Merlin Mines has just unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond

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Merlin Diamonds (ASX:MED) has unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond from its namesake mine in Australia’s Northern Territory, currently in the ramp up phase.

The company said the 35.26 carat brown diamond was among a number of rough gems found at its Merlin mine, including a 14.6 carat brown rock as well as a number of smaller white diamonds.

Shares in the company jumped 7% to $0.015 after the announcement.

Last month, the company found a very rare blue coloured diamond, believed to be the first blue gem produced at Merlin.

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The blue diamond found last month. (Image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds)

Blue diamonds are even more unusual than pink ones, normally found at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

In June last year, a massive intense blue diamond, known as The Cullinan Dream, fetched $25.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

Australia’s largest diamond, a 104.73 carat stone, was discovered at Merlin, which was run by Rio Tinto and Ashton Mining between 1999-2003, before being acquired in 2014 by Merlin Diamonds, formerly North Australian Diamonds.

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Henry Sapiecha

History Of Diamonds on video

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Diamonds are by far the most popular gemstones used in modern jewelry, but do you know where they came from?

Diamonds have been considered to be beautiful and very valuable for a long time. In the 1st century AD, a roman naturalist said that the “diamond is the most valuable, not only of the precious stones, but of all things in the world.”

The international love of diamonds started in India. They were trading diamonds as early as the 4th century BC. Eventually, they started trading to the Europeans, and became very popular among them by the 1400s.

In the 1700s, Brazil became a diamond-mining powerhouse.

The int 1800s, after the French Revolution, western Europe and the US became more wealthy and the demand for diamonds exploded.

By the 1900s, South Africa mined 90% of the world’s diamonds.

Recently, diamonds have been found in Australia and Canada.

Diamonds have truly withstood the test of time and will always be in fashion.

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Henry Sapiecha

Alrosa diamond sales less in October, but outlook is positive for the future

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Russia’s Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, said Tuesday that sales of rough gems dropped slightly in October, when compared to the previous month, though polished diamond sales remained unchanged.

Rough gems sales totalled $430.8 million in October, slightly less than the $435 million fetched in September, Alrosa said. Polished diamond sales came to $8.2 million.

De Beers, the world’s top producer by value, also reported Tuesday a drop in rough diamond sales —the lowest amount so this year.

But diamond producers are used to the up and downs in sales as they know the industry is seasonal, reaching its peak from November through to February.

Alrosa, which together with De Beers controls almost two-thirds of the diamond market, said earlier it intends to recover 1.7 million carats of diamonds a year from its Verkhne-Munskoye mine, which is slated to begin production in 2018.

The construction of that mine, which has 38.3 million carats of booked reserves, is part of a long-term development program that aims to increase Alrosa’s diamond production to 41 million carats by 2021.

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Henry Sapiecha

De Beers recent sale the lowest this year in less than shiny display

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Diamond giant De Beers, the world’s top producer by value, saw its sales of rough gems fall in its latest offering, but said results were in line with expected seasonal demand patterns.

The Anglo American’s unit sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million fetched at its previous sale.

“Encouragingly, the ninth sales cycle of 2016 showed continued good demand for De Beers rough diamonds, with sales in line with expected seasonal demand patterns,” the firm’s chief executive Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.

It sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million fetched at its previous sale.Rough-diamond prices have rebounded about 7.4% so far this year after De Beers and rival Alrosa reduced output in an effort to improve market conditions. Miners of the precious stone have been struggling due to weak demand and falling prices after global demand for diamond jewellery hit a high of $81 billion in 2014 and production soared, causing a supply-glut by 2015.

Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s top diamond producer by output in carats, also reported Tuesday a drop in rough gems sales.

De Beers, which currently has about 30% of the rough diamond market, began operations of at its newest mine in September. Gahcho Kué, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is expected to contribute $5.2 billion (Cdn$6.7 billion) to the country’s economy and provide 1,200 new jobs.

This new operation as well as Stornoway’s (TSX:SWY) recently opened Renard mine in Quebec, are expected to add around 7 million carats annually to global production once fully operational, which is likely to affect prices, De Beers said in September.

De Beers sales for the year to date have reached $5.16 billion. The company was Anglo American’s largest profit driver in the first half of this year, accounting for about 40% of its underlying earnings during the period.

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Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest pair of pear-shaped diamonds could fetch up to $30m

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A newly created set of drop earrings featuring the world’s largest pair of pear-shaped diamonds, is expected to fetch up to $30 million when they go under Christie’s hammer in Geneva on Nov. 15.

The “flawless quality” rocks, weighing 52.55 and 50.47 carats, were made into earrings by Boehmer et Bassenge’s new boutique Maison de Haute Joaillerie, in Paris.

The piece of jewellery, named Miroir de l’Amour (Mirror of Love), will be sold alongside an exceedingly rare Fancy Vivid pink pear-shaped diamond ring, which is expected to sale for $16 to $18 million, the auction house said.

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The Orange

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When it was auctioned in 2013, this diamond was the largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond ever to have been discovered, weighing approximately 14.82 carats.

The gem, which sold for over $35.5 million — more than $15m above its high estimate — is also the largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.

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The Winston Legacy

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On 15 May 2013 this exceptional pear-shaped gem — at 101.73 carats, one of the world’s most perfect diamonds — was the top lot in Christie’s record-breaking $102 million Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels. It sold to Harry Winston for $26.7 million, setting a new world record at auction for a colourless diamond.

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The Blue

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The world’s largest and flawless pear-shaped diamond set a fresh all-time record at a global auction for a blue diamond. It was sold to Harry Winston for $24 million — more than $1.8 million per carat — and it was rechristened as the Winston Blue.

The diamond industry has rebounded this year after Anglo America’s De Beers unit and Russian rival Alrosa axed supply in 2015. And while rough-diamond prices have gained over 7% this year, main actors such as De Beers have repeatedly warned the final months of the year could be more difficult.

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Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest flawless heart-shaped diamond & this is it here

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Yes, they are a girl’s best friend. But, not every girl can get them and this particular gemstone is definitely a hard-to-get brilliant beautiful bountiful bling.

Graff Diamonds has just revealed in London its Graff Venus, the largest D Flawless heart shape diamond in the world, which weighs 118.78 carats and is the size of a walnut.

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(Photo: Graff Diamonds).

This diamond has been described as a flawless type IIA with superb polish, excellent symmetry and nil fluorescence. These features are only accorded the top diamonds in the world.

The Venus heart shaped white diamond was cut from a 357-carat rough discovered at the Letšeng Mine in Lesotho in 2015.

It took 1.5 years for the stone to take shape, starting from the initial discovery, going through the analysis process and developing new technology to cut and polish the main diamond and the 22 other satellite stones yielded from the same piece of rough.

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Will you be the lucky lady to receive this record-breaking superb white flawless heart-shaped gem? For now, Graff plans to showcase it around a number of countries before setting it as a jewel.

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Henry Sapiecha

DIAMONDS CAN BE FOREVER IN STORING DATA SCIENCE SAYS

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It’s said diamonds are forever and if the results of a new study published this week leads to a new, more practical use of the precious stones, data could also be stored on them, virtually forever.

According to a paper available at the journal Science Advances, diamonds can be used as a way to store vast amounts of data using atom-size flaws ordered in 3D arrays.

The authors, a team of physicists from City University of New York, used lasers to encode and read data on diamonds’ atomic-sized imperfections, known as a nitrogen vacancy centres.

They treated those minuscule spaces as magnets that could repel or absorb electrons and encoded simple gray-scale images, such as the faces of Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger by adding an electron and taking another away using lasers.

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The scientists encoded images of Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger on a diamond by adding and removing electrons with green and red lasers. (Image: Meriles Group, City College of the City University of New York)

The results of these experiments suggest that diamonds could be used to encode data in the form of negatively and neutrally charged defects, which lasers can read, write, erase and rewrite, the physicists said.

“With these advanced protocols, the storage capacity of a diamond would surpass what existing technologies can achieve,” the authors wrote in a blog. “This is just a beginning, but these initial results provide us a potential way of storing huge amount of data in a brand new way. We’re looking forward to transform this beautiful quirk of physics into a vastly useful technology.”

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Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest new diamond mine opens in Canada

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The Gahcho Kue diamond mine – one of the largest new mines in the world – has officially opened in Canada’s North West Territories.

The open-pit mine is located near the Arctic Circle, 280 km northeast of the province’s capital Yellowknife.

De Beers officially opened it, with chief executive Bruce Cleaver telling AFP, “It’s the largest diamond mine brought into production in the last 13 years and it’s the biggest outside South Africa.”

The company owns a 51 per cent of the joint venture, with the remainder owned by Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds.

Its name comes from the local indigenous Chipewyan term for “big rabbit”.

The site is mainly accessible by air, with trucks only able to access via ice roads for a short period of time in winter months. An estimated 530 workers will be employed, and flown in for two week rotations.

It will produce 54 million carats of rough diamonds during its 12-year life.

With this new mine – the sixth to open in Canada in the last 20 years – the country becomes the fifth largest diamonds producer in the world by volume, as well as the third by value, recording more than $1.5 billion a year in exports.

Cleaver indicated a medium to long term growth in the demand for jewellery, which will still support diamond growth, although production is in decline.

China, the US, Japan, and India are the largest diamond purchasers, buying more than 70 per cent of diamonds sold each year.

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Production to begin at world’s largest new diamond mine

Mountain Province Diamonds has began ramping up its Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories to commercial production, following its successful commissioning. 

The Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers Canada, is considered the world’s largest new diamond mine.

The project will begin commercial production in the first quarter of next year and produce an average of 4.5 million carats annually during its 12 year life.

First ore was produced on March 23 2016, with Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans saying both the commissioning and ramp up activities was a “major achievement” for the joint venture.

During the ramp up commissioning phase, the site also produced two large gems; a 12.10 carat and 24.64 carat diamond.

Its first diamond sale is set to take place by the end of this year.

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Henry Sapiecha

This new technology could be the worst enemy for blood diamonds

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Sooner than you think, you will be able to learn where a diamond really comes from, its measurements, grading and other key information by simply using a smartphone, as two companies have partnered to bring near field communication (NFC) — best known for enabling mobile payments — into the diamond industry.

Thinfilm, which prints NFC tags, and Sarine Technologies, which develops technologies for diamonds and gemstones, said Tuesday they are working together to empower jewellers and consumers by increasing transparency in the diamond retail.

Applying near field communication, or NFC, smartphone users can learn a diamond’s history, measurements, grading and other key information.Thinfilm will produce NFC tags that show a smartphone user the profiles of individual diamonds. They will be printed on paper sold with diamonds wholesale or eventually on tags attached to rings in stores.

The technology could ease the work began in 2003 by the Kimberly Process, an international organization that oversees the diamond trade, and which goal is to eliminate from the market all blood diamonds—stones that fuel violent conflicts through their sale.

Currently, The KP works through a so-called “system of warranties,” whereby every government must provide a written guarantee that their diamonds are not involved in funding any conflict. The 81 participating countries, which account for roughly 99% of the world diamond trade, also only deal with each other.

However, the system is not exempt of fraud and fake certificates have been often found attached to diamonds sold in global markets. This, as the a Kimberley Process certificate does not apply to an individual diamond but to a group of rough stones which are then cut and shipped around the world. Without a tracking system, this is where the trail currently ends.

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Henry Sapiecha

Swiss jeweller buys rights to $63M Constellation Lucara diamond

Cutting and polishing the 813-carat stone could result in one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds

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The world’s most expensive rough diamond is now in the hands of De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jeweller and watch maker.

Geneva-based De Grisogono purchased the rights to market Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Constellation gem, which sold in May for a record $63 million, at the launch of the 28th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. The price was not disclosed.

The company entered into an agreement with Nemesis International when the Dubai-based corporation bought the 813-carat stone from Lucara, which recovered it last November from its Karowe mine in Botswana.

“I love her and I hate her. Love because something like this is so exceptional – I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands – and hate her because I don’t know how I’m going to dress her.”

According to De Grisogono, cutting and polishing the Constellation – a process expected to take several months – could result in one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds. The impressive rock weighs 813 carats and measures six centimetres (2.4 inches) across. According to Nickolas Polak, international director of Nemesis, the diamond will be cut in Antwerp and is expected to produce the world’s largest D Flawless diamond, weighing between 300 carats and 350 carats, reported the fashion website WWD.

“(This is) the first time we’ve taken such a historic stone and had full creative freedom to do what we want with it,” CNN quotes De Grisogono CEO John Leitao, who added that the firm plans to transform Constellation into “a stone that rivals the crown jewels.” The company’s founder was even more colourful in his comments: “I love her and I hate her,” said Fawaz Gruosi. “Love because something like this is so exceptional – I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands – and hate her because I don’t know how I’m going to dress her.”

Lucara made headlines with an even bigger diamond also dug from Karowe, the 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona”  (or “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana). However that stone, which was expected to fetch $70 million, failed to sell at auction and Lucara is still searching for a buyer.

De Grisogono also purchased the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond from Nemesis International in May. According to Rapaport News, that stone was recovered by Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM) at its Lulo mine in Angola.

Three days ago Lucapa dug a 38.6-carat pink diamond, also from Lulo. The coloured stone is the largest “fancy” pink diamond recovered to date from the mine.  The Australian company reportedly sold it last week as part of a parcel of other rocks for a total of $5.8 million.

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Henry Sapiecha