In the third quarter of 2019, Israel's imports and exports of all diamonds plummeted 28% compared to the same time last year, writes the Times of Israel following Ynet (Hebrew-language publication). Since the start of 2019, Israel’s diamond industry has seen a 22 percent drop in exports of polished diamonds, which Israeli spokespeople say is likely due to the global economic slowdown and international trade concerns.
Three leading diamond trade bodies have submitted a joint appeal for the postponement of the Hong Kong Gem and Jewellery Fair, September 2019, until there is a more stable climate in the city.
Alrosa recently held two international auctions for special size rough diamonds (larger than 10.8 carats), earning a combined $19 million from 221 stones weighing a total of 3,490 carats. At the first, which took place in Ramat Gan, Israel, the company sold 120 stones with total weight of 1,940 carats, earning revenue of $10.2 million, or$5,258 per carat. The auction included two large diamonds weighing more than 50 carats each.
"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.
Several media reports from Israel indicate that Israeli law enforcement officials say they want to question Lev Leviev, the business baron whose companies allegedly are at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Six suspects were arrested Monday as part of a probe into suspected diamod smuggling by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has appointed Eran Zini as its new Managing Director. After having served as senior advisor to Israel’s Minister of Justice, he joined Israeli pioneering electric car start-up Better Place, as head of government relations and regulation. He then joined a government company devoted to vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities as head of operations, and a year later was promoted to Managing Director, a position he held until he was recruited by IDE.
Zini fills the vacancy left behind by Eli Avidar, who stepped down in April.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA sold $14.5 million worth of rough diamond specials (+10.8) carats at its recent auction in Israel. The company sold 112 gem-quality lots with a total weight of 1,824 carats, for an approximate average price of $7,950 per carat - approximately the same price ALROSA received per carat at their recent auction in New York ($9,980), where they sold 1,040 carats for $10.38 million. Firms from Israel, Belgium, India, USA and UAE participated in the auction.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) have cancelled their biannual conference, the World Diamond Congress, due to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, from June 19 to 21. The diamond organizations cited poor registration figures - "too low to conduct a successful, meaningful and effective gathering" - likely as a result of political tensions in the region.
Israel’s polished-diamond exports declined 33% to $1.16 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry as reported by Rapaport News. The results stand in sharp contrast to diamond exports in Q1 2017, which jumped to $1.696 billion as a result of international trade shows, and also fell well short of the $1.467 billion in exports recorded in Q1 2016.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) launched the International Tender Center (ITC) in February last year to attract major diamond producers and trading companies to the market and make goods available to bourse members. According to the organization, the ITC "has succeeded beyond expectations during its first year of activity." So much so, the bourse has announced that the center will be expanded later this year to encompass a venue for live auctions.
ALROSA plans to hold two auctions of rough and polished diamonds at the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, taking place from February 27 to March 3, 2018, the company writes in a press release. ALROSA's United Selling Organization (USO) auctions special size rough diamonds over 10.8 carats, and will be putting 121 gem-quality lots with a total weight of 1,949 carats up for sale during the show. The weight of the largest diamond is 47.08 carats.
Israel's diamond trade decined in terms of the volume and value traded for the third straight year, according to Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry as reported by Rapaport News. The industry's polished exports fell 4% on the year to just under $4.5 billion, while volume of polished exports fell 6% to 1.7 million carats. Rapaport further notes that exports to the US, the largest market for the Israeli diamonds, declined 7% to $1.69 billion, while shipments to Belgium bounced back, surging 20% to $420 million.
The Bank of Israel has agreed to open a $285 million (Nis 1 billion) credit line to diamond traders in the form of government-backed loans in response to calls from the industry to alleviate a credit crunch that is hurting their competitiveness.
The Israel Diamond Exchange is turning to digital currencies to inject new life into a marketplace, in the hopes that the introduction of virtual currency will make trading more efficient and less opaque. The two new cryptocurrencies are backed by gems: the first, called Cut, was launched last week for use between dealers in the diamond market. Citing a recent report by Israel’s Justice Ministry, Reuters writes that current transactions are “often carried out anonymously, with the shake of a hand and minimal documentation”.
Israeli diamond tech group Sarine Technologies is opening its first gemological laboratory this February in Ramat Gan, Israel, with plans to follow with the opening of a lab in India, planned for May. The company says it will utilize its, "breakthrough artificial-intelligence based technological solutions for the automated, accurate, consistent, digital, and objective grading of a polished diamond's Clarity and Colour." The services offered will include authentication whether a polished diamond is a simulant, natural or synthetic, treated or not, as well as the grading of its 4Cs.
According to Rapaport News, based on figures from the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Israel's diamond trade as a whole has slowed in 2017, as exports of polished diamonds to the US, Israel’s largest market, declined 15% to $1.26 billion during the nine-month period. Exports to Hong Kong are also down, but only by 3% to $1.01 billion. Rapaport writes: "The country’s exports of polished diamonds fell 12% year on year to $3.38 billion during the first nine months of 2017, while the volume of goods sent out dropped 11% to 1.297 million carats.
After bouncing back strongly in the first quarter of 2017, Israel's polished diamond exports slowed significantly in the second quarter, according to data from the Economy and Industry Ministry. Rapaport News writes that Israel's exports of polished diamonds for the half-year ended June declined 3% to $2.55 billion excluding returned goods, while volume fell 6% to 919,422 carats.
Sarine, a developer of technologies for the diamond industry, stated in a press release that two Indian suspects were arrested in Tel Aviv on suspicion of attempted theft of Sarine's Intellectual Property. The two were arrested during a meeting in which US$100,000 in cash was handed over as advance payment against an agreed US$1,000,000 to be paid in exchange for Sarine’s GalaxyTM system schematics, list of parts and vendors thereof and software source code.
According to a press release, ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond producer by volume, reported the results of the international diamond auction, which took place in the Sixth International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI), offering for sale special-size natural rough diamonds (10.8-ct+) , as well as polished goods. The company sold 105 lots of rough and polished diamonds worth $21.8 million during the trading session held on 13-16 February, 2017 in the City of Ramat Gan, Israel. The auction was attended by 119 buyers from 30 countries.
Israeli billionaire businessman Beny Steinmetz was released from house arrest Wednesday after he was detained last month on suspicion of money laundering and bribing public officials in Africa, writes The Times of Israel. The diamond and mining magnate was arrested on December 19 and accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes in the Republic of Guinea in exchange for advancing his business interests in the country, according to the Israel Police.
Citing figures from Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry, Rapaport News writes that Israel’s polished diamond exports declined in 2016: exports of polished dropped 6.4 percent to $4.68 billion during the year; Exports to the U.S., Israel's largest trade partner, slid 9 percent to $2 billion, while shipments to Hong Kong fell 8 percent to $1.35 billion. Orders from Belgium slumped 16 percent to $349 million. Polished imports fell 6 percent to $3.28 billion. Meanwhile, rough imports increased 17 percent to $3.25 billion, while rough exports rose 23 percent to $2.7 billion.
The Israel Diamond Exchange and Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association sent a letter to Israeli traders Diamond companies in Israel have been granted another two months to voluntarily disclose their assets, inventory and unreported income to the Tax Authority, writes Rapaport News. The trade organizations informed their members that firms have until the end of February to submit the full report of disclosures, as long as they declared their intention to do so by December 29.
According to a press release from the Israeli Diamond Industry: Alrosa will hold a tender of both polished and rough diamonds during Israel’s sixth International Diamond Week (IDWI), February 13 – 16, 2017 at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE.) The auction will offer 108 boxes of rough diamonds of 11 to 199 carats, and several unique white and fancy color polished diamonds, weighing from 10 to 80 ct, including five that were cut from one huge rough stone.
Israeli authorities have placed Israeli diamond and mining mogul Beny Steinmetz under house arrest over allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea linked to his BSG Resources (BGSR) mining company. One of Israel’s wealthiest men, Steinmetz has been arrested in Israel over claims that he paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure mineral assets in one of the world’s poorest nations.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has announced the Israeli Diamond Industry has finalized the terms of an agreement with the Israeli Tax Authority.
According to a report on the Israeli news site Hamodia, the country's tax authorities, following Israels commitments to the US and international organizations to apply a more stringent anti-money laundering policy, are targeting the Israeli diamond industry, generally considered the biggest offenders in this domain. Officials said that as of January 1st, the administration will go after tax fraud more agressively, implementing extended powers of investigation and enforcement.
Two investment bubbles, 340 years apart, provide living proof of Edmund Burke’s famous observation that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Rough diamond broker and founder and president of N.Rothmann, Nurit Rothmann recounts the history of two remarkably similar speculative bubbles: the spectactular rise and sudden collapse of the tulip market in 1637 and the rough diamond market in the late 1970's and early '80s. Reprinted here by special arrangement.
Diamond and jewelry tycoon Lev Leviev has won more than $100 million from an arbitration panel in battle against his former business partner, the Julius Klein Group, The New York Post and other sources report. Lawyers for losing side tried but failed to have the court documents sealed in the Manhattan federal court case. But Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. agreed only to redact the amount of the award, which the Post cited industry sources as saying was “well north of $100 million.”
LLD Diamonds, part of the Leviev Group of Companies owned by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev, was the largest buyer of rough diamonds at ALROSA's first auction in Vladivostok, according to two sources close to the companies and CEO of GK Ruiz (part of the Leviev group) Valery Morozov. An ALROSA representative declined to comment.
The plan, which includes new business and commercial space, homes, hotels and student dorms, will be discussed next Sunday by the Local Planning and Building Committee, according to the Globes daily. The current 750,000 square meter complex will be expanded to 1.75 million square meters with the future diamond exchange business district being 2.5 times larger. Of this area, 1.4 million square meters will zoned for business and up to 120 square meters for commerce; about 1,000 hotel rooms will also be built in the area.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) pledged to fight a decision by the First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) to tighten its lending standards for the trade. FIBI raised collateral requirements for diamond industry members, leading IDE President Yoram Dvash to write to bourse members, vowing to lobby state authorities and persuade the bank to reconsider the decision. Dvash claimed FIBI’s demands are stricter than those applicable to other sectors and alleged the move was influenced by “pressure” from Israel’s financial regulator, Rapaport reported.
Israel's tax authority will be cracking down on unreported capital, after receiving a list from French authorities of more than 8,000 Israeli customers who held bank accounts at the Swiss arm of HSBC. Israeli newspapers reported that diamond company owners were on the list, along with bank owners and directors, real estate moguls, retired military officers, public and private company heads, well-known lawyers, artists, soccer players, sports agents, a retired judge and a former prosecutor.
Israel’s polished diamond exports slumped in the first half as sentiment weakened among traders, writes Rapaport News. Exports fell to $2.61 billion, a 14 percent decline as compared to 2015, while polished imports slid 10 percent to $1.62 billion, according to government data.
Rough sellers at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will be required to disclose that a stone has undergone inclusion mapping following an agreement between the IDE and Sarine Technologies. The IDE signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Galaxy mapping equipment maker Sarine that means traders will no longer be able to conceal that a rough diamond they sell has been through the machine. Sarine’s Galaxy systems are the only machines in the market that perform inclusion mapping on rough diamonds, the IDE said.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has created an international program to develop the future generation of diamond dealers. The Young Diamantaires initiative was introduced at the 37th World Diamond Congress in Dubai in May and will be led by Rami Baron, who was elected chairman of the WFDB's promotion committee at the meeting. The project originates from discussions between the committee's members to encourage communication among younger diamantaires and connect them with newer members of the WFDB’s 30 affiliated bourses.
Diamond manufacturing technology maker Sarine Technologies has acquired the technology and assets of DiaMining, a developer of Point of Sale (POS) applications for diamonds, gemstones and jewelry. DiaMining's solutions offer retailers and wholesalers advanced state-of-the-art POS solutions that combine comprehensive product information and digital imagery of their choice. DiaMining's apps integrate with many commonly used inventory management systems and can easily be integrated to others, Sarine reported, without revealing how much it paid for DiaMining.
The system at the Israeli Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan is built on trust, yet the arrest of veteran diamantaire Hanan Abramovich triggering an investigation into accusations that he defrauded fellow traders of $65m worth of money and stones, writes Financial Times, threatens to have a direct effect on traders who have allegedly lost out.
A lengthy article in the Ha'aretz newspaper begins by looking at the case of Hanan Abrahamovich and an alleged fraud with a value of around $55 million before talking about other financial shenanigans, such as an underground bank that operated within the Israel Diamond Exchange, bankruptcies and a family firm that allegedly owes other IDE members $15 million. “For seven months Hanan Abramovich told us stories – there is money, there isn’t money. He kept saying ‘God will provide’ and making promises. We counted 12 different stories. All the scenarios imploded.
Hong Kong's polished diamond imports fell 13% to $4.23 billion in the first quarter of 2016 after shipments from its key supplier markets – India, Israel and Belgium – all trended downwards. Deliveries from India, Hong Kong’s largest diamond trade partner, fell 12% to $1.88 billion. The declines were somewhat offset by an 11% gain on imports from the U.S. and a 4.7% rise in imports from the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong's fourth- and fifth-largest trade partners, respectively.
According to Tel Aviv Magistrates Court Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz, suspicions are hardening against diamond dealer Hanan Abramovich, suspected of forgery and fraud totaling $60 million, and the judge extended Abramovich's remand for the fifth time, this time by four days. "The array of documents submitted to the Court and a confidential report filed by the police put the reasonable suspicion concerning the crimes attributed to the suspect, which include other crimes besides fraud (including forgery and money laundering) on a firmer basis." Also released for the first time was the name of o