much as $60 million a year. DPA chief executive officer Jean-Marc Lieberherr declined to comment on the article.
De Beers announced they intend to pilot a fixed-price forward contract, which gives Auction Sales customers an opportunity to guarantee access to future supply, knowing ahead of time what they are expected to pay when the contract reaches maturity. The program will first be implemented on 16 February 2017, for the Grainers, otherwise known as Smalls- and Near-Gem categories of rough diamonds.
Diamond traders from all around the world are on their way to Botswana for one of the biggest annual sales as the $14 billion industry attempts to recover from India’s demonetization. India processes as much as 90% of the worlds rough diamonds with the purpose of being cut, polished or traded, but the steady supply of diamonds for its manufacturing industry has come under pressure as a result of the currency crisis.
Rockwell Diamonds may have set an all-time record for the length of a press release title - "Rockwell’s third quarter results impacted by malicious litigation, however the strategic repositioning programme makes progress as new leadership is appointed and non-core assets along with related liabilities rationalized" - but this might be an intentional ploy to discourage readers from reading any further.
From De Beers' press release: Speaking at a reception for customers of its Global Sightholder Sales business during the first Sight of 2017, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO, today highlighted the importance of all parts of the diamond sector working together, following the unpredictable events of a volatile year in 2016.
Koin International will hold a diamond tender in Antwerp from 16 – 26 January for multiple original rough mine productions. The productions from Africa include the Diamcor ‘Krone-Endora’ Mine, ANGOLA F2M (over 50,000cts), ANGOLA 10.80+ Single Stone (average 25-ct each), Fancy Colour (Intense & Vivid Yellows) as well as productions from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Guinea, and brand new Koin Manufacturers Assortments (consistent monthly fixed assortments, perfect for manufacturers).
Angola’s national diamond company, Endiama, produced 9.21 million carats of diamonds in 2016, slightly exceeding target of 9 million previously set by the Ministry of Planning and Territorial Development. Last year the company’s turnover was US$1.079 billion, US$130 million less than in 2015, “because higher production led to lower prices per carat,” said chairman Antonio Carlos Sumbula. Upon receiving guidance, the chairman was able to implement certain changes such as producing fewer diamonds in order to raise the price in the main markets in 2017.
India's polished diamond exports were sailing along quite nicely in 2016, having put the significant downturn of 2015 squarely behind and having nearly returned to 2014 and 2013 levels, until the bottom fell out in November as exports dropped 53% from $2.52 billion in October to $1.18 billion in November. According to statistics from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished exports bounced back in December, increasing 25% from November to reach $1.48 billion, but does not indicate a full return to health.
Rio Tinto posted strong fourth quarter production in its diamond division, with increases at its Argyle Mine in Australia as well as the Diavik Mine in NWT Canada, in which Rio Tinto owns a 60 percent interest (Dominion Diamond 40%). At Argyle, Rio Tinto produced 3.6 million carats in Q4, a 6% increase over Q4 production in 2015. For the year 2016, carat production was four per cent higher than 2015 following the ramp-up of the underground mine, with higher ore throughput partially offset by a lower recovered grade. Total 2016 production at Argyle was just under 14 million carats.
Tiffany & Co. reported its sales results for the holiday period, the two months leading up to December 31, 2016. Worldwide net sales improved slightly as opposed to the previous year to $966 million from $961 million a year before, due to a sales growth in Asia-Pacific and Japan. These results were offset by lower sales in the Americas and Europe as worldwide comparable store sales declined by 2%.
Dominion Diamond Corp. reports that production from the Diavik Diamond Mine for the fourth calendar quarter of 2016 ended 10% higher than in the same quarter of the prior year, reflecting higher processing volumes that were partly offset by lower recovered grade. Under a joint arrangement, Rio Tinto operates the mine and Dominion Diamond pays 40 percent of the mine’s operating and capital costs while receiving 40 percent of the mine’s diamond output.
“There are many exploration opportunities for diamond miners in our country. Even though the alluvial diamond deposits are shrinking, there are still diamonds in kimberlite pipes which could be mined. We want to continue to be active in the global diamond industry, and we’ll continue to make sure that investors get good return on their investments, as long as Sierra Leone get its share as well, naturally. We want to create a situation where everybody profits.”
- President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma
Mbada Diamonds could have denied Zimbabwe of millions of dollars in revenue by under-declaring its diamond sales over the years after it emerged that its average price per carat was about three times lower than that of other firms extracting gems from Chiadzwa, writes The Herald.
Birks, a group that operates 46 luxury stores in Canada, Florida and Georgia reported an 11% sales increase this holiday season. In the U.S. sales increased by 16% whereas in Canada sales grew by 3% compared to the previous holiday season. The growth in sales was the result of the company’s success in growing its average sales transactions and conversion rates, reflecting the success of the company’s long-term sales growth strategies.
High price purchases of 'fancy colored' diamonds, once the almost exclusive domain of collectors and connoisseurs, have become more commonplace in recent years, writes The Wall Street Jounal, as investors seek to take advantage of soaring appreciation of these rarest of stones. "Prices are being driven higher by investors who are hoping the hot market stays hot, many of whom have been disappointed by returns from other assets, say industry insiders. Over almost eight years, from the start of 2009 to Sept.
Richline Group, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and one the U.S.’s foremost fine jewelry manufacturers and marketers has acquired The Aaron Group, a leading jewelry manufacturer and marketer.
According to a company press release, independent expert Micon assessed that as of July 1 2016, Russian diamond mining giant and largest producer by volume in the world ALROSA's resources totalled 1.03 billion carats, down 4% from the 1.08 billion carats announced in 2015. Its reserves amounted to 653 million carats, down nearly 1% from the 662 million carats as of January 1 2015 announced in its 2015 annual report.
"As a leading member of the U.S. Jewelry industry, we are writing to express our support for Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the corresponding Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
The latest development in a tumultuous year and a half for Zimbabwe's diamond industry has the State looking to do what the mining companies - whose mining claims were expropriated after the government’s consolidation of the firms mining in the Marange fields - reportedly failed to do, namely invest. The state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which has little equipment of its own, says it is in discussions with local banks to secure up to $300 million worth of credit to finance the purchase of mining gear and expansion of its operations.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has announced they will open a new International Tender Centre in February during their International Diamond Week in Israel. The IDE will host three tenders of rough and polished diamond by Alrosa, I.Henning and Koin. The establishing of this Centre is an attempt to consolidate as many tenders as possible under one roof.
Period and designer jewelry has outperformed the housing market over the past decade, according to new figures, writes Bonhams auction house in a press release. Research reveals the most rare and sought-after pieces of vintage jewelry have soared in value by over 80% during the past ten years. By contrast, average house prices in England have risen in value by just 47% over the same period of time, according to ONS figures. Art Deco (1920s and 1930s) and Belle Epoque jewelry (1890 to 1915) has soared by a remarkable 88% since 2006.
Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News sat down with Joseph Kuzi, CEO of EGL Asia and director of Diamond Services, a Hong-Kong based synthetics testing facility, to talk about the phenomenon of undisclosed synthetic diamonds. He heard that the technology behind and production of synthetic diamonds is increasing rapidly, and just because we do not hear about every instance where undisclosed mixing of synthetic and natural diamonds is discovered, does not mean it is not widespread.
Dubai has imposed a 5% import duty (from 0.36%) on gold and diamond jewelry as of January 2017, opening the debate on who will win or lose: India's exporters of said jewelry, or their domestic market purveyors and consumers; local manufacturers in Dubai, or their exporters of Indian gold and diamond items? The Economic Times frames the debate as follows: "Dubai has imposed a 5% import duty on gold and diamond jewellery, a move which is likely to hurt Indian exports at a time when demonetisation has hit business at home.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, just shared their trading update for the third quarter ended December 31 2016, reporting an overall 5% uptick at constant exchange rates to $3,292.5 million and a 6% rise at actual exchange rates. In Europe, sales increased by 3% in the third quarter, in contrast with the 17% decline registered in the first six months of the year. The report suggests the increase was primarily due to local sales and tourist purchases in the United Kingdom as well as strong jewelry sales across the region.
Forbes created a list of the top luxury watches designed to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year, which beings on January 28, 2017. The year of the Rooster will be captured by Ulysse Nardin, Jaquet Droz, Chopard, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin – brands that are known for combining Swiss craftsmanship with Chinese culture.
Announcing the results of a disappointing Holiday Season (the nine weeks ended December 31, 2016), Signet Jewelers Limited, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry said its same store sales had decreased 4.6% during the crucial period, compared to an increase of 5.1% during the corresponding period a year earlier. Total sales at $1,940.9 million were down by $104.2 million or 5.1% as compared to an increase of 5.3% in the prior year, the retailer noted, adding that the decline was driven principally by underperformance in its Sterling division e-commerce business.
The Bakwanga Mining Company (Societe Miniere de Bakwanga, or MIBA), a joint Belgo-Congolese company based in Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai-Oriental Province in south central DRC, denied having recovered an 87-carat white diamond worth more than $6,000,000.
National Jeweler’s Editor-in-chief Michelle Graff made 3 Predictions regarding the retail market for 2017 based on current market trends and the way consumer demand is changing with the times. Retailers, including larger chains, will continue the 2016 trend of closing down. Women’s clothing retailer The Limited announced that they were closing all their stores and operating strictly online.
Rio Tinto has appointed luxury Dubai-based jeweler Dhamani to become one of its Select Ateliers, an exclusive list of jewelers given direct access to Australia’s rare Argyle pink diamonds. The launch of this new appointment correlated with the brand’s new line of pink-diamond jewelry, the DPINK collection, showcasing more than US$25 million of Argyle pink diamond jewelry. “Dhamani are an exciting Middle East luxury jeweler with over four decades of heritage and superb craftsmanship,” said Josephine Johnson, manager of Argyle Pink Diamonds.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reports rough diamond sales in December 2016 amounted to a modest (for ALROSA) $173 million, more than a $100 million drop from the $245 million in November revenues and a far cry from averages of around $430 million in the months prior. Nonetheless, the company posted a 26% rise in rough diamond sales for the year, hopefully putting a challenging 2015 firmly behind it.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, has appointed independent digital agency Ridgeway to produce a new online education experience to share and disseminate the company’s industry knowledge to interested parties, reports Professional Jeweler. Ridgeway will develop an e-learning hub to provide educational courses on various topics. The plans will be unveiled at a launch event in April 2017, with the intention to have 1,000 students by the middle of 2018.
Over the medium and long term, the supply-demand fundamentals of the diamond industry are positive and continue to point to future growth. India’s diamond consumer market has achieved almost uninterrupted growth over the last two decades. In the last decade alone, the market has nearly trebled in size to about INR220 billion ($3.2b). India’s middle classes are growing rapidly, with purchasing power of the highest income households expected to rise at the fastest pace. In the long run, we believe there is as much untapped opportunity for the diamond industry in India as anywhere else in the world.
De Beers head of media relations Lynette Gould in interview with Rough & Polished on consumer demand for diamonds in India.
Update: The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) has now received “in-principle” approval from India’s markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for trading in diamond futures contracts, writes GJEPC.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., which operates over 2,300 shops in more than 500 cities, indicated strong sequential growth over Q2 2016 after experiencing substantial declines during the past two years amid a slowdown in China's economy and fewer tourist arrivals in Hong Kong.
Diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, in his most recent article "A New Diamond Industry", analyzes three significant changes - and the catalysts for those changes - that have been reshaping the diamond industry in recent years: 1) a new operating discipline, 2) a new generation of consumers, and 3) new technology.
Brazilian news sources, relying on information from the police, are reporting that a gang of criminals in have robbed the Braúna diamond mine. More than twenty heavily armed men on Sunday broke into the Brauna property in Nordestina, 750 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro. They opened the safe using explosives. The criminals left in several cars and took five hostages, who were later released on a country road. The perpetrators are still missing. No announcements have been made about the value, size or even nature of their haul.
Sarine Technologies Ltd, a global leader in the development, manufacture and sale of precision technology products for planning, processing, evaluating and measuring diamonds and gems, reports that it has delivered a record 24 Galaxy-family inclusion mapping systems in Q4 2016, bringing the total number of 2016 deliveries to 84 systems (previous record year saw 48 deliveries). This figure also tops their former quarterly record of 22 systems sold in Q3 2016. The majority of machines sold were of the Meteor variety for small stones (0.25 to 0.89 carat).
The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS Laboratories) announced the release of a new service offering - "Only My Diamond" - that allows suppliers and retailers to present the diamond to their customers by "bringing the grading report to life", and providing complete details on the 4Cs, with visual and descriptive explanations of the diamond characteristics. The service is an interactive online tool on AGSLab.com, providing an enhancement to AGS Laboratories' Diamond Quality Document (DQD) by offering supplementary diamond quality information.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver sat down with Joseph Pisani of the Associated Press to talk about how the diamond industry is trying to reach millennials, "the under-35-year-olds who may be more focused on paying off student loan debt than buying diamonds and getting hitched." The commercials the Diamond Producers Association launched in 2016 - the financing for which De Beers contributed to as member of the DPA - abandon the conventional view of diamonds purcha
Australia-based Lucapa Diamond Company Limited has successfully defined a series of priority lamproite and kimberlite drilling targets at the Brooking Diamond Project in Western Australia and the Orapa Area F Diamond Project in Botswana, according to their ASX announcement. At Brooking, EM surveys have identified lamproite drilling targets in areas where diamonds and lamproite indicator minerals were recovered in sampling programs, while at Orapa Area F, a coincident magnetic/EM/gravity target has been defined within one of the world's most prolific diamond fields.
The ‘Clicks and Bricks’ retail sales model for jewelry combines the strengths of online shopping and the bricks and mortar business model, a successful and growing formula that is providing great returns for companies like Ritani, writes Better Diamond Initiative (BDI). "Ritani, which was a wholesaler earlier, has transformed into an USD 50M online jewelry company. It is the 40th Most Promising Company of America according to the Forbes’s list", and the main reason is the combination of online and physical retailing.
Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a short film on its diamonds, highlighting their journey through Tiffany's vertically integrated supply chain from mine to their studio in Antwerp, from Antwerp to the company’s polishing workshops in Mauritius and their final journey to New York. The film gives the viewer unprecedented access inside from inside three critical junctures of the journey from responsible mining to sorting, marking, cutting, polishing, grading, setting – and finally, the famous Tiffany Blue Box®.
Israeli billionaire businessman Beny Steinmetz was released from house arrest Wednesday after he was detained last month on suspicion of money laundering and bribing public officials in Africa, writes The Times of Israel. The diamond and mining magnate was arrested on December 19 and accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes in the Republic of Guinea in exchange for advancing his business interests in the country, according to the Israel Police.
Australia's Merlin Diamonds announced the recovery of a 35.26 carat brown diamond, the fifth largest diamond discovered in Australia, as well as a 14.6 carat brown diamond and a number of smaller white diamonds.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company Limited has announced that diamond production in the December 2016 Quarter from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola was 5,313 carats, an increase of 147% on the corresponding quarter in 2015 and also the highest quarterly production achieved during the Angolan wet season. For the year, Lucapa's production was up 136%, from 8,394 to 19,833 carats recovered.