Stellar Diamonds and parent company Newfield Resources are on the verge of commencing development of their Tongo Diamond Project in Sierra Leone. When completed, it will be the second largest diamond operation in the country. The Diamond Loupe spoke with CEO of Stellar Diamonds and Executive Director at Newfield Resources Karl Smithson, first in Antwerp and again when he was on site in Tongo (“in the middle of the bush”) about the project, how it is progressing and what to expect going forward.
The Antwerp diamond trade was nothing if not balanced in 2018. The industry traded a total of $46 billion in 2018, representing an increase of less than a percentage point over 2017 ($45.9 billion). The value of value of the goods flowing in and out of Antwerp was once again divided equally between rough and polished goods, with the polished trade good for $22.9 billion and the rough trade representing $23.1 billion.
International Mining and Dredging Holdings (IMDH) will be holding its first tender since 2016 of Namibian marine-mined rough diamonds at Bonas-Couzyn’s Antwerp offices. Bonas said the first sale from IMDH will bring to market approximately 47,000cts of original marine goods of gem quality, mined by the specialist mining vessel, the Ya Toivo. “This exciting source will be holding regular ROM production tenders with Bonas-Couzyn in Antwerp throughout 2019,” the tender house said.
Russia's Alrosa has appointed Rebecca Foerster as President ALROSA USA Inc., and will mainly be responsible for the development of polished diamonds sales and customer service. ALROSA’s office in New York was opened in 2006, but it has not been operating since 2016 for organizational reasons. The full-scale operation was resumed in 2018, when two rough diamond auctions were held there. This year, ALROSA plans to hold four rough diamond auctions in New York and significantly increase its office activity in selling its own polished diamonds.
Rio Tinto's diamond production for the year fell by 15% to 18.4 million carats from 21.6 million carats in 2017, as production at the Argyle mine in 2018 fell by 18% compared to 2017, when production was enhanced by the processing of higher grade alluvial tailings. The fourth quarter in particular put a drag on the annual figures, as the 3.2 million carats unearthed represented a 48% decline from Q4 2017 - albeit against a high base of 7.21 million carats - and a 16% decline from last quarter.
Lucapa Diamond Company has commenced commercial diamond recoveries at its new 1.1Mtpa (million tons per annum) Mothae mine, a "high-quality kimberlite resource" located in Lesotho. Lucapa has been developing a new mine at Mothae throughout 2018 to complement production from the high-value Lulo mine in Angola. During Q4 2018, Lucapa completed construction of Mothae's new treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, and commenced the commissioning phase.
Diamond production in Angola remained flat in 2018 at 9.43 million carats, but revenue from diamond sales increased by 9% to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion due to a 27% rise in the average price per carat, the chairman of the state mining company Endiama, Ganga Júnior, announced this week. Diamond production fell slightly from 9.44 to 9.43 million carats, but the average price per carat of the 8.26 million carats sold increased to $149 per carat from $117 per carat.
Signet Jewelers, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, announced its same-store sales fell 1.3% to $1.84 billion during the "Holiday Season" (the 9 weeks ended January 5, 2019) as the company failed to get enough demand from its legacy product lines and enough traffic in their stores during key weeks in December. For the current quarter ending Feb. 2, it now expects same-store sales to be down 1.6% to $2.5%.
Stornoway Diamonds got its production levels back on track in Q4 2018 after "challenging" year of ramping up their underground operations at the Renard mine in Canada, giving them the confidence to raise their production guidance for 2019. Production, sales and revenue all declined significantly from the miner's 2017 levels, but they recorded a 24% increase in the average price per carat earned despite a market downturn in the second half of 2018.
One of the bellwether jewelry brands and the largest jeweler in China, Chow Tai Fook, has reported that same-store-sales of gem-set jewelry in Q4 2018 declined by 5% in mainland China and 8% in Hong Kong and Macau “amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment.” This marks the first quarterly decline in two years for the company despite China’s lowering of its jewelry import tax by an average of 20.7 percent last summer, which was expected to bolster sales.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds reported a 17% jump in carat production for the full year 2018, with sales rising 30% to $US240 million. The company's 49% share of production from the Gahcho Kué mine it shares with De Beers totalled 3.4 million carats, (full GK production 6.9 million carats) compared to the 2.9 million carats (5.9m) recovered last year, following from a 25% rise in total tonnes mined (ore & waste) and a 15% rise in total tonnes treated.
Russia’s Alrosa, the world's largest diamond producer, has announced its intentions to resume its diamond mining operations in Zimbabwe, which it had put on hold since 2016.
Angola has extended across the country what it calls “Operation Transparency”, which aims to fight illegal immigration, reduce diamond smuggling and reform the world’s fifth-largest diamond industry, Angolan authorities said in a statement. It is part of President João Lourenço’s drive to diversify the economy and reduce the country’s dependency on oil.
Fomer Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans is planning to launch a company making laboratory-grown diamonds, according to an article by Henry Sanderson of the Financial Times. Evans last month left Dominion - the world's third largest diamond producer by market value and Canada’s largest independent diamond producer - after just over a year at the helm. He is also the former CEO of Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds, a position he held for twelve years.
Alrosa finished the year with a 6% increase in rough and polished diamond sales after a strong December in which the Russian miner's rough sales rose 44% year-over-year to $324 million from $228 million, which was also good for a 23% rise over November. The company sold $5 million in polished diamonds in December.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has recovered a 127 carat, top white gem diamond from its 100% owned Karowe Diamond mine located in Botswana. Since mining began at Karowe in 2012, a total of 129 diamonds in excess of 100 carats have been recovered, including an astounding 33 in 2018 alone. By way of comparison, Gem Diamonds, famous for its large diamond recoveries from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, recovered a record 15 stones larger than 100 carats this year. Lucara's haul since 2012 includes 12 diamonds larger than 300 carats in size, of which 5 were recovered in 2018.
In a letter circulated to clients just before the turn of the year, India’s ICICI Bank UK Limited (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) announced it will be shutting down its branch in Antwerp effective March 29, 2019, bringing an end to its diamond trade financing. The last working day of the branch will be March 28, 2019, and clients were requested to close their accounts by February 28. The bank entered the Antwerp market in 2006.
Tiffany & Co. has announced that, effective immediately, it will begin sharing with consumers the provenance (country of origin) of its diamonds weighing 0.18 cts. and up. This "Diamond Source Initiative", which Tiffany's calls "a significant step for diamond transparency," will go further than current industry standards, and responds to increasing consumer demand to know they are making responsible purchases.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has completed its highly anticipated inaugural diamond sale through Clara Diamond Solutions, its digital sales platform for selling rough diamonds individually, based on polished characteristics and demand.
Russian mining company AGD Diamonds has reported that from January to November of 2018, AGD Diamonds earned approximately $280 million (18.9 billion rubles) from diamond sales – up 35% year-on-year. According to Rough & Polished, the miner in 2018 the company extracted 22,150,000 cubic meters of rock mass from the Grib diamond mine, recovering 3,433,000 tons of ore.
The parade of stars at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards dazzled a global audience with some astounding diamond jewels. Statement necklaces stole the show, with stunning earrings, stacks of bejeweled bangles, emeralds, rubies and other colored gemstones shining in their supporting role.
"For the first time since 2011, 2018 saw the Israeli diamond trade stabilize," writes The Israeli Diamond Industry, bringing to an end what the President of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), Yoram Dvash calls “a few years of crisis." According to the Diamonds, Gemstones and Jewelry Administration in the Ministry of Economy, exports of polished diamonds fell by only 2.5% percent to approximately $4.5 billion, representing an improvement over sharper declines in recent years, while polished imports reached $3.0 billion, an improvement of 4.1% over last year.
Canadian-based and TSX-listed company Diamond Fields Resources Inc. (DFR) recently announced the shipment of a 25,152-carat parcel of rough diamonds to Antwerp for independent valuation, deep-boiling and initial sorting in preparation for sale. The diamonds were recovered from the ML111 licence offshore Namibia during the first 25 days of mining, between November 11 and December 5, 2018. The shipment is the first since mining restarted, having been on hold since 2016.
Laurelton Diamonds, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tiffany & Co. and supplier to the famous jeweler, will be holding tenders of rough as well as polished goods in Antwerp during the month of January. The tender of rough and sawn goods gets underway on Tuesday, January 8 at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility located in the Antwerp World Diamond Centre building, Belgium, and will continue until Thursday, January 17. The tender will include a selection of white and Cape Rough parcels in sizes from +5cts to -7 in regular and high quality assortments in Cts and Grs.
The Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), recently signed a service agreement to join the MyKYCBank platform of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). DMCC Executive Chairman and DDE Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem GJEPC Chairman Pramod Kumar Agrawal did the honours. The DMCC is the fourth trade body to join the MyKYCBank after the GJEPC, Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). The agreement enables DMCC members trading in diamonds, gold and precious stones to join the MyKYCBank platform.
Brands need to be concerned about over-sentimentalizing peoples’ relationships with diamonds as a representation of love. The American middle class is much weaker today than it was when De Beers came out with their famous ‘Diamonds are forever’ campaign. And with diminished purchasing power, consumers are more willing to look into alternative choices for rings, making lab-grown diamonds and gemstones more attractive. Brands stuck in the mindset that the historic value placed on natural diamonds is enough to keep them afloat need to question if they fully understand what motivates their consumers’ purchase decisions and be willing to adapt to this changing market or risk losing business.
- Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business & founder of Gartner L2, speaking at 2018 GIA Symposium, from "3 Predictions for the Jewelry Business in 2019 and Beyond", Victoria Gomelsky
Hamdi Ali, a 17-year old high-school student from Canada has discovered a new way to extract diamonds from kimberlite rocks, according to a report from the University of Alberta where she was conducting summer research. She discovered that using SELFRAG high voltage pulse power fragmentation technology on the kimberlite rocks enabled recovery of diamonds that would have been crushed if established extraction methods had been used.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has appointed Kristina Buckley Kayel (pictured) as the managing director of its North American division, it announced yesterday, January 3. Kayal will be responsible for developing and implementing the DPA’s consumer marketing and communications strategy, with a focus upon the “Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond.” platform, as well as represent the DPA in local trades and organizations within North America. She will assumes her new role on February 4, 2019.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa has updated its policy on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as best international practices and industry trends, the company writes in a press release.
A hub dedicated to the diamond industry in Angola will be inaugurated in 2019 in Saurimo, Lunda Sul province, the minister of Mineral Resources and Oil announced at the end of December. Diamantino Azevedo said that setting up the hub, a project developed jointly by state diamond mining and processing company Endiama and state diamond sales company Sodiam, is in its final phase. The minister also said that the hub project includes a diamond cutting and polishing factory, a professional technical school and other institutions and industries linked to the diamond business.
Gem Diamonds brought 2018 to a close much in the same way that it opened the miner's banner year - with the unearthing of a 125-carat high quality white, Type IIa diamond - recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho. It was the fifteenth diamond greater than 100 carats the London-based miner recovered in 2018. The recovery, which took place on December 20, following the December 19 announcement of the recovery of high quality 101 carat and 71 carat white Type IIa diamonds, both recovered within a twenty four hour period.
According to its latest market research report (Q3 2018) on the global luxury and jewelry sectors, Russian diamond miner Alrosa says that global jewelry sales rose by 4% in Q3. North America, the largest diamond jewelry market, showed a 4% sales increase in Q3 compared to the same period last year. According to key retailers, stable growth was driven by increased demand from the local population.
HRD Antwerp, a European leading authority in diamond certification, has entered a partnership with Dubai-based jewellery retailer Stargems Group to certify their entire jewelry inventory through the establishment of a diamond jewelry grading lab. This cooperation will ultimately ensure the transparency and authenticity of each jewelry piece, HRD Antwerp announced today in a statement.
Angolan mining company Sociedade Mineira da Catoca (Catoca) is planning to invest $330 million over the next three years in large sample collection works in the area of the future Luaxe mine, according to the company’s Director General Benedito Paulo. The work is due to begin in the first half of next year, when the company will collect data on the quality of diamonds as well as initiate price discovery and evaluation, after which the economic and financial feasibility study will be carried out as well as the exploration project, according to a report by Macauweb. Paulo said that t
The downturn in India's diamond trade continued unimpeded in November, as its two critical indicators - polished-diamond exports and rough-diamond imports - tumbled once again. According to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished diamond exports fell to $1.56 billion, a decline of 12% as compared to the $1.78 bn exported in November 2017, and a 32% decline from $2.3 billion exported last month.
De Beers reversed a four-month trend of declining rough diamond sales at the final sight of 2018, as the miner sold $540 million of rough goods in its December cycle. The company attributed the increase in sales to the restarting of Indian manufacturing units after the Diwali holiday, when factories close for several weeks, and the spike in demand precipitated by the crucial holiday season and in anticipation of the need for replenished stocks in January.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have announced the recovery of the largest known gem-quality diamond ever found in North America. The 552-carat yellow diamond was unearthed in October at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Measuring around 3cm by 5.5cm, it is said to be about the size of a chicken egg. "A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark diamonds overall," the companies said in a statement.
Looking towards 2019, independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, who covers the natural and the lab-created diamond industry, has identified three themes that will likely shape the diamond industry, exclusively for The Diamond Loupe. View the pdf verison here.
Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. (GIB), until recenly known as POZ Diamonds, has received the necessary permitting for its Blina Diamond Project in the Ellendale Diamond Province of Wester Australia's Kimberley Region. The project consists of four granted mining and various exploration leases, and the company is already recovering high quality stones.
The rough diamond trade in Antwerp during the month of November was marked by a resurgence of imports and exports of lower-priced rough after three sluggish months concerning the volumes of goods traded, while the polished trade experienced a general slowdown.
De Beers' parent company Anglo American has announced a slight rise in its guidance for diamond output this year to 35-36 million carats (previously 34-36 million carats), marking a rise from the 33.5 million carats recovered in 2017. They estimate a reduction in 2019 volumes down to 31-33 million carats due to declining open pit production at the Venetia mine in South Africa as it transitions underground, and the Victor mine in Canada reaching its end-of-mine-life.
Signet Jewelers' online diamond bridal jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com has officially opened its new concept retail store in Georgetown, Washington DC. The brick-and-mortar location is a first for the online retailer, and is intended to lure and engage consumers by encouraging them to interact with the product as well as their staff. The initiative launches Signet's effort to draw traffic to their digital platform while tapping into the "immersive" experiential aspect shopping, a combination favored particularly by the younger generations.
In a cost-cutting move, mid-tier miner Petra Diamonds has unburdened itself of the Helam mine in South Africa for a total price of $14 (ZAR 200). Petra put the Helam mine on care on maintenance during FY 2015, following previous attempts to source a suitable purchaser and has conducted no mining activities since then.
Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans has left the company after just over a year at the helm. The former chief executive of Mountain Province Diamonds, a position he held for twelve years, was brought in to lead the the world's third largest diamond producer by market value and Canada’s largest independent diamond producer after last year's $1.2 billion acquisition by billionaire Dennis Washington of Washington Companies. Shane Durgin, Dominion’s chief operating officer, took over as CEO effective Dec. 7. Evans plans to stay on as an adviser until the end of 2019.
A ring made by Bulgari and set with fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 8.08 carats was sold for $18,312,500 at Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels auction, beating its presale estimate of $13 million to $18 million. The cushion-cut Type IIb Fancy Vivid Blue of natural color, VS2 clarity garnered $2.27 million per carat, and was the top lot at the Magnificent Jewels auction, which totaled $69,225,750 and also included a rare, 15.56-carat heart-shaped pink diamond set in a pendant, selling for $9,537,500.
Mining company Lucapa Diamonds and its partners on the Lulo project in Angola have announced that their diamonds will feature in an historic inaugural international tender in the country. The tender is part of the new Angolan diamond marketing laws recently been approved by President Joao Lourenco and the Council of Ministers. According to Lucapa, the policy shifts in Angola allow management to plan for the sale of such high-value stones, something the company was not able to do before because previous rules forced producers to sell their gems to middlemen below international prices.
Russia's Alrosa, the world leader in diamond production, sold $267 million of rough goods in November 2018, which represents a 14% increase compared to its October revenue derived from a much higher volume of sales, but is not ready to claim demand for small rough has rebounded. Sales of smaller and less expensive rough goods have tumbled throughout the industry in recent months, as a lack of financing and a devalued currency have slowed purchases of goods destined for manufacturing in India.
Russian diamond miner AGD Diamonds held its final rough diamond auction of the year on the e-trading platform of Grib Diamonds, its selling arm in Antwerp, earning over $25 million. The auction was attended by the company’s regular customers from India, Israel and Belgium, reports Rough & Polished. At the same time, AGD Diamonds was also able to attract new buyers from China due to perfect preparation of goods to be auctioned and smart organization of viewings.
53 million Americans plan to buy a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. 21% (1-in-5) Americans plan to purchase a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with men and millennials among the most likely to be in the market for a diamond this holiday season. 35% of millennials plan to purchase a diamond, and more than 1-in-10 plan to buy a diamond engagement ring (13%), while 27% of men plan to purchase a diamond and 11% plan to buy an engagement ring.
- Diamond Producers Association, findings from a recent survey.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) this week traveled to Guangzhou, China, for a networking blitz/conference tour on the Mainland, jointly organized with the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange. Mainland China presents a massive new opportunity for growth beyond the traditional markets of Hong Kong and Shanghai, so the AWDC set off with a group of diamond traders to meet up with a delegation of Chinese jewelry manufacturers looking for polished diamond suppliers in Antwerp.
Zimbabwe does not plan to change its ownership rules for diamonds and platinum, its Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando told Reuters on Monday. Late last year, Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, introduced a partial repeal of a controversial indigenization law passed under former president Robert Mugabe that had limited foreign ownership of local businesses to 49 percent, hoping to attract both domestic and international investment by implementing investor-friendly policies.
Tiffany & Co's worldwide net sales increased 4% to $1.0 billion in the third quarter, with higher spending by local customers noted across the board, but a decline in purchases by Chinese tourists in the United States and Hong Kong put a dent in the jeweler’s Q3 results. The stock market took notice, as shares of Tiffany & Co. plunged 12 percent following their publication of the results, as industry analysts had been anticipating better results.
Mountain Province Diamonds says that it expects the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, a JV with De Beers (51% owner), to surpass its 2018 production guidance of 6.6 million carats. Output is then expected rise to a range of 6.6 million to 6.9 million carats in each of 2019 and 2020, followed by 6.8 million to 7.1 million carats in 2021. The miner says the production guidance over the three-year period 2019 to 2021 is evidence of a sustainable and smooth mining rate as the mine performance maintains a steady state.
The 24-carat pear-shaped, fancy yellow Moon of Baroda diamond famed for its association with Marilyn Monroe sold for $1.3 million at the Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auction on Tuesday, easily beating estimates of $500,000 to $750,000.
Independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, proprietor of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, takes an in-depth look at developments in the laboratory-grown diamond market in his latest contribution to the discussion, "2018: The Year of the Lab-created Diamond". Here he focuses on the impact (or current lack thereof) that De Beers launch of its Lightbox lab-grown diamond line (announced late May 2018, first available late September 2018) has had on the pricing of laboratory-grown goods.
Russian diamond miner AGD Diamonds, which in September acquired an 100% stake in Antwerp-based Grib Diamonds N. V., the international sales arm for rough goods produced at the Grib Diamond Field, held a public auction last week for the sale of special-size diamonds (10.8+), earning a total of $14.1 million. The lots included large-size top-grade diamonds, including a unique bright yellow colored stone weighing 57.03 carats, which had been extracted by the Grib Mining and Processing Unit on June 18, 2018.