Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rio’s multi-million-dollar Argyle pink diamonds hit Tokyo

After five years Rio Tinto’s multi million dollar Argyle pink diamonds are back in Japan, where the company will be showcasing the world's rarest red, pink and blue gems until October second.
Included in the Tokyo preview are three Fancy Red diamonds, representing the pinnacle of value and ultimate rarity in the diamond industry.
 Rio’s multi-million-dollar Argyle pink diamonds hit Tokyo
The hero of the collection is a 1.56 carat round gem, the Argyle Phoenix, named in honour of the newly commissioned Argyle underground mine.
Prices will not be known until the tender closes, but based on the recent price of $1.6 million per carat for a red diamond set at auction, Argyle Phoenix could fetch over $2.5m.
"We are delighted to be back in Tokyo …  The Japanese market is very important to us and over the past 20 years has shown, and continues to show, an unerring demand for Argyle pink diamonds," said in a statement Argyle Pink Diamonds manager, Josephine Johnson.
In the last two decades, Japan has consistently shown a strong interest for Argyle pinks, and it remains the largest market for those stones, especially the lighter shades of pink.
According to Rio, Japan is also a market that covets heart shaped diamonds, and the matching pink and blue heart shaped diamonds in the 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Petra Diamonds full-year production rises 21 pct

Petra Diamonds Ltd said full-year production rose 21 percent and that it expected to produce 2.9 million carats to 3 million carats for the year ending June 2014.

Petra has seven producing mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, said production for the year ended June 30 rose to 2,668,305 carats from 2,208,862 carats a year earlier.
Revenue rose 27 percent to $402.7 million.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gem Diamonds lowers production guidance for 2013

London-listed Gem Diamonds on Monday lowered its 2013 production guidance for the Letšeng mine, in Lesotho, to between 95-million carats and 105-million carats recovered and sold, as tons of ore treated were lower than planned, owing to the installation of the secondary and tertiary cone crushers in the treatment plants.
Letšeng mine
In March, the firm’s guidance for Letšeng, in which the Lesotho government holds a 30% stake, was between 115 000 ct and 130 000 ct recovered and between 110 000 ct and 125 000 ct sold.
The installation of the crushers formed part of the company’s expansion of Letšeng, known as Project Kholo, which proposed to increase throughput to at least 10-million tons a year from 5.6-million tons a year, doubling the yearly carat output to 200 000 ct.
The cone crushers in the treatment plants would increase revenue by reducing diamond damage. The project was also aimed at improving recovery, as well as reducing real operating costs of $2/t.
This expansion, together with the lower grade ore from the Main pipe and mining in an area with high internal basalt content, resulted in lower carats recovered.
CEO Clifford Elphick said Gem Diamonds was focused on moving mining operations at Letšeng mine to the higher value, higher-grade Satellite pipe, which would boost revenue during the second half of 2013.
The company said waste stripping progressed well during the period under review, which would release Satellite ore for treatment in the latter part of the second half of the year. Although higher-grade recoveries were expected in the second half, Gem Diamonds pointed out that it would not be sufficient to recover the full shortfall.
The company recovered 42 268 ct in the first half of 2013, down 26% on the 57 234 ct recovered in the second half of 2012. Gem Diamonds sold 47 065 ct for $81.9-million, compared with 48 892 ct, which earned it $82.6-million in the final six months of 2012.
A total of 249 ct, valued at a rough market value of $3.3-million were extracted from Letšeng for manufacture through the group's operations in Antwerp, in Belgium. Of the diamonds extracted, $1.1-million remained in inventory at the end of the period, compared with $10.4-million at the end of December last year.
The sale of polished diamonds from Letšeng contributed $4.9-million in revenue, which resulted in additional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $3.5-million.
Elphick stated that Letšeng continued to demonstrate high quality, following the recovery of three diamonds weighing in excess of 100 ct each during the period under review. The miner sold a 164 ct white diamond for $9-million; a 103 ct yellow diamond for $810 000; and a 100 ct white diamond for $6.45-million.
An average value of $1 741/ct was achieved for the first five tenders of 2013, compared with $1 690/ct in the second half of 2012. Nine rough diamonds achieved a value in excess of $1-million each, while 44 rough diamonds achieved prices greater than $20 000/ct.
Meanwhile, Gem Diamonds' wholly owned subsidiary, Gem Diamonds Botswana, is continuing the development of the Ghaghoo project and completed the construction of the treatment plant, with commissioning planned for the second half of 2014 to coincide with the ore becoming available.
Mining support infrastructure, camp, treatment plant and other services at Ghaghoo were in place and the first diamonds would be recovered in the second half of next year. Thereafter, a steady state production rate of 230 000 ct/y, at a mining rate of 720 000 t/y, was planned.
The group maintained its strong cash position, with $61.5-million cash as at the end of June, of which $54.6-million was attributable to Gem Diamonds.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

$53 million worth of diamonds, jewels stolen from hotel

An armed man stole jewels with an estimated value of 40 million euros ($53 million) in a brazen heist in broad daylight at a diamond exhibition in the French Riviera resort of Cannes Sunday, investigators said.
$53 million worth of diamonds, jewels stolen from hotel
The hold-up, at the Carlton Hotel on the promenade in Cannes, famous for its annual film festival, would be the second largest ever in France if the value of the jewels is confirmed.

Authorities said the robbery took place around 11:30am local time (0930 GMT) and targeted an exhibition entitled "Extraordinary Diamonds" by the Leviev jewellery house.

However, prosecutors later said the figure of 40 million euros should be treated with caution.

"The estimate of 40 million is not confirmed. It was given out in the beginning but an inventory is in progress. It's a preliminary estimate. It is not reliable," prosecutors from the nearby town of Grasse told AFP.

According to prosecutors, the gunman was wearing a "bandana or scarf" and a cap and was brandishing an automatic weapon.

He escaped with several satchels of jewels as well as diamond-encrusted watches, the prosecutors' office added.

"Everything happened very quickly and without violence," the prosecutors said.

Police detectives from the nearby city of Nice were at the hotel and traffic had been stopped near the scene of the heist.

The management at the five-star Carlton Hotel declined to comment when contacted by AFP, saying they had "instructions not to say anything."

The Carlton was the location for Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 Oscar-winning thriller "To Catch A Thief", starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

The diamond heist was one of the largest in recent years in France.

In the country's biggest ever robbery, which took place in 2008, three men stole almost every piece on display at a jewellery exhibition in Paris with an estimated value of 85 million euros.

Cannes has fallen prey to thieves several times recently, notably during this year's film festival, which attracts a glittering array of celebrities from the movie world.

In a pre-dawn heist at a hotel during the festival in May, thieves stole jewellery worth $1.4 million due to be loaned to movie stars.

That robbery took place in the hotel room of an American employee of Swiss jeweller Chopard while she was out for the evening, police said.

In a scene straight from a Hollywood film, a strongbox containing jewels was ripped out of the wardrobe and carried off, they said.

In a second theft during the festival, robbers made off with a diamond necklace with an estimated value of $1.9 million.

At least two apartments rented by film executives were also burgled during the 2013 festival, with thieves taking cash, jewellery and other personal items.

And in 2012, thieves made off with four watches worth 400,000 euros belonging to football stars Souleymane Diawara and Mamadou Niang, who were in Cannes for the festival.

The world's biggest diamond theft occurred in February 2003 in the northern Belgian city of Antwerp, when robbers got away with jewels worth an estimated 100 million euros.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HRD Antwerp's Synthetic Diamond Certificates Launch Sept. 2

HRD Antwerp will launch its Synthetic Diamond Certificate service effective September 2, 2013. As the diamonds are systematically tested to determine whether they are natural or synthetic, a Synthetic Diamond Certificate will be issued when a diamond is found to be synthetic.
The image of diamond as a luxury product is inextricably bound up with its natural character. Lately synthetic diamonds have made their introduction on the gem diamond market. Although they still represent a rather small market segment, their production is on the rise.
HRD Antwerp therefore decided to launch a new product to support consumer confidence: the Synthetic Diamond Certificate.
How does it work? HRD Antwerp tests every diamond to determine whether it is natural. If a diamond is found to be synthetic, HRD Antwerp will issue a Synthetic Diamond Certificate.
In accordance with the IDC-rules, the HRD Antwerp Synthetic Diamond Certificate looks noticeably different from the standard diamond certificate and mentions the clear wording “Synthetic Diamond Certificate” on the cover. Each synthetic diamond is laser inscribed synthetic and the presence of the laser inscription is mentioned on the certificate, with a statement that the diamond has been lab-grown.
Each Synthetic Diamond Certificate includes the same unique safety features as the standard HRD Antwerp natural diamond certificate.
Screening service for HPHT treated and Synthetic Diamonds
In addition to the HRD Antwerp Synthetic Diamond Certificate, HRD Antwerp offers a screening service for HPHT and CVD Synthetic Diamonds, This service is intented to help diamond dealers to ascertain that the diamonds in a polished diamond parcel are all natural.
The examination applies to parcels containing min. 20 diamonds ranging from 0.05 carat to 0.49 carat and D to L color. After screening, the costumer receives a sealed parcel with “Screening Report” with the text ''this parcel only consists of natural diamonds, not synthetic and not HPHT treated.''

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kimberley Diamonds to Acquire eDiamond Trading Platform

Kimberley Diamonds Ltd. will acquire the online rough trading platform eDiamond Belgium BVBA. The eDiamond platform is expected to provide improved pricing and distribution control for production from the mining company's Ellendale E4 mine, which is projected to produce 500,000 carats per year.

"This acquisition strengthens Kimberley Diamond's position in the diamond industry and is a testament to our commitment to extending the life of the Ellendale operation. eDiamonds’ strong platform complements our established mining and production strengths, allowing us to maximize gains in every facet of our operations," said Alex Alexander, the chairman of Kimberley Diamonds.

eDiamond is an independent online trading platform for rough diamonds with an established network of buyers in Belgium, India and Israel. The company's offices, located in Belgium and Johannesburg, offer diamond producers branded, e-sales solutions, marketing support and fully managed e-sales and distribution capabilities through the use of online auction technology and critical logistical services.

Kimberley Diamonds currently uses eDiamond for all of its diamond sales with the exception of its off-take agreement with Laurelton Diamonds Inc., Tiffany & Co.'s cutting and polishing arm.

Kimberley Diamonds reported that its rough diamond sales in the second quarter achieved $24 million. The company's first tender in March 2013 sold 13,234.88 carats of rough diamonds for $12.7 million.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Namakwa Diamonds Kao Tender Nets $6M

Namakwa Diamonds raised $5.8 million from its July sale of rough diamonds from the Kao mine in Lesotho. The tender was 100 percent sold by lot with the goods achieving an average price of $495 per carat.

Top lots from the July sale included a 54.94-carat diamond that sold for $1.02 million and a 39.79-carat stone that fetched $1.1 million. The sale also included two natural fancy pink diamonds, weighing 1.20 carats and 1.90 carats, that  achieved more than $30,000 per carat each.

The sale took place in Antwerp from July 11 to 17 and was hosted by Fusion Tenders in cooperation with I. Hennig.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

For Petra Diamonds, De Beers' Africa Move Is A Boon

 Rough diamond production
At least one diamond company operating in southern Africa predicts that De Beers' decision to move its sorting operations to the region will have a positive effect on its own bottom line, Bloomberg reports. Petra Diamonds chief executive officer Johan Dippenaar said in an interview on Friday that the relocation of De Beers, the world's number one diamond producer by value, to Botswana, will also mean increased business for his own firm, which is based in neighboring South Africa.
Dippenaar said that Petra was considering altering the schedule of the seven annual tenders it conducts in Johannesburg in order to align them with the ten annual "Sights" that De Beers will hold in Botswana, to allow diamond buyers to conveniently attend both company's events in sequence. De Beers' arrangement with the government of Botswana stipulates that in order to secure access to the country's diamonds for the next decade, it must move its base of operations to the country by the end of this calendar year, ending its 125-year history in London, England.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Copper, diamonds boost Anglo's results ahead of strategy review

Anglo American logged Thursday quarterly production figures comparatively less favourable than those of rivals, yet surprisingly higher in the copper and diamond divisions.

As CEO Mark Cutifani readies to unveil a strategy review for the underperforming mining group next week, the company said copper and diamonds output rose in the second quarter ending June 30, compared to the same period last year.
Production of the red metal, the main earner for Anglo last year after iron ore, increased 14% to 182,900 tonnes, thanks mainly to a 25% improvement at the troubled Chile’s Collahuasi mine and the ramp-up of its Los Bronces mine.
Diamond output jumped 10% to 7.9 million carats, largely reflecting improved grades at Africa’s Orapa and Jwaneng mines, offset by lower recoveries at South Africa’s Venetia following flooding in January this year.
However Anglo’s output for its key coal, iron ore and platinum divisions fell considerably.
Steel-making coal dropped 9% to 4.4 million tons, while export thermal coal from South Africa sank 5% to 4 million tons and from Colombia went down 3% to 3 million tons.
Top 2012 earner iron ore, which made up almost half of the miner’s profit last year, slid down hill. The Kumba Iron Ore unit dipped 1% to 11.3 million tonnes, against an expected modest climb, as its Sishen mine struggles to recover from a strike at the end of last year.
Labour issues also affected Anglo’s platinum, as the miner battles to return the lossmaking South African mines to profit in the face of weak demand, high costs, demanding unions and political pressure to avoid job cuts.
Cutifani is expected to give his first public presentation next week, to release interim results and address the labour issues affecting the platinum division as well as other challenges the company is facing, including the huge cost overruns at its Brazilian iron ore project.
According to the average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, Anglo American is likely to report a 31% drop in underlying profit to $1.17 billion next week.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Opera2Parliament 2013: Sydney to Canberra Lymphoma Bike Ride

Michael Cohen and Roy Cohen from The Gold Company are participating in the Opera2Parliament 3-day bike ride in support of Meiron Lees’s fundraising drive for Lymphoma awareness.
Now in its third edition the Opera2Parliament bike ride is on track to raise funds for creating awareness and support for Lymphoma – the fifth most common cancer in Australia. What started as a ride with 17 cyclists who raised $28,000 in May 2011, grew to a crew of 45 cyclists in 2012 with a fundraising total of more than $40,000. The 2013 Opera2Parliament Lymphoma bike ride promises to be bigger and stronger.
opera2parliament 3-day lymphoma bike ride
The Opera2Parliament bike ride begins at the Sydney Opera House on 13th September 2013, and ends at the Parliament House in Canberra on 15th September, which marks the World Lymphoma Awareness Day. That’s three gruelling days spanning 330kms with pit stops at Mittagong and Goulburn.
“When I was ill I remember thinking that one day when I’m better and have the strength I will train and participate in this ride to help others better cope with this very challenging disease called Lymphoma. With your support we can make a difference by not only helping patients through their illness but also to support research in finding a cure,” says  Meiron on his Opera2Parliament fundraising page.Lymphoma-Opera_gofundraise-734x204(3)
Meiron Lees, Roy and Michael Cohen, and Gareth Murray aim to raise $5000 by 13th September. Join them in their drive to raise money for Lymphoma awareness and research by making a donation of absolutely any amount.
All you have to do is visit this page:  Meiron Lees – Lymphoma Bike Ride and click on ‘Donate’.  As mentioned on the page, ‘all donations over $2 are tax deductible and you will be issued with a DGR receipt via email as soon as you make a donation’.

Paragon Diamonds Exports Second Parcel to Antwerp for Valuation

Paragon Diamonds Limited exported a parcel of  211.22 carats of rough diamonds, all of which have Kimberley Process certificates, from its  Lemphane kimberlite project in Lesotho to the company's consignee in Antwerp for valuation. Paragon Diamonds added that it is also waiting for valuation from an earlier parcel of 90.22 carats that it sent to Antwerp.
The most recent parcel included an 8.86 carat stone that was recovered in May. All samples have been excavated from sub-surface kimberlite to a depth of approximately 2.5 meters. Approximately 11 carats of diamonds were produced from clean-up and plant sterilization, which will be allocated to samples pro-rata.
Paragon Diamonds has completed its first stage  deep delineation drilling  on the Lemphane kimberlite, with four holes to an average depth of 343 meters.   The first three holes drilled through kimberlite and intersected the kimberlite/wall rock contact at between 2,355 meters and 2,270 meters above sea level and between 260 meters and 345 meters below the surface.
The final hole approached, but did not intersect, the contact, bottoming out at 372.5 meters, while still in kimberlite. Given this, in-house calculations indicated that the kimberlite/wall rock contact angle varies between 85 degrees and 87 degrees and at 350 meters below the mean surface layer the pipe still maintains a planar area greater than ''3 Ha.'' These results exceed the provisional estimates made for the scoping study in February.
In June, the Lesotho Minister of Mines requested additional information on Paragon Diamonds'  environmental base line audit. This audit has recently been completed by the company's environmental consultants, LOCI Environmental, and submitted to the ministry  for approval of the mining lease application.
Martin Doyle, the chairman of Paragon Diamonds, siad, "I remain very pleased with the steady progress that we are making on the ground at our flagship project, Lemphane. There is currently strong demand for the type of stones that are being produced from Lemphane and with current global market supply constraints this positions the company well to continue to the evaluation program. I look forward to updating the market with the revised tonnage and volumetric report, in addition to progress on the mininglicence application, which should be awarded shortly."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

U.S. Chain-Store Sales +2%

U.S. chain-store sales rose 1.7 percent year on year for the week that ended on July 13, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs. However, weekly comparable-store sales fell 1.1 percent.
"After surging during the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, weekly retail sales flip-flopped and declined sharply this past week,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC's vice president of research and chief economist. “Weather may have accentuated this swing in sales as it is traditionally a relatively light selling period and is dominated by summer clearance sales.”
ICSC Research anticipates comparable-store sales will  increase by between 3 percent and 3.5 percent for the month of July. The weekly chain-store sales snapshot is produced by ICSC and Goldman Sachs to measure U.S. nominal same-store, or comparable-store, sales while excluding restaurant and vehicle demand. The weekly sales index is presented on an adjusted basis to account for normal seasonal and other data anomalies. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Amid slump, diamonds sparkle in villages

While the devaluation of rupee has taken sheen out of the Rs 80,000 crore diamond industry with small entrepreneurs closing down their units rendering around 25,000 unskilled workers jobless, diamonds are glittering in the far-flung tribal belt in south Gujarat.

Earlier on an average, 50 tribals every month were joining the diamond cutting and polishing units in Jhankhvav, Mandvi, Vankal, Ahwa, Dang, border villages of Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Vansda, etc. This number has gone up to 80 in the past two months.

These small units in the tribal areas have been processing the near gem quality low-cost diamonds known as 'star' and 'melee'. These have good demand in the domestic as well as the international markets like the United States.

These small diamonds are valued between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000 per carat and are studded in the bling jewellery, pendants, rings and wrist watches.

Kishore Patel, a small unit owner from Surat, who has set up a diamond polishing unit in Zankhvav in Surat district, employing 310 workers, said, "Two years ago, I had started with 40 tribal workers. There are more than 300 workers in my unit at present. Every month four tribal artisans join the unit. There is no effect of rupee depreciation."

As per the industry estimate, around 19,000 tribals are employed in the diamond units having annual turnover of Rs 1,200 crore. Around 60 per cent of the diamonds in the domestic market, with Delhi being the biggest market, and rest are exported to the US, the UK and the UAE among other countries.

Dinesh Navadia, president, Surat Diamond Association (SDA), said, "Prices of rough diamonds in small sizes have largely remain unaffected. The carat price is valued at $40 to $100, depending on the quality. These goods are largely manufactured in tribal areas of south Gujarat and Bhavnagar. After the U.S, India is the second biggest market for the low-cost diamonds."

Tribals are attracted to the industry as they are given additional benefits and gifts like televisions, fridges and mobile phones. Also, the small unit owners, who have set up units in tribal areas provide transportation facility to tribal workers residing in interior villages.

Ramesh Kukadia, owner of Oriana diamonds in Zankhvav, employing 400 workers, has scaled up his annual turnover of Rs 100 crore. Kukadia plans to expand the unit in the next three months and would be employing another 200 tribal workers.

"Tribal workers are highly skillful and they process diamonds with utmost quality and craftsmanship. I have installed latest diamond cutting and polishing equipment in the units. Tribal workers are very quick to adopt the technology," said Kukadia.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jewellery shop fined for stocking 700 carats of smuggled diamonds

Jordan Customs Department (JCD) personnel on Sunday found 700 carats of smuggled diamonds at a jewellery shop during an inspection campaign.
JCD acting director general Brig. Gen. Ameen Qudah said the owner confessed that the diamonds entered the Kingdom illegally, noting that the fines imposed on the smuggled items stood at JD22,000.
He added that the JCD staff also foiled an attempt to smuggle 314 laptops and printers found inside a bus in Amman.
The customs imposed on them amounted to JD44,000.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zimbabwe: Finance Minister Biti Pleads With Mugabe On Diamond Revenue

Finance Minister Tendai Biti Wednesday repeated his call for President Robert Mugabe's intervention, as the cash-strapped Treasury struggles to raise funds for elections on July 31st.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa Monday, Biti said Mugabe should come on board, especially on the issue of revenue from the (Marange) diamonds, which was not being remitted to Treasury.
"We don't have money for these elections, and everyone knows it. It's a horror movie except that you are not watching the movie, you are part of it," Biti said.
Delivering his mid-term statement at a press conference Wednesday, Biti repeated his appeal for strong leadership to ensure that diamonds funds are remitted to Treasury to help fund the elections.
"On election funding, the total budget is $130 million dollars and this is a comprehensive budget covering a lot of things to do with the elections.
"The biggest components of this budget are the per diems (allowances) that are paid to civil servants.
"The second are the logistics of transporting people to the centres, followed by the actual election logistics: ink, printing of the ballot papers, preparations of the polling stations, and then the purchase of the translucent ballot boxes.
"There is also the stationery used by the presiding officers and the security, plus the capital equipment used by the polling officers, the computers and vehicles," the minister said.
The minister revealed that as part of the election budget he had released $30 million for the two voter registration campaigns. However he said following the sitting of the Nomination Court, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had new expenses.
"First identification and advertising of polling stations secondly, because the law says special voting must take place 15 days before the elections, it means that ZEC must now print and publish the ballot papers with the names of all the candidates before the special vote.
"So we have given them money for that. A lot of you keep asking that 'you have given $11 million for the special voting', it's not for the special voting, it's for the elections," Biti said.
He explained that the printing of the ballot papers is for the entire election, of which the special voting is a part. But he said despite releasing the $11 million, the country was far from meeting the target, with an estimated shortfall of almost $90 million dollars.
To make matters worse, the minister said Zimbabwe could not "borrow as the market was crowded out by the $40 million we borrowed for the referendum".
"And we can't increase taxes as this will just increase the burden on an economy that is already suffering under the weight of the uncertainty of elections.
"But as I have already said, there is need for elections and we will get money for the elections yesterday. First: leadership around diamonds. Diamond exports by end of June exceeded $300 million and half of that belongs to us because we are a 50% shareholder. That would give us more than we need for the elections," Biti said.
Biti also indicated that his fundraising efforts were constantly being frustrated by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who was following up on, and threatening, potential donors from the west.
"So I need protection and we need leadership on these two issues. I have already written to President Mugabe to say we need leadership on diamonds and on the Chinamasa issue," he said.
On Monday this station reported that the Treasury had already frozen government payments to suppliers, in a bid to raise money for the elections. Biti said he was also speaking to the SADC Secretariat for possible funding.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

De Beers to Introduce Forward Contract Sales for Rough Diamonds

De Beers, the biggest diamond producer, will introduce forward sales contracts for buyers in its rough-diamond auctions.
De Beers, owned by Anglo American Plc (AAL), is moving the purchasing, production and sales base for its diamond auctions to Singapore in November, the company said yesterday in a statement posted on its website.
The forward sales will allow customers to determine the volume of goods they want to purchase over a given period, De Beers said. The company will continue to hold spot auction events, it said.
About 10 percent of the company’s rough diamonds are sold through its auction platform, De Beers said. The auction product range includes special and exceptional stones and differs from diamond boxes the company sells to prequalified buyers, or sightholders, at sales events known as sights.

Jewellers turn to promote diamonds, non-residents to beat gold policy woes

Jewellers in India are banking on a growing appetite for diamonds in the country and resilient demand for gold among its non-residents to offset a slowdown caused by a government clampdown on imports of the precious metal.
Leading jewellers such as Titan Industries and Gitanjali Gems are aggressively promoting diamond jewellery, which uses less gold, and opening more stores in cities such as Singapore and Dubai in an effort to spur sales.
The moves could help create alternative demand sources for the battered yellow metal in the medium term and help somewhat cushion price declines.
"We are moving to diamond jewellery more aggressively, introducing lower-carat jewellery and also pushing silver jewellery," Mehul Choksi, chairman and managing director of Gitanjali Gems, told Reuters.
Gold forms an essential part of a bride's trousseau in India, the world's top consumer of the metal, where it is also considered auspicious for religious rituals. But its imports have contributed to a burgeoning current account deficit.
As a result, India has since May raised gold import duties and tightened credit availability for importers of the precious metal.
After data showed Indians imported a record 162 tonnes of gold in May, jewellers joined a government campaign to cut gold buying.
That, and a weakening rupee, are inflicting pain on jewellers, which they are now seeking to lessen by focusing on new areas.
"Jewellers are thinking of introducing 14-carat jewellery. Low-carat jewellery will help us to control imports as well," said Haresh Soni, chairman of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, which groups more than 40,000 members.
Jewellers mix metals like silver and copper to reduce the purity of the yellow metal. Diamond jewellery uses 20-25 per cent less gold compared to a normal 22-carat jewellery piece, according to Choksi of Gitanjali Gems.
Diamond jewellery sales are increasing, said Kamal Gupta, director at PP Jewellers in New Delhi, adding rising income of the lower middle-class pushes a switch from gold to diamond.
Demand for the lower-carat jewellery is seen coming mainly from younger consumers, who unlike earlier generations, are not fastidious about buying a 22-carat gold necklace.
Following the government's measures, gold imports by the world's top metal importer in June may be just 37-40 tonnes against a monthly average of 70 tonnes, according to the trade federation's Soni. And imports in July-December may decline by 20-25 per cent compared to the first half of this year, he said.
Anticipating further restrictions at home, some jewellers plan to increase their overseas presence to boost sales, especially to non-resident Indians (NRIs).
"For those who are in the jewellery business, Middle East countries are very attractive now," said Gupta from PP Jewellers. The company is currently "working on" opening stores in Dubai and Singapore, according to Gupta.
Gitanjali plans to open more stores overseas in the United States, Middle East, China and Japan, and expects to increase sales by 50 per cent from its international operations over the next 18 months.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Man Discovers 2.95-carat 'Patriot Diamond' at Arkansas State Park

A Kentucky man found a raw 2.95-carat diamond at a state park in Arkansas renowned for its diamond cache.
 The 2.95-carat Patriot Diamond found on July 4, 2013, by Terry Staggs of Richmond, Kentucky
Terry Staggs, of Richmond, Ky. spent his Fourth of July weekend in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, a place he knows well. He visits the park multiple times a year and has dug up diamonds before, according to an official report by Arkansas' Division of State Parks.
The champagne brown diamond, which Staggs named the "Patriot Diamond" because he found it on July 4th, is the largest of the 304 diamonds unearthed in at the state park this year.
"Because of their color, brown diamonds are often difficult to find in the dark dirt of the diamond search area. However, sunny weather conditions on July 4th were perfect for this sparkler to catch Mr. Staggs' attention as he searched," Park Interpreter Waymon Cox.
What's left of a 95-million-year old eroded volcano is now Crater of Diamonds State Park, a 37.5 acre (15.2 hectare) plowed field of dirt in southwest Arkansas. The park is the world's only diamond-bearing site that's accessible to the public, and visitors to the site constantly find gems which they are free to keep for themselves. An average of 600 gems - diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper and more - leave the park each year.
In 1924, the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States, a 40.23-carat white diamond named "Uncle Sam" was unearthed. Other large notable finds, according to the Arkansas Parks division, include the "Amarillo Starlight, a 15.33-carat white diamond discovered in 1975, and the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 2011, an 8.66-carat white diamond named the Illusion Diamond became the third-largest gem registered at the Crater of Diamonds State Park since 1972."
The most perfect diamond ever certified by the American Gem Society, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond, was found at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1990. Originally weighing 3.09 carats, the stone was cut down to 1.09 carats in 1997 and graded as certified D-flawless in clarity color and cut, according to National Geographic.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rockwell sparkles on crop of quality diamonds

ROCKWELL Diamonds increased revenue from diamonds sales in the first quarter of its 2014 financial year on the back of better quality diamonds.

Rockwell said diamond sales revenue, excluding income generated from sales of cut and polished stones and those from contractors, had risen by 31%.
Rockwell recently sold its Klipdam mine and mothballed its Tirisano mine near Ventersdorp at the end of 2012. It has allowed contract miners to operate at Tirisano, paying it a royalty.
The Toronto- and Johannesburg-listed company said its sales revenue had improved despite not having diamonds from the two mines. It improved revenue to $6.6m in the three months to end-May from $5m in the same period a year earlier.
It realised an average price of $2,018 a carat for the 3,257 carats it sold compared with $962 a carat a year earlier.
The number of carats from its owns operations fell 38% from 5,229 carats because of the switch in focus to its mines in the Middle Orange River area.
"The sale of several large, high-valued diamonds recovered in this region contributed to the 109% increase in average price per carat from a year ago," the company said.
"As the operations at Saxendrift Hill Complex and Niewejaarskraal — currently in commissioning — are established and reach their nameplate capacity, we are positioned to make up the sales shortfall from Tirisano and Klipdam," Rockwell CEO James Campbell said.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Botswana's Diamond Exports Increased

In the last month for which there are statistics, Botswana exported a significantly increased amount of diamonds, Rough and Polished reports. Statistics Botswana noted that while the country's overall exports were $717 million for the month of March, they rose by 4.2% to hit $752 million worth for the month of April. Of the April figure, rough diamonds and polished diamonds constituted a full 86.1% of the country's exports by value, amounting to $648 million.botzwana
Botswana's imports decreased from March to April, meaning that its trade surplus improved, to $67.4 million. This figure continued a two-month trend, after trade surpluses of $31.2 million in February and $43 million in March.
After $266 million worth of imports in March, Botswana imported $254 million worth of goods in April. Diamonds accounted for 36.9% of that import figure, according to Rough and Polished.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Union Put De Beers Diamonds On 48-Hour Strike Notice

Diamond company De Beers has been told by a union representing its employees at its South African operations that their members will go on strike within 48 hours if the dispute between the parties is not resolved by that time, Mining Weekly reports. General Secretary Frans Baleni gave notice to De Beers on behalf of the National Union of Mineworkers on Wednesday, but if the strike goes forward it would begin on Sunday or Monday, after the weekend. Baleni also stated that the union was still open to further negotiations to break the deadlock.
The dispute is primarily over wages, with De Beers expressing willingness to agree to a wage increase of 6%, but the Mineworkers Union is asking for a pay raise of 13%. It had earlier demand a 17% pay hike, accordint to Mining Weekly. South Africa's inflation rate is 5.9%.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Diamond firm Element Six opens £20m Oxfordshire building

Science minister David Willetts has opened a synthetic diamond firm's new £20m research and development centre in Oxfordshire.
 Artists impression of the new building
Mr Willetts said Element Six's new facility in Harwell was "a significant vote of confidence in Britain's advanced manufacturing sector".
The firm makes diamonds for use in cutting tools, electronics and lasers.
The 5,000 m sq (53,820 sq ft) building employs about 100 specialist engineers and scientists.
'World's largest' Element Six has manufacturing facilities in China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa, US and the UK, with its headquarters in Luxembourg.
It said the new centre in the Harwell science, technology and business campus was the "world's largest" synthetic diamond research and development centre.
The firm's chief executive officer Walter Huehn said it could now "partner with customers to rapidly design, manufacture and test market-ready solutions all under one roof".
The new facility has machinery that will turn graphite into diamonds.
'Talent base' Industries using synthetic diamond products include electronics, machinery and oil and gas drilling.
Element Six said it chose Harwell "for its world-renowned reputation, proximity to key international connections and the UK's strong science and engineering talent base".
Mr Willetts said the government's UK Trade & Investment department "worked closely" with Element Six on the site, which was designed by science and business park developer Goodman UK.
He said the site would "further position the UK and the Oxford region as an ideal location for future investment".

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Four trucks filled with cash, gold, diamonds seized in Mumbai

In a raid that lasted six hours, a joint team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Income Tax (Vigilance) wing seized 102 bags, each containing packets of gold, diamonds and cash, after it intercepted four trucks at Mumbai Central railway station on Monday night. The trucks were reportedly headed for Gujarat.
While agencies maintained that the consignment was "suspicious", the city's angadia (courier) and bullion association met the Directorate General of Income Tax to register its protest, claiming the entire consignment was accounted for with proper bills.
The NIA claims that a few days ago, it received a tip-off about "suspicious movement of large amount of Indian currency", expected to be routed through the legal bullion network that runs between Maharashtra and Gujarat. The intelligence hinted that the route would be used to distribute fake currency to the neighbouring state, said an official.
The trucks, escorted by wireless vehicles from VP Road police station, were stopped at the Mumbai Cental railway station compound at 9 pm on Monday. They were directed to the I-T office at Scindia House, Ballard Estate, where 102 bags were shifted to the second floor of the wing in the middle of the night.
"Our probe is limited to the intelligence we received. We are usually concerned when there is a movement of large amount of money which is not accounted for. We will wait for I-T to finish its probe. Since we do not have a mandate to probe the money trail, we handed the entire consignment to I-T," said a senior NIA official.
"There are a total of 102 bags, each of which have smaller packets containing cash, gold and diamonds. Each packet has labels with the names of the senders and recipients. We will verify these details. There are about 20-25 angadias who have approached us at our office. They transport such consignments of gold and diamond to Gujarat in this manner on a regular basis. If they are able to produce documents that show that the gold and diamonds are assets which are part of their business, we will release it to them. However, such large amounts of cash are not normally transported in this manner, as transfers can be done through cheques or banks. Therefore, it is most likely that the cash is unaccounted for, and will be seized in the case," said I-T Director General Swatantra Kumar.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Diamond jewellery sales dip on renewed gold rush

Bangalore, July 1 (IANS) Renewed interest in buying gold on its declining price would hit diamond jewellery sales, as witnessed in the first quarter (April-June) of fiscal 2013-14, an executive of a leading jewellery retail chain said Monday.

"We have seen growth in our diamond jewellery sales decline to 18 percent in first quarter (Q1) of this fiscal sequentially from 26 percent in same quarter last fiscal (2012-13) and will remain sluggish, as demand for gold ornaments picks up on declining price," retail major Tanishq's marketing executive Sandeep Kulhalli told reporters here.

As a division of leading watch maker Titan Industry Ltd of the Tata group, Tanshiq promotes branded jewellery and ornaments using diamonds to meet the growing aspirations of people, especially women in the middle age group and upwardly mobile.

Though 40 percent of the gold is sold in the bullion market in the form of coins, biscuits and investments, 60 percent is used for making jewellery products as ornaments, gifts and personal collection.

Of the $37-billion gold business across the country, $5 billion is generated by diamond jewellery.

"The gold and diamond jewellery business is at a tipping point, as the government's intervention to reduce gold imports to lower its growing current account deficit, declining price of the yellow metal and shift in buying patterns will regulate the industry's business and growth plans," Kulhalli observed.

In last fiscal, the company's jewellery business grew 15 percent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs.8,108 crore, with 30 percent of its sales coming from diamonds sold in gold casings in various designs, shapes and colours.

Diamond jewellery segment, however, grew 27 percent YoY last fiscal.

"We are seeing a clear shift in buying patters as evident during first quarter when customers rushed to buy more gold jewellery, coins and biscuits than diamonds and other precious stones. Hence, diamond sales will be lower in our overall jewellery business," Kulhalli said.

The two-decade-old division, however, hopes to grow at 23 percent during this fiscal to achieve a sales target of Rs.10,000 crore.

"We hope growth rate in diamond jewellery will be better in third quarter than in first quarter as festivals and wedding season set in and revival in consumer buy on a good monsoon," Kulhalli said.

Compulsory disclosure of PAN (permanent account number) for personal tax to buy high value jewellery items also impacted sale of diamonds in first quarter.

"The government has made it mandatory for buyers to disclose their PAN card details for all transactions on gold and diamond jewellery ornaments valued Rs.5 lakh and above. As 15-20 percent of our diamonds sales are in the high value transaction segment, we have seen the growth rate decreasing to 25 percent last fiscal from a high of 40 percent in 2010-11," Kulhalli recalled.

To make up for the decline in diamond jewellery sales, the company is bracing to expand its retail network with 30 new stores this fiscal and offer new collections of designer jewellery with more sparkling diamonds.