JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The global sightholder sales and auction sales of diamond company De Beers have this year continued to deliver consistent value, with the latest seventh sales cycle coming in at $505-million, a virtual carbon copy of the $507-million realised in the seventh sales cycle of last year.
The steady range is proving to be $500-million-plus, with 2018’s sixth sales cycle realising $533-million, the fifth sales cycle bringing in $575-million, the fourth sales cycle valued at $550-million, the third sales cycle at $520-million and the second sales cycle at $555-million.
In February, the Anglo American group company set a production target of 36-million carats of rough diamond output for 2018, up on the 33.45-million carats produced in 2017.
In a statement to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online on Tuesday, De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said of the latest sales cycle: “De Beers provided sightholders with the opportunity to re-phase the allocation of some smaller, lower value rough diamonds. Demand remains stable ahead of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.”
The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which takes place from Friday this week to Tuesday next week, last year reportedly attracted 3 695 exhibitors and 59 122 buyers.
On the natural diamond front, De Beers has offered C$107-million cash for Canada's Peregrine Diamonds, the sole owner of the Chidliak resource, 120 km north-east of Iqaluit on Baffin Island.
On the synthetic diamond front, De Beers has launched Lightbox Jewellery, which markets new styles of laboratory-grown diamond jewellery at lower prices than existing lab-grown diamond offerings. Once fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce some 500 000 rough carats of synthetic diamonds a year.
In an article in the latest edition of Mining Weekly, the laboratory-grown diamond market is said by New York diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky to be worth about $1.9-billion and constitute 2% of a global diamond market worth $87-billion.
In the same article, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses president Ernie Blom emphasises that while natural and synthetic diamonds have similar optical properties, “they are two very different products”.
Synthetic coloured gemstones are sold at about 10% of the price of their natural counterparts, which tend to be out of the reach of parts of the population and inappropriate for casual everyday wear, Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr is quoted as saying in the Mining Weekly cover story.
Through an immutable and secure digital trail, De Beers has also successfully tracked 100 high-value diamonds as part of its new industry blockchain platform, which is expected to provide consumers with confidence that registered diamonds are natural and conflict-free. It automatically creates an identity for each diamond and stores carat, colour and clarity information through integration with existing record-keeping systems.