Firestone Diamonds, the newest diamond miner in the Kingdom of Lesotho, is holding its maiden tender of diamonds from their Liqhobong Mine (Firestone 75%, Lesotho 25%) in Antwerp this week. It was the perfect occasion to catch up with Firestone CEO Stuart Brown in the offices of First Element, the tender house hosting the sale.
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.
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.
Reflecting on the impact of the Trump election victory on the future of the diamond trade, particularly on the U.S. and India, independent industry consultant Pranay Narvekar writes in GJEPC's Solitaire International that America's share of the global polished diamond market - already the highest by far at 45% of total value - should only increase in the coming years, while the strength of the dollar and other expected policy moves will only exacerbate uncertainty throughout the trade.
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.
The 2016 KP Plenary kicked off yesterday in Dubai as KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem welcomed representatives of 81 governments and industry organizations. First day activities included a third diamond valution forum addressing the elusive question of how to provide fair value for diamonds from Africa and achieve a formalized approach to valuing diamond resources.
On 15 November in Geneva, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction will be led by the exceptional jewels of Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Harry Winston and Boehmer et Bassenge, the newly launched Maison de Haute Joaillerie.
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, "A Fraud in Progress... A Criminal Conspiracy to Default Hits Indian Exporters", industry insider Chaim Even-Zohar unravels a massive case of fraud perpetrated by a rogue diamond broker and US-based buyers against Indian diamond suppliers, currently estimated at $35-50 million.
Current KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem wasn’t the first to contemplate the possibility of integrating blockchain technology in the diamond industry, when he addressed the KP members during the Intersessional meeting last summer. In recent months, the term “blockchain” has been popping up more and more in conversations within the industry, especially on how the technology could increase transparancy, which in turn can for example, optimize operations or enhance a company's bankability.
In his latest article, JCK news director Rob Bates looks at the impact of GIA reporting the discovery of the biggest ever undisclosed CVD synthetic diamond at its Hong Kong lab. Bates argues that even though most cases of undisclosed synthetic diamonds occur in India and China, this latest discovery demonstrates synthetics pose a real and present threat to the entire industry, including the retail segment.
Grib Diamonds is a 100% owned subsidiary of LUKOIL and a relatively new player in the rough diamond business, having started its operations in Antwerp in May 2014. Grib Diamonds markets the production of the Grib Diamond Mine, which is owned and operated by oil and gas company LUKOIL. With estimated reserves of 91.5 million carats, it is the 8th largest diamond mine in the world, the 4th largest in Russia and the only major one in Russia that is not operated by ALROSA.
Last Friday, September 30, the second of three rough diamond valuation forums initiated by the current Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, was held in Antwerp.
By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement. Click here to read the first article.
By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement. Read the second part of this article here.
De Beers today published its "Diamond Insight Report 2016", leading off with the following: "De Beers first published its Diamond Insight Report in 2014. In the two years since, much has changed, but the strong diamond industry fundamentals remain the same." Nonetheless, 'With the first half of 2016 showing signs of more stable conditions returning, it is clear that volatility in the diamond sector is not a short-term phenomenon, but the new normal," says CEO Bruce Cleaver.
In an in-depth analysis, Rapaport's Avi Krawitz maps who is buying rough from the four main diamond producers, De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamonds, combined accounting for an estimated 60% of global rough supply.
Following the January report “Diamond Sector Outlook: Nothing is forever, ABN AMRO released a new report on the global diamond industry’s outlook for supply and demand and rough and polished prices. ABN AMRO analysts believe trade figures of the main trading and manufacturing centres point to a “fragile improvement”, with "import and export figures in Antwerp bottoming out, the UAE appears to be stabilizing while Israel remains very weak.”
On the eve of the highly anticipated auction at Sotheby’s London of the largest gem-quality rough diamond in the world – the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona – the Diamond Loupe brings you our in-depth discussion with Lucara Diamond CEO William Lamb. During the Antwerp leg of the Lesedi’s world tour, we sat down with William Lamb to discuss Lucara’s management strategy, decision-making process, use of innovative technology and, of course, the magnificent Lesedi La Rona. What lies in store for Lucara’s historic stone?
"As April 2016 concludes, the diamond industry has without question improved relative to a year ago, however, current industry data and commentary paints a mixed picture as to whether market fundamentals have in fact stabilized enough to support a new wave of sustainable growth continuing into the near-to-medium-term", writes Paul Zimnisky, author of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index to introduce his in-depth analysis of global diamond trade demand, supply and pricing in 2016.
Uphold CEO Anthony Watson sheds light on how Financial Technology is finally transforming the legacy financial services industry and why it’s here to stay.
While the Internet has brought tremendous efficiencies to nearly every sector in the economy, the financial services industry remains relatively unimproved. Businesses today, in particular those in the diamond industry, are painfully aware of the lack of transparency, the lack of convenience and online functionality, the lack of interoperability between geographies, and the high fees charged by banks.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan draws back the veil of rhetoric concerning synthetic and natural diamonds to reveal what has been missing from the debate thus far: hard numbers.
In an in-depth analysis of the market for Rough&Polished, analyst Elena Levina says that despite lower reported trade figures in March, three consecutive months of growth indicate the industry seems to have regained balance.
Levina says polished prices, in certain categories, went up, as did the average rough price per carat, while at the same time, the big producers are said to have maintained the prices they instated last year. Industry sources, Levina continues, are saying that this price stability is again allowing the secondary market to trade at significant premiums.
Reports from multiple sources are starting to detail the murky structures hiding the tremendous wealth accumulated by certain players in the diamond and gold trade that emerged through last week's release of the Panama Papers.
Martin Rapaport has written an in-depth diatribe rejecting the claims of sythetic diamand producers that their product is more ethical than naturally mined diamonds, exposing the value proposition of synthetic diamonds as a ruse and calling natural diamond miners to join together to aggressively market and natural diamonds and attack synthetics. It is nothing less than a call to arms for the natural diamond industry, and he goes so far as to call the way synthetic diamonds are marketed as "evil".
The CEO Magazine sat down with William Lamb, CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp. - finder of the 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond at the Karowe Mine in Botswana - to talk about steering the development of the small miner with the big stones. Lucara’s acquisition of the Karowe Mine presented a major growth opportunity for the company.
Against the lavish backdrop of Baselworld, "the glittery industry fair, where the latest innovations in timekeeping are unveiled and gem-encrusted baubles from the likes of Chanel, Chopard, Patek Philippe and Graff tempt buyers from around the world," Kati Chitrakorn writes for Business of Fashion that all is not well in the diamond industry backstage. "Acute pressure has been mounting on the industry’s $80 billion diamond market.
Diamond industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado took the occasion of the international jewelry show in Hong Kong to ascertain the mood of the diamond market, specifically its reaction to the high levels of rough supply in early 2016 in light of demand for polished goods, and more specifically to guage the resulting profitablility.
In an exclusive interview with Rough & Polished, analyst Paul Zimnisky discusses a wide range of issues, from diamond production volume and prices to oversupply and mid-stream purchasing trends, profit margins, consumer demand and synthetic diamonds. A few key takeaways:
In a follow-up article to Chaim Even-Zohar's bombshell about CVD synthetic diamonds being sold on Alibaba with GIA natural diamond certificates, the Diamond Intelligence Briefing (DIB) identifies the name behind the fraud: Diwakar Dhyani.
JCK News Director Rob Bates discusses the implications of Jewellery group Signet's announcement that it will start implementing a Responsible Sourcing Protocol for Diamonds, requiring its suppliers to provide diamonds from identified sources, from mine to finger, so to speak. The initiative, which received support from diamond industry organisations such as the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the Diamond Development Initiative, will be a work in progress, Signet stated, continuously improving.
By Chaim Even-Zohar. Reprinted from Diamond Intelligence Briefs by special arrangement.
Diamond specialist Ehud Arye Laniado takes an informative look at the options for purchasing and selling rough diamonds, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. "Manufacturers essentially have two alternatives when it comes to buying rough diamonds. They can either buy directly from mining companies, or they can buy from others companies in the secondary trading market." Mining companies (producers) sell their diamonds either through a "sight" system or through tenders and auctions.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz addresses the bouyant rough diamond sales by De Beers and ALROSA in January, but notes that this has led many to wonder whether it is sustainable. To wit, does the seemingly improved sentiment truly reflect rising consumer demand, or is it another case of overreach on the part of manufacturers? For while "sightholders were quick to point out that the market mood is currently “much more positive,” it is important that stakeholders are aware of the factors that have underpinned the sudden turnaround in rough diamond demand."
Industry analyst Edahn Golan says fine jewelry retail sales in the US in 2015 posted a modest 1.1% rise, in the November-December holiday season, sales increased 2.5% YoY. The increase is good news, says Golan, but he adds the industry should remain cautious, "we are not out of the woods yet".
Rough diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky takes a comprehensive look at the current and projected output for the entirety of the diamond mining industry, concluding that "2016 global diamond production by-volume is forecast to be 137 million (M) carats, or +1.3% over 2015 estimates," despite efforts by De Beers and Rio Tinto to limit global diamond supply. Stable Russian production, new mines, and production increases by Dominion Diamond Corp and Petra Diamonds in particular, he writes, will serve to offset these efforts.
In a contribution on the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF) website, Chief Scientist of the Diamond Durability Laboratory, Daniel Howell brings a widespread misconception to the attention on what many assume to be bubbles of air or gas trapped inside rough diamonds. The misconception has led some manufacturers to drill release channels, fearing the trapped gas may cause the rough diamond to explode during polishing.
In an elaborate investigative piece that is clearly stirring up much debate, JCK News Director Rob Bates dives into yet another episode of the EGL overgrading saga, and wonders if overgrading lawsuits have become overkill. Nashville law firm Cummings Manookian recently launched an aggressive flyer and online campaign against a handful of small jewelry retailers – and in some cases their personnel - in the U.S., seemingly aimed at recruiting dissatisfied customers in their crusade against overgrading by the former EGL International diamond grading lab.
JCK's Rob Bates writes the fascinating story behind acquiring and polishing the world's most expensive diamond, the Blue Moon, as told by Ehud Laniado, chairman of Cora International, which bought the stone. To recap: in November, Sotheby’s sold the Blue Moon, the 12.03 ct. internally flawless vivid blue cushion cut, for $48.5 million, setting a world record for a diamond at auction. Before that, the stone, discovered by Petra Diamonds at the Cullinan mine in South Africa, was a 29.62 ct.
In a recently released report, diamond industry financier ABN-AMRO takes stock of the global diamond industry and concludes two crucial forces in a changed industry landscape will determine the future of the industry; increased price competition and the potential impact of synthetics.
In a feature article on the GemKonnect blog, Nirupa Bhatt writes that, "I am a woman in an industry which relies almost entirely on women to survive and grow. And yet has less than one percent women involved in this business in any significant capacity including strategy, marketing, product design and development." This led her to ask a "simple yet, a profound question - does the industry really know what women want?" She notes that, "The jewelry industry does employ a great many women, [but] most of them are usually at the sales counter.
Louis Pearl, rough diamond consultant and gemologist, takes a hard look at eroding profit margins throughout the diamond pipeline from a historical perspective and - for a change - does not place all the blame on the major miners.
Israel's Channel 10 has aired a hard-hitting investigative program on the Israel Diamond Exchange, particularly the methods used by a so-called underground bank which operated from 2005 to 2011 until police raided its offices. Although many details of the case had previously been reported, Channel 10's use of CCTV footage from cameras secretly installed by the police before officers carried out the raid and details from a Red Book showing the names of some of the diamantaires said to have used the bank's services are likely to have made a particularly strong impression on viewers.
IDEX India conducted a wide-ranging interview with Russell Mehta, vice chairman of the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), and CEO of Rosy Blue (India), about the current state of affairs in the Indian diamond industry. The single biggest challenge, according to Mehta, is the ‘ease of doing business’.
The two-day Jewelry Industry Summit, which aims to provide a forum for all parts of the diamond and jewelry industry to discuss sourcing issues, is due to take place at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from March 11 to 13. Also attending will be representatives of government and NGOs, as well as consumer and marketing experts and service providers such as banks and industry trade associations.
Deviating from his standard m.o., in his latest "Diamond Intelligence Briefing" Chaim Even-Zohar (CEZ) gives De Beers CEO Phillipe Mellier center stage by laying out his argumentation from his Dec. 8 address to Anglo American's top executives and shareholders about the current situation and future prospects of the diamond giant.
Bain & Co. has released its fifth annual report on the global diamond industry prepared by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Bain. This year’s edition takes a comprehensive look at the year’s major developments along the diamond value chain, focusing on the reasons for the recent drop in rough and polished prices against the background of continued but slowing growth in the macro economy.
In an interview with Mining Weekly Online addressing the current state of affairs and future outlook throughout the diamond industry, analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky says he believes Canada was the best-positioned country in the industry given the quality of the current projects. “Looking at the NWT’s Ekati and Diavik mines, for instance, they are still quite profitable projects, even in a weaker price environment.
Diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar has published an analysis of the steps that led to, and the potential results of, De Beers' (DB) deferral of contractually obligated purchases from its own rough supplier in Botswana - Debswana (DW). Suddenly, the standard-bearing producer of rough diamonds is behaving like any other rough trader further downstream, refusing to purchase rough diamonds that are overpriced.
Last summer, Ozy published a story on efforts to revitalize and legitimize the mining and polishing of gemstones in Afghanistan, a trade which, if successful, could contribute to its wrecked economy. Afghan emeralds are considered among the finest in the world by some international experts, but while the country therefore has potential to grow within the colored gemstone market, it is difficult to mine and process the stones given the precarious political situation in this stil
JCK's "Diamond Dialogues", a series meant to take a wider look at the diamond industry and the forces that shape it, has published a thought-provoking presentation by Erik Jens, head of diamond and jewelry clients for ABN Amro, the largest bank in the industry. Jens discusses how other industries, oil in this case, cope with profitability woes, why bankers are wary of the diamond business, and the disruptive change that is quickly heading our way. Jens' considerations reach far and wide.
The scuttlebutt surrounding De Beers' multi-tiered pricing mechanism and sweetheart deals for select sightholders at its October sight is nearly certain to shake up the rough diamond market and may potentially ignite a price war, writes Chaim Even-Zohar in his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, even though he acknowledges that this would be "self-defeating".
Control Risks, a private risk consultancy company, published a report on the global anti-corruption and compliance landscape, surveying legal and compliance professionals across the globe. Key take-aways in the report say corruption is still a major cost to international business: 30% of businesses globally reported losing out on deals to corrupt competitors. Secondly fraud risks continue to deter investors: 30% of respondents did not conduct business due to perceived corruption risks.
With the serving of charges relating to five diamantaires in Tel Aviv in the case of a so-called 'Underground Bank' at the Israel Diamond Exchange which operated between 2005 and 2011, full details have come to light about the scale of its operations and the dark areas in which much trade takes place away from the eyes of the tax authorities, according to the Globes financial daily.
Global Witness has issued a major report, "Jade: Myanmar's 'Big State Secret'", revealing an industry far bigger than previously thought, worth up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone (for the sake of comparison, the value of 2014 global diamond mining is estimated at $14-18 billion). That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP for the whole of Myanmar, but hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers. Instead, the sector is secretly controlled by networks of military elites, drug lords and crony companies associated with the darkest days of junta rule.
Nurit Rothmann reflects on what the diamond industry should learn from the master toymaker, why thinking like a fish might help our business, and why recent arrogance should inspire us all to do some soul-searching.
India’s diamond industry is highly complex with thousands of small, unregistered players concentrated in the cutting and polishing sector.
The InSight Crime foundation, in the latest of many reports over the years, writes that the Cinta-Larga indigenous group in Brazil is on the brink of collapse as a result of illegal mining in one of the world's (unconfirmed) largest diamond deposits in Roosevelt. The peak of the diamond rush in Roosevelt occurred in 2004, when there were more than 5,000 miners in the region. It was interrupted after the deaths of 29 miners. Since then, mining operations in the area have been closed and reopened on several occasions.
According to industry analyst Edahn Golan, De Beers' sightholders want and need to see a 10-20% rough price reduction, without which the goods will remain uneconomical to purchase. Two factors have led sightholders to expect that De Beers will do just that. The first is De Beers' decision to (reportedly) sell a large amount of rough to certain sightholders outside the last sight at a discounted price. This shows that De Beers is fully aware that their prices are too high.
"Do consumers think that diamonds are really rare? No. The quicker we understand this, the faster the market for diamonds will recover," explains diamond jewelry veteran Ayalla Joseph. "Then why do women still love diamonds? Why has the slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ captured the hearts and wallets of millions? We know they are so not rare. So what is it? The answer lies in the fact that they have no function whatsoever other than to prove a man’s love or a woman’s worth. It really is that simple."