Sunday, July 31, 2011

Apple iPad 3 or an $8 million iPad 2 – Which will you buy next?

Apple iPad 3 or an $8 million iPad 2 – Which will you buy next?

Posted by Tejas Ramakrishnan on July 30, 2011 in Apple · 0 Comment
iPad 2 Gold History Edition Apple iPad 3 or an $8 million iPad 2 Which will you buy next?

iPad 2 Gold History Edition

If you know who Stuart Hughes is, then you already know what the $8 million iPad 2 is all about already. If not, here’s the geeky part – Stuart Hughes is a British designer who designs Laptops, Plasma TVs, and iPhones all pimped to heights. Stuffed with diamonds, rubies, other gems, Gold, Platinum and what not, their exclusive pieces of gadgets are sold for multi-million prices to billionaires.

Stuart and his wife Katherine and renowned for these products. And this time, they have gone an extra length and brought a dinosaur into it all. Yep, it seems that they have indeed put in a shaped dinosaur bone into the construction of the mobile. The 65-million years old T-Rex’s thigh bone was shaped into a part of the iPad.
The major structure of the iPad is made up of Ammolite, a 75 million years old rock, sourced from Canada.

The iPad is “encrusted with 12.5 cts of ‘I’F’ Flawless diamonds, a magnificent total of 53 individually set sparkling gems dwell beautifully in solid 24ct Apple logo with rear section formed again in 24ct gold weighing an immense 2,000 grams” according to the Stuart Hughes website.

If the above facts does not impress you then there is 2000 grams of 24 carat gold making the entire back panel of the iPad and a fine polished 8.5 carat diamond as the Home button.

The Ammolite used is around 750 gms, while the T-Rex bone weighs 57 grams. All in all, a pricey iPad 2. Priced at 5 million pounds or about 8 million dollars, this is one of the most pricey uPad 2′s ever. Only 2 will be sold of this Gold History Edition iPad 2.

These days when there are iPads (2s and 3s) being given for FREE like at this site HERE, i dunno why even millionaires would want to buy them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

EU fears discovering the truth about Marange diamond fields.

The European Union (EU) team resident in Zimbabwe is scared of discovering the truth about diamond fields in Chiadzwa. They chickened-out of an offer to go on a fact-finding visit to Marange diamond mining area after their handlers headquartered in Brussels back-tracked. The common-sense perception derived from the turn-around is that, Brussels feared that allegations of alleged human rights abuses in the area would be disproved. The EU is fully conscious of the fact that they are using lies and trumped-up charges to deny Zimbabwe the legal mandate to sell its diamond on the world market freely.

Minister Obert Mpofu of Mines and Mining Development confirmed that the government cleared the fact-finding team but the mission abandoned the mission amid fears that the alleged human rights abuses at Marange, being peddled by the US, the European Union, Canada and Australia who had argued that the gems were "blood diamonds", would be exposed as non-existent.

"Government of Zimbabwe cleared them to get the actual facts on the ground and prove their claims but they have been shunning the offer. And gates are still open for them anyway," said Cde Mpofu. Minister Mpofu said a number of media houses had also been cleared to get first hand facts. EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Dell' Ariccia also confirmed that they had been cleared to tour Chiadzwa mining fields. He said the delegation failed to take up the offer because the entourage needed to synchronize its travel dates.

"On the occasion of a courtesy call on the Minister of Mines, Mr Mpofu, the Minister invited the EU Ambassador and other diplomats to visit the Marange diamond production area," said Mr Dell' Ariccia.

"The visit was meant to give the diplomats a first hand impression on the region, with the understanding that it would not replace the official procedures foreseen in the Kimberly Process to monitor diamonds production.

"Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible so far to find a mutually convenient time to make the visit. But the invitation has not been refused."

Mr Dell' Ariccia said the EU was working with the Kimberly Process to find a solution on diamonds from Marange.

Sources close to the issue, however, maintained that the EU was afraid of confronting the truth adding any institution concerned about the diamond mining and alleged human rights abuses would have grabbed such an opportunity with both hands.

The EU has been on the forefront of going against KP chairman Mr Matheiu Yamba's decision to grant Zimbabwe the green light to trade in its gems.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Catherine Ashton, issued a statement just after Mr Yamba's June 24, 2011 decision, saying the Marange diamonds should not be traded on the international market.

"The EU considers that any agreement needs to provide sufficiently credible basis to bring the whole of Marange mining area into compliance," said Mrs Ashton.

"This has to be done through a proper application of the KP procedures.

"The EU notes that consensus is necessary for diamonds

from Marange to be traded under the KP Certification Scheme."

Minister Mpofu said it was surprising that an organisation with such strong suspicious views against Zimbabwe's diamond exports would spurn an offer to tour Chiadzwa, where they would have an opportunity to authenticate or realign their perceptions.

EU actions are hypocritical as they back-track when reality is facing them through a painful discovery. Ever since the EU has never had a chance to tour Marange diamond fields. Whatever decisions they support against the Chiadzwa diamond fields are based on hear say, which in most of the cases is far-fetched as crafted by Zimbabwe’s detractors. Then one wonders why all of sudden they would show reluctance to discover the truth for themselves.

The West’s decisions on Zimbabwe are premised on their grand plan of the illegal regime change agenda. Whatever minor issues they say about Zimbabwe are mere scapegoats meant to cover their plot against this country. The illegal sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe 2001are a clear-cut testimony of all their actions.

African diamond producing countries will strengthen the African Diamond Producers' Association (ADPA) to repel vicious opposition from western countries determined to scuttle exportation of gems from Zimbabwe's Marange fields, details of ADPA summit indicated recently.

Government sources who attended the third ordinary meeting of the ADPA Council of Ministers in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently said members were convinced that a united front in support of Zimbabwe had already unsettled the intense opposition.

The decision by the African gem producing grouping reinforced Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu's tough stance at the meeting where he was reported to have declared that the grouping should reject external influence from western economies aimed at dictating the direction of the regional diamond industry.

"We need to fully fund this initiative (ADPA) because others will want to come in," Mpofu said. "We should spell out what we want to achieve without receiving support with strings attached."

Last month, the Kimberly Process Certification (KP) endorsed exportation of diamonds from Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, the two companies that are exploiting gems from eastern Zimbabwe.

Government says a flurry of five-year targets announced recently would revolve around diamond mining where exports had been averaging 1.2 million carats per month, generating US$60-$70 million per month.

This year the diamonds sector, which has reported strong growth in output since Minister Mpofu took over, are projected to generate about US$500 million, significantly easing an intense puzzle that has blighted the power-sharing administration after failing to bankroll crucial social spending programmes from a shoe-string budget.

"Countries opposed to Zimbabwean exports are getting unsettled by the united front from ADPA," a source told the media.

African countries reaffirmed their support for exports of diamonds from Marange. Outgoing ADPA chairperson and South African Mines Minister, Susan Shabangu reiterated South Africa's willingness to take diamonds from Zimbabwe.

"Most of our diamonds are now going through South Africa. They are then re-exported through South Africa.," the official said.

Zimbabwe projects that exportation of diamonds from the Marange region would drive revenues into the fiscus and help government fund its commitments.

Official statistics indicate that during the first quarter of 2011, diamonds generated US$300 million, with US$174 million being channelled into treasury.

The Medium Term Plan (MTP), a five-year economic blue-print presented by Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada recently, projects that diamond output would increase by 44 percent in 2011 to eight million carats, before climbing to 12 million carats in 2012.

The MTP predicts that output would rise to 15 million carats in 2013, 18 million carats in 2014, and 21 million carats in 2015. "Diamonds are a major source of growth during the plan period," the blueprint said.

"Progress that the government has made to date with regards to the Kimberley Process Certification will help spur the contribution of the sector going forward. The government will continue to work on improving accountability and transparency with regards to the exploitation of the diamonds in the country," the MTP said.

African countries produce about 75 percent of global diamond output but are increasingly getting irritated by the fact that the region had least benefited from the resource.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Biti says diamond exports and revenues not tallying

Several headlines in recent months have raised serious questions about the abuse of revenues coming from diamonds in Marange. These include: ‘Mines Minister in US$2 billion diamond fraud’, and: ‘Mining company pledges to pay civil servants’. The latest statement from Finance Minister Tendai Biti that diamond exports and revenues are not tallying-up, all suggest a systematic abuse of diamond proceeds.

It has been well documented that the Zimbabwean military and security chiefs have a dominant role in diamond mining in the country. It is the growing misuse of the money to achieve political domination that is coming out clearly. Only last week the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation was accused of side-stepping treasury to pay top salaries for civil servants.

SW Radio Africa has been told that the motive was to ensure a promise, made by Robert Mugabe, to award the increases was delivered, as well as to make the MDC-T and Finance Minister Tendai Biti look like the stumbling blocks to civil servants earning a decent wage. Biti has made the argument that the Treasury is broke and does not have the money. He has clashed several times with the Mines Minister over unaccounted for diamond revenues.
Presenting his budget review this week Biti repeated the same concerns.

“There are times when resources instead of being a blessing become a curse. The reality of Zimbabwe’s situation is that there is no connection between Zimbabwe’s income from diamonds and its output in international prices,” he said. Out of more than 700 000 carats exported this year only US$103, 9 million worth was accounted for.

Diamond rights activist Farai Maguwu told SW Radio Africa: “I think what is clear here is that we have got parallel government structures operating in Zimbabwe and one is in charge of resources including diamonds.”

Maguwu said at a meeting of the Kimberley Process diamond watchdog in Kinshasa last month, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu accused the United Arab Emirates of confiscating Zimbabwean diamonds. This, Maguwu said, suggested ‘secret diamond sales’ that are not being accounted for.

Meanwhile Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has been sucked into a US$2 billion diamond fraud case after lawyers representing diamond dealer Lovemore Kurotwi insisted the Minister must also stand trial. Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said Mpofu endorsed the deal and took part in meetings held in South Africa. She said not only was Mpofu was aware of the deal he even briefed the government on it.

Mpofu is accused of going on a property-buying spree and this was enough to attract the attention of a parliamentary committee investigating the plunder diamonds from Marange. He owns several properties in Bulawayo including one of the tallest buildings in the city, York House. The minister also bankrolled the building of a luxury casino last year, owns about 27 properties in Victoria Falls and two cruise boats on the Zambezi.

De Beers posts record sales, but cuts output forecast

DE BEERS posted record rough diamond sales in the first half of the year, masking a difficult operational period where skills shortages and rain hampered production, bringing the annual output forecast down to 35-million carats from an earlier estimate of 38-million carats.

De Beers, which supplies about a third of the world’s rough diamonds and which is 45% owned by Anglo American, yesterday posted total sales of $3,89bn in the six months to end-June versus $2,98bn a year earlier. Pretax profit was $951m compared with $484m a year ago and $863m for all of last year .

Prices of diamonds rose 35% in the past six months. Bruce Cleaver, De Beers chief operating officer, said the outlook for the remainder of the year was positive because of the group’s expectation of strong sales in the US over Christmas and robust sales for India’s Diwali celebration and the Chinese new year.

"All the data we have leads us to believe the second half of the year will be strong and produce positive growth," he said, and the group was monitoring macroeconomic events in Europe and the US . "We are quietly confident that prices will continue to grow, perhaps not at the same speed as the first half, but they will continue to be positive."

De Beers produced 15,5-million carats in the interim period and forecast output of 20-million carats for the rest of the year. This is below the prediction of 38-million carats for this year .

The production data was disappointing and the financial results benefited from the strong increase in rough diamond prices, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Des Kilalea, who had expected output of between 17-million and 18-million carats for the interim period.

"If De Beers had produced those extra 3-million carats, would we have seen prices rising 35%? Maybe not," Mr Kilalea said.

One of the problems about not hitting a production target is that cost of sales were pushed up because fixed overhead costs were not offset. Cost of sales for the period was 26% higher at $3,07bn.

De Beers struggled with a lack of available equipment because of a shortage of skilled artisans to maintain it, said outgoing chief financial officer Stuart Brown.

Production was also affected by heavy rains in SA and the closure of the Namaqualand mine at the end of last year , cutting 97000 carats from the region.

Philippe Mellier became De Beers CEO on July 19 and would visit the group’s assets, clients and cutting centres before formulating a strategy for the company near the end of the year, said Mr Brown.

"Philippe says De Beers is a complex group and he needs to understand it," he said.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rockwell Diamonds' sells unproductive assets for $6.5 million

Rockwell Diamonds Inc. (TSX:RDI), a Vancouver miner with operations in Africa, has sold three non core assets, raising $6.5 million that will be used for its capital projects.

The company said Tuesday it had sold:

— Its Makoenskloof property in South Africa for about $900,000, a deal complete earlier this month.

— An excavator located at the Wouterspan mine, sold for $3 million. The mine is on care an maintenance.

— The Holpan DMS plant for $2.6 million

"The strategic review which was conducted in the first quarter of 2011, included an investigation of our asset allocation processes to ensure that all equipment and properties were being fully utilized," said James Campbell, Rockwell's chief executive.

"This analysis of the company's asset register helped us to identify three assets that were not generating adequate returns and the decision was taken to sell these to generate funds for our capital investment program."

Rockwell operates and develops alluvial diamond deposits — found in river beds, the ocean floor or shoreline. Its main projects are the Tirisano mine and Wouterspan processing mill in South Africa.

De Beers’ new chief relishes luxury of time

Philippe Mellier, the new chief executive of De Beers, is enjoying a luxury that does not fit on a finger or hang on a neck.

An outsider, with 30 years’ experience in the train and automotive industries, Mr Mellier needs time to understand the workings of the famously insular diamond industry before deciding a strategy for the industry’s biggest participant.

Fortunately, time is on his side. On Tuesday, De Beers, supported by booming diamond prices, more than doubled its net profits in the first half of the year from $255m to $694m (£423m).

With record-breaking interim profits, diminishing debts and a strong outlook on demand, De Beers is much changed from the company that Gareth Penny, his predecessor, struggled to steer through the paralysing industry downturn of 2009.

On his second full day in the job, Mr Mellier told the Financial Times: “We are achieving good results, but at the same time we need to project the company into the future.

“The fact that we are doing well today gives what is to me a luxury: time; a bit of time to plan.”

The hiring of Mr Mellier, a French executive with no experience in diamonds or mining, broke 120 years of tradition at the South Africa-based miner. He is a face of change, exciting much speculation in an industry still guided by De Beers.

However, he declined to answer questions about his plans, saying it is too early to talk about specifics. “You will have to ask Nicky about that,” he says several times, referring to 40 per cent shareholder Nicky Oppenheimer, the South African billionaire and De Beers chairman.

But he makes it clear that growth is his priority.

While De Beers controlled a majority of world diamond sales 15 years ago, its share is now about 35 per cent. It is still the biggest seller of rough diamonds, but its production is now matched by Alrosa, its Russian rival. Sector competition has grown, placing no antitrust barriers in the way of De Beers’ expansion, he says.

For the company to grow intelligently, he suggests, it needs to drop some ingrained attitudes.

“Maybe one of the catalysts for the decision to bring in an outsider was to cope with the fact that for many years the diamond industry was De Beers,” he says.

“Today De Beers is the key player, but there are competitors. We have new markets opening. We are in constant discussions with governments. This is where I can bring some experience.

“I think the shareholders understood that to grow in a new environment De Beers is going to need some work. You need new skills.”

Speaking on the diamond-sorting floor of De Beers’ London offices, Mr Mellier says he will never be an expert in diamonds. “The purpose of a CEO is not to become a specialist and impose views.”

He entered his last job, as chief of Alstom Transport, with no experience in signalling software. He says by the time he left Alstom had the second-biggest signalling business in the world. Before Alstom he worked at Ford Motor.

Mr Mellier resists drawing parallels between a diamond company and a train or car company. But he mentions several similarities. Cars are often distributed by family owned dealers that often go back generations, much like diamond dealers. Trains and diamonds are made in factories, but the individual end products are unique.

“Every train is totally unique ... but you learn to standardise things in train manufacturing, which could be a good idea here: to standardise exploration around the world in the mines.”

There are over 12,000 different pricing points for diamonds, he says. “It is unbelievable, so many prices for one material.”
Pricing a diamond is “as complex as selling a brand new line of car with all the options”.

Mr Mellier will spend August visiting De Beers’ mines in Botswana and South Africa. “First I need to understand all the processes of this company. It is going to take time.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Surat-Mumbai diamond business regains sparkle

Ghanshyam Gabani, a small diamond trader from Surat, boarded the Flying Ranee for Mumbai on Monday morning with polished diamonds worth Rs 80 lakh. "As there are summer holidays in Israel and Belgium, we expect the market to perform well because there are likely to be more buyers from these countries," said Gabani, who is going back to Mumbai for the first time since the serial blasts of 13/7.

More than 5,000 small diamond traders like Gabani boarded Mumbai-bound trains on Monday from Surat, the world's biggest diamond cutting and polishing centre. Mumbai, where polished gems worth Rs 1,000 crore are traded every day, gives them the best price for their sparklers.

Unlike the big and medium diamond firms which have their trading offices in Opera House, small diamond traders from Surat travel to Mumbai to sell polished stones . Industry sources say that about 40 per cent of the polished gems traded in Mumbai come from Surat's diamond traders.

Every Monday, these traders board Mumbai-bound trains carrying diamonds worth up to a crore of rupees in small packets concealed in their clothes. They stay in rented houses in Walkeshwar and Napean Sea Road areas and return to their families in Surat on weekends. A miniscule percentage of traders, though, travel daily between Surat and Mumbai as trains such as Flying Ranee reach them there in five hours.

Gabani confessed that the fear of being caught in a blast haunts him. "Yes, I am afraid. But I have to go to Mumbai to sell my stock," he said.

Suresh Patel, a diamond trader who was witness to the bloodbath at Opera House on 13/7, said "The images of the dead are fresh in my mind but there is no option. I can sell the polished gems to the local dealers in Surat, but they fetch a better price in Mumbai as they are directly purchased by big merchants."

Dinesh Navadia, president of Surat Diamond Association (SDA), said, "Although no diamond trader from Surat was killed in the serial blasts at Opera House, there is a fear psychosis among diamond traders here. Despite this, most of them have gone to Mumbai carrying polished gems worth crores of rupees."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surat to host 2nd online auction

After the success of India`s first online rough diamond auction in the world`s biggest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat last month, Surat-based Blue Star group is planning to host another one next month.

In the first online auction, the group sold rough diamonds worth Rs 60 crore. This time around rough diamonds worth Rs 125 crore in sizes ranging from 5 carats to greater than 100 carats will be put up for online auction in which diamantaires from Israel, Mumbai, Surat and Belgium are expected to participate.

Like BHP Billiton in Canada and Diamdel of De Beers group, Surat-based Arjav Diamonds (India) Private Limited, a rough diamond selling arm of DTC sightholder Blue Star group, has become the third company in the world to sell diamonds through online auction.

In the last six months from January 2011, rough diamond prices in the global market have appreciated by 49 per cent. But the global diamond analysts predict that the rough diamond prices are likely to ease in the second half of the year with the demand increasing from India, China, UAE and US. In 2010-11, India imported $11 billion worth of rough diamonds and the import is likely to increase this year with the growing demand of polished diamonds in the global market.

Recently, a high-level delegation from Diamdel led by its CEO Niel Ventura visited the diamond city to attract the small and medium diamond firms to participate in the online rough diamond auctions. The company has set up its Dubai office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) free zone where the online rough diamond auctions will be held 15 to 20 times in a year.

"For the small and medium players, online rough diamond auction is a new area to explore their capabilities. Last time we tried and attracted as many bidders as we could from Mumbai, Surat, Israel and Belgium," said Ashit Mehta, chairman, Blue Star group.

"Total auction will be above last time by approximately 20 to 25 per cent and we are expected a lot of foreigners to participate as there are summer holidays in Belgium and Israel. Also, buyers visiting the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) organised by GJEPC in August have a great opportunity to participate in the online auction," added Mehta.

According to Mehta, the registration for the second online auction will open from July 25 at and viewing of the stocks will take place at the Blue Star`s Varachha facility between August 3 and August 10. There will be more than 60 lots of rough diamonds of single stones and assorted parcels including bigger stones valued at more than $1 million.

Diana's diamonds: William gives Kate his mother's favourite earrings

She already wears Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Now the Duchess of Cambridge has another heirloom from her husband’s late mother.

Prince William has given her a pair of Diana’s favourite earrings, also in matching sapphire and diamonds.

Kate, 29, has given them her own style twist, having the studs remodelled into drop earrings.

A courtier is quoted as saying: ‘Now they’re married, William wanted her to have some of his mother’s favourite pieces.’

William said he proposed to Kate with Diana’s 19-carat engagement ring so his mother could be part of the occasion.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore them for the first time when she watched Andy Murray from the Royal Box at Wimbledon last month and also wore them during the couple's official visit to Canada and America.

The earrings were thought to be among Diana's most precious jewels and she was spotted wearing them at dozens of events during the 1980s and 1990s.

It is not the first time the Duchess' style has been compared with the late Princess Diana's.

Kate wore a similar outfit to that of Princess Diana when she visited Canada by donning a maple leaf hat.

Both sported red hats with white dresses during their official visits but Princess Diana made a slightly bolder statement by wearing a matching red scarf.

Crowds across the globe were eager to make comparisons as Diana and Charles made a similar tour in 1983.

Princess Diana was the main attraction with thousands of people waved flags and shouted the slogan 'We Want Di'.

And Prince William's new wife was also a real crowd pleaser and her wardrobe had been one of the main topics of discussion.

The couple are currently deciding on a permanent London base, and are tipped to take Apartment 1a in Kensington Palace, a lavish 19-room suite that was once the home of the late Princess Margaret.

It was reported the couple also considered Apartments 8 and 9, the former marital home of Charles and Diana where William grew up, but Kate is said to have been uncomfortable with the idea.

'They have been to look around Margaret's apartment and like it very much,' said a source.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Diamonds hold secret to plate tectonics' birth

Diamonds hold the secret to when the continents formed locked inside them. A study of the gems suggests that plate tectonics began 3 billion years ago, 1.5 billion years after our planet was born.

We know that plate tectonics has been pushing new bits of crust into existence and engulfing old segments back into the bowels of the mantle for hundreds of millions of years. What we don't know is when it all started.

Stephen Richardson of the University of Cape Town in South Africa now claims to have found the answer locked inside thousands of ancient diamonds collected from around the world.

Diamonds form deep in the mantle before being pushed up towards the surface in volcanic eruptions. Gems considered to be "flawed" by the jewellery industry can contain tiny clumps of minerals from the rocks in which they formed. It is these flawed diamonds that Richardson and Steven Shirey of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington DC, focused on.

Some mineral clumps are made of peridotite, the most common mineral in the upper mantle. Others are made of the rarer eclogite, which is only formed when volcanic rocks from the surface are forced deep into the mantle and crushed by the immense heat and pressure. So to get eclogite, you need plate tectonics.
Diamonds are forever

Richardson and Shirey were able to date the mineral clumps by looking at their isotopic make-up. They found that peridotite clumps ranged from 2 to 3.5 billion years old, but the oldest eclogite was 3 billion years old.

This, say Richardson and Shirey, proves plate tectonics cannot have been active before then.

"It's a very clear argument and I find it compelling," says Catherine McCammon of the University of Bayreuth in Germany. However, she points out that, despite the large number of rocks that Richardson and Shirey studied, there may be older eclogites still to be found. "We're somewhat limited by what nature delivers to us," she says.

So what would Earth have looked like before its planetary conveyor belt got started? Richardson thinks rock would have moved up and down between the mantle and the crust, pushed along by eruptions. Because the crust rocks were less dense than they are today, entire plates did not plunge into the mantle.

It's also possible that a different form of plate tectonics was happening on early Earth, says Kevin Burke of the University of Houston in Texas.

He points out that the Earth was much hotter back then, and that heat needed to escape. "Plate tectonics is an amazingly efficient way of getting heat out of the Earth," he says. So the extra heat may have simply driven up-and-down plate tectonics to run faster. If that was the case, surface rocks would not have sunk deep enough to form eclogite.

JK Rowling given antique diamond bracelet by Harry Potter film studio

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has been given a diamond bracelet by Warner Bros as a thank you present for letting them adapt the books for the big screen.

The 45-year-old billionaire author reportedly received the gift after the studio decided they wanted to give her a present to show their gratitude for the series, which has become one of the biggest film franchises of all time.

According to the website TMZ, the bracelet is a multi-million pound antique which contains 40 diamonds.

And it comes in the wake of further success for the series following the release of the final film Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2.

The blockbuster, which was released last week, took $170million (£105million) in its opening weekend at the US box office, beating previous record holder The Dark Knight - and added to its total with £23million in the UK.

It also broke the record for the most money made in one day by a film, grossing a massive $92million - and has scored the all-time biggest opening for a Harry Potter movie.

Rowling also recently announced the launch of Pottermore, a website on which the books will feature in electronic form.

The author, who has written around 18,000 words of new material for the site, said, ‘I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years.

‘Pottermore is a way for the creativity to live on and a way for me to be creative on a platform that did not exist when I started writing the books.’

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Firestone Diamonds recovers high quality diamonds at Liqhobong mine

Shares in Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) rallied 3 percent this morning after the AIM quoted mining company recovered high quality diamonds from the K5 kimberlite unit at its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho.

The recoveries from a 3,000 tonne sample of K5 material included a 33 carat white diamond and a high quality 8 carat white diamond. Notably, the sample produced the mine’s first yellow and pink diamonds weighing 8 and 1.7 carats respectively.

Firestone saw the results as a confirmation that high quality diamonds are present at the main pipe at Liqhobong.

The company added that the test results bode well for the mining operations at K5 that are due to start in the second half of the year.

“We are very excited about the results of our first tests of the high grade K5 unit at the main pipe at Liqhobong,” said chief executive of Firestone Diamonds Tim Wilkes.

“The recovery of high quality diamonds, including our first fancy yellow and our first pink diamond, confirms that there is much upside to the value of the main pipe.”

The K5 unit is the highest grade of the four geological units in the Main Pipe, with an average resource grade of 45 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht). The K2 and K4 kimberlite units that have been mined to date in 2011 have an average grade of 28 cpht.

Firestone has hired Dowding Reynard and Associates to carry out the definitive feasibility study and engineering work for the second plant at Liqhobong.

The second plant is planned to have an annual processing capacity of 4.2 million tonnes, adding to the operating first plant’s capacity of 0.4 million tonnes per annum.

Meanwhile, Firestone Diamonds is due to hold its next diamond sale in Gaborone, Botswana in late August.

The company said today that the sale is expected to be significantly larger than the last tender in June, when it sold 14,248 carats for gross proceeds of about US$2 million.

Firestone has also provided an update from its BK11 mine in Botswana, reporting significant increases in diamond grades achieved at the production plant after a secondary crushing circuit was installed in the beginning of July.

Investors cheered the update, sending shares in Firestone up 0.87 pence (3 percent) to trade at 29.5 pence in early deals. The company currently has a market cap of £92.7 million.

Observers See Danger in Zimbabwe Budget Reliance on Diamond Revenues

Experts said that while the Marange alluvial diamond field is rich, it is not clear the companies working it in joint ventures with Harare will declare interim dividends to maintain public salaries

Though Zimbabwean civil servants were pleased this week to see their salaries raised thanks to an infusion of funds from Marange diamonds, observers saw the risk that such revenues could one day fail to materialize, sending the unity government into crisis.

More specifically, they warned that the ZANU-PF side of the government, which controls the controversial Marange field and the flow of diamond revenues, could withhold them to whipsaw Finance Minister Tendai Biti, obliging him to revert to previous pay levels as the new salaries are unsustainable without continual injections of diamond revenues.

Experts said that while the Marange field is rich, it is not clear the companies working it in joint ventures with Harare will declare interim dividends to maintain public salaries.

Economist Daniel Ndlela said higher public salaries will only be sustainable if there is greater transparency on Marange revenues. “Right now we do not even know how much has been submitted to Treasury since the discovery of those diamonds,” said Ndlela.

President Robert Mugabe said at an African Union Summit earlier this year that US$250 million in diamond revenues would allow a pay hike for public workers. But the tranche deposited into the Treasury recently by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation in apparent coordination with the Mines Ministry amounted to just US$27 million.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said the ZANU PF side of the government might one day withhold such revenues to bring down the government.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Petra points to positive outlook

Diamond producer Petra Diamonds on Tuesday underlined an increasingly positive outlook for the diamond market as evidenced by the significant strengthening of diamond prices.

Petra reported a 24% increase in gross mine revenue to US$220.6 million for the year ended in June, mainly due to the steady increase in rough diamond prices from October last year. Revenue of US$90.0 million in the first half rose to US$130.6 million in the second half.

Gross carats sold were up 4% to 1,174,825 and gross production was down 4% to 1,116,965 carats.

Petra's CEO Johan Dippenaar said: "The outlook for the diamond market looks positive."

The group reached an agreement with De Beers in January to acquire the Finsch mine in SA, and according to Dippenaar, Petra expected to complete the purchase in the "coming weeks". Finsch would more than double Petra's annual carat production and increase the group resource base to over 300 million carats valued at circa US$56.5 billion rand.

He said that the growth profile remained firmly on tracks to deliver five million carats by 2019.

"With the closure of the Finsch acquisition expected in the coming weeks, the company remains on track to more than double production in the 2012 financial year, and is targeting four million carats in the 2014 financial year and over five million carats by 2019."

The chief executive said that the group's intended move from AIM (Alternative Investment Market) to the London Stock Exchange's Main Market by the end of the calendar year was on track, certainly before December.

In remarking on the results, Dippenaar said: "Petra has once again recorded significant growth in revenue, reflecting the health of the rough diamond market. Whilst production was relatively flat for the Period, we will see a further step-change in output for the 2012 financial year as the Finsch acquisition is expected to complete shortly.

Given the outlook for the diamond industry, where demand is forecast by most industry commentators and major producers to outpace supply, Petra's exceptional growth profile will ensure the group is in a strong position to capitalise on these very robust fundamentals," he said.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Diamond market reopens after blast

Traders may shift to new diamond bourse in a year

Nearly five days after Wednesday's triple blasts here, the diamond market resumed functioning on Monday after the police opened the blast-hit road which had been cordoned off immediately after one of the bombs exploded near Opera House here on Wednesday evening.

A walk through the always-crowded road indicated two differences post-blast: no two-wheelers were seen parked on the sides of the road, the small vendors were missing in action.

“Madam, please look at the camera,” a receptionist sitting at the entrance of Pancharatna building, one of the many buildings which houses diamond merchants' offices, told me. Jutting one hand out of her small wooden cabin, she pointed towards a small camera and turned it towards me. The other hand continued entering the details of my identity card in her database. The security had been beefed up after the blast.

“This was always there, but the entry in the database was not so strictly followed,” a diamond trader said. “From now on only those persons will be given entry in the building who have some valid identification or who have offices there or who are the members of the association,” Arvind Shah, Mumbai Diamond Merchants' Association Secretary told The Hindu on Monday.

He said that the security measures on the roads aligning the diamond merchants' offices needed upgrading. “It is the police who are not doing their work well. Parking should not be allowed in these lanes, the small vendors should be obstructed from coming. We have now decided to install many more CCTV cameras in the area,” he said.

Rs. 900-crore loss

Mumbai diamond market is one of the largest diamond markets. The estimated loss arising from the three days last week when the market was closed is pegged at around Rs.900 crore. “The daily business is around Rs.300 crore. So you calculate how much loss the market suffered when it was closed for three days,” Mr. Arvind said.

Though the market was said to have completely opened on Monday, business was not as usual. “Many have opened their offices for the first time after the blasts. They are still cleaning the offices, taking stock of their losses. But both the safety vaults have opened today,” Maneesh Shah, a diamond broker, said.

“It will take some more days before normal trading activities resume,” he said. Merchants said that around 20-25 per cent of the market started functioning on Monday.

But the fear of security still looms large. Many of the diamond merchants are now seriously considering shifting their offices to the Bharat Diamond Bourse at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), nearly 15 km from the current location.

“This place is chock-a-block full. We are scared for our security. This place has too many entry and exit points. What all will the police or the security secure?” Rajendra Shah, another diamond trader said.

“Many traders will shift there this Diwali,” Mr. Arvind said. “Within one year, we will all shift there.”

But many diamond brokers and members of the association were sceptical about it. “There are 4,000 offices here. The Bharat Diamond Bourse has only 2,200 offices. What will happen to the rest of the merchants?” wondered Rajendra Shah, who has been a diamond merchant for more than 20 years.

“Very risky”

That does not seem to be the only problem. Even security is an issue — not of the bourse, but of the access road towards the bourse. “The approach road and the area is so lonely! We carry so much risk on ourselves [referring to diamonds]. It is very risky to go in that area,” Shailendra Seth, a diamond broker, said. His family members too expressed apprehensions about shifting there.

“But eventually, if the big traders shift there, we will have to move with them,” Mr. Maneesh said.

Mr. Rajendra pointed out that the security inside the bourse was impeccable. “Once you go in, you don't have to come out for anything. The security vaults are inside, there is bank, courier. They check your identification to let you in. Once you are in, you don't need to bother about anything. That is not the case here. We have to go to various places for one deal. Risk utna badhta hai na! [The risk increases so much]. The government should make infrastructure and transport available there, so that commuting does not remain that risky.

But there is lot of scepticism surrounding the BKC premises. “This project was started in 1992. The possession was to be handed over in 1996. Ask those who constructed the bourse, what took them so long? 85 per cent of the work was over by 1997. Why did it take 14 more years to complete the rest of the 15 per cent work? They have been extending the time of the project and the costs have escalated tremendously. Even the quality of the work is not that good there,” a member of the association said on the condition of anonymity. He himself owns an office there and said he was unhappy about the state of affairs.

After the blasts, there were talks of whether some of the diamond merchants may think of shifting to Surat, another diamond hub, in Gujarat.

“Trade will not shift”

But Hardik Hundiya, a diamond expert, said that though there were lot of risks here, the diamond trade would not shift out of Mumbai. “There were talks that it may shift to Surat. But Mumbai is very well-connected. It is a central location with very good facilities and infrastructure. If a big buyer has to come, there is good flight connectivity to Mumbai, the hotels here are good. The trade will not shift out of the city,” he said.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Winston reports second-quarter production up from year ago

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (TSX:HW) said Thursday that second-quarter diamond production at its Diavik mine was up from a year ago, helped by an increase in the grade of the ore processed.

The diamond miner and retailer said it produced 1.79 million carats of diamonds from 500,000 tonnes of ore processed in the second quarter of 2011.

The results represented an 11 per cent increase in the number of carats produced and a four per cent increase in ore processed compared with the same period a year ago.

Harry Winston noted the Company will hold three rough diamond sales in its second quarter which ends July 31 and said that sales in both May and June saw price increases.

Diavik produced 3.14 million carats from 1 million tonnes of ore processed in the first six months of 2011.

Harry Winston said it expects the mine to produce 6.9 million carats this year as production in the second half of the year is forecast to be higher than the first half of the year.

Desjardins analyst John Hughes, who reiterated his $12-price target and "sell" rating on the stock, called the production results positive for the company.

"We maintain our view that Harry Winston remains expensive," Hughes wrote in a note to clients.

Harry Winston holds a 40 per cent stake in the Diavik mine as well as retail stores around the world.

Shares in the company were down 19 cents at $16.17 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

Billions of dollars of diamonds

Shore Gold’s feasibility study issued

PRINCE ALBERT — Shore Gold Inc., which is exploring for diamonds in the Fort a la Corne are east of Prince Albert, issued it’s feasibility study Thursday for the combined Star — Orion South kimberlites.

The study shows a net present value (NPV) of $2.1 billion (using a 7 per cent discount rate) for an internal rate of return (IRR) of 16 per cent before taxes and royalties and an after-taxes and royalties NPV of $1.3 billion with an IRR of 14 per cent.

Pre-production capital cost is estimated at $1.9 billion with a total capital cost of $2.5 billion (including direct, indirect costs and contingency) over the life of mine and an initial capital cost payback period of 5.3 years.

The project timeline assumes that a detailed design planned to commence in second half of 2011, permitting activities to support a third-quarter, 2012 construction start, SaskPower supply to the site in the fourth quarter of 2013 and processing plant commissioning about four years after acquiring the necessary permits to proceed with construction.

The Star — Orion South kimberlites include the 100 percent Shore owned Star Diamond Project, as well as Star West and the Orion South Kimberlite, which fall within the adjacent Fort à la Corne Joint Venture among Shore Gold Newmont Mining Corporation of Canada Limited.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diamond centre bleeds

Nine people were killed and more than 50 injured on Wednesday by a bomb that exploded in the evening outside Pancharatna Towers, authorities of a hospital said. The 24-storey building in the densely populated Opera House area of south Mumbai is the hub of diamond trading in the

Eyewitnesses said the explosion took place between 6:30 pm and 6:50 pm, when traders in the area are usually leaving for home or are returning to the office to lock up the day’s unsold diamonds. The blast took place outside the building’s back entrance, which leads directly to a short-cut to Charni Road station, the closest station to the area, a route that many traders use.

“The explosion shattered the window panes and sent the diamonds on my weighing tray flying,” said Chirag Vora, 36, who has a direct view of Pancharatna’s back entrance from his office room on the first floor of the adjacent building.

“The glass pieces cut into my right hand and it began bleeding. I then rushed down and saw smoke and bodies strewn on the ground. I have been working in Opera House for 20 years now. I was stunned. I have never seen such shock and panic among people here as I did today.”

At Hurkisondas hospital in Girgaum nearby, Chinkle Shah, a diamond broker, said he had used the camera on his mobile phone to videotape the blast site. Shah, who had brought several of those injured at Opera House to the hospital, replayed the clip, which showed several bodies lying in a pool of blood.

“Most people had lost their lower limbs and were injured in their stomach and abdomen,” said Shah.

Kumar Kothari, 35, a diamond broker, received injuries on his head, arms and legs from glass shards that flew into him when the windowpanes of a jewellery shop shattered from the impact of the blast.

A few hours after the blast, people were still milling around Opera House. “We have been regularly complaining about the various illegal food stalls in this area,” said a diamond trader who did not wish to be named. “If the civic authorities had done something about these illegal stalls, perhaps this would not have happened today.”

The mayor Shraddha Jadhav and the Congress Maharashtra President, Manikrao Thakre, visited Saifee Hospital.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Diamond exports soared 82 percent in May

Botswana has exported P12 billion ($1.8 billion) worth of rough and polished diamonds in the first five months of the year, according to statistics released by the Bank of Botswana (BoB).

The central bank's Financial Statistics Report for May 2011 indicates that Botswana exported US$464.1 million (P2.96 billion) worth of rough and polished diamonds during the month. The exports were 82 percent higher than the US$255.1 million (P1.6 bn) exported in the same month last year and 123.4 percent higher than April 2011's exports valued at US$207.7 million (P1.3 bn).

The bank's figures are sourced from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), and two of the 16 diamond manufacturers operating in the country. This year's diamond export revenues are likely to surpass last year's as both production and prices have been on the upswing after recovering from the 2009 freefall.

Botswana exported P20.81 billion in diamonds last year, representing an all-time high in Pula terms and signifying the industry's strong rebound from a collapse lasting approximately 15 months. In US dollar terms, Botswana exported US$3.01 billion (P19.2 bn) in diamonds for 2010.

At P20.79 billion, exports in 2008 come closest to last year's performance, with previous Pula term values ranging from P17 billion in 2005 to P20.48 billion in 2007. But in US dollar terms, last year's exports are overtaken by annual figures between 2005 and 2008, with 2006 being the highest at US$3.41 billion (P21.78 bn).

Rough diamond exports comprise mainly stock produced by Debswana, while, since last November, exports from Firestone's first independent tender in the country have also contributed to the total.After having produced 23 million carats in 2010, Debswana Diamond Company plans to cap production at around 30 million next year up from 27 million carats in 2011.

Debswana, which is jointly owned by De Beers and the Botswana government, reached peak production in 2006 at 34 million carats before producing 33 million carats in 2007 and 32 million carats in 2008 before cutting output to 17.7 million carats in 2009 due to the global economic downturn. Firestone, on the other hand, has held two tenders, which have received significant interest among international buyers.

Blue Nile Launches New Diamond and Jewelry Mobile Shopping App

Customers Can Now Shop Blue Nile's Full Jewelry Line and Purchase in Local Currency From More Than 40 Countries

Blue Nile, Inc. NILE -3.30% , the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, announced today the launch of its new mobile shopping app available in Apple's App Store. The new app has been updated to provide a more robust shopping experience, including an enhanced engagement ring shopping platform, and access to the company's full jewelry line. In addition, consumers from the more than 40 countries to which Blue Nile ships can purchase in their local currency directly through the app's shopping cart.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

"More than 200,000 consumers from around the world already use Blue Nile's original app for iPhone to comparison shop for the perfect diamond engagement ring," said Blue Nile CEO Diane Irvine. "Our new app enhances that mobile shopping experience by giving consumers greater engagement ring visualization and the ability to purchase from Blue Nile's extensive fine jewelry collection."


The updated engagement rings section now enables shopping according to seven different styles of rings, including classic, vintage, gemstone, sidestone, three-stone, the popular Halo settings, and our newest engagement ring designs. This greater level of guidance, as well as the enhanced visualization, makes it even easier for consumers to find their perfect engagement ring.

Also new to the app is the ability to shop thousands of products instantaneously. Blue Nile's full line of bracelets, necklaces, pendants, and earrings are now available for purchase on the app. Alternately, consumers can choose to shop by product type, such as diamonds, gemstones, and pearls. Consumers can further refine shopping results by filtering according to popularity, customer rating, and price. For those consumers who need a bit more guidance, Blue Nile's "Top-10" lists of the Company's bestselling products, as well as gift recommendations are also available.

International Shopping, Shipping, and Currency Selection

Customers from the more than 40 countries to which Blue Nile ships can now shop in their local currency. Items to be purchased are added to the shopping basket, and the consumer simply selects the appropriate currency and ship-to country. Those customers whose jobs require frequent international travel will find this feature especially useful, as the app makes it possible to purchase while traveling on business and ship to their home country for arrival upon return.

Dream Box

One of the most popular features of the original app, the Dream Box contains thousands of one-of-a-kind rings created by Blue Nile's expert jewelry craftsmen. For those consumers seeking inspiration for their engagement ring purchase, or for those just doing a little dreaming, a simple shake of their device will reveal a photo of a custom crafted Blue Nile diamond engagement ring.

App users can view each ring's setting details, including metal type, number of diamonds, and price. They can also view diamonds with characteristics similar to the ring's center stone. Rings can also be saved, emailed, and even shared on Facebook as a subtle hint to that special someone.

Diamond Search

Blue Nile's interactive Diamond Search enables consumers to shop and research more than 70,000 diamonds according to the Four Cs -- cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, as well as price. Detailed information, including diamond grading reports from either the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or American Gem Society Labs (AGSL), can be viewed for each diamond. In addition, the app allows consumers to review each diamond's specifications for:

-- Table and depth percentages
-- Length to width ratio
-- Polish and symmetry
-- Girdle
-- Culet
-- Fluorescence
-- Price per carat

Diamond Search is especially powerful for helping consumers to comparison shop for diamonds in real time.


Blue Nile is known for providing extensive education information to make the diamond-shopping process transparent and empowering. Now, these in-depth diamond education guides are available instantly to consumers via the app. Consumers can quickly understand what diamond characteristics are important and why, and use this information to make tradeoffs to find the perfect diamond according to their criteria and budget.

Free Shipping, 24-7 Customer Service

Every Blue Nile purchase ships absolutely free via FedEx Priority Overnight(R) or FedEx2Day(R). For those consumers who need expert guidance to make their fine jewelry purchase, Blue Nile Diamond & Jewelry Consultants can be reached at the touch of a finger from the app, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

The Blue Nile Mobile App is available for free from Apple's App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch at .

About Blue Nile, Inc.

Blue Nile, Inc. is the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. The Company delivers the ultimate customer experience, providing consumers with a superior way to buy engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewelry. Blue Nile offers in-depth educational materials and unique online tools that place consumers in control of the jewelry shopping process. The Company has some of the highest quality standards in the industry and offers thousands of independently certified diamonds and fine jewelry at prices significantly below traditional retail. Blue Nile can be found online at , and . Blue Nile's shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC under the symbol NILE.

SOURCE: Blue Nile, Inc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Diamond smugglers hide behind language barrier

Interrogating the two African nationals caught on Friday with diamonds worth Rs 92 lakh turned out to be quite a task for the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), as the duo only speaks Portuguese, and a bit of French. The DRI had intercepted Maria Juana and Sow Dianguena with 1795.5 carats and 1629.5 carats diamonds respectively after they arrived from Rwanda at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Friday. While Juana is an Angolian, Dianguena is a Congo national.

“We have now got an interpreter to help us grill the two,” said a senior DRI official requesting anonymity. He added that only after sustained interrogation would the agency get clues on who the blood diamonds were smuggled for.

The DRI believe that the buyer could be a diamond trader, though it will be difficult to trace him down. “There are usually three to four conduits between the smuggler and the end buyer,” the official said.

Sources said that blood diamonds find ready buyers in Mumbai, as many traders involved in processing and manufacturing rough diamonds don’t insist on the Kimberley Process (KP) certificate, which is mandatory for rough diamonds to be imported.

“However, there are traders who go for blood diamonds as they come cheaper than officially imported diamonds,” a trader at Opera House, Mumbai’s largest diamond processing hub, said.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

India to Ban Diamond Imports from Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean Marange diamond alluvial mines had experienced a recent setback in their global import of diamonds following India’s Gem and jewelry Export Promotion Council’s decision to ban all imports coming from the mine.
Last Wednesday, the Surat based council in charge of regulating India’s diamond, precious gemstone and jewelry exports and imports announced that alarming reports of human rights being abused in the Marange diamond mine area prompted the council to ban all of the mine’s diamond and precious gemstone imports to the country for an undisclosed period of time. In fact, the Zimbabwean Marange diamond alluvial mines have been suspect since 2009 when reports of human right violations began reaching the KP council.

Reports of human rights violations, of conflicts with the Kimberley Process, are taken very seriously by global diamond and precious gemstone conglomerates such as the Indian Gem and jewelry Export Promotion Council. Consequently, this is neither the first time nor will this be the last time that diamond imports from Zimbabwe have been or will be banned by global gemstone councils, manufacturers and distributors.

The Kimberley Process was introduced for this very purpose, to make the entire process of exporting and importing diamonds and precious gemstones as transparent as possible, ensuring that globally traded precious gemstones are conflict free, meaning that no human rights were violated during the mining process of these gemstone. The KP strives to shed light on the origin of each and every diamond or precious gemstone that is globally traded.

The Kimberley Process is largely supported by most of the major global diamond exporters and importers boasting a membership of seventy five countries with forty nine delegates present during the KP’s annual proceedings.
Diamond and precious gemstone exports from the Marange mine were discussed in last month’s Kimberley Process proceedings, wherein opposition to exports from the mine were reported by the United States, Australia, Canada and the European Union. Allegedly, the Indian GJEPC was swayed following these influential diamond distributors decision to ban the mine’s exports and has instated its own ban.

The GJEPC’s ban on the mine’s diamond exports is a definite financial setback for the reigning Harare regime and will reportedly cost the regime losses of approximately a hundred million dollars a month in diamond and precious gemstone sales.

Two Africans held for smuggling diamonds

Two African nationals, including a woman, were arrested at the international airport here for trying to smuggle in diamonds worth Rs 92 lakh in their private parts, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials said today. They were arrested by DRI yesterday while coming out of the international airport.

A local court remanded them to judicial custody for 14 days. According to DRI sources, they had received a tip-off that two foreign nationals, would be landing in the city on Friday evening, carrying diamonds with them. Acting on this tip-off the DRI officials increased the surveillance at the airport and intercepted the two. "We found that this couple - Congo national Sow Bian Guena and Angolan national Maria Juana - were coming in a suspicious way. They had crossed the green channel of the airport and were about to leave the airport," DRI official said.

Accordingly, Sow and Maria were intercepted and were detained on Friday by the DRI sleuths. On questioning, Sow and Maria initially denied smuggling diamonds. However, Maria broke down, when the questioning became intense. "Maria told that Sow was carrying 1629.5 carats diamonds in his rectum, while she was carrying 1795.5 carats of diamond in her private parts," said the source adding that Maria only broke down when the DRI sleuths asked if they were carrying diamonds inside their bodies.

The DRI sleuths said that Sow and Maria were travelling from Rwanda to Mumbai.

"Maria told us that they were promised $1000 to deliver the diamonds to a person in the city," said DRI sources. They said that their biggest challenge would be to trace the person in the city, who was to receive the diamonds. Maria also told the officials that she did not know about the buyer. "Though Maria has given many details, Sow has not spoken anything till now," said the DRI source.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Commodities: Markets balk at sparkling diamond prices

Diamond prices continue to soar, with rough prices up 27pc in 2010 to levels higher than before the crisis. Prices have continued to rise this year, but high prices may now be putting buyers off.

Anecdotal evidence of this "demand destruction" has started to emerge. On Thursday, sector observer Rapaport noted that, although demand is still strong, caution had entered some markets.

"Far East markets are strong and likely to remain so, but a recent Hong Kong show failed to meet supplier expectations with reports that buyers are resisting higher prices," Rapaport said.

The organisation also noted that some caution had entered the Indian market, as buyers of polished stones were adjusting slowly to rising asking prices – and it noted that the Chinese wholesale market had "slowed slightly".

The recently released Cap Gemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report 2011 suggested that rising numbers of the super-rich in the Middle East were responsible for the steep bounce in diamond prices over the last year.

Out of total global sales, Middle Eastern buyers accounted for 29pc of sales of jewellery, gems and watches by high net worth individuals (HNWI) in 2010.

"Record prices for diamonds at international auctions in 2010 exemplified the growing trend among the world's HNWIs to see large diamonds as a safe and high-growth investment alternative," the report said. "Current demand at the highest end of the market appears to be largely from Russia and the Middle East, but demand from Chinese and other Asia-Pacific investors is also growing fast," it added.

Diamonds are seen as easy ways to transport wealth as they are small and valuable.

This trend makes sense as a high proportion of the increase in HNWI between 2007 and 2010 was in the Middle East. The number of super rich in the region increased by 10.4pc, the Wealth Report said, with only Africa seeing larger growth, at 11.1pc over the three years.

The number of super rich grew by 8.6pc in the US over the period and by 6.3pc in Europe.

However, although sharp rises in prices may be causing some of the world's HNWI to think twice about splashing out, there is no doubt that prices are likely to remain high for some time – or even reach much higher levels.

The supply side remains very tight. According to research by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the global supply of rough diamonds has been falling since 2006, reflecting the ageing of some of the world's larger mines and a lack of significant new production being ramped up.

"In part the scarcity of new projects reflects an oversupply of diamonds in the 1990s, which discouraged exploration, and the recent global financial crisis which saw recovering exploration budgets cut sharply, with the result that even the majors have been trimming exploration spending," Des Kilalea of RBC said. "De Beers, for example, used to spend around $100m-$150m (£62m-£93m) annually on exploration and development and now spends less than a third of that, with $43.3m in 2010 on programmes in Angola, Botswana, Canada, India and South Africa," he noted.

Demand for diamonds is likely to continue to strengthen, fuelled by the gentrification of Asia and rising wealth in the Middle East. Traditional markets such as the US and UK will also recover.

According to estimates from De Beers, there was a significant change in the diamond market between 2000 and 2010.

At the turn of the century, the US market accounted for 48pc of diamond jewellery sales, but this fell to 38pc by 2010. India accounted for a statistically insignificant proportion of sales in 2000 – but by 2010 it was consuming 10pc of sales.

RBC expects that China will represent about 20pc of the global market within the next five to seven years, up from 11pc in 2010. According to De Beers, India's demand for diamond jewellery grew 31pc last year and China's grew by 25pc.

So, although there may be fears that high prices will crimp demand, the outlook for diamond producers globally looks pretty sparkling.

Copper shines again after Greece accepts austerity programme

Commodities flourished across the board in the middle of last week, as the Greek vote in favour of austerity measures put riskier assets back in fashion.

"The 'yes' Greek vote brought sighs of relief and reinvigorated risk on market sentiment across various asset classes. The vote took the wind out of safe-haven precious metals, but was broadly good for industrial metals," said Nick Moore of RBS.

Base metals were the biggest winners, with experts saying copper and aluminium ought to see price rises this year. Copper gained 3pc after the Greek vote and is now $9,400 a tonne.

"Now that the worst of the uncertainty surrounding Greece has been dispelled, market players should start to concentrate on fundamental data again.

"Copper still has the best fundamentals of all metals, and we see the price remaining well supported," according to analysts from Commerzbank.

However, poor manufacturing data from China brought a pause to the rally in base metals on Friday.

The weak dollar, which makes commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies, provided some support. But the figures showing China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for June falling to 50.9 from 52 in May dampened the week's early optimism.
Oil price analysis

The oil price has been volatile since the International Energy Agency said it would release 60m barrels of emergency reserves to the market.

The price of Brent crude fell from $114 to $108 after the move, intended to dampen prices. It subsequently swung back up to $112 and then fell $2 on Friday to just under $110 per barrel.

Analysts said the sharp fall in US stocks was a key reason why the oil price ended the week higher.