Stéphane Fischler, President of the International Diamond Council, founding member of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers, Vice President of the World Diamond Council and President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre talks to Manisha Gupta on India's CNBC-TV18. He shared his view of the Indian diamond industry and the road ahead for its diamond market. An abbreviated version:
CNBC: How do you see diamond consumption growth in India?
"Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on India to show reciprocity in its trade relationship with the United States," writes eponymous Rapaport News of their founder's “State of Diamond Industry” presentation at GJEPC's "Mines to Market" conference yesterday, marking 50 years of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
Bulgari, an LVMH-owned jeweler and watchmaker, announced the opening of its new jewelry manufacturing facility in Valenza, Italy, a mere 18 months since the foundation stone was laid. It is one of the largest expansions of Bulgari’s exclusive “made in Italy” manufacturing network. Bulgari strategically chose Valenza, famous for its goldsmith history and the Cascina dell’Orefice (est. 1817), as the location for the new site, which they expect to create an additional 300 jobs by 2020.
Diamond industry analyst and author of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky, takes us on, "A Trip Through the Diamond Industry in March 2017." If there is one trip you make this weekend, we recommend this one.
When people talk badly about diamonds, they think of the stone they're going to buy, but they don't think of the lives that are going to be affected. In Botswana, for example, 45-50% of the total GDP comes from diamond mining. So when people say, "I'm not going to buy a diamond because it has a bad rep", think of the two-plus million people in Botswana that will be affected.
- William Lamb, CEO Lucara Diamond, Interview with Bloomberg TV, on India's demonitization, diamond demand, Kimberley Process, positive sentiment in industry, Trump effect, DPA, Millennials and finding a buyer for the magnificent Lesedi La Rona ... all in 6 minutes.
The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the government provide an international airport at Surat as soon as possible to facilitate smooth imports and exports of polished and rough diamonds, write The Times of India. Estimates are that polished diamonds worth $21 billion are processed in Surat and exported to various countries via Mumbai every year, while India imports approximately $14 billion in rough diamonds annually.
Russia’s largest cut diamonds producer Kristall was included into the 2017-2019 privatization plan, a source familiar with privatization plans told Russia's TASS News Agency on Thursday. Kristall is Russia’s largest producer of polished diamonds and one of the largest diamond cutting companies across the globe.
Citing data from its RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI), Rapaport News writes, "Diamond manufacturing profits were squeezed in January amid strong rough demand while polished prices softened." Despite a disappointing holiday season, demand of rough is strong as jewelers will need to restock after the holiday season. This is demonstrated by De Beers' First Cycle sales of $720 million, its largest sight since July 2014.
Jewelry manufacturer Samuel Aaron Inc. plans to shut down its operations in Mount Vernon, NY, with 42 jobs to be cut, reports Instoremag.com. Citing the Journal News, which in turn cites a filing with the state Department of Labor, the layoffs are slated to start April 12, with the closure of the plant set for later that month. Samuel Aaron produces DiamonLuxe simulated gemstone jewelry along with other products. Instoremag writes that Samuel Aaron, which has several hundred employees worldwide, is part of the Aaron Group.
Australia's Tychean Resources, a gold exploration and natural resource development company, has agreed to buy a 74 per cent stake in South African-based diamond company, Blom Diamonds, reports Australian Mining. The deal is reported to be worth up to $4.1 million (AUD 5.5 million).
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.
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.
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).
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
Rough diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, whose Diamond Analytics website brings you the Rough Diamond Index, has assembled a Diamonds 2016 Year in Review quiz. Courtesy of Paul Zimnisky, we invite you, our dedicated readers, to test your knowledge of diamond industry developments in 2016 with this 20 question quiz.
Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News details a decision by the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) to enforce a new rule compelling a dealer to cancel the sale of a rough diamond after he failed to disclose that a stone underwent value analysis using a Sarine Galaxy machine. Krawitz has been informed it is the first ever enforcement of new guidelines the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) adopted in May aiming to keep a level playing field between both parties trading rough diamonds.
After being shuttered for several years, New York-based company Almod Diamonds Limited says it plans on opening a diamond polishing and manufacturing factory in Yellowknife in as little as three months. The agreement was announced by Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Wally Schumann Monday morning. “Diamond polishing and manufacturing is something that has created jobs and economic opportunity in diamond-producing jurisdictions all over the world,” said Schumann.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from The De Beers Group of Companies, unveiled The Forevermark Black Label Collection, a new generation of beautiful fancy shape diamond cuts creating an exceptional sparkle. The brand developed its own propitiatory technology that maximizes the brilliance of each stone, as a diamonds beauty is intrinsically related to the way light is refracted. The new technology allows for perfectly symmetrical cuts which are presumed to be unprecedented in accuracy in every shape.
Small and medium diamond traders in Surat, the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing center, are facing difficult days due to the cash crisis and the government's demonetization decision.
Botswana's diamond cutting industry faces another blow as more jobs are lost due to the fact India based Shrenuj, one of the largest diamond cutting and the single jewelry manufacturing facility in the country, is closing shop. Parent company Shrenuj & C° has been troubled by financial woes over the past months, with reports claiming some 20 Indian banks are said to have exposure to the groups entities amounting to US$450 million which Shrenuj is failing to pay back.
The month of November in Antwerp is replete with rough diamond tenders and auctions from a full range of mining companies, including eight tenders from auction houses Bonas, DDA Trading, KOIN International, First Element and iHennig, three auctions by mining companies Rio Tinto (Diavik & Arg
Two weeks ago, IDEX Online published an opinion piece by Thierry Silber, CEO and founder of Diamaz International and Madestones, entitled "How to Kill Four Birds With One Stone". Here Silber makes the following proposal on the way to tackle the heated issue of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic diamonds: "Why not remove the mixing issue by selling both types of smaller diamonds at the same price up to a certain size?" The main problem as he sees it is the cost of detection involved in screening for synthetic diamonds, particularly for smaller manufacturers.
A diamond tycoon in India has again given away more than a thousand cars and hundreds of apartments to his staff as a bonus for meeting company targets. Savjibhai Dholakia, who runs Hare Krishna Exports, a diamond export firm in the city of Surat, announced his company would give 1,260 cars, 400 apartments and pieces of jewelry to his employees ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali which falls on the weekend. “Our aim is that each employee must have his own home and car in the next five years.
The 20-day Diwali holiday vacation has already arrived for most of the small and medium diamond manufacturing units in in Katargam and Varachha, while units in Surat are just starting to shut down. According to The Times of India, "Industry sources said the polished diamond inventory is full and that most of the units had slashed the production by almost 30% in the last few months.
Opportunities for growth within our industry will not be possible if we, as industry players, do not work together through partnerships. If we do not engage as a region, we are at risk of a missed opportunity that might lead to regional competition, to the detriment of our industry. Whether we are regulators, producers, cutters and polishers or jewellery manufacturers, until we recognise and increase our interdependency as partners, we will never get our local diamond industry back on its feet.
- De Beers Consolidated Mines CEO Phillip Barton, on importance of regional integration in the Southern African Development Community, at South Africa Diamond Indaba
According to statistics published by India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), as summarized by Executive Director Sabyasachi Ray, India's cut and polished exports continue to make a gradual recovery in the first five months of fiscal year 2016 (April - August) after seeing polished exports decline 13.66% during the fiscal year 2015.
The income tax department conducted raids and surveys on over 50 jewelers and bullion traders across Maharashtra in the last week for alleged tax evasion, writes The Indian Express, while sources said similar tax raids have been conducted on over 100 jewelers and bullion traders across the country. In Mumbai alone the tax department raided and surveyed at least 17 wholesale jewelers on September 14. According to a jeweler who was surveyed by the tax department, the tax officials have directed the jewelers to declare undisclosed excess stocks and cash.
In his latest installment, diamond industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado looks for a plausible answer to the following question: if consumer demand for polished diamonds is not rising, and inventory of said stones is not decreasing, what explains the currently strong - even "hot" - demand for rough diamonds? To give an example: "During De Beers’ Sight last week, the company raised prices by 2-4% on average, according to traders. Sightholders that chose to sell rough diamonds from the Sight reportedly sold them for higher premiums.
A new initiative to encourage the involvement of younger diamantaires in the industry is moving ahead, with its first major networking event to take place on September 15 during the Hong Kong Gems and Jewellery Fair. The event will be broadcast live to Belgium, Israel, and India where other Young Diamantaire events are being planned, Rapaport reported. The Young Diamantaires project grew out of a need to encourage trade members aged under 45 to become involved in the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), explained Rami Baron, Chairman of the WFDB’s Promotion committee.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 2016 India International Jewellery Show, Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, confirmed that De Beers has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) to develop a category-based marketing campaign over the key selling season in India.
Comparing the current mentality of the diamond industry - in particular the midstream manufacturers - to that of mass production in the textile industry, Ehud Arye Laniado argues that the way to restore dwindling profitability is by restoring the luxury aspect of diamonds, and not by slashing labor costs, seeking favorable tax regimes and free trade zones. "How is it possible that an industry that manufactures luxury products is operating as though it provides low cost, price-point driven items?
In a major, even historic development, the United States will be guaranteeing loans to diamond manufacturers in Botswana. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution that, "mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy", has today issued a press release announcing a financial partnership to provide access to credit for Botswana’s diamond cutting and polishing industry.
Botswana's Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister Kitso Mokaila told parliament that two of the country's cutting and polishing firms closed down at the end of last year leaving just 19 such operations. Local manufacturers have been hit by the value of rough diamonds supplied to them dropping by nearly half in 2015 due to Botswana's reduced output and soft global demand. Mokaila said the value of rough diamonds supplied to the local cutting and polishing industry dropped to $502 million in 2015 from $936 million the year before.
De Beers has selected five black-owned cutting and polishing companies for special attention towards meeting the South African government’s demands for beneficiation of the country’s mineral wealth, writes Business Day. Mpumi Zikalala, a director of De Beers Consolidated Mines – the South African division of De Beers – said the companies would receive assistance and "bespoke" rough diamond supplies to ensure they could compete locally and overseas.
With the abolition of the 6.5% export duty on rough diamonds fast approaching on September 1, writes Kommersant Daily, the Russian diamond cutting industry is asking the government to provide large-scale support to withstand competition on international markets - in particular from Indian diamond manufacturers.
Hundreds of diamond brokers from Varachha and Mahidhapura diamond markets have got together to form their separate association to take up the issues pertaining to the trade and the merchants, reports The Times of India. Diamond merchants took the decision two days ago after the police - following a complaint from the regional chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Dinesh Navadiya - arrested two merchants in connection with a cheating case reported one year ago.
How does one cut a massive, 404-carat diamond? James Tarmy of Bloomberg discusses the strategy behind cutting the 404-carat diamond that Lucapa Diamond discovered in Angola’s Lulo mine, making it the largest diamond ever found in Angola. It is also the 27th biggest recorded diamond in the world and the biggest diamond ever discovered by an Australian company.
Citing a publication from The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM India) - which together with the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute published a study titled "Gems & jewellery industry: Contributing to Make in India" - Rapaport News writes that, "Salaries in India’s gem and jewelry sector are half of those in other industries, according to a report that highlights a labor shortage driven by rock-bottom pay and dangerous working conditions. Workers in the industry earn an average of $3,
Polished markets cautious. Hong Kong show begins with low expectations for Chinese demand after relatively weak JCK Las Vegas show. Prices stable at De Beers sight with boxes selling at mid-single-digit premiums amid concerns that rough market fails to reflect sluggish polished demand. Manufacturing steady.
Diamond industry veteran and chairman of one of - if not the - world's leading diamond companies for solitaires (single-stone rings), Venus Jewel, Sevanti bhai Shah paid a visit today to the Kring in Antwerp, the world's only dedicated rough diamond bourse, where he spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 diamantaires.
Botswana’s Diamond Hub says De Beers supplied around half the amount of rough stones to local cutting and polishing companies last year compared to 2014. Kgotso Matlolela, a principal minerals officer with the hub, whose aim is to promote diamond beneficiation in the country, told a mining conference in Gaborone that De Beers supplied rough worth about $502 million in 2015 compared with a figure of $936 million in 2014, Rough & Polished reported. Botswana has 20 diamond cutting and polishing factories.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has created an international program to develop the future generation of diamond dealers. The Young Diamantaires initiative was introduced at the 37th World Diamond Congress in Dubai in May and will be led by Rami Baron, who was elected chairman of the WFDB's promotion committee at the meeting. The project originates from discussions between the committee's members to encourage communication among younger diamantaires and connect them with newer members of the WFDB’s 30 affiliated bourses.
The 'Lesedi La Rona', which at 1,109 carats is the largest gem-quality rough diamond in the world, visited Antwerp yesterday, where it was revealed at the MAS Museum to a select crowd of approximately 120 diamantaires, dignitaries and friends of the industry. Hot topics of the afternoon concerned what will happen to the stone next, whether that will happen in Antwerp and, of course, how much it is worth. Lucara Diamond CEO William Lamb considers Antwerp a very logical place for the stone to visit. "Antwerp is and will always be a major diamond center.
The new diamond sales agreement between De Beers and the Namibian government has brought hope to local diamond manufacturers that they will now start receiving enough and good quality diamonds for cutting and polishing, writes The Namibian. In December last year, manufacturers appealed to the government to save them from collapse. At the end of last year only four of 13 diamond processing plants were still operating.
"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.
With a view to attracting diamantaires from other centres across the world to process their diamonds in India, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) wants the central government to implement a 'job work' policy like that which is implemented in China, providing tax exemptions for importers and exporters of diamonds, and is preparing a draft policy to this end. The claim is that China's policy is the reason why despite labour being 20% cheaper in India, diamantaires from different parts of the world prefer sending their goods to China for processing.
Surat Diamond Association (SDA) has appealed to diamond unit owners, especially small and medium units, to refrain from stocking rough diamonds and close the units for summer vacation to reduce over-production and bring about recovery in the market, reports The Economic Times. Industry sources said that 2015-16 had shown a 15 percent decline in exports, as a critical slowdown had occurred in key markets like the United States and China.
GEMKonnect takes a look at the intial fallout from the 42-day jewelers strike that provisionally ended last week. One short-term consequence is that, "Jewelers in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who reopened their retail outlets after the 42-day jewelers strike was called off, are reporting that they are unable to meet customer demands as there is currently an acute shortage of artisans to fabricate jewelry. The jewelry artisans, many of them daily wage earners, have reportedly returned to their villages as they were unable to stay in cities without any income.
US-based diamond grower Scio Diamond Technology Corp. said it has returned to full production following its December shutdown due to what it called a water line break.
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.
The Diamond Doctor, a prominent and well-respected jewelry wholesaler and retailer in Dallas, is joining with Southwest Diamond Cutters, founded by a fifth-generation master diamond cutter, to establish a new state-of-the-art diamond cutting facility that will serve retail and wholesale clients across the U.S., reports Business Wire. The facility will house 14 diamond cutters and support staff and is scheduled to open in mid-2016 following the completion of building renovations.
What we are seeing is a group of manufacturers buying enormous amounts of rough at very high and unprofitable prices, which will yield less than needed polished, using credit they may have difficulty paying off because the prices they’ll be able to achieve for the polished can only be low… What better definition for the circumstances that lead to a market to peril. Do you feel this is sustainable? Isn’t it our experience that when rough is purchased in (overall) large quantities with high premiums, the miners raise prices? Is demand for polished strong enough and prices high enough to make increased rough prices reasonable? I don’t think so.
- Ehud Arye Laniado on mid-size and small manufacturers in India being willing to pay a large premium for goods that the larger companies passed over, and the large supply of goods in a market with a few specific shortages and demands.
Nurit Rothmann's most recent blog, entitled “Playing the High Stakes Game with a Marked Deck of Cards,” which considers the lack of transparency in the rough diamond trade as well as measures designed to remedy the situation, has instigated a good amount of debate, much of it positive and constructive. Among the persons who reacted was Ernest Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, who requested that his response be published:
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.
JCK reports US based jewelry manufacturer Stuller has started selling loose lab-grown diamonds, in a strategy to offer customers another, lower-priced option compared to natural diamonds. According to the report Stuller keeps natural and synthetic diamonds in completely separate circuits. The jewelry manufacturer sees no harm in selling both natural and lab-grown diamonds; "The technology is here. It won’t go away.
Diamond industry analyst Ehud Laniado performs a thorough analysis of current rough diamond supply and polished demand, noting a clear trend toward the same oversupply of rough and minimal profitability that undermined the industry in 2015.
According to the Economic Times of India, the Indian government is now "likely" to introduce a favorable tax regime in the 2016 budget for the diamond industry in the Special Notified Zone (SNZ) in order to help develop India as a rough diamond trading hub and help small diamond traders. The gems and jewelry industry has suggested that the turnover tax on diamond trade in the SNZ should not be more than 0.25% and must be internationally competitive.
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."
In a Gemkonneckt blogpost, industry veteran Mark Boston enunciates how lab-grown producers such as The Diamond Foundry seem to be using unsubstantiated anti-natural diamond industry rhetorics as a marketing strategy.