The diamond industry has hit its halfway mark of 2019 and the song remains the same as Rapaport releases their H1 figures detailing across-the-board declines in polished diamond prices amid, as we noted last week, a period of weak sentiment and even weaker demand, all of which is taking its toll on manufacturers and those that supply them.
As announced last week, Rapaport's RapNet - the world’s largest diamond trading network - gave its members the opportunity to vote on whether it should provide diamond listing and pricing services for synthetic diamonds.
While more than 300 million voters go to the polls this week for the European Parliament elections, members of RapNet - the world’s largest diamond trading network - will have the opportunity to vote on whether it should provide diamond listing and pricing services for synthetic diamonds, yet ultimately the organization itself will decide.
Russian diamond manufacturer Kristall Smolensk has place its replica of the Great Imperial Crown of the Russian Empire on RapNet’s new jewelry platform for $15.5 million. In 2012, the Great Imperial Crown turned 250 years of age.
RapNet, a member of the Rapaport Group of Companies and the world’s largest diamond trading network, will be introducing jewelry into its global trading network, as announced yesterday in a press release. RapNet members can now upload jewelry images and data, perform detailed searches, and directly trade jewelry with each other without any fees or commissions. There are no additional fees to use this service.
Polished diamond prices in October gave back some of their gains for the year, as prices declined slightly ahead of India's Diwali festival, when polishing factories close for the month of November. This according to figures from Rapaport's RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI). Rapaport says inventory levels have risen but sentiment has not been dented as expectations for the US holiday season are positive.
Polished diamond prices have been rising steadily in the first half of 2018, according to analysis on the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™), and this trend continued in June. Having risen by 3.4% in H1 2018, the index for 1-carat diamonds climbed another 0.8% in June. According to the RAPI, 0.30 ct. stones have continued to rise more sharply than any other category, gaining 3.1% in June and 9.7% since January.
"Diamond prices softened slightly in October amid slow trading as businesses closed for Indian and Jewish holidays," according to Rapaport's latest press release. "Polished inventory levels dropped during the month, but remain higher than usual for this time of year, exerting downward pressure on prices." They note that the number of unique diamonds listed on RapNet has increased 18% since January to 1.4 million, as dealers are holding large volumes of hard-to-move goods and seeing shortages of select in-demand categories, such as RapSpec A3+, SI-clarity diamonds.
"Polished diamond prices softened in June after the JCK Las Vegas show demonstrated a cautious and changing US market," announces Rapaport News in a press release on polished prices in June. Their message confirms the trends noted in recent months: retailers reducing standard inventory, which is contributing to a build-up of older stock midstream, while consumers seeking lower price point jewelry.
Citing data from its RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI), Rapaport News writes, "Diamond manufacturing profits were squeezed in January amid strong rough demand while polished prices softened." Despite a disappointing holiday season, demand of rough is strong as jewelers will need to restock after the holiday season. This is demonstrated by De Beers' First Cycle sales of $720 million, its largest sight since July 2014.
According to diamond pricing giant Rapaport, "Diamond markets were steady in September. The polished market was supported by relatively high rough prices as suppliers held polished prices firm, preferring to delay sales rather than suffer losses from expensive rough." The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for one-carat, GIA-graded polished diamonds declined 0.2% in September. The index dropped 2.7% in the third quarter and is down 2% since the beginning of the year. Prices for three-carat stones also remained flat at -0.2% after declining 1.5% in the third quarter and 9.8% for the year.
Press Release: The De Beers Group of Companies today announced that polished diamonds with grading reports from its International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR) can now be listed on the RapNet polished diamond trading platform. Polished diamond traders will now be able to list, filter and search for polished diamonds with IIDGR grading reports on RapNet.
"I see or rather have been told that my mate Boney (ed: Rapaport) has lowered prices in the better end of the larger sizes
Given that his price list is concocted by him for him, except those who willingly enrich him by buying it, he of course has every right to do whatever he wants with prices…, which of course is exactly what he does anyway.
I would presume that most in the industry would be less than amused at his latest participation in the workings of their daily life.
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.
Louis Pearl, rough diamond consultant and gemologist, takes a hard look at eroding profit margins throughout the diamond pipeline from a historical perspective and - for a change - does not place all the blame on the major miners.
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.
In a letter addressed to RapNet members, Rapaport announces changes in the RapNet structure, which will now include four Service Packages. Prices for the RapNet Dealer (available for members listing up to $7 million worth in diamonds) and RapNet Primary Supplier packages (for members listing over $7 million worth at the same time) will be raised starting January 1st to $100/month or $1,100/year and $500/month or $5,500/year respectively.
RapNet, the Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, has suspended 10 members pending further investigation. The members have also been suspended by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for allegedly participating in a scheme that hacked into the GIA’s computer system and upgraded 1,042 GIA grading reports. GIA issued laboratory alerts invalidating the grading reports and naming the suspended members. RapNet has removed all diamonds with grading reports involved in this matter as well as all other diamonds listed by suspended members. The names of the suspended Rapnet Members are:, A.
In a "Statement Regarding Diamond Specifications and the Rapaport Price List" Rapaport responds to recent criticism from the industry. The statement says "The Rapaport Price List provides benchmark prices based on the opinion of the Rapaport price analysis team, headed by Martin Rapaport.
Following the repeated criticism on Martin Rapaport's price list, Rob Bates analyzes the critic's arguments to set up alternatives, which they claim will be more stable and leave room for the market to work out discounts and premiums; an Israeli initiative involving a bi-annual price list, and an Indian alternative, which sources claim will list goods without prices. Martin Rapaport however is determined his list provides an adequate image of diamond prices for both sellers and buyers.
Rapaport's market update indicates diamond markets were stable in May as reduced supply supported polished prices in 1.0ct. and 3.0ct. categories. The JCK Las Vegas show met expectations and raised sentiment, with suppliers holding their prices firm despite slightly disappointing sales.