Alrosa held a tender for polished diamonds in New York this June, earning $3 million from the sale of 20 polished diamonds with total weight of 140.4 carats for an average value of approximately $21,430 per carat. The diamonds on tender included 8 gemstones of standard color and 12 fancy colored polished diamonds, most of them with Fancy Yellow and Fancy Intense Yellow characteristics.
The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair last week (20-23 June) provided a snapshot of a cautious diamond industry in the midst of a period of weak sentiment and even weaker demand, according to several traders we spoke with this week. And they do not see any quick fixes on the horizon. While it may not be the largest diamond show of the year, Hong-Kong June is the most important mid-year jewelry sourcing event in Asia, and as such provides us the opportunity to take the pulse of the polished diamond trade. The consensus? Sentiment is poor.
‘Wait and see’
The withdrawal of India’s beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program is expected to have a "moderate" impact on India's exports of gems and jewelry to the US, but will not directly impact diamond exports - contrary to what some have been reporting.
India's rough diamond trade continued its 2019 downturn in May, as less manufacturing is taking place amid a tightening of available financing and weak demand for small goods, according to data gleaned from the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of polished diamonds also recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in 2019, despite a solid increase (11%%) in the average price per carat.
Bonas Group, one of the world's leading rough diamond brokering and tender houses, is holding a private sale of polished diamonds and colored gemstones in Antwerp later this month. Viewings will take place at the Bonas office in Antwerp, in the Diamond Club on the 9th floor from 17 to 21 June 2019, each day from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. The sale will close on Monday, 24 June at 11:00 Antwerp (CET) time, and will be an online highest bid tender on www.bonasbids.com.
An annual tradition, industry veterans Chaim Even-Zohar and Pranay Narvekar present the 2018 iteration of The Tacy Diamond Pipeline, with an in-depth look at the impact that the rise and acceptance of laboratory-grown diamonds has had on the industry this past year.
100 years ago, at the age of 19, Antwerp diamond polisher and engineer Marcel Tolkowsky was the first person to scientifically determine the perfect way to cut a brilliant diamond - 57 facets precisely positioned in such a way as to achieve the maximum brilliance, fire and scintillation.
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 miner Alrosa was unable last month to follow up on their modestly encouraging rough-diamond sales from March, as the $316 million earned in April represents a 14% decline from March 2019 and a 20% decline from April 2018. Polished-diamond sales during the month did not fare any better, as Alrosa earned $2.9 million, a 64% decline from March ($8 million) and a 68% decline from April 2018 ($9.1 million).
India's rough diamond imports continued its first quarter recession in March, signalling a slowdown in manufacturing amid a tightening of available financing; polished exports also declined for the third consecutive month. Rough diamond imports fell by 16% in value during the month to $1.4 billion on a more than 9% decline in the volume of rough imports, and their value has declined by 24% during Q1.
Just about wherever one looks in the diamond industry - natural or synthetic - demand is not keeping up with supply, or is out of balance, writes Edahn Golan on his Diamond Research & Data site.
The Antwerp rough diamond trade had its best month of the year thus far, particularly in terms of value, though like much of the rough trade globally it is operating at much lower levels than in 2018. Exports of polished goods slowed in March while prices continue their steady climb above the record average prices achieved in 2018.
The Graff Lesedi La Rona weighs an awe-inspiring 302.37 carats and is a top D color, with exceptional clarity and both excellent polish and symmetry. The 302.37 carat Graff Lesedi La Rona is touted as the largest highest color, highest clarity diamond ever certified by the GIA, and the world’s largest square emerald cut diamond, expertly cut and polished by Graff’s world leading team of gemmologists and master polishers - a group from Antwerp.
The 'Spectacular 88.22-Carat Oval Diamond', said to be perfect according to every critical criterion, sells at the Sotheby's Hong Kong auction for HK$108 million/US$13.8 million to a Japanese private collector who names the stone the 'Manami Star', after his eldest daughter.
Following modest holiday sales, slow trading at the February/March Hong Kong show and a sluggish BaselWorld, typical first quarter inventory restocking of polished diamonds was "subdued" and "cautious" this year, while rough sales tumbled as manufacturing slowed, according to a Rapaport News press release.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is updated its grading reports for laboratory-grown diamonds to align with the revised Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Jewelry Guides, and as of July 1, 2019 will drop term 'synthetic' when referring to diamonds created in a lab.
Polished diamond manufacturers in Surat and Mumbai have started liquidating their inventories at significant discounts of up to 30-40% in the attempt to settle loans with banks, writes the Times of India. The Indian daily says that diamond companies have been "given the ultimatum to settle their outstanding loan accounts before March 31."
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella organization of the Antwerp diamond industry, participated from 24 to 28 March in the Belgian State Visit to South Korea, where they co-organized an event to highlight a new partnership between Antwerp and Korea's leading jewelery brand, Golden dew. During the State Visit, and in honor of the jeweler's 30th anniversary, Golden dew launched three special cuts it developed together with three different Antwerp diamond companies.
Rapaport Auctions is currently holding a melee auction in Antwerp. The auction features large quantities of original, mixed, and finely assorted diamond parcels, ranging in all shapes, qualities and sizes. The organizers say it is an "excellent opportunity to purchase diamonds at great prices." The auction is taking place at the Diamond Exchange Building and runs from March 25-28.
While still lagging behind the levels of activity recorded in February 2018, India's diamond trade last month rebounded from a remarkably poor showing in January 2019. According to figures from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), exports of cut and polished diamonds from India fell by 3.51% year-on-year during the month of February 2019 to $2.34 billion as compared to the $2.43 billion exported in February 2018. However, February's exports represent a 34% increase over the $1.75 billion shipped out in January, which will come as a welcome sign to the Indian industry.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa sold $340.6 million worth of rough diamonds and diamond powder in February 2019. While such a result is very low for this time of the year - a 36% decline from last February, when the Alrosa sold $532.8 million - it is nonetheless a 22% improvement over the $278.2 million revenues achieved last month, which gives some hope that the polishing wheels are turning again. For the first two months of the year, Alrosa's rough sales are down 40% from 2018, falling to $618.8 million from $1.032 billion last year.
With 86 percent of all rough diamonds flowing through Antwerp on their journey from mine to market, trends from the diamond capital give a fairly good indication of what is happening in the rough trade globally. According to February's figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the trade in smaller, lower-priced goods is picking up again, but this does not mean demand is robust, as prices continue to tumble - something that cannot be said for the polished trade, where prices remain high.
Described as “perfect according to every critical criterion,” an 88.22-carat diamond will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, with the auction house expecting the oval-cut gem to fetch as much as HK$100 million (about US$12.7 million). According to an announcement released by Sotheby’s yesterday, the stone is one of only three oval-cut diamonds with a weight greater than 50 carats “to appear at auction in living memory, and the largest to be auctioned in over five years.” The 88.22-carat, D Colour, Flawless, Type IIa, Oval Brilliant Diamond will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s Ho
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has mentioned several times recently that it is aiming to become the leader in the international market for colored diamonds, and is making its case with a media preview of its collection of large colored diamonds, including unique pink, bright yellow and pink purple gems. The star of the show was a pink oval diamond weighing 14.83 carats - the largest pink diamond in the history of Russia.
The South Korean government, following years of negotiations with the Korea Diamond Exchange (KDE), has abolished the special 26% Individual Consumption Tax (ICT) on imports of loose polished diamonds exceding KRW 5,000,000 ($4,460), leaving in place only the simplified rate of 5% import tax and 10% VAT which already applied to all imports. KDE President Nam Chang-Soo said, "We hope that the abolition of the tax will have a very positive effect on diamond jewelry sales in South Korea."
The partial shutdown of the US government is likely to have had a negative impact on exports of small diamonds from India to the US, according to Colin Shah, vice chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). This comes as unwelcome news to an industry that is already experiencing sluggish performance, with The Economic Times citing an 8.5% decline in the value of polished exports in the first nine months of FY2018, sitting at to $22.41 billion.
The Diamond Pro, described as "an unbiased online diamond jewelry advisory website," has launched Ringo, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that helps any online diamond buyer determine the best diamond options based on their specific requirements. The "first-of-its-kind tool" is intended to enable buyers to determine if a diamond is clean to the naked eye based solely on its picture, and be assured they are making the best purchase based on certification, desired shape, setting style and precious metal type.
The value of India's polished-diamond exports grew by approximately 6% to over $24 billion in 2018 despite a 10% downturn in the volume of goods exported, according to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The rise in value is attributable to a 17% higher average price per carat, calculated at $775, for the 31.5 million carats exported, reflecting an industry-wide trend in 2018 of softening trade in smaller, lower-quality goods and more robust demand for larger goods.
The Antwerp diamond trade was nothing if not balanced in 2018. The industry traded a total of $46 billion in 2018, representing an increase of less than a percentage point over 2017 ($45.9 billion). The value of value of the goods flowing in and out of Antwerp was once again divided equally between rough and polished goods, with the polished trade good for $22.9 billion and the rough trade representing $23.1 billion.
Alrosa finished the year with a 6% increase in rough and polished diamond sales after a strong December in which the Russian miner's rough sales rose 44% year-over-year to $324 million from $228 million, which was also good for a 23% rise over November. The company sold $5 million in polished diamonds in December.
"For the first time since 2011, 2018 saw the Israeli diamond trade stabilize," writes The Israeli Diamond Industry, bringing to an end what the President of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), Yoram Dvash calls “a few years of crisis." According to the Diamonds, Gemstones and Jewelry Administration in the Ministry of Economy, exports of polished diamonds fell by only 2.5% percent to approximately $4.5 billion, representing an improvement over sharper declines in recent years, while polished imports reached $3.0 billion, an improvement of 4.1% over last year.
Laurelton Diamonds, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tiffany & Co. and supplier to the famous jeweler, will be holding tenders of rough as well as polished goods in Antwerp during the month of January. The tender of rough and sawn goods gets underway on Tuesday, January 8 at the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility located in the Antwerp World Diamond Centre building, Belgium, and will continue until Thursday, January 17. The tender will include a selection of white and Cape Rough parcels in sizes from +5cts to -7 in regular and high quality assortments in Cts and Grs.
Brands need to be concerned about over-sentimentalizing peoples’ relationships with diamonds as a representation of love. The American middle class is much weaker today than it was when De Beers came out with their famous ‘Diamonds are forever’ campaign. And with diminished purchasing power, consumers are more willing to look into alternative choices for rings, making lab-grown diamonds and gemstones more attractive.
The downturn in India's diamond trade continued unimpeded in November, as its two critical indicators - polished-diamond exports and rough-diamond imports - tumbled once again. According to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished diamond exports fell to $1.56 billion, a decline of 12% as compared to the $1.78 bn exported in November 2017, and a 32% decline from $2.3 billion exported last month.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 19% on a year-over-year basis during the month of October, reaching $2.31 billion compared to the $1.93 billion exported in October 2017, according to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The strong showing was backed by the increased quantity of goods exported, up 8% to 2.9 million carats from 2.7 million a year ago, as well as an increase in the average price per carat, which climbed 11% to $791. However, polished exports fell slightly from $2.37 billion last month.
Following more than a year of detailed analysis, cutting and polishing by an elite team of gemologists and master craftsmen, Graff Diamonds has started to unveil some of the more than 60 polished diamonds cleaved from the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona. The polished diamonds, Graff writes, range in size from under a carat to in excess of 100 carats, each diamond will have D color, the highest grade for a diamond, and exceptional clarity. They will be set mounted as solitaire rings, earrings and pendants.
The Antwerp diamond trade in October booked value gains across all categories - particularly for polished-diamond exports and imports - with the exception of rough-diamond imports, which followed the recent decline in production and sales from the diamond miners.
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.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 6.6% during the six-month period ended September 30, 2018 (H1 FY 2018-19) despite a dip of 10.8% in exports during the month of September, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during September fell to $2.37 billion from $2.65 bn in September 2017, while polished diamond exports from April-September 2018 increased $2.68 billion from the $11.90 bn exported over the same months last year.