Archive

  • Israel-based Tweezar is a startup company that is trying to disrupt the global diamond trade by means of a new diamond imaging device. The device takes a high-definition image of a diamond, and merchants can then use the Tweezar app on their smartphone, which has embedded optical character recognition (OCR) technology, allowing them to scan the diamond’s certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

  • IDEX Online reports that there was only minimal movement in polished diamond prices across the entire month of November, with no significant price fluctuations. "Despite the onset of the global holiday season, which should stimulate demand for diamonds, polished prices continued their decline in November on a month-on-month basis, with prices sliding 2.3% from their October price." IDEX further states that November 2015 prices are down 6.7% as compared to November 2014, which is the second largest drop after the February figures.

  • I don’t think it will take much marketing to see a lot of those [smaller] goods flow into consumers’ hands...Generic marketing has slowed down, so diamonds are not on the forefront of people’s minds anymore, and therefore they default into [buying] other things. It’s really [about] targeting those people that will be spending up to $1,000 on a piece of jewelry, where that money’s now flowing somewhere else. How do we bring that money back to buying diamonds?

  • "There are some that would claim that the key step to solving the current crisis in the diamond industry is to drastically reduce the price of rough diamonds, specifically by the main diamond producers," says diamantaire Ehud Laniado. "This erroneous belief reveals some widespread confusion about the diamond market.

  • In an interview with India's Business Standard, Gareth Mostyn says the past few quarters have been tough with demand growth slowing, the strength of the U.S. dollar hitting the market and many cutting and polishing centers facing a cash flow squeeze. However, the miner has responded by cutting production and increasing marketing stimulus. Inventory levels at cutting and polishing centers are high, but the firm sees a good opportunity for a pick-up in demand, without saying where from or why that should be the case.

  • Record-breaking sales of colored diamonds at auctions earlier this month and the discovery of a 1,111-carat stone in Botswana which grabbed worldwide attention contrast sharply with sharp declines in share prices of publicly traded firms dealing with everyday diamonds, the Financial Times reports.

  • Martin Rapaport is calling for the resignation of De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier, that he expects De Beers' second half rough diamond sales to be down by at least 60 percent and calls for De Beers to reduce rough prices by 30-50% to inject profits and liquidity into the trade. "Please note that we do not expect polished prices to decline due to a fall in rough diamond prices. Increased trade profits and liquidity will support polished diamond prices and expand demand as downstream distributors invest in marketing and sales."

  • Rough diamond prices are undoubtedly much too high and manufacturers are struggling to sell polished as buyers are unwilling to pay, writes Vinod Kuriyan. This is mainly due to diamond miners being concerned only with their bottom lines and has weakened and destabilized the diamond production pipeline. But calls for an immediate reduction of 30 and 50 percent in rough prices is "a hasty, unthought-out and counterproductive step. It will immediately result in huge losses for the diamond processing industry running into the billions of dollars.

  • Sarika Malhotra of Business Today takes an in-depth look at the highly depressed state of the Indian diamond manufacturing industry and analyzes what went wrong. If, as she writes, the global diamond trade does not seem to be collapsing, with global growth more or less stable after record sales in 2014, what landed India in crisis? The short answer is that manufacturers and banks alike greatly misjudged the market.

  • According to the polishedprices Market Report, traders reported a generally quiet week of trading, with volumes expected to remain low for most of the month due to the Diwali holidays in India, though the main price index opened 1.2% higher than the previous Monday. The overall index is currently 10.0% lower than this time last year, and has lost 6.3% since the start of 2015, but Fine and Commercial quality diamonds posted healthy increases last week across all benchmark size ranges.

  • Maxim Shkadov, CEO of Kristall Production Corp and President of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, tells Rough & Polished about his company’s performance and comments on the situation in the diamond market.

  • Will retailers respond to weakness in the market by reducing diamond prices to consumers? Jewelers in South Africa approached by the Mineweb site were keeping mum on whether they have benefited from lower prices and if so, whether they would pass those reductions onto consumers.

  • The United States imported 23 percent fewer polished diamonds in September from a year before. The $1.6 billion figure was the second-lowest so far this year. Diamond imports in volume terms dropped 19 percent to 923,229 carats, with an average price of $1,774 per carat. As for exports of polished diamonds, they dropped 17 percent to $1.5 billion.

  • Botswana’s trade deficit widened to nearly $160 million in August 2015 from $45 million in July due to low volumes of diamond exports. Trade data published by Statistics Botswana shows that while imports remained relatively flat, the deficit was driven by a 34-percent decline in exports to $280 million from $430 million. The plunge in the export figures was sparked by lower rough and polished diamond exports, which fell 35 percent to just over $220 million over the two-month period, Mmegi Online reported.

  • Despite the modest gains last week according to polishedprices, IDEX research shows that polished diamond prices dropped again in October, continuing a trend seen since August. Overall, prices were down 3.4% compared to September and exhibited a steady slide from the beginning of the month. On a year-over-year basis, 0.5-carat diamonds declined by 15.3%, while on a month-over-month basis they declined by a more moderate 2.9%.

  • In its Market News, polishedprices reports that last week saw steady gains in better quality larger sizes, helping to lift the overall index despite sharp falls in the smaller Fine quality ranges. Among the benchmark ranges, one carat Fine and Commercial saw the strongest gains over the prior week, rising 3.6% and 7.1% respectively. Fine and Commercial 0.5 carats also performed well, adding 3.7% and 1.5% in turn.

  • That's the question that Charles Wyndham asks as he looks at the actions of the producers and other elements of the diamond pipeline. However, his conclusion is not very optimistic: "So to answer the question of where are we going ... not very far just yet."

  • "A quick note before Sight 9 – it’s going to be small, but it will take place," writes Edahn Golan. "De Beers is adapting to the market, or as some may say, they are playing it by ear. The company is trying to meet the changing needs of its clients. Sadly, these changing needs seem mostly like detrition. According to one definition, detrition means a wearing away by friction. This seems to size up the current situation aptly.

  • After the longest quarterly drop in at least a decade, diamond prices are likely close to a bottom as the holiday buying season comes up, said Petra Diamonds' CEO Johan Dippenaar. “If this is not the floor in diamond pricing we are very close to it,” he told Bloomberg. “We are approaching the major selling period in our industry. While I’m not predicting a ravingly good year, it is a solid period. That should see the pipeline clear out.”

  • The overall polishedprices index recorded its lowest level since September 2010 and is now nearly 30% below the high of August 2011. The main polishedprices index opened down 1.3% from the previous Monday at 124.4 points. The overall index is currently 12.6% lower than this time last year, and has lost 8.9% since the start of 2015. The main weakness came from Fine and Commercial one carat diamonds, which failed to hold on to previous week’s gains, losing 6.4% and 5.7% respectively.

  • It seemed that the good times would never end, as Chinese diamond jewelry demand increased 16% a year from 2009 to 2014 and prices for rough stones gained more than 20% for three straight years from 2009 to 2011, writes Thomas Biesheuvel at Bloomberg. Chow Tai Fook and other Chinese retailers rode the wave and opened thousands of new stores, and they needed to stock them with gems. But the economy of China - the world's second largest diamond jewelry market after the U.S.

  • In his latest blog piece, JCK's Rob Bates talks about the decade-old controversy surrounding the Rapaport Raplist that pops every now and then. Despite the bickering and the fact much more data is generated and available today, the Raplist still is the number one source for diamond prices used by the industry.  Bates argues discussion about price lists are not exclusive to the diamond industry, taking oil prices as an example.

  • Charles Wyndham, founder of PolishedPrices.com, addresses De Beers' "dual and covert pricing mechanism", which can only lead to a further lack of confidence in the sight system and an imbalanced playing field among their clients - though it is likely to drive prices down. Wyndham writes the last sight was initially thought to be around $150 million, but quickly increased to more than $300 million. "It would appear that at least 50% of the goods sold at the Sight ... were to a very limited number of companies" that bought diamonds at steep discounts.

  • "Current rough prices unsustainable and unacceptable", is how Rapaport kicks off their weekly Market Comments, which comes as little surprise after it was announced this week that sightholders rejected roughly 50% of goods at De Beers' latest sight. "We believe rough prices need to fall at least another 20% to ensure profitability", Rapaport adds. Market Comments reports that trading has been quiet more or less across the board, but that U.S.

  • U.S. polished diamond imports were up 3.9 percent on the year to $1.62 billion in August, with the average price per carat for polished goods increasing by 5.3 percent to $1,861, according to Commerce Department data. Meanwhile, polished exports dropped 16 percent to $1.34 billion. For the January-August period, polished diamond imports edged up just 1 percent from a year before to $16 billion while polished exports dropped 12 percent to $12.9 billion.

  • Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani has warned investors at recent private meetings that the diversified miner may hack back its $1 billion-a-year dividend if raw material prices do not make a comeback in the coming months. Commodity prices have plunged due to the global slowdown, particularly the slowing Chinese economy. Although diamonds were a success story for Anglo American in 2014, De Beers has had to cut prices in the face of dropping demand from sightholders.

  • Most sizes of round diamonds saw price changes this week, particularly stones of 0.3 and 0.7 carats, with diamonds of 5 carats and larger being the only category to see price rises, IDEX Online reported in its weekly round-up of price changes. Meanwhile, fancy-shape diamond prices were positive overall, with price declines in just a few categories.

  • PolishedPrices (PP) called last week's trading "volatile", with commercial quality diamonds lifting the overall index. They write that the "main polishedprices index opened 3.3% up from the previous week on Monday at 130.4 points.

  • "It is difficult to see anything of substance happening till the middle of next year at the earliest, and indeed the balance of probabilities - especially when an industry has put itself at the mercy of buffoons like Rapaport, and given the stunning incompetence of its major producer to read its market, coupled to its mishandling of the current situation - is that there is more, if not much more, grief to come. Change it will and when it changes we will all be surprised, but it certainly is not going to change tomorrow…. to say the least."

  • Miners fell into the trap of believing their own propaganda that a long term shortage of supply would prop up diamond prices no matter what happened to the economy. I really believe that miners are so far removed from the end consumer and they make decisions based on statistical analysis without taking into account the opinions of their downstream partners. The fact is that all diamond sales stem from consumer demand and who knows more about the mood of the consumer than the retailers who work with them.

  • Polished diamond prices dropped further last month, with the sharp declines seen in financial markets worldwide during August not helping sentiment and slashing discretionary spending. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat laboratory-graded diamonds fell 0.9 percent, while for 0.30-carat diamonds there was a 1.7 percent drop, and RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds decreased by 1.9 percent. In bigger stones, RAPI for 3-carat diamonds dropped by 1.5 percent during the month.

  • With one of the world's biggest diamond and jewelry industry shows approaching, security consultant ISPS is stressing common sense steps to prevent goods being stolen at the event which is well known for thefts. Pointing out that thieves tend to act in the first few hours of a show, company CEO Itay Hendel said exhibitors should maintain awareness levels as criminals check this from outside the booth before entering. In addition, when unknown clients approach a booth, staff should raise their awareness in order not to be distracted.

  • Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan discusses the concessions that De Beers' has made to its sightholders, their efforts to correct the market and their planned marketing campaign, but the rough price reductions are bringing little relief. He also discusses financing with reference to ABN AMRO, marketing expectations and ALROSA's sales.

  • Having ended August touching lows not seen since 2010, polished prices recovered slightly at the start of the September, only to fade again by week's end. Polishedprices reports that the main index opened 0.1% up from the previous week on Monday at 126.2 points. The overall index is currently 11.5% lower than this time last year, and has lost 7.5% since the start of 2015. The main strength over the week came from Fine 1.0 carat diamonds, which added 4.2% compared to the prior week, and are still up 4.1% for the year.

  • More than 5,000 Surat polishers have lost their jobs since June and thousands more could be left without work, as Chinese consumers pull back from luxury purchases, leaving jeweler with stocks of unsold jewelry and gems, according to a Reuters report. Indian polishing firms say Chinese jewelers have defaulted on deals worth millions of dollars. Around 10 large diamond manufacturing firms in India's cutting and polishing center have closed down in recent months, with little respite in sight.

  • CNN reports that the stock market crash in China, the world's second largest diamond market accounting for 16% of global demand, is the final blow to an industry that was already in dire shape. Chinese consumers are expected to buy less diamonds, while demand in Russia and the Middle East is slow, due to a weak ruble and falling oil prices, causing the diamond pipeline to be clogged with inventory. Traders and manufacturers are struggling for survival, a situation RBC mining analyst Des Kilalea believes could last well into 2016.

  • With credit difficult to secure and tight liquidity, as well as bankruptcies in the Israeli diamond industry last week, the mood was somewhat subdued at the Israel Diamond Exchange's International Diamond Week which closes on September 3. Not surprisingly, cautious global market conditions created a sense of extreme of prudence, according to IDEX Online.

  • Polished diamond trading volume was low and, overall, gemstone prices held steady last month as a result of many diamond traders being on their annual vacation. Analyst Ken Gassman writes that the good news is that earlier price increases from June and July held firmly in August. Furthermore, polished diamond prices appear to have risen back to a longer term level, in line with the past two years.

  • There is cautious trading of polished goods due to recent financial turmoil, with cutters hoping for cheaper rough to enable a profitable fourth quarter holiday season however trading remains restrained, Rapaport reports. There is some concern that quality goods are becoming harder to replace due to the reduced manufacturing in recent months. Although dealers are returning to their office from summer breaks, they do not appear to be in a rush to trade.