Lucapa’s run of recovering +100 carat diamonds continues

Lucapa 18th 100 carat white diamond

Lucapa Diamond Company and its partners have announced the recovery of the 18th +100 carat white diamond by Sociedade Mineria Do Lulo (SML) from its Lulo alluvial mine in Angola.

The recovery of this second +100 carat diamond from Mining Block 46 (MB46), a 104 carat D colour white stone, so soon after the 113 carat D colour white stone, indicates the potential for these blocks as the company moves deeper into the southern terraces.


Lucara recovers 341 carat white diamond

341 carat white diamond found at the Karowe mine in Botswana

Canada’s Lucara Diamond has found an unbroken 341-carat white gem-quality rock at its prolific Karowe mine in Botswana, with analysts estimating it could fetch more than $10 million.

The Vancouver based miner said the diamond was recovered over the Christmas period from milling of ore coming from the south western quadrant of Karowe’s South Lobe.

The diamond is the 54th stone over 200 carats recovered at Karowe since it began commercial operations in 2012.

The find builds on previous historic recoveries which include the 342-carat Queen of the Kalahari, the 549 carat Sethunya, the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona found in 2015, and the 1758 carat Sewelô, recovered in 2019.

Beyond Sewelô, the only larger diamond ever unearthed is the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. The Cullinan was later cut into smaller stones, some of which now form part of British royal family’s crown jewels.


Petra Diamonds’ investors back restructuring

Petra Diamond’s Finsch mine in South Africa

Struggling Petra Diamonds (LON: PDL) said on Wednesday its investors have approved plans to restructure the business, a move that aims to provide the miner with a more stable, deleveraged capital structure to ensure its short and long-term viability.

Over 95% of shareholders voted in favour of a resolution that includes reducing authorized share capital of the company by cutting the nominal value of all ordinary shares from 10p to 0.001p.

It also involves an increase to Petra’s authorized share capital through the creation of 8.5-million ordinary shares and the authorization for directors to allot ordinary shares up to £88,447 ( just over 8.8-million ordinary shares).

Hefty debt
Petra Diamonds’ weak financial position, a product of stagnant demand and heavy borrowing to expand its mines, particularly the iconic Cullinan, pushed it to put itself up for sale in June. Petra reversed the decision in October, opting instead for the debt-for-equity restructuring approved Wednesday.

The company noted it expected to complete the reorganization in the first quarter of 2021.

Petra’s shares slumped by more than 80% last year as the covid-19 pandemic battered the global diamond sector, with mines forced to shut down while consumer demand continued to fall.

The diamond miner, which has three operations in South Africa and one in Tanzania, is also dealing with allegations of human rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania, resulting from the actions of its security guards.


Mothae diamonds sell for $7.2 million

lucapa Mothae diamonds

Lucapa Diamond Company and its partner, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, have provided an update on the first sale of diamonds in 2021 from the Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho.

The parcel of 4,676 carats of rough diamonds were sold for a total of US$5.6 million or US$1,198 per carat. This is the highest average US$ per carat price achieved by Mothae on the sale of any run of mine production parcel.

The sale included a number of Specials (diamonds weighing >10.8 carats), including the 101 carat D colour diamond recovered following re-opening of the mine in Q4 2020, which is the most valuable diamond recovered to date at Mothae.

Lucapa MD, Stephen Wetherall comments:

“Following a tough 2020, where both of our mines were impacted by the pandemic, our valued teams have shown their resilience and operations have bounced back strongly.

“The good recoveries at both mines and growing demand leading to strengthening diamond prices has seen a strong start to 2021.”

“We look forward to Mothae receiving further value following implementation of the cutting and polishing partnership and to completing the expansion at Mothae this quarter.”

Source: miningreview

Tiffany to Sell Its Most Expensive Diamond

Tiffany 80carat necklace

Tiffany & Co. will offer a necklace featuring an 80-carat diamond, expected to be its most expensive piece ever, at the reopening of its New York Fifth Avenue flagship store next year.

The oval-cut, D-color, internally flawless stone, which the jeweler sourced from Botswana and will set in-house in New York, is at the center of the piece, Tiffany said Tuesday. It is also the largest diamond the company has ever offered. Only the 128.54-carat, yellow Tiffany Diamond worn by both Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga is larger, and that piece is not for sale.

The original 1939 version of the necklace 

The jewel is a reimagined version of a Tiffany necklace created in 1939 for the World’s Fair, which features an aquamarine in place of the diamond. The unveiling of that piece set the stage for the original opening of the flagship store on the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in 1940.

“What better way to mark the opening of our transformed Tiffany flagship store in 2022 than to reimagine this incredible necklace from the 1939 World’s Fair, one of our most celebrated pieces when we opened our doors…for the first time,” said Victoria Reynolds, chief gemologist at Tiffany.


Diamond Prices Firm After Supply Declines

Polished diamonds

Diamond trading was seasonally slow in December as the industry’s focus shifted to retail and as diamantaires took their end-of-year break. Sentiment received a boost from strong holiday e-commerce sales, the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, and the US approval of a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package.

Polished prices firmed as supply declined due to limitations on diamond manufacturing during India’s lockdowns. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds rose 2.3% in December and 5.8% for the full year.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
December4Q 2020FY 2020
RAPI 0.30 ct.0.4%-4.7%0.2%
RAPI 0.50 ct.0.8%-2.3%12.1%
RAPI 1 ct.2.3%3.8%5.8%
RAPI 3 ct.2.5%7.0%3.7%

© Copyright 2021, Rapaport USA Inc.

The industry began 2021 with a healthier supply-demand balance than it had at any stage in the past five years.

The volume of 1-carat diamonds on RapNet in the D-H, IF-VS range — the categories the RAPI measures — declined 24% in the second half of 2020. The top 10% of diamonds in that category were selling at an average of 32% below the Rapaport Price List on January 1, 2021, compared to 37% below on July 1, 2020. The lower discount suggests that demand is stronger relative to the available supply.

Manufacturers are raising polished production in anticipation of steady first-quarter orders as jewelers and dealers seek to replace inventory they’ve sold during the holiday period.

Jewelers with solid e-commerce programs had a good season. Many off-mall independents also did well, as consumers felt safer visiting stand-alone stores than crowded malls and were driven to support local community businesses following the Covid-19 lockdowns. Independents without an effective online presence struggled.

US jewelry sales for October 11 to December 24 fell 4.3% year on year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Online jewelry sales grew 45%.

There is some optimism for the year ahead even as Covid-19 continues to disrupt business activity. To ensure growth, the trade must intensify its efforts to engage with consumers via storytelling and improved omni-channel platforms while keeping supply in sync with prevailing levels of demand.


GIA to Cut Back Antwerp Business

GIA grading report

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will scale back its Antwerp operations from January, but has decided not to shut the laboratory entirely.

“Today, we notified clients of the GIA laboratory in Antwerp that, as of January, the laboratory will offer consolidated services with reduced staff,” a spokesperson told Rapaport News Monday. It will continue to provide client consultations, rough-diamond analysis for the GIA Diamond Origin Report, and some follow-up services and inscriptions for D-to-Z diamonds up to 3.99 carats, he added.

In August, the GIA revealed preliminary plans to close or significantly trim its laboratory and offices in the Belgian city, citing market conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic.


Mumbai Bourse to Vote on Lifting Synthetics Ban

A rough lab-grown diamond

Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) is on the verge of allowing lab-grown trading, with members due to vote on the matter next week.

The board of the world’s largest diamond hub has recommended the move, arguing that better detection and increased awareness have made it easier to segregate synthetic stones from natural ones. The poll will take place at the annual general meeting (AGM) at the BDB on December 28, according to the exchange’s annual report, which it released last week.

The bourse banned synthetics in 2015, but has been reconsidering the rule for more than two years and holding talks with India’s Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee on how to keep watch of the trade. The board received numerous requests for a meeting in which members could pass the amendment, BDB president Anoop Mehta told Rapaport News Monday.

“I think the vote result will be positive, because a lot of people want to diversify,” Mehta commented.

In the past, “you didn’t have many detection machines, and they were pretty expensive,” he added. “Detection…has gotten much more accessible and reasonable.”

However, companies won’t be able to start trading in synthetics immediately: They will have to apply for this right, Mehta explained. Companies active in both sectors must have detection equipment and keep natural and lab-grown stones in separate rooms, with clear markings on the door to indicate what’s inside. The BDB will cancel the membership of companies that flout the rules.

Meanwhile, the BDB board has recommended removing “natural” from its definition of diamonds, bringing it in line with industry standards, Mehta added. This will also be included in next week’s vote.


Buy Laboratory created diamonds

Pink Diamond Investment

pink diamond from the Legacy Collection

Introducing the Argyle Mine

Over 90% of the world’s annual natural pink diamond supply is mined from one single source: Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia. The mine has been in operation since the early 1980’s, and is scheduled to completely cease all mining operations by 2021 due to exhausted supply.

In anticipation of this closure date, investors buying pink diamonds are seeing an average appreciation of between 10-15% on their diamond portfolios each year.

A diamond mining site.

Pink coloured diamonds can act as an important part of a balanced investment portfolio, offering low correlation and insulation from traditional financial market risks.

Source: diamondportfolio

Christie’s Rakes In $5M from Paris Sale

The 14.7-carat diamond.

A 14.7-carat diamond ring was the top seller for Christie’s in Paris, nearly tripling its high estimate.

The marquise-cut, E-color, SI1-clarity stone sold for EUR 437,500 ($531,812), or $35,322 per carat, well above its EUR 150,000 ($182,333) upper valuation. It was one of a number of noteworthy diamonds that led the sale Paris Jewels sale, which took place from November 24 to December 9. The auction brought in $5 million, Christie’s said last week.

A ring set with a rectangular cut-cornered, H-color, VS2-clarity diamond, weighing 1.22 carats, fetched EUR 237,500 ($288,696), or $25,167 per carat, nearly double its high estimate. Meanwhile, a ring containing two old-cut, J-color diamonds, each weighing 6.73 carats, smashed its presale high estimate, selling for EUR 137,500 ($167,139).

Colored stones also performed well, Christie’s noted. A pair of ruby and diamond mystery-set earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels garnered EUR 137,500 against a EUR 40,000 ($48,626) upper estimate, while a Ballerina brooch by the designer brought in EUR 106,250 ($129,164), doubling its estimate. A retro ruby and diamond bracelet, which transforms into double clips, tripled its valuation, achieving EUR 93,500 ($113,664).

In total, Christie’s sold 80% of the items on offer, with many pieces selling above their estimates.

“This last jewelry auction of the season demonstrated the continued strength of the jewelry market despite the challenges due to the pandemic,” said Violaine d’Astorg, director of the jewels department at Christie’s France. “Limited exhibition time and auctions without [the] public in the room were compensated [for] by intense activity on the phone and over Christie’s Live.”