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7 posts from February 2014

Bez Ambar Designer - Blaze Cut Diamond Rings

Bez Ambar Blaze and pave RingOne of our favorite designers, Bez Ambar, has designed and patented the Blaze cut diamond.  He is now introducing a several new lines of diamond rings, pendants, and earrings using this unique and beautiful diamond shape.

Blaze Video:

The Blaze cut and pve diamond ring illustrated below shows the designer's passion for design as he leads the industry in the new "era of design."

See more Bez Ambar Blaze diamond rings...

See more Bez Ambar designs at Diamond Source of Virginia...


Diamonds are sparkling, but would you be a sucker to invest?| The Week UK

Polished diamonds-1SOMETHING slightly crazy is going on in China. In what seems to be a topsy-turvy assessment of values, Danone is giving away diamonds to boost sales of powdered milk.

Locals see the French dairy giant’s move as a none-too-subtle ruse to distract attention from the dirt thrown in recent food safety and pricing scandals, but even so, the campaign has sparked widespread interest. You’ve got to admit that, when it comes to choosing what to feed your Little Emperor, the lure of a shiny bauble beats a Mothercare voucher hands down.

Danone’s latest stunt is tapping into an ancient fetish. These sparkly rocks have fascinated humans for millennia, though no-one needs reminding that their cold beauty belies an often bloody past.

As late as the 1990s, 80 per cent of rough diamond sales were in the hands of one company, De Beers, which also controlled half of all production. When the company’s controlling dynasty, the Oppenheimers, sold out – and the discovery of new mines loosened De Beers’ grip on the industry – the market was thrown open. But that, in turn, paved the way for a new army of shysters and con-merchants. A BBC investigation in January uncovered a proliferation of diamond boiler-room scams, with vulnerable targets conned into dodgy schemes often involving non-existent gems.

In fact, investing in diamonds is never straightforward, even when the stones do exist – mainly because valuing them is so tricky. Unlike other precious commodities such as gold, the sheer variety of individual rocks rules out any simple cost-by-ounce pricing mechanism. The basic valuation template boils down to the four Cs – Carat (weight), Colour, Clarity and Cut. But there’s plenty of room for subjective interpretation.

The removal of the De Beers stranglehold has also made prices more volatile. “The industry has been on a rollercoaster ride since the global financial crisis of 2008,” notes the 2013 Global Diamond Report compiled by Bain & Co. Prices plummeted (in part due to distressed selling), “only to rebound to reach historically high levels in 2010 and 2011”. Cue, another mini-crash.

A measure of calm has now returned and, with consumer demand forecast to rebound in key territories like the US, China and India – and supply predicted to contract – the medium-term outlook for sparklers looks strong.

Aficionados will tell you that, for all the vicissitudes of the market cycle, diamonds really are forever. According to Vashi Dominguez of the trader Diamond Manufacturers (aka, “certain types, including coloured varieties [known in the trade as “fancies”] have held had their value over the past few years better than other more volatile equity investments.”

And size counts when it comes to building value. From 1990 to 2011, the value of three-carat diamonds increased by 145 per cent, while five-carat diamonds rose by 171 per cent on the Rapaport Diamond Trade Index (a carat is 0.2 grams).  

Colourless (or “white”) diamonds are measured on a sliding colour scale in which the rankings are D (the best blue white) and E (exceptional white). Avoid buying any gem that registers lower than grade H, as it will deemed too yellow. Clarity grades range from Flawless to Imperfect 3. But Dominguez reckons that the most important of the four Cs is “cut”, because it is the skill of the cutter that gives a diamond its brilliance.  

Given the level of knowledge involved, some reckon that buying diamonds is a sucker’s game unless you have real expertise – though it’s worth noting that the first rule of buying is to avoid getting shafted by jewellers’ mark-ups. If you want to get a feel for prices, check out the largest online dealer,

There are, though, othe


Diamond Source of Virginia - Your source for diamond earrings

RB 2.11 tcw 3-prong-1smFor round diamond earring mountings, we recommend 14-karat white gold three-prong Martini style mountings with Versa posts and Guardian™  clutch backs.  We find these to be the best looking, most comfortable and most secure types of mounting and backs.
The three-prong head keeps the round appearance more than then four-prong heads often used for earrings.

Why the Diamond Business Keeps Getting Slammed - JCK

Blog post by By Rob Bates, Senior Editor JCK Magazine

Rough diamonds-4jpgI have heard it said that if you really want to distrust the mass media, read articles on a subject you know a lot about. And so it is with diamonds. Every six months or so, I come across articles along the lines of “diamonds are a scam.” (See recent pieces in The Huffington Post, PolicyMic, and Bustle.) Now, JCK’s editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky, Trace Shelton at Instore, and Edahn Golan at IDEX have had their say on these articles, and their takes are all worth reading. But I’d also like to talk about some common assertions, look at where they came from, and why they keep popping up.

First, let’s start with something you hear a lot: “Diamonds are not rare.” Now, this is true, to an extent. You can buy diamonds at any mall in America. Any item that is available within a 10-mile radius of most Americans is not rare. But high-quality diamonds are not so easy to find. And the biggest, best-quality diamonds are rarest of all. Wealthy investors wouldn’t spend $30 million for a 118 ct. D Flawless if there were piles of them lying around somewhere.

When people say “diamonds aren’t rare” they generally mean the supply of diamonds has been artificially constrained. And yes, for decades, De Beers did stockpile diamonds in order to keep the prices high. Now, however, its market share is 35 to 40 percent, and it no longer makes sense to do that. In addition, De Beers’ agreement with European Union antitrust authorities forbids it from stockpiling. As does the American antitrust class-action suit that became final in 2012, which requires De Beers to:

…abide by state and federal antitrust laws, prohibits specific conduct that Plaintiffs believe has been anticompetitive in the past, limits De Beers’ purchase of rough diamonds from a third party to 40 percent of that third party’s production unless a regulatory agency gives express approval otherwise, prohibits stockpiling of rough diamonds, and prohibits resale price maintenance agreements by De Beers. 

(And really, think about it. If De Beers went through the trouble of paying $300 million to settle an antitrust class action regarding its anticompetitive conduct, it wouldn’t then go out and repeat the same behavior that led to the lawsuit. That would mean it would get sued again.) 

The diamond industry used to be run by a cartel. It isn’t anymore. You would think if these writers really cared about all this, they would be happy about that. Instead many just gloss over or ignore it, even though the information has been out there for years.  

The other thing you hear a lot is that “diamonds have no value,” that they are just shiny rocks. This is also true and false. Diamonds have value because we as humans give them value. Just like we do for an Andy Warhol print—which, after all, is just paint on a canvas, with no practical use. Or a piece of paper with Beatles lyrics on it. Or a gold bar, Rolex watch, Louis Vuitton handbag, or iPod. Marketing played a huge role in fueling desire for diamonds and diamond engagement rings in particular. But marketing also played a role in the rise of Andy Warhol. Not to mention the Beatles, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, and the iPod.

Some of the worst commentary out there relies heavily on a 1982 article in The Atlantic by Edward Jay Epstein titled “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?”, adapted from his book of the same year. (One blogger for Priceonomics seems to have just rewrote Epstein and called it a day.) The thing about that Atlantic piece is, it’s 32 years old. It talks about standard 200 percent markups on diamonds. Those don’t exist anymore. And today, many jewelers buy off the street. If you Google “we buy diamonds,” you get 1.5 million results. According to one estimate, $1 billion in diamonds has been traded in the last few years. So Epstein may not have had luck selling his stone. But plenty more have. 

Will you get full retail value for your diamond the day after you bought it? Of course not. But a diamond holds its value a lot better than many other purchases. If someone wrote an article titled “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Three-Year-Old Microwave Oven?” he wouldn’t have much luck either. 

Now, diamond prices are a lot more volatile than they have been in the past. That is one aftereffect of the decline of the cartel structure. But as countless consultant reports will tell you, the long-term picture is for diamond prices to rise, because demand is increasing while supply isn’t. And really, if anyone believes his diamonds have no value, please send them to me. I will be happy to take those worthless objects off anyone's hands.

(One aside: Epstein, who did uncover a lot of interesting information in 1982, just reemerged with an article: “Will the Diamond Cartel Survive?” In 2009, he wrote an article called “Can Diamonds Survive the Free Market?” You would think that after three decades of predicting the industry’s doom, he’d at least consider a more nuanced view on the subject. And while his original tome did feature some impressive shoe-leather reporting, he doesn’t seem to have done much work on the industry since then, and his recent article is isn't much different from his 2009 piece, which in turn rehashes his 30-year-old book. Even Epstein, it seems, is recycling Epstein.)

Now, some of these authors are just lazy, repeating facts that are “too good to check.” But in the end, I don’t blame these guys (and most of them are guys). Our industry is at fault. And not just because it’s had, at times, a genuinely ugly history. It’s because it doesn’t stick up for itself.

What kind of lame business lets people spread untruths about it and never responds or tries to correct them? The only people countering these articles are me and my colleagues in the trade press, and that really isn’t our role. Even De Beers never bothers to reply to these things, and it gets slammed worst of all. Considering it wants to establish itself as a consumer brand name, that is a little nuts. 

There is talk that the reconstituted World Diamond Council may represent the industry publicly. That would be welcome. Contrary to what you may have read pre-Valentine’s Day, diamonds are not worthless. But if this industry keeps ignoring its public image as well as the attitudes of younger consumers, and if it can’t get its act together to promote or defend itself, it may prove its worst critics right after all. 



De Beers Sees Diamond Demand Accelerating on U.S., China Sales - Businessweek

Rough diamonds-2Global diamond demand is set to accelerate this year, increasing by as much as 4.5 percent as Chinese and U.S. consumers buy more of the precious stones, according to De Beers, the biggest producer.

“Growth should be sustainable mainly because of the U.S. and China,” Chief Executive Officer Philippe Mellier said today in an interview with Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” Diamond consumption will climb by 4 percent to 4.5 percent, compared with about 3 percent in 2013, he said.

De Beers is betting that increased sales in the world’s two largest markets will counter weakness in India, where volatility in the rupee has reduced consumers’ buying power. De Beers, owned by Anglo American Plc (AAL), today reported a 12 percent increase in annual diamond production to 31.2 million carats.

Mellier said it was “too early” to say whether De Beers planned to increase rough diamond prices this year. The company will study demand before making a decision.

De Beers has been more aggressive in diamond pricing by cutting the discount between its selling prices and the secondary cash market since it broke with tradition in 2011 and appointed Mellier, a company outsider, as CEO.

Rough-diamond prices gained 10 percent last year as the U.S. economy recovered and Chinese shoppers bought more of the stones. Prices have more than doubled in the past five years, according to data compiled by WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd.


Orange Diamonds are Rare and Beautiful

Orange-diamond 14.82 pear-1The world’s largest orange diamond, the 14.82 carat stone named “The Orange”, was auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva on November 12, 2013. It sold for $35,000,000, setting the world record for the largest orange diamond and the highest price per carat paid for any colored diamond.

It is approximately three times larger than the other two known large orange diamonds (the 5.54-carat “Pumpkin Diamond” and a 4.19-carat Fancy Vivid Orange, which sold for $2.95 million in 2011).

Pumpkin diamond 5.54 carat-1Few people have ever seen a pure orange diamond because they are so rare and usually kept in private collections. The majority of orange diamonds are found in Africa. The auction of the Pumpkin Diamond, named by the buyer Ronald Winston as it was purchased the day before Halloween, make the news in 1997 and created the first general interest in orange diamonds. At the time the 5.54-carat Pumpkin Diamond with Fancy Vivid Orange color was the largest ever found.

The vast majority of all diamonds have a trace of nitrogen, which usually produces brown or yellow color. With orange diamonds the nitrogen atoms are grouped in a special way when the diamond is formed. The result is that light in the blue and yellow region of the color spectrum is absorbed, producing the orange color.

Orange-diamond 14.82 pear-2Like all colored diamonds, the strength of color is one of the most important factors in determining the value of the diamond. As the color of diamonds progress up the intensity scale (Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid), the rarity and value increases.

Learn more about orange diamonds...

Diamonds Are Becoming Favored Investment to Gold

Diamonds might become investors' new best friend. Investors are showing growing interest in diamonds, especially as gold has fallen out of favor.

Investment Diamond Exchange (IDX) opened a trading exchange last year, allowing private and institutional investors to buy certified rough and polished diamonds — as investments, not jewelry. And Chicago-based GemShares and the Nasdaq OMX Group are working to create GemShares Global Investment Grade Standard Diamond Basket Index, which could be used for an exchange-traded fund backed by diamonds to be created, Fortune magazine reports.

Chinese demand for the precious gems is helping drive demand, as Chinese men adopt the American custom of buying diamonds for their sweethearts. The one-child policy has led to a smaller ratio of women to men, giving new leverage to young women. Editor’s Note: Pastor Explains His Biblical Money Code for Investing "If you're a woman in China and you want a diamond ring, you can certainly find a man to get you one," Rick de los Reyes, portfolio manager for T. Rowe Price's Global Metals and Mining Strategy, tells Fortune. "You're pretty much in the driver's seat."

When considering diamonds as an investment, keep in mind that a good investment is one that you can easily sell when you are ready and that does not have a high selling fee. While many diamond "investors" think high color and clarity make better investments, the challenge is that there are fewer potential buyers for these expensive stones compared to color and clarity combinations that are more likely to be sought for engagement rings.