Idex News today posted an article industry insiders say is "fake news", about Dutch bank ABN AMRO leaving the diamond business. Sources at the bank told The Diamond Loupe that the alleged exit news, published by Idex is false and the bank is not closing its diamond financing. A transcript of ABN AMRO's conference call yesterday doesn't even mention the word diamond.
Idex reported a 3.9% increase in polished diamond prices year-on-year, the biggest surge in over two years. Prices have consistently been on the ruse since the low point of April 2020, when the price was down by 4.8%. The March increase was more than double the February rise of 1.9 %.
Month-on-month prices recovered slightly, which are up by 0.2% in March, after a slight drop in February. This follows January's 1.4% leap, the biggest rise for at least three years.
November was down 0.2% and December was up slightly, at 0.3%.
According to three of the leading polished price indexes - Rapaport, IDEX and PolishedPrices - September polished diamond prices trended downward, though they steadied toward the end of the month. PolishedPrices pulled the alarm bell mid-month, with the headline, "Polished index falls to lowest level since December 2009", noting that "The overall index is 4.7% lower than this time last year and has lost 2.2% since the start of the year," before bouncing back the next week.
Based on preliminary data from the US Department of Commerce, IDEX reports that total sales of fine jewelry and watches in the US market rose by a solid 4.2% in March when compared to March 2015, leading to a 4.9% overall increase US sales of fine jewelry during the first quarter of 2016, rising to $16.8 billion compared to $16 billion a year ago. However, preliminary March sales for specialty jewelers only gained 3%.
Depending on which index one follows, polished diamond prices either rose (RapNet) or fell (IDEX) slightly in January. IDEX writes that, "Restocking following the holiday season failed to stimulate an increase in polished diamond prices in January," but "January’s very slight slide provides hope that a corner has been turned." Meanwhile, Rapaport writes that, "Polished diamond prices rose in January as shortages continue to support the market. U.S.
IDEX announcement: Major diamond and jewelry organizations, including the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Jewelers of America (JA), CIBJO (The World Jewellery Confederation), the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers of America (DMIA), the Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association (IDCA), the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the World Diamond Mark (WDM), have all announced an exclusive offer to their members to join the thousands of international traders already doing business on the IDEX trading platform.
Rapaport News reports that, "Polished diamond market sentiment improved in December as shortages supported prices and dealers filled last-minute holiday orders. Initial reports about U.S. holiday season jewelry sales are positive." They also note that uncertainty about post-Christmas demand in the US and Chinese New Year sales has resulted in limited dealer and retailer inventory buying. Most importantly - though perhaps too early to know if it is sustainable - polished prices finally saw an uptick in December.
Martin Rapaport says that according to their RAPI system, the price of polished diamonds rose in November. “This is the first time in six months that there has been an increase in the benchmark 1-carat RAPI index and 17 months since the last increase in 30 pointers. The worst may be over for declining polished prices," says Rapaport. The announcement states, "The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds rose 0.7% in November, its first increase in six months. RAPI for 0.30-carat diamonds advanced 3.3% and RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds grew 1.1%.
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%.
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.
As with last week, there was some price movement in rounds, especially in goods below 0.9 carats. While smaller goods tended to the negative, prices of diamonds above 0.9 carats were more positive. Meanwhile, prices of fancy-cut diamonds were generally more positive, with only a few isolated price drops. Most changes were in the medium clarity range and largely in medium and better colors.
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.
The prices of round diamonds fell again over the past week, especially in goods weighing 0.7 carats and less and larger items in lower colors. There was more positive news, however, regarding prices of fancy cut stones, particularly diamonds weighing 3 carats and less.
With the exception of 0.45-0.49 cts D/SI3-I2, all round cuts below 0.69 carats saw negative movement, particularly in the better colors and clarities. The medium range between 0.70 - 1.24 carats were largely positive, while larger goods had much less movement, with the exception of 5-carat stones and larger, which saw positive changes in the medium clarities and better colors. Prices of fancy-cut diamonds also changed more than in previous weeks. The changes were overwhelmingly positive, especially in the medium and better clarities.
In its weekly round-up of price changes, prices of round diamonds continue to decline, especially smaller sizes below 0.5 carats with higher colors and clarities. But fancy cut diamonds sized between 0.3-3.0 carats saw the most movement and were generally positive in the middle to better clarities.
The firm's index for polished diamond prices increased in July, but analyst Ken Gassman warns that "the single index figure does not tell the whole story. Prices were mixed, and trading was choppy." He said that prices were generally fairly solid for the second straight month.
"There was a wide variation in price trends by size of stone. Diamonds in the 0.5-carat range dropped significantly in price. Further, 4-carat stones also dropped in price. Stones ranging in size from 1 carat to 3 carats posted varying gains on a month-to-month basis."
Round diamond prices continue to drop, especially in the better colors and smaller sizes – below 0.7 carats. There was little movement either positive or negative for goods sized above 1 carat, with just a few isolated changes taking place. The situation was much more positive and stable when it came to prices of fancy cut diamonds this week. There were a few isolated price drops, with the majority of declines being seen in stones above 5 carats, especially in the lower clarities. The main changes in hard figures are available through the link.
There was relatively little price movement this week in rounds. The most movement was in goods sized between 5-5.99 carats. Prices dropped 1-3 percent for goods in the better colors and clarities, while items in the lower colors but better clarities saw prices increase by the same amount. Smaller and larger fancy-cut diamonds experienced very little price movement, with most increases taking place in stones from 0.5-2.99 carats. Click through to the article to see some of the main changes in this week's IDEX Online Diamond Price Report.
In his latest blog on Idex Online, Ken Gassman argues that in spite of numerous analysts that say Millennials are the prospects for the future, jewelers in the US should focus on high-income households. According to Gassman's research, Millennials might look good on paper, but their jewelry spending is the same as other generations of American consumers, and when engagement rings are pulled out of the equation - generally high-dollar but low-profit items - Millennials' jewelry spending is even below average.
There was some price movement this week, with smaller stones showing negative changes. Diamonds sized between 1.5-3 carats had the most changes, especially in the lower colors and better clarities, with prices increasing up to 4 percent. Smaller and larger fancy-cut diamonds experienced very little price movement, with most increases taking place in stones above 0.45 carats. Click through to the article for the price breakdown.
Once again, there were relatively few price changes in rounds this week compared to fancies. Most of the movement that occurred in the smaller sizes (below 0.3 carats) was negative and in the better clarities. Goods above 0.7 carats saw most changes in the lower colors and generally in the middle clarities. Prices of fancy cut diamonds had more motion with almost all of the changes trending to the positive. Some of the main changes in this week's IDEX Online Diamond Price Report are listed in the attached article.
This week’s price changes were predominantly positive in round goods, apart from in rounds sized between 0.23-0.29 carats which saw prices decrease by 2-3%. Fancy-shape items saw more changes, however, especially those sized between 0.3 and 0.7 carats and in the better clarities.
Prices of rounds remained relatively stable this week, with many categories maintaining current levels, with most changes being in goods weighing 0.7 carats to 1.49 carats and in stones with lower colors.
Fancy-shape goods of 0.4 to 0.6 carats saw the most significant price increase, while smaller and larger goods saw few price changes.
After significant volatility during the third and fourth quarters of 2014 and early 2015, global polished diamond prices in May slipped, after climbing modestly higher in March and April. The IDEX Index of Global Polished Diamond Prices averaged 128.7 during May, down from April’s average of 131.1. The good news: May prices were well ahead of the year’s low of 123.7 in February. The IDEX Index is sales-weighted, so it reflects current market activity. Polished diamond prices were less volatile in May than in prior months.
As far as the latest grading scandal, well, show me an industry that doesn’t have its dark spots. While we still don’t know the exact story, we should be proud that this deception has been uncovered. In fact, why not turn it on its head and make some noise that the diamond industry is one that does not tolerate fraud, cheating or deceit. If jewelry sales are falling and diamond content in jewelry is dropping, maybe it’s a sign that instead of despairing, it’s time to change what has been done up until now. Maybe it’s a time to explore completely new types of products.
Trade in rounds continued to be sluggish this week with relatively few changes, although there was a little more postive movement than in previous weeks. Most of the moment was in the lower colors and clarities. Once again, there was more upward movement in the fancy cut diamonds with most of the changes taking place in sizes above 0.5 carats.
· 0.18-0.22 cts D / SI2-I2 up 4-5.5%
· 0.23-0.29 cts D / SI2 up 3% and J / VS2 down 3.5%
· 0.30-0.39 cts E-F / VVS1 down 3-4% and L / VS1+ up 3-4%
Idex reports there were very few changes seen in round prices over the past week. The few shifts that did take place tended towards the lower clarities once again. There were more changes – although these were also limited – in fancy cut diamonds, which saw mostly moderate price increases in the 0.45-to 2.00-carat goods.
0.18-0.22 cts D / VS1 down 3% and E / IF down 2%
0.23-0.29 cts no change
0.30-0.39 cts G-H / VS2-I2 up 2-2.5%
0.40-0.44 cts L / VS2 up 3%
0.45-0.49 cts D-G / SI3 down 3%
Idex reports there were few changes seen in round prices over the past seven days. The few changes that took place are mostly in the lower clarities.
There were more changes in fancy cut diamonds, which saw mostly moderate price increases in the 0.50- to 2.00-carat goods, in better colors and clarities.