According to figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the rough diamond business in Antwerp is outperforming pre-pandemic levels of 2019 and it seems the polished business is on its way to recovery.
From January to September 2021, 69.5 million carat rough diamonds worth 7.8 billion USD were imported in Antwerp, a 31% rise in value compared to 2019 pre-pandemic figures. On the export side, AWDC’s figures show a 21% rise compared to 2019 with 79.1 million carat imported rough diamonds worth 8.2 billion USD.
This week, a delegation of NAMDIA representatives visited Antwerp and was welcomed by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. NAMDIA’s General Manager, Lelly Usiku and Company Secretary Marvel Tjombonde paid a visit to the pinnacle of Antwerp’s billion-dollar operations, the import and export authority Diamond Office, as well as AWDC’s in-house tender facility.
Angola's Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas (MIREMPET), Diamantino Azevedo, has announced it will organize its first International Diamond Conference (AIDC) in the recently inaugurated Saurimo Diamond Development Hub, where a wide variety of industry related activities, including local polishing factories are settling in.
iTraceiT, a new and independent technology and service provider, announced it has opened a pilot and will in the short term launch its traceability solution for the diamond and jewelry Industry. The Diamond Loupe spoke with Frederik Degryse, newly appointed CEO of the company.
September sales of Russian miner ALROSA net 298 million USD, including proceeds from rough diamonds sales of $289 million and polished diamond sales of $9 million, resulting in a total of $3,274 million diamond sales during the first nine months of 2021.
The Angolan Ministry of Mines, Minister Azevedo, has announced it has finally signed a deal with Rio Tinto, after months of negotiations, for the exploration of the 108 square km Chiri (kimberlite) diamond concession in the Lunda Norte region of the country. In the initial phase, Rio Tinto Angola has a 75% stake, Endiama a 25% stake, in addition to the establishment of a joint venture.
According to the Namibian, which reported on the accusations of continued underselling of Namibia's rough diamonds via Namdia to Dubai just two weeks ago, local, Namibian authorities last Wednesday blocked a Namdia shipment of rough diamonds worth US$10m.
Opsydia announced they can now place permanent identifiers in melee diamonds without affecting their surface polish. It’s an important advancement for volume manufactures to secure their supply chain and protect it from undisclosed synthetics.
Through this new technology, diamonds that are just 0.5 millimeters in diameter can have an alphanumeric sequence, coded shape or logo placed beneath their surface to create a physical link to a supply chain record or branded jewelry origin.
Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of diamonds, has informed its long-term clients on its sustainability as well as its traceability program, a nano, non-invasive 3D laser marking applied to the atomic structure of diamonds that can be scanned in under a minute using Alrosa’s in-house developed scanning technology.
Announcing its Q3 Antwerp sales results, Mountain Province Diamonds, operating as 49% partner with De Beers in the Gahcho Kué mine in the NWT (Canada) sees the strong prices of the first half of the year continue in Q3 with 1,028,327cts sold for a value of US$74.1m or avg US$72/ct. Year-to-date results amounting to 2,349,644ct or nearly US$170m in sales revenue.
As with all industries, the diamond industry keeps evolving. One such evolution is synthetic diamonds. Despite the similar appearances of synthetic and natural diamonds, these are essentially different products with a very different value proposition. Fortunately, there are many effective Diamond Verification Instruments (DVI) on the market. Enter the brand new ASSURE lab of University Antwerp (UAntwerp), where DVIs are rigorously tested to ensure that the industry has access to objective data when selecting the best devices for them.
Luxury Jeweler Chopard announced it is an official partner of the 25th James Bond film “No Time To Die”. Through the character of Paloma, played by Ana de Armas, the brand will showcase 3 sustainably crafted jewels from their Green Carpet Collection. This collection is the first entirely made from sustainably mined materials in the form of ethical Fairmined certified gold and diamonds from suppliers endorsed by the Responsible Jewellery Council.
HRD Antwerp recently discovered a fake inscription on a 1.50 carat, Type IIa polished diamond, which it received for grading.
Diamonds of this type are always investigated extensively at HRD Antwerp’s Research department to verify that the stone is a natural diamond without any color enhancements, the grading lab said. This closer examination showed the diamond had undergone HPHT color treatment, even though the stone was inscribed with a GIA laser inscription corresponding to a natural diamond grading report, which made no mention of any color treatments.
Grib Diamonds reported another excellent sale in Antwerp. The company sold about 550 carats with a revenue of approximately 45 million US dollars.
“Overall prices for Grib rose 5-7%, with particular strength seen in larger yellow diamonds and small goods below 3 gr. +2 carat gem white goods were notable for the decreases in the price of high single digits to low double digits”, according to Grib Diamonds.
Grib’s next auction is planned for mid-October.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is developing its first-ever standard for laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones. According to RJC, many of its members today are selling both natural and lab-grown products, which led to this decision.
Tiffany & C° is on a roll adding yet another hip face to the list of brand ambassadors. Barely 18 years old, British Emma Raducanu conquered all hearts winning the US Open Grand Slam in New York two weeks ago and was instantly propelled into stardom.
The World Diamond Council, the body representing the diamond industry from miners to retailers within the Kimberley Process (KP) today launched the implementation phase of the updated System of Warranties (SoW), an industry self-regulation system set up nearly two decades ago which requires buyers and sellers of diamonds to include a warranty statement on all invoices and memo’s.
US Ambassador to the European Union Stavros Lambrindis today announced on Twitter that the US will lift the travel ban to the US and will allow vaccinated and pre-flight tested EU citizens to travel to the country in early November. Travelers will have to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated as well as provide a recent (3 days) Covid-19 test with proof of negative results. Once arrived, contract tracing and wearing a face mask will be required but travelers will not need to quarantine.
This week, Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa announced that the first initial tests by local scientists and company experts on how kimberlite waste ore – what’s left of the super hard rock in which rough diamonds are found once the diamonds are recovered – can be used to absorb carbon dioxide, showed promising results, potentially even compensating the 997k tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by the entire company in a full year. The company aims to further reduce its footprint by shifting from fuel-powered to renewable energy throughout its operations.
According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, US jewelers can expect a very good holiday shopping season as they predict revenue from jewelry sales in the US between November 1 and December 24 will grow 59% compared to the same period last year. When they take the “75 days of Christmas” into account – from October 11 to December 24 – jewelry sales will climb 60% in comparison to 2020, they anticipate.
Lucapa Diamond and Petra Diamonds both released performance updates with record revenues. For Lucapa, revenue from Mothae (Lesotho, sold via Antwerp) and Lulo (Angola) was up nearly 300% to US$27m total in H1. Petra Diamonds 2021FY revenue, marketing its goods via Antwerp, was up 65% to US$402m, with the highest contribution from exceptional diamond sales in the history of the company.
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) released a new ad featuring actress Ana de Armas for the second time. The ad is the latest instalment in the “For Moments Like No Other” campaign.
According to the Namibian, allegations of irregularities at the state-owned Namdia and rough being sold below value to a select club in Dubai continue. The newspaper claims Govt officials at the ministry of mines haven been informed of the continued underpriced selling of rough diamonds to select companies, the article cites Dubai –based SBMH Group DMCC and Neil Haddock as main beneficiaries of the system.
Jing Daily reports that Mainland China has taken over Hong Kong’s position as the largest export market for the Swiss watch industry. Hard luxury sales more than halved in the past 5 years, to US$2.5bn, from US$ 5.7bn. After a turbulent few years with typhoons, enduring political unrest and the pandemic restrictions imposed on travel, Chinese shoppers are moving away from shopping in Hong Kong and luxury brands have responded to that trend quickly by expanding their online and offline presence to mainland China, especially to the tax-free hub in Hainan.
Meya Mining (Meya), owner of a large, 129 square km kimberlite-rich concession in the eastern region of Sierra Leone, has announced a financial and commercial partnership deal with Antwerp-based Samir Gems and Taché Company. In 2017, just 7 days after commissioning its plant, the miner recovered a 476 carat diamond called the Meya Prosperity.
Hennig Tenders has announced it will present for sale an exceptionally large selection of polished diamonds in all sizes, shapes, colours and qualities. Viewings will take place at the Hennig Tenders Antwerp office between Thursday 23rd September and Monday 4th October 2021 by appointment.
To book an appointment, contact Hennig Tenders at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 500 8050.
HB Antwerp has kicked off its Innovation Lab in Botswana, welcoming 30 graduates in the field of Engineering and Technology, with a special focus on creating diversity and gender parity in the diamond industry, engaging young women through a collaboration with pan-African incubator WomHub. HB Antwerp’s Botswana program intends to allow the participants to develop industry-specific knowledge but also helping them finetune their talents such as leadership and intrapreneurial skills.
US retailer Signet Jewelers reported its May, June & July sales more than doubled to $1.79 billion compared to the same period last year, says Rapaport. The company outperformed expectations in this second fiscal quarter, concluding their strategic changes more than paid off.
According to Rapaport, diamond prices were steady in August, which is traditionally a slower period for the diamond trade. Activity picking up at the Vegas shows, where jewelers signaled they need goods, reflected driving demand at the US market. Even though fewer exhibitors and visitors were able to make it to the JCK shows, due to COVID-19, those present did some good business.
As of September 1st, the Belgian government has eased travel restrictions for travelers who want to travel to Belgium, the ban on non-essential travel to Belgium no longer applies to travellers who, prior to arrival on the territory, hold a “vaccination certificate” including those issued in a country not belonging to the European Union and containing at least the following information in Dutch, French, German or English will be accepted:a vaccination certificate issued in a country not belonging to the European Union and containing at least the following information in Dutch, French, Germ
In the presence of the representatives of several diamond producing, trading and manufacturing hubs, including Belgian Ambassador Jozef Smets, Angolan President Lourenço last week officially opened the Saurimo Diamond Development hub, aimed at reinforcing development and employment in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Sul province. The large Diamond Hub site already hosts three diamond manufacturing plants and will be completed with other diamond related services and training centers, as well as banks, restaurants, shops, convention centers and residential areas.
De Beers has joined National Geographic to help with one of the biggest conservation challenges in Africa: preserving the source waters of the Okavango Delta and the lives they support. Surrounded by the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert, seasonal rains from Angola’s highlands supply the Okavango Delta each year, making them vital for its survival.
According to a survey, conducted by the Plumb Club, self-purchase is the most important jewelry purchase motivation amongst college-educated Americans between 25-60, reported InStoreMag. The survey provided vital information on the preferences and motivations of today’s jewelry buyers.
A few of the most important findings:
Botswana Diamonds PLC and Vast Resources PLC have announced a joint venture (Okwa Diamonds) has acquired – pending regulatory approval – Gem Diamonds’ mothballed Gaghoo diamond mine, a 10.8ha mining area in central Botswana, fo US$4m. James Campbell, MD at Botswana Diamonds commented: “Working with our joint venture partner VAST, we have completed thorough due diligence on Ghaghoo.
Russian miner Alrosa will be tendering a total of 10,836ct of goods, including fancy colors from August 25 to Sept 3 and auction from Sept 3 to Sept 23, including specials for a total of 2,140ct in Antwerp.
Tiffany & C° yesterday announced their new campaign, to be launched in print Sept 2 and campaign video and musical score on Sept 15, starring celebrity powercouple Beyoncé and Jay-Z - "The Carters", with the two as an iconic example of modern love.
As of October, De Beers' LGD brand Lightbox will be expanding its LGD offering with bigger varieties of its 800$/ct lab-grown diamonds and higher quality LGD for 1500$/ct, with a maximum size of 2ct. Up until now, Lightbox stuck to a linear 800$/ct, less quality colors and clarity - G-J, VS, very good cut, but in its "Finest" collection will now also offer D-F, VVS, excellent cut diamonds of 1ct for nearly double the price, 1500$/ct, setting another standardized price benchmark for higher quality LGD stones.
According to figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, for the second consecutive month, the rough business in Antwerp is outperforming prepandemic levels of 2019, as July’s rough imports, amounting to 8,1m cts, were up 174% in value and 141% in volume (ct) compared to July 2019. Rough exports also continue to soar, growing 153% to US$ 1.1bn and +120% compared to the same month in 2019 in volume to 10,3m cts.
According to Rough & Polished, quoting state news agency Angop, local authorities (SIC) have seized cash, equipment and nearly 2500 diamonds from "illegal buyers" in the country's Lunda Norte province, part of the ongoing clean-up of Angola's informal diamond mining industry "Operation Transparency". The targeted action, initiated in 2018, focuses on the towns of Xa-muteba, Cambulo, Lucapa and Cuango where an estimated 700 illegal mining sites operate.
Local police in Surat have arrested a man who used existing GIA certificates to sell diamonds of inferior quality than the original diamonds. The authorities seized a large sum of money, 24 GIA certificates, a number of diamonds and a laser inscribing machine, used to inscribe the GIA certificate numbers on the diamonds.
Idex News today posted an article industry insiders say is "fake news", about Dutch bank ABN AMRO leaving the diamond business. Sources at the bank told The Diamond Loupe that the alleged exit news, published by Idex is false and the bank is not closing its diamond financing. A transcript of ABN AMRO's conference call yesterday doesn't even mention the word diamond.
Rio Tinto’s final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender collection of rare pink, red, blue and violet diamonds is being showcased to connoiseurs, collectors and luxury jewellers in Antwerp, Belgium.
While to outsiders it may have seemed the closure of Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine marked the end of diamond mining in Australia, recent developments show signs of an unexpected revival. Earlier this year, Australian-based miner Lucapa, currently operating mines in Angola and Lesotho, acquired the Merlin mine, which hasn’t produced any diamonds since 2003. Lucapa hopes to restart the mine within two years.
According to Rapaport, Rio Tinto Diamonds, operating the Argyle mine in Australia, the mine that was closed in November last year, and the Diavik mine in Canada, made US$5m profit in the first 6 months of the year. The company recovered 3.1m ct from Diavik - up 2% - and sales, operated by the Antwerp division of Rio Tinto Diamonds, were up 13% to US$160m.
In its financial results update, released by De Beers, the company states revenue compared y-o-y more than doubled to US$2.9bn, from US$1.2bn at the height of the pandemic year 2020, EBITDA rose from a meager US$2m to US$610m, for a total of 19.2m cts (up from 8.5m cts in H1 2020.) . According to comments to JCK, the company attributes the positive results to remarkably strong recovery in the USA, outperforming China's rebound. De Beers average price per carat rose 13%, from US$119/ct (2020) to US$135/ct.
On Thursday 29th July in Antwerp, Grib Diamonds sold $65M of rough diamonds mainly from its wholly owned Russian Mine, as well as some smaller amounts of Angolan Goods. In total 650K carats were on offer and Grib saw continued high demand in its Spot Sale. The highlight of the sale was one Russian Origin 7ct Violet stone which sold for more than $100K per carat. This is the highest per carat stone ever sold by Grib in its 7 year history. Grib’s next Spot Viewings will start from the 10th September in Antwerp.
Petra Diamonds Limited today announced that it has recovered a 342.92 carat Type IIa white diamond of exceptional quality in terms of both its colour and clarity at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. The diamond is likely to be sold via the Company’s upcoming tender during September 2021. The news comes just days after Petra Diamonds released its latest market update, indicating revenue for FY 2021 jumped 38% to US$406.9m, driven by the sales of exceptional stones such as the 39.34ct rare blue diamond that fetched over US$40m just weeks ago.
Alrosa today announced that it remains committed to maintaining a healthy balance in the market, as the industry encounters rough supply shortages and demand continues to thrive. The company purchases 70% of the diamonds that were auctioned by the Russian State Fund for Precious Metals and Stones (Gokhran), organized to contribute to market balance. Alrosa gave a welcome opportunity to its Alrosa Alliance customers to purchase the Gokhran diamonds they needed, alleviating the pressure caused by shortages in their manufacturing cycles.
In an extensive article, The Guardian weighs the arguments of many LGD producers who claim the diamonds they produce in a factory are a more ethical alternative, pointing to the devastating effect a complete shift away from mined diamonds would have on entire communities whose livelihoods depend on the diamond industry. Quoting Cristina Villegas from NGO Pact, "framing it as an ethical decision, while in my opinion it is actually the complete opposite", the article states that walking away from mined diamonds will hurt exactly the same communities consumers are concerned about.
Swiss luxury group Richemont, owner of the Buccellati, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry brands, recorded a 129% increase in sales in the three months ending on June 30. The outstanding performance was led by the Jewellery Maisons and Specialist Watchmakers, with a growth of 142%, to €2.52 billion (US$2.97 billion) and 143%, to €849 million (US$1 billion), respectively.
Diamond imports in China have registered a hefty bounce in the first half of the year, after the gloomy market situation in the first half of 2020, followed by the recovery period in the second half. The sudden increase in trading indicates China’s diamond market is walking out of the haze of the pandemic and returning to a growth track. According to the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE), From January thru June, the diamond transactions in SDE reached US$3.821 billion, an 86.39% increase over the same period in 2019.
Figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) on the trade in Antwerp in the first six months of the year demonstrate the city is back on track of the pre-pandemic upturn seen in the first few months of 2020, outperforming 2019 figures on rough trade with double digit growth.
Operations have resumed at Alrosa's Zarnitsa open-pit mine, which the Russian miner had suspended since May 2020 amid the challenging market environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, when the demand for rough diamonds had stabilized, ALROSA decided to recommence mining at the deposit from 1 July.
Lucara announced the recovery of a 62.7-carat fancy pink diamond from the Karowe Diamond Mine located in Botswana. The diamond entitled “Boitumelo” meaning Joy, is a high-quality, fancy pink, Type IIa gem. In addition, a 2.21-carat fancy pink diamond of similar quality was recovered during the same production period, along with two pink gems of similar color and purity weighing 11.17 and 5.05 carats respectively. The 62.7-carat diamond represents the largest fancy pink gem recovered in Botswana and one of the largest rough pink diamonds on record.
On the occasion of the launch of their latest Progress Report, Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) released its ‘Create Beautiful’ video, to showcase and encourage sustainability action throughout the supply chain. The video features CEOs from some of the leading names in the jewellery and watch industry, as well as special interest groups.
Petra's has announced the sale of the exceptional TypeIIb blue 39.34ct, which was recovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa earlier this year, and started its viewing tour in Antwerp to a partnership between De Beers and Diacore, for a whopping US$40.180.180 or over US$1m per carat.
In Sotheby's single-lot live auction in Hong Kong, the pear-shaped, 101.38-carat, D-color diamond known as "The Key 10138" sold for US$12.3 million. The sale marks an industry-wide breakthrough, making the price achieved for this diamond the highest for any jewelry or gemstone purchased with cryptocurrency. The buyer was a private collector.
Lucapa diamond company announced a strong first half of 2021 in its Q2 results. Both Lulo (Angola) and Mothae (Lesotho) processed record Q2 volumes and record half-year revenues.
Lulo continued exceptional large stone recoveries, including three +100 carat founds, and its single largest sale ever of A$28.3 million, representing an average price of US$34,548/carat, led to record revenues for the first half-year of 2021. Mothae also noted exceptional large stone recoveries and regular sales also led to record revenues for the first half of 2021.
In May and June, ALROSA held auctions in Antwerp, Dubai and Ramat Gan, selling over 400 lots weighing almost 6,600 carats. The total revenue equaled US$32.4 million.
Under Russian law, ALROSA sells special-size diamonds at international auctions only. These auctions allowed clients to purchase goods they need despite international travel restrictions.
ALROSA introduced its revolutionary diamond-tracing technology using non-invasive laser markings. Unlike traditional laser engraving, these inscriptions could not be destroyed or polished off. The markings are made inside the crystal lattice, across the atomic structure of the entire diamond, making it invisible without a scanner. These diamonds can, and have, been certified by the GIA. The purpose of these markings would be to distinguish ALROSA diamonds from others, including lab-grown.