The government of Russia’s Yakutia region, a major shareholder in diamond producer Alrosa, has proposed that precious metals and gems repository Gokhran buy $0.5-$1 billion of the firm’s rough diamonds in the event of diminished demand, Interfax news agency reported. Based on reporting from Reuters, the proposal was made to President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s finance ministry, which is responsible for Gokhran within the government, Interfax quoted Aysen Nikolaev, the head of Yakutia region, as saying.
London-based BlueRock Diamonds, which operates and owns 74% of the Kareevlei mine based in Kimberley, South Africa, achieved profitability for the first time in the second half of 2019 after more than doubling its diamond output and revenue. The junior miner made good on its September prediction that it would achieve profitability in H2 2019 through enhanced production.
Richemont Group's sales in Q3 (the three month period ended 31 December 2019) increased by 4%, with growth in all regions except Japan, the luxury goods group announced last week. The Jewellery Maisons division recorded a 6% increase year-over-year at constant exchange rates versus the prior period and 9% at actual exchange rates. Sales in Europe during the period grew by 9% to €1.26 billion ($1.40 billion) benefiting from favourable comparative numbers and strong sales in most markets. European sales for the nine months of the fiscal year have risen 8% to €3.5 billion ($3.9).
Luanda Leaks, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, exposes two decades of unscrupulous deals that made Isabel dos Santos Africa’s wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the poorest countries on Earth. Ms.
"Effective immediately, GIA [Gemological Institute of America] will suspend diamond sealing services," the organization said in press release last Friday. The statement continues, "The Institute is taking this action after recently encountering a small number of GIA sealing packets that had been compromised by third parties after the sealing packets left GIA." The organization discovered "that the diamonds originally enclosed in the compromised packets had been replaced with HPHT (high-pressure, high-temperature) treated natural diamonds."
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has started drilling at the Mir kimberlite pipe as part of the company's investigation into the safety and economic feasibility of restarting production at its unique diamond deposit, the miner announced last week. The company said it will commence its studies at the depth of 1,200 – 1,600 meters below the surface in an effort to define more precisely the pipe’s dimensions, its position, diamond quality and grades, as well as geological conditions and hydrogeology of the deposit. Total exploration costs are estimated at $32.5 million (RUB 2 billion).
Angola's industrial diamond miners produced 9.09 million carats in 2019, a decline of 5% on the year. Adding semi-industrial production to industrial output, the total was 9.12 million carats. The figures came courtesy of Ganga Júnior, the president of Angola’s state diamond exploration, mining and licensing company, Endiama. He attributed the declline (4.8% the actual figure cited) to the closure of a diamond mine. He said the semi-industrial diamond sector had accounted for the production of 35,856 carats last year.
De Beers might "significantly reduce" its number of sightholders and could be introducing changes to the way it allocates and sells its rough diamonds, according to Thomas Biesheuvel of Bloomberg. The miner's current six-year contract with buyers expires at the end of 2020.
Rio Tinto has lowered its 2020 rough diamond production guidance to 12-14 million carats, down from 17 million carats produced in 2019 and 18.4 million carats the year prior.
Jewelry sales during the U.S. holiday season showed a modest increased compared to 2018, with higher-end independent jewelers performing particularly well, according to several surveys. Online buying surged, while foot traffic in retail stores slowed. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report shows that the jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength.
The Angolan diamond sector might put an end to semi-industrial mining, aiming to provide more competitiveness, transparency and efficiency to the activities in the sector, said José Manuel Augusto Ganga Júnior, president of Endiama's board of directors. Endiama is Angola’s national diamond prospecting, exploration, cutting and marketing company. Summing up the sector’s activities in 2019, he said the aim was to bring an end to semi-industrial exploration and keep only industrial operations, regardless of whether they are run by large or small cooperatives.
Lucara, the Canadian mining company that owns the Karowé mine in Botswana announced they will be collaborating with luxury brand Louis Vuitton and an Antwerp-based high-end polishing company (HB) to polish the largest rough diamond ever found in Botswana, the 1758ct Sewelô diamond recovered in April last year. In the arrangement, the stone - qualified as near-gem, variable quality, will be polished into a collection of diamonds, and apart from an up front non-material payment, Lucara will retain a 50% interest in the polished results.
India's polished-diamond exports declined in value by 15.5% over the full course of 2019 on a 13% decline in the volume of goods exported, according to statistics published by India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The decline in the polished trade triggered a slowdown in manufacturing, and consequently of their demand for rough imports, which declined 18% in value on a 9% decrease in the volume of rough imported.
Lucapa Diamond Co. has delivered an exceptional result from its first foray into a cutting & polishing partnership, marking a milestone for Lucapa’s move along the diamond value chain. value chain. The first stone they selected was a 36.20-carat rough diamond from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, which was polished in Antwerp in partnership with a leading international diamantaire, yielding six D-color diamonds. The two largest of the polished diamonds were both graded as D Flawless by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Chow Tai Fook, Hong Kong's leading diamond-jewelry retailer and the second largest jeweler in the world by market value after Tiffany & Co., intends to about 15 of its 86 stores in Hong Kong as anti-China protests in the city weigh on the retail market and deter tourists, according to multiple media outlets. Indications that it rather intends to focus on growing its presence in the mainland China market suggests the slump in retail sales is not about the reverse soon.
2019 was a challenging year for the global diamond trade. The entire industry, from miners to manufacturers and from diamond traders to jewelry retailers saw their trade figures and profits decline during the past year. Antwerp, as the leading diamond trading hub, was caught in the middle of the industry-wide storm. “Geopolitical instability led to economic turmoil, which negatively impacted consumer confidence,” says Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has added a third ad that will run on Times Square running up to Valentine's Day, promoting their Diamond Origin Report. Launched in 2019, the GIA Diamond Origin Report uses scientific evaluation to match a polished diamond to its original rough, providing confirmation of the origin information provided by the diamond mining company and including information that helps consumers understand the positive social and economic impact that mined diamonds have for the countries and communities that produce them.
In May 2019, the Antwerp diamond industry celebrated the 100th anniversary of the brilliant cut, the world’s most successful diamond shape, created by Antwerp mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky. This anniversary celebration also served as the launch of a unique project called `t Steentje* (‘the Stone’). The project: to polish a single diamond as a community. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Antwerp diamond industry arranged to have 57 well-known (and not-so-well-known) residents of Antwerp polish a single diamond: one person for each facet of a brilliant.
International rough diamond brokerage and marketing service provider I. Hennig today announced the launch of its innovative state-of-the-art online rough trading platform: “Virtual Broker”. Virtual Broker (VB) provides a secure environment for rough diamond trading where sellers and buyers negotiate online directly between themselves on a wide range of goods.
Diamond traders established in the United Kingdom should not be too greatly affected by the latest, if not last, round of negotiations ahead of the country's exit from the European Union (EU). The UK has managed to secure the status of participating member of the Kimberley Process (KP) diamond certification scheme. The UK had already held the status as a member of the European Union.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa ended a challenging 2019 on a high note, with December rough diamond sales increasing 7.4% year-over-year to $352.1 million, good for their second largest monthly haul of 2019. The company also sold $11.6 million in polished diamonds last month, an increase of 132% over December 2018 and also representing their highest monthly earnings for polished diamonds last year. These end-of-year improvements, however, were not enough to correct the significant downturn in sales that typified 2019.
Two of the pieces of jewelry stolen in a November heist at the Royal Palace in Dresden, Germany, are said to be up for sale, according to an Israeli security firm. Individuals claiming to have two sets of jewels from Dresden's Green Vault - the Dresden White Diamond and the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle - offered both items for 9 million euros (10 million dollars) in a series of emails, said Zvika Nave, chief executive of the CGI Group.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) mourns the passing away of Sergey Oulin on December 31, 2019 at the age of 69 years. President Ernie Blom has, on behalf of the entire organisation, expressed sadness at the loss of a colleague and friend. Oulin was the president of the Diamond Chamber of Russia and former member of the WFDB executive committee (ExCo).
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, recently unveiled the first boutique in its Next Generation Retail Concept, located within renowned jewellery department store, Caibai in Beijing, the company writes. They say that the the newly renovated 100 square metre boutique "breaks away from the traditional across-the-counter service, inviting consumers to discover the world of Forevermark through an immersive, interactive and informative experience," adding that this is the first time Forevermark has offered this kind of consumer experience within one of its retail partners.
Bonas, a leading international diamond tender house based in Antwerp, will hold a gemstone tender alongside the February Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair (BGJF) for the very first time at the IMPACT Challenger Center, Bangkok, the group announced in a press release.
Australia-based mining company Lucapa Diamond Co. has rung in the new year with a bang, recovering a gem-quality 117 carat stone from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola. The stone is the 14th diamond larger than 100 carats recovered to date from Lulo by Lucapa and its partners and the first for 2020.
Softer demand for polished diamonds in 2019 led to a drop in polished prices, yet the year ended on a positive note according to two of the three leading diamond-price indexes, Rapaport's RapNet and PolishedPrices, while Idex saw no improvement in December.
The Titan Company announced in its Q3 FY ’20 update that jewelry sales in December were were better than expected despite “the general economic slowdown in the economy leading to poor consumer sentimenthit." The company said its revenue growth was "possibly due to a good wedding season" and that the jewelry industry as a whole witnessed “reasonable growth” in the festive Diwali season this year. The company itself did better, the statement reads, while also gaining market share.
The Government of Zambia on January 1 suspended a 15% export duty on gemstones after the tax that was intended to raise more revenues ended up undermining production. The country also specified that the export duty would not apply to diamonds, which seems superfluous as the country is not a member of the Kimberley Process and thus has no 'licence to operate' in the rough diamond trade.
Lucapa Diamond Company today announced that in 2019 the miner smashed its previous annual high in group production, recovering 49,120 carats compared to 19,196 carats last year.
De Beers is moving to expand exploration at its Gahcho Kué diamond mine, while Dominion Diamond Mines (DDM) is looking to expand a major exploration program east of Ekati mine, according to several Canadian news outlets. In a Dec. 31 submission to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, De Beers indicated it would be exploring 11 targets of interest by late February.
Retail sales in Hong Kong in general, and sales of luxury items and jewelry in particular, continued to fall sharply in November as local social unrest turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment, writes the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
As we welcome a new year and extend our hopes that you, our readers, will enjoy good health and good fortune in 2020, we take a moment to look back at the issues and articles of the past year that most sparked your interest.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa plans to hold 34 international auctions for special size rough diamonds (weighing over 10.8 carats) in 2020, the comapany recdently announced. They plan to hold seven auctions in the first quarter (Q1), eight in Q2, seven in Q3 and 12 in Q4. The schedule is available here.
India’s exports of cut and polished diamonds fell by over 25% in November, continuing to at a pace well off last year’s levels, according to provisional data released by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). During the month, exports of cut and polished diamond totalled $1.17 billion, compared to $1.56 billion a year ago. For the calendar year to date, India's polished diamond exports have fallen 13% to 25.8 million carats, with the average price down 4% at $750 per carat.
Tiffany & Co. announced on Thursday Dec. 26 that its overall global sales during the holiday shopping season (from November 1 through Christmas Eve) rose about 1% to 3% compared with the same period last year, with the largest contribution coming from China, Europe and a recovery in the Americas. Mainland China drove the business during the holiday period, with Tiffany seeing a double-digit sales increase there, offset by declines in Hong Kong.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa unearthed a 191-carat diamond on Christmas day at the Botuobinskaya kimberlite pipe in Yakutia. According to estimations made by Alrosa’s experts on site, the rough diamond is of high quality. They estimate the age of the stone at about 2 billion years. Further mineralogical analysis will reveal more precise numbers. "Surely, such findings are very remarkable," said Evgeny Agureev, Deputy CEO of Alrosa. The rough diamond will be sent to the United Selling Organization for a detailed evaluation.
The diamond grading and certification lab HRD Antwerp has appointed a new CEO, Ellen Joncheere. HRD Antwerp has been in the business of grading and certifying polished diamonds since 1973, delivering some 130,000 polished-diamond certificates annually. It also offers diamond-related training and education programs, in Belgium and internationally, as well as developing and marketing technological devices such as microscopes, detection and screening equipment.
Mountain Province Diamonds reached the upper level of its output guidance in 2019 and sees opporunity for further growth in 2020. President and CEO Stuart Brown confirmed in a Dec. 19 statement that the miner will achieve the upper end of their production guidance of 6.7 – 6.8 million carats recovered on a 100% basis. Mountain Province Diamonds is a 49% participant with De Beers Group in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.
The former Ellendale diamond mine area in the West Kimberley region of Australia is heading towards a new lease of life, as Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has announced that Gibb River Diamonds has accepted his offer to apply for a new lease to mine at Ellendale and has invited India Bore Diamond Holdings to apply for other tenements at the site.