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Rapaport TradeWire May 14, 2010

Polished diamond traders gain confidence as prices firm and manufacturing increases.
May 13, 2010 6:00 PM   By Rapaport
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Rapaport TradeWire
RAPAPORT NEWS SERVICE | MAY 14, 2010   www.rapaport.com | news@rapaport.com
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RapUp May 14, 2010

Gold hits new high ($1,249.60/oz) with investors seeking safe haven from European financial crisis. Polished diamond traders gain confidence as prices firm and manufacturing increases. Rough premiums rise. Sotheby’s sells $54m at Geneva jewelry auction (87.9% by lot) with cushion-shape, 7.64-ct, fancy intense blue diamond ring fetching $8m ($1.1m/ct). Bulgari 1Q jewelry & watch sales +11% to $112m. Gem Diamonds 1Q sales +11% to $43m, Letseng mine April tender achieves average $2,002/ct. Zale secures loan and new bank facilities, lowers debt to $160m. U.S. March polished imports +86% to $1.6b, polished exports +68% to $1.2b. Israel’s April polished exports +417% to $483m. Japan’s 1Q polished imports flat at $174m. Botswana 1Q diamond exports +101% to $477m. DTC Botswana appoints G. Gabaake to replace Varda Shine as chairman.

RapNet Data: May 14, 2010
Diamonds 643,283
Value $4,235,817,191
Carats 738,753
Average Discount -31.06%
RapNet Asking Price

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Shavuot Holiday

The Rapaport Price List will not be published on May 21 and Rapaport offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday (May 19-20) due to the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot.
Rapaport Polished Diamond Tender Auction
at the JCK Las Vegas Show

Certified and non-certified diamonds. Single stone lots.
0.50 ct. to 5.00 ct, broad range of shapes and qualities.

The auction opens Friday June 4 at the JCK Vegas show and ends 5 p.m., June 10, at Rapaport New York office.

Viewing at the show: Rapaport Booth 3080, upper level.

Buyers: For appointment and bidder registration contact Rapaport New York Email: auctions@diamonds.net  Tel: +1-212-354-9800.

Motivated sellers are invited to submit diamonds at cash prices. Deadline for delivering diamonds: Thursday May 27. Contact Myles Schakler at Rapaport New York for information.
Rapaport Breakfast and Conference Schedule
New Date - Sunday, June 6
Marcello Ballroom
Venetian Hotel, Level 4

Rapaport Breakfast 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Martin Rapaport keynote address: "The Diamond Decade: New Opportunities"

Find out what is really going in the diamond industry. Transform change and challenge into opportunity.

Diamond Certification Conference 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

From counterfeits to misleading standards, are certificates being used to mislead consumers? Join the debate and share how standards affect the business.

Fair Trade Jewelry Conference 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Join an open debate on the rapidly expanding wave of socially responsible jewelers who are promoting a fair and more ethical industry. 

The Rapaport Conference is free and open to all.
To register e-mail: conference@diamonds.net
or call +1-702-893-9400
Rapaport Pawn Shop Tender Auction
in New York

Over 35,000 carats of small to medium size diamonds in parcels.

Viewing by appointment only.
Contact: auctions@diamonds.net +1-212-354-9800

  I think [gold] is trying to take another bet at $1,250 again. There's always the question of a loss of confidence in paper currencies when governments have such big deficits. This loss of confidence will definitely be there to stay.

Wong Eng Soon | Phillip Futures, Singapore

The Rapaport Group is growing rapidly. If you want to work with the best and brightest, join us. We have great opportunities for trading managers, gemologists, sales assistants, and entry level positions for our offices in New York, Antwerp, Mumbai, Dubai, and Shanghai. To get on the fast track, email your resume to careers@rapaport.com. Visit us at the JCK Show Booth 3080.

Rapaport Weekly Broadcast

WATCH NOW: Gold maintains a record run. LPGA pro Cristie Kerr (pictured) partners with Kwiat on a diamond jewelry line to benefit “Birdies for Breast Cancer.” The partnership was celebrated in Manhattan at Kwiat's Madison Avenue boutique. Sotheby's Geneva sells two remarkable diamonds, a 7.64-carat fancy intense blue diamond ring for $8 million; and an emerald-cut, 52.82-carat diamond for nearly as much. U.S. weekly chain store sales and Macy's quarterly sales reflect low single-digit increases.

Bulgari Posts $11M Loss

Bulgari Group narrowed its losses to $10.6 million (EUR 8.3 million) for the three months that ended on March 31, 2010, compared with the loss of $37.3 million (EUR 29.3 million) it posted for the previous year. The company reports its financial data in euros, but in dollars, Bulgari's revenues rose 12 percent to $253.4 million during the quarter as its jewelry sales increased by 10.6 percent to $112.2 million. Watch sales fell 1.4 percent to $52.8 million. Bulgari lowered its operating costs by 7 percent and reduced its advertising and promotional expenses by 9 percent during the quarter.

LJ Intl.'s Revenue +18%

LJ International reported that its revenue rose 18 percent to $26.9 million during the first quarter of 2010 as its cost of goods increased by 13 percent to $15.7 million. The company reported a net income of $1.9 million against the $129,000 it posted one year ago. Revenue increased due, in part, to a 38 percent jump in sales at the company's ENZO jewelry stores in China, Hong Kong and Macau. ENZO revenue in the first quarter totaled $16.4 million. Meanwhile, LJ International's same-store sales were up 14 percent.

Wholesale operations registered a drop of 3 percent in sales to $10.4 million during the period. While LJ International reported that retail is the company's primary avenue of growth, they also expect wholesale revenues to reflect a healthy increase in the coming quarters.

Berkshire's Retail Sales +3%

Berkshire Hathaway's retail segment sales, which include sales registered at Borsheim’s Jewelry, Helzberg Diamonds and Ben Bridge Jeweler,  rose 3 percent to $675 million in the first quarter of 2010. The segments' combined pre-tax retail earnings doubled from the first quarter of 2009 to total $32 million for the first quarter of 2010.  Berkshire Hathaway's group revenues rose 41 percent to $32 billion in the first quarter, while its net earnings increased to $3.8 billion against the loss of $1.5 billion it recorded one year ago.

Damas Encounters Delay on Repayment

Damas says it is taking longer than expected to recover unauthorized funds withdrawn by the Abdullah brothers. This delay in payments does not constitute a default on its agreement with the brothers, however; the $55 million originally due on April 30 will instead be carried forward. In 2009, Tawhid Abdulla was forced to resign from Damas for conducting “unauthorized transactions” valued at approximately $165 million. The two parties reached a repayment agreement in November.

Zale Reaches Financing Goal

Zale  secured a new $150 million, five-year, senior-secured-term loan from Golden Gate Capital. The lender will receive the interest and fees that accrue on the Golden Gate Capital loan and warrants in order to purchase common stock aggregating a 25 percent equity interest in Zale on a fully diluted basis, once the necessary shareholder approvals are obtained.

Zale also closed on a new bank credit facility that amended and extended its existing, asset-backed credit facility. The credit facility  aggregates commitments of $650 million, including a $108 million seasonal adjustment. Zale's previous credit facility totaled $600 million, including a $100 million seasonal adjustment. After applying Golden Gate Capital's loan to the repayment of outstanding indebtedness under its existing bank facility, Zale expects to have approximately $160 million in outstanding indebtedness and available liquidity of approximately $250 million.

Asprey Cufflinks to Benefit EPCC

Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie partnered with retailer Asprey to create a limited-edition "Protector" collection of cufflinks. The white-gold, snake-motif links feature black diamonds and retail for $10,000. Proceeds from the sale of these cufflinks will benefit the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict (EPCC), a charitable trust co-founded by Jolie.

Lazare Kaplan's Audit Stalls

Lazare Kaplan was informed by insurers and underwriters that its request for payment on certain claims was being denied at this time. The underwriters' decision did not require Lazare Kaplan to return an interim payment of $28 million or the company's "sue and labor" costs and expenses, which were previously paid.

Given this development, Lazare Kaplan was unable to resolve the "material uncertainties" that it said had prevented it from completing an audit of its 2009 fiscal-year financial statements or the unaudited financial statements for the subsequent interim periods.

Christie's Jewels Sale in Geneva Totals $34M

Christie's Geneva spring jewelry sale generated $33.9 million, with signed period jewels proving to be the most popular items with bidders. The top lot (pictured) was a rectangular-cut, 40.21-carat, D, flawless diamond ring that sold for $5,129,100. A circular-cut diamond riviere with a total carat weight of 155.17 sold for $4,725,900, well above its high presale estimate of $2.4 million. The top lot at Christie's watch sale was a gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases that sold for $5,708,833.

Antwerp Diamond Bank Reports Loss

The Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB) reported a net loss of $15.3 million (EUR 12 million) for 2009, compared with the profit of $37.9 million (EUR 29.7 million) it recorded one year ago. The bank's balance sheet shrank by 24 percent to $1.66 billion, reflecting the contraction of activity within the diamond industry. The bank also took on a debtors' impairment charge of $68.9 million.

Shrenuj Opens Facility in Gaborone

Shrenuj Botswana inaugurated its diamond-cutting and polishing factory in Gaborone and also announced plans to establish a jewelry manufacturing facility in Botswana by September. The company currently employs 151 people at the facility, which has the capacity to employ about 230 people. The 15,000-square-foot factory has the capacity to process approximately $100 million worth of rough per year. Shrenuj also has a small factory in Israel. Its main manufacturing operations are based in Surat.

HRD Partners With Women's University

HRD Antwerp signed a cooperation agreement with the Jasani department of jewelry design and manufacturing at S.N.D.T. Women's University in India to conduct a diamond-grading course and a basic gemology course there. Students will receive a joint diploma issued by S.N.D.T. and HRD Antwerp certifying their diamond-grading skills as meeting qualified "diamond grader" benchmarks and their basic gemology knowledge, both of which are required by any designer or jewelry professional wishing to develop his or her skills.

Gabaake Replaces Shine as DTCB Chair

The Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) appointed Gabaake G. Gabaake to replace Varda Shine as chair. Gabaake is currently the permanent secretary in Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources. Shine is managing director of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the De Beers subsidiary that owns 50 percent of DTCB in partnership with the Botswana government.

Friedman Passes Away in L.A.

Maximilian E. Friedman of Los Angeles passed away May 2, 2010, shortly after  having just celebrated his 93rd birthday.  As a young man, Friedman lived in Antwerp and was trained in diamond cutting.  He escaped Belgium in 1937 and came to New York City to begin a new life.  He founded his own business, Maximilian E. Friedman Co., in 1944 and traveled the U.S.  for many years.  But in the mid-1960s, he decided to relocated his family and business to California. 

Israel Apr. Imports & Exports

  Apr. '10   YTD '10  
  $Mil Chng. $Mil Chng.
Polished Exports $483 417% $1,940 88%
Polished Imports   NA NA NA NA
Net Exports NA NA NA NA
Rough Imports NA NA NA NA
Rough Exports $232 114% $1,060 145%
Net Imports NA NA NA NA
Net Diamond Acct. $158   $696 45%

U.S. Mar. Imports & Exports

  Mar. '10   YTD '10  
  $Mil Chng. $Mil Chng.
Polished Imports $1,555 86% $4,079 73%
Polished Exports $1,219 68% $3,094 55%
Net Imports $336 203%  $985 171%
Rough Imports $45 137% $121 210%
Rough Exports $20 82% $52 63%
Net Imports $25 213% $69 886%
Net Diamond Acct. $361 203% $1,054 184%

Botswana's 1Q Diamond Exports

Botswana's diamond exports rose 101 percent to $477 million during the first quarter of 2010. Preliminary export statistics compiled by the Bank of Botswana revealed that January's exports were nearly $253 million, but February's exports were lower at $172 million. March was the weakest month with exports of only $53 million. Gold exports for first quarter 2010 rose 87 percent to $13.3 million.

Japan's 1Q Polished Imports

Japan’s first quarter polished diamond imports remained flat at $174 million. Polished imports from Hong Kong rose 17.6 percent to $17.2 million, while those from all other supply countries fell. Imports from India dropped 9 percent to $73 million, from Belgium they declined 27.7 percent to $41.8 million, and from Israel they decreased 14.6 percent to $20.1 million.

Gem 1Q Sales Rise on Strong Prices

Gem Diamonds rough sales rose 11 percent to $42.9 million in the first quarter of 2010 in part due to strong prices. The mining company observed that consumer demand for goods had improved and positively impacted polished prices; however, price increases for finished goods have not risen as sharply as they have for rough diamonds.

The average price per carat from Letseng diamonds rose 72 percent to $1,753. Letseng’s April tender achieved an average price of $2,002 per carat. Production from the mine fell 6 percent to 20,507 carats. Gem Diamonds ended the quarter with $88.5 million in cash and no debt.

IGE 1Q Loss Jumps to $3M

IGE Resources closed its first fiscal quarter with a loss of $2.85 million (SEK 21.7 million or SEK 0.03 per share), compared with the loss of $696,000 (SEK 5.3 million) it posted one year ago. The company doesn't report in dollars, but it spent $1.5 million to buy diamond operations from Pangea DiamondFields and took a loss of $643,000 from the sale of exploration permits.

IGE further reported that it had reached an agreement with ENDIAMA to move toward production at the Luxinge diamond project. IGE Resources' portfolio includes exploration for diamonds, gold and nickel.

Afri-Can Recovers Samples from Block J

Afri-Can Marine recovered 112 diamonds, average size 0.17 carats, from its Block J excavation program in Namibia. The two largest diamonds weighed 0.52 and 0.50 carats. The aim of sample program was to delineate diamond resources on Block J in compliance with National Instrument 43-101. Afri-Can holds a 70 percent interest in Block J through a joint venture agreement with the licensee Woduna Mining Holdings. 

Trans Hex Receives New License

Trans Hex received a mining license to operate its Luana concession in Angola. The junior explorer owns 33 percent stake in the project. Pilot production is underway. Its Luarica and Fucauma operations in Angola remain on care and maintenance.

For the week ending May 13, 2010:

  May. 13 May. 6 Chng.  
$1 = Euro 0.796 0.785 0.011  
$1 = Rupee 45.03 45.37 -0.3  
$1 = Israel Shekel 3.75 3.78 -0.03  
$1 = Rand 7.47 7.67 -0.20  
$1 = Canadian Dollar 1.02 1.03 -0.01  
Precious Metals        
Gold $1,232.90 $1,207.80 $25.10  
Platinum $1,735.00 $1,649.00 $86.00  
Stock Indexes       Chng.
BSE 17,265.87 16,987.53 278.34 1.6%
Dow Jones 10,782.95 10,517.98 264.97 2.5%
FTSE 5,433.73 5,260.99 172.74 3.3%
Hang Seng 20,422.46 20,133.41 289.05 1.4%
S&P 500 1,157.43 1,127.77 29.66 2.6%
Yahoo! Jewelry 927.25 882.59 44.66 5.1%
Birks & Mayors $1.53 $1.70 -$0.17 -10.0%
Blue Nile $51.66 $51.11 $0.55 1.1%
Charles & Colvard $2.49 $2.43 $0.06 2.5%
DGSE Companies $2.40 $2.42 -$0.02 -0.8%
Fuqi Intl. $10.11 $9.60 $0.51 5.3%
JCPenney $28.34 $28.12 $0.22 0.8%
Kohl's $54.01 $54.87 -$0.86 -1.6%
LJ Intl. $2.78 $2.42 $0.36 14.9%
Macy's $23.54 $22.62 $0.92 4.1%
Man Sang $2.00 $1.97 $0.03 1.5%
Movado Group $12.91 $11.79 $1.12 9.5%
Nordstrom $41.46 $40.98 $0.48 1.2%
Saks $9.48 $9.00 $0.48 5.3%
Signet $32.79 $30.42 $2.37 7.8%
Sotheby's $36.24 $33.61 $2.63 7.8%
Tiffany $46.58 $45.27 $1.31 2.9%
Walmart $52.57 $53.52 -$0.95 -1.8%
Zale $2.98 $2.64 $0.34 12.9%
Bulgari €6.60 €6.06 €0.54 8.9%
Bijou Brigitte €121.30 €117.50 €3.80 3.2%
Damiani €0.87 €0.87 €0.00 0.0%
LVMH €91.65 €83.66 €7.99 9.6%
PPR €105.30 €98.43 €6.87 7.0%
Richemont CHF 41.55 CHF 37.92 CHF 3.63 9.6%
Swatch Group CHF 333.20 CHF 304.60 CHF 28.60 9.4%
Theo Fennell (pence) 35.00 36.00 -1.00 -2.8%
INDIA (rupee)        
Classic Diamond 21.25 22.15 -0.90 -4.1%
Gitanjali Gems 112.20 113.20 -1.00 -0.9%
Goldiam Intl. 45.75 43.15 2.60 6.0%
Rajesh Exports 125.05 122.50 2.55 2.1%
Ren. Jewellery 86.35 88.50 -2.15 -2.4%
Su-Raj Diamonds 52.40 48.55 3.85 7.9%
Titan 2,241.35 2,170.60 70.75 3.3%
Zodiac JRD 31.00 33.55 -2.55 -7.6%
Suashish Diamonds 273.40 253.50 19.90 7.9%
Michael Hill NZD 0.73 NZD 0.73 NZD 0.00 0.0%
Harry Winston CAD 12.72 CAD 11.50 CAD 1.22 10.6%
Lucara Diamond CAD 0.85 CAD 0.86 -CAD 0.01 -1.2%
Mountain Province CAD 2.45 CAD 2.50 -CAD 0.05 -2.0%
Peregrine Diamonds CAD 2.33 CAD 2.27 CAD 0.06 2.6%
Rockwell Diamonds CAD 0.07 CAD 0.07 CAD 0.00 0.0%
Shore Gold CAD 0.83 CAD 0.80 CAD 0.03 3.7%
Stornoway Diamond CAD 0.59 CAD 0.59 CAD 0.00 0.0%
True North Gems CAD 0.08 CAD 0.08 CAD 0.00 0.0%
UK (pence)        
African Diamonds 35.00 35.20 -0.2 -0.6%
Anglo American 2,751.00 2,545.50 205.5 8.1%
BHP Billiton 2,005.50 1,872.50 133.0 7.1%
Firestone Diamonds 38.25 40.00 -1.8 -4.4%
Gem Diamonds 284.00 280.00 4.0 1.4%
Gemfields 5.00 5.01 0.0 -0.2%
Mwana Africa 8.95 9.12 -0.2 -1.9%
Namakwa Diamonds 36.50 36.50 0.0 0.0%
Petra Diamonds 79.25 79.25 0.0 0.0%
Rio Tinto plc 3,360.58 3,106.50 254.1 8.2%
Stellar Diamonds 13.00 13.93 -0.9 -6.7%

Polished and rough trading activity

POLISHED: Overall good demand mainly in lower pique categories. Sellers hold firm on prices. Volatile dollar exchange rate and shortages of goods holds back activity.
-1 point: Very Good demand: $150-$300 whites.
Good demand: +$300 whites.
-2 point: Good demand: $150-$300 whites.
Fair Demand: $350 whites & $250-$350 OWTTLC
2-7 point: Very Good demand: +$150-$300 whites.
Good demand: +$300 whites.
Fair Demand: $250-$350 OWTTLC
8-18 point: Good demand: -$400 whites.
Fair Demand: +$500 whites
20 points: Good demand: -$350 whites.
Fair demand: +$600 whites.
25 points: Good demand: -$350 & +$700 whites.
33 points: Good demand: $300 - $500 & +$850 whites.
50 points: Good demand: $500-$700 & +$1000 whites.
75 points: Good demand: $700-$900 & +$2000whites.
1 carat+: Very good demand: +$1000 whites.
Good demand: -$1000 whites.
-3 point: Fair demand: $200-$250 whites.
+3 point: Fair demand: $250-$300 whites.
+9-18 point: Fair demand: $250-$350 whites.
20 point: Fair demand: $700-$750 whites.
25 point: Fair demand: $800-$850 whites.
50 point: Fair demand: $400-$700 & $1600-$1,800 whites.
75 point: Fair demand: $800-$1,200 whites.
1 carat+: Good demand: +$2,500 whites.
Fair demand: $1000-$2000 whites
-6 point: Fair demand: $250-$350 whites.
+7-18 point: Fair demand: $250-$400 whites.
20 point: Fair demand: $250-$400 & $900-$1,000 whites.
25 point: Fair demand: $250-$400 & $1,100-$1,200 whites.
33 point: Fair demand: $250-$400 & $1,300-$1,500 whites.
50 point: Fair demand: $1,600-$1,800 whites.
75 point: Fair demand: $2,600-$2,800 whites.
1 carat+: Good demand: $300-$600 & +$1,000 whites.
Tapers & Baguettes
Good demand: $600-$800 +5mm whites. $250-$325
2mm-2.5mm whites; $350-$400, 2.5mm-3mm whites;
             $400-$450 3mm-4mm, $500-$600 4mm –
             5mm & $175-$250 +2mm-3mm whites.
ROUGH: Higher asking prices and shortages are observed in local market. Some activity seen in mixed lots.
1-5 point: Good demand: $85-$125 makeables; $95-$195 crystals.
$45-$75 makeables.
Fair demand: $7-$20 & $45-$90 OW TTLB & TTLC.
6-20 point: Very Good demand: $150-220 crystals; $100-$180 makeables.
Good demand: $60-$110 fancy shapes; $45-$75clivage.
Fair demand: $50-$90 OW TTLC & TTLB rounds.
21-50 point: Very Good demand: $190-270 makeables;
$110-$200 & $220-$290 crystals.
Good demand: $80-$190 fancy shapes;
$95-$200 rounds; $50- $90 clivage.
Fair demand $20-$40 OW TTLC & TTLB.
0.51-1.00 carat: Very Good demand: $170-$330 makeables;
$120-$250 & $280-$460 crystals.
Good demand: $80-$120 makeables;
$90-$200 fancy shapes; $55-$110 clivage.
Fair demand $60-$90 OW TTLC & TTLB.
1.01-2.00 carat: Very Good demand: $230-$580 rounds; $280-$735 crystals.
Good demand: $90-$120 clivage; $190-$370 all fancy shapes.
Fair demand: $140-$180 OW TTLC & TTLB.
2.01-3.00 carat: Good demand: $250-$1,000 makeables; $350-$1,300 crystals;
$400-$800 fancy shapes; $210-$300 clivage.
Fair demand: $100-$325 flats & TTLC & TTLB
$350-$800 OW.
5.00 carat+:  Good demand: $1,000+ makeables, crystals & all fancy shapes till L color.
Mixed Lot: Good demand: $2-$40.


MGeller Diamonds


Art of Jewellery

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Tags: Abdullah Brothers, African Diamonds, Anglo American, Angola, Antwerp Diamond Bank, Auctions, Belgium, Ben Bridge Jeweler, BHP Billiton, Borsheim's Jewelry, Bulgari, China, Compliance, Consumers, Damas, De Beers, DTC, Dubai, ENDIAMA, Fair Trade, Firestone, Flawless Diamond, Gem Diamonds, GIA, Government, Harry Winston, Helzberg Diamonds, Hong Kong, HRD, HRD Antwerp, India, Israel, Japan, JCK, Jewelry, Lazare kaplan, Letseng, Lucara Diamond, LVMH, Manufacturing, Michael Hill, Movado, Namibia, Pangea DiamondFields, Petra Diamonds, Polishing, Production, Richemont, Rio Tinto, Rockwell, Signet, Sotheby's, Stellar Diamonds, Surat, Theo Fennell, Tiffany, Titan, Zale
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