Diamond mining giant De Beers reports provisional sales of $505 million during the seventh cycle (September 3 - 7) ahead of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which gets underway this week. Rough sales were flat year-over-year ($507 million in 2017) and declined as anticipated from the $533 million sold in Cycle 6. Recognizing there has been excess supply of smaller and lower quality stones, with a major cutting center in Surat in India dealing with the continuing depreciation of the Indian rupee and low profit margins, De Beers exceptionally offered sightholders a deferral option on their contractual purchases due to a change to demand patterns, a spokesperson communicated to us. Sightholders always have the option to refuse goods, he emphasized, although people in the industry know that refusal is not welcomed and, if a sightholder does so repeatedly, it runs the risk of a downgrade or even loss of sightholder status.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, emphasized this very point: "De Beers Group provided Sightholders with the opportunity to re-phase the allocation of some smaller, lower value rough diamonds. Demand remains stable ahead of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair."