Botswana discovers third-largest diamond just as market recovers

By | Uncategorized

Henry Sanderson in London and Joseph Cotterill in Johannesburg JUNE 18 2021

US jewellery sales rebound as the country’s economy gets back on track after Covid-19

The diamond, which was unearthed by Debswana, a joint venture between the government and De Beers, was measured at 1,098 carats — making it the biggest find globally since the Lesedi la Rona stone unearthed in the country in 2015.

Sales of diamond jewellery have rebounded in the US as the country’s economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s pushed up prices for rough diamonds, with prices at a De Beers sales event this week increasing by 5 per cent, according to people familiar with the event.

“The market is incredibly hot,” Anish Aggarwal, a partner at diamond consultancy Gemdax, said. “We’ve seen strong consumer demand. During Covid and the lockdowns we’ve seen consumers shift from experiential consumption towards personal goods and that has helped the diamond market.”

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Diamond Trade Is Roaring Back Thanks to Stuck-at-Home Shoppers

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By Thomas Biesheuvel and Yuliya Fedorinova
24 January 2021, 06:00 CET

  • Indian cutters and polishers being headhunted as demand surges
  • De Beers poised for biggest rough-diamond sale in three years

The global diamond trade spent years in the doldrums, only to be crippled by the pandemic just as things started looking up. Now, at last, business is booming again.

Factories in the industry’s “engine room” — the Indian city of Surat — are so desperate to boost production that the most-skilled cutters and polishers are being headhunted with offers of 50% pay hikes and perks like free food and housing. Miner De Beers is poised for its biggest rough-diamond sale in three years, even after raising prices, and rival Alrosa PJSC said this week it expects the recovery will keep going for some time.

The boom is being driven by bumper holiday jewelry sales, particularly in the vital U.S. and Chinese markets. For years, diamonds faced growing competition from travel as a form of luxury spending. Now, with vacations on hold due to lockdowns and other restrictions, consumers are putting their disposable income into online purchases.

“People have not only learned to work remotely, but also buy online, including diamonds,” Alrosa Chief of Sales Evgeny Agureev said in an interview. “Money was previously spent on trips or on dinners at expensive restaurants, but now part of this demand has gone to diamonds. Online sales almost doubled last year to about 20% of the total.”

The sales boost is feeding through to surging demand for polished diamonds, at a time when stocks held by factories and traders had shrunk dramatically following the initial Covid-19 lockdowns.

But for an industry long familiar with dramatic booms and busts, it’s unclear whether the rebound will take hold, or represents only a temporary respite. Some industry participants are also concerned that the market is running too hot, risking a slump later in the year.

Annual diamond jewelry demand had been stagnant at about $80 billion for the past five years and the sector’s middlemen were struggling to turn a profit. As global vaccines roll out and other luxury purchases become viable again, there’s a risk that the industry finds itself facing the same old challenges as before.

For now, money is pouring in. Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported a 7.8% jump in holiday sales in North America, by far the industry’s biggest market. The jeweler’s online sales surged in the period. It was a similar story in China, the second-biggest market, where Chow Tai Fook reported an 18% rise in quarterly sales.

India, where about 90% of diamonds are cut or polished, imported almost $2 billion in rough diamonds last month as cutters and polishers raced to meet the increased demand and restock their inventories.

De Beers and Alrosa have both responded by raising prices, seeking to recover some of the ground they lost last year when demand collapsed.

But while De Beers implemented an increase of about 5% in its first sale of the year last week, customers are still buying. The sale hasn’t yet been finalized, but the miner was on course for its biggest rough-diamond auction in three years — at about $600 million — according to people familiar with the situation.

Still, the first sales of the year are the traditionally the busiest, when the industry’s middlemen rush to restock. If sales slow later in the year, prices could come under pressure again.

The risks of a short-lived revival are compounded by the billions of dollars of rough diamond stocks held by the two big miners. So far, they’ve resisted the temptation to start offloading the inventories.

“There’s a dilemma for the miners. If they choose not to sell, they lose out on monetizing stock, but if they sell too much they risk over-saturating the market,” said Anish Aggarwal, a partner at specialist diamond advisory firm Gemdax. “If they get this right, there will be support for prices.”

At the moment, the middlemen who cut, polish and trade the world’s diamonds are making money. In the so-called secondary market — where buyers sell to gem manufacturers who don’t have direct access to De Beers or Alrosa — boxes have been changing hands at premiums above 5%, and some in double digits, even after the price rise. That suggests manufacturers believe they can make a profit at current prices.

Rough diamond prices generally have recovered back to pre-pandemic levels, while polished prices are slightly higher. That’s good news for mostly small and private family-run businesses that cut, polish and trade the stones.

“So long as midstream stocks don’t get saturated, margins can be defended,” said Aggarwal. “All industry stakeholders — miners, midstream and retailers — will need to work in a measured way to enable this to continue.”


Cheaper Diamonds Fire Life Into the Hidden World of Gem Trading

By | De Beers

By Thomas Biesheuvel
August 30, 2020, 8:00 AM GMT+2

  • De Beers, Alrosa price cuts trigger $500 million buying spree
  • Factories restarting to cut and polish the rough stones

For the past six months, the global diamond hubs in Antwerp, Belgium, and Mumbai have been at a standstill, with cutting and polishing factories closed and trading floors shuttered. Now, a capitulation on prices by the biggest miners is sparking the industry back to life.

After refusing to budge on diamond prices during much of the pandemic, De Beers and Russian rival Alrosa PJSC decided last week they saw enough signs of recovering demand and seized the opportunity, cutting some prices by almost 10%. The impact was instant, as rough diamond buyers snapped up about half a billion dollars in uncut gems, according to people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

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De Beers Sightholders Vow to Go Green in Step With Miners, Jewelers

By | Uncategorized

Taking their cue from companies such as De Beers, Richemont and Chanel, top diamond cutters and polishers have committed to shrinking their own carbon footprint, and becoming more sustainable businesses in the medium term.

By Samantha Conti on July 28, 2020

LONDON — With the front and back ends of the diamond pipeline looking to go greener, it was only a matter of time before the middlemen, the companies that purchase and transform rough diamonds into polished ones, decided to take a sustainable stand, too.

These buyers, cutters and polishers are not well known to anyone outside the industry, and they’re certainly not subject to the same sort of scrutiny over carbon footprints that a miner such as De Beers or a luxury group such as Compagnie Financiere Richemont or Chanel would be.

Yet they are attempting to change all the same, in the name of the environment, their own reputations — and future sales growth.

Earlier this week, nine De Beers sightholders, or preferred wholesale buyers who have first “sight” of the rocks the miner hauls out of the ground, committed to becoming carbon neutral in the medium term, and to work toward creating “a completely sustainable and ethical supply chain.”

D Navinchandra Gems; Dianco; Diamant Impex; Diarush; HVK International; Hari Darshan; H Dipak and Co; Yaelstar, and StarRays made their pledge during an online meeting organized by the independent adviser and consultant Gemdax, which works on behalf of the sightholders and represents them to De Beers.

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Are Diamonds Still A Girl’s Best Friend? Industry Sees Major Downturn Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

By | Uncategorized

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?”

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Diamond sales freeze: ‘I’ll sort out the ring when the madness ends’

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Global industry that relies on sight and touch to attract consumers grinds to a halt.

By Emiko Terazono, Neil Hume and Anna Gross in London and Benjamin Parkin in New Delhi


When Kenneth Monahan, a financial analyst in New York, got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend on a Delaware beach at dawn earlier this month, he presented her with a fake diamond ring.

With jewellery shops closed because of the lockdown, he said: “I’ll sort out the full ring when the madness ends.”

For many consumers, a diamond ring is a big financial — and emotional — investment, one that they are loath to make online, where it is harder to assess the cut and the clarity.

With malls and jewellery stores shut during the coronavirus lockdowns, the $80bn diamond industry has ground to a halt.

From the diamond mines of South Africa and the polishers in India, to the grading of stones in Antwerp and retailers in London’s Hatton Garden and New York’s Diamond District, each stage of the diamond value chain requires close personal contact and human handling. As a result, the industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

“[The global lockdowns] impacted everything. Nobody [in the industry] was unaffected,” said Stephen Lussier, the head of consumer and brands at De Beers, the diamond group.

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The Great Diamond Glut: Miners Stuck With Gems Worth Billions

By | De Beers

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the diamond world.

By Thomas Biesheuvel
June 7, 2020, 6:00 AM GMT+2

In one of the world’s biggest diamond vaults, hidden inside a nondescript office compound on the dusty outskirts of Botswana’s capital, the precious stones just keep piling up.

Owner De Beers, which mines and auctions most of its gems in the southern African nation, has barely sold any rough diamonds since February. Neither has Russian rival Alrosa PJSC. Now, as the coronavirus restrictions that froze the global industry for months begin to lift, the unsold diamonds present a dilemma: how to reduce billions of dollars’ worth of stocks without undermining the nascent recovery.

The pandemic has devastated the diamond world. Jewelry stores closed their doors, India’s cutting and polishing artisans were forced to stay home and De Beers had to cancel its March sale because buyers couldn’t travel to view the merchandise.

De Beers and Alrosa have moved to defend their market. The miners refused to cut prices, instead allowing buyers unprecedented freedom to renege on contracts to buy stones. They’ve also reduced production in an effort to control stock levels. Yet the diamonds keep piling up.

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The Problem With Diamonds Is They Keep Getting Cheaper

By | Uncategorized

Americans are buying more diamond jewelry than ever before, but prices for most polished gems are falling.

Five years ago, the diamond industry’s biggest worry was being forgotten by millennials, who — the theory went — didn’t covet sparkly gems the way their parents had.

The concern turned out to be mostly unfounded, but the reality is almost worse. While Americans are buying more diamond jewelry than ever before, most polished diamonds are getting steadily cheaper. The lower prices and a glut of the type of stones that go into a discount-store engagement ring or pair of earrings have pushed the global diamond trade into crisis.

At the center of the pain are the middlemen who cut, polish and trade the world’s diamonds. Their profits evaporated as polished stones lost value, banks tightened financing, and top producer De Beers held firm with prices it demands for the rough diamonds it digs up.

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2019 Dubai Diamond Conference

By | Uncategorized

A number of technological disruptions are set to change the shape of the industry. Gemdax moderates a number of panels at the Dubai Diamond conference where industry leaders discuss the opportunities and challenges for miners, the midstream and retailers.

Opening address by Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO, DMCC – Video

Special address by Sergey Ivanov, CEO, ALROSA – Video

Market Review by Anish Aggarwal, Founding Partner, Gemdax – Video 

Panel 1: Technology Disruption: How will increased manufacturing automation affect our supply chain? 
Moderator: Anish Aggarwal, Founder, GEMDAX
David Block, CEO, Sarine
Bernold Richerzhagen, Founder and CEO, Synova
Faried Sallie, Head of Technology, De Beers Group
Tom Moses, Executive Vice President and Chief Laboratory and Research, GIA

Panel 2: Market Disruption: The advent of lab-grown diamonds – what does it mean for the diamond sector?
Amish Shah, President, ALTR Created Diamonds
Stuart Brown, CEO, Mountain Province
Stephen Lussier, Chairman and Executive Vice President, De Beers
William Shor, Managing Partner, Caspian VC (CVC)

Panel 3: Making sense of the disruption: How do we bring positive change given the disruption and current market conditions?
Davy Blommaert, Head – Diamond Business Corporate and Institutional Banking, NBF
Jim Pounds, Executive Vice President, Diamonds of Dominion Diamond Mines
Biju Patnaik, Executive Vice President and Head, Gems and Jewellery, IndusInd Bank
Martin Leake, Special Advisor for Precious Stone and Gems, DMCC


De Beers hits a rough patch as diamond sales slide

By | Uncategorized

Industry struggling with economic uncertainty and rise of lab-grown stones.

Diamond purchases at De Beers’ latest sale in Botswana plummeted 44 per cent, as the industry struggles with weaker consumer spending and the rise of lab-grown stones.

The world’s largest diamond miner said on Wednesday that sales of rough diamonds were $280m at last week’s sale compared with $503m in the same period a year ago.

The sharp decline follows another weak sale last month. So far this year, at $2.9bn, De Beers’ rough diamond sales are 26 per cent lower than the $3.9bn recorded at the same time last year. In July, Russian diamond producer Alrosa reported a 51 per cent fall in diamond sales.

“The current malaise in the market is due to oversupply,” said Paul Zimnisky, an analyst in New York, who said diamond buyers had too much inventory.

Macroeconomic uncertainty and, in particular, the trade war between the US and China, the world’s two largest diamond-consuming countries, has fuelled nervousness among wholesalers and retailers.

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