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.
BlueRock Diamonds plc, the AIM listed diamond mining company which owns and operates the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has announced that the grade resulting from mining the first level of its latest kimberlite pipe "exceeds expectations". BlueRock is currently mining two of the five pipes at Kareevlei, called the KV1 and KV2. It has now processed the first Level 1 ore (10m to 20m below surface) from KV1, totalling 20,500 tonnes, resulting in grades of between 3.90 carats per hundred tonnes (‘cpht’) and 5.11 cpht at an average grade of 4.51 cpht.
Russian diamond giant Alrosa held two auctions of special rough stones (10.8 carats and up) during the month of November, first in Vladivostok and then in Dubai, earning an average of approximately $4,900 from the sale of 4,030 carats, yielding a total of $19.8 million. In Vladivostok, the miner sold 119 gem-quality rough diamonds with a total weight of 1,890 carats for $10.3 million, representing an average price per carat of $5,540. This was the fourth and final auction in Vladivostok, their Far Eastern platform, for 2018. They started holding auctions there in late 2016.
Discussions between the Government of Botswana and De Beers Group are already underway as the long-standing partners look to strike a new deal. The current 10-year agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Debswana’s diamond production (Debswana is a 50/50 mining joint venture between Botswana and De Beers) is set to expire at the end of 2020. Botswana is reportedly pushing for a larger stake in its "new marriage" with De Beers ahead of the negotiations for the next sales agreement, writes The Southern Times.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) has told The Times of India (TOI) that it has no plans to lift the ban on trading synthetic diamonds in the bourse, a rule that entered into force in 2015 following a spate of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic goods.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 19% on a year-over-year basis during the month of October, reaching $2.31 billion compared to the $1.93 billion exported in October 2017, according to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The strong showing was backed by the increased quantity of goods exported, up 8% to 2.9 million carats from 2.7 million a year ago, as well as an increase in the average price per carat, which climbed 11% to $791. However, polished exports fell slightly from $2.37 billion last month.
Australian miner Lucapa Diamonds earned $4.2 million from its latest tender of rough goods from its Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, as it continues to hold back high-value goods until it can take advantage of Angola's new marketing policy. The sale involved 3,411 carats and earned an average price of $1,220 per carat, and brings the miner's total sales of Lulo diamonds for the year to $24.5 million at an average price per carat which now stands at $1,353, a figure which has declined from an average price per carat of $1,642 as of the half-way point of 2018.
Riding the current wave of depressed rough diamond sales throughout the industry in recent months, De Beers' ninth sale of 2018 earned (provisionally) $440 million, the miner's lowest earnings in a sales cycle since October 2017. Soft demand from India has been the predominant factor in the decline of rough sales - particularly of smaller goods - across the industry.
The EU Plenary, which brings together the three pillars of the KP and its many stakeholders, was marked as a unique opportunity to advance the ambitious reform agenda set in 2017. Under the leadership of the EU, the KP discussed an agenda with three priorities: a deepening of the KP, including the reinforcement of the system of controls and the transformation of KP recommendations into minimum requirements; an expansion of the KP by broadening the definition of conflict diamonds; and professionalization of the KP by, among others, the establishment of a permanent KP secretariat.
The Angolan authorities have shut down 279 diamonds sale and purchase houses, as well as canceled the activity of 122 co-operatives dealing in diamonds exploration, 52 days after the start of the “Operation Transparency”, announced last Wednesday in the northern Malanje Province, reports Angolan Press outlet ANGOP. “Operation Transparency” is essentially intended to fight illegal immigration, illegal exploration of diamonds and put a stop to environmental crimes committed in the ambit of the irregular prospecting of minerals.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds has sold US$17.7 million (CDN$23.3 million) from 245,751 carats at an average realized value of US$72 per carat at its ninth rough diamond which closed on November 14, 2018. The total proceeds from the sale were the lowest of the year thus far, but the average price per carat was the highest since the $85 per carat earned at the company's fifth sale of the year in June.
Junior miner Botswana Diamonds (BD) has acquired Alrosa's 50% share in the Sunland Minerals project for a "nominal sum". BD's 100% ownership of Sunland now enables a new investor to enter as a new joint venture partner, and they say that negotiations with this potential partner are at an advanced stage. The potential partner is said to be a large diamond producer with new ideas and keen to find new kimberlites in Botswana.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation has announced that Matt Manson will step down as President and CEO of the Corporation, effective January 1, 2019, and will be succeeded by Mr. Patrick Godin. Mr. Godin is currently the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, and has served in this role since 2010. So as to achieve an orderly transition in 2019, Mr. Manson will provide support to Mr. Godin as he assumes his new role.
Several sources, including Bloomberg and Rapaport, have reported that De Beers has slashed its prices on lower-quality diamonds at its latest sight this week, with the discounts ranging from high-single digits to as much as 10%. Difficult trading conditions have been widely reported in the rough diamond market in recent months, although the market for higher-quality and larger goods has remained strong with firm pricing in all categories.
Monday afternoon in Brussels at the opening of the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary session, World Diamond Council (WDC) President Stephane Fischler urged the delegation to support the strengthening the KP by expanding the definition of conflict diamonds (Read full speech). The expanded definition proposed by the Canadian government includes diamonds associated with widespread and systematic violence.
Canadian miner Mountain Province's production and sales of rough diamonds from the Gahcho Kué mine underwhelmed in the third quarter of 2018, as production was on the downside of flat during the quarter, while sales increased against a low comparison point in 2017 and the cost of production rose. Sales increased by 15% to US$57 million (C$75 million) at an average price of US$73 per carat, but net income dropped by 37% to US$13 million (C$17.5m) from US$21million (C$16m).
Lucara Diamond Corp.'s third quarter carat production from its Karowe mine in Botswana "exceeded expectations" as a result of increased efficiency in diamond recovery in the smaller sizes during 2018.
Following more than a year of detailed analysis, cutting and polishing by an elite team of gemologists and master craftsmen, Graff Diamonds has started to unveil some of the more than 60 polished diamonds cleaved from the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona. The polished diamonds, Graff writes, range in size from under a carat to in excess of 100 carats, each diamond will have D color, the highest grade for a diamond, and exceptional clarity. They will be set mounted as solitaire rings, earrings and pendants.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has made an appeal to members of the Kimberley Process (KP), whose Plenary meeting commences in Brussels today, to engage with the country to increase its rough-diamond exports. The CAR government has asked the KP family to approve the compliance of nine additional mining zones in the Western part of the country - in addition to the five areas already approved in 2015 - and to formallize the decision taken at the KP Intersessional last June to reduce the approval period for rough-diamond exports to seven days.
This week, a group of nine government officials from four African diamond-producing countries (Cameroon, Congo Braza, Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea) embarked on a ten-day training course in Antwerp, furthering their knowledge of rough-diamond evaluation and valuation. The course, called the "KP Technical Assistance Valuation Program", originates from the commitment of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), which coordinates requests for Technical Assistance on behalf of the Administrative Support Mechanism (ASM) in the framework of the KP.
A diamond jewelry manufacturer from Antwerp, Giovanni Daems, is the first to develop a new, patented technology for a fully-automated diamond setting machine, which it unveiled this week at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reported a steep decline in rough diamond sales during the month of October, falling 28% year-over-year and 29% from September, but has still recorded 6% growth during the first ten months of the year. In October, ALROSA Group sold $243 million worth of rough diamonds compared with $326 million in October 2017, and $331 million last month. “In October, demand for small-size inexpensive rough diamonds continued to remain weak," says ALROSA Deputy CEO Yury Okoemov.
The Antwerp diamond trade in October booked value gains across all categories - particularly for polished-diamond exports and imports - with the exception of rough-diamond imports, which followed the recent decline in production and sales from the diamond miners.
Jewelry maker Pandora, known for its charm bracelets, reported Tuesday that Q3 sales in the U.S. fell 12% year-over-year to $153.2 million (DKK 1 billion), while worldwide revenue decreased 3% in local currency to $765.8 million (DKK 5 billion). The "unsatisfactory" results prompted the company to reduce its sales and profit margin guidance for this year following revenue declines in consecutive quarters, and is now saying it expected sales in local currencies to increase by between 4 and 7 percent this year, compared with the 7-10 percent it previously projected.
Lucapa Diamond Company, which only two weeks ago commenced its commissioning of the 1.1Mtpa (million ton per annum) treatment plant at the high-quality Mothae kimberlite open-pit diamond mine in Lesotho, will be holding its first ever tender of Mothae diamonds in Antwerp, starting November 12. The Mothae treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, will be ramped up to its nameplate capacity throughout the December quarter.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA experienced a slight downtick in revenue and profit during the third quarter as compared with Q2, as significantly weaker sales volumes were offset by higher average prices and an improved sales mix. The miner has, however seen strong growth for the first nine months of the year, and last week commenced commercial diamond production at its newest mine, the Verkhne-Munskoye Diamond Field in Yakutia.
UK-listed Botswana Diamonds said it is feeling "confident" that its Thorny River project in South Africa will become its first operating mine following the conclusion of a mining contract covering bulk sampling activities and future full-scale mining. The necessary regulatory approvals have been applied for, and a drilling program is planned in 2019. Managing Director, James AH Campbell the company hopes to get production rolling during the first half of 2019.
Polished diamond prices in October gave back some of their gains for the year, as prices declined slightly ahead of India's Diwali festival, when polishing factories close for the month of November. This according to figures from Rapaport's RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI). Rapaport says inventory levels have risen but sentiment has not been dented as expectations for the US holiday season are positive.
Several media reports from Israel indicate that Israeli law enforcement officials say they want to question Lev Leviev, the business baron whose companies allegedly are at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Six suspects were arrested Monday as part of a probe into suspected diamod smuggling by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev.
During initial tests of new flood plains being explored near the Lulo diamond project in Angola, Lucapa Diamond Company has discovered of a new alluvial source of large and premium-value diamonds. Lucapa reports a total of 1,502 carats recovered so far from 11,155 bulk cubic metres processed, achieving a diamond grade of 13.5 carats per 100 cubic metres. The sample included 17 specials (+10.8 carats), including an exceptional 55 carat Type IIa D-colour white The average size of the diamond recovered was 1.4 carats.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), according to a column written by President Mnangagwa in The Sunday Mail, that the country's diamond output was expected to shatter previous records. Zimbabwe aims to produce (at a stretch) three million carats this year, driven by a US$100 million investment in operations over the last two years. The ZCDC unearthed 2.4 million carats between January and October 2018, a significant increase over the 1.8 million carats achieved last year. ZCDC chief executive officer Dr.
Gem Diamonds said its third quarter (ended 30 September) production from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho rose 27% compared to Q2 2018, and the miner has raised its production and sales guidance for the year. Gem Diamonds now anticipates is full-year output to reach 120 to 124 million carats, up from the 114 to 118 million carats announced last March. The announcement follows improved mining efficiencies and strong production during the period. The miner also projects to sell 118,000 to 122,000 carats, up from 112,000 to 116,000 carats announced previously.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Alibaba Group announced today that they have entered an exclusive partnership to offer Antwerp certified diamonds directly to Chinese consumers via Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, Tmall. The cooperation agreement was signed in the framework of the first China International Import Expo (CIEE), which is being held this week in Shanghai.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre today welcomed the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio. The presidential delegation’s visit emphasizes the importance of trade relations between Sierra Leone and the Antwerp diamond industry, and falls within the framework of President Bio's efforts to take his country in a "new direction", which includes a strong focus on revising key legislation pertaining to the mining sector to ensure a win-win situation for the government, mining companies and local communities.
Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.
An interim order regarding the liquidations sales of 142 stores that Sears plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization recognizes the ownership rights of vendors that have supplied merchandise to the retailer on memo. Those vendors, which include diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue and jewelry supplier Vijay Gold Designs, objected to Sears' plans to close the stores because the stores held goods supplied by the vendors on consignment and believed Sears would to sell their merchandise “whether they own it or not.”