The De Beers Group provisionally sold $475 million worth of rough diamonds during their eighth sales cycle (October 8-12) of 2018, representing the lowest value of sales at a sight this year. October sales fell by about 6% compared to Sight 7 after the actual September sales were revised down to $503 million from the provisional value reported last month at $530 million. Still, the recent sight is a significant, 26% improvement in comparison to the $376 million in rough sales achieved at Sight 8 in 2017.
Having set our sights on a half-carat white solitaire pendant set in a silver necklace for $500, today we received an e-mail informing us we can place our order tomorrow (Thursday). Lightbox - De Beers' lab-grown diamond jewelry line - which has sparked outcry, applause, debate, and concern throughout the diamond world (natural as well as synthetic) will finally make its debut after a heated summer. The line as it now stands consists of pastel pink, white and baby-blue lab-grown studs and pendants, priced from $200 for a quarter carat to $800 for one carat, not including the setting.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a member of De Beers Group, yesterday announced that its industry-first synthetic screening device, SYNTHdetect, was awarded Industry Innovation of the Year at the JNA Awards in Hong Kong. The announcement follows the launch earlier during the week of IIDGR's SYNTHdetect XL, a larger version of the original model that provides additional efficiencies for users, allowing a multiple pieces of jewelry to be screened at an even faster rate while using the same technology as the original SYNTHdetec.
The Millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewelry sales in 2017, as diamond jewelry demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to data published today by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report.
Diamond mining giant De Beers reports provisional sales of $505 million during the seventh cycle (September 3 - 7) ahead of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which gets underway this week. Rough sales were flat year-over-year ($507 million in 2017) and declined as anticipated from the $533 million sold in Cycle 6.
Signet Jewelers' CEO Gina Drosos said the brand will follow consumer demand when deciding whether the company will start selling lab-grown diamonds in its stores, which currently number about 3,500 (3,000 in North America, 500 international). Industry insiders have told us they suspect decision has already been made. The CEO made the remark during a conference call about Signet's Q2 2019 results.
Peregrine Diamonds announced its securityholders voted last Friday to approve the move by De Beers Canada to acquire the company for a total equity value of approximately C$107 million ($81 million). De Beers Canada and Peregrine Diamonds first announced the agreement in July, whereby De Beers would acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Peregrine for $0.24 per share in cash. The transaction represents a 50% premium to Peregrine’s share price of $0.16 on July 18, 2018, and a premium of 44.5% to the volume weighted average price of the shares for the 20-trading days ended July 18, 2018.
Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds earned $22.2 million (C$28.9 million) from 334,751 carats of Gahcho Kué goods sold at its recently completed sixth diamond sale of the year. The average price earned of $66 per carat was lower compared to the previous sale of $85 a carat, "driven by a much smaller offering of fancies and specials and a slight softening in prices for smaller, lower priced diamonds," said Reid Mackie, the Company’s Vice President Diamond Marketing, but the price earned was in line with expectations.
Tracr, the end-to-end diamond industry blockchain being developed by De Beers Group in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has announced the appointment of Jim Duffy as General Manager to lead the next phase of the platform’s development. Duffy assumes the new role as the platform starts to build greater scale, with more than $100 million worth of rough diamonds having been registered on the platform since the launch of the pilot in January 2018.
Sales at Botswana's state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) fell by 16 percent in the first half of 2018 to $260 million, said managing director Marcus ter Haar, citing a high comparison base against last year's record growth, as Reuters reports. The company sold 1.778 million carats in the first half of 2018 compared with 1.808 million carats in the same period last year.
Industry consultant Ben Janowski takes an in-depth look at the developments that led De Beers to enter into the laboratory-grown diamond jewelry sector, and what Lightbox may mean long-term for the mining giant. Published in full courtesy of Ben Janowski, who will be lecturing at the Antwerp Summer University program, "From Mine to Finger 2018: A deep dive into the world of diamonds."*
De Beers Group (provisionally) sold $530 million in rough diamonds during the sixth Cycle of 2018, representing a 9% decline from the $581 million sold during the previous cycle, and an 8% drop compared to the same period a year ago. The company attributed the slowdown to a seasonal decline rather than any structural change to demand, having remarked recently that the outlook for 2018 global consumer demand remains positive in most of the main diamond-consuming countries, based on world economic prospects, positive consumer sentiment and continued investment in marketing.
Despite a slight uptick in revenues (to $3.2 billion from $3.1 billion), higher production costs weighed down De Beers' first half underlying earnings (EBITDA/earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) by 9% percent, falling to $712 million from $786 million. While the company's top representatives emphasized its strong first half both operationally and financially, with continued growth in consumer demand, De Beers CFO Nimesh Patel attributed the decline in EBITA "principally" to "the stronger [South African] rand.
Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds second quarter output at the Gahcho Kué mine jumped by 20 percent to 1.9 million carats compared with 1.6 million carats a year earlier as plant optimization led to better-than-anticipated performance, and recovered grade continues to outperform expectations. The plant treated 899,000 tons during the quarter, 17% ahead of the same quarter last year despite a decline in ore tons mined, and achieved a higher average grade.
A full house at the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, including stakeholders from across the spectrum of the diamond industry, greeted De Beers Group representatives Paul Rowley and Nimesh Patel as they explained the company's foray into the synthetic diamond jewelry market and reinforced its commitment to the natural diamond industry.
De Beers Canada and Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. today announced they have entered into an agreement whereby De Beers will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Peregrine for $0.24 per share in cash for a total equity value of approximately C$107 million (US$81 million). Peregrine Diamonds is a TSX-listed diamond exploration and development company and owner of the high quality Chidliak diamond resource located in Canada’s Nunavut Territory.
De Beers rough diamond production increased three percent to 9.0 million carats during the second quarter of 2018, "reflecting production increases to meet stronger demand as well as the contribution from the ramp-up at Gahcho Kué", the company today announced.
Element Six, a synthetic diamond manufacturer and member of the De Beers group of companies, planted their shovels in tthe Oregon soil to mark the symbolic commencement of construction on their $94 million manufacturing facility for laboratory-grown gems, produced exclusively for De Beers’ new fashion-jewelry brand, Lightbox Jewelry. The new brand will offer consumers laboratory-grown diamonds in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing synthetic offerings.
Rough diamond demand remained strong at De Beers June sight, as the mining giant provisionally sold $575 million of rough diamonds for the fifth sales cycle of 2018 (Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales), its second largest take in 2018. Earnings from this sale represent a 6% increase over the same cycle in 2017 and a 3% increase over the $560 million sold in its fifth cycle of 2016.
This past Monday, the JCK Las Vegas show and jewelry week surrounding it came to its conclusion with steady trading reflecting a confident US market, despite a significant dip in the number of exhibitors and foot traffic at the various shows. The exhibitors and organizers acknowledged the decline of visitors, but were adamant that those attending the events headed out to the desert with a greater sense of purpose than in prior years, as buyers were looking for specific goods and exhibitors were maintaining existing relationships.
“We are not planning to change our strategy, integrate in the new market (synthetic product market) and launch our own synthetic production, or sell lab-grown diamonds. It is obvious that ALROSA as a diamond producer and one of the founders of Diamond Producers Association (DPA) hopes that this initiative will lead to differentiation of diamonds and synthetic stones, underlining the status of synthetics as a distinct low-price product.
Mountain Province Diamonds this morning announced the recovery of a 95 carat gem diamond from the Gahcho Kué mine located in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The diamond was included in the fancies and specials parcel acquired by Mountain Province in the most recent Gahcho Kué production split (Mountain Province owns 49% and De Beers Canada 51% of Gahcho Kué run-of-mine production; they bid monthly on the fancies and specials recovered, with the winning bidder entitled to market those diamonds).
De Beers this morning dropped a bomb on the diamond jewelry world with the announcement that they are launching a new brand of fashion jewelery containing laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs). Called Lightbox Jewelry, the new brand will offer consumers LGDs in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing LGD offerings. "Lightbox will bring something entirely new and innovative to LGDs, by combining colour and sparkle in fashion jewellery, and at very accessible retail prices", the miner writes in a document sent to stakeholders.
Signet Jewelers, called "the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry" and owns Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared, will become the first retailer to join De Beers' diamond blockchain pilot program for tracking a diamond’s journey digitally from mine to retail. Launched in January 2018 following a successful proof-of-concept trial, the platform, called Tracr, is billed a comprehensive mine-to-customer traceability solution for the entire diamond industry. The pilot project involves a small group of industry participants - five leading diamond manufacturers
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, has announced the launch of Libert’aime by Forevermark, a new flagship store at HKRI Taikoo Hui in Shanghai, the Group writes in a press release. The opening marks the 1,000th Forevermark store in China, and comes as the brand celebrates its 10-year anniversary in the country.
De Beers Group today announced it has provisionally sold $550 million of rough diamonds for the fourth sales cycle of 2018 (Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales), against a backdrop of what has been called "record demand". De Beers published last week a report stating that diamond jewelry demand rose to a record $82bn globally in 2017 after several years of stagnation.
Global consumer demand for diamond jewelry hit a new all-time high in 2017, climbing to US$82 billion, a two percent increase on the previous year, according to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group. The US was the main driver of growth for the fourth consecutive year, De Beers writes, where positive macroeconomics and strong consumer confidence - which recently hit an 18-year high - saw demand for diamond jewelry increase four percent to $43 billion, representing more than half of total global demand.
In what it is hailing as an industry first, De Beers Group yesterday announced it has successfully tracked 100 high-value diamonds along the value chain during the pilot of its industry blockchain platform, tracking a diamond’s journey digitally from mine to retail. An immutable and secure digital trail was created for a selection of rough diamonds mined by De Beers as they moved from the mine to cutter and polisher, then through to a jeweller. The platform, called Tracr, is expected to launch later this year and will be open to the industry.
The world's two largest diamond miners reported diverging results in the first quarter of 2018, as De Beers production climbed 15% compared to the first quarter of 2017, totaling 8.5 million carats, while ALROSA's first quarter production fell by 17% year-over-year to 7.4 million carats. Noteworthy is that the production guidance for the year 2018 remained unchanged for both miners, as ALROSA confirmed its production plan for FY 2018 at 36.6 million carats, while De Beers' full year production guidance also remains unchanged at 34 to 36 million carats, subject to trading conditions.
In what can only be described as a brilliant initiative, De Beers Group today announced it is preparing to pilot a program called GemFair to create a secure and transparent route to market for ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds. GemFair will use dedicated technology to record ASM production at mine sites that meet demonstrable ethical standards, with the aim of purchasing rough diamonds from approved locations while helping improve working conditions and livelihoods for those working in the sector.
Sky Investments, which is owned by the Hong Kong-based KGK group, has officially opened a new cutting and polishing factory in Windhoek, Namibia.
De Beers rough diamond sales (Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales) for the third sales cycle of 2018 (April 9 -13) slowed to a provisional $520 million, an 11% drop year-over-year and an 8% decline from the $563 million in actual sales ($555M provisional) sold in Cycle 2. The drop in sales was not unanticipated after heavy buying early in the year, and unnamed insiders commented last week that De Beers had raised prices between 1 and 2 percent, a similar percentage increase as in its previous sale at the end of February.
De Beers has reportedly dropped Gitanjali Gems from its list of sightholders (long-term contracted buyers) following the alleged involvement of Gitanjali owner and managing director Mehul Choksi in a $1.77 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB), together with his billionaire nephew Nirav Modi. In an article published in the Times of India (TOI) on February 22, 2018, De Beers group clarified that the company would not do business with firms not complying with financial propriety and industry reputation issues.
De Beers Group's diamond jewelry endeavors are expanding to Saudi Arabia, in Moscow and its Forevermark brand will launch a new store in Indonesia as it continues on its global growth trajectory. De Beers Diamond Jewelers, the company's retail chain, will launch in capital city of Riyadh and is the brand’s first location in Saudi Arabia. JCK's Rob Bates explains that the two new stores in Russia’s capital are a new flagship on Petrovka Street and an intimate new store in Vremena Goda Mall.
Although the sales figures have yet to arrive, and the prices are not made public, Bloomberg's Thomas Biesheuvel has it from "people familiar with the matter" that De Beers has raised its rough diamond prices for the second consecutive cycle. He writes, "De Beers lifted prices between 1 percent and 2 percent, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The company raised prices a similar amount in its previous sale at the end of February.
Pangolin Diamonds Corp. has signed an option agreement to earn up to a 75% interest in the diamondiferous AK10 diamond project located in Botswana, situated just 4 km from the now famous AK06/Karowe mine. “I am extremely pleased with this transaction", said Dr. Leon Daniels, President and CEO of Pangolin.
Debswana, the joint venture between the Botswana government and Anglo American’s De Beers unit, intends to expand its Jwaneng Mine extending its lifespan by eleven years, to 2035, to extract an additional 50 million carats.
Following its successful 2017, with 19% growth globally, and a solid start to 2018, De Beers has announced it plans to grow its presence of its Forevermark brand on the European market. Starting in Germany, where Forevermark will enter the market for the first time after signing with an exclusive licensee partner, De Beers is in advanced-stage discussions with potential partners in France and Italy. In Germany, Forevermark is partnering with Heinz Mayer, an Idar-Oberstein-based diamond jewelry specialist.
De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds - which together operate the Gahcho Kué mine in a joint venture - have signed a a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that considers incorporating properties owned by Kennady Diamonds into the Gahcho Kué mine.
At its recently completed second diamond sale of 2018 in Antwerp, Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) realized a value per carat of US$142, the highest achieved by Mountain Province in any tender sale to date, with total proceeds of US$25.1 million on approximately 177,000 carats sold. While the number of carats sold amounted to approximately half of the amount sold at the first sale of 2018, (351,000 carats), total revenues declined by only US$2 million as a result of a large number of fancies and specials included in this tender.