Lately there has been another avalanche of press releases and media attention drawn to Laboratory Grown Diamond (LGD) producers and retailers who decide to jump on board of the LGD train. Before everybody starts to scream bloody murder, the whole LGD debate, this opinion piece included, is not about one versus the other. The point is precisely the opposite.
May sales of Russian miner ALROSA net 365 million USD, including proceeds from rough diamond sales of $346 million and polished diamond sales of $19 million, resulting in a total of $1,926 million diamond sales during the first five months of 2021.
Lucara Diamonds announced the recovery of a 470 carat top light brown clivage diamond from its Karowe Mine in Botswana. This recovery headlines a series of top-quality gem and clivage quality diamond recoveries during a recent production run, including 5 other diamonds of 265ct, 183ct, 161ct, 116ct and 106ct, and 13 diamonds between 50 and 100 carats.
Grib Diamonds’ Ascending Clock Spot Auction of Friday 4 June in Antwerp was very successful. They sold 38,000 carats of Angolan Run of Mine goods for $27 million, achieving high prices across all categories of diamonds. 134 diamond companies worldwide bid in the auction on over 100 Lots. Grib Diamonds received nearly 1,800 bids.
The next viewing for Grib Diamonds starts on Wednesday 9 June. 520,000 carats of Russian production for the Grib Diamond Mine are being auctioned, with the auction itself on 18 June.
China’s National Gemstone Testing Center (NGTC) recently tested a new variety of yellow CVD laboratory-grown diamonds. According to NGTC, they tested stones between 1 – 2 ct, the color of the stones varied from pale yellow to dark brownish yellow, including pure bright yellow. NGTC identified some typical inclusions, including pinpoint dark-color inclusions or dark-color inclusions distributed layer by layer. After production, these lab-grown diamonds are processed in high temperature and high-pressure conditions to remove the brownness hue and enhance their transparency.
A selection of De Beers signature high jewelry designs dazzle in the Disney film “Cruella". The film starring Emma Stone as young Cruella, an aspiring fashion designer, and Emma Thompson as Baroness Von Hellman, the villainous owner of a renowned but tired fashion label, is set against the backdrop of 1970s London. The new take on the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians follows the rebellious early days of one of cinema's most notoriously fashionable villains.
Grib Diamonds, the Belgian rough diamond company owned by AGD Diamonds, is joining the Sarine Diamond JourneyTM traceability program. The company, which has mining operations in Russia, can now offer customers stones with "birth-registrations" authenticating their origin. By augmenting their data to include the registration of origin and other information derived at the source, Grib will enable their midstream manufacturing customers to provide their downstream retail clients with fully documented traceable diamonds from the mine and throughout the polishing process.
Russian mining giant ALROSA, together with the Embassy of Russia in Angola, has donated 25,000 doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to the Angolan government. The miner provided financing and delivery of vaccines from Russia to Luanda, where the Minister of Health, Dr. Silvia Lutucuta, received the cargo. The second shipment of 25,000 doses should arrive in Luanda within a month.
Christie’s upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction in New York consists of 143 lots, including six diamonds ranging from 14.52 to 1.06 carats and the ever spectacular Dancing Sun, a fancy intense yellow diamond of 204.36 carats.
Gem Diamonds' Letšeng Diamonds has acquired and donated 20,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to the Government of Lesotho. The miner has contributed significantly to the national effort to control the spread of the virus, engaging extensively with the Ministry of Health. The distribution will happen according to the Government's vaccine rollout plan.
In April this year, Petra Diamonds announced the recovery of a 39.34 ct. Type IIb blue diamond of exceptional quality in terms of both color and clarity at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. The stone will be sold via a special tender with viewings starting in Antwerp from 14 – 18 June 2021, followed by Dubai from 22 – 23 June, Hong Kong from 29 – 30 June and New York from 7 – 9 July 2021.
In August, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp (UA) will host the fourth edition of the Antwerp Summer University (ASU) ‘From Mine to Finger, discover the world of diamonds in every aspect’. During this fully-fledged digital summer school, participants will get to know the diamond industry inside out thanks to an intensive program including fascinating virtual site visits, lectures, workshops and keynotes by internationally renowned academics and professionals.
48 hours after announcing their intention to purchase the Merlin Mine, Lucapa hosted an invite-only event showcasing two of the largest, most expensive, and rare diamonds ever seen in Australia. The diamonds were a 15-carat heart-shaped pink gem and 213-carat top-color white gem.
The 15-carat pink gem was polished from a 46-carat diamond recovered from the Lulo mine in Angola. Lucapa recovered the 213-carat rough white diamond from the Mothae mine in Lesotho. Recent auction sales of similar diamonds place the combined value of the stones at more than US$10 million.
In their latest update, Australia-based miner Lucapa Diamond Company has struck a deal to buy the Northern Territory's Merlin diamond mine for US$17.8 million, which they intend to fund with private and public sales of its shares.
At Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong, the 15.81 carat Sakura diamond set the world-record auction price for a purple-pink diamond at US$29.3 million. At almost $1.9 million a carat, the cushion-cut stone became the most valuable diamond sold at auction so far this year. The diamond was purchased by a private Asian buyer. The Sakura diamond was named after the cherry blossoms at the beginning of spring in Asia, as it resembles its color.
The Angolan state National Diamond Trading Company SODIAM announced its 3rd rough diamond tender in Luanda, Angola in June 2021. The sale will include a selection of exceptional Single Stones from the Catoca, Luele, Lulo and Uari mine, as well as an assorted run-of-mine cut across all sizes of (the highly expected) Luele Kimberlite production. The total value of tendered goods is an estimated 27 – 30 million USD.
Viewings will take place from 9 to 23 June 2021 at the SODIAM viewings facility in Luanda. Bid submission ends on 24 June 2021, 11:00 Luanda time.
ALROSA, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in carats, announced it would invest nearly US$60 million (at least RUB 4.2 billion) in the next five years for the social and economic development of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and local communities in the regions. The miner is committed to a socially responsible way of doing business, ensuring social and economic stability in Yakutia, one of the most remote regions in the Northeast of Russia with a harsh climate and sophisticated logistics.
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (CTF) announced an exclusive strategic partnership to advocate the “Natural Diamonds Dream”. The partnership aims to introduce Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, to the value of diamonds and enhance their confidence and desire for the precious gem.
Rio Tinto unveiled a preview of its final showcase of rare Argyle pink, red and blue diamonds from its iconic mine. As mining ceased at Argyle on 3 November 2020, the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender showcases the final collection from the last year of Argyle operations, with viewings set to take place in Perth, Sydney, Singapore and Antwerp over the course of the next three months.
Lucapa announced it had recovered another large stone, 138-carat diamond, from Mining Block 46 (MB46) in the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola. The diamond is the seventh +100 carat diamond recovered in 2021 so far and the 24th +100 carat stone recovered at Lulo since exploration and mining operations began.
In Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, "The Alrosa Spectacle Diamond", weighing an astonishing 100.94 carats, went under the hammer for US$14,2 million. Total sales during the May auction of 144 lots garnered US$63.8 million Christie's announced.
The global diamond market is under restraint as the supply of polished goods is delayed due to the Covid-19 surge in India. Trade has shifted to leading centers like Antwerp, where dealers are busy filling orders, predominantly through online and remote selling.
Overall the rough market in Antwerp appears to be stable as the center will host ten tenders this month. Year to date, Antwerp has hosted nearly 40 tenders. There is consistent demand for 1 to 3-carat polished diamonds, ranging from D to J color and IF to SI clarity.
Russian miner ALROSA records a strong performance with total sales in April amounting to US$401 million, which includes proceeds from rough diamond sales of US$383 million, and polished diamond sales of US$18 million. For the first four months of 2021, total rough and polished diamond sales accounted for US$1,561 million, of which US$1,509 million for rough diamond sales and US$51 million for polished.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Belgian Embassy, supported by the Angolan Ministry of Minerals and Petroleum (MIREMPET), organized a 2-day visit to Angola, bringing the CEO's of 20 Antwerp diamond companies. The mission signals a renewed interest from both Antwerp and Angola to work together more closely.
First Element Diamond Services announced its cooperation with the Del Gatto Diamond Finance Fund (DDFF), offering their clients pre tender financing for their diamond production. This includes not only the full run of mine production but also any special stones that may be recovered.
Thanks to this cooperation, diamond producers and buyers will be able to receive funds before tender sales, which marks a first.
In April, ALROSA, the Russian diamond mining giant, completed an online auction for special-sized rough where nearly 95% of the lots sold. The auction, which took place without physical viewings, used digital twin technology so clients could analyze goods remotely and trace polished diamonds back to their mine.
The miner sold 142 lots, weighing approximately 2,040 carats, for US$8.8 million. The auction had 238 registered clients, of which 27 placed winning bids and were from Belgium, Israel, India, UAE, Russia, and the USA.
After jewelry sales in the US doubled in March, they almost tripled in April according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.
Compared to a year ago, jewelry sales increased 255%, benefiting from a strong base comparison as US stores were forced to close in April 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consumers are anticipating a return to gatherings and events and government stimulus payments, warmer weather and a broader reopening also foster spending.
During its latest ascending clock Specials Auction on the 10th May in Antwerp, Grib Diamonds sold approximately 6 thousand carats of Run of Mine +10.8 carat stones.
According to Grib, three stones of a combined weight of over 400 carats sold for a total of nearly $8 million, making one of the three (186 carats) the most expensive stone ever sold from Grib Diamonds ($3.7M).
Total revenues of the auction exceeded $26 million.
Lucapa announced the sale of a parcel of Lulo rough, totaling 4.000cts for US$5m or US$1,239/ct. Seven high-value stones, including two pinks will be part of a later sale. In total this year to date, Lulo’s rough sales amount to US$14.5m or an average of US$1,557/ct for a 9,312 carats of rough.
Last week Pandora announced it would no longer sell mined diamonds, and instead launched a collection using lab-grown diamonds (LGDs), as a part of their sustainability strategy. The announcement caused leading diamond and jewelry organizations to lash out as they believe the retailer misrepresented natural diamonds and caused harm to the industry.
Gem Diamonds announced the recovery of a white, Type II, 370-carat diamond from the Letšeng mine located in Lesotho. Letšeng is known for producing large, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. This announcement comes a week after the recovery of a 254 carat Type II, white diamond from the same mine.
Sarine Technology, a leader in precision technology products for the planning, grading, and trading of diamonds and gems, announced it had joined HB Antwerp as a technology partner. The partnership aims to demonstrate that transparency and open collaboration can benefit all the stakeholders throughout the value chain.
Lucara Diamond Corp. released its Q1 2021 figures, demonstrating a strong performance in the first three months of the year. The total revenue, including diamonds sold through regular tenders, the Clara platform and the HB Antwerp agreement, equaled $53.1 million or $579 per carat sold from the sale of 91,760 carats, marking a 56% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Russian miner ALROSA held auctions for special-sized rough diamonds, those exceeding 10.8 carats, at its main trading offices in April to meet their clients’ demands. In total the miner sold 608 diamonds with a total weight exceeding 9,120 carats. Overall revenue amounted to US$42.3million, Of which US$10.3 million In Antwerp.
They were able to host viewings in Antwerp, Dubai, Moscow, and Ramat Gan, with buyers coming from those hubs as well as India and China.
In his latest blog, industry analyst Edahn Golan details how Israeli banks are further cutting financing to the Israeli diamond industry. In 2020, diamond financing in the country fell below $500 million for the first time in 30 years, marking a 33% decrease. Shrinking activity is one of the obvious reasons but complicated admin due to money laundering-related regulations specific to the diamond industry seems to be a burden to most banks. It seems they don’t consider it worth their while anymore.
Australian miner Lucapa and the Govt of the Kingdom of Lesotho have announced the third sale of 2021 of Mothae rough achieved US$1.5m or US$420/ct. All of Mothae’s diamonds are brough to Antwerp where they are prepared for sale and sold in Antwerp. The parcels that form part of Lucapa’s and the Govt of Lesotho’s partnership deal with Safdico are then studied and cut and polished in the city by a preeminent cutting facility.
Gem Diamonds announced the recovery of a 254 carat Type II, white diamond, from the Letšeng mine located in Lesotho. Letšeng is known for its production of large, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.
Jewelry brand Pandora launches a new collection using lab-grown diamonds (LGD). According to the brand, the decision is part of their sustainability strategy which includes the plan to ensure its operations are carbon neutral by 2025. Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik stated the LGD collection stands as a testament to the company’s ongoing and ambitious sustainability agenda and proves “Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone.”
And it’s especially the last part of the sentence that seems to be key in the brand’s decision.
LVMH announced the launch of the Gemstones and Jewelry Community Platform, a joint venture inspired by the luxury group’s sustainability commitments. The Coloured Gemstones Working Group (CGWG), created to introduce positive change across the jewelry industry, has actively promoted responsible sourcing of raw materials for many years.
In 2020 close to 8 million luxury watches were listed on eBay, of which 200,000 were sold. As consumers expand their investment opportunities, platforms like eBay are trying to enhance the consumer experience by launching programs like the Authenticity Guarantee program; where each watch priced over US$2,000 is physically checked by an expert. As the company intends to expand its offerings, they have now introduced an escrow service for luxury watches to enhance consumer trust in high-end digital shopping.
Tiffany & Co., the iconic New York Jeweler, will launch its first-ever engagement ring collection for men. Since 1886, when Charles Lewis Tiffany introduced the solitaire Tiffany Setting, the simple six-prong design became an industry standard. While its wedding rings cater to both men and women, Tiffany has never designed an engagement ring specifically with men in mind—till today.
Debswana, the joint venture between the Botswana government and Anglo American’s De Beers unit, intends to invest US$6 billion to build the world’s largest underground diamond mine at Botswana’s Jwaneng. The mine is already considered the richest mine by value for the precious stones. The underground mine will have more than 360 km of tunnel development and is expected to hit full production by 2034, Debswana’s head of transformation and innovation, Thabo Balopi, said at a briefing in the capital, Gaborone, last Friday.
As the covid situation in India worsens, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), through email and social channels, is asking diamond and jewelry industry members to donate to help their Indian colleagues and friends win the battle against the Virus. The campaign, Diamond Aid, organized with Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), will use the funds raised to purchase medical equipment and medication for hospitals in Surat and Mumbai.
In their latest auction in Antwerp, Grib Diamonds sold over 580,000ct of rough diamonds for approximately US$40m. According to Grib demand continued to be strong for larger better quality rough, especially for 5-10ct, 2-4ct, 4-6GR, and even goods down to +11 showed robust prices. Results for smaller goods were weaker and saw decreases except for the -7+5.
Overall their production prices saw a low single-digit increase.
The next regular sale will be of new Angolan production containing rough from +10.8CT down to -7+5 with viewing starting in Antwerp from the 21st May.
During the height of the pandemic, diamond producers faced stockpile build-ups when the world came to a standstill, stoking fears that gems amassed by miners could hurt the sector for years to come. In the ensuing months' excessive demand from manufacturers, traders, and jewelers have all but wiped out the stash. All this as demand for luxury sales, including diamond jewelry, jumped as consumers were unable to travel. Remarkably producers such as De Beers and Alrosa have since raised their prices for rough.
In Christie’s upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, “The Alrosa Spectacle Diamond” weighing an astonishing 100.94 carats, will be up for sale, the auction house announced on Instagram.
Petra Diamonds’ Q3 FY 2021 figures (January – March 2021) are fostering cautious optimism at the diamond mining group, after some difficult times. Q3 revenues increased by 16% to 106 million USD in comparison with Q3 FY 2020. This increase was amongst others driven by improved pricing and the sale of a 299.3 carat exceptional diamond in Antwerp in February for 12.2 million USD.
US Jewelry Sales are back on track since COVID-19 hit retail markets a year ago. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, jewelry sales in the US increased 106% year on year in March. These figures are a result of government stimulus payments and a broader reopening across the country but also benefit from a strong base comparison with March 2020, when people first started social distancing which resulted in a dip in spending. However, in comparison with March 2019, jewelry sales rose by 30% which reflects a release of pent-up demand.
Lucapa’s quarterly activity report for Q1 shows the company had a strong first three months in 2021. Both operating mines (Lulo and Mothae) noted record performances and the continuing recovery of the entire diamond industry provided a robust pricing environment for rough and polished diamonds.
Following a two-year-long legal battle, the British government has approved the extradition of Nirav Modi, 50, who allegedly defrauded Indian state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) of $2 billion. The extradition order was signed on April 15," a spokesman for the United Kingdom's Home Office said in a statement on Friday.
LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, recorded revenue of 14 billion euros (US$16.7 billion) in the first quarter of 2021, up 32% compared to the same period in 2020. The quarter marks the return to growth after several quarters of decline during 2020, a year that was severely disrupted by the global pandemic.
The pandemic forced luxury goods companies to use social media, video, and virtual showrooms to woo customers in Europe and keep them shopping at a time when tourists, especially from China, have been absent for more than a year. Analysts believe the government-imposed lockdowns have left wealthy Europeans with money to spend, and designer brands are keen to capture some of that cash.
Citing recognition of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for gemological report services and education, a Belgian court has ordered AIG Belgium to immediately cease using ‘AIG’ alone or in conjunction with other marks. AIG operated as both the American International Gemological Laboratories and Antwerp International Gemological Laboratories. If the lab fails to do so, they risk significant penalty payments.
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York amassed US$35 million in sales, US$8.4 million of which came from a trio of colored diamonds, entitled “The Perfect Palette.” The diamonds were each set in a ring and auctioned as separate lots.
Last week Tanzania assumed the chairmanship of the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) from Namibia. The minerals minister Dotto Biteko accepted the chairmanship on behalf of the country, saying that in their term as leader, "Tanzania will make sure that it improves ADPA systems so as it can bring positive benefits to member states just as intended."
While the pandemic continues to affect the world, among others forcing India’ s Bharat Diamond Bourse to temporary close operations, Antwerp’s Q1 figures further confirm the industry’s recovery, set in motion in Q4 2020. According to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), releasing the figures, the data demonstrates Antwerp’s dominant position as the world’s most important rough diamond trade hub.
Russian miner Alrosa records a strong performance, with total sales of rough and polished diamonds in March amounting to US$357 million, including proceeds from rough diamond sales of US$345 million and polished diamond sales of US$12 million.
Three years ago Signet Jewelers, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry, launched “Path to Brilliance,” the official name of its business growth strategy. By acquiring Rocksbox, the subscription-based jewelry rental platform, Signet can expand the retail group’s services, reach a younger demographic, and offer customers new ways to enjoy jewelry without the pain of buying it.
Lucara Diamond Corp, owner of the Karowe mine in Botswana and HB Antwerp, the diamond trading and manufacturing company based in Antwerp have agreed to extend the exclusive deal on all of Lucara's +10.8ct diamonds, which account for approx. 70% of Lucara's total revenue, for 24 months. HB Antwerp will continue to get exclusive access to purchase the miner's specials until the end of 2022, for a price determined on the projected polished outcome, and an additional true up, minus handling fee and manufacturing cost, once the diamond is actually sold.
Idex reported a 3.9% increase in polished diamond prices year-on-year, the biggest surge in over two years. Prices have consistently been on the ruse since the low point of April 2020, when the price was down by 4.8%. The March increase was more than double the February rise of 1.9 %.
Month-on-month prices recovered slightly, which are up by 0.2% in March, after a slight drop in February. This follows January's 1.4% leap, the biggest rise for at least three years.
November was down 0.2% and December was up slightly, at 0.3%.