Thursday, February 28, 2013


A tender of rough goods from Namakwa Diamonds' subsidiaries in the North West Province of South Africa raised US$970,000.

The February 18-21 tender featured 1,962 carats of goods with an average stone size of 0.5 carats that were sold at an average price per carat of US$496.
Chief Executive Officer Theo Botoulas says: "The tender achieved satisfactory results with certain articles selling at above expected premiums.
"We are pleased with the overall results achieved. Our North West product continues to receive a lot of interest from local and international buyers."
Namakwa's mining activities are mainly focused on the Kao mine in Lesotho, where the main pipe represents 183 million tonne resource of around 11.6 million carats. Namakwa holds a 62.5 percent share in the operation which is operated by Storm Mountain Diamonds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brussels Airport Robbery Claims Settled by G4S International Logistics

G4S International Logistics is pleased to confirm that all the losses from the Brussels Airport robbery that occurred last week, on Monday February 18, 2013, were paid in full within four days of the robbery on February 22.
As the world's largest security service provider, G4S is capable of mitigating customers' risk at all levels. We are uniquely placed to offer a global and diverse portfolio of secure services such as security training, manned guarding and security escort, personal tracking and monitoring, office and vault systems and enhancements. We understand that in order to optimize your business operations, you need to know that your secure logistics provider is protecting your commercial and reputational risk and we were pleased to provide swift resolution after this recent event.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Petra Diamonds increases profits, production

South African miner Petra Diamonds announced Monday an increase in its profits and production during 2012 plus expectations of a steady market for the coming year.

The company's revenue rose 63% year on year to $151.7 million during the first half of 2012, while profit from mining activity rose 26% to $41.2 million. Production rose 31% to 1.247 million carats.
Petra expects the rough diamond market to remain stable in the second half of this year as a result of its confirmed first tender, which was $62.1 million on the sale of 401,159 carats.
It forecasts sales to be substantially higher in the second half of 2013 as it will increase its tenders from three to five.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top 5 Reasons We Watched the Oscars

If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to literally look a million bucks, all you’d have needed to do was watch the Oscars last night. Hollywood’s finest were out in full force wearing altogether $14 million in high-end diamond jewellery. Honestly, it leaves us wondering why we even care about the awards with a glittering spectacle like that! (Kidding!).

Here were our favourite million-dollar diamond looks of the night. While the values range from $2.5 million to just a lowly $1 million amongst our winners, we think you’ll agree that all these women were worthy candidates in their diamond jewellery choices.

Read more : GoldWise

Nearly $1B in Diamonds For Sale at IDE's U.S. & Intl. Diamond Week

More than 150 Israeli diamond firms have signed up to take part in the first  U.S./International Diamond Week planned in March on the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE).

IDE's president, Yair Sahar, said, "The number of applications for participation in this inaugural event has mushroomed to more than 150 Israeli companies. Luckily, our trading floor is very spacious so will be able to handle the traffic."
As the number of participants has increased, so has the amount of goods to be offered for sale at the IDE at the March 17 to 20 event. Moti Fluk, IDE's vice president added, "We estimate that the value of the goods in the trading hall will exceed the $1 billion dollar mark. This would be an impossible achievement to pull off anywhere else, but the diamond week is taking place within the bourse complex, on the trading floor, where the security is second to none."
Meanwhile, two more special sales opportunities have been added to the unprecedented offering of polished diamonds on the exchange trading floor. I. Hennig and Fusion Alternatives, who are holding a joint event, and the Rapaport Group announced that, in addition to their respective scheduled rough diamond tenders, they will hold two auctions of polished goods.
The dates of the I. Hennig-Fusion Alternatives polished auction coincide with those of the U.S./International Diamond Week, while the Rapaport Group will hold its auction earlier in March. The polished auctions are held in addition to rough diamond tenders organized by I. Hennig/Fusion Alternatives, eDiamond and Rapaport, as well as an exclusive auction for special loose diamonds and extraordinary diamond jewelry pieces by Tzoffey's 1818.  
Buyers will be offered four free hotel nights at the Leonardo Hotel, located opposite the Ramat Gan diamond exchange complex. The complimentary hotel accommodation is being provided courtesy of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

US$2bn worth of diamonds smuggled

ZIMBABWE’S diamonds continue to be flown out of the country under a veil of secrecy through the use of a privately-owned VP-BEX plane, a report by 100Reporters, a website run by journalists, has alleged.

The airplane allegedly makes frequent trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, Tanzania and Angola, among other destinations and appears to enjoy a remarkable lack of scrutiny and flying in a perpetual no-oversight zone, it says.
Once a month or sometimes more often, the VIP-configured airbus jets into Lanseria International Airport, a small and privately-owned base facility near Johannesburg, South Africa.
Partnership Africa Canada, a watchdog group, estimates that US$2 billion in undeclared precious stones have left Zimbabwe, making it “perhaps the biggest single plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes”.
The airbus is believed to have carried out millions of dollars in undeclared diamonds from Marange.
The Marange diamond fields spanning 173 000 acres and priced at US$800 billion in rough diamonds, have a concentration of the precious stone eight times higher than average, at more than 1 000 carats per hundred tonnes.
Finance minister, Tendai Biti has also alleged that millions of dollars in diamond revenues are being siphoned through opaque routes rather than being deposited into treasury.
According to watchdog groups, the most frequent passenger on the Airbus, identified by its tail code VP-BEX, has been Xu Jinghua, a Chinese businessman also known as Sam Pa, who visits Zimbabwe once a month and believed to be carrying diamonds out of the country.
Pa is believed to be Zanu PF’s private arms dealer and has been accused of providing arms and a fleet of Nissan pickup trucks to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), according to Global Witness.
Global Witness has described him as a monthly visitor on board VP-BEX to Harare.
“The Airbus, a corporate ultra-long jetliner, is smaller and lighter than its commercial counterpart. The private version of the 319CJ hosts an average of 18 or more seats, with luxury compartments,” the report reads.
The plane was reportedly purchased new in mid-June 2006 by Angola’s Sonangol State Corporation, “a secretive entity with a history of off-books sales of petroleum, according to the International Monetary Fund and other sources.”
The plane’s pilot is allegedly a celebrated former South African Airways (SAA) pilot from Springbok Safari.
The pilot did not respond to interview requests from 100Reporters.
Until September 2012, the plane was registered in Bermuda to Planair, a company identified as one aviation arm of the China International Fund, a Hong Kong-based private company.
In September last year, Planair re-registered the plane under a different corporate subsidiary: Hong Kong Jet (Bermuda), belonging to a Chinese Fortune 500 company, the HNA Group.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

eDiamond to Auction Large and Pink Diamonds on Feb. 27

eDiamond will be auctioning more than 7,000 carats of large and pink diamonds through their online auction platform on February 27.
The company, which has been operating for more than two years and has offices in Antwerp, Tel Aviv, London and Cape Town, said the rough stones are on display in Antwerp until February 26.
Previously, the 134 lots of rough were on display in Israel from February 11 to 14.
The company has held around 60 auctions in the past two years, with the most recent one on February 12, featuring the KDC Production from Australia.
Viewing appointments are available for customers by calling +32.320.61030, and new customers can register on

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Diamonds cloud Zimbabwe reforms

Advocacy group Global Witness said there may be gaps in remaining sanctions on Zimbabwe that would allow diamond revenue to fund the military.

The European Union announced Monday that Zimbabwe could go ahead with some diamond and gold sales in Europe provided it has democratic elections as expected in July.
The European Union said it was "encouraged" by political reforms ahead of "peaceful, transparent and credible elections later this year."
Global Witness said, however, there may be gaps that give the government a chance to funnel revenue from diamond sales to the military.
Campaigner Emily Armistead, in a statement, said the advocacy group welcomed the fact that some restrictions against ZMDC remained in place.
"However, the EU could have gone further to prevent diamond revenues funding ZANU-PF security forces," she said. "In particular, we are concerned that Zimbabwe's largest diamond company, Anjin, is part-owned by the military but is not covered by restrictive measures."
The group said there were links between diamond mining companies and security forces loyal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Global Witness said some of those groups were tied to political violence that erupted when elections last took place in Zimbabwe in 2008.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Diamond heist at Brussels airport

Belgian police are searching for eight masked gunmen who took less than five minutes to pull off one of the most spectacular diamond heists in recent years, stealing precious stones worth about £30m (US$50m) from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane on a Brussels runway.
 Diamond plane
The biggest diamond theft in recent years took place at Brussels airport just before 8pm on Monday night, the prosecutor's office said.
The men, who were armed with machine guns and dressed in police uniforms, broke through a hole they had made in the airport security fence in two vehicles, a Mercedes van and a car, and they made straight for a Swiss passenger plane operated by Helvetic Airways.
Staff from a high-security van operated by Brinks had just finished unloading the diamonds that were to be transported on the plane bound for Zurich.
The men flashed machine guns but no shots were fired as they took 120 parcels from the plane's hold, stacking them in their vehicles. They fled at high speed through the hole in the security fence. The van believed to have been used in the raid was later found burnt out just outside Brussels.
Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor, said: "They were well prepared. There were passengers on the plane but they saw nothing of what was going on."
The prosecutor would not comment on the exact value of the stolen parcels, believed to contain rough and polished diamonds intended for different handlers in Switzerland.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre, a trade body for Antwerp diamond businesses, estimated the value at close to £30m. "What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum," its spokeswoman Caroline De Wolf told the Belgian VRT TV network. "In any case, it's one of the biggest robberies we've seen," she told Associated Press.
Antwerp has been a leading diamond centre for centuries, with about eight in every 10 rough diamonds and five in every 10 polished diamonds passing through it.
In 2003, Antwerp was the scene of one of the biggest diamond heists in history, when thieves took precious stones, jewels and gold from the high-security vaults at its diamond centre. Police estimated the value of that haul to be £64m.
Monday's heist was a fresh blow to the Antwerp diamond industry.
"This is causing quite some unrest," said De Wolf. "It was incredible how easy it all went. This is worrying in terms of competitiveness, since other diamond centres are ready to pounce and take over our position."
The consignment of diamond parcels being delivered by plane was not extraordinary; on any given day, about US $200m in polished and rough stones go through Antwerp's diamond centre. Air transport is a common means of delivering precious stones and thought to be the safest.
The Brussels airport heist raised immediate questions of how the security fence could have been breached so fast.
An airport spokesman, Jan Van Der Crujsse, said the gunmen made a hole in the perimeter fence. Van Der Crujsse could not explain how the area could be so vulnerable to theft. "We abide by the most stringent rules," he said.
In 2000, British detectives foiled what was described as potentially "the world's biggest robbery" when they stopped a gang who used a bulldozer to break into London's Millennium Dome in an attempt to steal £350m worth of diamonds that were on show.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Business Diamonds exports plunge 20 percent

The value of rough diamonds exports plunged by 20 percent last year to P22.5 billion from P28 billion in 2011 as production and prices softened due to uncertainty in the global economy.
According to exports data released by the Bank of Botswana (BoB) recently, rough diamond exports in Pula terms stood at P1.3 billion in December from P1.5 billion in the previous month.Diamond exports, which have traditionally been the chief foreign currency earner, were affected by a 12 percent drop in prices in 2012, while Debswana production also fell by the same margin last year.
The 2012 exports figure is however higher than the P18.8 billion raked in from diamonds exports in 2010 and P13.7 billion in the recession year of 2009.  According to the December BoB financial statistics report, the country's budding cutting and polishing industry also contributed significantly to foreign currency receipts in the year with polished diamonds raking in P4.94 billion in the first 11 months of the year compared to P4.8 billion in the whole of 2011.
The burgeoning diamond cutting and polishing industry, which now has 21 companies operating in the country, has also contributed to the reduction of Botswana's trade deficit.From a high of 34 million carats in 2007, diamond production has plateaued in the last few years as Debswana caps production to match weakening market conditions, a development that has also slowed the growth of the economy. Botswana's economy was forecast to grow at a slower rate of 6.1 percent last year from eight percent in 2011 due to lower output from the mining sector, particularly the diamond industry.
Recently released figures from Statistics Botswana show that year-on-year growth, over the 12 months to September, fell slightly to 7.7 percent from 8.0 percent in the second quarter largely reflecting reduced growth in the mining sector, which was down to minus 12.5 percent from minus 7.7 percent over the year to June 2012.While Debswana lost output in the third quarter due to a slope failure at Jwaneng, the company ramped up production by 26 percent in the fourth quarter to 5.5 million carats from 4.3 million carats. Debswana had produced 4.9 million carats and 5.3 million in the first and second quarter of the year respectively.
The resumption and subsequent ramping up of production at Jwaneng Mine lifted the output of global mining giant, De Beers in the fourth quarter of 2012 by 24 percent. However on an annual basis, De Beers' production fell by 11 percent to 27.8 million carats in 2012.  The Jwaneng Mine traditionally supplies about 70 percent to Debswana's production. Debswana contributes the same percentage to parent company, De Beers' output.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Death, sanctions and big business in the struggle for Zimbabwe's diamonds

As sanctions against Harare come under review, MPs call for a FTSE 100 company to be investigation for its involvement in the strife-torn Marange diamond region
Zimbabwean women mining for diamonds in the Marange region in 2006.
Back in late October 2008, up to 30,000 ordinary Zimbabweans had spread across the country's diamond fields. They had flocked east in the hope of unearthing gems to ease the hardship of the financial crisis – but however savage the economy might have felt at the time, their situation was about to become more brutal.
Infantry, estimated to be 1,500 strong, supported by helicopters, descended on the area. As the freelance miners ran, soldiers and paramilitary police began firing AK-47s directly at those fleeing. More than 200 people in Chiadzwa, a previously peaceful but impoverished part of the Marange diamond zone, are thought to have been massacred.
The purpose of the assault, campaigners say, was to clear the diamond fields and hand control to the military. The WikiLeaks cables record James D McGee, US ambassador to Zimbabwe, filing this report on 7 January 2009. "[An official] met with Newman Chiadzwa, the tribal chief of the Chiadzwa region that contains the diamond-rich Marange fields, to discuss violence in the region as well as recent developments in the turbulent Marange diamond trade. Chiadzwa described how the military expansion in Chiadzwa in late November has been displacing the police and diverting the diamond flow from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwean military." The Zimbabwean embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
Clearly these assaults will forever haunt those involved, but four and a half years after the nightmare in Marange, the issue remains current: this week, the European Union will review the sanctions it imposes on Zimbabwe, which could result in a lifting of restrictions, despite protests from the UK.
Simultaneously, UK parliamentarians are calling for tougher measures against all Marange diamond miners, including naming them on the sanctions list, as well as asking for an investigation into one major City name – FTSE 100 financial services firm Old Mutual – that has an indirect investment in the Zimbabwean fields.
Kate Hoey, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, said Marange diamond companies were "suspected of directing millions of dollars to corrupt and violent interests associated with Zanu-PF," adding: "Old Mutual needs to be investigated for a potential breach of sanctions." Hoey said it was a stakeholder in one of the shareholders in Marange miner Mbada Diamonds "and was therefore effectively in a joint venture with a sanctioned entity – the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation [ZMDC]. We cannot allow a British company to behave like this."
Old Mutual, which opened its first office in Harare 86 years ago, indirectly holds a 1.5% stake in Mbada Diamonds, after investing its clients' funds in a 6% stake in a scrap metal company, New Reclamation Group (NRG). NRG subsequently acquired 25% of Mbada, while a further 50% of the diamond company is controlled by ZMDC, a state-owned company on HM Treasury's sanction list because of its close association to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
A spokesman for Old Mutual said: "Our holding in this investment is legal and we would never knowingly take action that did break any laws." He added that Mbada had passed the "Kimberley Process" – the international agreement established in 2003 to prevent "conflict diamonds" from entering the mainstream rough diamond market – and that an Old Mutual investigation had found "no human rights abuses" since the company had been formed.
"In our view, our involvement should be good for Zimbabwe," he said. "We will stay in this investment, while, like all our investments, keeping it under review."
Sanctions experts said that in most circumstances an indirect investment in a company part-owned by a company on the sanctions list was unlikely to be illegal. However, Old Mutual's position on the mine's human rights record is being directly challenged.
In July 2011, the campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed 10 miners in Marange who claimed to have been mauled by dogs and beaten by private security guards. They claimed that the majority of incidents involved guards working for Mbada. One miner said: "The Mbada guards are the worst. They don't hesitate to set the dogs upon you and they also beat you up."
The campaign group reported another incident in which Mbada private security guards set four dogs on a handcuffed artisanal miner caught digging for diamonds close to the company's mines. "I was attacked by all of them," said the man. "The dogs were biting me and I was screaming. It was terrible."
Mbada did not respond to repeated requests for comment on HRW's research. Old Mutual declined to say if it had contacted the campaign group but added: "We have engaged with a number of stakeholders and NGOs regarding the Mbada mine. In addition, the independent directors of our Old Mutual life company in South Africa conducted an extensive on-site visit of the mine last year and are confident that human rights are being respected at Mbada." Old Mutual declined to identify which NGOs it had approached, however.
And some believe these debates represent only a fraction of a wider issue. Roy Bennett, treasurer general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which since 2009 has shared power in Zimbabwe with its rival Zanu-PF, said: "The broader immorality of the move is clear to any fair-minded person. First, mining rights were stolen by the government and handed over to Mbada. Second, their control of the area was secured on the basis of egregious human rights violations; Mbada was the direct beneficiary of this. And third, the operations of Mbada and the revenue generated by it has been completely opaque."
Nor does Mbada's accreditation under the Kimberley Process impress everybody in the diamond trade. The jeweller Tiffany's states: "We have advised all of our business partners of our zero tolerance policy for diamonds of Marange origins." Meanwhile, the campaign group Global Witness, which was one of the key bodies behind the original establishment of the Kimberley Process, left the scheme in December 2011. It claims the process "has failed to address state-sponsored violence in the Marange diamond fields and resisted calls for reform", and it has also raised concerns that "Mbada Diamonds … has a complex structure, with associated companies located in secrecy jurisdictions including Mauritius, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands and Dubai."
Mbada did not respond to questions. However, Old Mutual said: "Mbada's remittances to the treasury and other relevant government departments are audited by KPMG on an ongoing basis. This has established that all remittances from Mbada related to royalty payments, reserve depletion fees, taxation and dividends sent to the Zimbabwean treasury are substantial and in line with existing agreements and regulations.
"As you are no doubt aware, Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the MDC, heads the Zimbabwean treasury. We also sought guidance from the MDC in Zimbabwe, and were given assurances by Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, and Tendai Biti that they want Old Mutual to maintain its indirect investment in the mine. The MDC is clear that the revenues from the Mbada diamond mine will help finance Zimbabwe's recovery."
Or, as Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC's spokesman, puts it: "The MDC's position is that all diamond mines should be nationalised." Like all things in the diamond trade, it depends which way you cut it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tiffany Sues Costco for Trademark Infringment, Counterfeiting

Tiffany & Co. sued Costco Wholesale Corporation to prevent further sales of what the luxury retailer concluded where counterfeit diamond engagement rings and for damages associated with prior sales. The lawsuit was file to protect the Tiffany brand, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. It also alleges trademark infringement, dilution, counterfeiting, unfair competition, injury to business reputation, false and deceptive business practices and false advertising.
In November, Tiffany was alerted  to the sale of what was promoted on in-store signs as “Tiffany” diamond engagement rings at a Costco store in Huntington Beach, California. Tiffany investigated the claim and learned that for many years, and without Tiffany’s knowledge, Costco had allegedly been selling different styles of rings that it was identifying on in-store signage as “Tiffany,” according to Tiffany. tiffany costco
The rings were not Tiffany rings, however, nor were they manufactured by, licensed by, or otherwise in any way properly associated with the brand. In this way, Costco led its members to believe they were purchasing authentic Tiffany products at significant discounts, when in fact, that was simply not true, according to the filing.
“We now know that there are at least hundreds if not thousands of Costco members who think they bought a Tiffany engagement ring at Costco, which they didn’t. Costco knew what it was doing when it used the Tiffany trademark to sell rings that had nothing to do with Tiffany. This is not the kind of behavior people expect from a company like Costco, and this case will shed a much needed light on this outrageous behavior,” said Jeffrey Mitchell of Dickstein Shapiro, Tiffany’s counsel in the case. “The Tiffany brand has been damaged, Costco members have been damaged, and Costco has profited from the sale of engagement rings by misrepresenting what they were. We will get to the bottom of what Costco was up to and why, and right a terrible wrong,” Mitchell added.
Authentic Tiffany jewelry is manufactured to the company's strict specifications and then subjected to rigorous quality control standards to assure provenance and quality, according to the firm. Tiffany diamond engagement rings are then backed by a lifetime guarantee. Additionally, to protect the brand, Tiffany fine jewelry is sold only in Tiffany retail stores by trained sales professionals and is not distributed or sold at discount through other wholesale or retail establishments. In particular, Tiffany has never sold nor would it ever sell its fine jewelry through an off-price warehouse retailer like Costco, either directly or indirectly, the company stated.
“What’s different here from many other cases of counterfeiting is that here customers might be more easily taken in since Costco members expect authentic brand name merchandise at discount prices at Costco. Everyone knows that buying something on a street corner or over the internet from an unknown source is risky. Until now, no one would have thought it could be risky to buy brand name merchandise from Costco as well,” Mitchell said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ABN Amro Bank , Arjav Diamonds settle pending disputes

In a big relief to Arjav Diamonds, one of the world's top five Indian diamond company based in Antwerp and the biggest rough diamond distributor, Amsterdam-based ABN Amro Bank has reached an agreement with it on Thursday last to settle the pending commercial disputes between them.
The global diamond industry, mainly the diamantaires in Surat and Mumbai, had received a serious jolt when ABN Amro had terminated the credit facility of the leading rough diamond distributor in India and Antwerp and Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sigthholder for recovering debts amounting to $154 million (Rs 831 crore) in December 2012.
Arjav diamonds in turn filed a civil suit in Antwerp against ABN AMRO claiming $230 million from the bank.
In an email statement, senior press officer of ABN AMRO's Amsterdam head office Jeroen Van Maarschalkerweerd said, "ABN AMRO and Arjav reached an agreement on February 7, 2013, which settles various pending disputes arising from their former commercial relationship. The parties have agreed to abandon all proceedings and discontinue all measures introduced or brought against one another and to end the relationship between ABN AMRO and Arjav." Jeroen, however, refused to disclose any further details on the settlement agreement.
Industry experts said amount as high as $50 million - though this was strongly denied by the bank-has been waived off by the bank. Also, another reputed international bank is learnt to have advanced some $105 million to help Arjav repay its debts to ABN AMRO.
Director of Arjav Diamonds Ashit Mehta told TOI, "We have reached a settlement. More details will be given later on."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Children Quitting School to Mine Diamonds

Children in Liberia are leaving school in increasing numbers to mine diamonds, and the government is threatening to crack down on the illegal employment of children in digging the gems.
Fifteen-year-old Mike Coleman dropped out of school five months ago to search for diamonds in western Liberia. "Things are difficult on my parents, so I came out here to look for money," said Coleman. "They were sorry when I left the classroom, but I have no options.
So I am here looking for a better future. I hope to find a diamond soon."
Coleman is not alone.

Liberia's Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy estimates that at least 1,500 children are currently employed by Liberian diamond mines.
The principal of Morpue Junior High School in western Liberia, Nora Quae, says more than 200 students dropped out this year to work in the diamond fields.
"Fifty percent of our students have abandoned school," she said. "They have abandoned the class ...
This is an embarrassing situation. The future of Liberia depends on the youth.
The youth must see reason to go to school and prepare themselves for their future." Work in the diamond mines is difficult and dangerous.
It is also a lucrative business.
Liberia's unemployment rate is near 85 percent, and the World Bank estimates 95 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
The prospect of earning $50 for each diamond found is too good for many people to turn down.
While it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 18 in diamond mines, many mine operators are willing to hire children because their bodies can fit into the narrow tunnels and tight spaces of the mines.
Thomas Wleh runs the Liberia Mining Entity in western Liberia.
He said a worker is a worker, no matter their age.
"Well, we do not force the young people," Wleh said. "They come to our office and sign a diamond contract to work for us.
We are hiring people who are capable of searching for diamonds.
I think the government, through the Ministry of Education, must put in place a measure to keep the students in school.
We are here to work and make profit."
The U.N. Security Council helped impose a ban on the mining and export of so-called "blood diamonds" in Liberia in 2001, at the height of the county's civil war.
This helped cut down on the number of children in the mines.
But after the election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the United Nations lifted the ban in 2007, and the diamond mines have again begun to flourish, increasing the demand for young workers.
Liberian parliament member Gertrude Lamin says Liberian youths must take it upon themselves to leave the diamond mines and take advantage of the country's free education system.
"Diamond mining is not the future," said Lamin. "What will they get from mining?
You get today to get small money, but tomorrow is not your future.
You need, Liberian students, you need to come back and go to school.
You must leave mining because tomorrow you will be old, and you will ... have nothing and that will not carry you anywhere."
The west regional coordinator for Liberia's Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Stephen Gbana, said the Liberian government has been made aware of children working illegally in the mines. He said the government has threatened to revoke mining licenses, shut down mines and take legal action against any mining company that is found to be employing school-age children.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sotheby's Diamonds & Jewelry at Record $460.5 Million

High-end jewelry and diamonds are showing some resilience to the global economic slowdown, as reflected in Sotheby's 2012 sales results. The auction house sold a record $460.5 million worth of diamonds and jewelry during the last year.

The results are reassuring news for the diamond investment community, proving that even in tough times high diamonds are in strong demand.

According to a company report, 72 lots sold for more than $1 million, with six of those lots selling above $5 million. By lot Sotheby’s jewelry auctions sold a very strong average of 84 percent during the year.

It is usually the Hong Kong auctions that grab attention, but it was Sotheby’s Geneva that set a world auction record for any various-owner jewelry sale when its May auction totaled $108.4 million.

In November, Laurence Graff bought an exceptionally rare Fancy Deep blue, Flawless 10.48 carat diamond for $10.86 million. At $1,036,273 per carat (p/c), this was not only a world record per carat price for a Flawless Fancy Deep blue diamond, but it was also a world record price for a Briolette cut diamond at auction.

Another notable diamond was the 34.98 carat modified pear double rose cut Beau Sancy diamond, which fetched $9,699,618.

It seemed that time an again, records were broken at auctions. In April, a 3.54-carat Fancy Blue SI1 diamond sold for $2,434,500, a record price for a fancy blue diamond.

Private collections appear to be the source of high interest and high prices. Prominent private collections featuring jewels owned by Brooke Astor, Estée Lauder, Evelyn H. Lauder, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, Suzanne Belperron, Michael Wellby and more captured buyers attention. Eager private buyers often fueled the high prices that traders usually preferred not to pay.

Source: IDEX

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rio Tinto Culls 350 Positions at Argyle

Rio Tinto has axed up to 350 contractor jobs from its Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia as it continues its company wide-focus on stripping costs.

The company has re-prioritized construction activities at its underground mine at Argyle, the world's largest producer of pink diamonds, which will effectively delay the construction of a second underground crusher for the project. "As we reach the final stages of completion of our underground block cave at Argyle, we have decided to delay any construction that is not required to bring the underground mine on stream,'' said Kim Truter, managing director of Argyle Diamond Mine. "All our resources will focus on the ramp-up to the first production from the underground block cave, which will commence in a few weeks, followed by official commissioning of the block cave in April.''

The jobs lost are contractor positions that were filled to build and install the second crusher, which is needed when the underground mine hits its full capacity.

Rio Tinto has been vocal in its concerns about the high-cost environment of doing business in Australia and has been conducting a company-wide review to cut costs across its operations.

The miner is hoping to extract savings globally of more than $5 billion (AUD 4.8 billion) from operating and support costs by the end of next year. It is also slashing $1 billion from exploration and evaluation work this year.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Diamond auction company eDiamond will be selling 19,000 carats of white and yellow diamonds from the Kimberley Diamond Company's Ellendale production in Antwerp on February 12.
The company, which has been operating for more than two years and has offices in Antwerp, London, Ramat Gan and Cape Town, said the rough stones are on display in Antwerp until February 11.
Previously, the 32 lots of rough goods were on display in Israel from January 28-30.
Approximately 25 percent of the diamonds are white, while the rest are yellow and brown goods.
The company has staged around 60 auctions in the past, with the last one, held on January 31, featuring 88 lots of mostly fancy pinks and large diamonds. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Diamond necklace up for sale

When Nicole Kidman walked the red carpet at the Academy Awards in 2008, the diamonds dripping over her classic black gown stole the show. Five years on, a Dubai-based jeweller is offering the same Sautoir necklace for sale here in the UAE. The price: Dh25 million.
The necklace, unveiled by Malabar Gold & Diamonds in Dubai on Wednesday, is a masterpiece by international designer L’Wren Scott. It has a total of 7,645 diamonds including rough, faceted and polished diamonds of nearly 1,400 carats.
Malabar Gold & Diamonds group executive director Abdul Salam K.P. said the piece will be part of Diamond Expressions, an exhibition and sale of diamonds to be held at Deira City Centre from February 7 to 16. “We have also brought replicas of legendary diamonds like the Kohinoor, Great Mogul, Nizam and Cullinan. On sale will be loose stones of around 2,000 carats besides jewellery of around 3,000 carats,” he said.
Among them is a Dh5 million set from the Mine Collection from Antwerp. Also on display will be a Dh4.5 million neck-shoulder jewellery piece by Reena Thakur.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Americas Diamond Corp. Secures $5M Credit

Americas Diamond Corp. entered into non-toxic equity line of credit for up to $5 million with a signed agreement for $3.2 million and an option to secure another $1.8 million. The funds will further its bulk-sampling program on its Natal I and II diamond concessions in the Guaniamo district of Bolivar State in Venezuela.
The explorer anticipates treating 100,000 tonnes of ore and it believes the sample will realize between 10,000 and 20,000 carats. financing
"We're very excited about this non-toxic equity investment and are looking forward to progressing our work program on the Natal concessions," said Daniel Martinez, Americas Diamond Corp.'s CEO. "These funds will allow us to complete our bulk-sampling program that we announced recently. We are excited by the possible magnitude of the primary deposit, which we feel could be considerable, and are eager for our staff on the site to get the program underway."
The company reports having two diamond concessions in southwestern Venezuela through its subsidiary, Compania Minera Adamantine C.A. The investment on these concessions has been about $14 million to date.  The company’s Natal I and II concessions cover a combined area over 15,700 acres located centrally within the main diamond producing area. Very little mining has taken place within the Natal concessions due to the absence of major rivers and streams, according to the company.


Monday, February 4, 2013

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Kristall Reports Lower Revenue, Reduced Margins

Kristall of Smolensk, Russia's biggest producer of cut diamonds, recorded sales of $457 million (RUB 13.687 billion) in 2012, company's CEO, Maxim Shkadov, said in an interview with Interfax. This falls within Kristall's earlier revenue forecast of $400 million to $470 million. However, sales were down 18 percent year-on-year, which the company attributes to the cooler diamond market in the second half of 2012. Prices for cut diamonds are correcting along with prices for rough diamonds and the margin in cutting does not exceed 6 percent even in the best of times, Shkadov said. Due to the decline in margins, the company was forced to reduce purchases of rough diamonds.
The resale of rough diamonds, which Shkadov said accounts about a third of Kristall's turnover, generated a loss in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"Rough diamonds were purchased at a higher price than it was possible to sell them at on the market. The cost of rough diamonds was equal to the price of cut diamonds, and we covered the cost with the 'fat' we had put on prior to this. Polishing was also unprofitable. We didn't close down production, despite the negative balance, because we can't let people go until the market revives," Shkadov said.
In the first half of 2011, there was a time when resale of rough diamonds generated a 25 percent to 30 percent margin, now the profit is zero, but "the market has more or less revived and is rising," he said.
"We feel that the bottom of the crisis was sometime in November 2012. The first quarter, I think, will be positive. Not explosive, but positive. Strong first quarters are a tradition of our industry. Christmas sales have passed, a mass of product throughout the world has gone to the consumer. Now jewelry companies will begin to restock, pull diamond jewelry from the market, polishers will get orders and buy rough diamonds, the pipeline will start working and movement will begin," Shkadov said.
But a slump could begin in the second quarter, he warned. "While the first quarter is as a rule positive, the second quarter is always not very easy. Considering the negative expectations in the economy, it's fairly difficult to predict what will be in the second quarter. Much depends on the willingness of banks to provide liquidity to industry players. If banks will be extremely cautious and funds stop coming into the sector, problems will start," Shkadov said, adding that it will not be possible to forecast market trends in the second half of 2013 before the end of April.
Kristall closed 2012 with a pretax profit of $1.6 million (RUB 48 million), he said.
Kristall's long-term contract with its biggest rough diamond supplier ALROSA, which supplies over 50 percent of its needs, expired in December 2012. The companies are now negotiating a new three-year agreement. The Russian diamond miner plans to change the terms of contracts with buyers in terms of assortment and volumes, Shkadov said, though he believes these changes will not be substantial for Kristall.
"We will adjust to ALROSA's conditions in any case. ALROSA is interested in us as a client, we're interested in ALROSA as a supplier," he said.
Kristall's second largest supplier is Yakutia diamond miner Nizhne-Lenskoye, from which the company purchased the whole range of output in 2011. The companies worked together again in 2012, Shkadov said, but at the end of last year 51 percent of Nizhne-Lenskoye was bought by ALROSA's subsidiary Almazy Anabara, which operates at neighboring alluvial deposits in Yakutia. Kristall hopes it will continue to be able to buy rough diamonds from Nizhne-Lenskoye now that it is controlled by ALROSA.
Shkadov said that Kristall, which specializes in producing premium-quality gem diamonds, achieves 7 percent to 10 percent added value for product quality compared with so-called "commercial product."
Kristall, which is wholly controlled by the Federal Property Agency, is the largest diamond cutter in Europe. The international classification of its products is Double Excellent and Triple Excellent.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Forevermark Plans to Reach 130 Stores in India

Forevermark, the diamond brand from the De Beers Group, is planning to expand its reach to 130 stores in India by the end of this year.

De Beers first launched Forevermark in 2008 in Hong Kong, China and Japan in an attempt to further penetrate the diamond retail market by allowing jewelry retailers and diamantaires to partner with the brand. In India, the brand was launched in the southern city of Bengaluru in January 2011, and since that time it has expanded into several cities across the country.

“We are now present in about 85 doors across India. Our plan is to be in around 130 doors by the end of 2013,” Sachin Jain, the managing director of Forevermark India, told Rapaport News.

Jain stated that there is a consumer buying shift underway  as the gold prices have increased so much over the past few years. “There is a clear shift from buying only gold products to diamond products as well,” he noted.

Forevermark on Friday announced its partnership with Mumbai-based Kundan Jewellers. “We are glad to associate with Kundan Jewellers in Mumbai as they share a mutual passion for diamonds and understand the intricacies of craftsmanship at the very core of the Forevermark Promise,” Jain said.

Nitin Punamiya, the director of Kundan Jewellers, stated that this association will give its consumers access to unique Forvermark diamonds in iconic designs and settings. Kundan Jewellers also offers brands such as ORO Platinum, Kama Love Bands and Ishtaa to its consumers.

Actress Suhasi Dhami unveiled Forevermark Encordia collection on the occasion. The collection comprised of exquisite jewelry pieces with contemporary designs in rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings.