By Macy Kreiter
- Overall jewelry sales were off 75% through April 1
- Diamond producers are sitting on about $3.5 billion in stones
- The world’s largest diamond mining firm, Russian-owned Alrosa, projects it will have a 30-million carat stockpile by the end of the year
With few jewelry stores open, consumers sitting on the sidelines and diamond exchanges closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the mined diamond industry has ground to a virtual halt amid efforts to grapple with the growing popularity of synthetic stones.
Earnest Data estimates retail spending on jewelry in the U.S. was off 75% through April 1 while Dinesh Navadiya, GJEPC, estimated Indian diamond exports were off $846 million.
“We’ve never had an environment where commercial activity right across the whole pipeline, let alone the whole luxury goods industry, has simply come to a halt,” David Prager, executive vice-president corporate affairs at DeBeers, told Jeweller magazine. DeBeers, the world’s second largest diamond producer, estimated 2020 production will be down 20%.
Specialist advisory firm Gemdax estimated the five largest diamond producers are sitting on $3.5 billion in stones and that stockpile could grow to $4.5 billion. Russian diamond mining firm Alrosa, the world’s largest, said recently it could have 30 million carats on hand by the end of the year, which amounts to a full year’s production.
“They’ve tried to restrict rough-diamond supply to protect the market and protect value,” Gemdax partner Anish Aggarwal told Bloomberg. “The question will be, how does this destocking occur? Can miners destock and keep protecting the market?”