Archive

  • Petra Diamonds has successfully sold the 299ct Type IIa white rough diamond, recovered from the Cullinan mine in January this year, at its recent Antwerp tender, for US$40,701 per carat or US$12.18 million to Stargems. 

  • French luxury group Kering, the parent company of Boucheron and Pomellato, has purchased a 5% stake in Vestiaire Collective, a pre-owned luxury e-commerce platform. With this latest move, the company is betting on the booming resale market to help woo younger and more environmentally conscious shoppers.

    The investment is part of a 215m USD financing round announced on Monday which valued Vestiaire Collective at more than 1bn USD, the company said. Existing shareholders include Conde Nast and the French private equity firm Eurazeo.

  • Alrosa, the Russian diamond mining giant reports that despite a strong Q4 2020, with especially strong sales volumes of smaller diamonds, total revenue for the year fell 7% to US$3bn, output fell 22% to 30m cts and net profit dropped 49% to US$440m, a direct impact from lower sales, as the miner upheld maximum flexibility throughout the pandemic, to avoid stockpiling, as well as a weaker rouble.

  • Lucapa has announced it has recovered another large stone; a 114ct top white diamond, the 19th +100ct recovered at Lulo, and the third 100+ct rough from the MB46 block, close to the Canguige catchment and priority kimberlites. The frequency of the recovery of three large, high quality stones in barely 8 weeks underscores the potential of the Cacuilo valley and Canguige catchment area. Recently the 16km haul road from the Canguige catchment was finished and Lucapa says it will start bulk sampling the priority kimberlites as soon as the wet season is over.

  • To enhance the use of data and ensure customers create value from the rough they buy, De Beers wants to introduce a tracking program for the diamonds it supplies to sightholders. In its new supply contract the company will ask manufacturers to share the outcome of the polished yield, reports Rapaport News. This would allow the miner to verify that the rough sold to manufacturers had been polished by them, rather than sold to a third party. Additionally, it would enable source verification and market intelligence.

  • Following a nearly two-year-long legal battle, the UK courts have ruled that Nirav Modi, 49, who allegedly defrauded Indian state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) of $2 billion, will be extradited to India.

    Earlier today a UK judge ruled that Modi can be extradited to India, dismissing arguments such as his mental health worsening during the pandemic and the conditions of an Indian prison. "I am satisfied that Nirav Modi's extradition to India is in compliance per human rights," District Judge Samuel Goozee said.

  • Belgian-based company Almax easyLab, a company specialized in producing super precise polished diamonds for high-tech scientific applications, is playing an instrumental role in the recent NASA mission to Mars. They have polished the natural diamond, sourced via Antwerp, the world’s leading diamond hub, that is used in a spectroscope, a device that enables the search of signs of life on Mars, on board of NASA’s Mars-Rover robot Perseverance.

  • GIA recently discovered a number of diamonds, submitted at GIA for an update on their grading report, for which the characteristics did not correspond with the grading of the certificate. All stones turned out to be either LGD or treated natural diamonds with a counterfeit laserinscription on the girdle, while the original certificates all belonged to natural, untreated diamonds. 

  • Rapaport reports that prices at De Beers' latest sight were up significantly, 2-4% in the 1 to 2 carat sizes and even a steep 10% in the 5-10ct stones, the third consecutive price hike the miner implemented at its sights. While official results of this cycle have not yet been announced, insiders say sales have been thriving as much as they did at the December in January sights, when rough purchases were spurred by low inventory levels following the 2020 holiday season and continued demand in view of the Chinese New Year and Valentines Day.

  • In a release detailing its operational results for the COVID year 2020 and the last quarter of that year, Lucara clearly demonstrates its strengths, recording a strong performance despite the pandemic. Total revenue (regular tenders, Clara plus the HB  and Louis Vuitton agreement) amounted to US$125.3m, compared to US$192.5m y-o-y, a remarkably strong performance considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong Q4, with revenue of US$42.4m at an avg US$402/ct marked a global recovery on the rough market, a trend which is continuing in 2021.

  • A lovely springtime sun is warming up the Antwerp diamond square mile, boosting temperatures from snowy below zero barely a week ago to a pleasant 15°Celcius. The weather is echoing the sentiment on the market and at Petra Diamonds, as both have emerged from tough times probably stronger than before.

    Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year, Petra Diamonds was one of the first to shift gears as the world was paralyzed. The Johannesburg sales were put on hold and the miner started focusing its sales on Antwerp, where operations continued despite global lockdowns.

  • While most of the world went into lockdown in the spring of 2020, Dubai and Antwerp reopened for business in the summer. Both centers held viewings for goods as clients were unable to travel to remote locations such as - in the case of De Beers clients - Botswana.

  • The Namibian reports that Namdia's CEO and former Diamond Commissioner, Kennedy Hamutenya is facing a disciplinary hearing after investigations into irregularities at Namdia, which is mandated to sell a portion of Namibia mined diamonds (roughly US$150m) as agreed in the 10-year agreement between De Beers and the Namibian Government. According to one Board member, the investigation into the irregularities let to recommendations, one of which is "charging the CEO for a string of violations". 

  • Mountain Province announced that the 157.38ct rough diamond, recovered at the Gahcho Kué mine in Canada's NWT, and named Polaris after the North Star because of its rare blue fluorescence, will be part of its upcoming February sale (Feb 22 - March 2) at Bonas Group Antwerp, alongside more than 30 specials and usual run-of-mine production. 

  • While the pandemic has led to a flurry of engagements, the $73 billion wedding industry has had a considerable shake-up. With wedding plans abruptly being upended, many couples have had to make some tough choices. According to an article published in The Washington Post, couples are considering having a smaller wedding now – with guests attending either in-person or virtually-, postponing to a later date or canceling the plans altogether.

  • Reprinted courtesy of Paul Zimnisky. Despite relatively stable consumer demand for diamonds in established markets like the U.S. and notable growth from newer markets like China, for the most of last decade the diamond industry has felt apathetic. This can in part be explained by an arguably oversupplied supply-chain, insufficient marketing efforts and a general pessimism towards the diamond business as a changing consumer economy challenges traditional industries.

  • Alrosa's January sales of rough (US$421m) and polished (US$9m) continue on the trend of Q4 2020 with record sales in December. The January figures were up 6% y-o-y, driven by strong demand in China and the US and lower inventory levels in the midstream. The Russian miner increased prices 6-7% in its latest cycle, but continues to allow buyers to defer purchases. 

  • In conclusion of a months-long saga, Dominion Diamonds Mines has finalized the sale of the Ekati Diamond mine and associated assets to Arctic Canadian Diamond Company LTD, a new company formed and owned by DDJ Capital Management, Brigade Capital Management, LP and Western Asset Management Company, LLC, CBC Canada reports.  Operations were fully resumed in January, after a restart in November last year, and all workers are expected to return to work later this month.

  • BlueRock Diamonds announced the sale of a 14.8-carat diamond, recovered in December 2020, for USD167,000 (USD11,300 per carat) in its first tender since the start of the pandemic. During the same tender, they sold an 8.7 carat diamond for USD37,000 (USD4,300 per carat).

  • The title of the 10th Global Diamond Report, a collaboration between leading consultancy agency Bain & Company and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) leaves little to the imagination on its content. The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, not just in terms of its scale and impact on the entire world, but also in its unpredictability. And that also applies to the diamond industry at large, because while the crisis didn't leave the industry unscathed, very few people would have predicted that it would rebound significantly at the finish line.

  • In his latest editorial piece, JCK News Director Rob Bates talks about an emerging trend in the LGD landscape, where some producers of the man-made stones are differentiating their product highlighting the grown diamonds haven't been treated to enhance their appearance. The vast majority of LGD diamonds have a brownish colour in their raw form and are treated and retouched through various processes, to make them whiter or cleaner, which often leaves a reddish or silvery tinge on the stone, one producer states.

  • In January De Beers’ rough diamond sales reached $650 million, the highest monthly total since 2018. This was in part due to manufacturers replenishing their stock following the holiday season. Despite the company's recent price increase in rough diamonds, revenue is up 18% y-o-y, and 44% above the $452 million it reported in December 2020.

  • In its latest trade update, Gem Diamonds, the mining company that operates the high value diamond Letšeng mine in Lesotho, presented a remarkably good report considering the impact of the pandemic on the global diamond industry.

  • The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) launched their Official Partner Program for jewelry retailers across the United States who seek to enhance diamond desirability with consumers. The program is part of Natural Diamond Councils' third phase, where they intend to create deeper connections with retailers globally.

  • The New York Times writes about how luxury brands who are not typically identified with the high jewelry category are drawn to big and exclusive diamonds, as a path to be part of what is considered a growth segment. LVMH's Louis Vuitton, partnering with high-end miner Lucara and Belgium-based manufacturer HB Antwerp, the newspaper reports, aims to continue its legacy of creating bespoke pieces, with the 1,758ct enigmatic Sewelô, and the 549ct clear white Sethunya.

  • In his latest blog, industry analyst Edahn Golan dissects 2020 and comes to the conclusion

    - December 2020 US jewelry sales knocked it out of the park and rose to US$13.74bn,

    - total retail sales for 2020 were flat despite several months of complete lockdown at the peak of the pandemic, totaling US$62.68bn

    - a rebound owed to strong consumer demand, retailers' (esp. independents) ability to adapt to restrictions and reach out to consumers, improved gross margins and higher average ticket prices (from US$596.25 to US$1,110.66)

  • Just a few weeks after Lucara announced the discovery of a 341ct unbroken Type IIa rough, the Canadian miner recovered another massive, 378ct clear white rough from the M/PK(S) unit of its Karowe mine in Botswana.  

  • Industry analyst Paul Zimnisky’s recent release of a full year of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index (more info on the index here) confirms earlier reports from recent sight and contract sales as well as tenders held in Antwerp in recent weeks such as Petra Diamonds, Mountain Province and Grib Diamonds, th

  • At it latest Antwerp tender at Bonas Group, Mountain Province reports prices for its Gahcho Kué goods went up 8% compared to the record high volume December sale, selling 241,827ct for a total of US$21.8 million or US$90 per carat. CEO Stuart Brown expressed to be positive about the future, looking forward to the February sale, which will feature the 157 Polaris, named after the North Star because of its star-like, glowing blue appearance when exposed to UV light. 

  • 2020 proved to be quite a challenge with regards to hosting in-person trade fairs, and although online alternatives accelerated the digital revolution within the industry, there is no doubt that in-person viewing and buying is still very much the norm.

  • Rough & Polished reports Angola's authorities have greenlighted the further exploration of the Luaxe concession, located roughly 20km from the Catoca mine, jointly operated by the Angolan governement and Russian miner Alrosa, consisting of one of the most promising deposits discovered in over a decade worldwide. Experts believe the concession has a potential reserve of 350m cts, and estimated annual production of 10m ct, which would effectively double the country's annual output and thus also generate significant aded value in terms of state revenue.

  • According to Zimbabwe Independent, Anjin Investments, has regained control of a diamond claim in Marange (Portal B), "in unclear circumstances", the news outlet claims in an extensive article. Anjin had to shut operations back in 2015 as the Mugabe administration forced the closure of seven mining companies and the subsequent merger of their assets into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

  • Lucapa reports strong Q4 results at its Lulo operations in Angola (volume of carats mined was up 55%, grades were up 47%, amount of carats sold was down 48% (4,269ct) but prices were up 31% y-o-y.

  • Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz was found guilty of bribing Guinea officials close to former president Conte, to give him access to an iron-ore mine for a mere US$200m, now valued at US$5bnb, a Geneva judge ruled, sentencing Steinmetz to five years in jail and a US$56.6 million fine. The controversial Steinmetz has been the object of many accusations and investigations which he has managed to escape scot-free, until now. Steinmetz lawyers have already announced they will appeal the court's decision. 

  • In the last quarter of 2020, the Natural Diamond Council surveyed 5,000 respondents to better understand the desirability, perceived value, and shopping habits of American Millennials (25 – 39 y/o) and Generation Z (18 – 24 y/o). Together they represent 38% of the adult population and 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. Within the next decade, their income is projected to rise by more than 70%.

  • Industry analyst Edahn Golan in a contribution dives into polished diamond prices in 2020, describing the V-shaped recovery of prices, which tumbled down 9.3% as the pandemic hit the global market, to start a remarkable rebound as the industry came out of hibernation, with strong end

  • In its first trading session of the new year, Alrosa is maintaining its flexible trading conditions for long-term clients, to support stability and long-term health of the industry. The flexibility allows clients to defer allocations and purchase diamonds aligned with real needs, viewings are remote through video-viewer or, under strict procedures, in Moscow.

  • Namakwa Diamonds has announced the discovery and upcoming sale of an exceptional Fancy Pink "Pink Dawn" diamond, 25.97ct, which was uncovered in October last year by Storm Mountain Diamonds at Namakwa's Lesotho KAO Mine. Viewings take place at Bonas Group's offices in Antwerp, during the first KAO sale of this year (KAO-2101), between January 25 and closing on February 4, 4PM CET via online highest bid tender (https://kaobids.com).

  • Opsydia, a UK-based diamond security innovator, announced its sub-surface laser technology can create nano-scale identifiers requiring a 100x microscope to be read. This breakthrough would make it possible for internally flawless natural diamonds to have a logo, serial number, or encrypted code placed beneath its surface without affecting its clarity grade.

  • Barely three weeks into the new year, Lucara reports another big find, a massive unbroken, 341ct top quality white rough, recovered in recent weeks from the South Lobe M/PK(S) unit, the 54th 200ct+ diamond the company has produced at its Karowe mine. Lucara recently obtained a renewed and expanded mining licence that enables the further development of the (underground) mine, through to 2026.