A combination of factors has led to widespread uncertainty and a global downturn in the diamond industry during the first half of 2019. Antwerp - the world’s leading diamond trade centre - has not escaped its impact, particularly in the rough diamond trade. Economic uncertainty generated by an unstable geopolitical climate has also fostered a heightened sense of caution among the banks that finance the trade, as well as diamond brokers and consumers of luxury goods.
Independent Russian diamond miner AGD Diamonds, parent company to Antwerp-based Grib Diamonds N. V., held a public auction last week on Grib Diamonds' electronic trading platform, with revenue from the auction achieving more than $27 million.
Newfield Resources has received the green light to commence development of the Tongo Kimberlite Project (Tongo) in Sierra Leone, which will become the world's newest diamond mine which is expected be operational in 2020. Confirmation of the plans to develop the mine came in the form of the recently completed postive Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study, establishing probable reserves at just over one million carats of diamonds at 100 cpht, with a Final Investment Decision (FID) expected in Q3 2019.
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.
Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky is one of the greatest diamond cutters of all time. His many accomplishments include the fashioning of the priceless, 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond, cut from a 599.19-carat rough stone, which is still the largest D Flawless diamond in history, and the Golden Jubilee Diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world at 546 carats. Sir Tolkowsky - known as Gabi - is also renowned for creating the “Flower Cuts” for De Beers, which accentuate the brilliance of typically lower-quality and lower-color stones with their unconventional angles and facets.
ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company held the second tender in 2019 of diamonds from the new Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, selling a parcel of 7,008 carats of rough diamonds sold at Bonas tender house in Antwerp for a total of US$3.5 million (A$5 million). The tender included prices of up to US$26,000 per carat paid for individual Mothae gems.
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.
A delegation from Angola paid a visit to Antwerp this week as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to restructure and reform the functioning and reputation of its diamond industry, traveling to the diamond capital for consultations regarding implementation of the Kimberley Process (KP) regulations. The visit follows that of President João Lourenço to Antwerp last June, and the Belgian mission to Angola last November, spearheaded by Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Didier Reynders.
Petra Diamonds sold a 425-carat D color Type IIa white diamond, the ‘Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine’, for just under $15 million, or approximately $35,295 per carat. Unearthed from its Cullinan mine in South Africa, the 424.89 carat gem was purchased by a partnership combining Belgium-based Choron and Dubai-based Stargems. It is expected to be polished in Antwerp. In a news release, Petra chief executive officer Richard Duffy called it a “significant sale” for the company.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the coordinating federation for the Antwerp diamond industry, is joining forces with Ars Nobilis, the umbrella organization for the Belgian jewelry sector, in an effort to streamline the Antwerp diamond trade with jewelry manufacturers and retailers in Belgium. The two representative bodies yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding stating that the members of Ars Nobilis will be able to call upon the services of the AWDC regarding legal advice, training, public relations and communication, advocacy and security.
Antwerp’s polished-diamond trade continues to see rising prices in 2019 following a year which the industry recorded its highest ever average price per carat for polished exports. According to figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), year-over-year, the average price of polished-diamond exports rose by 42% in April to $2,663 per carat from $1,871 per carat in April of 2018. This led to a 14% increase in the value of polished exports in April despite a nearly 19% decline in the volume of goods exported.
"Meet Argyle Octavia" writes Rio Tinto on its Twitter account, referring to a rare 28.84-carat diamond discovered at the Argyle mine in east Kimberley, Western Australia. Named for her octahedral shape, the Argyle Octavia is one of the largest gem quality white diamonds ever found at Argyle, and may be one of the final significant finds from the famous diamond mine, which is scheduled to close in 2020. The 28.84-carat stone was discovered in March and will be sold by tender in Antwerp later this year.
Tiffany & Co has been expanding its workforce in sub-Saharan Africa as part of its drive to increase its transparency and raise ethical jewelry standards across the industry.
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 National Bank of Fujairah (NBF), with years of experience in the diamond sector in Dubai, has opened its first international representative office in the heart of the Antwerp Diamond District, the largest rough trading hub in the world. Opening a representative office will enable the bank to better service their Antwerp-based customers and will provide market intelligence to their headquarters in the UAE. The Dubai-based bank targets buyers and resellers of rough that have suitable business models, secure sources of income and solid product traceability.
Eurostar Diamond Traders, one of the largest diamond companies in Antwerp, last week was declared bankrupt by the Antwerp Corporate Court. The manufacturing company, established in 1978 by Kaushik Mehta, said to have debts reaching up to half a billion euro ($560 million).
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.
The Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, a joint venture between Mountain Province (49%) and De Beers Canada (51%), exceeded expectations in its first full year of commercial production, setting records for carat recoveries and sales despite a challenging end of year 2018. Mountain Province reports that the Gahcho Kué Mine exceeded its upper end of FY2018 guidance of tonnes treated, processing 3,194,000 tonnes (2017: 2,775,000 tonnes) and recovered 17% more carats than last year, settting a new high for the mine of 6,937,000 carats (2017: 5,934,000 carats) with a 4% increase in the average grade.
Diamond Fields Resources, based in Vancouver, sold 47,298 carats of Namibian marine diamonds for $1,105,530 at a tender in Antwerp, including a 5.71 carat pink diamond which sold for $97,076 or $17,000 per carat. This was the first sale of diamonds from the ML111 licence offshore Namibia since mining resumed in 2018.
Gem Diamonds Ltd. has sold a 13.33 carat pink diamond on tender in Antwerp for $8,750,360. The price achieved sets a new high on a dollar per carat basis for a Letšeng diamond, at $656,933. For the sake of comparison, over the course of the 2018, Gem recovered a 138.28-carat white diamond which achieved US$60,428 per carat - the highest dollar per carat for a white rough diamond during the year - and a a 4.06 carat, pink diamond that earned US$64,067 per carat - the highest price per carat achieved during 2018.
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.
Australian diamond miner Lucapa has reached two milestones in the space of a month: first, the inaugural international tender of Angolan diamonds offered for sale via a competitive tender under the new diamond marketing policy enacted by the Angolan President, Joao Lourenco, and the maiden tender of goods from the Mothae mine in Lesotho held at Bonas t
Australian junior miner Lucapa Diamond Co. held the first sale of diamonds at the Bonas tender house in Antwerp from the new 1.1Mtpa Mothae kimberlite plant in Lesotho, marking the mine's arrival on the international market. The parcel of 5,411 carats of rough diamonds recovered during the plant ramp-up phase in Q4 2018 and in the first month of commercial mining operations at Mothae in January 2019 sold at tender in Antwerp for a total of US$3.8 million.
Tender house Koin International will hold their regular tender for South African miner KEM (Kimberley Ekapa Mining) from 4 - 8 March in Antwerp This is a full Run of Mine production of 50,000cts including melee through to 10.80+ single stones and fancy colors. In addition, the sale will include KoinDex, Koin International’s innovative new monthly tender with ‘Trigger Pricing’. The “Trigger Price” is a displayed price which means buyers have access to a guaranteed sell point.
Viewings will take place by appointment in Antwerp at the offices of Koin International.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella organization for the Antwerp diamond industry, from 16 to 20 February 2019 participated in the Belgian Economic Mission to Mexico. Currently, Mexico mainly imports polished diamonds from the United States. The AWDC therefore viewed this Economic Mission as the ideal opportunity to promote the Antwerp diamond trade in Mexico and to ensure that Mexican diamond traders increase their diamond purchases directly from Antwerp.
Angolan president Joao Lourenço came into power about 18 months ago, stating his intention to fully reform the country's diamond industry, and his progress has been undeniable. Starting with untangling the country from the business interests of his predecessor’s family - president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his daughter Isabel dos Santos - he set out to increase transparency and promote the country ́s image abroad in order to facilitate the exportation of goods and services and attract direct foreign investment. Lucapa Diamond Co.
Diamond tender house Koin International will hold two rough diamond tenders for original African productions this February in Antwerp. From 11 – 14 February, Koin will tender the KEM (Kimberley Ekapa Minerals) production from Kimberley, South Africa. This is a full Run of Mine tender including large single stones and fancy colors. KEM's sought-after production was previously offered only in South Africa, but Koin held a successful initial tender in Antwerp last August-September.
Mountain Province Diamonds will include in its upcoming, February rough diamond sale an exceptional quality, 60.59-carat, fancy vivid yellow rough diamond. The diamond was recovered at the Company’s Gahcho Kué Mine in October 2018. Also included in the sale will be more than 50 other large, high-quality white and fancy-colored rough diamonds. Viewings will take place between February 11 to 21 at the offices of Bonas-Couzyn in Antwerp, Belgium.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa expanded the long-term customer list for the three-year contract period 2018-2020, and has added two Belgian companies to its ALROSA ALLIANCE. Participants in the ALLIANCE obtain the right to use the logo that confirms not only regular rough diamond supplies from ALROSA, but also the reputation of a client as a reliable and trusted participant of the world diamond complex. Becoming an ALROSA ALLIANCE participant makes the company a candidate to potentially sign a long-term agreement.
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.
International Mining and Dredging Holdings (IMDH) will be holding its first tender since 2016 of Namibian marine-mined rough diamonds at Bonas-Couzyn’s Antwerp offices. Bonas said the first sale from IMDH will bring to market approximately 47,000cts of original marine goods of gem quality, mined by the specialist mining vessel, the Ya Toivo. “This exciting source will be holding regular ROM production tenders with Bonas-Couzyn in Antwerp throughout 2019,” the tender house said.
Lucapa Diamond Company has commenced commercial diamond recoveries at its new 1.1Mtpa (million tons per annum) Mothae mine, a "high-quality kimberlite resource" located in Lesotho. Lucapa has been developing a new mine at Mothae throughout 2018 to complement production from the high-value Lulo mine in Angola. During Q4 2018, Lucapa completed construction of Mothae's new treatment plant, which incorporates two XRT diamond recovery circuits, and commenced the commissioning phase.
Stellar Diamonds and parent company Newfield Resources are on the verge of commencing development of their Tongo Diamond Project in Sierra Leone. When completed, it will be the second largest diamond operation in the country. The Diamond Loupe spoke with CEO of Stellar Diamonds and Executive Director at Newfield Resources Karl Smithson, first in Antwerp and again when he was on site in Tongo (“in the middle of the bush”) about the project, how it is progressing and what to expect going forward.
Canadian-based and TSX-listed company Diamond Fields Resources Inc. (DFR) recently announced the shipment of a 25,152-carat parcel of rough diamonds to Antwerp for independent valuation, deep-boiling and initial sorting in preparation for sale. The diamonds were recovered from the ML111 licence offshore Namibia during the first 25 days of mining, between November 11 and December 5, 2018. The shipment is the first since mining restarted, having been on hold since 2016.
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.
Firestone Diamond has announced the recovery of a 46-carat white, makeable diamond from its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho. The stone was recovered undamaged and will go on sale at the next tender which is scheduled to take place in Antwerp at the end of January 2019. The miner's sold a similar stone in Antwerp, a 67.6-carat white makeable for $900,000.
The rough diamond trade in Antwerp during the month of November was marked by a resurgence of imports and exports of lower-priced rough after three sluggish months concerning the volumes of goods traded, while the polished trade experienced a general slowdown.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) this week traveled to Guangzhou, China, for a networking blitz/conference tour on the Mainland, jointly organized with the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange. Mainland China presents a massive new opportunity for growth beyond the traditional markets of Hong Kong and Shanghai, so the AWDC set off with a group of diamond traders to meet up with a delegation of Chinese jewelry manufacturers looking for polished diamond suppliers in Antwerp.