De Beers Raises Prices of Larger Diamonds

Rough diamonds at De Beers

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.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Taps Into Unexpected Natural Wonders For New Collection

Reflections_of_Nature_by_De_Beers_Motlatse_Marvel_necklace


In celebration of the natural beauty of the countries from which its diamonds are produced, De Beers Jewellers has introduced Reflections of Nature, the venerable house’s latest collection in the stratospheric world of high jewelry.

The dazzling collection features five sets Okavango Grace, Motlatse Marvel, Namib Wonder, Landers Radiance and Ellesmere Treasure with a total of 39 exclusive pieces.

The latter is probably the most unexpected as few laymen would recognize Canada as a source for diamonds. Yet, Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic is the third largest producer of diamonds in the world.

The pieces in this DeBeers set were designed to reflect the island’s glacial beauty and are evocative of the ice and frosted flora of Ellesmere Island, where diamonds were first discovered in 1991. While colored stones are employed throughout the other Reflections of Nature sets, the Ellesmere Treasures are indeed treasures with their all white diamonds.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is inspiration for De Beers’ Okavango Grace set. Recalling the lush wetlands and the fluidity of the delta’s reeds, the set features a color scheme of rough pink, green, brownish pink, purple and grey diamonds suspended in organic strands that move freely with the wearer.

Design of the Namib Wonder set is based on the beauty of the world’s oldest and largest sand dunes found in Namibia’s  Namib Desert. Brilliant white and yellow diamonds set the stage for white rough diamonds, which are cap-set allowing them to move more freely and catch the light from every angle.

debeers
The sunburst motif of the Motlatse Marvel earrings is inspired by the brilliant sunrises and sunsets over South Africa’s Motlatse Canyon. (Photo courtesy of De Beers Jewellers)

The spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the peaks and caverns of Motlatse Canyon in South Africa provide the creative cue for the colorful Motlatse Marvel set. Pink, yellow and white diamonds conjure bejeweled sunbursts.

The teaming underwater universe of South Africa’s Landers Reef is suggested in the Landers Radiance multi-colored, multi-cut theme. “A rainbow of white and fancy color diamonds evokes the vibrant colors of corals and fish, shimmering in sunlit waters” is how De Beers’ promotional materials describe this set.

With introduction of the collection, De Beers Jewellers is reaffirming its commitment to environmental conservation through its widespread Building Forever sustainability initiative and the houses’s commitment to its code of best practices principles. That includes conservation of  “The Diamond Route,” some 50,000 acres throughout Southern Africa.

Source: papercitymag

De Beers and Alrosa Raise Rough Prices

Rough diamond. (De Beers)

The two largest diamond miners increased prices at this week’s rough sales as demand improved due to post-holiday restocking and strong trading ahead of the Chinese New Year.

De Beers raised prices by an average of 4% to 5% at its first sight of 2021, while Alrosa’s increases were around 6% to 7%, industry insiders told Rapaport News Monday. Both companies implemented steeper hikes in larger categories than for smaller goods, sources said.

“Alrosa makes sure that prices reflect the actual market trends and a confirmed real demand,” a spokesperson for the Russian miner said. De Beers declined to comment.

The miners have steadily been reversing the prices cuts they made in the second half of last year. De Beers’ price rise was its second in a row, with January prices almost back to pre-pandemic levels, sightholders noted.

The rough market showed momentum in January following a better 2020 holiday season than many had feared earlier in the year. Cutting factories in India raised polished production to full capacity as shortages emerged and retailers restocked, prompting manufacturers to buy rough in large quantities.

Demand rose on the secondary market, with De Beers clients able to make profits of 5% to 7% by reselling goods ahead of the sight. Those premiums declined slightly following the price increase.

“[Polished] inventory levels are the lowest for at least the past seven or eight years,” an executive at a sightholder said. “That’s the reason people are going to be more aggressive in their purchasing,” he continued, adding that some traders foresaw a spike in consumer demand due to government stimulus packages.

Prices at smaller miners’ tenders were higher still — in contrast to mid-2020, when manufacturers could get goods up to 25% cheaper on the open market compared with De Beers and Alrosa boxes. Tender prices fluctuate with the market conditions more than contract-sale prices do, as the smaller rough producers have greater liquidity needs.

Some traders expressed concern that the surge in rough purchases could lead to an oversupply, as Chinese retailers have almost finished preparing their inventories for the upcoming lunar festival on February 12.

“It’s time to go back to business, but it’s no time to push your production to the max and buy rough at any price with the excuse that your factory needs it,” another sightholder argued. “The end of year has been OK, including in the States. There are great expectations for a fantastic Chinese New Year, but the reality is that any Chinese retailer has stopped buying as from this week.”

Amid the uncertainty, Alrosa kept its policy of allowing customers to defer 100% of their allocations in January, noting that it wished to uphold the balance between supply and demand.

De Beers also allowed sightholders to refuse a proportion of their allocations for goods up to around 0.75 carats, while maintaining its standard flexibility — including 10% buybacks — in larger categories.

De Beers’ sight began on Monday in Botswana and runs until Friday, with viewings also taking place in Antwerp and Dubai. Alrosa’s sale started last Friday and continues for a week.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers says recovery to Extend – Well Beyond 2020

De Beers Diamond Insight Report

The diamond sector’s rebound from the Covid-19 crisis will feature ups and downs that will continue into next year at least, De Beers predicted.

“The demand recovery is not expected to be linear, particularly as localized lockdowns take place,” De Beers explained Monday in its annual Diamond Insight Report. “Retailer expectations for the second half of the year are mixed, with more optimism in the US but muted sentiments in India and the Far East.”

The pandemic severely hit Chinese demand in the first quarter of this year and US sales in the second quarter, with the recovery likely to “extend well beyond 2020,” the company noted. The impact of Covid-19 on the global economy and the second wave of lockdowns in the fourth quarter have further harmed consumer spending, it added.

“The consequences of these events will determine the short to medium-term outlook,” De Beers added. “However, a weakening US dollar could offset some of the softness in demand in local currencies.”

The pandemic dented the positive trends that were visible at the end of 2019, De Beers said. Diamond-jewelry sales to Chinese consumers slid 45% year on year in the first quarter of 2020, and by around a third for the entire first half, the company estimated. The second-quarter recovery was “tentative,” mainly benefiting established brands and online sales, it added.

In the US, sales dropped about 40% in the second quarter of 2020, and by just under 20% for the first half. There was “evidence of rising sales” among independent jewelers and chains, as well as online, in June and the third quarter, the company continued. Demand in India dropped by more than 30% in the first half, reflecting a slump of nearly 50% during the April-May lockdown.

In 2019, global diamond-jewelry demand increased 0.5% to $79 billion — a weaker growth figure than in previous years as the strong dollar dented sales in China. Demand rose 4% in the US and 3% in Japan, offsetting weaker figures in other markets. The US expanded its share of the polished-diamond market to 48%, from 46% in 2018, while China slipped to 15% from 16%.

The Chinese yuan depreciated against the dollar in 2019 amid a trade war between Beijing and Washington, DC. In local-currency terms, demand from Chinese consumers climbed 1%.

Source: Diamonds.net

Don’t Ban Rough Buying, De Beers Urges

Bruce Cleaver

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver has called on the trade to allow rough purchases, assuring manufacturers the company won’t require them to buy in the weak market.

“We will only sell [rough] when the demand is such that it can create sustainable value for all of us,” the executive wrote in a blog post Friday. “However, just as we are not compelling our clients to purchase, we strongly believe it is counterproductive for any part of the industry to compel them not to purchase.”

Cleaver’s plea comes after the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and other Indian trade organizations called on the nation’s diamond sector to pause rough-diamond imports for 30 days, beginning on May 15. The move would improve the Indian industry’s liquidity situation and deplete inflated polished inventories, the trade bodies explained.

Without explicitly referencing the Indian trade groups’ appeal to their members, Cleaver argued that supply had already been significantly reduced after De Beers suspended production at most of its mines. “Almost all other diamond producers have halted or significantly reduced supply, with some mines unlikely to return to production,” he added. De Beers cut its production guidance for 2020 to 25 million to 27 million carats, more than 20% below its initial projection, Cleaver noted.

The company also canceled its March sight and is offering 100% deferrals at sight 4, which begins Monday. Sightholders are likely to defer the vast majority of purchases to later in the year, as weak consumer demand and the shutdown of India’s cutting industry have diminished appetite for rough.

On Friday, India extended its nationwide lockdown by two weeks, raising the question of when diamond manufacturing would revert to normal, especially in the city of Surat, which produces more than 90% of the world’s polished goods.

Marketing message

Meanwhile, Cleaver urged the industry to capitalize on the diamond’s symbolism, as consumers will seek to purchase “fewer, but more meaningful things” as they move out of lockdown. Signs of pent-up demand from delayed weddings, and self-purchases to reward hardships that have been overcome, are starting to show in China as the lockdown there has eased, the CEO commented. People are visiting stores and shopping malls again, he said.

In its communication with consumers over the coming months, De Beers will emphasize the role diamonds play in shaping a better world and in forging meaningful connections, he stressed.

“Just as they have had to find innovative ways to stay connected with loved ones, we will find new ways to connect with them,” he said.

“Throughout time, the diamond has served as a powerful symbol of connection and meaning,” he wrote. “It has always been attached to life’s most precious moments and relationships and represented a store of value, but increasingly we believe a diamond is becoming a store of values.”

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Makes Dramatic Cut to Production Plan

De Beers Production

De Beers has reduced its full-year production guidance by 7 million carats, putting the miner on course for its lowest output since 2009. 

The miner expects to produce between 25 million and 27 million carats in 2020, compared to the 32 million to 34 million in its original projection, it said Thursday. The revised forecast for 2020 was due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining activity and consumer traffic in key markets, the miner noted.

Rough-diamond production for the first quarter of 2020 slipped 1% to 7.8 million carats, roughly in line with the previous year. However, the coronavirus shutdown measures were not implemented at the miner’s sites until the end of the period, and had a limited impact on output, De Beers said.

Sales volume rose 19% to 8.9 million carats for the three months ending March 31. The increase was due to a favorable comparison with the same period the previous year, when demand was weak due to an oversupply of polished stones in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the decline in demand caused by the pandemic — during which De Beers allowed customers to defer some of their allocations to the second quarter — was offset by higher appetite for lower-value goods, the company noted.

Production in Botswana declined 5% to 5.6 million carats, with diamond recovery at De Beers’ Orapa mine falling 7% as result of challenges in commissioning new plant infrastructure. Output at Jwaneng slipped 4% due to a planned shift to lower-grade ore.

Production in Namibia grew 6% to 511,000 carats, and in South Africa jumped 97% to 751,000 carats, as the final ore from the company’s open-pit operations at Venetia was mined prior to the transition to underground.

Output in Canada slid 19% to 844,000 carats, primarily due to the closure of the Victor mine, which reached its end of life in the second quarter of 2019. Output from Gahcho Kué, which the company owns in partnership with Mountain Province, rose 4% to 844,000 carats.

The first quarter featured two sales cycles, with proceeds falling 9% to $906 million. Demand reached a near-yearlong high in January, but fell again in February as the coronavirus began to spread. The company was forced to cancel its third site, which was due to begin at the end of March.

In 2009, the company slashed production by 49% to 24.6 million carats for the year when the global economic slowdown hit diamond demand. 

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Reveals Overhaul of Sight System

Measuring a rough diamond

De Beers plans to split sightholders into three categories and offer each group a more bespoke selection of rough diamonds as part of changes to its sales system.

Manufacturers, dealers and retailers will sign specific supply contracts designed for the “broad needs” of each business model, a De Beers spokesperson told Rapaport News Thursday.

The arrangement will take effect in January 2021, following the end of the current sightholder contract, which runs until December 2020. Applications start this week, giving companies four weeks to complete the process, a source in the rough market said on condition of anonymity.

The manufacturer contract will “support the core strengths” of each cutting firm, De Beers explained. Dealers — those that buy rough for resale — will receive a “regular and consistent range of goods,” especially in higher-volume areas. The retailer contract is tailored for companies that sell jewelry to consumers and also have polishing operations. Beneficiation contracts — for sightholders that commit to polishing certain goods in the country where they were mined — will remain as modified versions of the manufacturing contract.

“It is our ambition to offer supplies and services that can help to better support the unique strengths of the great businesses of the diamond midstream, and we feel this approach is the optimal way of achieving this,” the spokesperson said.

The company has long been contemplating changes to its sightholder system amid difficult conditions in the manufacturing and trading sectors, such as tight liquidity and an inventory imbalance. Its supply rules — based on a method known as “demonstrated demand” — have also faced criticism.

Under that system, De Beers mainly determines clients’ rough supply using their purchasing record — a controversial policy because it can encourage sightholders to take on unprofitable inventory to secure future access to its goods. It offers the diamonds in prearranged boxes that customers either take or leave, with only limited flexibility to adjust the contents. That sometimes forces sightholders to buy items they don’t want just so they can get the stones they need.

The current method has come under particular scrutiny given the excess polished in the market last year, which contributed to a slump in rough demand. Last July, Dutch bank ABN Amro urged its clients to stop buying unprofitable rough, and attacked the practice of making purchases purely to maintain supply allocations.

De Beers’ revenue fell 24% to $4.61 billion in 2019, while underlying earnings slid 87% to $45 million, as the supply glut left sightholders unwilling to buy more rough. The situation forced the miner to allow unprecedented refusals and other concessions to avoid flooding the market with goods.

The “need for us to adapt to the changing world” has been the subject of talks between De Beers and sightholders for a while, the company spokesperson added.

“This new approach to sightholder contracts is one way we are going about this,” he noted.

Source: Diamonds.net

Forevermark Unveils New Concept Store in China

De Beers Forevermark China

Forevermark has launched a concept store in Shanghai tailored to millennial shopping habits, marking its 1,000th branch in China.

The opening of the store, named Libert’aime, also celebrates the brand’s 10th anniversary of entering the country. The De Beers-owned brand designed the branch’s diamond-jewelry line with a young, self-purchasing consumer in mind, it said Tuesday.

The store combines online and offline platforms, including a WeChat store. It also features digital experiences such as a 3D diamond wall, and a “magic mirror” that allows customers to share pieces with friends and family.

The store includes sections dedicated to different product types. The “diamond bar” will feature daily-wear diamond jewelry, while fancy-cut and multi-diamond pieces will be located in the “spectacular diamond” area.

“[Libert’aime] brings together an innovative in-store offering with online and social channels to provide customers with a highly engaging and personalized buying experience,” Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier said. “We recognize that our consumer continues to evolve and, with Libert’aime by Forevermark, we are thrilled to be offering a diamond-jewelry range that has been designed with a younger, more fashion-forward consumer in mind, who might just be starting their diamond journey.”

The Shanghai store will also feature a new collection, LE LIGHT, designed by popular Chinese actor and musician Timmy Xu Weizhou.

In addition, De Beers Diamond Jewellers has opened a new store in the luxury SKP shopping mall in Xi’an, its sixth in mainland China. The new branch will feature three separate divisions: one for bridal jewelry, a second with collections such as the Talisman, Enchanted Lotus and Dewdrop lines, and a third showcasing high-jewelry pieces.

Source: diamonds.net
Credit: Matt Crabb/De Beers