Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Diamond prices in Q4 2010 'back at 2008 records'

In the fourth quarter of 2010, diamond prices reached the record levels last seen in 2008, according to alluvial miner Rockwell Diamonds.

"Both rough and polished diamonds prices improved during the 2010 calendar year, with prices enjoying support from strong retail demand for diamonds in the second half of 2010," said Rockwell in its full-year results on Tuesday.

Rockwell's financial position showed substantial improvements during the year, but its operational performance fell short of internal production targets.

Operating profit of CA$4.0 million was reported for the year ending in February, a turnaround of CA$7.5 million from a CA$3.6 million operating loss in 2010.

Revenue increased 43% year on year to CA$42.5 million with an average price increase of 35% to US$1,365 per carat and 2% rise in sales to 27,017 carats.

Production increased 5% to 26,165 carats.

Cash generated by operating activities came to CA$8.9 million from CA$110,694 consumed in fiscal 2010 and the company's net cash balance increased to CA$2.9 million from CA$1.8 million.

A loss of CA$5.1 million or CA$0.01 per share was posted for the year, compared with a loss of CA$7.0 million or CA$0.03 per share in the year before.

This improvement is mainly attributable to the higher average diamond price.

Diamond inventories at the end of February totalled 1,057 carats, slightly below the 1,910 carats at the end of February 2010.

"During the past six months, Rockwell has made enormous progress in repositioning itself to ramp up its production profile," said chairman David Copeland.

"Earlier this year, we completed a thorough strategic review to map the way forward for our company. Our focus is on implementing this strategy to unlock the inherent value in the company," said Copeland, adding that it would do this by optimising output from producing assets to continue improving the company's financial performance.

He said the company would also leverage its assets by developing high volume production plants on its dormant mines.

In order to fund these developments, the company will seek additional financing in the capital markets.

Looking ahead, Copeland said the outlook for Rockwell Diamonds was underpinned by strong fundamentals in the diamond market.

"With ongoing operational improvements to enhance the recovery of diamonds, reductions in operating costs, and the increasing prices and demand for diamonds, the positive trend of the company's financial performance over the past four quarters should be sustainable in fiscal 2012," Rockwell said.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Diamond Bourse Federation Urges Kimberley Consensus on Zimbabwe Stones

Researcher Farai Maguwu Harare should not be given a green light to sell Marange diamonds into given numerous outstanding questions about the development of Marange and ongoing human rights abuses

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has called on members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to resolve internal disagreements as to whether Zimbabwe should be allowed to export stones from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond field, saying a continued deadlock is causing irreparable damage to the global industry.

In a statement, Federation President Avi Paz said Kimberley members must “take the essential and courageous decision to allow Zimbabwe to export rough diamonds from all diamond mining areas in the country, including Marange.”

He said the Kimberley Process has failed to end a longstanding impasse over diamonds from Marange and therefore bears responsibility for reputational damage to the diamond industry and for much of the economic hardship facing Zimbabweans today.

"The KP, due to the deadlock in its decision-making process and its experts ensuing indecision to allow rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe to resume, is about to cause irreparable damage throughout the entire to supply pipeline of our industry and trade, and threatens the livelihood of literally millions of people throughout the international diamond and jewelry sector " Paz declared in the statement.

"In addition, if the KP remains indecisive on (Zimbabwe diamonds), there is a real danger that the relevance of the KP itself will be at stake."

The tangled Marange question is to be taken up at a Kimberley process meeting in June. Paz says that in the meantime his federation is telling members not to trade in stones from Marange so long as the Kimberley Process has not given approval.

Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that Zimbabwe has fully complied with Kimberley requirements and should be allowed to sell its diamonds so that it can increase pay for struggling civil servants.

Executive Director Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development said that while he agrees Kimberley is in disarray, Harare should not be given a green light to sell diamonds into the world market given numerous outstanding questions about the development of the Marange field and ongoing human rights abuses.

Dirty secret of the world's diamond capital

This is where diamonds come from. In the hot, noisy and narrow streets of Surat, on India's west coast, men - and it is only men - sit down in bare feet to trade the world's diamonds.

For all of the reputation of the European diamond-trading houses, this dusty industrial city is the diamond capital of the world. Ninety-five per cent of the world's diamonds are exported from India, the country's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council says.

Tourists are assaulted with the boast that of every 12 finished diamonds in the world, 11 of them were cut and polished in India, the vast majority in Surat.

Australia is a significant consumer. Last year, India exported about $US280 million in cut and polished diamonds to Australia, about 1 per cent of the country's total diamond exports.

In Surat the men sit on cushions at low white tables, or with their blue felt tables on their laps. The stones, wrapped in paper, are pulled from pouches hidden within shirts and laid before them.

With practised eyes the traders assess the maal, or product, bargaining rapidly in the local language, Gujarati. Prices are negotiated through a few quick taps on a calculator, agreed with a nod of the head.

Few questions are asked. Certainly, there is no discussion about the stones' provenance.

The transactions are quick, but there is growing concern they may also be dirty. Against industry denials there is any problem, evidence is mounting that conflict - or blood - diamonds are being smuggled into India and laundered here.

Last month two men were arrested carrying a massive cache, 9.72 kilograms, of conflict diamonds smuggled from Zimbabwe through Nairobi. They were looking for a buyer in Surat through whom the stones could be laundered, cut and polished so they came out clean. Rough, the stones were worth more than $US2.24 million, the finished product many times more.

The issue of conflict diamonds is not new. In the late 1990s it was revealed the profits made from diamond mines across Africa were being used by rebel armies to buy weapons and to fund their insurgencies.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

De Beers unaware of ‘expert’ panel

Diamond mining giant De Beers said it has not yet been approached for a comment and is therefore unaware of an ‘expert’panel set up by the Zimbabwean government to probe alleged looting of diamonds by the company.

Zimbabwe's Mines Ministry announced at the beginning of this month that an ‘expert’ panel had been set up to investigate the alleged diamond fraud committed by De Beers when it held prospecting rights in Marange prior to 2006.

Harare said it would take De Beers to court if the report by its panel confirmed their suspicions. However, De Beers spokesperson Lynette Gould said this week: ‘We are not aware of any such 'expert' panel nor have we been approached to comment.’

She said her company had nothing to hide and was confident it would be cleared of any wrongdoing by the panel when the investigation commences.

‘We are confident that should such a panel be convened that they would find absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of De Beers. By way of background, De Beers was prospecting in Zimbabwe for around 10 years until it departed in 2006. It carried out prospecting in the Marange area for only two years, all of which is recorded by the relevant authorities,’ Gould added.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire say the South African diamond giant took rough stones from Marange but never declared their value to the state.

The government officials argue that De Beers allegedly told Harare that it was looking for Kimberlite pipe diamonds that required deeper digging than alluvial diamonds. This raised questions as to how De Beers could have missed stones that artisanal miners extracted with hoes and hands.

Gould insisted that De Beers' business model was based on exploring for primary deposits. ‘Marange is a secondary or alluvial deposit and we thus concluded that it was not appropriate for our portfolio,’ she said.

Political analysts have said the move by the Zimbabwean government was an attempt to divert attention from alleged looting of diamonds from the controversial Marange field by shadowy firms working in partnership with senior Zanu (PF) officials.

Human rights organizations have alleged serious abuses by Zimbabwean military units in control of Marange, and others say millions of diamonds are being smuggled out to the enrichment of a clique with close ties to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party.

Surat diamond co to hold online auction of roughs

In what could help in easing shortage of rough diamonds to a certain extent, a Surat-based diamond company plans to hold an online auction of roughs in June.

Arjav Diamonds, a part of Blue Star Diamonds, one of the largest diamond companies in the world, plans to sell rough diamonds through online auction to diamond cutting firms in Surat and Mumbai. Blue Star is a DTC sightholder and sources roughs from various miners.

The company will hold the auction online on www.arjavbids.com, the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.

"Rough diamonds worth Rs100 crore will be put up for the online auction. The auction is exclusively for diamond units in Surat and Mumbai. Companies wanting to take part in the auction have to register with us," said Ashit Mehta, chairman, Blue Star Diamonds.

KP certified diamonds, sourced from different miners and countries, and priced from US $ 1000 - $ 20,000 per carat will be on sale during the auction. Companies wanting to take part in the auction have to register themselves from May 30 to June 7. The can physically examine the roughs from June 1 to 7, while the auction will take place on June 9.

"We are expecting over 200 small, medium and large-sized diamond companies to take part in the auction, and have received confirmation from many of them," Mehta said. Mehta said that holding similar online auctions in the future was also an option, but it would depend on the response to the first auction.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

48-Carat Diamond Ring May Fetch $3.5 Million at Auction

Two diamond rings will lead Christie’s Important Jewels sale to be held June 14 at the international auction house’s New York location.

The first is a ring set with a 46.51-ct. oval-cut diamond, flanked on either side by a pear-shaped diamond, weighing approximately 1 and 1.01 cts., mounted in platinum (pictured above). The oval cut diamond is graded as E color with VVS2 clarity. The two pear shaped diamonds have been graded as D color, VS1 and VS2 clarity, respectively. The presale estimate is $2.5 to $3.5 million.

The second ring being sold at Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza location is set with a pear-shaped diamond weighing 10-ct., flanked on either side by a pear-shaped diamond, each weighing approximately 1.02 cts., mounted in platinum. The pear-shaped diamond is graded as D color, internally flawless clarity and the two side diamonds are graded as D color and internally flawless. The presale estimate is $1.1 million to $1.5 million.

The auction of 125 lots will also feature a number of statement jewels from the top jewelry houses, including multiple pieces from Cartier and Tiffany. Among the items is a diamond, sapphire and emerald “Panther” ring by Cartier. Designed as a pavé-set diamond panther, the ring is set with cabochon sapphire spots, pear-shaped emerald eyes and a black enamel nose with a cushion-cut sapphire, mounted in platinum on the tip of the tail. Its estimate is $20,000 to $30,000.

Alrosa discloses profits, claims status as largest holder of diamonds

Russia’s secretive state-owned diamond giant Alrosa disclosed its reserves and profits for the first time yesterday in its latest effort to improve transparency ahead of a public listing.

Alrosa said its diamond reserves of 1.28 billion carats had made it the world’s largest holder of the precious stones.

“Our estimates give us reason to believe that Russia has the world’s largest reserves,” Finmarket quoted Alrosa chief executive Fyodor Andreyev as saying. “At current extraction rates, the company’s reserves will last more than 40 years.”

Most of the group is held by the Russian state or the government of the diamond-rich Sakha region of Siberia.

Alrosa hopes to list shares at the end of the next year to erase debts and invest in new mining deposits. But the plan has been delayed as the firm is still viewed as a strategic asset.

Alrosa painted a surprisingly bleak financial picture that contrasted soaring reserves with crushing debts that have been helped only partially by a booming diamond market.

Alrosa posted 2010 net profit of 11.8 billion roubles (R2.9bn) and short-term debt of 12.9 billion roubles. Net debt stood at 97.8 billion roubles, down 13 percent from a year earlier.

Analysts attributed the drop to a eurobond placement that generated $1bn (R7bn) and said the group did not plan to tap foreign capital markets again this year.

The firm’s 2010 production figure of 34.3 million carats of diamonds placed it slightly ahead of De Beers.

Renaissance Capital said 64 percent of Alrosa’s 2010 sales, which rose 45 percent, came from exports that fetched far higher prices than the diamonds on the Russian market.

Alrosa forecast an extended stretch of spiking global prices on top of a 26 percent jump in the first quarter of this year.

Asian demand had created a $16bn diamond market for an annual supply base worth about $12bn.

“The trends… in India and China are blowing everything away. The vendors in Europe… are sending everything directly to India,” Andreyev said.

Renaissance Capital said Alrosa was preparing an independent review of its reserves.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New record at Christie's with 56-carat heart-shaped diamond

A 56-carat heart-shaped diamond which sold for more than $10 million has become the most expensive heart-shaped diamond ever sold at auction by Christie's in Switzerland.

The heart-shaped D colour, internally flawless, type IIa diamond weighing 56.15 carats sold for $10,946,422, becoming a world auction record for any heart-shaped diamond.

The previous record for a heart-shaped diamond was held by the Heart of the Desert diamond, a heart-shaped D, internally flawless, diamond weighing 64.42 carats, sold in November 1994 at Sotheby’s Geneva for $5,248,846.

Meanwhile, a cushion-cut Burmese sapphire of 130.50 carats sold for $7,122,742, achieving a new world record price for a sapphire at auction. The previous record for a sapphire was a cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire ring of 42.48 carats sold in November 2008 at Christie's Geneva for $3,475,210.

The third-highest selling item was a rectangular-cut fancy intense blue, IF diamond of 6.60 carats, which sold for $5,465,814, or $828,000 per carat.

The sale of magnificent jewels in Geneva achieved a total of more than $78 million, the highest result for any jewellery auction ever held by the auctioneer.

François Curiel, President of Christie's Switzerland, said: “The jewellery sale in Geneva was marked by strong bidding with moments of passionate enthusiasm, exemplified by an antique Imperial Mughal spinel necklace realisinghttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif more than $5 million. While the ‘blue chip’ diamonds and coloured diamonds were in great demand, a 130-carat Burmese sapphire stole the show at $7.1 million. Forty-two years after our first sale in Switzerland, Geneva remains a vital, specialised auction centre in today’s global market.”

Source: Facets

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

100 Carat Yellow Diamond Displayed at GIA

A cushion cut 100.67 ct. fancy intense yellow diamond, dubbed the Steinmetz “Sunrise,” along with http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif30 pieces by jewelry designer Wallace Chan will be on display at GIA Symposium 2011: Advancing the Science and Business of Gems in Carlsbad, Calif., May 29–30.

The Steinmetz Sunrise diamond will be on display for three days at the GIA Museum and the nearly 1,000 other gems, jewelry, and sculptures including Chan’s, will remain on exhibit through the fall.

The exhibit will also feature a 111 ct. Burmese star sapphire courtesy of Symposium poster presenter Benjamin Zucker. More than 15 sculptures by Perry Brent Davis, featuring influences of art deco, abstract, and surrealism, will also be on display.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Namibian Govt Wants More 'Goodwill' From Diamond Manufacturers

Namibian Govt has told the local diamond industry to pull up its socks and increase manufacturing in Namibia, as well as to look better after its employees.

"We expect more goodwill from the manufacturing sector," Mines and Energy permanent secretary, Joseph Iita, delivered the message of his minister, Isak Katali, at the gala dinner of Diamond Manufacturer Association of Namibia (Diaman) on Thursday night.

"We expect factories to cut and polish at least 90 per cent, if not all, of all their rough stones here in Namibia and do less preparation abroad," he said.

Katali said Government realised the industry is still in its infancy and needs a lot of nurturing and support. That is the rationale behind the Ministry not granting any new cutting licences, as it wants to protect the sector against "stiff competition from other established centres around the world where labour is cheap and skills are well developed".

"We believe that we can expand jobs and transfer real skills by taking care of the factories that are now on the ground instead of splitting the cake into many small pieces that in the end would result in many failed businesses and turn our dream of establishing a vibrant centre into a white elephant," he said.

The minister said Government expects the sector "to take better care of your most important asset - the employees".

"We are aware that it is cheaper to manufacture in India and China and elsewhere but we would like to see most of you pay better attention to the plight of your employees - especially with regards to meeting their safety, health, insurance, transport and housing needs," he said.

"We expect you to transfer real and meaningful skills - including the planning and preparation of diamonds - to Namibians.

"We expect you not to poach employees from other factories but to do your part to ensure that you contribute towards developing a critical mass of skills and transferring state-of-the-art technology to Namibia," he said.

Katali also called on the industry to manufacture some of its jewellery locally, to create Namibian brands and to support the already existing jewellers in Namibia.

"Last but not least we expect you to forge true partnerships with Namibians, to be honest and transparent with them and to allow them room to learn the ropes of the marketing and sale of diamonds, both rough and polished, and to share fairly and proportionally in the proceeds from the sale of those diamonds, whilst also re-investing in factories to enhance their competitive edge," Katali said.

Covenant Financial Buying Diamonds as Hedge Against Inflation

Covenant Financial Services LLC, a hedge fund based in Oklahoma City, is betting that demand for precious gemstones in China and the Middle East will boost prices for the assets in three years.

Covenant has been building a collection of “large, rare and highly sought after” stones, including the 77-carat Yellow Rose diamond, to bolster its $275 million of assets, the company said in a statement released today.

The fund has been buying diamonds since November as a hedge against inflation and as an alternative to gold and oil, said Covenant spokesman Will Thompson in Atlanta. Gems account for less than five percent of assets, he said.

“One of the trends we are seeing now is an enormous multi- generational transfer of wealth take place from the West to the East, and moving a small portion of our capital into diamonds is one of the ways we are profiting from this,” Steve Shafer, Covenant’s chief investment officer, said in the statement.

Americans and Europeans are offering diamonds at 50 cents to 60 cents on the dollar in an attempt to preserve businesses or real estate holdings, Shafer said. The fund is buying the stones to keep for one to three years, he said.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Harry Winston looks to buy into diamond projects

Harry Winston, a company that both mines diamonds and sells them in its jewelry stores, is looking to acquire Canadian projects still in the development stage, its CEO said on Friday.

The company is also ramping up its own exploration program, as it looks to find more diamonds to meet booming demand for its signature jewels and watches in China, India and the Middle East.

Harry Winston, which owns a 40 percent stake in Canada's largest diamond mine, is not looking to buy or take a stake in another producing asset. Its focus is on development projects.

"What I'd like to find is something that hasn't yet been started up, but with a recognized resource," Chief Executive Bob Gannicott told Reuters. "Or a resource that we can measure and understand its true value."

"But I'd also be interested in taking on a really good exploration program if I liked what they'd already found," he said, noting that early stage projects are cheaper and carry more risk.

While the company is primarily interested in Canadian opportunities, Gannicott said Botswana and other stable regions in Africa are also on his radar.

"We'd also look at things outside of Canada," he said. "So long as they did not present a threat to the image of the brand."

Harry Winston, named after the jeweler who founded the company in 1932, operates both mining and retail arms.

On the mining side, the company is a joint venture partner with Rio Tinto on the Diavik diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories. The massive sub-Arctic mine is set to produce some 6.9 million carats this year.

Gannicott said that while there was no real limit on price the company would pay in a takeover or the purchase of a stake, the project would have to provide added value.

"We don't want to just buy more diamonds at any price," he said. "We've got to find something that's accretive to what we already own."

Most diamond juniors operating in Canada have market capitalizations of much less than C$500 million. Gannicott said the company, which has about $110 million in cash on hand, could use a share exchange to help fund a deal.

On Thursday, Harry Winston said it had entered a business relationship a group that is establishing a diamond investment fund.

Under the arrangement, Harry Winston will source polish diamonds, which the fund will pay for, and use those diamonds in its jewelry. The agreement does not affect the mining side of the business.


With no new known mega-projects left in the world, analysts say maximum global diamond extraction rates, or "peak diamond," have come and gone, with little chance of another massive discovery to replace aging mines.

But Gannicott isn't so sure.

"It would be kind of arrogant to suggest that there aren't going to be any new discoveries in the future," he said.

Rough diamond prices rose 45 percent in the past year and demand for the sparkling rocks favored by brides-to-be and Hollywood starlets is soaring, said Gannicott, making it essential to find new resources.

"The issue for diamond retailers will actually be getting access in a timely manner for the diamond they need for their business." he said.

To this note, Harry Winston is restarting its exploration program, focusing on land adjacent to the Diavik project. The company is also looking at greenfield opportunities, but Gannicott does not expect it to be easy.

"Diamonds are extremely difficult things to explore for," he said. "That's why they're expensive."

Harry Winston shares rose 3.47 percent to C$16.12 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Shares of the company are up over 30 percent in the last 12 months.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DCLA Celebrates 10 Years

On May 2nd, 2011 The DCLA celebrated ten years in business as one of the world’s leading diamond certification laboratories.

Specialising in diamond certification, cold laser inscription, education and consumer protection, the DCLA has built a global name from the ground up over the past decade. The company opened its facility on the 2 of May 2001 and immediately became the Australian bench mark for ethics and accuracy. Still the only recognised Laboratory grading to the IDC rules, the DCLA continues to lead the way in innovation, diamond certification and detection of treatments and enhancements.

DCLA remains the only laboratory that has tested all diamonds ever certified to be of natural origin and untreated. Subscribing to the belief that a business must keep its brand fresh, the company will continue to innovate and provide exceptional services and protection to the trade and public. We look forward to the next ten years and the challenges that face the natural diamond trade.

Leviev sells 18 percent stake in Angola's Catoca mine

Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev is reported to have sold his 18 percent stake in the Catoca mine in Angola to China Sonangol for around $400 million, according to a report in Russian business paper Kommersant.

The deal is expected to be approved in June 2011, Kommersant reported, according to a letter sent by Alrosa President Fyodor Andreev to Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin telling him of the development.

Russian mining giant Alrosa owns 32.8 percent of Catoca, while Angolan state company firm Endiama owns 32.8 percent, and Brazilian group Odebrecht holding 16.4 percent.

Catoca had revenues of $527 million last year, and profits of $111 million from production of seven million carats.

Source: Facets

Diamond Miner Diamcor Commences Drilling at Krone-Endora at Venetia Project Read more: Diamond Miner Diamcor Commences Drilling at Krone-Endora at Ve

Diamcor Mining Inc. TSX-V.DMI, is pleased to announce that the recommended drilling programme at the Company’s recently acquired Krone-Endora at Venetia Project has commenced. As previously announced, heavy equipment was deployed to the project shortly after the closing of the acquisition, and approximately 38 kilometers of access roads and additional clearing work required to access the drilling targets has been completed as planned. With this work complete, the initial phase of the drilling programme commenced and approximately 25 of +/-200 targets included in the initial drilling phase have now been drilled.

The drilling targets of the initial phase are located inside the previously identified K1 and Confluence areas, as well as on new areas of the Project located immediately to the East of the K1 area which have not previously been drilled. Drilling within the immediate and surrounding areas of the K1 and Confluence areas are being done at tighter in-fill spacing intervals of 100m x 100m in an effort to better define the known higher-grade basal deposit previously identified by De Beers, and to determine the potential extension and direction of the deposit between these current areas and the existing outer fence-line of Venetia. Drilling of targets further to the east and north of the K1 and Confluence areas will be completed at 200m x 200m spacing to determine the potential extension and location of additional deposits into these areas of the Project.

The diamond bearing deposits on the properties of Krone and Endora have been identified as originating from the higher grounds of the adjacent Venetia kimberlites, and occur in two layers with a combined average total depth of only 15 meters from surface to bedrock. The Company plans to use the results of the low-cost reverse circulation drilling now underway to aid in the determination of the potential extent and location of additional upper and lower basal gravels, and in its selection of areas for the upcoming bulk sampling programme. The completion of the recommended drilling and bulk sampling programmes in the coming months are designed to support the Company’s planned filing of a new updated and current NI 43-101 Technical Report for the Project. These programmes will also be used to identify potential areas for the Company’s planned move to trial-mining exercises in the near-term, and to assist the Company in arriving at final production decisions fo r the Project over the long term. The current NI 43-101 Technical Report as filed by the Company on July 30, 2009 was based solely on the areas of the Project which De Beers performed initial work on previously, with a diamond dollar per carat price estimate from 2005.

About Krone-Endora at Venetia:

On February 28, 2011, the Company successfully completed the acquisition of the Krone-Endora at Venetia Project from De Beers. The Project consists of the prospecting rights over the farms Krone 104 and Endora 66, which represent a combined surface area of approximately 5,888 hectares directly adjacent to De Beers’ flagship Venetia Diamond Mine in South Africa. De Beers previously completed various exploration efforts on initial areas of interest comprised of approximately 310 hectares, a summary of which has been reported in an initial Independent NI 43-101 Technical Report filed by the Company on July 30, 2009. The deposits which occur on the properties of Krone and Endora have been identified as a rare, higher-grade lower “Eluvial” basal deposit which is covered by a lower-grade upper “Alluvial” deposit. The deposits are proposed to be the result of the direct-shift (in respect to the “Eluvial” deposit), and erosion (in respect to the “A lluvial” deposit), of an estimated combined 1,000m (1 km) of material from the higher grounds of the adjacent Venetia Kimberlite areas. Based solely on the work completed to date, the current NI 43-101 Technical Report filed provided a current inferred resource estimate of 54,258,600 tonnes of diamond-bearing gravels and 1.3 million carats of diamonds for the initial areas of interest alone. The deposits on Krone-Endora occur in two layers with an average total depth of only 15.0 metres from surface to bedrock, allowing for a very low-cost mining operation to be employed, and the potential for near-term diamond production from a known high-quality source. Krone-Endora as well benefits from the significant development of infrastructure and services already in place due to its location directly adjacent to the Venetia Mine.

About Diamcor Mining Inc:

Diamcor Mining Inc. is a fully reporting publically traded junior diamond mining company which is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol V.DMI. The Company has a well established operational and production history in South Africa, and extensive experience supplying rough diamonds to the world market. Rather than exposing itself to the high-risks and costs associated with exploration, the Company’s focus is on the identification, acquisition, and operation of quality near-term production based diamond projects such as the Krone-Endora at Venetia Project. For additional information on Diamcor, please visit our website at www.diamcormining.com.

Strategic Tiffany & Co. Alliance:

As announced on March 29, 2011, the Company has established a long-term strategic alliance and first right of refusal with world famous New York based Tiffany & Co. to purchase up to 100% of the future production of rough diamonds from the Krone-Endora at Venetia Project. To expedite the production and supply of rough diamonds from Krone-Endora at Venetia, Tiffany & Co. has also provided the Company with additional financing for the Project. Tiffany & Co. is a publically traded company which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TIF. Originally founded in 1837, the Tiffany’s name is now globally recognised as one of the premier luxury jewellery and specialty retailers in the world. Through Tiffany & Co. and various other subsidiaries, the company is engaged in product design, manufacturing, and retailing activities on a global basis. As of October 31, 2010 Tiffany & Co. operates 225 retail stores and boutiques in the Americas, Japan, Asia-Pacific, and Europe and engages in direct selling through internet, catalog and business gift operations.

Christie's Geneva sale churns over $78M

Christie's closed its sale of magnificent jewels in Geneva, with revenue worth over $78M, the highest it has ever generated in an auction in Switzerland. The sale was also marked by some lots breaking previous sale records in the category of ‘heart shaped diamond’, ‘sapphire’, and an Indian jewel. François Curiel, President of Christie's Switzerland : “Forty-two years after our first sale in Switzerland, Geneva remains a vital, specialised auction centre in today’s global market.”

The top lot in the sale was a 56 ct heart-shaped diamond, which sold for more than $10M, which made it the most expensive heart-shaped diamond ever sold at auction. Previous to this, the record for a heart-shaped diamond was set by Heart of the Desert Diamond – a heart-shaped D, internally flawless, diamond of 64.42 cts sold in 1994 at Sotheby’s Geneva for US$ 5,248,846.

François Curiel further added, “The jewellery sale in Geneva was marked by strong bidding with moments of passionate enthusiasm, exemplified by an antique Imperial Mughal spinel necklace realising more than $5M. While the ‘blue chip’ diamonds and coloured diamonds were in great demand, a 130 ct Burmese sapphire stole the show at $7.1M.”

The cushion-cut Burmese sapphire of 130.50 cts sold for US$ 7,122,742, breaking the previous world record price for a sapphire at auction which had been held by a cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire ring of 42.48 cts (sold in 2008 at Christie's Geneva for US$ 3,475,210).

An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace sold for US$ 5,210,902 also breaking a world record price for any Indian jewel at auction, held previously by a Mughal ruby, emerald and jade covered flask North India, first half of 17th Century The Clive of India Treasure (sold in 2004 at Christie’s London for US$ 5,210,209).

Diamond deal signed

A new joint venture holding company now owns Namdeb and De Beers Marine Namibia, as well as diamond mining licences for both land and sea mining areas.

The Namibian Government and De Beers equally own the holding company, through a new agreement signed yesterday that would reform the country’s diamond operations.
In addition, the Government also increased its holding in De Beers Marine Namibia, through Namdeb, with De Beers selling 20 percent of its stake.

De Beers owned 70 percent of De Beers Marine Namibia, while Namdeb owned 30 percent.
Namdeb now owns 50 percent of De Beers Marine Namibia, increasing Government’s direct ownership to 25 percent, since Namdeb is a 50/50 joint venture company between Government and De Beers.

Overall, the agreement gives Government direct and equal ownership to diamonds mined in the country, which in the past belonged to Namdeb.
The Namibia Diamond Trading Company would continue to sort, value and market the diamonds.

The agreement is backdated to 2006, a process that raked in N$260 million for the state in accrued benefits.
The Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali said the agreement brings the country’s diamond sector to new heights, equal to that of Brandberg Mountain which, at 2 606 metres, is Namibia’s highest mountain.

“Our agreement, and the partnership between Government and De Beers has created a solution that will benefit the people of Namibia now and in the long-term,” said Katali.

The mines minister said it is important for Government to work with De Beers in creating an equal shareholding of aligned partners in De Beers Marine Namibia because the country has an exciting future in offshore diamond mining.
Bruce Cleaver represented the De Beers group, as the acting chief executive officer.

The agreement necessitated various changes in other agreements between the two parties, one of which is an implementation agreement that guides the working of the holding company.

With this, the country got what it has always advocated for, direct and equal ownership in diamonds, especially marine diamonds of which production is expected to continue outstripping land-mined diamonds.

The agreement is a se­cond significant victory for Namibia following the successful arguments and setting up beneficiation and value addition of Namibian diamonds inside the country.

Diamonds mined on land have declined significantly with more carats being mined at sea, while last year’s marine diamond production outstripped land-mined diamonds by nearly 30 percent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Minissha detained for undeclared diamonds

Bollywood actress Minissha Lamba was detained by customs officials at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today for not declaring diamond jewellery she was allegedly carrying in her luggage.

Lamba, who had gone to France for the Cannes Film Festival, had just returned by an Emirates flight from Nice airport.

After the flight landed around 8.30 this morning, Lamba was intercepted by customs officials while crossing the green channel, meant for passengers who have nothing to declare.

While customs sources said an external evaluator had been called in, unconfirmed reports said the jewellery could be worth over Rs 50 lakh.

The customs sources said Lamba, during questioning, claimed that she had taken the jewellery with her from Mumbai itself to wear at Cannes and had not declared it as she did not know the rules. The actress was still being questioned till late in the evening.

Lamba, who was seen on the red carpet at the 64th Cannes Film Festival attending the premiere of Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris, had earlier tweeted that her “baggage… has been stolen” at Nice airport.

“Disaster has struck,” she had tweeted on May 17. “A baggage of mine has been stolen at Nice airport… Standing at the Emirates counter for one hour. Even with two CCTV camera’s right over the baggage, police or airline still won’t confirm if it was ‘stolen’ or ‘misplaced’.”

The actress, who has acted in Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate and other films like Kidnap and Bachna Ae Haseeno, was at the Cannes Film Festival for the first time. She wore a gown by fashion designers Gauri and Nainika Karan for the screening of Allen’s film.

Customs officials said if any jewellery of high value is not disclosed, the person can face arrest or be penalised.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pink Diamond Fetches $10.9 Million at Sotheby’s as Gem Collectors Battle

A pink diamond the size of a SIM card sold tonight in Switzerland for 9.6 million francs ($10.9 million) as collectors continue to battle for rare gems.

The price paid by a telephone bidder was the third highest for a pink diamond at auction, said Sotheby’s. (BID) The privately owned diamond, not seen on the market for more than 30 years, was estimated at as much as 14.8 million francs at hammer prices, the most highly valued of 491 items being offered by Sotheby’s in its biannual jewels auction in Geneva.

Rare colored diamonds continue to command one-off prices. London dealer Laurence Graff paid 45.4 million francs, a record for any gem at auction, for a 24.78-carat “fancy intense pink” at Sotheby’s equivalent sale in Geneva in November.

The emerald-cut “fancy intense pink” stone sold tonight weighed 10.99 carats and was mounted on a platinum ring.
Earlier in the evening, an emerald and diamond tiara sold for 11.3 million francs, an auction record for this particular type of jewelry. The winning bid was taken on the telephone by Lisa Hubbard, Sotheby’s New York-based chairman of jewelry, against competition from five other bidders, said Sotheby’s.

The sale totaled 78.9 million francs including fees, beating an estimate of 42 million francs. Sotheby’s sold 90 percent of the lots.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Did You Know ? the Price of diamonds is determined by 4 Cs

The colour of a diamond is measured through a grading scale ranging from D to M, where D stands for colourless and M for faint yellow.

If you are planning to gift your mother or spouse diamonds this year, don’t just get blinded by the sheen of the stone. While she would value your feelings, make sure she also values what you are buying for her. You must run certain checks to ensure its worth the money you are spending on it. An easy way to do that is to check the four Cs.

What are the four Cs

The four Cs stand for carat, colour, cut and clarity.

Carat is for the weight and size of a diamond.

Colour refers to the degree to which a diamond is colourless. The colour is measured through a grading scale ranging from D to M, where D stands for colourless and M for faint yellow. The more colourless your diamond is, more expensive it will be.

Clarity denotes the presence of inclusion. Inclusions are small black dots not visible to our naked eyes. There are various grades of clarity starting from internally flawless, very very slight inclusion up to inclusion. Diamonds without inclusion, that are internally flawless, are very rare and most expensive.

Cut refers to the different shapes in which diamonds come. Round, pear, marquise, emerald, princess and oval are some of the cuts, the most popular being the round brilliant cut.

Get a certification

Ensure that the retailer gives you a certificate issued by an independent gem testing laboratory. Getting the certification would help you know exactlhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gify what you are paying for. It contains a picture of the diamond you have bought, its weight and the measure for the four Cs. Diamonds that are solitaires, a single large stone and above 45 cent come with a laser certification.

Some retailers charge extra for the certification, but its free of cost at some branded shops that have their own certificates.

The invoice, too, should give you this information. Some of the laboratories that certify diamonds are Gemological Institute of India, High Diamond Council and International Gemmological Institute and The Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia (DCLA).

What about resale

You can exchange your diamond for cash or a new product. You would be required to show the certification from your jeweller to establish the authenticity of the stone.

The value would depend on the retailer. It is important that you carefully read the buy-back policy of your jeweller before you purchase diamonds and understand the terms and conditions. Some retailers give the current price of diamonds, while others at your buying price. But they may deduct the making charges, sales tax and other charges.

De Beers appoints new chief executive

De Beers has ended a prolonged leadership search by hiring a French engineering executive with no experience in diamonds, mining or South Africa.

The South Africa-based diamond miner appointed Philippe Mellier as chief executive on Monday. Mr Mellier pursued a career at Ford Motor and Volvo before becoming president of Alstom Transport, the train-making division of the French engineering group.

Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers’ chairman and guardian of his family’s 40 per cent stake in the company, told the Financial Times that experience in the diamond industry was not an important part of the selection process.

“We have plenty of experts at running mines. We have plenty of experts in marketing diamonds,” he said. “The key thing is that Philippe has run world-class operations and substantial capital projects, and has experience dealing with joint venture partners.”

Privately owned De Beers took 10 months before selecting an outsider, the first to take on a job previously given only to South Africans groomed over a lifetime of service to Anglo American, which owns 45 per cent of De Beers.

Anglo chose its first non-South African chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, in 2006.

Mr Mellier joins De Beers at a time when it has returned to profitability, with cash flow of $943m last year compared with $34m in 2009. But it has slipped to second place in global diamond production after Alrosa, its Russian state-owned rival.

Under Gareth Penny, the previous chief executive, it sold off its old South African mines while expanding its mines in Botswana. A 50-50 joint venture with the Botswanan government – De Beers’ third-largest shareholder – is the main profit driver for the company.

“Mr Mellier’s first challenges are going to be the Botswana relationship and keeping all the best people in place,” said Des Kilalea, diamond analyst at RBC http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifCapital Markets.

Mr Oppenheimer said that Mr Mellier would bring a “new pair of eyes” to De Beers. “This is a good thing for any business. Certainly in De Beers, over the past 125 years, we have not done that enough.”


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diamond disillusion - Oprah's gift disappoints Aussie fans

DIAMONDS are meant to be a girl's best friend but not when the jewels don't match expectations.

A huge online backlash has began this week since afternoon audience members at Oprah Winfrey's Sydney shows in December began receiving their gifts. Instead of something really special many complained about the pink diamond pendant and silver necklace, venting their disappointment on The Daily Telegraph's Oprah Facebook fan page.

Some said they were expecting a pink diamond-encrusted O pendant on a gold chain - but instead received a rather unfetching silver-chained O pendant featuring seven "tiny" diamonds courtesy of Rio Tinto's Argyle mine.

"I finally got it yesterday after six months wait," one reader told us yesterday.

"And I can't see any diamonds on it but other than that it looks like a cheap piece of costume jewellery.

"They call it a 'special edition', but really there's nothing special about it. I'm really disappointed."

Another fan complained:

"It's small. The pink diamond is pretty pale and in the middle you can't really see it too well in the photo."

The items were made by China's Chow Tai Fook jeweller and are officially valued at $405 - although the business has been selling an "unofficial" version of them online for $200.

A local spokeswoman for Winfrey's Harpo Productions said the necklace's were Rio Tinto's responsibility.

A spokeswoman for the mining giant said confusion had been created after a $7000 diamond encrusted necklace was mistaken for what was always planned.

"What has been delivered is what we promised and while there has been negative feedback based on false expectations we have also had a lot of extremely positive feedback," she said.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Diamond and jewellery retailer Blue Nile posts record first quarter sales

Online diamond and jehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifwellery retailer Blue Nile, Inc. reported record first quarter sales, up 8.3 percent to $80.2 million.

The retailer said it expected second quarter net sales of $82.0 million to $84.5 million, and for fiscal year 2011 it forecasts net sales and diluted earnings per share to have double-digit growth compared to full year 2010.

Operating income for the quarter ending April 3 totaled $3.5 million, while net income totaled $2.4 million.

International sales grew 34.4 percent to $12.9 million, a record level for any first quarter in its history. Excluding the impact from changes in foreign exchange rates, international sales increased 28.1 percent.

Gross profit for the quarter totaled $16.9 million, an increase of 7.1 percent. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit was 21.1 percent compared to 21.3 percent for the first quarter of 2010.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter totaled $79.1 million compared to $47.2 million at the end of the first quarter 2010.

Chief Executive Officer Diane Irvine said: "We delivered record first quarter sales reflecting the strength of our consumer proposition and our relentless focus on perfecting the customer experience. We remain focused on our key objective of building our business in the U.S. and internationally by investing in growth initiatives from product innovation and marketing to continued enhancement of the Blue Nile experience."

Can Ivory Coast power transfer herald change for diamond trade?

President Alassane Ouattara has taken over the reins of power following the capture last month of former leader Laurent Gbagbo who refused to step down despite losing elections in November. Will the country's diamond industry benefit as a result?

Could recent developments in the troubled Ivory Coast, widely known as Cote d'Ivoire, with the internationally recognized winner of presidential elections taking office, portend positive change for the West African country?

President Alassane Ouattara is currently making efforts to consolidate his position following the capture last month of former leader Laurent Gbagbo who refused to step down despite losing elections in November. After months of fighting and killing, French soldiers helped bring about Gbagbo's departure from office. More than 3,000 people are estimated to have been killed, while a million were displaced during the almost five months of chaos that ensued.

However, the UN Security Council voted to extend a ban on diamond trading with the Ivory Coast, as well as an arms embargo, until April 30, 2012. The original ban on exporting diamonds was put in place in 2005. The decision, reached in a unanimous vote, came about as a result of the fragile political situation in the country which the Security Council believes continues to pose a threat to international peace.

In addition to holding parliamentary elections, a national reconciliation effort is needed after years of internecine conflict and repression, observers say. Although the European Union has lifted some of its sanctions, and the African Union has reinstated Ivory Coast's membership, the country has a long way to go before its diamonds can be exported. The Ivory Coast is the only country whose stones still fit the original Kimberley Process definition of conflict diamonds in that they are illegally traded with the proceeds financing rebel factions.

However, there does appear to be some hope for the country since the UN Security Council will review its sanctions decision within six months, by October 31, to determine whether it should be modified or lifted. The decision will be influenced by whether progress is made in the peace process, human rights and parliamentary elections.

Although, President Ouattara has taken over the reins of power after being widely recognized in the West as the winner of the election held late last year, analysts believe it is still too early to determine whether peace will hold, which is why the UN Security Council is stepping gingerly concerning the issue. Once seen as a model of stability, Ivory Coast descended into vicious internal strife a decade ago.

With a population of approximately 21 million, Ivory Coast became independent in 1960, and until 1993 was governed by Felix Houphouet-Boigny. It maintained close political and economic ties with its West African neighbours, and the West, especially with France. Since the end of his rule, however, the country saw a coup d’état, in 1999, and a civil war that started in 2002. Since then, peace deals have alternated with renewed violence as the country has attempted to edge its way towards a political resolution.

Diamonds were first discovered in the Ivory Coast in 1927, in the central region of Seguela, according to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). More diamond deposits were discovered and a state-owned company began mining operations. In 1978, with the running down of diamond reserves and a consequent fall in production levels, low returns on investment, the Ivory Coast's government decided to suspend formal mining operations.

A lengthy period of neglect ensued, but during the 1990s, after a drop in the price of cocoa, the government decided to again focus on the mining sector. However, the renewed interest in diamond mining coincided with the wars in neighbouring Liberia and in Sierra Leone and the use of conflict diamonds to finance civil war led to more widespread mining.

The country became a route for exporting diamonds from Liberia and war-torn Sierra Leone. However, despite UN sanctions, illegal diamond trading is believed to continue in Côte d'Ivoire. Rough diamonds are exported out of the country via its porous borders to neighboring states and international trading centres through the northern Forces Nouvelles (New Forces) controlled part of the country, a group which is reported to be using these funds to re-arm.

The New Forces have controlled the northern half of Ivory Coast since 2002, and it is in the northern area of the Ivory Coast that most of the country's diamond deposits are located. As a result, the rebel group levies taxes on the production and trade of the stones. The stand-off between former President Laurent Gbagbo and President Alassane Ouattara took part in the southern half of the country.

Stéphane Chardon, chairman of the Kimberley Process's Working Group on Monitoring, says Ivory Coast is the only country where there are conflict diamonds according to the original KP definition, and the main aim is to work to stop diamonds from the country being used to finance illegal activities. He believes the total value of diamond production in Ivory Coast at just $18 million-$20 million, a tiny fraction of the $10 billion-$12 billion global trade in diamonds.

The relatively low figure for the country's production reflects the small level of Ivorian diamond mining. Artisanal miners use hand-held sieves to pan for diamonds in rivers and streams and account for the majority of the country's output. Although there are larger deposits in kimberlite pipes underground, foreign investors will not be tempted to deal with the country and bring in new technology as long as the political situation remains so volatile and complicated.

Global Witness campaigner Daniel Ballint-Kurti in London, says there could be a glimmer of hope that change could take place in the fact that President Ouattara declared that the rebel forces were his and that they were his soldiers. During the standoff with former leader Laurent Gbagbo, the forces marched on the country's business capital of Abidjan to help in ousting Gbagbo. "Ouattara was tacitly supported by the rebels and they are in alliance with him," said Ballint-Kurti. "Indeed the rebel leader is now prime minister and defence minister.

"Whether that can be translated into bringing the north of the country under central government control, however, is another question altogether. At best, it is a medium-term aim. Clearly, from our point of view, we would need to see that the north comes under civilian control, that the rebel forces in the north are dispersed before we could say that Ivory Coast's diamonds can be exported."

Inadequate controls over the diamond trade in neighbouring countries, and in international diamond centres, mean that Ivorian conflict diamonds are still being smuggled out of the country and laundered into the legitimate diamond trade.

A 2010 UN Group of Experts report states: “Neighbouring states, specifically Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Mali, are either unable or unwilling to monitor and enforce the embargo on the import of Ivorian rough diamonds. Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbours justify their inability to comply with resolution 1893 (2009) by citing a lack of resources. The Group acknowledges these problems, but notes a lack of political will in most cases.”

Meanwhile, Global Witness campaigner Elly Harrowell said that insufficient steps had been taken to deal with the issue of diamonds from the Ivory Coast. She attributes the lack of action to the Kimberley Process not having the capacity to deal with more than one issue at a time. For the past two years, the focus of the KP in respect of diamond mining has been on Zimbabwe. The issue of the Ivory Coast has consequently been swept under the radar, she commented.

However, KP Chair Mathieu Yamba recently wrote in a letter to member countries: “I have every confidence that the KPCS has the ability and the political will to tackle the challenges facing Côte d’Ivoire diamonds effectively through collective and concerted efforts. It is imperative that the KPCS address this matter constructively and decisively, thereby ensuring that Ivorian diamonds do not infiltrate the legitimate trade as this could be harmful for the diamond industry as whole.”

In addition, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses has asked its 29 affiliated bourses to advise their members of this letter, and ensure that its contents are posted on the bourses’ notice boards and websites and accompanied by translations in the various local languages

Ironically, the country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia, had a thriving economy in the 1960s and 1970s due to its cocoa production and export industry, in addition to coffee and palm oil industries, while foreign investors found the country attractive, thus made making Ivory Coast one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Ivory Coast also has other natural and mineral resources, such as petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron-ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum, silica sand, and clay.

However, its dependence on those crops puts it at the mercy of fluctuations in international prices for those products and weather conditions. Indeed, the country's economy is now largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being widespread. It is estimated that approximately two-third of the population is dependent on agriculture.

Ivory Coast is a member of the Kimberley Process but the government, in line with the UN Security Council ban, has itself suspended all exports of rough diamonds to help support its efforts to restore social stability and ensure systems are in place to meet the KP requirements.

The 2010 Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) enforcement seminar report to the KPCS plenary said that Ivory Coast diamond production, which totalled about 300,000 carats annually before the conflict, and worth about $25 million, is concentrated in the two areas around Séguéla-Bobi-Diarabana, covering about 100 square kilometers, and Tortiya covering about 30 square kilometers. While production levels dropped during the first few years of the previous conflict, recent reports suggest that diamond mining in Séguéla has expanded.

Reports constantly point to the absence of effective border controls, which allows rough diamond trade in Côte d’Ivoire to extend, almost seamlessly, into Burkina Faso and Mali, with concerns that Ivorian diamonds continue to be illegally exported through Guinea and Liberia.

The KP must focus on creating awareness, particularly in trading centres, to remind people of the fact that diamonds should not be leaving the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, says Harrowell.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What a 'push' present! Rachel Zoe flashes the dazzling 10carat diamond ring she received from husband after giving birth

Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe has been presented with a 10-carat diamond 'push present' from husband Rodger Berman for giving birth to their son Skyler Morrison

Some new mothers are happy with maybe a good night's sleep or a bouquet of flowers after giving birth.

But for celebrities like Rachel Zoe, 39, they receive a whole lot more in the form of a 'push present'.

The stylist to the stars was presented with a whopping 10-carat Neil Lane diamond ring from her husband Rodger Berman.

The couple celebrated the birth of their son Skyler Morrison six weeks ago and are delighting in being new parents.

But Berman apparently wanted to give Zoe something special to thank her for giving birth to their son.

And at nearly $300,000 - it is a a very special gift indeed. Skyler weighed in at 6lb 12oz which means the 'push present' was more than a carat a pound.

Diamond jeweller to the stars Neil Lane said of the present: 'Rodger wanted to surprise Rachel with something romantic - and huge'.

The Neil Lane sparkler is reportedly worth $300,000 and has a central cushion cut diamond surrounded by many smaller diamonds in a platinum band

BHP Billiton to spend $258m at Ekati

Resources group BHP Billiton on Monday announced the approval of the Misery open-pit project at its Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

The estimated capital expenditure required to complete the execution phase is US$323 million, or 2.1 billion rand, of which 80% is BHP Billiton's share. This means BHP Billiton will spend US$258.4 million, or 1.7 billion rand, on the project.

Ekati is the cornerstone of BHP Billiton's diamond business.

This project consists of a pushback of the existing Misery open pit, which was mined from 2001 to 2005.

Stripping operations are expected to begin in October, with ore production beginning in late 2015 and final production from Misery expected in mid-2017.

Ekati produces about three million carats of rough diamonds annually.

Annual sales from Ekati represent about 3% of current world rough diamond supply by weight and 5% by value.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Demand in China and India to Keep Diamond Prices Firm

Diamond prices, which witnessed an average rebound of 30 percent in 2010, are going to stay firm in the medium term, thanks to the strong demand growth in emerging economies such as China and India, as well as mining players’ prudent supply management policies during the economic downturn, the global credit rating company Crisil said on May 2.

Crisil predicts that China and India’s consumer demand for diamonds will continue with their double-digit growth in the medium term, after enjoying a 20 percent increase in 2010. The two markets have both rapidly recovered from 2008’s slowdown (12 percent growth) and together contributed 20 percent to the global demand over the past year.

Crisil Director Gurpreet Chhatwal believes that both China and India will experience “a structural shift in consumer preference for diamond jewelry over the long term” that is going to result in “a strong demand growth.”

The recovery of the U.S. market – the market that takes up 40 percent of global diamond consumption – will become another drive to underpin diamond prices. In 2010, the U.S. market saw a 7 percent climb in jewelry sales, driven by a recovery in consumer spending and inventory restocking by retailers. It is believed that such recovery in consumption over the medium term is likely to continue.

The resumption of many major diamond players’ full production makes another reason for stable diamond prices in the medium term. In the face of shrinking demand, many diamond producers, led by the largest rough diamond supplier De Beers Group, curtailed their supply over the Global Financial Crisis. However, the situation is about to change as De Beers may achieve its full production capacity and Rio Tinto Group’s Argyle mine – the world’s largest diamond producer in volume – will start its underground operations.

Crisil describes the short-term diamond prices to be “volatile” since the market will need some time to adjust to the temporary demand-supply mismatch. A more stabilized market will appear as customers steadily absorb price rise over a medium period.

Monday, May 2, 2011

AGS launches Diamond Search platform

The American Gem Society, in partnership with Verichannel, announced today the launch of a specialized search engine for diamonds graded by AGS Lab, available from AGS suppliers. The online service is integrated into the members only section of the AGS website, and is also accessible to AGS members from the Verichannel platform itself. "AGS Diamond Search" consists of a database of stones uploaded by AGS suppliers, and also stones uploaded directly from the AGS Lab, immediately after being graded, based on permissions set by the supplier. They are searchable using standard criteria of color, clarity, shape, etc. AGS retailers contact suppliers directly to initiate a purchase.

"We're very pleased to be able to make this resource available as a member benefit for AGS retailers and suppliers," said Ruth Batson, AGS Chief Executive Officer. It makes sense to give our retail store buyers the most convenient means possible of finding AGS stones from AGS suppliers, essentially all in one place, and right there at our website."
"We have already uploaded hundreds of stones into the AGS Diamond Search," said Charles Rosario, Senior Vice President of Lazare Kaplan International Inc., an AGS supplier. "Given that this is a very targeted and exclusive environment, it provides a means of reaching out to AGS stores directly and efficiently."

Verichannel created the concept of labs uploading diamonds online, immediately after being graded, when it launched its Daily Diamond Report service in January. "The same technology is being used for AGS Diamond Search," noted Jacques Voorhees, president of Verichannel. "In today's diamond market, buyers and sellers need to be able to communicate with each other as efficiently as possible, especially when it comes to finding the right diamond, and finding it quickly."

"At the AGS Lab, we provide a direct feed of freshly graded diamonds to Verichannel's database, with authorization from suppliers," explained Peter Yantzer, Executive Director of Gemological Services for the AGS Lab. "These then instantly become part of the AGS Diamond Search system on the AGS website. It's the fastest way imaginable to get a stone to market."

"AGS Diamond Search will be a big time saver," noted AGS retailer Tom Wright, of Wright's Jewelers, Lincoln, Nebraska. "We'll begin using this resource as soon as we're back from Conclave."

More information on AGS Diamond Search is available at www.ags.org and also at www.Verichannel.com.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Royal Wedding Diamond Earrings Designed by New UK Jeweler

The tiara is a 1936 Cartier ‘halo’ that was loaned to Kate Middleton by the Queen, a royal wedding tradition. The diamond-set stylized oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond set drop with a pave set diamond acorn suspended in the centre earrings were a gift to Kate from parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. The diamond earrings for Kate Middleton, duchess of Cambridge, was created by Robinson Pelham and drew inspiration from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms that includes acorns and oak leaves, and was a fitting diamond chose for the Cartier tiara. Kate’s wedding ring is a band of Welsh gold by Wartski.

The diamond earrings worn by Kate Middleton and her sister, Philippa, for Kate's marriage to Prince William on Friday were designed by a relatively new British jeweller, Robinson Pelham.

The London-based luxury jeweler, founded only 15 years ago, was commissioned by the bride's parents to design the earrings as gifts for their daughters.

Kate's earrings were based on the family's new coat of arms and feature diamond-set oak leaves and an acorn set with pave diamonds as well as a teardrop-shaped diamond and were designed to complement the tiara the Queen lent the bride.

Philippa's earrings featured a floral motif. Robinson Pelham also designed a tourmaline and diamond pendant and earring set for the girls' mother, Carole Middleton, and two gold stick pins for father and brother of the bride, Michael and James.

'Get tough with diamond smugglers'

Zimbabwe's mines minister Obert Mpofu, whose resignation was sought following seizure of blood diamonds originating from Zimbabawe by Gujarat's revenue intelligence in Surat, has asked India to act tough against the smugglers.

As per reports in Zimbabwean newspapers on Saturday, Mpofu has stated that all diamonds extracted from the country are supposed to be accompanied by KP certificates. If the persons did not have certificate, then it means they are criminals and should face full wrath of the law.

The Centre for Research and Development (CRD), a Zimbabwe-based NGO that investigates and exposes high-level corruption by government officials and gross human rights violation in Zimbabwe's diamond fields, demanded that Mopfu should apologise and resign from the post of mines minister for failing to curb the smuggling of precious stones.

Mpofu was quoted as saying, "We have been working tirelessly to curb cases of smuggling of minerals, including diamonds in the country and those caught on the wrong side of the law will face the music."

Zimbabwe is member of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC), an international diamond regulatory body. The legal export of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe has been suspended since 2009 as no consensus has been reached between the KP member countries and the Government of Zimbabwe over the alleged human right abuses in Marange diamond field.

Last month, the new KP chair from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Mathieu Yamba had given a written approval to Zimbabwe to resume export of rough diamonds without taking other KP member countries in confidence. However, there were widespread opposition from international NGOs and the U.S and EU strictly asked the KP participant countries to stay away from purchasing Zimbabwean goods.

Recently, the KP's Working Group for Monitoring (WGM) organized a meeting in Dubai on April 4 and a new KP proposal was drafted for Zimbabwe to resume the diamond export from Marange field. The proposal has already been sent to Zimbabwe, but the government is yet to comply on the revised terms and conditions.

Industry sources said the seizure of blood diamonds worth Rs.10.17 crore originating from Zimbabwe has caught the attention of many in the global diamond industry. The Zimbabwe government should act strictly to stop diamond smuggling as the country is facing criticism over alleged human right abuses in Marange diamond field.

"It is the duty of Zimbabwe government to initiate measures to curb smuggling of precious stones. The smugglers should be nabbed in Zimbabwe and not allowed to fly to India with illegal consignment," a DTC sightholder said.