Monday, January 24, 2011

Gem Diamonds’ Quarterly Sales Advance as Prices Rise

Gem Diamonds Ltd., a miner of the precious stones in southern Africa and Australia, said sales from its Letseng project in Lesotho rose 62 percent in the fourth quarter after prices surged.

Gem sold $80.7 million of rough stones from the mine at a record $3,291 a carat, the London-based company said today in a statement. That compares with sales of $49.8 million at $1,894 a carat a year earlier.

Global prices of rough, or unpolished, diamonds gained 26 percent last year, surpassing pre-recession highs, as consumption grew in emerging economies and U.S. demand recovered, according to data compiled by WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd.

“Reports of strong diamond jewelry sales in the important U.S. Christmas season, continuing growth in sales of diamond jewelry in Asia -- specifically China and India -- and the fundamental supply/demand imbalance, has meant strongly rising prices,” Gem’s Chief Executive Officer Clifford Elphick said in the statement.

Sales from the company’s Ellendale mine in Australia rose 37 percent to $30.3 million, according to the statement.

Gem Diamonds climbed 17.5 pence, or 7.1 percent, to 264.5 pence by the 4:30 p.m. close in London trading, the biggest gain since Nov. 2.

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