Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published a wide-ranging article comprised of quick diamond-industry stats and trends: "2018 Global Diamond Industry Primer". Here he lays out the current situation and developments as we bring the 2017 diamond year to a close, and identifies what to look out for in the year ahead.
Vrai & Oro, the jewelry designer owned by laboratory-grown diamond producer Diamond Foundry, has closed its Los Angeles retail store after only six months. Despite several articles by the likes of Vogue announcing their partnership, and The Hollywood Reporter dropping Hollywood names like headliner Leonardo DiCaprio, the designer has come to the conclusion, "that retail is a true challenge." The Los Angeles fine jewelry label, which was purchased by Diamond Foundry in November of last year, opened a store in downtown L.A. at the ROW DTLA shopping center last August.
De Beers Group today announced it is progressing development of the first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform. The initiative will underpin confidence in diamonds and the diamond industry by ensuring that all registered diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector, the company said in a statement.
Israeli diamond tech group Sarine Technologies is opening its first gemological laboratory this February in Ramat Gan, Israel, with plans to follow with the opening of a lab in India, planned for May. The company says it will utilize its, "breakthrough artificial-intelligence based technological solutions for the automated, accurate, consistent, digital, and objective grading of a polished diamond's Clarity and Colour." The services offered will include authentication whether a polished diamond is a simulant, natural or synthetic, treated or not, as well as the grading of its 4Cs.
Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) posted a 4 percent jump in sales to $567 million in 2017, reports Reuters, making this year's sales the highest annual sales since its formation in 2013, the company said on Thursday. The state-owned company sold 3.41 million carats of diamonds in 2017, managing director Marcus ter Haar told Reuters, adding that the year was characterised by healthy demand and prices in the first half, weakening from July through to November. The company says it generally has total sales in the region of $500 million annually.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council has announced that Pramod Kumar Agarwal has been elected as Chairman and Colin Shah as Vice Chairman of GJEPC for the period from 2018 to 2020. Both have been working in the industry for a number of decades, and have held various positions of responsibility in GJEPC committees over the years. The new Chairman Pramod Kumar Agarwal said, “I am committed to developing a favorable environment for the gem & jewellery trade and business during my tenure.
Gem Diamonds this morning announced the recovery of an exceptional quality 910-carat, D color Type IIa diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, making it the fourth or fifth largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered in history and the second largest in a century, behind only Lucara Diamonds' 2015 discovery of the 1,009-carat Lesedi La Rona.
The President of the Republic of Angola João Lourenço signed the Decree permitting the redistribution of 16.4% stake in the share capital of Catoca Ltd Mining Co to Wargan Holdings Limited, which belongs 100% to PJSC ALROSA. At a later stage, a 16.4% stake in Catoca will be equally distributed between ALROSA and ENDIAMA E.P., a national diamond mining company. The additional 8.2% stake will increase ALROSA's total stake in the company to 41%. The Decree of the President of the Republic of Angola will come into force early in January 2018.
Zimbabwe is planning to resume auction of diamonds next month, having suspended sales in February last year following the merger in 2016 of companies previously operating in the Chiadzwa area of Marange, Manicaland province, reports Zimbabwe news outlet The Herald. Seven diamond miners operating in the country's Marange diamond fields were merged to form the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), with the government having a 51% majority share. Dr.
This debate shows the need for the industry to demonstrate the value of its products. The link between a diamond and love is clear and well-established. But while consumers don’t think twice about buying $300 sneakers, or $1,000 handbags, they regularly balk at spending a few thousand dollars on engagement rings. And yet, it takes a lot of painstaking craft to make a ring (of the non-$25 variety). It also takes a lot of effort and money to get diamonds out of the ground. Plus, consumers are buying a product that is intended to hold its value and truly last forever ... it’s clear, many consumers don’t know all that. Perhaps that’s something the industry can think about how to rectify in the year ahead.
- JCK's Rob Bates addresses the stormy internet debate about Kay Jewelers' $24.99 diamond ring
Leading Chinese jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook reported a 5% year-on-year increase in same store sales (SSS) for the three-month period ended December 31, 2017 (Q3 FY2018) in its key markets of Mainland China and Hong Kong & Macau, reflecting solidification of the recovery in demand and increasing points of sale. Overall retail sales value in Hong Kong and Macau was flat year-on-year for the third quarter, but recorded 12% growth in Mainland China.
In its first full year of commercial production at the Renard Diamond Mine in Quebec, Stornoway Diamond Corp. produced 1.64 million carats from processing 1.96 million tons of ore with an attributable grade of 84 cpht, compared to a plan of 1.69 mcts from 2.00 mtons at 85 cpht (97%, 98% and 99% of targets respectively).
According to preliminary figures released today, ALROSA’s rough and polished diamond sales for the year 2017 amounted to US$4.27 billion, a 5% decline from the US$4.49 billion in overall sales in 2016 despite an estimated 5% increase in rough diamond production. The Russian mining giant provisionally sold $4.17 billion in rough diamonds compared to $4.34 billion in 2016. They sold US$96.9 million in polished diamonds on the year.
For 10 years, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has been working to transform artisanal diamond mining into an economically viable, socially and environmentally responsible activity that will benefit miners, their communities and their governments, and consequently, the diamond and jewelry industry, the organization writes in a press release on the occasion of its ten-year anniversary.
Signet's total sales for the 9 weeks ended December 30, 2017 (“Holiday Season”) were $1,881.7 million, down $59.2 million or 3.1%, compared to $1,940.9 million in the prior year, the group announced in a press release today. Same Store Sales (SSS) decreased 5.3%. Sales declines were primarily driven by weakness in the Sterling division (Kay, Jared, R2Net and Regional brands), impacted predominantly by the credit outsourcing transition* which accounted for approximately two-thirds of the decrease. R2Net was the best performer in the division, increasing sales 38.6% to $50.6 million.
Diamond tracker and blockchain startup Everledger has partnered with Gübelin Gem Lab to create the Provenance Proof Blockchain for colored gemstones, reports International Business Times. Gübelin Gem Lab is a renowned gemological laboratory and creator of the Provenance Proof initiative, for which the Gübelin Gem Lab is developing technologies to further drive transparency in the gemstone industry.
Koin International will hold their January rough diamond tender in Antwerp from January 17 – 24 featuring multiple original rough mine productions from several African countries. The rough goods are from the following mining companies: Meya Mining (Sierra Leone), Diamcor (South Africa), Ekapa Minerals (Kimberley), ANGOLA F2M, Calendula (Angola), Texam (Guinea) and Kananga (DRC). The tender will also feature a selection of exceptional fancy yellow and pink diamonds. Viewings are by appointment only and can be scheduled through the link to the original article.
World-renowned diamond grading lab GIA has announced it will open a new laboratory in Surat, India and expand its long-term presence in Antwerp, Belgium in the second quarter of 2018 to meet the needs of the global gem and jewelry industry. GIA says it has already secured premises for both locations. In Antwerp, GIA will be occupying space in the Antwerp Diamond Bourse.
Recent reports ranging from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's (GJEPC) lobbying efforts to change the Goods & Services Tax (GST) for the diamond industry, to Indian manufacturing companies looking to set up cutting and polishing units in Russia and an estimated $158 million in couriered diamond parcels seized on suspicion of tax evasion have the Indian industry hot under the collar about the GST.
Australia's Frontier Diamonds was admitted to the ASX – the Australian Securities Exchange – on January 3 and commenced trading shares on January 5, 2018. Frontier’s current focus is largely on two operating diamond mines in South Africa – the Star and Sedibeng Diamond Mines. Since acquiring the Sedibeng and Star Diamond Mines from Petra in 2014, Frontier’s strategy has been to restart operations and to make capital development and operational changes to cut costs and deliver strong improvements in operational efficiencies.
Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. has announced the recovery of rough diamonds weighing 103 carats and 83 carats, both of which were recovered from Mining Block 8. The 103 carat light brown diamond and 83 carat Type IIa diamond, the company says, "continue to evidence the special nature and potential of the Lulo resource." The 103-carat diamond is the 9th +100 carat diamond recovered to date from Lulo, the largest being the Angolan record 404-carat 4th February Stone which sold for US$16 million in 2016.
Galatea Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarine Technologies Ltd, is taking legal action against a manufacturer in Surat, India, for their allegedly fraudulent use of Sarine's Galaxy® inclusion mapping technology and systems, the company said in a statement. Galatea claims the company has been practising deliberate under-reporting of rough stone weights and underpayment of amounts owed to Galatea for the scanning of the rough stones.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA has formed a list of long-term clients for the new contract period 2018-2020. From January 15 to January 19, 2018, the Company’s long-term clients will participate in the first trading session under the new long-term contract. Long-term contracts form the basis of ALROSA sales policy, accounting for up to 70% of sales of the diamonds the company mines. The contracts guarantee volumes and assortment of monthly supplies, as well as the possibility to purchase additional batches of rough diamonds.
Antwerp's vibrant rough diamond tender program gets rolling this week as Laurelton Diamonds Belgium will be holding the viewings of its next tender of rough and sawn at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility [ATF] in the AWDC Building in Belgium, starting January 9 and running through January 18. The tender will include a selection of white, cape rough parcels in sizes from +5cts to -7 in regular and high-quality assortments.
Mountain Province Diamonds in December sold 364,000 carats at the tenth tender of rough diamonds from the Gahcho Kué mine, in which it has a 49% share - De Beers owns the 51% - at an average price of $53 per carat, for a total of $19.1 million.
The government of Zimbabwe reports it has doubled its diamond production to 1.8 million carats in 2017, from 961,000 carats in 2016, the drop in production exacerbated by Zimbabwe's merging of diamond mining companies previously operating in Chiadzwa diamond fields into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). The rise in diamond production is expected to translate into increased economic development. ZCDC CEO, Dr Moris Mpofu, said in an effort to achieve an effective system of diamond value management, the company had stopped selling diamonds in February last year.
Gem Diamonds has announced the recovery of high-quality 117 and 110-carat, D colour Type IIa diamonds from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, famed for its large, Type IIa stones that often achieve the highest dollar per carat rough prices in the world. The London-based company recovered seven such stones in 2017 after unearthing only five in 2016.
At their summer tender in 2017, Gem Diamonds achieved an average price of $2,397 per carat, making it the highest achieved dollar value per carat for a tender since September 2015.
As the calendar turned on the new year, the European Union took over the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, aimed to ensure sustainable and conflict-free trade in diamonds. Under the leadership of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, the EU will head this international initiative to stem the trade in conflict diamonds during 2018. The EU emphasized that its tenure would be guided by the principles of sustainability, inclusiveness, responsibility and dialogue.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Co. and its Angolan partners, Endiama and Rosas & Petalas, have decided to schedule the next diamond sale for early 2018. The timing of this sale is designed to maximise sale proceeds by selling into a usually stronger demand period at the beginning of the year. The next sale parcel of alluvial diamonds from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola will total 2,160 carats. This includes the exceptional 129 carat and 78 carat Type IIa D-colour Lulo diamonds recovered from Mining Block 6 in November 2017.
De Beers Canada has notified the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board it intends to file a final closure and reclamation plan for its defunct Snap Lake diamond mine, writes CBC News from Canada. The process started out in 2015 as a care and maintenance operation to wait for a possible market rejuvenation or a buyer to come forward.
Sales of jewelry in the U.S. during the holiday season jumped 5.9%, largely driven by last-minute sales, with December 23 approaching Black Friday in terms of single-day spending, reports Mastercard SpendingPulse. They report that holiday sales increased 4.9 percent this year, setting a new record for dollars spent. This is the largest year-over-year increase since 2011 and a further indication of consumer confidence. Online shopping also saw large gains of 18.1 percent compared to 2016, boosted by a late season rally.
The U.S. sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, one of the biggest individual mining and diamond investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in what it calls a clampdown on human-rights abusers and corrupt actors, write Thomas Biesheuvel, Mark Burton, and William Clowes for Bloomberg Politics. The U.S. Treasury said Gertler has used his close relationship with the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.
In a recent meeting concerning the 2018 budget, Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA said diamond production is planned at 36.6 million carats in 2018, representing an approximately 7% decline from the 39.3 million carats it is likely to produce this year.
Renowned jeweler Laurence Graff has bought the 476-carat Meya Prosperity Diamond from Sierra Leone for $16.5 million. It is the second major rough diamond Graff has purchased from Sierra Leone this month, having previously purchased the 709-carat 'Peace Diamond' for $6.5 million. The Type IIa, D color 476- rock was unearthed in the Kono District back in November by Meya Mining, a company jointly owned by Namibia-based conglomerate Trustco Group and Germinate Sierra Leone.
At the close of the KP Plenary session in Brisbane last week, the World Diamond Council (WDC) - the KP industry representatives focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of diamonds - extended praise and gratitude to Participants at the gathering, for embracing the spirit of collaboration and open dialogue around KP reform. “This week we spoke openly and transparently about areas of the KP in need of the most urgent reform, and I am pleased that we have come together and
In their attempt to position synthetics as responsible alternatives to diamonds, many manufacturers have been propagating misleading, outdated, and inaccurate information about the diamond industry. This information ignores the significant changes which have occurred in the diamond sector over the past 15 years.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of Diamond Producers Association
Diversified mining conglomerate Rio Tinto will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its world-class iron ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50 percent by 2019 after signing agreements with leading manufacturers Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu Ltd. to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles, the company announced today. A total of 29 Komatsu haul trucks will be retrofitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology starting next year.
The world's largest diamond producer by output, ALROSA, recovered of a large gem-quality diamond of 98.63 carats from its historic Jubilee (Yubileynaya) pipe, located in the eastern Republic of Yakutia. The octahedron crystal has inclusions of olivine, graphite and sulphide, is transparent yellow-tinted and measures 28.96 х 28.03 х 27.30 mm. "One more discovery weighing almost 100 carats confirms the fact that Jubilee pipe today is ALROSA's absolute leader in the recovery of large gem-quality diamonds.
Jewelers of America (JA) released the results of their US “Fine Jewelry Industry Consumer and Retail Market Study” conducted by Provoke Insights. The study surveyed two groups, the retailers and the consumers, and Michelle Graff listed some of the key findings.
Rapaport’s Sarah Jordan lists five common misconceptions about the diamond industry and lets industry experts explain the difference between myth and reality.
Myth: Customers are significantly at risk of buying a conflict diamond
Reality: The Kimberley Process alongside a multitude of legislation and self-regulation are a guarantee that 99.8% of diamonds are conflict-free.
According to The National Jeweler, a Delaware judge this week has dismissed the Chapter 11 cases Exelco NV and its subsidiaries filed in the Delaware (US) Bankruptcy Court, ruling that the cases should be heard in Belgium. U.S.
The tax regimes in the four major diamond midstream trading centers - Antwerp, India, Dubai and Israel - have been the topic of great discussion and significant change in recent years. The beginning of this year saw the tax policies in both Belgium (Antwerp) and Israel (Tel Aviv) change. These countries levied a minimum tax on diamond companies, which was levied as a percentage of the turnover. While this was termed as a “turnover-based tax”, it was never truly a turnover-based tax.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), representing the largest diamond trade hub worldwide, and diamond mining company De Beers today announced at the KP Plenary in Brisbane that they are discussing a potential collaboration in De Beers’ recently announced blockchain platform. De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said that in recognition of the crucial issue of confidence in the diamond industry and the changing expectations across the value chain, the company has been investing in a platform to create, "the first traceability platform to span the entire diamond value chain ...
“We want to change the narrative surrounding the diamond industry,” says Diamond Empowerment Fund executive director Nancy Orem Lyman.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA has become a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) by achieving certification against its Code of Practices through meeting the highest ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by the RJC, the two organizations communicated this morning. A large independent audit company has been undertaken to assess ALROSA’s compliance with RJC’s Code of Practices.
In Gem Diamonds’ Half Year 2017 results, announced on 17 August 2017, shareholders were notified that an offer to acquire 100% of the Ghaghoo asset ("Ghaghoo") had been received and was being considered by the Board.
Discussions have not resulted in agreement between parties and this offer has been withdrawn, the company announced this morning.
De Beers reports the value of its provisional sales for Cycle 10 2017 (representing sales as at 11 December 2017) at $450 million, a modest drop from actual sales of $466 million in Cycle 9 and a nearly 7 percent increase from the $422 million in sales for the same cycle in 2016. It should be noted that De Beer’s provisional sales value for Cycle 9 was $455 million, later adjusted upward to $466M. For the year to date, De Beers has sold $5.306 billion in rough diamonds (noting the provisional nature of Cycle 10), compared to $5.587 billion in sales last year, a 5 percent decline.
Merlin Diamonds is getting ready to process its first kimberlite ore through its new Tomra X-Ray Transmission (XRT) machine at its Merlin Diamond Mine in the Northern Territory, designed to enable the recovery of larger diamonds. Merlin announced on December 1 that the Tomra X-Ray Transmission Machine had been delivered to the mine site and would be commissioned in December. In addition to larger diamonds, the machine is also expected to recover more low luminescing diamonds than previously possible.
Bain & Company, together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), has published their seventh annual report on the global diamond industry, "The enduring story in a changing world", covering industry developments in 2016 and the first half of 2017 as well as the challenges the industry faces and how it is turning them into opportunities. Their report looks at key issues along the value chain, from rough-diamond production and sales, to midstream performance and global diamond jewelry demand in major markets.
The government of Zimbabwe has removed the local ownership requirement for foreign investment into the country - laid down in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act - with the exception of the diamond and platinum sectors, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced in a major policy change by the new administration. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has made job creation one of his priorities, had telegraphed his radical policy shift by dropping the indigenisation portfolio when he named his cabinet last week.
Moda Operandi, the American online luxury retailer originally founded in 2011 as a platform to provide consumers access to full collections straight from the runway, has just received a brand-new influx of cash. Billionaire entrepreneur and executive director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Adrian Cheng and Apax Digital co-led its latest round of funding, which totals a massive $165 million in growth capital. That number doubles Moda Operandi's total funding, which had reached more than $130 million as of its Series E round in February 2015.
De Beers Group has announced that its Auction Sales business is to transition Fixed-Price Forward Contracts to core business status, following the success of the pilot program that was launched in January 2017. Fixed-Price Forward Contracts offer the opportunity for Auction Sales customers to secure guaranteed access to bespoke future supply contracts, with certainty over the price to be paid when each contract reaches maturity.
As the Kimberley Process 2017 Plenary is set to start in Brisbane on Saturday, December 9, The Diamond Loupe sat down with the Acting President of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre Stéphane Fischler to discuss the industry oganization's recommendations and what they are expecting from this Plenary.
A "superb twin-stone colored diamond ring by Graff" soared past its $6,500,000 - $8,500,000 estimate to earn $12,575,000 at hammer time yesterday during Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale. The remarkable sale comes just a day after another blue diamond fetched $15.1 million at Sotheby's New York auction.
Last month, The New York Times posted an article entitled “Atelier Swarovski Turns to Man-Made Gems”. Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, would call this an oxymoron. Gems by definition are not man-made, not to mention the fact that calling them such contradicts the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
In November 2017, ALROSA Group sold US$334.2 million worth of rough and polished diamonds. Rough diamond sales by value amounted to US$325.8 million, while polished diamond sales earned US$8.4 million during the month. This follows a month in which the Russian miner sold $326.7 million in rough stones, and represents a 36% increase compared to rough diamond sales in November 2016. Polished sales declined slightly from the $9.6 million in polished diamond sales in the same period last year.
A 5.69-carat fancy vivid blue diamond fetched $15.1 million at Sotheby’s New York yesterday, making it the top lot of the day and confirming once again that purchasers are willing to pay top dollar for blue diamonds that carry the ultra-rare “fancy vivid” classification. The hammer price, which is equivalent to $2.66 million per carat, came in slightly above the pre-sale high estimate of $15 million. The emerald-cut gem, which is set in a platinum ring and flanked by two baguette-shaped diamonds, has a VVS1 clarity grade.
According to figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the Antwerp diamond trade experienced an increase in activity nearly across the board in November comparatively, likely tied to events in India and U.A.E. The volume of rough diamond exports surged by 107% compared to October and 142% year-on-year, reaching 14.6 million carats during the month. The value of those rough exports also spiked by 55% compared to last month and 22% year-on-year, achieving $1.28 billion.
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, today called for an open discussion around Kimberley Process reform at the KP Plenary meeting to be held in Brisbane, Australia December 9-14, 2017.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has undertaken a sensitization initiative for border communities in the Mano River Union (MRU) region - which comprises the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire - to raise awareness of the Kimberley Process requirements and strengthen local capacity to monitor the flow of diamonds.