CEO of Australia’s Lucapa Diamond Company, Stephen Wetherall, paid a visit to Antwerp recently, where The Diamond Loupe caught up with him. We encountered an optimistic CEO that is clearly excited about the future of Lucapa, and justifiably so. The growing miner operates, together with its partners in Angola, the highest-value and most promising alluvial diamond project in the world - the Lulo Diamond Project.
The third edition of CARAT+, a diamond-centred event in Antwerp scheduled for February 10-12 2019, has been postponed due to a lack of commitment to participate on the part of exhibitors and visitors, the organizers announced today. Due to the lack on confirmed participants with the event being less than four months away, the organizer "concluded that it would be difficult to achieve the high-quality standards we impose on ourselves while meeting the expectations of our visitors and exhibitors for an event like CARAT+."
The EU Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process and the ongoing review of the KP provide a unique opportunity to transform it into a tool not just for conflict prevention, but also for sustainable development, the AWDC told us yesterday afternoon. The gathering momentum for transforming the KP's very narrow definition of conflict diamonds during this year’s Chairmanship will only be brought to fruition through the concerted efforts of all the public and private actors across the diamond value chain.
Christie’s in Hong Kong will auction on 27 November the 24.04-carat pear-shaped, Fancy Yellow Moon of Baroda diamond Marilyn Monroe wore to promote the release of the Howard Hawk’s 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It could be value anywhere from $500,000 to $750,000, perhaps more. Christie’s will also auction an autographed photo of the actress wearing the stone. The picture has a presale valuation of $10,000 to $15,000.
Rio Tinto's carat production in Q3 2018 at the Argyle as well as Diavik mines fell on a year-over-year basis, though production for the year thus far has kept pace with the first nine months of 2017. Production during the three months ending September 30 fell by over 17% to 4.9 million carats from 5.9 million carats, driven by a 19% decline at its 100-percent owned Argyle mine in Australia. Total output from the two mines is down by 2% to 14.1 million carats for the year to date.
Gem Diamonds has recovered a 357 carat light brown high-quality diamond trom its 70 percent-owned Letšeng mine in Lesotho, representing the 13th stone larger than 100 carats the miner has unearthed this year, a company record. The latest find is Gem's second-largest this year, with their largest being the 910 carat Lesotho Legend, a D color Type IIa diamond recovered in January, which sold for $40 million last March.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 6.6% during the six-month period ended September 30, 2018 (H1 FY 2018-19) despite a dip of 10.8% in exports during the month of September, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during September fell to $2.37 billion from $2.65 bn in September 2017, while polished diamond exports from April-September 2018 increased $2.68 billion from the $11.90 bn exported over the same months last year.
The De Beers Group provisionally sold $475 million worth of rough diamonds during their eighth sales cycle (October 8-12) of 2018, representing the lowest value of sales at a sight this year. October sales fell by about 6% compared to Sight 7 after the actual September sales were revised down to $503 million from the provisional value reported last month at $530 million. Still, the recent sight is a significant, 26% improvement in comparison to the $376 million in rough sales achieved at Sight 8 in 2017.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA recently concluded an auction of special-sized (10.8 carats and above) rough diamonds in New York, earning $7.9 million from the sale of 1,300 carats for an average price of approximately $6,077 per carat. This by far outstrips the average price the miner recently earned at an auction of the same category of diamonds in Hong Kong, which achieved $4,790 per carat.
The recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversal regarding the definition of a diamond would seem to be a landmark decision. In reality, it is much ado about nothing. Since 1956, the FTC has defined a diamond as something natural, meaning from the Earth; now synthetic diamond manufacturers are allowed to use the word diamond to describe their product. Not an earth shattering development, really ... The FTC ruling stipulates that synthetic diamonds must still be described as lab-grown or cultured or in some clear way be distinguished from natural diamonds.
- Fire & Ice Diamonds, opinion on synthetic diamond nomenclature.
Canadian diamond miner Stornoway sold 184,620 carats in two tender sales for gross proceeds of $24.7 million at an average price of US$103 per carat (C$134 per carat) as price weakness returned to smaller and lower quality diamonds, a decline of 7% compared to the second quarter. Prices in the larger and higher quality items have remained firm. By way of comparison, the miner sold 201,283 carats at two tenders in Q2 for $28.6 million, at an average price of US$109 per carat.
Jewelers of America (JA), an industry trade association, is aiming to launch a category jewelry advertising campaign in 2019. The initiative, said to be by the industry and catalyzed by requests from the industry, is intended to benefit the entire jewelry industry by "branding and promoting the unique and emotional aspects of jewelry purchase and ownership versus other disposable income purchases," said JA in a statement.
Chow Tai Fook has announced its partnership with native New York designer Vera Wang on a fine jewelry collection launching October 19, 2018 in Mainland China. "Bringing together the foremost Chinese-American designer in the fashion industry and the renowned fine jewelry company in Greater China," the announcement reads, the new collection will "cater to the modern Chinese bride, who has begun to incorporate diamond jewelry into traditional engagements," moving beyond the traditional gold and jade usually worn by brides in China.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA's September sales continued the miner's positive trend in 2018 with an 8% increase in rough diamond sales compared to September 2017, which was admittedly a low comparison base. ALROSA sold $331.6 million worth of rough diamonds compared to $305.8 million a year ago, as the larger sized stones sold well while lower qualities and sizes set forth their downturn.
The polished-diamond trade in Antwerp during September again witnessed a surging average price per carat, particularly for imports (+22%), however, the trading center remained quiet after the traditionally slow summer holiday, as a result of which the volume of goods traded declined notably. Some have attributed the September slowdown to the Jewish holiday period, while others tell us that Indian companies are still hesitant to acquire smaller goods, with many having already purchased what they need for the upcoming Diwali holidays.
Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council, spoke with Mines to Market. Some key takeaways [for the complete interview, click 'Read the full article']:
MtM: What is your idea of the ideal environment for the diamond industry to evolve in today’s scenario?
Fischler: The ideal scenario for the diamond industry, as for any industry, is a combination of positive tension on the 'supply and demand' side and growing consumer desire for the product. That is the theory.
Russian diamond mining company ALROSA extracted 28.59-carat rough yellow diamond at its Ebelyakhplacer deposit in July. The diamond is of deep greenish-yellow hue, and following the company's assessment, the color of the stone is defined as the rare Fancy Intense Yellow. It is currently the largest yellow rough diamond mined at ALROSA's deposits since the beginning of 2018. JSC AlmazyAnabara, a subsidiary of ALROSA, unearthed the stone.
A nationwide crackdown on diamond shop owners and potentially illicit dealers in Angola last week led to four people being killed and seven injured in the Lunda Norte province bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. The incidents occured on the margins of a police operation targeting foreign nationals suspected of diamond smuggling, media said last Friday.
Zimbabwe's Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the state-run entity overseeing the country's diamond mining and marketing operations, has announced it will introduce an electronic trading system to improve efficiency in line with international best practice. The online system will allow for the participation of international buyers who cannot physically attend an auction, as well as "do away with the excessive human interface which breeds corruption," writes The Herald. Zimbabwe’s second diamond tender of 2018 earned $28.3 million from 423,066 carats, even though the tender attrac
Diamond Fields Resources (DFR) has confirmed, via its subsidiary Nutam Operations (Pty) Ltd, that the mining vessel "Ya Toivo" is scheduled to enter Namibian waters during the first week of November 2018. Once in position, the m/v Ya Toivo will commence mining operations on the ML111 license area, which is held by DFR through its Namibian subsidiary Diamond Fields (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd.
A Fancy Pink diamond weighing 5.03 carats, VS1 clarity, sold for more than $2.9 million, or $583,551 per carat at Bonhams London Fine Jewelry sale last week (26 September), setting a new auction world record for a Fancy Pink diamond per carat. The previous auction record for a Fancy Pink diamond held by Sotheby's Geneva, May 2016, was $528,021 per carat.
Russia's ALROSA has sold 2,234 carats worth of special size rough diamonds (larger than 10.8 carats) at an auction in Hong Kong, earning $10.7 million in sales revenue at an average price of $4,790 per carat. The 2,234 carats derived from 136 gem-quality diamonds, including 25 fancy yellow stones weighing 440 carats in total. 54 companies from Hong Kong, mainland China, Belgium, Israel and India took part in the auction.
Botswana Finance LLC, a subsidiary of Lazare Kaplan International (LKI) has signed a $125 million loan guaranty with Stanbic Bank Botswana, a member of Standard Bank Group and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. The loan guaranty will encourage and support lending to diamond manufacturers and polishing companies while allowing the organizations to share credit risk.
While welcoming the Indian government's recent Increase of the import duty on jewelry from 15% to 20% as a way to strengthen the jewelry manufacturing sector, Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Pramod Kumar Agrawal said the hike on cut and polished diamonds and processed colored gemstones would negatively impact exports and trade of cut and polished diamonds.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have revealed three of the finest large rough diamonds from their Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which will be showcased in Antwerp and Israel before being tendered to diamond specialists from around the world. The three rough diamonds, collectively named “The Diavik Stars of the Arctic”, will highlight a rough diamond tender of 'specials' (diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats) before bids close on October 25.
Firestone Diamonds has just completed its first full year of production at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine (75% Firestone, 25% Government of Lesotho), ending an "eventful" year with mixed results. The company describes their first full year of production as "characterised by exceptional operational performance", as Firestone achieved their carat recovery guidance and exceeded their tonnage treated while operating at significantly lower cost than expected, and maintained an unblemished safety record.
The 7th Brazilian Conference on the Geology of Diamonds to be held in Salvador, Bahia is attracting speakers and delegates from around the world, the organizers write in a press release. The event, which focuses on the diamond producing industry, will highlight the diamond potential of Brazil, its geology, and new discoveries and developments in the sector. The conference will be held at the Deville Hotel and Conference Centre from November 4 to 7, 2018.
Russian miner ALROSA's first “True Colours” auction of fancy colored diamonds garnered $9 million from 210 stones. Described as, "another significant step towards our goal of becoming the world leader in the production of coloured diamonds," the bidding was very active, the company said, and most of the lots were sold for well above their starting price.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that Andrew Bone will be stepping down as its Executive Director, effective 27 March 2019. Andrew Bone has been Executive Director since the spring of 2015. Under his leadership, RJC membership doubled and the organization laid the foundations for sustainable growth in the future, the RJC said in a statement.
In an effort to narrow the current account deficit (CAD), the Indian government on Wednesday increased the import duty on 19 'non-essential items' including polished diamonds, gemstones and jewelry, but excluded rough diamonds from the increase. The import duties on cut and polished diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and cut and polished colored gemstones increased from 5% to 7.5%.
Having set our sights on a half-carat white solitaire pendant set in a silver necklace for $500, today we received an e-mail informing us we can place our order tomorrow (Thursday). Lightbox - De Beers' lab-grown diamond jewelry line - which has sparked outcry, applause, debate, and concern throughout the diamond world (natural as well as synthetic) will finally make its debut after a heated summer. The line as it now stands consists of pastel pink, white and baby-blue lab-grown studs and pendants, priced from $200 for a quarter carat to $800 for one carat, not including the setting.
Amazon's filing for a trademark, "For Keeps by Amazon", makes it appear likely that the e-tail giant might be on the verge of launching a new jewelry brand. According to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office on September 19, the patent is for “online retail sales of jewelry, namely precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith."
Christie's has announced that the 18.96-carat Pink Legacy – the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Pink diamond the auctioneer has ever put on the block – will be offered for sale at their Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on 13 November. With an estimated price of $30 million to $50 million, it has the potential to break the record price per carat for its color category. That record is currently held by ‘The Pink Promise’, an oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond of just under 15 carats, which Christie's sold in Hong Kong last year for $32,480,500 - an incredible $2,175,519 per carat.
North Arrow, a Canadian-based exploration company focused on diamond opportunities in Canada, has completed an exploration drilling and till sampling program at its 100% owned Mel Diamond Project, confirming it as a new diamondiferous kimberlite field in Canada. The program represents the first ever exploration drilling of this new kimberlite field and also included work focused on generation of new targets through till sampling and geophysical surveys, the company said.
Botswana Diamonds has identified the potential of the Free State in South Africa to host additional commercial kimberlites following archival research concerning the history of diamond mining in South Africa. This research, first discussed in August 2017, found that in addition to the well-documented iconic operations at Jagersfontein, Koffiefontein and Kimberley, a number of smaller diamond mines existed in the area, but knowledge of them had essentially been lost over the
Farfetch (FTCH), the London-based luxury fashion e-tailer, has just pulled off one of the largest IPOs of the year.
HRD Antwerp, a leading European authority in diamond certification, recently undertook a study entitled “The Effect of Fluorescence on the Colour of a Diamond”, concluding that even strong fluorescence does not negatively impact a diamond’s appearance. In fact, their findings demonstrate the contrary: under normal conditions and even when outdoors, strong fluorescence has a positive influence on the color of diamonds. This finding directly contradicts the common perception that fluorescence is a negative property of diamonds, driving down their value.
South Africa’s cabinet approved a long-delayed Mining Charter that spells out requirements for black ownership levels and backed the withdrawal of a mining bill after industry opposition, a minister said last week. The Mining Charter - which was introduced to redress the exclusion of black people in the mining sector under apartheid - could, however, still be the subject of legal challenges if mining companies are unhappy with its contents after it is published.
Brazil Minerals, a U.S. diversified company with projects in various minerals in Brazil, announced its extensive drilling campaign in one of its several mineral rights yielded alluvial material with a high likelihood for diamonds in over 57% of the drill holes executed. The project is located in the Jequitinhonha River Valley in northern Minas Gerais state in Brazil. Marc Fogassa, CEO of Brazil Minerals, stated, “Our identification of an initial diamond-rich zone within a gold mineralization area is a very good outcome.
Zimbabwe’s second diamond tender of 2018 earned $28.3 million from 423,066 carats, for an average price of $67 per carat. This represents a huge step forward as the country tries to regain market confidence and reclaim a stake in the global diamond trade, even though the tender attracted fewer international buyers than expected.
Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd., a growing diamond company with a portfolio of high-quality production, development and exploration assets in Angola, Lesotho, Australia and Botswana, has been awarded a new Mineral Investment Contract (MIC) by the Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum for the Lulo kimberlite exploration licence. The MIC covers a five-year period through to 30 April 2023. Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said the gazetting of the new five-year MIC for the Lulo kimberlite licence was further evidence of Angola’s diamond sector reforms and the strong working
Russian diamond miner ALROSA recently published the results of its global luxury and jewelry market research, showing that the average global growth rate for decorative jewelry in Q2 2018 was approximately 5% higher than during the same period last year. Sales increased in all of the world's key regions, except for India. The most notable increase came from the Asia Pacific region, where sales increased by 17%. The positive dynamics resulted from the continuing expansion of various local players, made possible by the strong demand for diamond-based jewelry in continental China.
Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), along with several representatives from the Antwerp diamond industry today met King Letsie III of Lesotho in Brussels. Lesotho, a mountainous country fully surrounded by South Africa and numbering only two million inhabitants, is the world’s seventh most important diamond-producing country in terms of value. Lesotho’s entire diamond production, worth $342 million in 2017, is traded on the Antwerp market.
ALROSA, the world's largest diamond mining company, has sold 'special size' rough diamonds (larger than 10.8 carats) at auction in Vladivostok, with overall revenue amounting to $12.6 million. At its latest sale of large stones, the company sold 108 gem-quality lots with total weight of 2,003 carats. 76 companies from Russia, mainland China, Hong Kong, the US, Israel, Belgium, India and UAE took part in the auction.
Russian diamond mining company Arkhangelskgeoldobycha (the licence holder for the Grib diamond pipe in the Arkhangelsk Region), which recently changed its name to AGD Diamonds, has consolidated a 100% stake in Grib Diamonds. Grib Diamonds is the Antwerp diamond trading company responsible for marketing rough diamonds produced at the Vladimir Grib Diamond Field through auctions held on its web-based platform. The move is intended to establish a fully-fledged diamond mining company, including exploration, production and sales.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) has announced "very encouraging" results from its exploration program currently under way in the immediate vicinity of the Gahcho Kué mine. If the exploration success continues and is confirmed, it could lead to the potential addition to the resource of 1.5 to 2.8 million tons and 2.2 to 4.2 million carats, said Stuart Brown, the Company’s President and CEO.
Rough diamond imports to India, home to the largest world's largest diamond cutting and polishing industry, have fallen for five consecutive months, according to figures from industry body the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The GPEPC's most recent figures show that from April through August (FY 2018), the value of rough diamond imports have declined by 7 percent to $7.16 billion from $7.69 billion a year earlier. In volume terms, imports are down 9% to 68.6 million carats from 75.3 million carats compared to the same period last year.
Famed jeweler Tiffany & Co. has lifted the veil on the company’s upcoming jewelry collection, Tiffany True, its first new engagement line in nearly a decade. The newly designed engagement ring at the core of the collection features a new cut of diamond, and its setting is designed so that its four link sides create a basket for the ring, allowing it to sit lower on the finger for a more modern feel.“Tiffany has symbolized the ultimate in love and commitment since 1886 with the invention of the original Tiffany Setting.
Russia's ALROSA, the world's largest diamond mining company, has commenced a rough diamond auction in New York, featuring 81 rare gem-quality 'specials' (diamonds larger then 10.8 carats) discovered in 2017-2018. The auction will include some of ALROSA's most unique recent recoveries, such as a transparent 98-ct diamond with a yellowish hue (pictured above) and a diamond weighing over 100 carats. Both stones were mined at the Yubileinaya pipe in Yakutia.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a member of De Beers Group, yesterday announced that its industry-first synthetic screening device, SYNTHdetect, was awarded Industry Innovation of the Year at the JNA Awards in Hong Kong. The announcement follows the launch earlier during the week of IIDGR's SYNTHdetect XL, a larger version of the original model that provides additional efficiencies for users, allowing a multiple pieces of jewelry to be screened at an even faster rate while using the same technology as the original SYNTHdetec.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) has partnered with the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) to establish the first in a series of Diamond Empowerment Fund Scholarships. The DEF scholarship, the first in a series of new scholarships, will be earmarked for a student from a diamond producing country whose chosen post-graduate study will be in a field of interest that meets the needs for improving the quality of life for Africans. Additional D.E.F scholarships will be identified in the coming months, each representing the global impact of the diamond industry.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has appointed Eran Zini as its new Managing Director. After having served as senior advisor to Israel’s Minister of Justice, he joined Israeli pioneering electric car start-up Better Place, as head of government relations and regulation. He then joined a government company devoted to vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities as head of operations, and a year later was promoted to Managing Director, a position he held until he was recruited by IDE.
Zini fills the vacancy left behind by Eli Avidar, who stepped down in April.
We don’t have any idea to develop lab-grown diamonds at this moment because we don’t see any market for it right now. Chow Tai Fook is a jewelry brand as well as a diamond brand, and our brand value is authenticity, so we have to live up to that. It’s important to understand that Chinese consumers value natural as real, and there’s no grey area in China when it comes to man-made diamonds.
- Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, from an interview with Avi Krawitz, Rapaport News.
Despite its annual revenue rising 25% and its profit from mining activities up 33% to US$205.1 million, the miner recorded significant losses ($203.1 million) and Petra Diamonds' CEO Johan Dippenaar will step down after 12 years at the helm following a slump in the company’s share price this year. The miner was forced to raise $170m in capital from shareholders last May to shore up its heavy debt, which has run up over the $600 million mark and accelerated the company’s share price fall this calendar year, which is down by 43%.
Lucapa Diamond Company today announced that a selection of large, premium-value Lulo diamonds will be the first Lulo production sold through new marketing channels being introduced as part of Angola’s diamond sector reforms, which represent a milestone for Angola's rough diamond trade. Additionally, Lucapa has exported its first parcel of ~2,500 carats of diamonds recovered from the Mothae kimberlite diamond mine in Lesotho to the global diamond trading centre of Antwerp, Belgium.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA presented its first ever collection of large, fancy-colored polished diamonds at the Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair, marking the initial stage of their new strategy to become the world leader in the production of colored polished diamonds. The collection showcased in Hong Kong is comprised of 250 diamonds of different shapes and hues, with the auction scheduled for September 19. "ALROSA polished branch now focuses on the processing of large and coloured diamonds and the subsequent sales," said Evgeny Agureev, Director of the United Selling Organization of ALRO
The Millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewelry sales in 2017, as diamond jewelry demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to data published today by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report.
Leading Hong Kong jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook is the latest company to turn to blockchain technology to enable its customers to know the origin and authenticity of the diamonds they are buying.
Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased to connoisseurs and collectors from across Asia in Hong Kong; the miner has also unveiled a one-of-a-kind pink diamond and emerald necklace during a world exclusive preview in Hong Kong. Headlining the 2018 collection of 63 pink, red and violet diamonds is The Argyle Muse, a 2.28 carat polished oval diamond, the largest purplish red diamond ever offered at Tender. Rio expects it will be highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from Asia where the colour red is highly symbolic.
RZ Murowa Holdings Ltd. (RZM), majority owner and operator of Murowa Diamonds, has joined the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), making it the eighth diamond mining company, and first new member, to join the DPA since it's launch in 2015. The DPA was created in 2015 to protect and promote the integrity and reputation of diamonds. Murowa Diamonds operates the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe, which was purchased from Rio Tinto in 2015 and expanded significantly under its new leadership. Manit M.