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7 posts from September 2007

Diamonds in Dubai

Uae_map_2 The United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, RAs Al Khaimah, and Fujairah) grouped together in 1971 to form a federation government but are each led by their own ruler.  Located on the southern shores of the Arabia Gulf, Dubai has a tradition of being a trading crossroads between East and West and that tradition is reaching new heights in today’s marketplace.

While the small Persian Gulf city-state of Dubai has less oil than is neighboring Emirates, its ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is investing huge resources (over $90 billion) to create a mind boggling center for international trade, financial services, and tourism.  Hardly a month goes by without announcement of some world-class development that involves descriptions like the world's biggest or best.

Just this month, Dubai announced that the Burj Dubai, a massive office and apartment building under construction in the city, has exceeded the height of Toronto’s CN Tower to become the world’s tallest freestanding structure.  Another newsworthy building is the Burj Al Arab, the sail shaped tower by the sea that is a self-proclaimed seven-star hotel.

Dubaipalmisland_2 The projects that get the most public attention are the palm-shaped, man-made peninsulas built to provide more waterfront business and residential towers (see video below).  There is an indoor ski hill where tourists and citizens in this desert city can enjoy snow activities including the traditional snowball fights.  The newest shopping mall, the five million square foot Dubai Mall, will open soon with billing as the world’s largest mall.

With all this money and luxury spending, it is no surprise that diamonds and jewelry are a key element of Dubai’s trade and tourism strategy.  High-end jewelry brands like Tiffany, Bulgari, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels are well established in the glitziest malls.  The latest arrivals on the big name jewelry scene are auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s.  On January 31, 2008, Christie’s will conduct its first sale of jewels and watches in Dubai with a sale the next day of art from the top Arab and Indian artists.

Dubai_dde_almas_tower_2 Dubai has its own diamond exchange, the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), the first World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) in the Arab world.  It has its own grading laboratory, the Dubai Gem Certification services (DGC) and is own diamond shape, the Dubai Cut diamond, a 99 facet patented cut.  The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is responsible for orchestrating Dubai’s diamond sector development.

The Dubai Diamond Exchange, a subsidiary of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), announced that rough diamond exports from Dubai topped $2.24 billion for the first half of 2007, up 17 percent from the same period last year.  In 2006, Dubai diamond trade totaled more than $6 billion (4%) of the world-side jewelry market.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in particular, Dubai has positioning itself to be come the diamond capital of the world, now that it has established itself as the top diamond trade location for the Middle East.  The purchasing power in the region continues to increase and the growing appetite for luxury goods, like diamonds, means that stories of Dubai diamonds will be in the news for years to come.

Rare Pink Diamond Sale

Pink_diamondsPink diamonds have become one of the most sought after of nature’s treasures so it is no wonder that the annual sale of rarest of the rare pink diamonds is a diamond lovers dream.  Unfortunately, this sale is so exclusive that only about 100 select bidders are invited to participate and few diamond lovers will ever even see a photo of one of these diamonds, let alone see one in person.

The 23rd Argyle Pink Diamond tender, conducted by Rio Tinto owner of the Argyle Diamond Mine, consists of three separate showings.  The 2007 Perth presentation was recently concluded, the display in Hong Kong is September 18-28, and the final event is in New York is October 1-12.  At each event, the invited bidders get to examine 65 of the world’s rarest pink diamonds.  They make bids on the diamonds they want and Rio Tinto notifies the winners in October.  Rio Tinto never publicly announces the winners or the prices and is not obligated to accept the bids.  They are selling rare items so they reserve the right to determine what the value should be.

Rio_tinto_logo_2 This year’s tender of 65 items are reported to be of exceptional quality.  The 65 Argyle Signature Stones collection diamonds were picked from the 8,000 to 10,000 polished pink diamonds produced annually and are deeper in color and more vivid than previous year’s collections.  In addition to the classic pink diamonds, this year’s collection contains some purplish reds, deeper pinks, and an unusual rare grey-violet diamond cut in a unique shield shape.

While pink diamonds have always been rare, they are becoming even more so because the surface mining operations at the Argyle Mine are nearing their productive life.  Rio Tinto recently announced they would invest in deeper underground mining operations that will continue production of pink diamonds until 2018.  Since the Argyle Mine supplies 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds and there are no new pink diamond sources on the horizon, pink diamond lovers are investing now in beautiful stone that they know will continue to increase in value.

Check out other pink diamond articles:

Pink Diamonds Sold (2006 Tender)

Red Diamond For Sale

China Drives Diamond Demand Growth

Chinawedding_ringDe Beers marketing and increased Western influence in China is proving to be a boon for the diamond industry.  Traditionally, diamond rings had no place in the wedding culture in China but that has changed.

Chinese diamond jewelry purchases are projected to grow 12 percent this year from almost $2 billion in 2006 sales.  In the first half of 2007, China’s diamond imports tripled and with diamond wedding rings representing about a third of diamond purchases, that means many brides in China are now wearing diamond rings.

Hong Kong set the stage for China thirst for diamonds.  The influx of money into Hong Kong in recent decades created a passion for luxury goods.  The top luxury brands set their stakes in Hong Kong years ago and the marketing focus on those brands has resulted in higher priced jewelry purchases.  Because prices in Hong Kong are 20 to 40 percent lower than on the mainland, much of China’s luxury shopping was done in Hong Kong but the trend is changing.  Now that mainland Chinese shoppers are brand savvy, they are demanding and getting higher-end retailers closer to home.  Diamond shoppers in China got good news last year with the value-added tax reduction on imported diamonds.

The enormous population in China coupled with the thriving economy translates into a massive potential for diamond purchases.  More grooms will be learning about diamonds online so they can make find the best diamond for their intended brides.  Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend” is taking on new meaning for millions for jewelry shoppers in China.

Letseng Mine Produces 18th Largest Diamond

Lesotho_mapLetseng Mine in Lesotho, operated by London-based Gem Diamonds Limited, was the source of a recently announced 494-carat diamond discovery, which makes it the 18th largest diamond ever found.  The newly recovered diamond has not yet been named, but that will probably occur after the stone is examined in Antwerp to determine its quality.

The Letseng Mine has become famous for its large diamonds, in particular three of the world’s twenty largest diamonds.  A 603-carat diamond, named Lesotho Promise, was recovered from the Letseng Mine In August of last year and is currently the 15th largest rough diamond ever found.  The Lesotho Promise sold in October 2006 for $12.4 million.  The average value per carat of production from the Letseng Mine is nearly 20 times the industry production average.

The Letseng Mine includes production from two kimberlites (main and satellite), that are estimated to contain $4.7 billion in recoverable resources.  Gem Diamonds Ltd. operates this exceptionally productive diamond mine and has 70 percent ownership with the Kingdom of Lesotho owning the remaining 30 percent. 

Gem Diamonds Ltd. has aggressively purchased exiting diamond mines and then rehabilitates the operations.  Earlier this year, the company bought the Gope deposit in Botswana and BDI Mining in Indonesia.  It still has an open bid for Australian-based Kimberley Diamond Company and owns projects in Congo, Angola, and the Central African Republic.  Almost all of the company’s revenues come from the Letseng Mine, purchased in June 2006, which is one of only a few revenue-producing projects thus far.

The newly discovered 494-carat diamond is insured for $15 million until its true value can be determined.  The diamond will be sold in Antwerp, using the tender sales approach, since that marketing strategy was so successful for the Lesotho Promise a year ago.

The Letseng Mine certainly makes the headlines with its large diamond discoveries and Gem Diamonds Ltd. hopes it will be the cornerstone of its business plan to become one of the leading diamond producing companies in the world.

Check out other articles about the Letseng Mine and its exceptional diamonds.

Four giant diamonds discovered at Letseng Mine

Lesotho Promise: Largest Diamond Found this Century

216-Carat Discovered

Lesotho Promise Sells for $12.36 Million

Diamonds Miniseries in the Works

Judy_davis_actress Alchemy Television Group announced a proposed miniseries, titled “Diamonds.”  The Judy Davis, recently nominated for an Emmy for her character in “The Starter Wife,” has the lead role as a U.S. senator whose daughter is murdered at a diamond mine in Africa.  Her investigation leads to an exploration of the treacherous world of international diamond trade.  Co-stars, Derek Jacobi and James Purefoy, play a ruthless diamond mogul and his son.

The miniseries will be produced on location in Canada, London, and South Africa and will include characters from the diamond mines to the corporate offices.  The series will be marketed to the networks with a targeted broadcast in spring of 2008.

Alchemy, a London and Los Angles based company has become a major force in the TV event drama market.  Their most recent production, “The Company,” premiered on TNT last month with wide acclaim.

Liberia Ships First Kimberley Process Diamonds

LiberiamapThe United Nations banned diamonds from Liberia in 2001 because of “blood diamonds” use to fund atrocities of the 1989 to 2003 civil war.  The U.N. lifted the ban in April when Liberia agreed to adhere to the Kimberley Process for exporting diamonds.  While the first shipment was small in terms of value ($220,000), it was a big step for Liberia’s financial future. 

Liberia is struggling to recover from the devastating economic implications of the brutal wars that ravaged that region of Africa the since the early 1990’s.  The Liberian government receives three percent of diamond sales directly but also benefits from the renewed infusion of resources as the diamond industry renews its efforts in the country.

The Kimberley Process is the multi-national mechanism established to curb and possibly eliminate conflict diamonds by requiring governmental documentation for diamonds to show they came from legitimate sources.

The United Nations has over 9,000 troops in Liberia to maintain stability during the rebuilding process.  The troops are scheduled to be withdrawn over the next three years as the government rebuilds is state institutions, solidifies its judicial system, and reestablishes its infrastructure of roads, schools, and health care.

Lifting the ban on diamonds provides job opportunities, which are so critical for this country’s quest to alleviate poverty and restore quality of life to its citizens.

Diamond Bikini

Diamondbikini_2 If you asked a girl to wear clothes make of rocks and metal, you probably would not get many willing participants. However, if you asked a girl if she would like to wear $30 million dollars worth of diamonds, you might perk more interest.

Actress Molly Sims made fashion history when she wore a truly unique swimsuit comprised of over 150 carats of D color Flawless clarity diamonds held together by thin strands of platinum.  Susan Rosen designed the world’s most expensive bikini in conjunction with Steinmetz Diamonds, for the 2006 Sports Illustrated issue. 

The size and quality of the diamonds in the bikini were extraordinary and included a 51-carat pear shape diamond, a 30-carat emerald cut diamond, a pair of 15-carat rounds and a pear of 8-carat pear-shaped diamonds.  This sparkling swimsuit contained no fabric, only diamonds and platinum, so took a lot of nerve and a special body to wear.  Molly Sims said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that she thought $30 million "would go a little farther" than the skimpy bikini that she wore at the photo shoot.

The real question is what you do with a $30 million dollar diamond bikini after the photo shoot.  Even if you could afford it, this item of clothing is not exactly the type of thing you wear to the beach or the pool.