Kimberley Process to Hold Hybrid Plenary Meeting

Kimberley Process Rough diamonds. 

The annual Kimberley Process (KP) plenary will take place online and in person from November 8 to 12, with the digitization of certificates featuring at the top of the agenda.

The hybrid format enables the KP to continue its activities despite the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s Finance Ministry, which is chairing the organization this year, said last week. Those eligible to visit Moscow under Covid-19 rules will be able to attend the physical event.

The meeting will focus on modernizing the KP export and import documents for rough diamonds. The ministry is currently finalizing a pilot program involving an information exchange with one of Russia’s key trading partners and plans to present its findings soon, it said.

The KP will also consider the applications of new countries wishing to join the group, having paused this due to travel difficulties. Since the easing of the situation, the KP has organized missions to Qatar and Kyrgyz Republic, and plans to do the same in Mozambique. The chairmanship and the committee that handles applications for participation in the KP will consider the reports emanating from those visits.

The Central African Republic (CAR) will also be on the agenda, with the KP planning to send an expert mission to the country to evaluate its compliance with rules aimed at preventing the export of conflict diamonds. In addition, the KP will select a new vice chair for 2022, with that country taking over as chair in 2023 from Botswana, which is slated to take the helm next year.

Meanwhile, Russia will work with KP partners to reach a consensus on the location of a future permanent KP secretariat to help streamline the organization’s work.

The KP canceled the 2020 plenary and intersessional meetings because of the pandemic. However, the 2021 intersessional took place in June, focusing on topics including digitization and human rights.

Source: diamonds.net

Petra Diamonds mulls selling Williamson mine

Williamson diamond mine

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds is considering selling its Williamson mine in Tanzania, even as it continues to work on bringing the operation back online in the second half of 2021.

Delivering its year-end results, Petra said that Williamson had been classified as a discontinued operation, which will mean an accounting loss of $52.1 million for the company. The mine was mothballed in April last year after diamond prices dropped following the global covid-19 outbreak.

BMO analyst Raj Ray said that while a sale could be viewed positively by the market, he sees potential risks in terms of realizing the value of $84 million (net book value of about $26 million at F2021 year-end) the bank ascribes to the asset, given the recent challenges.

“Recent efforts to procure a $25 million working capital facility with a local bank for the restart have so far been unsuccessful,” Raj wrote in a note to investors.

Petra has faced allegations of human rights abuses at the mine, resulting from the actions of its security guards.

The miner formed in February an internal committee to oversee the investigation, which concluded that “regrettable” incidents did take place at the mine in the past. Shortly after, it reached a £4.3 million (about $6m) settlement with claimants, even though it did not admit liability.

The company is currently engaged in talks with the Tanzanian government over a revised regulatory framework, which would lead to Williamson’s re-opening.

A key issue in those discussions concerns a parcel of 71,654 carats of diamonds effectively placed in limbo after deceased President John Magufuli blocked their export in 2017.

Turnaround
Despite covid-19 and issues at Williamson, Petra has staged a sharp turnaround in fortunes over the past financial year. It cut net debt by two-thirds in the year ended June 30 after a capital restructuring completed in March and rising sales drove strong growth in free cash flow.

Petra ended fiscal 2021 with net debt of $228 million, down from just under $693 million last year. Net profit reached $196.6 million, reflecting a $213.3 million gain after the successful debt restructuring.

Revenue rose 65% to $402.3 million on the back of higher sales of exceptional stones.

As for fiscal 2022, Petra reaffirmed production guidance of 3.3 million-3.6 million carats, with capital expenditure of $78 million- $92 million.

Source: Mining.com

Marie-Antoinette diamonds up for auction for first time in Geneva

Marie-Antoinette diamonds

wo splendid diamond bracelets that belonged to French queen Marie-Antoinette will go under the hammer in Geneva later this year, the auction house Christie’s said Wednesday.

The bracelets, coated with 112 diamonds in total, will be sold together and are estimated to fetch between $2-4 million when they go under the hammer on November 9.

That estimate “includes not only the intrinsic value of the diamonds, but also the possibility to wear jewellery that was once worn by the famous queen Marie-Antoinette,” Christie’s jewellery specialist Marie-Cecile Cisamolo told Agence France-Presse.

The historic jewels could meanwhile easily go for far more than the asking price.

“As seen in recent Geneva sales, the market for jewels of noble provenance continues to perform extremely well,” Francois Curiel, the chairperson of Christie’s luxury division, said in a statement.

In 2018, a natural pearl and diamond pendant that belonged to the ill-fated French queen was estimated by the Sotheby’s auction house at $1 million to $2 million but was snapped up for $36 million.

Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France before the revolution, was guillotined in Paris in October 1793 at the age of 37.

But Cisamolo said that it was not just their history that made the bracelets extraordinary, pointing to the large size of the diamonds, which range from around 1 to 4 carats.

“It is very difficult to measure their exact size, because these are antique diamonds, and back then the sizes were less precise,” she explained.

While lacking the precision of today’s laser-cut gems, Cisamolo stressed the charm and uniqueness of antique diamonds.

In total, Christie’s estimates that the bracelets comprise 140 to 150 carats.

They are each composed of three rows of gems and can be connected together and worn as a necklace.

This picture taken in Geneva on Sep. 6, 2021 shows two bracelets belonged to French Queen Marie-Antoinette adorned with three rows of 112 old cut diamonds. (AFP Photo)
This picture taken in Geneva on Sep. 6, 2021 shows two bracelets belonged to French Queen Marie-Antoinette adorned with three rows of 112 old cut diamonds. (AFP Photo)

Paris, Brussels and Vienna

According to Christie’s Marie-Antoinette ordered the bracelets from jeweller Charles August Boehmer in Paris in 1776, two years after she ascended the throne.

She paid 250,000 livres, “a huge sum at the time,” Christies said.

Then the revolution arrived.

Before attempting to flee France with king Louis XVI and their children, Marie-Antoinette first made sure her jewels were sent out of the country.

They were sent to Brussels, governed by her sister Archduchess Marie-Christine, before being sent on to the French queen’s native Austria, ruled by her nephew, the emperor.

In 1792, the royal family was imprisoned in Paris. The king and queen were executed the next year, and their 10-year-old son Louis XVII died in captivity.

Only their daughter, Marie Therese of France, survived. She was freed in December 1795 and sent to Austria, where she was given her mother’s jewels.

“These jewels can thus be traced all the way back to Marie-Antoinette,” Cisamolo said, adding that she hoped whoever bought them “will cherish them for the rest of their life.”

“Not only are you wearing something that Marie-Antoinette wore,” she said. “The diamonds are extraordinary.”

The bracelets, she said, showing off the gems glistening on her wrists, “flow. It is as though you are wearing fabric.”

Source: dailysabah

Hong Kong Retail Sales Still Struggling to Recover

Hong Kong Retail

Hong Kong’s hard-luxury market saw its weakest growth figure for six months as the retail sector’s rebound ran out of steam amid a lack of tourism.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts grew 27% year on year to HKD 3.2 billion ($410.6 million) in July but was still 42% lower than in the same month of 2019, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday. The increase was also gentler than June’s 32% year-on-year growth and was the thinnest rise since January, when Hong Kong was struggling with a fourth coronavirus wave.

“Retail sales continued to increase in July over a year earlier as the local epidemic remained stable and labor market situations improved further, although the growth pace moderated somewhat as compared to the preceding month,” a government spokesperson said.

Sales in all retail categories rose 3% year on year to HKD 27.24 billion ($3.5 billion) but were down 21% from two years earlier.

The closure of borders to reduce the spread of Covid-19 has hit Hong Kong — a key luxury destination for tourists. Although the municipality has reduced its border restrictions, tourism has not yet returned to normal levels. The number of visitors was down 58% year on year in July and plummeted 99% for the first seven months of the year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

However, the government expects sales to pick up in August amid the launch of a consumption voucher scheme — a program to stimulate spending by offering citizens electronic vouchers worth HKD 5,000 ($644).

“The electronic vouchers that the government began to disburse in August have helped stimulate consumption sentiment and will render support to the retail business in the rest of the year,” the spokesperson explained. “Yet, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination, so as to strengthen the foundation for continued recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy.”

For the first seven months of 2021, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts climbed 33% year on year to HKD 21.94 billion ($2.81 billion). Revenue from all retail segments increased 8% to HKD 201.6 billion ($25.87 billion).

Source: Diamonds.net

Lucky Farmer Digs up his Sixth Diamond in Panna, India

6.47 carat rough diamond

An Indian farmer has recovered his sixth diamond in two years – a 6.47-ct gem valued at over $40,000.

Prakash Majumdar leases a small patch of land in diamond-rich Panna from the Madhya Pradesh state government. 

The diamond, which he found last Friday, will be sold at a price fixed by the Government Diamond Office, and the proceeds –  minus taxes and royalties – will be split between Majumdar and his four co-workers.

It’s not the biggest diamond he’s found. Last year he unearthed a 7.44-ct stone on the same plot and he’s found four other gems weighing 2-ct to 2.5-ct in the past two years.

Farmers typically pay $2.70 for the rights to dig a 25ft by 25ft patch of land in Panna district, which is estimated to have 1.2m carats of diamond reserves.

Last July laborer Anandilal Kushwaha (pictured) who leased a tiny square of land to dig for diamonds in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, unearthed a 10.69 carat stone valued at $67,000.

Source: IDEX

Rio Tinto dazzles in Antwerp with its finest Argyle pink, red and blue diamonds

The Hero Diamonds from the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender

Rio Tinto’s final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender collection of rare pink, red, blue and violet diamonds is being showcased to connoisseurs, collectors and luxury jewellers in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an annual invitation-only event for the past 38 years, is widely considered to be the most anticipated diamond sale in the world, showcasing the pinnacle of Argyle’s production to an exclusive group of collectors, diamond connoisseurs and luxury jewellery houses.

Mining ceased at Argyle on 3 November, 2020 and the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is the final collection of the rarest diamonds from the final year of Argyle operations.

Patrick Coppens, General manager, Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto’s diamonds business said “The first Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender was held in Antwerp in 1984 and I am delighted to host the final epic collection in Antwerp. Over the past 38 years Argyle pink diamonds have pushed the boundaries of rarity and value appreciation to new extremes.

“When you consider the number of diamonds presented at the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender since 1984 would barely fill two champagne flutes, you begin to grasp the rarity and the tremendous gravitas of this final collection. Many of the invitees have participated in the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender for more than three decades and across generations, so it is an emotional moment in the history of Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds business and the natural fancy coloured diamond industry.”

Comprising 70 diamonds weighing 81.63 carats, the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender has a record number of diamonds larger than one carat. The collection is headlined with Lot Number 1, Argyle Eclipse™, a 3.47 carat diamond that is the largest Fancy Intense Pink diamond ever offered at the Tender.

Titled The Journey Beyond, the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender takes its reference from the 1.5 billion year journey from creation to discovery and their remarkable impact on the world diamond and jewellery history. The Tender collection comprises five ‘hero’ diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

Lot 1: Argyle Eclipse™, 3.47 carat, radiant shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond

Lot 2 : Argyle Stella™ 1.79 carat, square radiant shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond

Lot 3: Argyle Lumiere™ 2.03 carat, square radiant shaped Fancy Deep Pink diamond

Lot 4: Argyle Solaris™ 2.05 carat, radiant shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond

Lot 5: Argyle Bohème™ 1.01 carat, radiant shaped Fancy Red diamond

Also offered alongside the 2021 annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender are 41 lots of carefully curated Argyle blue diamonds, weighing 24.88 carats in total. Titled Once in a Blue Moon, these are the very last blue and violet diamonds to emerge from the Argyle mine.

Both face to face and virtual viewings are being conducted in Antwerp catering for those markets where COVID-19 restrictions prevent travel. Bids close on October 4, 2021.

Source: riotinto

Petra Diamonds in Partnership Deal With Stargems on White And Blue Diamonds

342.92 carat Type IIa white diamond: Petra Diamonds

Petra Diamonds Limited has sold a 342.92 carat Type IIa white diamond and an 18.30 carat Type IIb blue diamond, both recovered at the Cullinan Diamond Mine in South Africa.

The stones have been sold into a partnership with Stargems (Pty) Ltd. Petra will receive an upfront payment of US$10.0 million for the 342.92 carat stone and US$3.5 million for the 18.30 carat stone, as well as retaining a 50% interest in the profit uplift of the polished proceeds of both diamonds, after costs.

Stargems is a Johannesburg-based subsidiary of Stargems Group, an international and vertically integrated diamond company, and is a diamond beneficiation licencee, allowing for the two diamonds to be cut and polished in South Africa.

Petra’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Duffy commented: “These two diamonds are wonderful examples of the very high quality and rare white and blue diamonds that are so well known from the Cullinan Diamond Mine. We are delighted that both stones will be manufactured in South Africa and it is fitting that we will be working with Stargems, who specialise in the sourcing and supply of the finest diamonds to customers across the world.”

Meanwhile, Shailesh Javeri, Chairman of Stargems Group, commented: “The stones will be beneficiated in South Africa at our Stargems cutting factory in Johannesburg and we look forward to working closely with Petra during the manufacturing process to reveal the eventual polished gems.”

Source: Idex

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Petra Diamonds finds 342-carat rough at Cullinan mine

342.92-carat Type IIa white diamond.

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds has recovered a 342.92-carat Type IIa white rough at its iconic Cullinan mine.

The company said the diamond is “exceptional” quality, in terms of both its colour and clarity, and that it will likely be sold at the September tender.

Petra fetched in March $12.2 million for a 299.3-carat Type IIA white diamond. That meant it obtained $40,701 per carat, which exceeds the $34,386/ct received for the 424.89-carat “Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine” in May 2019.

Type II diamonds are found less frequently and are more valuable than Type I diamonds, as they have no measurable nitrogen impurities. This gives them exceptional transparency and brilliance.

Cullinan is known as the birthplace of the famed 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was cut to form the 530-carat Great Star of Africa.

The operation also yielded the 317-carat Second Star of Africa.

They are the two largest diamonds in the British Crown Jewels.

Cullinan is known as the world’s most important source of blue diamonds, such as the 39.34-carat stone Petra found in April and which sold for $40.2 million earlier this month. It was the company’s highest price ever for a single stone.

Source: Mining.com

De Beers Prices Up 14% Since Start of Year

 Rough diamonds De Beers

De Beers’ rough prices spiked in the first half of 2021 as supply shortages coincided with buoyant diamond demand at the trade and retail levels.

The miner’s price index rose 14% during the six months, reflecting “tightness in inventories across the diamond value chain, as well as positive consumer demand for polished diamonds,” parent company Anglo American said Tuesday.

De Beers implemented price increases at its January, February and June sights, with an emphasis on the larger categories of rough. This brought prices back to pre-pandemic levels: The index for the first half was flat versus the same period of 2020, the company reported.

Sales volume at De Beers rose to 7.3 million carats in the second quarter from just 300,000 carats a year earlier during the peak of the coronavirus crisis. The average sales price advanced 13% to $135 per carat as demand shifted to higher-value rough.

“Consumer demand for polished diamonds continued to recover, leading to strong demand for rough diamonds from midstream cutting and polishing centers, despite the impact on capacity from the severe Covid-19 wave in India during April and May,” the miner said.

Meanwhile, production more than doubled to 8.2 million carats for the quarter versus 3.5 million carats last year, reflecting planned increases to meet the stronger rough demand, as well as the sharp impact of lockdowns in southern Africa in 2020.

With half of 2021 now over, De Beers was able to give a more specific production outlook for the full year, predicting output of 32 million to 33 million carats — compared with a previous plan of 32 million to 34 million carats. The company has already reduced its guidance for the year twice because of operational issues at mines.

“Most of the impact on production for the year as a whole is a result of the challenges we experienced earlier in the year, particularly with excessive rainfall in southern Africa, the Covid-19-related shutdown in Canada, and power supply disruptions in Botswana,” a De Beers spokesperson commented. “We still expect production in the second half of the year to be significantly above the 15.4 million carats produced in the first half of the year, however, and this will take us to the narrower guided range.”

In the second quarter, output in Botswana more than tripled to 5.7 million carats from 1.8 million carats a year before. Production in Namibia slipped 6% to 338,000 carats, as one of the company’s mining vessels underwent planned maintenance and another remained demobilized.

Output in South Africa more than doubled to 1.3 million carats from 555,000 because the company processed higher-grade ore at the Venetia mine. Canada’s production climbed 14% to 899,000 carats, mainly reflecting the comparison with last year’s slowdown.

Source: Diamonds.net