Gem Diamonds finds yet another big stone in Lesotho

The 118.74 carats diamond recovered in late April.
The 118.74 carats diamond recovered in late April.

Africa-focused miner Gem Diamonds (LON: GEMD) has unearthed a new major Type II white diamond at its prolific Letšeng mine in Lesotho, barely six days after the previous find.

The 118.74-carat diamond is the fifth greater than 100-carat precious stone recovered this year at the operation, the company said.

Type IIa diamonds are the most valued and collectable precious gemstones, as they contain either very little or no nitrogen atoms in their crystal structure. Boart diamonds are stones of low quality that are used in powder form as an abrasive.

The prolific Letšeng mine is one of the world’s ten largest diamond operations by revenue. At 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, it is also one of the world’s most elevated diamond mines.

Diamond miners are going through a rough patch as US and Chinese demand for diamond jewellery continues to be weak and the popularity of cheaper laboratory grown diamonds continues to rise.

In 2015, man-made diamonds had barely made an appearance as a competitor to natural diamonds. By last year, these stones accounted for more than 10% of the global diamond jewelry market, according to industry specialist Paul Zimnisky.

The market values of small to medium diamond mining companies, including Canada’s Lucara (TSX: LUC), South Africa’s Petra (LON: PDL), and Gem Diamonds itself, are around $100 million or less. This is only about a third or a fourth of the price the large stones they aim to find may be worth.

Source: mining.com

HIGH QUALITY 113 CARAT TYPE II WHITE DIAMOND

Gem Diamonds Limited (LSE: GEMD) is pleased to announce the recovery of a high quality 113 carat white Type II diamond, recovered at the Letšeng mine in Lesotho on 17 February 2024.

A piece of white rock next to a magnifying glass Description automatically generated

Together with the 295 carat high quality Type II white diamond recovered on 8 January 2024 and a 139 carat low quality Boart diamond recovered on 17 January 2024, the 113 carat is the third greater than 100 carat diamond recovered to date this year.

Source: londonstockexchange

Revenue and Prices Down at Gem Diamonds

Gem Diamonds saw revenue and average per carat prices down by around a quarter during 2023 amid ongoing “downward pressure” in the rough market.

The UK-based miner operates Letseng, in Lesotho, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

It says total sales for the year were $139.4m, down 26 per cent, and the average per carat price was down 24 per cent to $1,334.

The highest price it achieved during the year was $33,745 per carat for a 117.09 carat white diamond which sold for $4m. It also sold six $1m-plus diamonds for a total of $13.8m.

Revenue for Q4 was $36.4m, up 14 per cent on Q3, according to its Q4 2023 Trading Update published on 1 February). Gem says it recovered 32,142 carats in Q4, up 16 per cent on Q3.

Recoveries of large diamonds in 2023 were similar to 2022, but below the mine’s average since 2008. The decrease in prices achieved in 2023 negatively impacted overall revenue achieved during the year.

Letseng is 70 per cent owned by Gem and 30 per cent by the Lesotho government.

Source: IDEX

Gem Diamonds and Lucara find first big stones of 2024

Africa-focused miners Gem Diamonds and Lucara Diamond have recovered big, high-quality Type IIa diamonds at their respective operations.

Gem Diamonds said on Thursday it had unearthed a 295-carat rough stone at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, adding to a long list of diamonds over 100 carats found at the operation over the past two years.

The prolific mine is one of the world’s ten largest diamond operations by revenue. At 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s most elevated diamond mines.

Canada’s Lucara recovered a 166-carat rough in the Coarse X-Ray Transmission unit at its Karowe diamond mine in Botswana. The company said the precious stone was sourced from direct milling of ore from the South lobe of the mine.

Gem Diamonds and Lucara find first big stones of 2024
The 166-carat rough diamond recovered at Karowe. (Image courtesy of Lucara Diamond.)

Lucara’s latest find is the 328th diamond over 100 carats found at Karowe since it began operations in 2012. Chief executive William Lamb said  the recovery further supported the economic rationale for investing in the underground expansion project to extend the mine’s life to at least 2040.

The recoveries bring some positive news into a market affected by ongoing weak conditions, with prices for wholesale polished diamonds dropping 20% last year, which also dragged down rough diamond prices. 

Source: mining.com

Letšeng Yields 117ct. Rough for Gem Diamonds

Gem Diamonds has recovered a 117.47-carat rough from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, its fourth over 100 carats so far this year.

The miner discovered the gem-quality, type IIa diamond on October 29, it said Tuesday. The find follows that of a 101.96-carat high-quality rough on September 28, and a 163.91-carat yellow diamond on June 22. The company also unearthed a 122-carat stone on March 5.

Letšeng has been known for producing high-quality rough diamonds topping the 100-carat mark, but recently that supply has been dwindling. However, the newest recovery brings this year’s total to a tie with last year, when the miner also retrieved four diamonds in that category. That compares with six in 2021 and 16 in 2020.

The declining number of special-size stones has put a dent in the company’s revenue, with sales falling 28% year on year to $71.8 million in the first six months of 2023. The miner incurred a loss of $1 million, versus a profit of $3.8 million during the same period in 2022.

Source: Diamonds.net

How a 910ct. Rough Became a Sparkling Van Cleef Collection

Lesotho Legend, a 910-carat, type IIa

The Baselworld fair has received much criticism in recent years, but one of the final shows before its public implosion appears to have facilitated a diamond deal that counts among the biggest in history.

Antwerp-based manufacturers Taché and Samir Gems came to the March 2018 exhibition with the exquisite Lesotho Legend, a 910-carat, type IIa diamond they had bought together from Gem Diamonds for $40 million earlier that month. At the time, jewelers such as Graff and Harry Winston dominated the big-stone market. Displaying the massive rough at the prestigious Swiss event could help drum up broader interest in the category, Taché and Samir believed.

“We felt that the market was a bit saturated between one or two players,” says Jean-Jacques Taché, managing director for sales at Taché, from his office in Tel Aviv, Israel. “So we thought, let’s bring it to Basel, let’s…showcase the [rough], and let’s see the reactions.”

Plenty of visitors wanted selfies with the stone, which came from the famous Letšeng mine in Lesotho. Some suggested buying a sliver of the piece — polished of, say, 5 to 20 carats, Taché recalls. However, “none of them were really committed at that point to enter into a venture.”

The exception was Van Cleef & Arpels, a Richemont-owned luxury brand that, Taché explains, had been somewhat pulling back from big stones in recent years.

“From the minute they saw it, [Van Cleef] started to talk about the idea that they had,” the executive adds. The timing was perfect: The luxury brand had just finished a ruby collection and was seeking a new project on which to spend a few years. “Sometimes you need a lot of things to happen at the same time in order to make it a success.”

The buying executive representing Van Cleef needed approval from Nicolas Bos, the brand’s CEO, and the Richemont team. Not long after the event, Taché, Samir and Van Cleef signed an agreement calling for the jeweler to buy the final polished. The condition was that the finished goods met the French house’s high quality criteria.

Long wait

Only this month did Van Cleef reveal the finished jewelry, more than four years after the initial pitch. The result was a unique collection of 25 Mystery Set jewels featuring 67 D-flawless diamonds. The largest is an oval, 79.35-carat stone that takes pride of place in a necklace called Atours Mystérieux, meaning “mysterious attire.” The smallest is 0.29 carats. The parties have not disclosed the polished sale price.

Taché and Samir both took heavy risks by splurging on the rough back in 2018. (Gem Diamonds publicly named Samir as the buyer: As is often the case, a miner only invoices one entity, but the purchase was really a 50:50 partnership.)

The two companies have a long-standing collaboration, having also bought the 341.9-carat Queen of Kalahari together from Lucara Diamond Corp. a few years earlier. They sold that polished to Chopard. Samir has its expertise in purchasing large rough stones; Taché specializes more in relationships with the top jewelry brands.

“We’re the most successful Jewish-Indian partnership on the market, by far,” says Taché.

They outsourced the cutting and polishing to Diamcad, an Antwerp firm that also manufactured the Lesedi La Rona for Graff. The goods went for grading at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York, where all the stones received Diamond Origin Reports stating that they were from the Lesotho Legend.

Van Cleef took delivery of the polished as each stone was ready between January 2019 and March 2020, Taché notes. However, Covid-19 delayed the launch, as Van Cleef had been hoping to hold roadshows.

; Jean-Jacques Taché and Anjal Bhansali

Quality over size

The manufacturers agreed to include Van Cleef throughout the process, including in the planning and design. The Taché and Samir teams even traveled with Van Cleef’s Bos to Lesotho in May 2019 to experience the Letšeng mine and learn about the local community there.

The brand would accept only flawless goods, so quality became a higher priority than size. The planning process, which took about seven months in 2018, saw the parties review around 180 possible combinations of outcomes. None of them included any “monster” stones, they note.

“Instead of 67 stones, you could also have a model with probably 12 pieces only, but [it would have been] much less interesting in terms of creation,” Taché continues.

There were other complicating factors. Van Cleef tends to avoid round and heart-shaped diamonds. It also wanted matching pairs: “Practically every stone in this collection between 10 and 30 carats is a couple,” he points out.

“If we went for something which was 100-carats-plus, we would have had to go into the VS range,” comments Antwerp-based Anjal Bhansali, managing director at Samir. The team even broke up a stone of roughly 75 carats into two matching stones weighing around 30 carats each, Bhansali reveals.

Boost for big stones

The manufacturers hope the collection will succeed in reinvigorating the large-diamond sector, expanding it beyond the traditional two giants.

“The goal is to create more awareness for big stones in the market and to bring in new players,” Taché concludes. “We started it with Chopard. We [are continuing] this now with Van Cleef.”

It’s unclear whether the Basel show will ever return. However, everyone involved in the Lesotho Legend project will agree that the 2018 edition was well worth it.

 Atours Mystérieux necklace.

Source: Diamonds.net

Gem Diamonds unearths 125-carat diamond in Lesotho

125 carat rough diamond

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds has found a 125 carat rough stone at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the miner’s second rock over 100 carats mined this year.

The company, known for the recovery of large, high quality stones in 2020, has seen output of high quality diamonds surpassing the 100 carat mark become less frequent over the past year.

In 2021, Gem Diamonds found only six of such diamonds at Letšeng, compared to the 16 it discovered in 2020.

The find comes as prices for small diamonds have jumped about 20% since the start of March, as cutters, polishers and traders struggle to source stones outside Russia.

State owned Russian miner Alrosa, the world’s top diamond producer by output, was hit with US sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Higher prices for lower end stones are good news for miners, but not a game changer, experts say. While every mine is different, a general rule is that 20% of production the best stones account for about 80% of profits.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, the company has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, with 16 of them recovered last year. At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

Source: mining.com

Gem Diamonds finds 129-carat diamond in Lesotho

129 carat rough diamond

Africa focused Gem Diamonds has found a 129 carat rough stone at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the miner’s first one over 100 carats mined this year.

The high quality white diamond was recovered at the site over the weekend, Gem Diamonds said. The company, known for the recovery of large, high quality stones in 2020, has seen output of those diamonds become less frequent over the past year.

In 2021, Gem Diamonds found only six diamonds over 100 carats at Letšeng. This compares to 16 rocks of more than 100 carats discovered in 2020.

The find comes as prices for small diamonds have jumped about 20% since the start of March, as cutters, polishers and traders struggle to source stones outside Russia.

State-owned Alrosa, the world’s top diamond producer by output, was hit with US sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Higher prices for lower end stones are good news for miners, but not a game changer, experts say. While every mine is different, a general rule of thumb is that 20% of production the best stones account for about 80% of profits.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, the company has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, with 16 of them recovered last year.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

Source: mining.com

Gem Diamonds’ Revenue Rises in Q1 2022

Gem Diamonds

Gem Diamonds’ revenue in Q1 2022 (ending March 2022) has gone up 4% quarter-on-quarter and 19% year-on-year to $52.1 million, IDEX Online reports.

The miner, which owns 70% of the Letseng mine in Lesotho, sold 28,461 carats during the quarter – a rise when compared to the 24,790 carats it sold in the previous quarter. However, prices fell from $2,018 to $1,831, according to the report.

Clifford Elphick, Gem Diamonds’ CEO, said: “We remain confident about the outlook for diamond prices, particularly for Letseng’s large high-value diamonds with an average price of $1,831 per carat achieved during the period. Prices achieved on a like-for-like basis continued the largely upward trend from 2021.”

Source: israelidiamond.co.il

Gem Diamonds Unearths 370ct. Rough

Gem Diamonds 370.00 carat Rough Diamond

Gem Diamonds has recovered a 370-carat rough stone in Lesotho, the second over 100 carats in one week.

The “high-quality,” white, type II diamond came from the company’s Letšeng mine, known for producing large diamonds, it said Monday. The new find follows the discovery of a high-quality, 254-carat, white, type II diamond the miner reported on May 4.

The miner has unearthed three 100-carat-plus diamonds so far this year, including a 146.9-carat rough in January. Although output of large stones was sluggish in the first quarter as the company mined lower-value areas, it is still ahead of last year’s discovery of two stones greater than 100 carats by the middle of May.

In 2020, Gem Diamonds produced a total of 16 diamonds larger than 100 carats.

Source: Diamonds.net