Petra’s Prices Boosted $8.2m Blue

Petra Diamonds sold fewer carats but achieved higher prices earlier this month at its fifth tender of FY 2024, boosted by the sale of an $8.2m blue diamond.

The UK-based miner achieved an average $136 per carat on sales of 362,000 carats for $49m.

Like-for-like figures for its fourth tender, in February, were $112 per carat on sales of 429,000 carats for $48m.

Sales for the year to date are, however, lagging behind FY 2023, at $285m, down 10 per cent down on $316m.

The 14.76ct exceptional color and clarity blue diamond recovered from Cullinan, South Africa, sold for $8.2m, although it was not classified as an “exceptional stone” (over $15m).

Total revenue for Q3 FY 2024 was $66m, down 27 per cent on the previous quarter, due to the lower production and the timing of receipts from the fifth tender.

“Production for the quarter is consistent with the preceding quarter and in-line with expectations.,” said CEO Richard Duffy.

Production guidance for FY 2024 is 2.75m to 2.85m carats.

Earlier this month Petra announced the sale of its loss-making Koffiefontein mine, in South Africa, to Dubai-based Stargems for a nominal sum.

Source: IDEX

US Retail Sales Slow Slightly in March

March US retail sales increased at a slower pace than the previous month’s as inflation eased and the job market improved.

Revenue grew 0.7% from the month before to $709.6 billion — adjusted for seasonal variation — compared to an increase of 0.9% in February, according to data the US Census Bureau released Monday.

“As inflation for goods levels off, March’s data demonstrates steady spending by value-focused consumers who continue to benefit from a strong labor market and real wage gains,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) CEO Matthew Shay. “In this highly competitive market, retailers are having to keep prices as low as possible to meet the demand of consumers looking to stretch their family budgets.”

Sales climbed 2.7% from a year earlier, on par with February’s year-on-year results, the NRF added.

March sales were up year on year in six of the nine retail categories the NRF monitors, compared to eight last month. Sales in the clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — were flat compared to February, but advanced 2.1% versus the same period a year ago. Online sales saw the largest year-on-year gain, rising 15%, while electronics, furniture, and building and garden supply products fell.

Source: Rapaport

Sotheby’s Jewelry Watch Auction Sells Out in Under an Hour

All 24 items on offer at the first gender-free live auction of bejeweled and embellished vintage timepieces at Sotheby’s found buyers, with the entire group selling in less than an hour.

The top item at the sale, called Rough Diamonds, was a Patek Philippe Ref. 3290 bracelet watch, ring and necklace set, created in 1962 by Gilbert Albert, decorated with enamel and pearls. The set sparked a more than six-minute battle between seven bidders, finally selling for CHF 393,700 ($435,727), over seven times its high estimate, Sotheby’s said Friday.

In total, the April 11 auction garnered CHF 1.2 million ($1.3 million), nearly twice its upper presale price.

“Rough Diamonds was born from the desire to bring to market a concept watch sale that truly resonated with collectors,” said Josh Pullan, global head of Sotheby’s luxury division. “The results of tonight’s sale, with all 24 lots selling to such a diverse and enthusiastic group of buyers, has validated that vision. The fact that the Gilbert Albert-designed Patek Philippe — the most idiosyncratic and extravagant lot in the sale — has become the most valuable lot sold tonight proves that there is a definite appetite amongst buyers for nonconformist and boldly eccentric timepieces, presented in a differentiated context.”

Other items that performed well included two Audemars Piguet watches. The first, a Cobra Royal Khanjar from 1985, brought in CHF 165,100 ($182,724), while a car-shaped white gold, diamond and emerald-set wristwatch from 1995 fetched CHF 107,950 ($119,474). Both pieces smashed their high estimates. Meanwhile, a Patek Philippe bangle watch from 1976 more than doubled its upper price tag, going for CHF 63,500 ($70,279).

Source: Rapaport

Antwerp World Diamond Centre CEO resigns amid Russia diamond sanctions

Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) chief executive Ari Epstein resigned unexpectedly on Thursday, the AWDC’s board of directors said in a statement.

A spokesperson for AWDC, Belgium’s main diamond industry group, said on Friday that Epstein, who had been CEO for 13 years, did not wish to communicate about the reason for his sudden departure, but Belgian financial newspaper De Tijd reported that Russian diamond sanctions had been the cause of conflict between the diamond sector and the Belgian government.

AWDC did not say who would replace Epstein as CEO. Epstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via LinkedIn.

Following an EU ban on Russian-origin diamonds that took effect on March 1, rough and polished diamonds have to enter the EU and G7 countries with documentary proof and declarations that the stones are not of Russian origin.

Antwerp’s diamond dealers have said they are facing long and costly delays as a consequence.


AGTA Bans Lab-Grown Diamonds, Gemstones at GemFair

The American Gem Trade Association announced that, starting at Tucson next year, exhibitors will not be allowed to sell lab-grown diamonds or colored gemstones at the AGTA GemFair.

National Jeweler received a news release on AGTA’s decision via email Wednesday morning. The release also was posted on the AGTA website, though it had been removed by Wednesday evening.

AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. said the news release was “pulled by error,” and would be reposted today.

According to the release, AGTA’s new rule bans the display of loose gemstones or jewelry “comprising non-natural gemstones, ones that are man-made, synthetic, or lab grown.”

AGTA said its dealers can still sell lab-grown gems if they are disclosed, but only natural gems can be made available for purchase at GemFair.

The association said it enacted the ban to “thwart potential confusion,” confusion it sees happening in the lab-grown diamond industry and fears will affect the colored gemstone industry, even though lab-grown colored stones have been around for more than a century.

When asked what led to the belief that confusion was occurring, or could occur, in the colored gemstone market, Ford said in an email to National Jeweler, “Look no further than the chaos created by synthetics in the diamond industry … Our action is also in response to considerable concerns voiced by AGTA membership in relation to the adverse effects that synthetics could also potentially cause in the colored gemstone industry.”

While the AGTA’s decision has made headlines, it does not seem poised to have a big impact on AGTA GemFair exhibitors, few of whom sell lab-grown gemstones anyway.

In his email, Ford said out of the 260 exhibitors of loose or set gemstones at the 2024 AGTA GemFair Tucson, only two list that they sell synthetic gemstones in the AGTA Source Directory.

“Since sending out over (260) 2025 AGTA GemFair Tucson renewals, we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the vast majority of our exhibitors, greatly outweighing any negative responses,” he said.

Related stories will be right here …

In its news release, AGTA also noted that lab-grown gemstones lack the value inherent to natural gemstones, which are rare and sometimes inimitable.

“AGTA felt that it needed to be crystal clear to buyers that when they attend an AGTA show, they know that they are only shopping mined natural gems from the earth,” said Kimberly Collins, AGTA board president and owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems.

“AGTA dealers pride themselves in sourcing superior gems that are rare, beautiful, and natural.”

AGTA also notes that “synthetic gems are not minerals.”

The association said it recognizes two definitions of the word “mineral”—that of the British Geological Survey, defining a mineral as “a naturally occurring substance with distinctive chemical and physical properties, composition, and atomic structure” and that of the U.S. Geological Survey, which defines a mineral as a “naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties.”

“The definitions are essentially the same, but the keyword in both that is important is use of the word ‘natural,’” said AGTA board member John Bradshaw.

“It’s important to indicate that synthetic gems are not considered minerals, because minerals are natural, and synthetics are not.”

Source: Nationaljeweler

UK synthetic diamond firm told ads cannot describe diamonds as ‘real’

Ads for synthetic diamond jewellery have been banned after the UK company behind them, Skydiamond, did not make it clear they were not real.

Even though the strapline of the newspaper advert was the “world’s first and only diamond made entirely from the sky” and a social media ad said “love is… a diamond gift made from the sky”, there were complaints from the National Diamond Association.

The advertising regulator upheld the complaints and concluded that the ads were misleading and said they could not appear again in the same form, including on the company’s website without, better explanation.

Skydiamond, the trading name for The Sky Mining Company Ltd, was told by the Advertising Standards Authority not to use the terms “diamonds”, “diamonds made entirely from the sky” and “Skydiamond”, and not to describe its synthetic products “without a clear and prominent qualifier”.

The firm was told by the ASA that it must use terms such as ‘synthetic’, ‘laboratory-grown’ or ‘laboratory-created’, “or another way of clearly and prominently conveying the same meaning to consumers” and were not to use the claim “real diamonds” to describe synthetic diamonds.

Sky Mining said both the ads and extensive information and graphics on its website set out that their diamonds were manufactured in a laboratory, with detailed information on the production process on its website.

The company said the very brand was built on the premise that their diamonds did not come from the earth and do not have the negative environmental impacts associated with diamond mining, with all components required sourced from the sky: atmospheric carbon dioxide (as a source of carbon), rainwater (as a source of hydrogen) and renewable energy from solar and wind power.

As explained on the company’s website, Skydiamonds are made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen extracted and produced using proven industrial processes and combined to form methane in a biological process, with methane fed into chemical vapour deposition machines in which diamonds developed at a high temperature over 14 days.

It says for every carat of Skydiamond produced, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 99.79% compared to mined diamonds, and that compared to growing diamonds in a laboratory, mined diamonds produce 4,383 times more waste, use 2.14 times the energy and 6.8 times as much water.

The ASA acknowledged that further information on the Sky Mining manufacturing process appeared on About Us pages of the website among other pages.

“However, in the absence of a clearly worded and prominent qualification such as ‘synthetic’, ‘laboratory-created’ or ‘laboratory-grown’, or another way of clearly and prominently communicating the same meaning, we considered it was still ambiguous as to whether the diamonds were synthetic or not,” the regulator said.

Source: proactiveinvestors

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Watch Sale Sees Two World Records

Two timepieces set new auction records at the most recent Sotheby’s watch sale in Hong Kong, while nearly half of the lots sold above their high estimates.

A Patek Philippe Ref. 2526, the first self-winding wristwatch from collector J.B. Champion, brought in HKD 5.7 million ($729,977), within its estimated range, Sotheby’s said Monday. Meanwhile Cartier’s Paris Cloche, No. 1/1, fetched HKD 1.7 million ($210,882), more than four times its high estimate. Both set a record for the highest auction amount for the specific model, Sotheby’s noted.

In total, the April 7 Hong Kong Important Watches auction garnered HKD 126.3 million ($16.1 million). Over two-thirds of buyers were from China and the US, the auction house noted.

Meanwhile, the top lot of the auction, a Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 made in 1960, saw fierce bidding between participants in the room and on the phone. That piece, which sold within its estimated range, went for HKD 8 million ($1 million) after nearly 20 bids.

Source: Rapaport

Former De Beers Head Joins Lucapa Board

Industry veteran Stuart Brown, who has led multiple diamond-mining companies, will become chairman of the board at Lucapa Diamond Company.

Brown spent 20 years at De Beers, with stints as both interim CEO and chief financial officer. He was also the head of Firestone Diamonds from 2013 to 2018, and CEO of Mountain Province for three years, Lucapa said Monday.

During his time at Firestone, he raised $225 million to develop the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, Lucapa noted. He is currently a director of Ukrainian iron-ore miner Ferrexpo and of Digby Wells Environmental Holdings, a provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) consulting services to the mining industry.

In addition, Ronnie Beevor will take a seat on the board. He has experience in investment banking and mining, having been the head of Rothschild Australia. He is currently a director of Canadian iron-ore miner Champion Iron and Canadian explorer Mount Royal Resources. He serves as chairman of gold explorer Felix Gold and has recently retired as chairman of Bannerman Energy.

Meanwhile, Ross Stanley has resigned from Lucapa’s board, the company added.

Source: Rapaport

55.55ct. Diamond Steals Spotlight at Sotheby’s Hong Kong

An unmounted 55.55-carat diamond was the top seller at the most recent Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, bringing in HKD 45.2 million ($5.8 million).

The price for the oval brilliant-cut, D-flawless stone, named the Fortune Five, fell within its HKD 38 million to HKD 50 million ($4.9 million to $6.4 million) presale estimate, Sotheby’s said Saturday. In total, the April 6 Magnificent Jewels sale garnered HKD 285.7 million ($36.5 million), with 76% of items finding buyers.

Colored diamonds and gemstones proved popular choices, comprising half of the best sellers, as were jewels from well-known design houses, including Graff, Harry Winston, & Tiffany & Co.

Here are the rest of the top 10 items at the sale:

This ring, set with a cushion-shaped, 7.01-carat, fancy-vivid-yellowish-orange, VS2-clarity diamond, smashed its $2 million upper estimate to fetch HKD 29.5 million ($3.8 million).
A Harry Winston ring bearing a cushion-shaped, 16.65-carat Kashmir sapphire flanked by two triangular diamonds just missed its high price, bringing in HKD 19.8 million ($2.5 million).
Sotheby’s sold this ring featuring a cushion-shaped, 5.07-carat, pigeon’s blood Burmese ruby surrounded by diamonds for HKD 12.7 million ($1.6 million), just under its lower estimate.
A ring with a cushion-shaped, 66.44-carat, fancy-intense-yellow, VS2-clarity diamond, offered without reserve, went for HKD 11.6 million ($1.5 million), a bit shy of its upper presale price.
A necklace with 29 intense-green jadeite beads secured by a ruby and diamond clasp realized HKD 10.7 million ($1.4 million), within its expected range.
This unmounted emerald-cut, 20.19-carat, D-flawless, type IIa diamond garnered HKD 10.7 million ($1.4 million), within its presale price parameters.
A pair of earrings, each set with a step-cut Colombian emerald — one weighing 10.84 carats and the other 9.79 carats — and diamonds, beat predictions to yield HKD 10.4 million ($1.3 million).
This Harry Winston ring containing a pear-shaped, 15.26-carat, D-color, VVS1-clarity diamond center stone achieved HKD 7.7 million ($989,602), falling slightly below its HKD 7.8 million ($1 million) lower presale price.
A ring by Graff set with an oval-shaped, 10.02-carat, D-flawless diamond, between two heart-shaped diamonds, brought in HKD 7 million ($892,264), within its original range.

Source: Rapaport

Phillips Showcases $15M Pink Diamond at Second Geneva Auction

A 6.21-carat pink diamond will be the star of the second jewelry auction Phillips will hold in Geneva, where it is expected to fetch up to CHF 13.6 million ($15 million).

The fancy-vivid-pink, VS1-clarity, type IIa diamond ring is among several important and rare pieces on offer at the sale, called Geneva Jewels Auction: Two, which will take place on May 13, Phillips said Tuesday. The auction will be at the Hotel President Geneva for the first time, and it will include over 100 specially curated items from well-knowns design houses such as Cartier, JAR, Suzanne Belperron, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Prior to the sale, Phillips will exhibit the jewels in New York; London; Taipei, Taiwan; and Singapore. The auction house will also hold a simultaneous selling exhibition called “Symbols, Colour and Form,” which will feature jewels from contemporary designers Alix Dumas and DYNE.

Here are the rest of the of the top five items Phillips will feature at the main sale:

This 280.84-carat Colombian emerald is from a private collection. Known as The Amazon Queen, it carries an estimate of CHF 1.4 million to CHF 2.4 million ($1.5 million to $2.6 million).
A 27.27-carat, fancy-vivid-yellow diamond ring will also go under the hammer. It is expected to bring in between CHF 1 million and CHF 1.8 million ($1.1 million to $2 million).
A pair of earrings set with pear-shaped, D-flawless, type IIa diamonds weighing 10.07 and 10.12 carats has a presale price range of CHF 1.2 million to CHF 1.6 million ($1.3 million to $1.8 million).
Phillips will offer this brilliant-cut, 1.56-carat, fancy-red Argyle diamond at the Geneva auction. Named The Argyle Phoenix, it is estimated at CHF 910,000 to CHF 1.4 million ($1 million to $1.5 million).

Source: Rapaport