De Beers increased prices of goods above 2 carats at this week’s sight as shortages of rough coincided with strong polished demand.
Prices rose around 5%, and more in some categories, market insiders told Rapaport News on Monday. Near-gem items also saw significant increases, while prices for other stones under 2 carats were either stable or slightly up.
“They seem to have picked areas where they’ve seen room [for price growth], and they’ve just hiked the prices up,” a source in the rough sector said on condition of anonymity. “For the time being, the market is absorbing it.”
Rough trading has been strong in recent weeks because of reduced supply from the large miners and solid polished sales. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds has risen 2.5% since May 1.
Rough above 1 carat has been especially sought-after, with premiums on the secondary market rising while manufacturers look to fill inventory gaps. A backlog of grading submissions at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has exacerbated the situation.
The June sight value will be similar to last month’s $380 million as customers snap up the limited goods available at the sale, sources said. Proceeds were higher earlier in the year — peaking at $663 million in January — when manufacturers restocked after the holidays and De Beers had larger volumes available to sell.
“There’s a shortfall in goods,” an executive at an Indian sightholder said Monday. “They’re not able to serve everyone what they’re entitled to.”
Rough demand slumped during the 2020 coronavirus crisis as the global supply chain froze. De Beers chose to maintain prices until August, when it offered deep discounts to encourage sightholders to resume buying. It has since reversed those cuts, gradually bringing prices to above pre-pandemic levels in many categories.
The sight began on Monday and runs until Friday. De Beers was not available for comment at press time.