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4 posts from December 2018

Gem Diamonds Recovered a Record Number of Huge Diamonds This Year

Gem_diamondsIt was a great year for Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (OTCMKT:GMDMF and L:GEMD), as the company recovered a record number of huge precious stones from its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho.

With the 2 latest, a high quality 101 carat and 71 carat white Type IIa diamond, both recovered within a 24-hour frame, the number of stones over 100 carats dug up at the mine reached a record 14, the company said last Wednesday.

Letšeng is the world’s highest USD per carat diamond mine.

Lesotho Legend photoEarly this year, it found the 910-carat “Lesotho Legend”, 1 of the largest diamonds ever discovered, which sold for $40-M.

Other big finds were a 115-carat diamond found in May, and a 138-carat rock unveiled in August.

Since acquiring Letšeng in Y 2006, Gem Diamonds has found now five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes the mine the world’s highest USD per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also 1 of the world’s highest diamond mines.

The biggest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in Y 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London.

Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona was the 2nd-biggest in record, while the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone were the 3rd- and 4th-largest.

 


Bulgari Blue Sells for $18 Million at Christie’s

Bulgari-Blue-ChristiesA Bulgari diamond ring surpassed its estimate at Christie’s in New York on Wednesday, bringing in more than $18 million.

The cushion-cut, 8.08-carat, fancy-vivid-blue piece was the event’s top seller at $18.3 million, beating its presale estimate of $13 million to $18 million. It completes a mixed week for colored-diamond sales after a 10.62-carat, fancy-vivid-blue diamond — estimated at $20 million to $30 million — failed to find a buyer at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday.

Pink Heart Diamond 15.56 caratProceeds at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction came to $69.2 million, with 95% of lots sold by value. Those items included a heart-shaped, 15.56-carat, fancy intense-pink diamond-pendant necklace, which garnered $9.5 million against a presale estimate of $9.5 million to $12 million.

Other notable lots included a 28.70-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity, type IIa diamond ring from the estate of art collector Lee Vandervelde. That piece sold for $2.1 million, against its $1.5 million to $2.5 million presale estimate, with proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles-based Children’s Hospital and Children’s Institute.

Diavik Foxfire earringsA pair of earrings weighing a combined 77.71 carats, cut from the 187.63-carat Diavik Foxfire — North America’s largest known gem-quality rough diamond — brought in $1.6 million. Its original valuation was $1.3 million to $3 million. An 8.09-carat, fancy-vivid-yellow diamond ring by Gillot & Co. achieved $1.3 million, versus its presale estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million.

Belperron tube braceletA diamond “tube” bracelet by Suzanne Belperron went for $852,500, smashing its expected price of $200,000 to $300,000 and setting a world auction record for pieces by the designer.

“The excitement and prices achieved in our New York sale tonight, including the exceptional price achieved for the sensational fancy-vivid-blue diamond ring by Bulgari, and the world auction record realized for Suzanne Belperron, mark a perfect ending to our successful year of global jewelry auctions,” said Daphne Lingon, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas.

Ref: Rapaport 


India Is The Leading Diamond Cutting and Polishing Country

Diamond-cuttingIndia increased its dominance in cutting and polishing last year due to relatively low costs that gave it a competitive advantage over China, according to Bain & Company.

The Indian diamond-manufacturing industry grew 11% in 2017, outpacing the Chinese market, which increased 2%, Bain reported. That left India with more than 90% of the market, versus China’s low-single-digit-percentage share, the consultancy firm said in its 2018 Global Diamond Report, which it published last week in partnership with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

India’s manufacturing sector has benefited from cheaper labor, improvements in workers’ skills, advances in technology, and a favorable regulatory environment. Those factors also helped the country increase its production of large stones, a more profitable segment, Bain explained.

Relatively easy access to financing further contributed to the 2017 rise, as credit enables cutters’ to buy and process larger rough diamonds. While banks tightened lending in 2018, the more transparent and financially healthier companies have managed to weather that challenge, it added.

Costs in China are also low by global standards, but are still higher than in Indian hubs such as Surat, putting pressure on the ability for the country to grow its sector, Bain said.

Polishing in other countries, such as the US, Belgium and Israel, declined 6% due to high costs and an ageing workforce, the report continued. Africa failed to gain significant market share due to low productivity and relatively high costs.

Global revenues from cutting and polishing rose 2% in 2017, with manufacturers realizing profit margins of 1% to 3%, Bain said.


Winston Pink Legacy Sets New Record at Auction

The-Pink-Legacy-1On Nov. 13, Christie’s Geneva sold the much-hyped 18.96 ct. fancy vivid Pink Legacy (pictured) for $50.3 million to Harry Winston—setting a new per-carat record for a pink diamond.

Its new owner has since rechristened the rectangular-cut VS1-clarity gem the Winston Pink Legacy.

The hammer price came after what Christie’s called “five minutes of spirited bidding” and topped the diamond’s pre-auction estimate of $30 million–$50 million.

“The room was packed solid as private collectors and dealers wanted to see the sale of the pink diamond,” says Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Asia. “In the end it was purchased by Harry Winston, bidding against Vickie Sek, head of Christie’s jewelry department in Asia. There were many underbidders, all on the phone, with our Geneva- and London-based colleagues.”

Pink-Legacy-DiamondThe Legacy’s $2.7 million per-carat price tops the previous record holder, the 14.93 ct. fancy vivid Pink Promise, which fetched $2.1 million a carat in Hong Kong last year. But the Legacy’s overall price still fell below the $71 million garnered by the 59.5 ct. fancy vivid Pink Star, which in 2017 set a world auction record at Sotheby’s not only for a pink diamond but any kind of diamond or gemstone.

Christie’s described the Pink Legacy as “descended” from the Oppenheimer family, which formerly controlled De Beers, though it did not specify which family member owned the gem. Before its sale, the family had sold it to a private collector.

This is at least the third major diamond that has been purchased by Harry Winston since it was bought by the Swatch Group in 2013.

“We are proud to continue in the Winston tradition of acquiring the finest gems in the world,” said Winston president and CEO Nayla Hayek in a statement. “Tonight, the Winston Pink Legacy joins our incredible legacy collection, which began with the acquisition of the 101 ct. D flawless Winston Legacy diamond at Christie’s in 2013.”

Winston also bought a 13 ct. fancy vivid blue for $24.2 million in 2014.

Ref: JCKOnline.com