Archive

  • Election fever has been peaking the past few days in Antwerp. On June 17 and 18, voters from across the Antwerp diamond industry were able to cast their votes for their favorite candidates for the new Board of Directors of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). During these elections, it is the 6 directors representing the trade who are elected. Over 1309 votes where submitted, a record turnout according to the AWDC. In the meantime, the votes are counted and the winners of these important elections are known.

    The six candidates with the highest number of votes are:

  • According to the New York Post, jewellery retail giant Signet, started printing a buyer's warning on all of its Labgrown Diamond sales. The statement reads "Lab-created diamonds have the same optical, chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds. However, because lab-created diamonds can be produced in abundance, they are less expensive and make larger diamonds more affordable.

  • At the JCK Las Vegas Sustainability Summit, the Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030 (WJI 2030) launched the Nature Roadmap, a framework designed to guide the global watch and jewellery industry in addressing the biodiversity crisis. The roadmap outlines essential steps: Assess, Commit, Transform, and Disclose.

  • In a bold move to revive its heritage, De Beers announced it will cease producing lab-grown diamonds for jewelry, focusing instead on natural stones. This decision follows a tough year of declining sales and strategic uncertainties, as parent company Anglo American considers divestiture options.

    A Strategic Shift

  • In a surprising move, Botswana President Masisi yesterday left the country to join industry stakeholders at the 2024 JCK Las Vegas show. Botswana finds itself in the middle of a perfect storm of challenges: De Beers' parent company Anglo American recently became the target of potential take-over bids, which led to Anglo announcing plans to spin off its diamond business.

  • Gem Diamonds Limited, the company that owns 70% of the Letseng mine in Lesoto, announced today the discovery of a 212.49ct Type II White Diamond. This remarkable stone was brought to the surface on May 28 and it is the sixth diamond weighing more than 100 carats to be unearthed this year from that mine. 

     

  • Lucapa Diamond Company announced yesterday the recovery of a 195 carat diamond, discovered in the Lulo Alluvial Mine in Angola. It involves a type IIa diamond, which occurs only very rarely in nature. Special about this type of diamonds is the fact that they have no measurable nitrogen or boron impurities, making them the most chemically pure diamonds with the highest thermal conductivity that exists. Mostly these diamonds are colorless, but they can also be gray, light brown, light yellow or light pink.

  • Petra Diamonds, the diamond mining company with mines in South Africa and Tanzania, has signed a long-term power purchasing agreement with Etana Energy, South African energy supplier, to provide its South African operations at Cullinan and Finsch with renewable energy from Etana's existing and future wind and solar projects. Etana will supply between 36% and 72% of the estimated energy requirements starting from financial year 2026 onward, aimed at reducing Petra's GHG emissions well ahead of the 2030 target.

  • De Beers 4th sight cycle revenues totaled US$380m, a 21% drop from US$479m achieved in the 4th cycle of 2023 and -15% from sight n°3 this year, translating in a 17% decrease in revenues from sales (US$ 1.63bn this year vs US$1.97bn in 2023) year-to-date. The lower sales figures correspond with current market sentiment and add to the turbulence surrounding a potential sale of the diamond entity of Anglo American. 

    Photo credit: Anglo American Plc

  • In a statement issued by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella organization calls for the inclusion of one or more G7 verification points for rough diamonds, outside of the G7 and EU. Antwerp's representative body says it is fully aligned with the G7 and EU's ban on Russian diamonds through a solid but workable verification system, including the use of traceability solutions, which at the same time ensures the trade of non-sanctioned goods is not affected.

  • Antwerp mourns the loss of industry veteran Willy Rotti, former President of the Diamantclub of Antwerp and honorary President of the Belgian Federation of Diamond Bourses who passed away on May 22. The Rotti family, one of the founding families of the Diamantclub of Antwerp, is a well-known name in the industry and has been active in the diamond industry for over 120 years.

  • In a statement, Signet, one of the largest diamond retailers in the world and diamond miner De Beers announced they will be collaborating on a marketing project to boost demand for natural diamonds.

  • Are lab-grown diamonds, to the naked eye identical to and sharing identical chemical and physical properties with natural diamonds, but 40-50% less expensive, that sustainable as often claimed by its producers? 

  • The world of high-end jewelry auctions recently witnessed a dazzling display of opulence and prestige, with events in both Hong Kong and Geneva showcasing exceptional diamonds, gemstones, and exquisite craftsmanship.

  • Lucapa, the Australian listed miner with operations in Angola (Lulo) and Lesotho (Mothae) is looking to divest its 70% stake in the Mothae mine after a review of its asset portfolio by the recently restructured Lucapa board of directors.

  • Anglo American Plc is implementing strategic changes to unlock shareholder value and enhance returns. This includes exiting diamond, platinum, and coal mining operations, marking one of the most significant shake-ups in the company's 107-year history.

    Key to this plan is the demerger or sale of its De Beers diamond business, alongside separating its Anglo American Platinum unit and divesting coking coal mines in Australia. Additionally, spending on a fertilizer mine project in England will be scaled back.

  • De Beers has announced its LGD line Lightbox is lowering prices of its offering from the initial US$800/ct and US$1500/ct for high colors, and adds "batch grading" reports from GIA based on sample grading. New Lightbox pricing (up to -40% from previous pricing) is lower than most lab-grown retail prices, JCK reports.

     

    • I-J color, VS, very good cut: US$500/ct
    • G-H color, VS, very good cut: US$600/ct
    • D-E-F color, VS, excellent cut: US$900/ct

    Photo credit: Lightbox

     

  • Lucara Diamond in its Q1 2024 release reports total revenues of US$41.1m, slightly down y-o-y from US$42.8m. A total of 93,560ct were sold through its different sales channels, including through the renewed 10-year sales agreement with HB for specials (10.8ct+ rough diamonds) produced, with so-called "top-up payments" resulting in US$4.9m of the total revenues. In total 160 "specials" (5.1% of total cts) were recoverd in Q1, 3 of which larger than 100ct and one larger than 300ct.

  • Watches of Switzerland (UK based) has acquired Roberto Coin Inc. the US division of the Italian jeweller and 6th largest brand in the US by sales through 400 points of sale, for US$130m. The acquisition will allow the group to increase the volume of Roberto Coin jewelry in its own retail network as well as the exclusive right to expand the wholesale reach of Roberto Coin Inc., which will operate as a standalone company within the group. The acquisition demonstrates the increasing importance of branded jewelry in the global retail landscape, National Jeweler notes. 

  • The International Gemological Institute (IGI), introduces Light Performance Grading Reports showcasing round brilliant cut diamonds with exceptional optical qualities. Whit this easy accessible and science based report along with cutting guidelines, the company wants to empower diamond producers to get the best possible cutting results. This tool, developed by IGI researchers and based on ray-tracing software and slope proportions logic, is a response to an increasing interest in expanded performance analysis.

  • Reuters reports that in the EU's 14th Sanction Package proposal texts, currently being debated by EU members, clarification is given on so-called "grandfathered goods"; existing inventory of rough and polished diamonds that predate sanctions on Russian diamonds. The proposed text indicates that rough diamonds imported from Russia before January 1st 2024 and polished diamonds imported before March 1st (size 1ct up) and September 1st (0.50ct up) are not covered by the ban, addressing a concern that was raised by diamond industry stakeholders in the EU.

  • This year's MET Gala red carpet in Manhattan, the most prestigious and glamorous fashion event of the year, themed "The Garden of Time" was dripping in diamonds. The Natural Diamond Council (NDC)'s Only Natural Diamonds site lists an impressive overview of the world's rich and famous and what they wore on the annual fundraising gala, with some of the most lavish and exquisite diamond jewelry pieces taking center stage.

  • About 100 units in India's LGD growing and manufacturing industry have voted to observe a 15-day summer holiday starting May 15, hoping to control the rough and polished LGD supply and stopping the massive price drops seen in the LGD market. Traditionally, the (natural) diamond industry closes shop for a holiday period during Diwali.

  • According to Interfax, quoting Russia's Ministry of Finance Moiseyev, Alrosa will have to sell its stake in Angola's Catoca operation, as pressure from the West on the Angolans mounts to cut ties with Russian, sanctioned entities. According to Moiseyev negotiations to take over Alrosa's share, which originally stood at 41% of the mining operation, are ongoing with "friendly investors".

  • Burgundy Diamond Mines, reports strong results for Q1 2024 despite a subdued rough and polished market, with record revenues of US$117m for 1.32m cts sold (+65% in volume y-o-y). CEO Kim Truter cites Burgundy's consistent diamond quality and provenance assurances as key drivers for strong buyer interest. In Q1, Burgundy recovered 1.15m carats, including a 23.15ct fancy intense yellow. 

    Photo credit Burgundy Diamond Mines

  • The Financial Times reports on the developing story of the unsolicited bid of Australia-listed BHP on London-listed mining conglomerate Anglo American, which includes the diamond mining branch De Beers, naming potential suitors. BHP's bid was rejected earlier this week by Anglo's board but says it is safe to assume BHP might counter with an improved proposal, while other candidates may well offer a competing bid.

  • Lucapa, operating the Lulo mine in Angola and Mothae in Lesotho, reports Q1 results were down with revenues clocking at US$13.1m, down 28% y-o-y, and rough prices down 41%, from avg 1,350US$/ct to 798US$/ct. Lulo production focused on lower grade areas due to flooding, resulting in low grades in carats recovered, while Mothae production improved in terms of carats recovered but with a significantly lower frequency of exceptional, high value diamonds.

  • De Beers Group has moved its Auction business headquarters from Singapore to Botswana, aiming to boost operational efficiency. CEO Al Cook expressed confidence in the move's potential to drive cost efficiencies and elevate customer satisfaction.

  • In the the latest Monthly Sales Survey, conducted by Instore Magazine,  146 jewelers were asked to compare their March sales with those of the same month last year. While some businesses experienced significant gains, others faced challenges. Here's a breakdown of the key findings:

     

    Sales Performance Overview:

  • The words of Botswana's President Masisi during his opening address of AWDC's Facets conference in Gaborone last year, when he described Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGD) as "microwave diamonds" come to mind as news came that South Korean scientist claim to have produced a synthetic diamond in little over two hours, using a new method that omits the need to mimic the immense pressure needed to form a diamond artificially. LGD production processes to date still require a significant amount of time to produce a diamond.

  • Petra Diamonds recently made headlines with the sale of an exceptional US$8.2 million blue diamond, propelling its fifth tender of FY 2024 to new heights. Despite selling fewer carats, Petra achieved higher prices, with an average of US$136 per carat on sales of 362,000 carats, totaling US$49 million.

  • Gem Diamonds, who owns 70% of the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, has released its Q1 2024 Trading Update, which showcases robust operational and sales performances from January 1st to March 31st, 2024.

     

    Key Highlights from Q1: 

  • According to Reuters, Australian mining giant BHP is contemplating a potential takeover of London-listed Anglo American, parent company of De Beers, news that is confirmed by Anglo American in a statement saying the bid is being reviewed.

  • ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company announced that three exceptional diamonds achieved US$10.5 million at the first tender of Lulo diamonds for 2024.

  • India's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) reports the overal exports of polished diamonds in FY2024 dropped 25.23% to nearly US$16bn from US$22bn in the previous financial year. GJEPC cites a slowdown in the US market due to high interest rates and slower than anticipated post-covid market conditions in China. LGD exports decreased 13.79% to US$1.4bn compared to US$1.6bn a year earlier. 

    (photo Envato Elements)

  • Namibian Mining News reports that at Mining Indaba, Namdia has unveiled plans to invest a massive 3.4bn US$ over the next ten years, expanding its operations, including through social responsiblity actions in its "Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework" and renewing its focus on exploration, aligned with more accessible and up to date exploration licenses and mining rights information via an e-platform. Namibia, ramping up its activities in green energy rapidly, is a mineral-rich country with huge potential in critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths.

  • Petra Diamonds announced last week that Taifa Mining and Civils Limited, will be buying 50 per cent less one share of the Petra’s shareholding in Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL). Tiafa Mining has been serving as the long-term technical services contractor at the Williamson Mine for over 20 years in coordination with Petra but have now stepped up their role as an equity stakeholder in the project.

  • The Natural Diamond Council announced a major partnership with eight of the world’s most influential diamantaires. For the first time since the inception of the NDC (formerly the Diamond Producers Association), a collective agreement has been reached with a significant number of major businesses in the natural diamond value chain.

  • The world bids farewell to yet another giant in the diamond industry.

    At 84 years of age, Sir Gabriel ‘Gabi’ Tolkowsky ends a 6-decade long career and leaves behind him a legacy that has forever reshaped the art of diamond cutting and polishing.

  • At the most recent WDC board meeting held in London, longtime diamond industry advocate and former Senior VP of Corporate Affairs at De Beers Group Feriel Zerouki has been named the new President of the World Diamond Council (WDC). Zerouki previously served as Vice President of the WDC for three years, now replacing Edward Asscher for the role of President.