The government of South Korea on December 27, 2019 agreed to eliminate its 5% import tax on loose polished diamonds, effectively opening up the South Korean market to new sources of polished diamonds. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) confirmed that Diamond has been designated as a specific good that will be exempted from customs duties pending completion of the final legislative approvals. The abolishment of the import tax is expected to go into effect on April 1.
Lucapa Diamond Co. has been undertaking a kimberlite exploration program at its the Lulo diamond project in Angola designed to discover the primary hard-rock sources of the alluvial diamonds being mined along the Cacuilo River valley, which have achieved exceptional average run-of-mine sale prices of ~US$1,900 per carat. This morning they announced positive exploration results, recovering 45 diamonds of up to 3.75 carats recovered from stream bulk sampling. Preliminary analysis has classified several diamonds as top D-color.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa announced on Tuesday that it has sold a 6.21-carat cushion cut Fancy Intense Pink Purple diamond to Larry West, owner of one of the world's largest collections of exceptionally rare fancy-colored diamonds, for an undisclosed price. Alrosa cut and polished the diamond from a 20.18-carat stone found in Yakutia, a region in northeastern Siberia, in August 2018.
Until now, De Beers' laboratory-grown diamond jewelry brand Lightbox has issued no grading reports about its diamonds, enabling it to keep its pricing is straightforward ($800 a carat, $400 for a half carat, $200 for a quarter carat). De Beers says it approach the product in this way because man-made stones are mass-produced and do not deserve the individual attention that mined diamonds get.
Anglo American and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have joined forces to develop what will become the world's largest hydrogen powered ultra-class electric mining haul truck. The monster truck is key to Anglo American’s Sustainable Mining Plan and is part of their efforts to live up to their assertion that mining ought to contribute to a low-carbon world.
Petra Diamonds concluded H1 FY 2020 (the six months to 31 December 2019) with a $10 million net loss as ongoing market weakness and an "adverse product mix" (lower quality diamonds) which weighed on their profit from mining activities. The London-based miner reported a net loss of $10 million for the period, which represents a sizeable improvement on its $57.9 million loss in the first half of 2019.
Indian diamond manufacturer and exporter Star Rays announced it is working towards becoming India’s first carbon-neutral diamond company, highlighting its commitment to sustainable business practices.
Botswana reportedly plans to conclude negotiations with De Beers on a diamond sales agreement by the end of April to replace the current 10-year deal that expires in January, write Matthew Hill and Mbongeni Mguni for Bloomberg.
The second major tender of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility, located in the AWDC building, concluded Wednesday 12 February, closing the book on another highly successful sale. As with the first tender, held only two months ago, this one exceeded expectations: organizer Samir Gems sold some 535,000 carats of rough goods for $7.84 million.
India's representative body for the diamond and gem trade, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), has appealed to the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to revise credit terms for exporters and importers in the gems and jewelry trade which has been badly affected by the Hong Kong protests last year and the subsequent recent novel coronavirus outbreak.
Gem Diamonds, the London-based miner that operates the famous Letšeng mine high in the mountains of Lesotho, reported a major uptick in its fortunes in the fourth quarter of 2019 as revenue for the period (Oct. 1 - Dec. 31) increased 41% over the previous quarter on a near-equal rise in the volume of carats sold and the average price per carat. The improved performance was sorely needed, as even with the Q4 increases the miner's 2019 fell by a third in a difficult market.
Lucapa Diamond Co. and its partners today announced its first run of mine diamond sales from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola and the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho generated combined gross proceeds of US$5.5 million (A$8.2 million).
Following the temporary closure of their stores in 'affected regions' of mainland China, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has temporarily closed around 40 stores in Hong Kong and Macao in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 or nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus)) epidemic, a spokesperson said Monday. The Hong Kong-based jewelry chain operator also will shorten operating hours at its remaining stores in the two cities. These shops will close by 7 p.m. local time until further notice.
Coming off a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry, which 21 percent of Americans plan to give to their loved ones, friends and pets.
Independent diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky examines the growing acceptance of synthetic diamonds from a known but rarely-discussed angle: synthetic diamonds deliver higher profit margins to retailers than natural diamonds.
The Diamonds of Botswana. If you have not watched (and shared) the video yet, it is high time you do. Andrew Morgan is the director of The True Cost, a documentary about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.
Concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the diamond and jewelry trade is growing, not only in China, but also in the markets that supply China, like Hong Kong and India. Events have been concelled, retail sales have plummeted and the outbreak of the virus in China has already had a ripple effect on diamond supply chains as the death toll passes 1,000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa last month had its largest sale of rough diamonds in well over a year, earning $390.2 million at its January sale and adding another $14.8 million in polished goods for a total of $405 million. The last time the miner sold more rough goods in a single month was back in April of 2018.
According to data published by the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF), over the past decade (2010-2019) the general Fancy Color Diamond Index showed a steady market price increase of 77%. Leading the index during the decade were Pink diamonds, which increased by 116%. The prices of Blue diamonds rose by 81% and of Yellow diamonds by 21%.
The anticipated increase in rough-diamond trading activity as the calendar flipped to 2020 lived up to expectations in Antwerp, as the volume of rough imports to Antwerp during the month of January surged 43% compared to the first month of 2019. The 8.1 million carats imported was the most since December 2018 and outpaced January 2019 imports by over 2.4 million carats.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has decided to relocate its March auctions for rough and polished diamonds from Hong Kong to other trading centers. The move follows the decision of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to reschedule the Hong Kong trade shows from March until May in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Dominion Diamond Mines and its owner The Washington Companies has appointed Patrick Merrin to be its new interim chief executive officer, taking over from Shane Durgin who has left Dominion to “pursue other opportunities,” according to Dominion’s statement. He is the miner’s third CEO since The Washington Companies took over the Canadian diamond miner in November 2017 for $1.2 billion, acquiring all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Dominion for US$14.25 pe
De Beers Group today announced the successful conclusion of its patent infringement action against IIa Technologies in Singapore, which was found to have infringed Element Six synthetic diamond patent. IIa Technologies was found by The High Court of Singapore to have infringed an Element Six patent for proprietary synthetic diamond products and their method of manufacture, confirming the validity of Element Six's patent and reinforcing the business’s intention to defend its intellectual property (IP) rights.
Angola state-owned diamond mining company Endiama plans to float as much as 30% of its shares in an initial public offering (IPO) in 2020, according to Chairman José Manuel Gango Junior from an interview on the sidelines of the Africa Mining Indaba. He said the sale is part of a government plan to increase transparency in the diamond sector and bolster production. “We are preparing Endiama for a public listing and we are currently assessing the company’s value,” Gango Junior told Bloomberg.
This morning, February 6, some 535,000 carats of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) went on tender at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility. The tender runs through Februay 12. The leading position of Antwerp as a rough diamond trading center convinced SACIM, a Congolese diamond miner, to hold its second Antwerp tender of DRC rough goods in the past ten weeks.
Tiffany & Co. shareholders voted in favor of the jeweler’s acquisition by LVMH during a meeting held on February 4 at its Fifth Avenue headquarters, the companies announced in separate press releases. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, announced on November 25, 2019 that it had reached an agreement to buy the jeweler Tiffany & Company in a $16.2 billion deal, the largest ever in the luxury sector. According to the agreement, LVMH will acquire Tiffany, the global luxury jeweler, for $135 per share in cash.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has unearthed yet another exceptional diamond at its Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana - the latest is an unbroken 549 carat white diamond "of exceptional purity". It is the fourth largest diamond ever recovered at the Karowe mine, the third largest gem-quality stone (the Sewelô is of 'near-gem quality) and already Lucara's sixth diamond larger than 100 carats recovered in 2020. According to independent analyst Paul Zimnisky's estimates, it is only the 4th gem-quality stone exceeding 500 carats recovered globally in the last 5 years.
Hong Kong's retail sales of jewelry and luxury items limped to the end an abysmal 2019, with December 2019 sales falling nearly 37% short of December 2018 earnings, as the region closed the year more than 22% lower than the year prior. The impact of months of social unrest has been widely documented, as it crippled consumer sentiment and kept tourists away from the commercial hub.
In a wide-ranging keynote address at the African Mining Indaba taking place this week in Cape Town, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani laid out his vision for the mining industry and the steps it must take to "connect the future of mining with emerging and next-generation societal values. These are the values of increased transparency, responsible technological innovation, sustainability and shared prosperity, all of which are emergent in our world and are shaping a very different future society."
The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show scheduled for March 2-6 and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (March 4-8) have been postponed until May 18-21, 2020 for precautionary reasons due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Gem Diamonds officially rang in the new year with the recovery of an exceptional 183-carat white Type IIa diamond on 3 February 2020. On the same day, the company said, they also recovered another two high-quality diamonds, one of 89 carats and the other of 70 carats, from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), on the margins of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday announced it will be organizing its second African Diamond Conference (ADC) in Durban, South Africa, on May 5 & 6. The program and registration details are available here.
De Beers Group Industry Services has announced a new collaboration with leading US wholesaler, RDI Diamonds Inc., to become its premier source of diamond grading reports, the company stated in a press release. It will be the first time De Beers has provided grading services in the US.
Bonas Couzyn tender house in Antwerp will hold a special tender of a 183.54 carat diamond from the Cuango mine in Angola. The stone (pictured) was shipped to Bonas directly from the Sociedade Mineira do Cuango in Angola.
Visitors to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the state of Arkansas, USA, had a prolific year of digging in 2019, recovering more than 99 carats of rough diamonds. Treasure hunters from 37 states and one foreign country found 491 diamonds during the year, including 336 white gems, 73 brown, and 82 yellow. The total weight for all diamonds registered last year was 99.14 carats, which outpaced the volume of diamonds found in 2018 by 22 carats.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) is encouraging stakeholders to review the WDC System of Warranties (SoW) Toolkit. This follows its unanimous adoption as a working draft by the WDC Board of Directors and its review by WDC members. First introduced in 2002, the SoW is an industry self-regulation system that requires buyers and sellers of diamonds to pass on a warranty statement on B2B invoices and memos each time stones changes hands, assuring the next buyer that they originated from sources in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
With its share price last topping $1.00 on October 28, 2019, Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) has notified the Nasdaq Stock Market of its intention to voluntarily delist its common shares from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (NASDAQ). MPD's shares will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) after the NASDAQ delisting becomes effective on or around February 11. The miner had already indicated last August that delisting was imminent.
In what could turn out to be a pivotal development in rough diamond financing for Alrosa's long-term clients, Antwerp-based international company Dali Diamond has signed a loan agreement with Eximbank of Russia (part of the Russian Export Center Group) for the financing of rough diamond purchases from Alrosa. Financing for the purchase of rough diamonds has been a major concern in recent years as several banks have reduced their exposure to the diamond market or withdrawn from it altogether.
Safdico International (South African Diamond Corp.), a subsidiary of Graff Diamonds and a leading diamond manufacturing and trading company has signed a deal with Australian miner Lucapa whereby it may purchase up to 60% of the annual rough production from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola.
Swiss luxury jeweler de Grisogono, whose long-alleged history of shady deals with Angola was recently exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, has filed for bankruptcy in Geneva, according to multiple news outlets. The jeweler is owned in part by the husband of Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who is facing allegations of having pilfered Angolan state-owned companies. The company owes more than 1.4 million francs to its Swiss suppliers and is facing insolvency.
As anticipated, De Beers first rough diamond sight of 2020 bounced back to historical levels, earning $545 million (provisional result) at their January sale. The January sale is typically one of the largest of the year as the industry replenishes their stocks following the holiday season and the 2020 iteration did not disappoint.
Diamcor, a publicly-traded junior diamond mining company based in Canada and operating in South Africa, saw the prices achieved for its rough diamonds fall sharply again in the third fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2019. The company sold 13,218 carats, generating gross revenues of US$1.4 million, which resulted in an average price of US$107 per carat for the period, declining from $149 per carat achieved in Q2 and $196 in Q1.
Elodie Daguzan, a 19-year veteran of the diamond industry and currently Head of Communications and Industry Relations at Rubel & Ménasché, has been appointed Executive Director of the World Diamond Council (WDC). She will officially assume duties on February 1, 2020, following approval by the organization’s Board of Directors.
The United Kingdom has become one of a handful of nations to take proactive steps to protect diamond jewelry buyers from confusing sales labeling, thanks to a collaboration between the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and UK Trading Standards. The NAJ has announced a guide for correctly labeling different diamond jewelry types accepted by Trading Standards to stop customers feeling duped.
London-based mid-tier miner Petra Diamonds booked a 3% increase in production from its mines in South Africa and Tanzania in H1 2020 (six months ended 31 December 2019) recovering 2.07 million carats. This keeps the miner on track to meet or exceed its FY 2020 production guidance of approximately 3.8 Mcts despite several disruptions. Revenue for H1 FY 2020, however, fell 6% in comparison to H1 FY 2019 to $193.9 million due to lower diamond prices mainly relating to the weaker diamond market (-10%) and compounded by a poorer product mix at the Finsch and Williamson mines.
[The lab-grown diamond industry is like] the Wild, Wild West, making eco claims for its products just because they don’t get their diamonds from the earth. Just because you are not mining does not make your production sustainable.
- Stanley Mathuram, a vice-president SCS Global Services. Lab Grown Diamond Council has commissioned SCS to produce a standards framework on sustainability. Few growers are participating in the pilot.
Swarovski, the famous producer of precision-cut crystals, this week launched a new collection of lab-grown diamonds in 16 colors at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, a clear challenge to De Beers' Lightbox brand of synthetic gemstones. The company in 2016 launched its Diama collections in the US, using synthetic diamonds, and entered the lab-grown market as producers in 2018 with its Swarovski Created Diamonds.
One of the larger Indian diamond manufacturers, importer/exporter and De Beers Sightholder M. Suresh has opened a diamond cutting and polishing center equipped with high-end technology in the Free Port of Vladivostok, says the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. Russian miner Alrosa will supply them with rough diamonds for polishing.
Mountain Province Diamonds turned in a very strong production performance at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, particularly in the fourth quarter, but a 15% decline in the average price achieved for their rough diamonds over the course of 2019 dragged their proceeds down. A slightly lower recovery grade also curtailed their carat recovery, which ended just below 2018 levels.
Press release, Antwerp: The HB Company, the leading, cutting-edge diamond manufacturer from Antwerp, today announces its collaboration with Louis Vuitton and Lucara Diamond Corp.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa, the largest rough producer in the world, raised its output 5% to 38.5 million carats from 36.7 million carats in 2018 despite lower market demand which pushed their total diamond sales down 12% to 33.4 million carats. The combination of more production and softer sales increased their rough inventories by 5.6 million carats (+33%) to 22.6 million carats. The Russian giant's 2019 rough sales fell 26% to $3.27 billion as the average realised prices for gem-quality rough fell 19% to $133 per carat from $164 per caat last year.
Following the tremendous success of the first ever direct tender in Antwerp of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a second tender of 500,000 carats will be held in the coming weeks. Featuring rough stones from SACIM SARL (Anhui-Congo Mining Investment Company) mined in the Province of Kasaï Oriental, with 10-15% of gem-quality, the tender is being organized by Samir Gems and hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in its Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility. The tender takes place from 6 - 12 February 2020.
De Beers Group Q4 rough diamond production decreased by 15 percent to 7.8 million carats from 9.1 carats a year earlier, driven by lower production levels in South Africa and Botswana, the company announced this morning.
The government of Russia’s Yakutia region, a major shareholder in diamond producer Alrosa, has proposed that precious metals and gems repository Gokhran buy $0.5-$1 billion of the firm’s rough diamonds in the event of diminished demand, Interfax news agency reported. Based on reporting from Reuters, the proposal was made to President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s finance ministry, which is responsible for Gokhran within the government, Interfax quoted Aysen Nikolaev, the head of Yakutia region, as saying.
London-based BlueRock Diamonds, which operates and owns 74% of the Kareevlei mine based in Kimberley, South Africa, achieved profitability for the first time in the second half of 2019 after more than doubling its diamond output and revenue. The junior miner made good on its September prediction that it would achieve profitability in H2 2019 through enhanced production.
Richemont Group's sales in Q3 (the three month period ended 31 December 2019) increased by 4%, with growth in all regions except Japan, the luxury goods group announced last week. The Jewellery Maisons division recorded a 6% increase year-over-year at constant exchange rates versus the prior period and 9% at actual exchange rates. Sales in Europe during the period grew by 9% to €1.26 billion ($1.40 billion) benefiting from favourable comparative numbers and strong sales in most markets. European sales for the nine months of the fiscal year have risen 8% to €3.5 billion ($3.9).
Luanda Leaks, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, exposes two decades of unscrupulous deals that made Isabel dos Santos Africa’s wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the poorest countries on Earth. Ms.
"Effective immediately, GIA [Gemological Institute of America] will suspend diamond sealing services," the organization said in press release last Friday. The statement continues, "The Institute is taking this action after recently encountering a small number of GIA sealing packets that had been compromised by third parties after the sealing packets left GIA." The organization discovered "that the diamonds originally enclosed in the compromised packets had been replaced with HPHT (high-pressure, high-temperature) treated natural diamonds."
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has started drilling at the Mir kimberlite pipe as part of the company's investigation into the safety and economic feasibility of restarting production at its unique diamond deposit, the miner announced last week. The company said it will commence its studies at the depth of 1,200 – 1,600 meters below the surface in an effort to define more precisely the pipe’s dimensions, its position, diamond quality and grades, as well as geological conditions and hydrogeology of the deposit. Total exploration costs are estimated at $32.5 million (RUB 2 billion).
Angola's industrial diamond miners produced 9.09 million carats in 2019, a decline of 5% on the year. Adding semi-industrial production to industrial output, the total was 9.12 million carats. The figures came courtesy of Ganga Júnior, the president of Angola’s state diamond exploration, mining and licensing company, Endiama. He attributed the declline (4.8% the actual figure cited) to the closure of a diamond mine. He said the semi-industrial diamond sector had accounted for the production of 35,856 carats last year.