Petra Diamonds has successfully sold the 299ct Type IIa white rough diamond, recovered from the Cullinan mine in January this year, at its recent Antwerp tender, for US$40,701 per carat or US$12.18 million to Stargems.
French luxury group Kering, the parent company of Boucheron and Pomellato, has purchased a 5% stake in Vestiaire Collective, a pre-owned luxury e-commerce platform. With this latest move, the company is betting on the booming resale market to help woo younger and more environmentally conscious shoppers.
The investment is part of a 215m USD financing round announced on Monday which valued Vestiaire Collective at more than 1bn USD, the company said. Existing shareholders include Conde Nast and the French private equity firm Eurazeo.
Alrosa, the Russian diamond mining giant reports that despite a strong Q4 2020, with especially strong sales volumes of smaller diamonds, total revenue for the year fell 7% to US$3bn, output fell 22% to 30m cts and net profit dropped 49% to US$440m, a direct impact from lower sales, as the miner upheld maximum flexibility throughout the pandemic, to avoid stockpiling, as well as a weaker rouble.
Lucapa has announced it has recovered another large stone; a 114ct top white diamond, the 19th +100ct recovered at Lulo, and the third 100+ct rough from the MB46 block, close to the Canguige catchment and priority kimberlites. The frequency of the recovery of three large, high quality stones in barely 8 weeks underscores the potential of the Cacuilo valley and Canguige catchment area. Recently the 16km haul road from the Canguige catchment was finished and Lucapa says it will start bulk sampling the priority kimberlites as soon as the wet season is over.
To enhance the use of data and ensure customers create value from the rough they buy, De Beers wants to introduce a tracking program for the diamonds it supplies to sightholders. In its new supply contract the company will ask manufacturers to share the outcome of the polished yield, reports Rapaport News. This would allow the miner to verify that the rough sold to manufacturers had been polished by them, rather than sold to a third party. Additionally, it would enable source verification and market intelligence.
Following a nearly two-year-long legal battle, the UK courts have ruled that Nirav Modi, 49, who allegedly defrauded Indian state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) of $2 billion, will be extradited to India.
Earlier today a UK judge ruled that Modi can be extradited to India, dismissing arguments such as his mental health worsening during the pandemic and the conditions of an Indian prison. "I am satisfied that Nirav Modi's extradition to India is in compliance per human rights," District Judge Samuel Goozee said.
Belgian-based company Almax easyLab, a company specialized in producing super precise polished diamonds for high-tech scientific applications, is playing an instrumental role in the recent NASA mission to Mars. They have polished the natural diamond, sourced via Antwerp, the world’s leading diamond hub, that is used in a spectroscope, a device that enables the search of signs of life on Mars, on board of NASA’s Mars-Rover robot Perseverance.
GIA recently discovered a number of diamonds, submitted at GIA for an update on their grading report, for which the characteristics did not correspond with the grading of the certificate. All stones turned out to be either LGD or treated natural diamonds with a counterfeit laserinscription on the girdle, while the original certificates all belonged to natural, untreated diamonds.
Rapaport reports that prices at De Beers' latest sight were up significantly, 2-4% in the 1 to 2 carat sizes and even a steep 10% in the 5-10ct stones, the third consecutive price hike the miner implemented at its sights. While official results of this cycle have not yet been announced, insiders say sales have been thriving as much as they did at the December in January sights, when rough purchases were spurred by low inventory levels following the 2020 holiday season and continued demand in view of the Chinese New Year and Valentines Day.
In a release detailing its operational results for the COVID year 2020 and the last quarter of that year, Lucara clearly demonstrates its strengths, recording a strong performance despite the pandemic. Total revenue (regular tenders, Clara plus the HB and Louis Vuitton agreement) amounted to US$125.3m, compared to US$192.5m y-o-y, a remarkably strong performance considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong Q4, with revenue of US$42.4m at an avg US$402/ct marked a global recovery on the rough market, a trend which is continuing in 2021.
A lovely springtime sun is warming up the Antwerp diamond square mile, boosting temperatures from snowy below zero barely a week ago to a pleasant 15°Celcius. The weather is echoing the sentiment on the market and at Petra Diamonds, as both have emerged from tough times probably stronger than before.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year, Petra Diamonds was one of the first to shift gears as the world was paralyzed. The Johannesburg sales were put on hold and the miner started focusing its sales on Antwerp, where operations continued despite global lockdowns.
While most of the world went into lockdown in the spring of 2020, Dubai and Antwerp reopened for business in the summer. Both centers held viewings for goods as clients were unable to travel to remote locations such as - in the case of De Beers clients - Botswana.
The Namibian reports that Namdia's CEO and former Diamond Commissioner, Kennedy Hamutenya is facing a disciplinary hearing after investigations into irregularities at Namdia, which is mandated to sell a portion of Namibia mined diamonds (roughly US$150m) as agreed in the 10-year agreement between De Beers and the Namibian Government. According to one Board member, the investigation into the irregularities let to recommendations, one of which is "charging the CEO for a string of violations".
While the pandemic has led to a flurry of engagements, the $73 billion wedding industry has had a considerable shake-up. With wedding plans abruptly being upended, many couples have had to make some tough choices. According to an article published in The Washington Post, couples are considering having a smaller wedding now – with guests attending either in-person or virtually-, postponing to a later date or canceling the plans altogether.
Reprinted courtesy of Paul Zimnisky. Despite relatively stable consumer demand for diamonds in established markets like the U.S. and notable growth from newer markets like China, for the most of last decade the diamond industry has felt apathetic. This can in part be explained by an arguably oversupplied supply-chain, insufficient marketing efforts and a general pessimism towards the diamond business as a changing consumer economy challenges traditional industries.
Alrosa's January sales of rough (US$421m) and polished (US$9m) continue on the trend of Q4 2020 with record sales in December. The January figures were up 6% y-o-y, driven by strong demand in China and the US and lower inventory levels in the midstream. The Russian miner increased prices 6-7% in its latest cycle, but continues to allow buyers to defer purchases.
In conclusion of a months-long saga, Dominion Diamonds Mines has finalized the sale of the Ekati Diamond mine and associated assets to Arctic Canadian Diamond Company LTD, a new company formed and owned by DDJ Capital Management, Brigade Capital Management, LP and Western Asset Management Company, LLC, CBC Canada reports. Operations were fully resumed in January, after a restart in November last year, and all workers are expected to return to work later this month.
BlueRock Diamonds announced the sale of a 14.8-carat diamond, recovered in December 2020, for USD167,000 (USD11,300 per carat) in its first tender since the start of the pandemic. During the same tender, they sold an 8.7 carat diamond for USD37,000 (USD4,300 per carat).
The title of the 10th Global Diamond Report, a collaboration between leading consultancy agency Bain & Company and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) leaves little to the imagination on its content. The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, not just in terms of its scale and impact on the entire world, but also in its unpredictability. And that also applies to the diamond industry at large, because while the crisis didn't leave the industry unscathed, very few people would have predicted that it would rebound significantly at the finish line.
In his latest editorial piece, JCK News Director Rob Bates talks about an emerging trend in the LGD landscape, where some producers of the man-made stones are differentiating their product highlighting the grown diamonds haven't been treated to enhance their appearance. The vast majority of LGD diamonds have a brownish colour in their raw form and are treated and retouched through various processes, to make them whiter or cleaner, which often leaves a reddish or silvery tinge on the stone, one producer states.
In January De Beers’ rough diamond sales reached $650 million, the highest monthly total since 2018. This was in part due to manufacturers replenishing their stock following the holiday season. Despite the company's recent price increase in rough diamonds, revenue is up 18% y-o-y, and 44% above the $452 million it reported in December 2020.
In its latest trade update, Gem Diamonds, the mining company that operates the high value diamond Letšeng mine in Lesotho, presented a remarkably good report considering the impact of the pandemic on the global diamond industry.
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) launched their Official Partner Program for jewelry retailers across the United States who seek to enhance diamond desirability with consumers. The program is part of Natural Diamond Councils' third phase, where they intend to create deeper connections with retailers globally.
The New York Times writes about how luxury brands who are not typically identified with the high jewelry category are drawn to big and exclusive diamonds, as a path to be part of what is considered a growth segment. LVMH's Louis Vuitton, partnering with high-end miner Lucara and Belgium-based manufacturer HB Antwerp, the newspaper reports, aims to continue its legacy of creating bespoke pieces, with the 1,758ct enigmatic Sewelô, and the 549ct clear white Sethunya.
In his latest blog, industry analyst Edahn Golan dissects 2020 and comes to the conclusion
- December 2020 US jewelry sales knocked it out of the park and rose to US$13.74bn,
- total retail sales for 2020 were flat despite several months of complete lockdown at the peak of the pandemic, totaling US$62.68bn
- a rebound owed to strong consumer demand, retailers' (esp. independents) ability to adapt to restrictions and reach out to consumers, improved gross margins and higher average ticket prices (from US$596.25 to US$1,110.66)
Industry analyst Paul Zimnisky’s recent release of a full year of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index (more info on the index here) confirms earlier reports from recent sight and contract sales as well as tenders held in Antwerp in recent weeks such as Petra Diamonds, Mountain Province and Grib Diamonds, th
At it latest Antwerp tender at Bonas Group, Mountain Province reports prices for its Gahcho Kué goods went up 8% compared to the record high volume December sale, selling 241,827ct for a total of US$21.8 million or US$90 per carat. CEO Stuart Brown expressed to be positive about the future, looking forward to the February sale, which will feature the 157 Polaris, named after the North Star because of its star-like, glowing blue appearance when exposed to UV light.
2020 proved to be quite a challenge with regards to hosting in-person trade fairs, and although online alternatives accelerated the digital revolution within the industry, there is no doubt that in-person viewing and buying is still very much the norm.
Rough & Polished reports Angola's authorities have greenlighted the further exploration of the Luaxe concession, located roughly 20km from the Catoca mine, jointly operated by the Angolan governement and Russian miner Alrosa, consisting of one of the most promising deposits discovered in over a decade worldwide. Experts believe the concession has a potential reserve of 350m cts, and estimated annual production of 10m ct, which would effectively double the country's annual output and thus also generate significant aded value in terms of state revenue.
According to Zimbabwe Independent, Anjin Investments, has regained control of a diamond claim in Marange (Portal B), "in unclear circumstances", the news outlet claims in an extensive article. Anjin had to shut operations back in 2015 as the Mugabe administration forced the closure of seven mining companies and the subsequent merger of their assets into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Lucapa reports strong Q4 results at its Lulo operations in Angola (volume of carats mined was up 55%, grades were up 47%, amount of carats sold was down 48% (4,269ct) but prices were up 31% y-o-y.
Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz was found guilty of bribing Guinea officials close to former president Conte, to give him access to an iron-ore mine for a mere US$200m, now valued at US$5bnb, a Geneva judge ruled, sentencing Steinmetz to five years in jail and a US$56.6 million fine. The controversial Steinmetz has been the object of many accusations and investigations which he has managed to escape scot-free, until now. Steinmetz lawyers have already announced they will appeal the court's decision.
In the last quarter of 2020, the Natural Diamond Council surveyed 5,000 respondents to better understand the desirability, perceived value, and shopping habits of American Millennials (25 – 39 y/o) and Generation Z (18 – 24 y/o). Together they represent 38% of the adult population and 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. Within the next decade, their income is projected to rise by more than 70%.
In its first trading session of the new year, Alrosa is maintaining its flexible trading conditions for long-term clients, to support stability and long-term health of the industry. The flexibility allows clients to defer allocations and purchase diamonds aligned with real needs, viewings are remote through video-viewer or, under strict procedures, in Moscow.
Namakwa Diamonds has announced the discovery and upcoming sale of an exceptional Fancy Pink "Pink Dawn" diamond, 25.97ct, which was uncovered in October last year by Storm Mountain Diamonds at Namakwa's Lesotho KAO Mine. Viewings take place at Bonas Group's offices in Antwerp, during the first KAO sale of this year (KAO-2101), between January 25 and closing on February 4, 4PM CET via online highest bid tender (https://kaobids.com).
Opsydia, a UK-based diamond security innovator, announced its sub-surface laser technology can create nano-scale identifiers requiring a 100x microscope to be read. This breakthrough would make it possible for internally flawless natural diamonds to have a logo, serial number, or encrypted code placed beneath its surface without affecting its clarity grade.
Barely three weeks into the new year, Lucara reports another big find, a massive unbroken, 341ct top quality white rough, recovered in recent weeks from the South Lobe M/PK(S) unit, the 54th 200ct+ diamond the company has produced at its Karowe mine. Lucara recently obtained a renewed and expanded mining licence that enables the further development of the (underground) mine, through to 2026.
Signet's preliminary holiday sales results indicating the retailer's Path to Brilliance digital first transformation is paying off. JCK reports. E-sales increased 60.8% compared to the same period (Nov 9-Jan 2) y-o-y, while sales in physical stores dropped 4.1%.
Alrosa, the Russian mining giant, ended 2020 on a high note with total sales figures of US$521.6m, which, according to Rapaport, were the highest since March 2018, marking what deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev said was strong demand from the market.
According to Jing Daily, China is ready for lavish Chinese New Year Celebrations, after last year's festivities were cut short by the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, luxury brands are eager to take full advantage of the upbeat sentiment and expectations for strong sales of luxury items are high. The threat of a new wave of the pandemic hitting mainland China however remains.
In a first sale of Mothae goods this year, Lucapa's Mothae operation sold 4,676ct of rough for nearly US$5.6m, with a number of high value "specials" diamonds (10.8ct+), including the 101 D colour rough recovered at the end of 2020. The rough diamonds, achieving a record price of US$1,198/ct were prepared, analysed and sold in Antwerp to partners, in line with the new marketing agreement Lucapa and the Government of Lesotho made last year, to see Mothae benefit from the cutting and polishing of its precious resources.
Now that the acquisition of Tiffany & C° is complete, LVMH's Bernard Arnault is wasting no time, replacing a significant part of Tiffany's executive management with LVMH insiders. The luxury conglomerate has appointed Anthony Ledru as CEO, who stood at the helm of LVMH's Louis Vuitton up until recently, effective immediately and Arnault's own son, Alexandre as executive vice president, product and communications. Another high profile exec, Michael Burke, current chairman and ceo of Louis Vuitton will be chairing Tiffany's board of directors.
While it is clear COVID-19 had a major impact on what will be recorded in history as one of the most difficult years ever for the global diamond industry, one thing is certain, as far as diamond trade is concerned, Antwerp managed to keep the engines running in 2020, fueled by nearly 100 rough tenders that were held in the city in the past year.
Botswana's Minister of Mineral has approved the renewal and extension of Lucara's mining licence through to 2046, or another 25 years, "another important milestone for the underground expansion of Karowe", Lucara President and CEO Eira Thomas commented. Although the expansion, estimated cost US$514m, has experienced slight delays due to Covid-19 budget restrictions, the five year development period remains on track, with first ore expected to be processed in 2026.
Following a vote on Monday, members of the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) have decided to lift the ban that was instated in 2015, prohibiting the trade in LGD. According to BDB officials, companies will have to adhere to a set of rules to be able to trade LGD, such as the creation and registration of separate entities for those trading in both (natural) diamonds and LGD, implementation of separate inventories and processes etc. Earlier, India's GJEPC announced the addition of a LGD membership category, following requests of members.
In a press release, SODIAM, the state controlled diamond marketing arm of Angola has announced that together with special advisor and former Dubai frontman Peter Meeus, they will continue talks with five tender houses (Bonas, First Element, I-Hennig & C°, Koin International and Trans Atlantic Gem Sales) who responded to a request for proposal and expressed interest to set up operations in the Angolan Diamond Bourse (ADB), to be established in Luanda.
In its last auction of the year, Antwerp-based GRIB sold 100% of 450Kct, of Arkhangelsk, Russian and Angolan goods for a total of US$35m. GRIB commented "prices were exceedingly strong with 2CT goods showing increases in the high single digits and smaller goods increasing in the low single digits. Overall prices increased around 5%."
Today AWDC President Chaim Pluczenik and AWDC CEO, Ari Epstein, honored retiring ALROSA BELGIUM Managing Director, Sergey Panchekhin, who worked for the Russian miner for more than 20 years, and welcomed his successor, Akil Zubir to the Antwerp diamond community. Apart from leading the Belgian branch of ALROSA, Mr. Panchekhin, who started his career in diplomacy, took up several mandates, including setting up and managing ALROSA offices and operations in Angola.
Mining.com reports the troubled Dominion Diamonds has brokered a deal to sell its Ekati mine, not the 40% stake in the Diavik operation, both in the Canadian Northwest Territories to an entity controlled by DDJ Capital Management LLC and Brigate Capital Management LP, in exchange for the assumption of US$70m in debt.
HKTC announced today that due to continued restrictions on international travel, the organizers have decided to postpone the HK March shows, The HK International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (1-5 March) and HK International Jewellery Show (3-7 March) are rescheduled to 2-6 July 2021, at AsiaWorld-Expo.
Lucapa has recovered its 16th 100ct+ rough diamond at its Lulo operation in Angola, the 3rd to date this year, a 127ct gem-quality white, which was recovered from the leziria flood plain in mining block 24. The discovery, the first large stone for this particular block, supports the potential of the Lulo alluvial deposit, Stephen Wetherall, Lucapa's MD added in the release.
Lucapa Diamond Company announced the result of a partnership deal with Safdico, cutting and polishing the 46ct pink rough diamond recovered by the Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (SML). The exceptional rough stone was studied and polished in Antwerp and cut into a 15.2ct, Fancy Intense Orangy Pink heart-shaped diamond, alongside two pear-shaped diamonds of 3.3ct and 2.3ct diamonds.
Mining company De Beers has launched an ambitious vision to reach 12 milestone KPI's, three in each of four key area's - Thriving Communities, Ethical Practices, Protecting Nature and Equal Opportunities, to be achieved by 2030.
By 2030 De Beers wants to
In an elaborate update on the impact of COVID-19 on the global luxury industry, Bain & Company details how the luxury goods industry, has witnessed its sharpest drop in decades, estimated to reach recovery by 2022-2023.
Changing dynamics, such as little to no travel or tourism, changing spending patterns and beliefs and enduring restrictions are shaping the luxury industry of the future, which Bain believes is resilient enough to transform and redefine its purpose to remain relevant, especially towards new, young consumers.
A few key takeaways:
In the auction concluded on November 24, GRIB Diamonds, the Belgium based diamond trader, owned by AGD Diamonds, netted US$23 million for a total of 8,700ct of rough diamonds, significantly exceeding expected revenue, especially for white goods, including three type IIa stones of 199.43ct, 86.29ct and 50.32ct respectively, each sold for US$1m+.
While the pandemic brought about an unprecedented shock to the whole diamond value chain in 2020, in a way it may also have acted as a catharsis of sorts for an industry that has been struggling to regain footing in recent years, in part due to a misalignment of supply and demand.