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9 posts from March 2008

1.51 Carat Oval Diamond Ring For Sale

Itemsold Diamond Source of Virginia has this beautiful 1.51 carat Oval cut diamond ring for sale.  The center diamond has H color and SI1 clarity with a GIA Certification and is set in an 14 karat while gold trellis style mounting. 

Ov_151_ct_130_ratio_trellis1smThe specifications of the oval brilliant solitaire diamond are as follows:

Oval Cut, 1.51 carats, GIA cert, H color, SI1 clarity, depth 64.2%, table 53%, Very Good polish, Good symmetry, No fluorescence, measuring 8.34 x 6.39 x 4.10 mm, ratio 1.30 (ref: GIA certification 11696962, dated 8/20/01)

Ov_151_ct_130_ratio_trellis2sm If you are interested in seeing this beautiful diamond ring, call 888-477-8385 for more information.Ov_151_ct_130_ratio_trellis5sm

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Gemesis Working on Other Colors of Synthetic Diamonds

Gemesisdiamond_2Gemesis, the Florida-based synthetic diamond company, currently only produces the laboratory grown diamonds in yellow and orange colors.  The company is working on production techniques to produced pink and blue synthetic diamonds.  It hopes to have that process developed by the end of this year.  Gemesis is also working on process that would eventually allow it to grow white diamond crystals in the 5 to 10 carat range that are in greater demand worldwide.  These larger sized synthetic diamonds are probably at least three years away from commercial production.

Gemesis has recently updated their web site to provide educational information about their company and synthetic diamonds, including the jewelry brands carrying Gemesis Cultured Diamonds.

Check out my previous post entitled "Synthetic Diamonds or Diamond Simulants: Why the Confusion?"

Letseng Diamond Mine Expands Production

Lesothomap Gem Diamond, who owns 70% of Letseng along with the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, reported an 81% increase in annual diamond sale in 2007 with $152 million compared to $83.9 million in 2006.  Because of the productive operations last year, Gem Diamonds is doubling production this year when it starts its second plant in June.  The new plant will process ore when it begins mining the main kimberlite pipe adjacent to the satellite pipe, which has been the source of some of the largest diamonds discovered in the world.

Letseng is renowned for its large white diamond finds and the large diamonds provide about 80% of mine revenues.  With approximately 85% of Letseng production being gem quality diamonds, an exceptional 14-20% of those stones are over 10.8 carats.  No other diamond mine can match the large-stone production of Letseng.  As a result, Gem Diamonds is investing in facilities to take advantage of the unquenchable world thirst for large diamonds and enable them to exploit the 25-30 years of mine life provided by development of the main pipe.

Some past posts related to Letseng Diamond Mine:

Letseng Mine Produces 18th Largest Diamond

493-Carat Diamond Name "Letseng Legacy"

Graff Jewellers Purchases 493-Carat Letseng Legacy Diamond

Four Giant Diamonds Discovered at Letseng Mine

215-Carat Diamond Sold

Lesotho Promise: Largest Diamond Found This Century

Diamond Mining Activity in Lesotho

Tacori Wedding Set For Sale with 1.17 Carat Round Diamond

Rb_117_w_015_tcw_tacori1Diamond Source of Virginia has this beautiful 1.17 carat Round Brilliant diamond wedding set for sale. The center diamond has H color and SI1 clarity with a GIA certification (see bottom of page) and is set in a fancy four prong basket style head in a platinum Tacori mounting. Flanking the center diamond are two round brilliant diamonds having approximately 0.15 total carat weight. The small diamonds are set in three prong heads and have an apparent color grade of H and VS clarity grade.

Rb_117_w_015_tcw_tacori2 The platinum engagement ring measures 6.8 mm wide at the top and 2.2 mm wide at the base of the shank. The ring has the "Tacori" trademark and weighs 6.31 grams.

The wedding set includes a matching Tacori platinum wedding band that has the same wheat pattern carvings on the shank and heart shaped filigree near the top. This platinum Tacori wedding set with 1.32 total carat weight of diamonds is priced at a fraction of what you would find in a jewelry store.

Rb_117_w_015_tcw_tacori3_2 If you are interested in seeing this exceptional wedding set, call 888-477-8385.

The specifications of the center round diamond are as follows:

Round Brilliant, 1.17 carats, GIA cert, H color, SI1 clarity, depth 60.5%, table 57%, Excellent polish, Excellent symmetry, No fluorescence, measuring (6.84 x 6.88 x 4.15 mm (ref: GIA certification dated 5/5/04, laser inscribed "GIA 13367302")

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Old Mine Cut Diamond For Sale

Om_40213smDiamond Source of Virginia has this exceptional 4.02-carat Old Mine Brilliant Cut loose diamond for sale.  This old-fashioned diamond shape has a beautiful facet pattern that produces great brightness, sparkle, and a face-up appearance that is white with lots of fire.

Old Mine cut diamonds have become very hard to find and beautiful diamonds over four carats are becoming very rare.  The shape, also known as the Old Miner, was first cut in the late seventeenth century and was the first shape to have all the facets of the present round diamond, but with a little different size and alignment.  These differences in facet pattern produce the distinct old fashion appearance and charm.  Other names for the Old Mine cut include a Full Cut Brilliant and the Triple Cut.

Om_40214asm The Old Mine Cut got its name from the fact that the diamonds were typically sourced from the old mines located throughout India while most modern diamonds are from the relatively new mines in Africa, Australia, Russia, and Canada.

The specifications for the beautiful diamond are as follows:
Old Mine Brilliant, 4.02 carat, J color, VS1 clarity, depth 60.9%, table 56%, Good polish, Good symmetry, No fluorescence, Large culet, measurements 10.45 x 9.91 x 6.04 mm, and ratio 1.05 (EGL Diamond Certificate US 45000001D dated 2/38/07)

Om_40210sm Pictures of this diamond do not capture its true beauty.  This is one of those unique diamonds you have to see to appreciate.  If you are looking for one of these rare and old-fashioned Old Mine Cut diamonds, give the folks at Diamond Source of Virginia a call at 888-477-8385 and they will be happy to tell you more about this diamond.  This is your chance to own a beautiful piece of history.

Canadian Diamond Mining Update

DiavikdiamondmineWith the worldwide production of diamonds on the decline, mining efforts in Canada’s northern regions are continuing at full speed.  The premier Canadian diamond mine is the Diavik mine, located a mere 130 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  The mine is a joint venture of Rio Tinto and Harry Winston Diamond.  Diavik production in 2007 totaled 11.9 million carats, which is about a tenth of worldwide production.  Operations include a 650-foot excavation pit, preliminary work on a second pit, and funds committed to underground operations that will keep the mine productive past 2020.  Diavik Mine’s Kimberlite pipes have proven to be even more diamond rich than initially estimated so the owners continue to invest in future production.

Iceroadtrucking_2Some of the other Canadian diamond mines are having economic troubles due to an unusually warm winter causing shortages of fuel, equipment and supplies.  These problems were compounded by the rising Canadian dollar, which increased the cost of diamond production relative to diamond sales that are based on the dollar.  Even though diamond prices have increased, the production costs have increased even more, resulting in economic challenges for De Beers’ Snap Lake project.  With construction costs, three times original estimates, De Beers recently took a billion dollar write down in stated value of its Canadian diamond mining operations.

Diamondminescanada_3 De Beer’ Victor mine in Northern Ontario is planned to begin production later this year but it is facing the same financial pressures as the Snap Lake mine.  The economic troubles were intensified by the Ontario government increasing the value tax on diamond production from 5 percent to 13 percent, resulting in an 8 percent increased burden on mining operating margins.

Early in the permitting process, De Beers’ Gahcho Kue project east of Yellowknife is projected to have economics that are more favorable.  As a result, development efforts are being accelerated to recoup quicker the investments.

Tahera Diamond’s small Jericho mine opened in 2006 in Canada’s Nunavut territory with the financial support of Tiffany & Co.  The warm winter limited the use of the ice road necessary to supply the mines and Tahera was unable to meet financial obligations in January and halted mining operations.  The mining company is now seeking potential buyers for the company.

While not part of Canada, Greenland shares the same geological craton (stable part of the earth’s crust) which has produced the major diamond productions in Canada.  Hudson Resources, an exploration company, is conducting bulk-sampling operations in West Greenland to determine the diamond content of the ore.

Diamond Fraud at Crater of Diamonds

Craterdigging_2 I always enjoy hearing about diamond discovers at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, the only diamond mine in the world where the public can keep the diamonds they find.

However, the most recent article I read was a took some of the shine from a place that has pleased thousands of adults and children who have spend hours searching for the elusive diamond they could take home and show their friends.  The investigative article “Arkansas Diamond Fraud” reports on the diamond sales by Eric Blake (see my previous blog article on Eric Blake).

Eric Blake and his family visited Crater of Diamonds in October 2007 and supposedly discovered a large number of diamonds.  He then created a webpage and sold diamonds he advertised as being from the Arkansas State Park.  He also sold diamonds on eBay that were reported to be from the Arkansas “public” diamond mine.  However, investigative research uncovered the fact that Eric Blake had purchased diamonds from India prior to his trip to Crater of Diamonds.  Descriptions and photos of the diamonds ordered from India matched the weights and photos of diamonds supposedly “found” at Crater of Diamonds.

India_panna_diamond_mineYou might wonder why someone would buy diamonds in India and claim they came from Arkansas.  The answer is simple, greed.  Because of the rarity and uniqueness of diamonds from Crater of Diamonds, shoppers are willing to pay a price premium for the diamonds found in the United States.  The Arkansas diamonds are often uniquely formed crystals that often look like drops of glass, unlike the flat, cube or octahedron surfaces typically found in most diamond mines.  However, there are some sources around the world, like the Panna Mines in India, which produce diamond crystal similar in appearance to the crystals found in Arkansas.  Since the diamonds from India are more abundant than those from Arkansas and do not have the celebrity status of diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds, the price of Indian diamonds can be less than a tenth the price of diamonds from Arkansas.  With a ten-fold profit margin, “planting” Indian diamonds in Arkansas was a profitable diamond scam.

While I am sure that the justice system and angry victims will take care of Eric Blake, but I do have concern for all the future visitors to Crater of Diamonds.  I hope their fun and enjoyment is not diminished by one person’s diamond scam.  For all those people who have found or purchased authentic diamonds from Crater of Diamonds, they should take comfort in the fact that they really to have unique and valuable diamonds.  Crater of Diamonds State Park remains a treasure chest of diamonds waiting to be discovered.

Energy Outages Putting Pressure on Diamond Prices

South_africa_mapFor several years now, the demand for diamonds has exceeded the supply and that trend is going to be continuing for the next several years until new supplies can offset the declining production in older mines.  Recently, the supply situation has been hampered by an energy crisis in the southern regions of Africa.

South Africa’s energy problems result from a booming economy and an incompetent government that has strained the energy infrastructure.  In Zimbabwe, the problem stems from a dictator’s management crisis.  As a result, some diamond mines are experiencing a 40% drop in production compared to last year at a time with demand and prices are soaring.

The slowdown in the U.S. economy has slowed the demand for diamonds in the market that historically purchases 50% of the diamonds sold annually.  However, the economies of India, China, and the Middle East are on fast growth paths for their economies and diamond production so that worldwide demand for diamonds continues to grow.  As the growing demand hits the declining production, diamond prices are on the way up.  Diamond speculators are fueling the demand already and it is hard to image what the diamond industry will be faced with in the next 5 to 10 years of this continuing imbalance of diamond supply and demand.

Gold and Platinum Prices Expected to Increase

Goldbarsimage Gold prices have increased nearly 20% this year and were at an all-time high last week of $989.30 an ounce.  Investors seem to be reluctant to push the price over the $1000 an ounce barrier but industry experts predict the price to push past $1,100 an ounce sometime this year.  The price increases are being driven by a weak US dollar and escalating inflation fears.  Commodities markets are bullish on gold and hedge funds have increased buying the precious metal, driving the price up.

Platinum hit record high prices Monday and then again on Tuesday (March 4) as it hit $2,275 an ounce.  The increase in platinum prices is also pulling up palladium prices to a 6 1/2-year high of $588 an ounce.  Platinum’s price increase appears to be more supply and demand oriented.  Its use in jewelry and auto catalysts to clean exhaust fumes increases and supplies were disrupted by mining problems.

In the retail jewelry market, the record gold and platinum prices will likely result in a focus on lighter gold pieces and alternative metals like steel and silver.