The organization formerly known as ‘Diamond Producers Association’, assembling the world's leading diamond mining companies and charged with the generic promotion of diamonds, today relaunched as the Natural Diamond Council (NDC).The NDC will continue the DPA's mandate to promote the desirability of natural diamonds and support the integrity of the diamond jewelry industry.
Alrosa reports its first E-sight, offering long-term clients the possibility to purchase on a stone-by-stone basis was a success, “demonstrating market demand for rough diamonds and a willingness to purchase via online channels.”, says Alrosa deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev.
In a second tender, currently going on, the miner is tendering 700 rough stones from 5 to 10ct batches, open for purchase to long-term clients, as well as Alrosa’s spot and auction customers.
A deal that was announced between LVMH and Tiffany & C° earlier this year, in which the France-based luxury conglomerate led by Bernard Arnault would acquire the iconic jeweler for $135 per share, is potentially falling through, as LVMH is reconsidering its engagement amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic and unrest in the USA. According to Retail Dive, LVMH’s press release suggests that it is looking to lower the offer, and some sources say that move is based
According to Reuters, De Beers, together with the government of Botswana is looking into (temporarily) shifting its sight viewings from Gaborone, Botswana, to major trading hubs, closer to their clients, for example in Antwerp. Reuters cites De Beers Executive Vice President, Diamond Trading, Paul Rowley; “If we can move our product closer to them it would give us the flexibility to restart sales as soon as the markets reopen”.
As of April 1st, a new 2% tax on online sales, the “Equalization Levy” (EL), came into force in India which is having a major impact on Indian diamond manufacturing and trading companies who buy rough or polished stones via online channels, such as online auctions or tenders, trading platforms. Foreign companies that are considered an “e-commerce operator”, defined as a non-resident that owns, operates or manages a digital or electronic facility or platform for online sale of goods or the online provision of services”, will be forced to charge 2% on top of the sales amount, when selling to
The Antwerp Diamond Bourse today announced that its President, Jacques Korn, who held the position for the past four years, is stepping down for personal reasons and will be replaced by current Board member and Vice-President, David Gotlib. In its announcement, the Bourse's Board of Directors commends Jacky Korn as a man who, bowing on a long career in the diamond community, carried out his duties of co-managing one of the world's oldest diamond institutes with great dedication.
News outlet Caixin reports that China will continue its severely restricted international flights policy through to at least October. Since the end of March, China has cut international flights by 90%, and has implemented the so-called "Five-One" policy, in which for each domestic airline, only one flight per week to a foreign destination is allowed to operate. Foreign airlines can fly into China no more than once per week and all flights are limited to 75% capacity, according to restrictions implemented by China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC).
Alrosa announced that it is currently offering its long-term customers over 800 rough diamonds in the 5 to 10ct range, the largest volume the company has ever put on its digital platform. Since the implementation of the system, Alrosa has made several improvements to the platform, and now allows its customers to bid on a stone by stone basis in a semi-automated bidding process.
According to a Business Wire news release, Canadian miner Dominion has signed a letter of intent with an affiliate of the Washington Companies to sell all of Dominion's assets for approx. US$126 million, and has made an agreement for up to US$60 million in short-term financing from Washington. In April, Dominion filed for and obtained insolvency protection under the CCAA. The agreements will allow Dominion to resume operations at the Ekati mine and meet obligations owed to employees.
While India has allowed some activity to resume in Surat, the country's polishing hub, the industry has announced that the voluntary moratorium on rough imports is delayed to June 1st, with the call to its members to not import rough diamonds for the entire month of June, possibly longer.
In a joint letter, 73 organisations are calling on governments and mining industry actors to increase efforts towards the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations across the globe. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter says, the already vulnerable artisanal miners, often women, and the communities they support, are becoming even more vulnerable. The report refers to "high value commodities such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, cobalt, mica and particularly gold."
As many countries are easing out of strict quarantaine, GIA has announced it has reopened its labs in Antwerp, Carlsbad, Gaborone, Johannesburg and Tokyo, each with modified schedules. In Antwerp and Johannesburg, visitors are welcome by appointment, in Tokyo, Carlsbad and Gaborone, the labs will only accept submissions via shipment.
Reuters reports that, while the country's economy is slowly returning to normal as COVID-19 measures are gradually relaxed, the Israel diamond industry continues to be at a standstill, as the Tel Aviv diamond bourse remains closed and the diamond district as whole still is a ghost town. While activities in other major hubs, like Antwerp, have resumed, the Israeli industry is struggling to reopen its facilities and comply with continued restrictions and social distancing measures.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a paradigm shift, not only in how we live our lives, stay in touch with friends and family or do our shopping, but also in the way we do business. In an industry that has long relied on face-to-face interactions, particularly in the rough trading business, the crisis is accelerating business processes at a rapid pace. The Diamond Loupe spoke with Johan Erikson, CEO of First Element, a tender house operating in Antwerp, on how their processes have changed in the past few months to adapt to “the new normal”.
Rapaport reports that the Russian precious metals and gemstones repository, the Gokhran, may buy up part of the Russian miner's diamond stockpile, for an amount that ranges anywhere between $500 million and $1.7 billion. Rough sales have dropped dramatically as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the miner offered its clients maximum flexibility in purchasing obligations. During past crises, notably in 2009, the state repository alleviated the company in a similar way, at that time buying $1 billion worth of diamonds.
Mining Weekly reports that UK-based BlueRock, operating the Kareevlei mine in Kimberley, South Africa, will be marketing its goods through Antwerp starting at the end June, in an agreement with Bonas-Couzyn, the Antwerp-based diamond consultancy and tender house. By choosing Antwerp, the world's largest rough market, over the much smaller domestic market, the company hopes to boost sales as the market recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABN AMRO, the Dutch bank that also has a dedicated Diamond and Jewellery branch, reports a net loss of 395 million euros, or about double what analysts had expected, and the first loss reported since 2013. New CEO Robert Swaak commented that the loss was driven by high impairments due to two exceptional client cases, as well as 1.1 billion € provisions made to account for loans going bad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. ABN AMRO will review its overall strategy, with a focus on anti-money laundering controls and an improved digital approach, the CEO added.
Consumers across Asia are rushing to luxury stores to buy luxury items before an expected price hike. After Louis Vuitton raised prices last week - the third price hike in 2020, many consumers expect other brands like Chanel, Dior and Gucci will follow suit. Higher prices are one strategy to make up for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jing Daily reports.
Across Asia, thanks to pent-up demand and the inability for shoppers to travel and buy luxury goods abroad, the luxury market has seen growing in-store traffic and sales.
HRD Antwerp, the Antwerp-based diamond grading lab is reviving the HRD Awards with a 17th edition of the internationally renowned jewellery design competition. Aptly themed "Happiness - A New Beginning", the contest invites designers across the globe to submit their designs via an online module, before May 20th 2020. A panel of international experts will judge all designs and award 11 prizes during an online award ceremony on June 14th.
Times of India reports that India's Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla Complex as well as the Gems and Jewellery industry at Seepz MIDC can resume operations, albeit with a strongly reduced workforce (10%). India's diamond and jewellery industry has been suffering as the country continues to be under strict lockdown, and export shipments are blocked. Both area's are located in so-called "red zones", which is why only limited workforce can be allowed, state officials said.
A Canadian judge has ordered the Rio Tinto subsidiary, in the joint venture managing the Diavik mine, to release Dominion's share of production that Rio Tinto has been holding as collateral for overdue payments. Dominion Diamonds filed for protection last week granting the company protection from creditors.
De Beers has launched its online "Buy platform", a segment of the De Beers Group Auctiones, where Registered Buyers can now buy rough diamonds online. The platform works like any other e-commerce platform, where buyers can search, "view" and select goods, add them to their shopping cart and complete their purchase via a virtual checkout. In addition buyers can create favorite products, which are assorted in four categories; "very high-end", "high-end", "mid market" and "low-end".
Canadian mining company Lucara Diamonds reports a net loss of $3.2 million in Q1, a result of the continued strain on the diamond mining industry and decreased revenues from sales, despite the fact that operations at Karowé have continued throughout the crisis and production was in line with guidance. In the same period last year, the company achieved a net income of $7.4 million, while cash flow dropped to $2.4 million, compared to $10.6 million in Q1 2019.
Four years ago, I wrote an article on The Diamond Loupe entitled: “Greetings from Underworld – Baselworld 2016 meets (modest) expectations”, a title that left little to the imagination.
The organizer of the BaselWorld show, the MCH Group, has announced they are cancelling the 2021 edition of the show - slated for end of January beginning of February next year after negotiating an "amicable settlement" with some of the major brands who recently announced their departure from the show.
The Antwerp diamond trade came to a nearly complete standstill as a result of the measures announced by the Belgian Government to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled to reopen next Monday, May 4, and industry organizations the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses (FBDB) are taking measures to ensure it can do so safely.
Times of India reports that a 700 million US$ shipment of loose diamonds, destined for Hong Kong, is stuck at the Bharat Diamond Bourse, despite efforts to persuade government to allow the Bourse to resume activities with minimal workforce. According to a spokesperson for the Gem and Jewellery Promotion Council (GJEPC), the diamond industry in India, already heavily impacted by lockdown measures, could suffer even more because of exports being blocked; "if business would shift to China and Thailand ... it would be a permanent loss".
Alrosa announced today it will temporarily put its Aikhal underground mine and Zarya open pit operation in care and maintenance starting May 15 in response to the decreased demand and sales of diamonds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Aikhal underground mine is scheduled to reopen at the end of September, while the Zarya mine will remain closed to the end of the year, with regular reassessment of market conditions. Combined, the two operations produced 2.6m carats last year.
By Isi Morsel, C.E.O. Dali Diamond Co.
The diamond industry, from mine to retail, is facing new challenges that are rocking it to its core. Retail stores around the world are closed and that reverberated up the diamond pipeline, bringing wholesaling activity, jewelry manufacturing, diamond polishing, and diamond mining to a complete standstill.
"Can't an overflowing river upstream, cause a lot of damage, from the midstream all the way up to the delta? As the crops along the overflown river's path would be washed out, wouldn't this cause a lot of famine, for an unwanted period of time? Shouldn't the flow be controlled before such a scenario happens? Sometimes, man-made dams are necessary, with some pains in the near future, but fertile and fruitful in the long run..."
Shashin Choksi, midstream trader, responding in a Telegram industry group channel to the message from De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver, "A River Runs Through", in which Cleaver indirectly appeals to the (Indian) industry to not impose an import ban on rough diamonds; "When this crisis ultimately recedes, as it will, if the upstream is intact but there is no functioning downstream, or a midstream but a significantly depleted source upstream, then we have no functioning river system at all. While all companies, including ours, are taking rapid action to brace for the crisis, that action must be responsible and sustainable and recognise that just as the challenge is a shared one, so, too, must be the solutions."
The value of Hong Kong's total exports of goods during the first quarter of 2020 declined by 9.7% over the same period in 2019, with exports of jewelry ("miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewelry, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)") falling by $10.5 billion or -20.4%, according to the government's Census and Statistics Department. In March alone, year-on-year the jewelry category declined by $3.7 billion or -20.8% compared to a 5.8% decline in the value of total exports of goods decreased from the special administrative region.
Revenue from India’s diamond polishing industry is set to plunge to its lowest level in a decade as COVID-19 measures in the U.S. and Europe (Belgium) has hindered sales and caused prices to fall, reports an India credit-rating agency. The agency projects sales in fiscal 2021 (April 2t020 - March 2021) to drop to the lowest level in a decade, $13-15 billion, which is 21%-32% lower than the estimated ~$19 billion in fiscal 2020 revenues and 38%-46% lower than the $24 billion earned in fiscal 2019.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa has suspended operations of its diamond polishing plants until the end of summer due to falling demand, CEO Sergei Ivanov said in an interview to RCB television channel broadcast on Wednesday. The miner also announced today (April 30) it is granting its rough diamond clients "maximum flexibility" for the May trading session and has not set an "obligatory buyout limit", adding that "deferred goods will be offered during future sales periods. Clients interested in purchasing rough are free to request and get the goods they need.”
Star Diamond Corporation recently announced that Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC) has commenced the processing of bulk samples from RTEC's trench cutter program at the Orion South Diamond Project in Saskatchewan, Canada. These bulk samples, estimated by RTEC to be approximately 8,271 wet tonnes, were collected in 2019 and are stored on-site in approximately 6,848 cubic metre bulk bags.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre continues its AWDC Webinar Series tomorrow, April 29 from 15:00-16:00 with a presentation on the "Rough Market: a Q&A with Paul Zimnisky."
Daniel Langer, consultant for some of the world's leading luxury brands, in an article in Jing Daily says that despite our intuition - people spend and will spend less on luxury in and after a crisis - the luxury segment is more resilient than others.
Auction house Sotheby's says that despite the corona virus pandemic, their online auctions have been a tremendous success with over 90% of the lots on offer sold and over 60% of them selling at prices that exceeded estimate prices, totaling US$6.1 milion. Catharine Becket, "magnificent jewels" expert at the auction house commented to Bloomberg that wealthy people are "leading dreary lives" quarantined at home, and buying an exclusive, bespoke or prestigious piece offers them joy and hope for when things return to the new normal.
Gem Diamonds has been granted permission by the government of Lesotho to reopen its Letšeng Mine following the three week lockdown, with effect from Monday 27 April. The country will remain on lockdown for more than another week, until May 5. The miner said it is taking all of the necessary precautions to protect its people. The mine is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho at an elevation of 3,100 m (10,000 ft). It is the world's highest diamond mine.
De Beers has announced that their first quarter 2020 rough diamond production was in line with Q1 2019 and Q4 2020 output, ending at 7.8 million carats. The miner noted a limited impact from the COVID-19 measures introduced at the end of the quarter in producer countries. Nonetheless, De Beers has revised its production guidance downward by over 20% to 25-27 million carats (previously 32-34 million carats), citing the impact of COVID-19 on mining operations, wholesale trading activity and consumer traffic in key consumer markets.
All this upheaval does make it a good time to rethink the storytelling behind diamonds, though. Coordinated marketing, once the industry’s go-to solution, will need to make a comeback as consumers emerge from the wreckage of coronavirus. ... While the likes of De Beers and Alrosa PJSC may be reluctant to sponsor cash-strapped smaller rivals, it would be money well spent. Nearly seven decades after Marilyn Monroe’s immortal song, it's time for a new myth.
Clara Ferreira Marques - Bloomberg
In a press statement, Dominion Diamonds, operating the Ekati Diamond in the Northwest Territories has announced it has filed for insolvency protection under the Canadian Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") granting the company protection from creditors. Dominion is said to have received and is considering a proposal from an affiliate of its current equity owner, The Washington Companies, to provide financing to pilot the company through the CCAA process.
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following a robust month of trade in January - and into February for the rough trade - turned out to be short-lived, as the explosive spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus first closed the Eastern markets and gradually made its impact felt across the global diamond industry.
In a letter signed by GJEPC Chairman Agrawal, President of the Bharat Diamond Bourse Anoop Mehta and Marendra V Gandhi, President of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, the industry organizations are calling on their members to implement a cessation of rough diamond imports for the duration of one month, starting May 15.
Mountain Province Diamonds has announced improved production and sales results for the first quarter of 2020, though their sales are currently on hold. In Q1 2020, Mountain Province sold 659,318 carats at an average value of $99 per carat (US$75 per carat) for total proceeds of $65.4 million (US$49.2 million) in comparison to 643,739 carats sold at an average value of $94 per carat (US$71 per carat) for total proceeds of $60.7 million (US$45.8 million) in Q1 2019.
The writing appears to be on the proverbial wall: the Indian diamond industry is careening toward a temporary ban on rough-diamond imports which, if implemented, will effectively bring rough diamond trading to a halt. How can manufacturers survive without rough, you may ask? If Chaim Even-Zohar’s calculations are correct, it is because they are sitting on $1.5-$2 billion of rough diamond inventory already, with another $5 billion in polished ready for sale. The question then becomes: why buy more?
Reed Exhibitions has announced that it will not be organizing its JCK Las Vegas and Luxury shows this year altogether. The organizer is planning to set up "a virtual event" this summer and will partner with the Jewelers International Show, Oct. 13–16 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre continues its AWDC Webinar Series this week Friday, April 24 from 12:30-14:00 with a presentation on the "Polished Market: a Q&A with Edahn Golan."
In this webinar, AWDC is having a chat with industry expert Edahn Golan on the current state of the market, what we have learned from previous crises concerning how to manage our business when we are in the midst of one, and advice on how to prepare to reboot your company after COVID-19 has subsided. Mr. Golan will be discussing questions such as
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded revenue of 10.6 billion euros (11.5 billion dollars) for the first quarter of 2020, down 15 percent compared to the same period in 2019 and down 17 percent on an organic basis. The group says that with these results, LVMH "has proven its ability to be resilient in an economic environment disrupted by a serious health crisis that has led to the closure of stores and manufacturing sites in most countries in recent weeks, as well as the suspension of international travel."
JCK reports that Ernest Blom, better known as Ernie is stepping down after serving eight years as President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. During an online meeting earlier today, the organization's Executive Committee chose Israel Diamond Exchange President Yoram Dvash as acting president. According to JCK, citing a letter, Blom says he (temporarily) cannot continue in his post for "personal reasons". JCK adds that Blom's diamond company is currently caught up in a legal battle with the Dubai Diamond Exchange, member bourse of the World Federation.
Firestone Diamonds has announced it would shutter its Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho likely for "at least" 12 months until the diamond market recovers. The suspension of operations at the mine necessitated by the South African Governmen's directive requiring a 21-day national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic only added to Firestone's troubles, but the pandemic is starting to take its toll right across southern Africa’s diamond mining sector.
For a few days now, rumor in the industry has it that the Indian diamond industry - or at least some members - want to impose a voluntary ban on rough imports into the country. The rumours aren’t confirmed by any official body, but some sources claim the voluntary ban would start one week after India lifts the strict lockdown measures - preliminary scheduled for May 3 - and would be instated for one month, others claim the ban would last as long as three months.
Stornoway Diamonds has decided not to resume activity at its Renard operation despite a provincial classification of mining as "essential operation". "The unprecedented global events we are experiencing have unfortunately led to the board of directors to take this difficult decision impacting our employees and a number of our valued stakeholders.", Stornoway CEO and President Patrick Godin commented.
Five major watch brands, Rolex, Patek Phiippe, Tudor, Chanel and Chopard today announced they will be leaving BaselWorld. The exit follows a letter by Rolex topman Hubert du Plessix pleading for a refund for the brands set to participate in the canceled 2020 edition. In a joint statement, the brands announced they plan to start a new show, which remains unnamed, scheduled for April 2021, in conjunction with the organizers of Watches & Wonders (FHH).
The Hermès flagship store in Guangzhou reportedly made $2.7 million on its reopening day, boosting hopes on increased consumers' luxury shopping once quarantine measures are lifted. Many hope that the so-called "revenge spending", with people purchasing luxury goods to treat themselves after being in isolation for weeks, signals the recovery of luxury spending, although some fear it could be no more but a "one-off" shopping spree.
The Government of India has decided to extend its nationwide lockdown until 3 May to slow down the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, but is inclined to allow some factories, including some diamond manufacturing units, to resume operations with restrictions.
Industry analyst Edahn Golan takes an in-depth look at the industry performance of the first quarter of 2020 which, needless to say, is dominated by the impact of the Corona virus pandemic. In his extensive analysis Golan discusses polished diamond price evolution, the state of the midstream in all major trading hubs, banking and evolutions upstream and regarding LGD (Lab Grown Diamonds).
Golan identifies a number of key take-aways for Q1:
Russian diamond mining major Alrosa went ahead with its March rough diamond sale despite the global pandemic virtually shutting down the industry, so the modest results they booked were anticipated. Alrosa sold $148.7 million in rough diamonds last month, representing a 57% decline from their February sale ($342.3 million) and a 60% decline from March of 2019 ($369.2 million). Rough sales for the first quarter fell by 11% to 881 million from $988 million a year ago.
Mid-tier miner Petra Diamonds has been keeping us up to date with regards to the impact on the company of the global COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately reporting that they experienced depressed and opportunistic bidding for its diamonds at its fifth sales cycle of FY 2020, particularly in the larger size and higher quality, greater value categories. Petra therefore chose to only sell a portion of its South African goods, representing approximately 75% by volume and 50% by value.
The Angolan government has announced it will extend the open tender, announced at the end of February, with another 45 days, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Oil initialised the public tender in search of five independent rough diamond valuers, who will be contracted to handle Angola’s entire rough production, totalling 9 million carats valued at $1.3 billion last year.