Israel’s diamond exports improved in February amid steady jewelry demand in key retail markets and the opening of a trade channel with Dubai, according to government data.
Polished shipments out of Israel jumped 24% year on year to $251.6 million for the month, with volume increasing 20% to 122,784 carats, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Industry reported last week. Rough exports rose 21% to $124 million, while volume slipped 9% to 188,317 carats.
The ministry attributed the growth to higher demand for studded jewelry in the US and China. As for rough trading, 16% of exports were to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with which Israel reached a peace deal in August, the government noted. Before that, Israel was unable to ship goods directly to Dubai, an important center for rough tenders. The improvement also came despite a February lockdown in Israel, which affected the availability of flights, the ministry pointed out.
“The industry has cause for optimism after a difficult year,” said Ophir Gore, Israel’s diamond controller. “The data that the global diamond sector has seen in the past two months — especially in the American diamond and jewelry market — indicate demand has recovered. The first half of this year is expected to be particularly positive for the industry.”
Swiss technology provider Synova has expanded its automated diamond-cutting system to include fancy shapes, it said Monday.
The company, which is part-owned by De Beers, unveiled the DaVinci Diamond Factory last year at the Dubai Diamond Conference. Synova claims the machine will significantly speed up diamond manufacturing from weeks to hours, improve accuracy and symmetry, and reduce costs. However, the version it initially launched could only cut round-brilliant diamonds with up to 57 facets.
“The pandemic restrictions had us more or less blocked from selling in the first half, so instead of sitting here and doing nothing, we developed the machine and made it market-ready,” Joerg Pausch, head of the diamond business at Synova, told Rapaport News. “We developed software add-ons that will allow for cutting of automated fancy shapes. After the first announcement, people were calling us asking if it can do fancy shapes, and that has actually become our strongest request from the market.”
Synova’s initial testing of the automated fancy shapes has shown “very promising results,” it noted. The technology provider will release the new software early next year.
The company has already received a number of orders for the DaVinci from Europe, South Africa and North America, Pausch noted. It also intends to develop the machines to include more automation, he added.