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.
In 2015, CAP Conseil, a sustainable development consultancy based in Belgium, presented the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) an idea for a fully ethical and traceable diamond jewelry project from small-scale origin. Two years later, the first MY FAIR DIAMOND collection has become a reality.
The Women’s Jewelry Association’s mission is to help women in the diamond, jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership and the provision of member services. Programs include grants, interactive workshops, mentorship programs and awards of excellence. The Diamond Loupe had the opportunity to sit down with Ayelet Lerner, one of the women involved with setting up the WJA chapter in Antwerp.
The Diamond Loupe: Tell us a little bit about yourself in the business.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an in-depth article charting the vicissitudes of rough diamond prices on a quarterly basis for the past 10 years - since the onset of the global financial crisis. We consider this a must-read for anyone seeking to gain insights into the diamond industry as a whole and rough supply-side dynamics in particular.
Innovation is the key to sustained success, even for a traditional industry such as the diamond trade. Successful innovation, however, starts with questioning what we do and why we are doing it.
The Kimberley Process has published its 2016 figures for the global diamond trade, covering rough diamond production and value, imports and exports, as well as KP Certificate counts. The most notable takeaway is that while overall the volume of rough diamond production in 2016 increased 5% to 134.1 million carats from 127.4 million carats, the value of that output slid 11% to $12.4 billion from $13.88 billion the previous year. From a trading standpoint (imports & exports), however, the KP reports a significant upturn following the 'crisis' year of 2015.
A new investigative report by Global Witness shows how smugglers are using social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to get diamonds linked to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) out of the country and into international markets. Representatives went undercover by creating a social media profile for a fictitious diamond buyer that claimed to be based in Antwerp but operates internationally. They managed to speak to several dealers who promised easy access to CAR’s diamonds.
Diamond expert, industrialist and industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado takes an incisive look at the value proposition of synthetic diamonds, taking their producers and marketers to task on their main selling points. Reprinted in full with the permission of the author.
Arriving at Antwerp’s splendid 19th century Central Station, with its marble staircases, iron and glass vaulted ceiling and gilded details, shoppers visiting Antwerp are filled with high expectations about the jewelry boutiques awaiting them in the world’s diamond capital. For years these expectations were quickly dashed, as consumers were confronted with myriad uninviting and less-than-reputable jewelry shops once they left the station. Where to turn?
This article is reprinted from Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics, courtesy of Paul Zimnisky.
Standard and Poor's has reiterated its negative outlook rating for Botswana as a result of, "The country's narrow economic base, which relies heavily on the diamond sector and is vulnerable to external shocks, despite efforts to diversify." Diamonds account for approximately 80% of Botswana’s total exports and about one-third of its gross domestic product, and "remains its main economic locomotive".
The De Beers Group made headlines last month when it announced the end of its joint venture with LVMH with the aquisition of their 50% share in De Beers Diamond Jewellers (DBDJ), a move that Chaim Even-Zohar characterizes as, "brilliant and long overdue." He writes, "With De Beers at the helm, the venture will get a realistic chance to succeed.
JCK's Rob Bates conducted an in-depth and personal interview with Cecilia Gardner, who recently stepped down after 18 years as president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to compliance with laws pertaining to the jewelry industry.
The most exciting news from a mining exploration stock is a high-grade drilling result. But what constitutes a good assay? It varies from situation to situation and commodity to commodity. Listed below is some rule of thumb information on interpreting drill results for investors.
On Thursday March 9, 2017 Antwerp’s Young Diamantaires hosted their first networking event since the initiative was relaunched. Supported by the Antwerpsche Diamantkring, the Young Diamantaires’ program is designed to provide a platform for the under-40 generation of diamantaires, polishers, jewelry manufacturers and diamond industry professionals working and living in Belgium. The Diamond Loupe sat down with a few committee members from the Young Diamantaires Antwerp (YDA) and asked them about their initiative.
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’.