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Rapaport TradeWire Apr. 30, 2010

Polished prices stable and not increasing with rough due to insufficient consumer demand.
Apr 29, 2010 6:00 PM   By Rapaport
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Rapaport TradeWire
RAPAPORT NEWS SERVICE | APRIL 30, 2010   www.rapaport.com | news@rapaport.com
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RapUp April 30, 2010

DTC April sight estimated at $470m as De Beers raises prices while production restrictions squeeze rough supply to cutters. Polished prices stable and not increasing with rough due to insufficient consumer demand. Polished trading steady with good liquidity for 0.30-0.70 ct, H+, VS+, certs. De Beers long-term production expected at 40m ct/year, well below previous peaks. Debswana considers diversifying from diamonds. ALROSA forecasts 34m ct/yr through 2012. Improved traffic but light diamond trading at Chicago Show. Amazon.com 1Q sales +46% to $7.13b, net income +68% to $299m.

RapNet Data: April 30, 2010
Diamonds 623,878
Value $4,068,131,261
Carats 714,159
Average Discount -31.30%
RapNet Asking Price

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  I thank Hugh Hefner and Aileen Getty for their critical contributions [to Save the Hollywood Sign], along with everyone whose generous spirit moved them to join the campaign to save one of America's most famous urban spaces. The threat to its existence underscores the need for partnerships like ours with Trust for Public Land, who can work together to protect our cultural assets for future generations.

Michael J. Kowalski | Chairman of Tiffany & Co.

DTC's April Sight Estimated at $470M

De Beers sold an estimated $470 million worth of rough diamonds to sightholders at this week’s Diamond Trading Company (DTC) April sight. According to participants, DTC raised its prices by an estimated 5 percent to 7 percent, with the highest increases apparent in rough stones over 5 carats and pique goods. Increases were also noted for 3- to 4-carat rough stones and VS-SI clarities, while smaller goods and VVS stones reflected slight increases. The adjustments were based upon strong demand and DTC's belief that its prices should reflect the market, according to company spokesperson Louis Prior.

Most observers agreed that the rough market was very “confusing,” as demand remained strong even as prices rose. “It’s not a good place for manufacturers to be,” said one observer. “There are shortages of rough and at the same time, they cannot profit on the polished. So they need to decide whether to polish or not.” Sightholders were in a strong position, as they were able to sell their rough to the secondary market, he added.

Another observer contended that the level of rough De Beers brought to the table was satisfactory because if DTC resumed its 2008-level sights of $700 million or more, it would kill the market.

De Beers to Hold Production Down from Peak

De Beers is planning to keep its long-term diamond production below the peak levels it achieved in 2008, based upon the current natural supply and demand imbalance. De Beers managing director Gareth Penny said that supply cannot keep up and that this trend will become more apparent during the next 15 years. Demand from across the Asian continent is predicted to accelerate the depletion of existing mines. 

De Beers production will plateau at around 40 million carats in 2011. The company's output reached 48 million carats in 2008, but fell by 49 percent to 24.6 million in 2009 as a result of the slump in demand. This year, the company's production is expected to rise to about 30 million carats.

Rapaport Weekly Broadcast

The Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council's (JCOC) results from its "When Will You Purchase Again?" study did not uncover any real change in terms of consumers' reduced spending on nonessential products. However, JCOC asked consumers to select products they will buy when they start spending again and results give products that will compete with jewelry. The survey also found that personal debt worried consumers more in 2010, whereas "the economy" in general was of great concern in 2009. The Gallup Organization confirmed some of JCOC's conclusions, as well. Although U.S. chain-store sales rose 5.5 percent this past week spending patterns just have not changed much in the past 12 months, as consumers continue to worry about their finances, the economy and the current lack of jobs. WATCH NOW

Amazon's 1Q Sales +46%

First-quarter sales at Amazon.com rose 46 percent to $7.13 billion, while the online retailer's cost of sales was up by 47 percent to $5.5 billion. The company benefited from a $185 million foreign exchange rate gain as its net income jumped 68 percent to $299 million. Amazon's sales across North America rose 47 percent to $3.78 billion year over year, while sales for its international segment rose 45 percent to $3.35 billion during the first quarter. Founder Jeff Bezos said the online mega-retailer remained "heads-down focused on customers" and that its sales of web services have continued to accelerate.

Christie's Dubai Sale Nets $8.6M

Christie's reported that its jewels auction in Dubai realized a total of $8,589,250 and was 72 percent sold by lot. The top lot was a 17.71-carat, D, VVS2 rectangular diamond ring by J.Roca, which sold for $1,345,500 or $75,974 per carat, followed by a 26.61-carat, rectangular, fancy intense yellow diamond ring that sold for $722,500.

Charles & Colvard 1Q Sales +15%

Charles & Colvard's sales rose by 15 percent to $2.9 million in the first quarter, while the company also managed to reduce its total costs and expenses by 28 percent to $2.7 million. Charles & Colvard reported net income of $298,385, compared with the loss of $1.3 million it posted one year ago. The company had $2.79 million in cash on hand and $5.05 million in liquid, long-term investments at the end of the quarter.

Total inventory, including long-term and consignment inventory, stood at $38.49 million, down from $39.13 million at the end of fiscal 2009. Charles & Colvard purchased $289,000 of raw material during the quarter.

Wealthy U.S. Shoppers Pick Blancpain

The Luxury Institute found that high-net-worth U.S. consumers, or those with weighted average household incomes of $845,000 and average investable assets of $16.6 million, rated Blancpain the “Best of the Best” among 33 luxury watch brands. Vacheron Constantin took second place and Breguet was ranked third in the survey. 

The Luxury Institute also predicted that more watch brands will build their own direct channels to access end consumers in the future instead of relying upon retailers which are "stuck in time." Earlier this month, high-net-worth shoppers chose Graff as the "Best of the Best" jeweler.

Birks Debuts First Diamonds from Victor

Birks in Toronto debuted 100 gems from the Victor mine that were cut and polished by Crossworks Manufacturing in Ontario and ranged in price from about $1,300 to well above the cost of a one-bedroom condo.  The diamonds carried a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Ontario. These diamonds will now make their way to Birks' other stores across Canada.

Birks' president, Thomas Adrushkevich, said the company is not charging premium prices for the highly sought-after Ontario, or other locally mined, diamonds. The stones from the Victor mine ensure "a continuous supply," according to the company.

Tiffany Launches Yellow Diamond Collection in Japan

Tiffany & Co. launched a new series of accessories featuring yellow diamonds in Japan and consisting of about 30 items total, including rings and pendants. The company strived to keep the line affordable by using smaller diamonds. The collection's price points begin at about $2,100. Tiffany's sales in Japan are comprised mostly of engagement rings and other wedding-related accessories, so the retailer hopes to tap new demand with this collection. 

In other company news, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation recently helped to save Cahuenga Peak in Los Angeles, which happens to be the location of the famous Hollywood sign, by offering a $1 million donation to the cause in February and a matching grant of $500,000 this month. The Trust for Public Land needed $12.5 million before April 30 to buy the property from developers and in a true save-the-day twist, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner donated $900,000 to the campaign, which set Tiffany's grant into motion, as well as one from Aileen Getty. As a result, the necessary funds were raised to save the property from bulldozers forever more.

Tiffany & Co.'s headquarters staff in Manhattan will be consolidated into a single space during the second quarter of 2011 to improve efficiencies and take advantage of a "green" office space available at 200 Fifth Avenue.  Tiffany will sublease existing properties through 2015, but anticipates recording expenses of approximately $30 million in the fiscal year that ends in January 2012 due to the related lease obligations, which cannot be cancelled. Tiffany will incur expenses of approximately $20 million in the fiscal year that ends in January 2011 and $5 million for the fiscal year that ends January 2012, based upon the acceleration of property and equipment depreciation and the incremental rents to be incurred during this transition period.

Crossworks to Hold Polished Tender in Toronto

Crossworks Manufacturing will hold its first polished diamond tender  May 3-5 for stones originating from the De Beers Canada Victor mine (pictured). Participation is by invitation only and the event will be held at the Diamond Bourse of Canada, which is located in Toronto. The diamonds were polished at Crossworks’ polishing facility in Sudbury and will be accompanied by a Certificate of Origin from the government of Ontario. Crossworks purchases rough through supply agreements with the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) and Rio Tinto. The company began polishing diamonds from the Victor mine in 2009.

'Jewelers That Care' to Award Industry Players

The first Jewelers That Care Awards will be held at the JCK Vegas Show on June 5 at the Venetian Hotel. Jewelers That Care’s mission is to work with the world’s most precious resource: People. Diane Warga-Arias (pictured) will serve as the master of ceremony for the event, where the winners will discuss their projects and offer advice and encouragement to the industry at large. The awards will recognize Hoover & Strong, Columbia Gem House, Lori Bonn Design Inc., Devon Fine Jewelry and  Reflective Images Inc.

USKPA Launches Website to Conduct Operations

The United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA) launched its new website: www.uskpa.org.  The website includes information on how to become a USKPA licensee authorized to use U.S. Kimberley Process Certificates to export rough diamonds from the country.  The website will enable current licensees to manage their Kimberley Process Certificates in an efficient manner, to ensure compliance with appropriate U.S. legislation and regulations. The website will allow quicker processing of information, more efficient record keeping and reduction in paperwork. The website will facilitate U.S. Kimberley Process licensing, U.S. Kimberley Process Certificate issuance and record keeping for U.S. government compliance.

Jewelers Mutual Warns of Threat to Alarm Systems

Jewelers Mutual Insurance warned that burglar alarm systems used by jewelry businesses across the U.S.  may be affected by a recently announced decrease in Honeywell’s AlarmNet-M radio network. Jewelers Mutual learned that Velocita Wireless, which provides the wireless backbone of Honeywell’s AlarmNet-M radio network, is de-commissioning a portion of its network that transmits one-way and two-way burglar alarm signals. Velocita cautioned that this immediate and significant decrease in their network coverage will affect about a quarter of its service area. Most alarm service providers use this network, even though it is not listed on your alarm service contract agreement.

Jewelers Mutual is working with Underwriters Laboratories (ULI) and alarm industry resources to obtain more information and identify viable alternative options. All jewelry businesses should contact their alarm service company as soon as possible to learn if their individual burglar alarm system is impacted and how their alarm service company plans to address this situation.

NY Dealers Club to Host Seminar on Crime

The New York Diamond Dealers Club has invited members and their associates to a seminar on crime awareness and prevention, May 5 at 3:30 p.m. In light of several major robberies and killings in the industry, Club executives urged members to attend the program to learn important safety measures to guard yourself, your family and the business. Speakers include FBI special agent Daniel McCaffrey and New York City detective Scott Guginsky as well as John Kennedy and Robert Frank of the Jewelers Security Alliance.

ALROSA Plans 102M Cts by 2012

ALROSA is expecting to recover 102.3 million carats of diamonds before 2012 and forecasted that its rough diamond sales will total $9.56 billion during this period. For further perspective, an average production rate of around 34 million carats per year would be in line with ALROSA's 2009 output. The company recorded sales of $2.2 billion for 2009, indicating that it expects sales to increase by 31 percent to reach its projected average for the next three years. 

ALROSA's objective is to boost sales through long-term supply agreements and diversifying into new sales regions. If it is fulfilled, the company's forecast will result in an accumulated net profit of $756 million and expects to decrease its debt by $524 million to $3.1 billion by the close of 2012.

Zimbabwe Update

African Consolidated Resources (ACR) claimed that Zimbabwe’s High Court only dismissed its urgent appeal to prevent the sale of rough from the country's Marange fields, which was counter to the media reporting the court cleared these goods for sale. While the urgent appeal was dismissed, the application for Marange ownership remained on the table. Therefore, ACR contended that any sale of Marange diamonds would constitute the sale of “stolen goods” and that it would consider criminal action to prevent the trade of these stones.  

In the wake of the High Court's reported decision, Global Witness warned Zimbabwe that it must not resume exports from Marange without prior permission from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Ministry of Mines and Mining Development once again barred a parliamentary investigative team from touring the Marange fields. The group was scheduled to visit the region to gather evidence following allegations that illegal activity was being conducted there by some governement associates.

Adding its view on the Marange issue, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said that the country's diamond mines must be nationalized because no single entity should exploit rough without offering benefit to the people and therefore, mining companies must accept the 50 or 51 percent local ownership rule that is currently under consideration.

Chávez Proposes Mine Nationalization

Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez proposed nationalizing the environmentally unsafe diamond and gold mining concessions in Bolívar state because gold and diamonds are being exported without taxation. He said that nationalization will help the country recoup its losses from the lack of taxation and end the concessions that are currently damaging its forests and mines.

Debswana Considers Ways to Boost Revenue

Debswana is considering diversifying from diamonds into minerals and/or energy as a means of boosting its revenues, but declined to confirm which areas it would pursue. Debswana owns a colliery that supplies Botswana Power Corporation with coal. The company's sales fell 39 percent to $1.7 billion in 2009 due to the slump in demand for rough diamonds. While the company expects stronger sales in 2010, the level achieved will remain lower than in 2008.

For the week ending Apr. 29, 2010:

  Apr. 29 Apr. 22 Chng.  
$1 = Euro 0.755 0.752 0.003  
$1 = Rupee 44.42 44.62 -0.2  
$1 = Israel Shekel 3.73 3.74 -0.01  
$1 = Rand 7.36 7.46 -0.10  
$1 = Canadian Dollar 1.01 1.00 0.01  
Precious Metals        
Gold $1,167.10 $1,142.00 $25.10  
Platinum $1,730.00 $1,741.00 -$11.00  
Stock Indexes       Chng.
BSE 17,503.47 17,573.99 -70.52 -0.4%
Dow Jones 11,167.32 11,134.29 33.03 0.3%
FTSE 5,617.84 5,665.33 -47.49 -0.8%
Hang Seng 20,778.92 21,454.94 -676.02 -3.2%
S&P 500 1,206.77 1,208.67 -1.90 -0.2%
Yahoo! Jewelry 972.94 999.17 -26.23 -2.6%
Birks & Mayors $0.95 $1.00 -$0.05 -5.0%
Blue Nile $55.31 $56.51 -$1.20 -2.1%
Charles & Colvard $2.31 $1.65 $0.66 40.0%
DGSE Companies $2.60 $2.58 $0.02 0.8%
Fuqi Intl. $11.00 $11.29 -$0.29 -2.6%
JCPenney $31.11 $31.65 -$0.54 -1.7%
Kohl's $56.56 $58.57 -$2.01 -3.4%
LJ Intl. $2.66 $2.74 -$0.08 -2.9%
Macy's $24.68 $24.48 $0.20 0.8%
Man Sang $2.33 $2.19 $0.14 6.4%
Movado Group $13.60 $12.94 $0.66 5.1%
Nordstrom $42.91 $45.34 -$2.43 -5.4%
Saks $10.25 $9.55 $0.70 7.3%
Signet $32.47 $34.03 -$1.56 -4.6%
Sotheby's $35.11 $38.10 -$2.99 -7.8%
Tiffany $49.95 $50.91 -$0.96 -1.9%
Walmart $53.70 $54.49 -$0.79 -1.4%
Zale $3.39 $3.20 $0.19 5.9%
Bulgari €6.34 €6.51 -€0.17 -2.6%
Bijou Brigitte €130.20 €138.20 -€8.00 -5.8%
Damiani €0.94 €0.95 -€0.01 -1.1%
LVMH €86.93 €87.17 -€0.24 -0.3%
PPR €102.00 €109.00 -€7.00 -6.4%
Richemont CHF 40.27 CHF 39.96 CHF 0.31 0.8%
Swatch Group CHF 322.10 CHF 325.50 -CHF 3.40 -1.0%
Theo Fennell (pence) 36.00 37.00 -1.00 -2.7%
INDIA (rupee)        
Classic Diamond 23.00 24.60 -1.60 -6.5%
Gitanjali Gems 115.95 119.05 -3.10 -2.6%
Goldiam Intl. 46.60 48.80 -2.20 -4.5%
Rajesh Exports 125.15 131.00 -5.85 -4.5%
Ren. Jewellery 79.35 81.20 -1.85 -2.3%
Su-Raj Diamonds 49.50 51.05 -1.55 -3.0%
Titan 2,111.05 2,049.15 61.90 3.0%
Zodiac JRD 37.40 40.85 -3.45 -8.4%
Suashish Diamonds 229.05 229.95 -0.90 -0.4%
Michael Hill NZD 0.73 NZD 0.73 NZD 0.00 0.0%
Harry Winston CAD 10.93 CAD 10.09 CAD 0.84 8.3%
Lucara Diamond CAD 0.97 CAD 0.99 -CAD 0.02 -2.0%
Mountain Province CAD 2.65 CAD 2.56 CAD 0.09 3.5%
Peregrine Diamonds CAD 2.50 CAD 2.34 CAD 0.16 6.8%
Rockwell Diamonds CAD 0.07 CAD 0.07 CAD 0.00 0.0%
Shore Gold CAD 0.86 CAD 0.93 -CAD 0.07 -7.5%
Stornoway Diamond CAD 0.64 CAD 0.66 -CAD 0.02 -3.0%
True North Gems CAD 0.08 CAD 0.10 -CAD 0.02 -15.8%
UK (pence)        
African Diamonds 37.25 38.50 -1.3 -3.2%
Anglo American 2,880.00 2,800.00 80.0 2.9%
BHP Billiton 2,089.50 2,098.00 -8.5 -0.4%
Firestone Diamonds 41.50 38.25 3.3 8.5%
Gem Diamonds 290.00 286.00 4.0 1.4%
Gemfields 5.13 5.09 0.0 0.8%
Mwana Africa 10.25 10.35 -0.1 -1.0%
Namakwa Diamonds 35.15 34.00 1.2 3.4%
Petra Diamonds 83.00 80.00 3.0 3.8%
Rio Tinto plc 3,533.00 3,667.00 -134.0 -3.7%
Stellar Diamonds 13.50 14.01 -0.5 -3.6%

Polished and rough trading activity

POLISHED: Steady activity as dollar exchange rate settled around Rs.44.40.
-1 point: Very Good demand: +$100 whites.
-2 point: Fair Demand: -$350 whites & $250-$350 OWTTLC
2-7 point: Good demand: +$100 whites.
Fair Demand: $250-$350 OWTTLC
8-18 point: Good demand: +$500 whites.
Fair Demand: -$400 whites
20 points: Fair demand: -$300 & +$600 whites.
25 points: Good demand: -$350 & +$700 whites.
33 points: Good demand: $300 - $500 & +$900 whites.
50 points: Good demand: $500-$700 & +$1000 whites.
75 points: Good demand: +$2000 & $700-$900 whites.
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: Local market is slow with only some activity seen in mixed lots.
1-5 point: Good demand: $80- $120 makeables; $90-$190 crystals.
$40-$70 makeables.
Fair demand: $7-$20 & $45-$90 OW TTLB & TTLC.
6-20 point: Very Good demand: $140-210 crystals; $90-$170 makeables.
Good demand: $60-$110 fancy shapes; $40-$60 clivage.
Fair demand: $50-$90 OW TTLC & TTLB rounds.
21-50 point: Very Good demand: $180-260 makeables; $100-$190 & $210-$280 crystals.
Good demand: $80-$190 fancy shapes; $95-$200 rounds; $45- $85 clivage.
Fair demand $20-$40 OW TTLC & TTLB.
0.51-1.00 carat: Very Good demand: $150-$310 makeables;
$110-$240 & $270-$450 crystals.
Good demand: $70-$110 makeables; $90-$200 fancy shapes; $50-$100 clivage.
Fair demand $60-$90 OW TTLC & TTLB.
1.01-2.00 carat: Very Good demand: $220-$570 rounds; $275-$725 crystals.
Good demand: $85-$115 clivage; $180-$360 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.

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