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8 posts from January 2006

Diavik Mine in Canada produces 7.74 million carats of Diamonds

Canada continues to be one of the world's top diamond producing companies.  Tacy Ltd. Diamond Industry Consultants, a strategic consultancy house for the international diamond industry, reports:

A total of 7.74 million carats of diamonds were delivered to the owners by the Diavik Diamond Mine during the calendar year 2005. The quantity of diamonds produced during the same period was 8.27 million carats. Although the diamond production is slightly below the mine plan estimate of 8.5 million carats the quantity delivered was in accordance with the mine plan.

Aber Diamond Corporation's 40 percent share of diamonds produced was 3.31 million carats for the year, 9 percent greater than the prior year, with 0.73 million carats being produced in the last calendar quarter of 2005. The average recovered grade of ore processed during the year was 3.72 carats per ton.

“We are pleased with the continued growth in production at Diavik as work proceeds to open more working faces to dependably deliver ore to the expanded processing capacity. We are also optimistic that improvements to both mining and processing methods may improve the liberation and recovery of enhanced diamond value,” enthuses Robert Gannicott, Chairman and Chief Executive of Aber.

3,300 Carats of Diamonds at The Golden Globes

The champagne brand Moet & Chandon has taken on a new advertising slogan – “Be Fabulous, Feel Fabulous”, and released a list of Fabulous Facts from the Golden Globes. The total carat weight of diamonds at The Golden Globes, of which they are a sponsor, was 3,300 carats worth an estimated $45 million.

Other fabulous facts include 1,108 pounds of prime beef served at the event, 1,250 limousines, and 30,000 square feet of red carpet.

Clicks and Stones: Diamond Retailers

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine (February 2006 issue) included an article entitled "Clicks & Stones" that discussed the value you can now get with online diamond retailers.

In an industry famous for high markups and perpetual closeout sales, diamond e-tailers have brought clarity and competition to pricing jewelry.  Scott Devitt, a senior analyst at Legg Mason says, “They expose diamonds for the commodities they are.”

E-tailers’ costs are lower than for local jewelers because they spend less on labor, leases, inventory, display cases, special lighting and all the other expenses that the diamond shopper can not wear out of the store.  Because of the better values available with diamond e-tailers, the online retailers sold about $340 million in engagement ring sales in 2005.  Since local jewelry store prices are often double those for online retailers, that equates to a lot of diamonds and the trend continues to increase.

The article mentions that the online diamond shopper’s biggest concern seems to be that you have to buy the diamond without seeing them in advance. An aid to diamond shoppers is that the cut of the diamond can be indicated by the information on the certifications. The AGS certifications have a cut grade and starting in January of this year, the GIA will start providing a cut grade for round diamonds.  However, most shapes other than round brilliant diamonds do not currently have cut grades and getting a beautiful diamond is a little more complicated.  The challenge for the typical diamond shoppers is how to know about diamond cut, color, clarity and other characteristics to know what the best diamonds are going to be on the online retailers’ inventory listing.

What clients at Diamond Source of Virginia have discovered is that they can have their own personal diamond consultant help them find the best diamonds in the country and the prices are lower than local jewelry stores and even lower than the heavily advertised online companies.

Diamond Source of Virginia is unique as a diamond retailer:

  1. Clients can examine the diamond before purchasing
  2. Return shipping is free to client if they are not completely satisfied with the diamond 
  3. Clients do not have to pick from a list of diamonds on a web site because diamond consultants conduct a free, personalized search of hundreds of cutters and wholesalers (over 400,000 diamonds) to find the best diamonds meeting the client’s shopping requirements.
  4. Diamond consultants who conduct the personalized search are diamond experts who are able to find the best cut diamonds with the biggest millimeter size and best value. 
  5. Consultants only recommend GIA and AGS certified diamonds and are careful to exclude medium or higher fluorescence, girdle or culet problems, and other issues that the average diamond shopper probably does not even know to avoid.
  6. Provide a wide range of mountings and custom designers to compliment the beautiful diamonds.

While most online diamond retailers do not allow customers to come to their office, Diamond Source of Virginia welcomes anyone within driving distance of Richmond, Virginia to examine the diamond in one of the private viewing rooms. For diamond jewelry buyers who want the very low prices of the online retailer but also want the personal touch of a brick-and-mortar retailer, Diamond Source of Virginia is the best of both worlds.

No January Increase in Rough Diamond Prices

The marketing arm of the world’s largest diamond miner De Beers, Diamond Trading Company (DTC), would keep its rough diamond prices unchanged next week for the sixth consecutive time at the first sight of this year, DTC spokeswoman Lynette Hori said last week. “The DTC constantly monitors the diamond market and we saw no need to increase prices,” Hori said.

The first sight of the year runs from January 16 to January 20. The DTC holds 10 sights a year for its 93 sightholders worldwide.

The DTC last raised its rough diamond prices at the June sight last year and that was by less than 3%. Before that it raised prices at last year’s January sight by 3%.

DTC sightholders knew on Wednesday there would be no change in rough diamond prices at the January sight, Rosy Blue Manufacturing CEO Dilip Mehta said. Rosy Blue has a diamond-cutting and manufacturing facility next to De Beers’ Cullinan mine near Pretoria.

Israel's diamond industry ended 2005 with impressive growth

In 2005 Israel’s polished and rough diamond exports broke, for the first time ever, the $10 billion threshold. Net polished exports in 2005 rose 5.8% to reach an all time high of $6.707 billion, compared to $6.337 billion in 2004. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 20.5% in 2005 to reach $3.517 billion, up from $2.920 billion in 2004.

Net imports of rough diamonds totaled $5.318 billion, an increase of 3.2% over $5.151 billion in 2004. Israel's imports of polished diamonds increased 9.3% in 2005 to reach $3.897 billion, as compared to $3.564 billion last year.

Efforts to diversify diamond sources from the De Beers syndicate have succeeded. Imports from De Beers totaled $962 million in 2005 (18% of total imports), the same as in 2004.
Israel currently has 3,000 diamond polishers, out of 15,000 persons in the industry as a whole. Israel had 30,000 diamond polishers a decade ago, and more polishing is expected to be transferred overseas in 2006.

The United States remained the major export market for Israel's polished diamonds,however its export share declined from 67% in 2004 to 61% in 2005, with a greater weight shifting to Far Eastern and European markets.

Diamond leaders noted that this was a positive trend, and pointed to a greater diversification in export markets. Hong Kong accounted for 14% of Israel's polished exports, (direct exports to China accounted for 1.5%), Belgium 8%, Switzerland 5%, UK and Japan 2% each and other destinations 6.5%.

Diamond Jewelry Robbery

Jewelry stores have always been a target of theft and robbery.  The East Coast of the United States has witnessed an unusual number of jewelry store robberies the past six months.  Most of these were smaller jewelry stores in malls.  However robbery can happen with even the biggest names in jewelry stores as occurred in London recently.

A gang conned two of London’s most expensive jewelry stores, De Beers LV and Cartier, into delivering hundreds of thousands worth of diamond jewelry straight into their hands.  Posing as crew for a fashion photo shoot in an urban setting, the gang requested some earrings, a necklace, and a ring for the 'models'.

According to reports in the British press, at 10 am Wednesday, couriers from De Beers LV arrived at an east London location where the shoot was supposed to take place. Two robbers attacked the couriers. At 11:30 am on Thursday morning the story repeated itself when a courier from Cartier arrived at a supposed shooting location with a necklace and matching earrings. Upon arrival she was robbed by two men while still in the taxi.

Police are searching for the thieves who escaped with $887,225 worth of diamond jewelry. Police believe both robberies were planned and carried out by the same people and are trying to identify the person who contacted the jewelry houses with the bogus fashion shoot story.

China's jewelry exports grew 25%

While China has become a large importer of diamonds, it has also become a large exporter of jewelry.

China's jewelry export grew 24.99 percent year on year to US$4.96 billion during the January-November period of 2005, figures from the Chinese customs show.
During the 11-month period, China exported noble metal jewelry worth US$1.826 billion, diamonds worth US$1.278 billion, and pearls worth US$128 million, statistics show.

Southern Guangdong Province contributes 55.43 percent of China's total jewelry export, which was 2.75 billion U.S. dollars.

The export volume of Shandong Province, Shanghai and Beijing municipalities, Zhejiang, Hunan and Fujian provinces stood at US$512 million, US$260 million, US$207 million, US$189 million, US$173 million and US$169 million respectively, ranking from the second to the seventh among all China's provincial regions.

China's capacity in jewelry process has been greatly enhanced in recent years, and the country is expected to become a world jewelry process center in the future.

Figures show that over 80 percent of jewelry sold in Hong Kong is processed and manufactured on the Chinese mainland, which now has more than 200 factories wholly processing jewelry for overseas markets.

GREEN LASER to cut diamonds

New technology continues to improved the diamond cutting and polishing process to produce better cut diamonds with less expense.  Here is an example of one of these technologies:

The Israeli company Sarin, developer and manufacturer of precision diamond and gemstone production technology, has recently started shipping a new system for cutting diamonds using green laser.

The new system, called Quazer, is based on proprietary technology and features a number of important breakthroughs in the sawing, cutting and shaping of diamonds. Some of its unique advantages include minimal breakage and weight-loss on the cut or sawn stone and the ability to cut damage-prone "tension stones".

The Quazer system can also seamlessly integrate with Sarin's DiaExpert rough planning machine, DiaMark-Z laser marker and its "Advisor" software for mapping, analysis and laser marking of rough diamonds.