In a first sale of Mothae goods this year, Lucapa's Mothae operation sold 4,676ct of rough for nearly US$5.6m, with a number of high value "specials" diamonds (10.8ct+), including the 101 D colour rough recovered at the end of 2020. The rough diamonds, achieving a record price of US$1,198/ct were prepared, analysed and sold in Antwerp to partners, in line with the new marketing agreement Lucapa and the Government of Lesotho made last year, to see Mothae benefit from the cutting and polishing of its precious resources.
While it is clear COVID-19 had a major impact on what will be recorded in history as one of the most difficult years ever for the global diamond industry, one thing is certain, as far as diamond trade is concerned, Antwerp managed to keep the engines running in 2020, fueled by nearly 100 rough tenders that were held in the city in the past year.
Today AWDC President Chaim Pluczenik and AWDC CEO, Ari Epstein, honored retiring ALROSA BELGIUM Managing Director, Sergey Panchekhin, who worked for the Russian miner for more than 20 years, and welcomed his successor, Akil Zubir to the Antwerp diamond community. Apart from leading the Belgian branch of ALROSA, Mr. Panchekhin, who started his career in diplomacy, took up several mandates, including setting up and managing ALROSA offices and operations in Angola.
Lucapa Diamond Company announced the result of a partnership deal with Safdico, cutting and polishing the 46ct pink rough diamond recovered by the Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (SML). The exceptional rough stone was studied and polished in Antwerp and cut into a 15.2ct, Fancy Intense Orangy Pink heart-shaped diamond, alongside two pear-shaped diamonds of 3.3ct and 2.3ct diamonds.
In the auction concluded on November 24, GRIB Diamonds, the Belgium based diamond trader, owned by AGD Diamonds, netted US$23 million for a total of 8,700ct of rough diamonds, significantly exceeding expected revenue, especially for white goods, including three type IIa stones of 199.43ct, 86.29ct and 50.32ct respectively, each sold for US$1m+.
As restrictions to combat a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic tighten in countries across the globe, Antwerp continues to be operational, a communication from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) which was sent to the local trade community states. Last Sunday, Belgium's Federal government, following other countries across the globe, announced new measures to flatten the curve, but business operations in Antwerp's famous diamond square mile can continue, including at the Diamond Office, where all diamond imports and exports pass through.
In a press release Alrosa, the Russian diamond miner, announced the results of its latest specials tender, held in Antwerp in October. At the tender, where 28 companies participated in bidding, the miner sold 112 rough diamonds, 10.8ct plus or specials, for a total volume of 1,733ct at a total price of US$6.9m. Alrosa choose Antwerp for its sales as the company "tries to meet the needs of customers by offering rough diamonds in the countries where they operate", Evgeny Agureev, Deputy CEO of Alrosa commented.
The Antwerp diamond industry mourns the death of Jacques – Jacky – Korn, who passed away today.
Antwerp’s September figures confirm a further, slow recovery of trade in the diamond city, largely due to increased activity in rough trading, as markets and manufacturing resumed and demand ahead of the holiday season grew significantly. Rough imports amounted to 7.8 million carats, for a total value of US$837 million in September, up 38% in value compared to the same month last year. Rough exports grew 20% in volume and 44% in value, to 12.3 million carats valued at US$1.1 billion compared to September 2019.
In its latest tender in Antwerp, GRIB Diamonds sold over 400,000ct of rough diamonds from its mine in the Russian Federation with proceeds in excess of US$ 25 million as well as US$ 2 million of Angolan goods. According to GRIB Diamonds, prices were slightly lower, on average 5%, as the market recalibrates after the large increase in demand seen in the September GRIB spot sale.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has announced the appointment of six new Board Members representing the trade on the Board of Directors. In the past two days, the Antwerp diamond community participated in Covid-19 safe elections at the AWDC’s building, choosing two representatives among their peers of small, medium-sized and large companies, as voters and candidates are divided in three categories, according to their average turnover.
Mountain Province, owning a 49% interest in the Gahcho Kué mine in the Northwest Territories, resumed Antwerp sales this week for the first time since the pandemic broke out, a positive signal that boosted the miner's stock, up 9% on Monday. “The results of the first small sale, post the covid-19 pandemic are an encouraging start considering that the market has been at a standstill for nearly six months. The results of the sale were a positive sign as the markets for rough and polished diamonds start to return.”, CEO Stuart Brown commented.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre and Israeli Diamond Institute, in collaboration with VDB Expo, this morning kicked off a three day Online Diamond Trade Show, featuring 50 exhibitors from Israel and Antwerp. The event, which is open 24 hours a day and has direct communication features including live videochat, already has 800 registered professional buyers, from over 50 different countries. In the pre-covid era, traders would now be gearing up to ship goods and travel to the Hong Kong September show.
HB Company, the Antwerp-based diamond and manufacturing company is continuing its expansion with the acquisition of the Antwerp manufacturing branch of AMC, diamond manufacturing company and De Beers Sightholder, taking over the entire Antwerp staff, technology and equipment. HB Company, which in past months announced a partnership with Louis Vuitton, to cut and polish the Sewêlo, and Lucara Diamond, to purchase all of their 10.8ct+ rough stones, is planning on more recruiting in the coming months, focusing on innovation and the Antwerp legacy in diamond polishing.
Figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre on the first six months of the year indicate that in terms of value, trade in the world’s diamond trade hub halved as a consequence of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global diamond and jewelry business.
ABN AMRO, the Dutch bank, is closing its Hong Kong diamond business as part of a global trimming of the bank's operations, predominantly outside of Europe. In 2018, ABN AMRO already shut down its US and Dubai diamond operations. A few months ago, the bank reported a net loss of 395 million euros, the first loss in years, and announced it would be reviewing its strategy.
Following the success of the Online Diamond Trade Show, held earlier this year, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Israeli Diamond Institute (IDI), have re-joined forces to host a second edition of the show from the 14th till the 17th of September. The 'virus-free trade show' will take place on VDB Expo, a platform for conferences and trade shows created by and powered by Virtual Diamond Boutique.
First Element Diamonds Services recently held the Jagersfontein Developments and Rooipoort Developments tender which concluded on Friday the 7th of August at the Antwerp Tender Facility. According to the company, the tender was exceptionally well attended and delivered strong results. Both of the mines offered their full Run of Mine productions which consisted of everything from Special +10.8Ct stones down to Melee goods.
Lucara Diamond Corp has announced a unique partnership with the Antwerp-based company HB in which HB will buy all of the diamonds in excess of 10.8ct produced at the Karowe mine in Botswana, since March, and for the remainder of the year. About 70% of the rough mined by Lucara consists of larger, high value stones, and none of those have been up for sale since the pandemic broke out. In this unique supply agreement, HB will pay a price based on the estimated polished outcome, based on scanning and planning results.
On July 10th Grib Diamonds sold over $16M of rough diamonds from its fully owned Grib Diamond Mine in Russia. The rough diamond market is going through continued tough times with re-imposed lockdowns in the main cutting centre, India. However, Grib was able to sell more than 92% of the goods on offer and approximately 300k carats. According to Grib Diamonds, prices were slightly softer than the June sale with a small single digit reversal on June.
After trade in both rough and polished diamonds came to a near standstill on a global level due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three to four months, Antwerp figures for June indicate cautious signs of recovery on the Antwerp market.
In a statement Gem Diamonds has announced it has sold all large diamonds during its latest Antwerp tender, organized in strict compliance with COVID-19 measures. The company realized an average $/ct price of $1707 in H1, up from an average $/ct of $1687 in H1 and $1506 in H2 2019 respectively. A 13 carat pink diamond achieved $40,110 per carat, and a 61 carat white Type II diamond achieved $31,400 per carat. 15 diamonds sold in H1 2020 for in excess of $1 million each and one diamond for over $5 million.
Grib Diamonds, the Antwerp-based marketing arm of Russian miner AGD Diamonds, on June 16 sold over $20 million of rough diamonds from its fully-owned Grib Diamond Mine in Russia. Despite the troubled times the rough diamond market is going through, Grib was able to sell more than 90% of the goods on offer and approximately 350k carats.
According to Reuters, De Beers, together with the government of Botswana is looking into (temporarily) shifting its sight viewings from Gaborone, Botswana, to major trading hubs, closer to their clients, for example in Antwerp. Reuters cites De Beers Executive Vice President, Diamond Trading, Paul Rowley; “If we can move our product closer to them it would give us the flexibility to restart sales as soon as the markets reopen”.
The Antwerp diamond trade came to a nearly complete standstill as a result of the measures announced by the Belgian Government to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled to reopen next Monday, May 4, and industry organizations the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses (FBDB) are taking measures to ensure it can do so safely.
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following a robust month of trade in January - and into February for the rough trade - turned out to be short-lived, as the explosive spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus first closed the Eastern markets and gradually made its impact felt across the global diamond industry.
Mid-tier miner Petra Diamonds has been keeping us up to date with regards to the impact on the company of the global COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately reporting that they experienced depressed and opportunistic bidding for its diamonds at its fifth sales cycle of FY 2020, particularly in the larger size and higher quality, greater value categories. Petra therefore chose to only sell a portion of its South African goods, representing approximately 75% by volume and 50% by value.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, several industry initiatives are taken to provide relief across the world to all those affected by the crisis.
The oubreak of the coronavirus has led to uncertainty concerning Lucara Diamond's next rough diamond tender, prompting the Government of Botswana to already give Lucara its permission to hold their next scheduled tender in Antwerp, if necessary. The next quarterly tender isscheduled to take place in mid May 2020, according to a statement from the Canadian miner.
The Belgian Government has established a range of financial relief measures to support those companies experiencing difficulties resulting from the market downturn caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Over 500 diamond and jewelry professionals have registered to visit an online diamond trade show, starting this Monday March 30, co-organized by The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Israeli Diamond Institute (IDI). The show, which runs to April 4, provides a virtual trading space where some 70 Belgian and Israeli diamond traders, 43 of which are based in Antwerp, exhibit their goods on the customized Virtual Diamond Boutique trade platform.
Gem Diamonds held a tender of small diamonds in Antwerp from the Letseng mine in Lesotho, earning $7.8 million at the sale which concluded earlier this week. The miner called the results "resilient" given the circumstances, as the average price per carat fell 18% below the like-for-like prices reached at the last small diamond tender held in November last year before the Covid-19 economic crisis.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has released a coronavirus-related update to the Antwerp diamond community, stating that the Diamond Office will remain open. The Diamond Office is essentially the beating heart of Antwerp's diamond trade, being the place where all rough and polished diamonds are imported and exported from the country. In a typical year, that is $46 billion annually, or $210 million every working day.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Israeli Diamond Institute (IDI) are joining forces to host the first ever Online Diamond Trade Show from March 30 to April 4. The 'virus-free trade show' will take place on the Virtual Diamond Boutique trade platform.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa met in Antwerp with its long-term clients and representatives of the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) to discuss the current market situation and potential scenarios, as well as the needs of rough diamond buyers - the key issue for whom was to receive assurances of purchasing flexibility.
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following the first month of 2020 was short-lived, as the explosive spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in February effectively closed eastern markets and caused great uncertainty across the global diamond trade. Antwerp's rough-diamond trade still enjoyed the boost from the miners' strong January sales, but the warning signs appeared there as well - particularly toward the end of the month.
Koin International will hold a rough tender for the Kimberley Ekapa Mine (KEM) production from Kimberley, South Africa, from 27 February to 4 March. The tender includes an exceptional 82ct yellow diamond, recovered in February.
The Kimberley Underground mines have a history of producing large diamonds and fancy yellows, such as the Oppenheimer (253 carats rough). The largest diamond ever recovered at Kimberley Underground was +800 carats and the mine is also the source of the Kimberley Octahedral, at 616 carats, one of the largest uncut diamonds in the world.
The second major tender of rough diamonds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility, located in the AWDC building, concluded Wednesday 12 February, closing the book on another highly successful sale. As with the first tender, held only two months ago, this one exceeded expectations: organizer Samir Gems sold some 535,000 carats of rough goods for $7.84 million.
The government of South Korea on December 27, 2019 agreed to eliminate its 5% import tax on loose polished diamonds, effectively opening up the South Korean market to new sources of polished diamonds. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) confirmed that Diamond has been designated as a specific good that will be exempted from customs duties pending completion of the final legislative approvals. The abolishment of the import tax is expected to go into effect on April 1.
Concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the diamond and jewelry trade is growing, not only in China, but also in the markets that supply China, like Hong Kong and India. Events have been concelled, retail sales have plummeted and the outbreak of the virus in China has already had a ripple effect on diamond supply chains as the death toll passes 1,000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.