US Demand, Uncertain Supply Buoy Diamond Prices

Diamond trading was stable in May despite concerns about inflation, rising interest rates and slumping stock markets. Polished prices initially declined but later steadied as dealers anticipated supply shortages resulting from Russian sanctions.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds slid 0.5% in May but was 9.3% higher on June 1 than at the beginning of the year.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
MayYear to date
Jan. 1 to June 1
Year on year
June 1, 2020, to June 1 2021
RAPI 0.30 ct.0.6%1.3%-0.1%
RAPI 0.50 ct.-0.3%5.8%8.2%
RAPI 1 ct.-0.5%9.3%22.1%
RAPI 3 ct.-0.3%10.6%25.7%

US demand is supporting the market even as economic uncertainty sets in. Expectations are rising for the Las Vegas shows, which begin June 8. Dealers hope the positive sentiment will boost trading in the second half of the year. Chinese wholesalers remain cautious as activity resumes after the country’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

Inventory levels are high but have decreased in select categories. The number of diamonds on RapNet stood at 1.8 million as of June 1, up 43% from a year earlier. The quantity of 0.30-carat, D- to H-color, IF- to VS-clarity goods fell 14% in May; 0.50-carat diamonds in the same range declined 11%. Both categories were still significantly above last year’s levels.

While the sanctions on Russian goods have not yet caused notable polished scarcities, shortages are likely in the coming months. Rough supply has dropped since Alrosa canceled its March and April sales. Prices at rough auctions have increased — particularly in the small-diamond category, which Alrosa dominates. De Beers raised prices of small rough at its latest sight from June 6 to 10.

The market is splitting into two segments: Russian and non-Russian goods. Some big cutters are finding ways to buy Alrosa rough in order to serve centers that remain open to buying Russian-origin polished. These diamonds will likely sell at a discount to non-sanctioned ones.

US and European jewelers and brands may have difficulty filling their sourcing requirements in the coming months without Russian supply. This will lend further support to diamond prices.


RapNet to Vote on Synthetics

Rapnet Synthetic diamonds

RapNet, the world’s largest diamond trading network with daily listings of over $7.4 billion, will be voting on whether it should provide diamond listing and pricing services for synthetic diamonds. Voting will be limited to registered RapNet members who log in to and will take place from Sunday May 26 through Friday May 31, 2019.

The results of the vote will be announced at the Rapaport Breakfast on Sunday June 2, 2019, at the JCK jewelry show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The keynote address at the breakfast entitled “Synthetic Ethics” will be presented by Martin Rapaport. The Rapaport Breakfast is open to the jewelry trade and media. Registration and information is available here. The breakfast and additional Rapaport “Ethical Sourcing” and “Appraiser” Town Hall Meetings will be broadcast live on Facebook here.

The issue of synthetic diamonds is hotly debated in the diamond and jewelry trade. Recent decisions by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have removed the word natural from the definition of a diamond. The FTC believes that diamonds need not be natural to be described as diamonds, although they require disclosure when a diamond is “man-made” or “laboratory-created.” Martin Rapaport has published an important article about the issue entitled “Synthetic Ethics” that can be reviewed here.

The vote will provide RapNet and the jewelry industry with important input as to the role of synthetic diamonds in the diamond trade. The final decision regarding the matter will be made by the RapNet management team.

“Synthetic diamonds present significant challenges and opportunities to the diamond trade. The role of natural diamonds is threatened as synthetic diamonds offer consumers lower prices and provide retailers with higher profit margins. The problem with synthetic diamonds is that they are not a store of value as they have no natural scarcity and can be manufactured with unlimited supply. Their prices are expected to decline over the long term as their cost of manufacturing falls. The diamond trade must decide if they want to trade in long-term integrity for short-term profits,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group.

About the Rapaport Group: The Rapaport Group is a global provider of added value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1978, the Rapaport Price List is the primary source of diamond price and market information. Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, Rapaport Magazine, Rapaport Research Report and website; RapNet – the world’s largest diamond trading network; Rapaport Auction and Trading Services specializing in recycled diamonds and jewelry. Rapaport Laboratory Services providing GIA gemological services in India, and Israel. The Group supports over 20,000 clients in 121 countries and has offices in New York, Las Vegas, Antwerp, Ramat Gan, Mumbai, Surat, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Additional information is available at

POZ Minerals to Bid for Ellendale Mine

POZ Blina yellow diamonds

Only a year ago, very few in the diamond industry would have heard of POZ Minerals. But the company, better known as a phosphates producer, is trying to build a portfolio of projects in Western Australia that could make it a niche supplier of fancy-yellow diamonds.

POZ announced Tuesday that it was bidding for the Ellendale mine after the state government’s call for investors in the asset last week. While POZ already owns the adjacent Blina mine, it hopes to combine the two assets and solidify its position in the fancy-yellow category, Jim Richards, POZ chairman, explained in an interview with Rapaport News Monday.

Owning both “would result in economies of scale and efficiencies in exploration and development and would be a major step towards building a branded diamond-mining company producing the fancy yellows for which Blina and Ellendale are justifiably famous,” the company added in a statement it released Tuesday.

Richards believes the company is a front-runner in the Ellendale bid, given that it already has four mining leases at Blina and since POZ is the only miner in the area with such a license. It also already has a deal with Bunuba Group, the native titleholder for both the Blina and Ellendale land.

Ellendale comes with some history, however, after former owner Kimberley Diamonds ran up bills and a list of creditors that forced it to close the mine in 2015. That, despite a lucrative supply agreement with luxury jewelry Tiffany & Co. for its fancy-yellow diamonds.

Richards is hoping to reestablish that partnership and forge new ones with other retailers. Ellendale’s yellows have a consistency few other mines can achieve, he explains. Meanwhile, POZ is in talks with retailers in Australia and abroad for similar offtake agreements and branding of yellow diamonds from the Blina mine.

POZ is still in a testing phase at Blina and is looking for investors, or to partner with “an experienced mining company,” before production can proceed. Testing shows that fancy yellows account for about 7% of Blina’s production, while white stones make up 18%, 46% are off-white diamonds, and 29% brown. Of those, 93% are gem content or near-gem content, Richards noted.

A parcel of stones from the mine was valued at an average price of $389 per carat, with the fancy-yellow diamonds estimated at approximately $3,391 per carat.

Image: Blina mine yellow diamonds. Credit: POZ Minerals