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.
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.
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 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
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.
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:
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.
In an elaborate report, availabe in full via Idex Online here, industry veterans and experts Chaim Even-Zohar and Pranay Narvekar dissect the 2019 and 2020 pipeline with surgical precision. A few key take-aways from the report:
In his latest blog, industry analyst Edahn Golan isn't sugarcoating the message, the diamond industry is suffering as the pandemic is exacerbating the long-term downward trend of polished wholesale prices as well as the steep decline in jewelry share of wallet.
In an extensive report, Rapaport spoke to a number of jewelers across the US, gauging how businesses are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although circumstances were different throughout the US, with states deciding independently on how strict they applied lockdown measures, the majority of retailers came up with ways to adapt, through appointments, curbside pickups or even home deliveries. The impact of the global pandemic is hitting jewelry retail sales, but many jewelers seem optimistic.
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.
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."
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."
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?
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:
“We assumed that it would take two to three months to recover, I think in three or four months, we will be back to normal. The present data is better than we expected.”
Kent Wong - managing director of Chow Tai Fook elaborates in an interview with JCK News Director Rob Bates on how China's largest jeweler re-emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, providing valuable lessons for the rest of the world on consumer trends and how companies can manage during and after the pandemic subsides.
By Russell Shor. Reprinted by special arrangement.
Forty years ago diamonds and gemstones were rocketing in price on a boom the likes of which no one had ever seen before. $50,000 for a one-carat D flawless! I was a newbie back then and dealers were telling me that price was cheap. $100,000? $200,000? per-carat. That was more like it, they said.
In their latest report Bain & C° takes a deeper look into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the luxury segment. A few key take-aways;
In his most recent post, industry analyst Edahn Golan takes a look at history and points to a series of disastrous events in the past decades and, more importantly, how despite the fact all of them had major effects on the diamond industry in the short-term, in the long run, the industry managed to recover and even grow.
Independent diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky examines the growing acceptance of synthetic diamonds from a known but rarely-discussed angle: synthetic diamonds deliver higher profit margins to retailers than natural diamonds.
Luanda Leaks, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, exposes two decades of unscrupulous deals that made Isabel dos Santos Africa’s wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the poorest countries on Earth. Ms.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Bain & Company have released their ninth annual report on the global diamond industry: Strong Origins: Current Perspectives on the Diamond Industry.
In his latest editorial, JCK editor-in-chief and industry expert Rob Bates makes a case for a ceasefire between the natural diamond industry and the lab-grown sector.
In recent months the mudslinging back and forth between the two "intimately connected sectors" has reached new heights, which Bates believes will be negative in the long run for the entire industry, natural and LGD alike.
In its latest report, Canada-based NGO IMPACT claims India has become the world’s hotspot for conflict gold originating from Africa and South America. According to IMPACT, the country imports roughly a 1,000 tonnes of gold per year, 25% more than the official figures state.
In their research, IMPACT says it has revealed how illicit gold, potentially linked to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption, is smuggled into India – one third of the world’s gold passes through the country – primarily via the United Arab Emirates.
Stornoway Diamond Corp. is a Canadian diamond exploration and producing company that developed the Renard mine over the course of two decades from a grassroots exploration project to a world-class diamond mine - the first in Québec. The massive project, built for $774 million - under their budget of $811 million - sparked enthusiasm across the diamond industry, which has seen few new mines open in recent years. Stornoway delivered the first ore to the processing plant in July 2016 and achieved full production in the summer of 2017.
It is no secret that since De Beers stopped shouldering the promotional burden for the diamond industry more than a decade ago, investment in category marketing has steadily declined. The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) was created a couple of years ago, but by their own admission their efforts alone are not enough, and more funds are needed.
Over the past two weeks, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp welcomed 22 students from 10 different countries and 3 continents to the third edition of its summer school program, “From Mine to Finger: A deep dive in the world of diamonds” As AWDC CEO Ari Epstein explained regarding the motivation behind the summer university, “If we do not reach out to the younger generation, we run the risk of losing those very qualities that set Antwerp apart: forward-thinking, innovation and creativity.
Signet Jewelers Limited claims to be the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry and is clearly the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US, UK and Canada. It operates over 3,300 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and JamesAllen.com. Just over a year ago the company was among the S&P 500, but its share price and market cap have fallen hard.
An annual tradition, industry veterans Chaim Even-Zohar and Pranay Narvekar present the 2018 iteration of The Tacy Diamond Pipeline, with an in-depth look at the impact that the rise and acceptance of laboratory-grown diamonds has had on the industry this past year.
Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky is one of the greatest diamond cutters of all time. His many accomplishments include the fashioning of the priceless, 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond, cut from a 599.19-carat rough stone, which is still the largest D Flawless diamond in history, and the Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world at 546 carats. Sir Tolkowsky - known as Gabi - is also renowned for creating the “Flower Cuts” for De Beers, which accentuate the brilliance of typically lower-quality and lower-color stones with their unconventional angles and facets.
The issue of terminology concerning laboratory-grown diamonds has in recent years been a subject of significant debate, deliberation, conflicting guidelines and warnings issued.
The Kimberley Process (KP) is set to adopt a draft resolution that opens up the potential to expand its mandate beyond the narrow confines of eliminating 'conflict diamonds' as currently defined. The draft resolution is entitled "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict: breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts," which it will include in the provisional agenda of its next session, committing the KP to discuss a report on the implementation of the Kimberley Process.
Multiple forces seem to be conspiring against the diamond industry these days, and if mining stocks are any indication, the wider market takes a pessimistic view of its prospects. But as independent analyst Paul Zimnisky explains in his latest analysis, "Don’t Give Up on the Diamond Industry Just Yet", to take this attitude as a foregone conclusion is to underestimate the resilience of the industry as a whole and overlook not only the enduring intangible value of diamonds, but also the impact of what may well become their much more tangible rarity.
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.
CEO of Australia’s Lucapa Diamond Company, Stephen Wetherall, paid a visit to Antwerp recently, where The Diamond Loupe caught up with him. We encountered an optimistic CEO that is clearly excited about the future of Lucapa, and justifiably so. The growing miner operates, together with its partners in Angola, the highest-value and most promising alluvial diamond project in the world - the Lulo Diamond Project.
Industry consultant Ben Janowski takes an in-depth look at the developments that led De Beers to enter into the laboratory-grown diamond jewelry sector, and what Lightbox may mean long-term for the mining giant. Published in full courtesy of Ben Janowski, who will be lecturing at the Antwerp Summer University program, "From Mine to Finger 2018: A deep dive into the world of diamonds."*
The second edition of CARAT+, ‘The World's Premier Diamond Event’, is ready to get underway on Sunday, May 6. Today the organization reported that pre-show registrations have climbed 50% compared to the 3,000 people that attended the first edition last year, with individuals from more than 51 countries having registered to attend.
Eira Thomas was recently appointed as the new CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp., replacing William Lamb, who oversaw the successful creation of the world-class Karowe mine in Botswana. Thomas brings more than 25 years’ experience in the mining industry to Lucara, including 16 years with Aber Diamond Corporation (now Dominion Diamond), where she played an integral role as a geologist at its initial discovery and ultimately became Director of the Board.
Nir Matalon, Managing Director of Malca-Amit Antwerp, an international logistics, security, customs and special operations firm for the luxury goods industry and international banks, and Director of Gem Lab Services Antwerp, which specializes in diamond and precious gem transport, is moving on after 21 years with the company. Matalon has been an integral part of the many transitions and expansion of the group's activities, as he explained in an exit interview.
Sergey Ivanov (37), the young CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the world’s largest diamond miner, ALROSA, was in Antwerp for the company’s annual meeting with its 56 long-term clients. ALROSA is a traditional company in a traditional business, and still evokes the reputation of a state-owned giant despite the partial privatization (currently 34%) of the company a few years ago.
London-based miner Gem Diamonds recently rocked the diamond world with the announcement of its latest remarkable recovery from the Letšeng mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho: a 910-carat, D color Type IIa diamond. It is the fifth-largest gem quality diamond ever recovered and is of the highest quality. The Diamond Loupe had the opportunity to sit down with Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick and Commercial Director Glenn Turner at the Gem Diamonds office in Antwerp. (see a photo of the diamond in annex below)
"In recent years the diamond industry has been battered by falling prices and the growing threat from synthetic, lab-grown stones", writes Jon Yeomans for The Telegraph. "But it is alert to the problems in its supply chain and the reputational threat these hold.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published a wide-ranging article comprised of quick diamond-industry stats and trends: "2018 Global Diamond Industry Primer". Here he lays out the current situation and developments as we bring the 2017 diamond year to a close, and identifies what to look out for in the year ahead.
Rapaport’s Sarah Jordan lists five common misconceptions about the diamond industry and lets industry experts explain the difference between myth and reality.
Myth: Customers are significantly at risk of buying a conflict diamond
Reality: The Kimberley Process alongside a multitude of legislation and self-regulation are a guarantee that 99.8% of diamonds are conflict-free.
In 2015, CAP Conseil, a sustainable development consultancy based in Belgium, presented the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) an idea for a fully ethical and traceable diamond jewelry project from small-scale origin. Two years later, the first MY FAIR DIAMOND collection has become a reality.
The Women’s Jewelry Association’s mission is to help women in the diamond, jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership and the provision of member services. Programs include grants, interactive workshops, mentorship programs and awards of excellence. The Diamond Loupe had the opportunity to sit down with Ayelet Lerner, one of the women involved with setting up the WJA chapter in Antwerp.
The Diamond Loupe: Tell us a little bit about yourself in the business.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an in-depth article charting the vicissitudes of rough diamond prices on a quarterly basis for the past 10 years - since the onset of the global financial crisis. We consider this a must-read for anyone seeking to gain insights into the diamond industry as a whole and rough supply-side dynamics in particular.
Innovation is the key to sustained success, even for a traditional industry such as the diamond trade. Successful innovation, however, starts with questioning what we do and why we are doing it.
The Kimberley Process has published its 2016 figures for the global diamond trade, covering rough diamond production and value, imports and exports, as well as KP Certificate counts. The most notable takeaway is that while overall the volume of rough diamond production in 2016 increased 5% to 134.1 million carats from 127.4 million carats, the value of that output slid 11% to $12.4 billion from $13.88 billion the previous year. From a trading standpoint (imports & exports), however, the KP reports a significant upturn following the 'crisis' year of 2015.
A new investigative report by Global Witness shows how smugglers are using social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to get diamonds linked to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) out of the country and into international markets. Representatives went undercover by creating a social media profile for a fictitious diamond buyer that claimed to be based in Antwerp but operates internationally. They managed to speak to several dealers who promised easy access to CAR’s diamonds.
Diamond expert, industrialist and industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado takes an incisive look at the value proposition of synthetic diamonds, taking their producers and marketers to task on their main selling points. Reprinted in full with the permission of the author.
Arriving at Antwerp’s splendid 19th century Central Station, with its marble staircases, iron and glass vaulted ceiling and gilded details, shoppers visiting Antwerp are filled with high expectations about the jewelry boutiques awaiting them in the world’s diamond capital. For years these expectations were quickly dashed, as consumers were confronted with myriad uninviting and less-than-reputable jewelry shops once they left the station. Where to turn?
This article is reprinted from Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics, courtesy of Paul Zimnisky.
Standard and Poor's has reiterated its negative outlook rating for Botswana as a result of, "The country's narrow economic base, which relies heavily on the diamond sector and is vulnerable to external shocks, despite efforts to diversify." Diamonds account for approximately 80% of Botswana’s total exports and about one-third of its gross domestic product, and "remains its main economic locomotive".
The De Beers Group made headlines last month when it announced the end of its joint venture with LVMH with the aquisition of their 50% share in De Beers Diamond Jewellers (DBDJ), a move that Chaim Even-Zohar characterizes as, "brilliant and long overdue." He writes, "With De Beers at the helm, the venture will get a realistic chance to succeed.
JCK's Rob Bates conducted an in-depth and personal interview with Cecilia Gardner, who recently stepped down after 18 years as president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to compliance with laws pertaining to the jewelry industry.