Monthly Archives: March 2015

De Beers Sees Gem Price Rebound as Jewellery Sales Hit $81 Billion

 

(Bloomberg) — De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, expects gem prices to rebound as cutters and polishers restock after the market was depressed by “softer than expected” holiday season sales.“We should see a slight rebound,” Chief Executive Officer Philippe Mellier said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Now we think that polished prices have bottomed and rough prices have also bottomed,” he said, referring to polished stones sold in jewelry and the uncut gems it mines.Rough diamond prices fell in the fourth quarter as banks that lend to the industry tightened credit. De Beers said the outlook for diamond jewelry growth in 2015 is positive across all the main markets after sales rose 3 percent to $81 billion last year.

Demand in the U.S., the biggest diamond market, rose 7 percent to $37 billion, while sales in China rose 6 percent to 62 billion yuan ($10 billion), according to De Beers, a unit of Anglo American Plc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Biesheuvel in London at tbiesheuvel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Dylan Griffiths, Tony Barrett

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Henry Sapiecha

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H. Goldie India employee cheats many diamond companies of over Rs. 50 crore

Nirav Shah (3rd from Left) and Sharookh Kocheck (3rd from right)

Nirav Shah (3rd from Left) and Sharookh Kocheck (3rd from right)

Diamond business runs on ‘TRUST’. Here, diamond companies indulge in business worth millions on the basis of one’s market reputation and trust. There is no other guarantee needed here. And, why would need be? This is how, it works, echo many diamantaires.

It is not that there has never been breach of trust in the industry. But, diamond companies have always had mutually solved the problems in case of defaults.

This time, there has been not one but more than 30 diamond companies from Mumbai and Surat have been duped for diamonds worth Rs. 50 crore. The amount could be more than this as Diamond World is yet to get information on the exact quantum of the loss incurred.

Around 2013, Sharookh Kocheck, MD, H. Goldie (India) Ltd introduced Nirav Shah as an employee of H. Goldie India to many diamond companies in Mumbai and Surat. Nirav Shah was introduced as an employee who would conduct business in India on behalf of H. Goldie India. Till December 2014, diamonds worth crores of rupees were traded through Nirav Shah. However, in January 2015, Nirav Shah bought goods worth around Rs. 50 crore on memo from various diamond companies in Mumbai and Surat and eventually fled with the goods.

The diamond companies have filed an FIR. Even Nirav Shah was arrested but later was bailed out. Complaints to H. Goldie & Co. (UK) have released a statement saying that the ‘unauthorised transactions’ carried out by an employee of the Indian subsidiary of H. Goldie UK., viz. H. Goldie Consultants and Marketing India Pvt Ltd (“H. Goldie India”) without either the knowledge or consent of H. Goldie UK. “H. Goldie India has said that Nirav Shah is no more their employee so should not be held responsible for the business that was conducted. If this was so then why it was not made known to all the diamond companies,” said a diamond company.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Shree Ramkrishna Export staff member India absconds with rough diamonds worth Rs. 3 crore

Rough diamonds worth Rs. 3 crore were stolen from Shree Ramkrishna Exports’ Surat office. On Monday i.e. 16th March, a known staff member who has been working with SRK for the last three years, stole roughs worth Rs. 3 crore in 3 minutes in a broad daylight in the presence of 30 guards. Despite of the 825 CCTV cameras, the thief was successful in executing the theft.

The thief must have meticulously planned each and every action before carrying out theft, says police.

The thief has been identified as Sagar Ramesh Kapuriya, a 21 year old, belonging to a village called Jam Dadar from Jamkandorna Taluka in Rajkot District of Gujarat. He had been working with SRK for the last 3 years and had gained everybody’s confidence. He was referred to SRK through his uncle Jayantibhai, who is an ex-employee of SRK Surat.

On 16th March, Sagar reportedly entered company premises between 8.30 am to 9 am, which is a regular time for morning shift employees. He collected the roughs but instead of delivering them to the assorters, he left office with 2546 carats diamonds. As he did not reach the assorters as per the scheduled time, the concerned officials alerted the guards and looked through CCTV cameras. CCTV footage showed Sagar leaving office with the goods using backdoor of the company premises. As he was a known employee, even guards did not doubt his intentions.

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Henry Sapiecha

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DIAMOND HEIST IN BRUSSELS 2 YEARS AGO HAVE POLICE NOW RAIDING SEVERAL HOMES & ARRESTING SUSPECTS

Brussels airport diamond heist: police launch fresh raids

WITH STORY BELGIUM DIAMOND HEIST - In this Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo, baggage carts make their way past a Helvetic Airways aircraft from which about $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen on the tarmac of Brussels international airport. Belgian authorities are hoping they have made a major breakthrough in solving a two-year-old heist of some 40 million euros in diamonds and gems that were stolen in a brazen attack at Brussels international airport. During a series of raids early Monday, March 16, 2015, authorities made several arrests and were analyzing goods that could be linked to the Feb. 18, 2013 theft, which still ranks as one of the biggest diamond heists in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

WITH STORY BELGIUM DIAMOND HEIST – In this Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo, baggage carts make their way past a Helvetic Airways aircraft from which about $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen on the tarmac of Brussels international airport. Belgian authorities are hoping they have made a major breakthrough in solving a two-year-old heist of some 40 million euros in diamonds and gems that were stolen in a brazen attack at Brussels international airport. During a series of raids early Monday, March 16, 2015, authorities made several arrests and were analyzing goods that could be linked to the Feb. 18, 2013 theft, which still ranks as one of the biggest diamond heists in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File) The Associated Press

16th March 2015,

Police carried out a series of house raids on 16 March in connection with the big diamond heist at Brussels national airport two years ago. Several people were detained and goods have been seized.It was on February 18 2013 that armed gangsters raided an aircraft that was about to leave and got away with 40 million euros’ worth of diamonds.Part of the booty has been recovered and several people have been identified as suspects. The rest of the booty remains missing and a number of suspects are still to be identified.Today’s raids focused on locations where diamonds can be stored temporarily after fresh evidence emerged.Hale Vilvoorde prosecutors are not commenting further as they prepare to examine the goods that were seized this morning.

Flandersnews.be / Expatica

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FURTHER INFO BELOW

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities are hoping they have made a major breakthrough in solving a heist of diamonds and gems worth some 40 million euros ($42 million) at Brussels’ international airport two years ago.

After a series of raids early Monday, authorities briefly detained several suspects and were analyzing goods that could be linked to the brazen theft, which ranks as one of the biggest diamond heists in memory.

On Feb. 18, 2013, eight gunmen cut a fence around Brussels airport, drove onto the tarmac where an armored car was transferring the gems onto a Zurich-bound airplane and drove off again with the loot.

Even though 14 have already been charged for direct and indirect involvement in the case, over 30 million euros in gems are still missing, said an official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

Investigators first struck with a slew of detentions in Belgium, France and Switzerland during the spring of 2013 and seized cash, precious stones and luxury cars. But hopes that all the diamonds could quickly be recovered evaporated with time.

“It is a rather small part that has been recovered,” the official said.

But with the material seized Monday, investigators hope they have enough for “a big breakthrough.” Officials refused to say how many people had been detained but said they had to be released at the end of the day.

The theft quickly gained worldwide renown because of the bold plan of attack that some likened to a screenplay in the Ocean’s movie trilogy. With pinpoint precision, the thieves anticipated when an armored car from Antwerp’s famous diamond district would arrive at the airport.

The only weak point in its travel to Switzerland was the transfer onto the plane. So with black cars and blue police lights they cut onto the tarmac and in dark police clothing and toting machine guns they stopped the transport and loaded the diamonds into their cars.

They then made a high-speed getaway.

AND MORE INFO

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BELGIUM DIAMOND HEIST – In this Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo, an armored truck of Brinks Diamond an Jewelry Services arrives at the cargo section of Brussels international airport. Belgian authorities are hoping they have made a major breakthrough in solving a two-year-old heist of some 40 million euros in diamonds and gems that were stolen in a brazen attack at Brussels international airport. During a series of raids early Monday, March 16, 2015, authorities made several arrests and were analyzing goods that could be linked to the Feb. 18, 2013 theft, which still ranks as one of the biggest diamond heists in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)The Associated Press

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 BELGIUM DIAMOND HEIST – In this Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo, airport security officers stand near a fence [above] that was cut next to the tarmac, at Brussels international airport. Belgian authorities are hoping they have made a major breakthrough in solving a two-year-old heist of some 40 million euros in diamonds and gems that were stolen in a brazen attack at Brussels international airport. During a series of raids early Monday, March 16, 2015, authorities made several arrests and were analyzing goods that could be linked to the Feb. 18, 2013 theft, which still ranks as one of the biggest diamond heists in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)The Associated Press

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Henry Sapiecha

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Liz Taylor’s ‘Taj Mahal’ diamond sparks Christie’s auction house dispute

The diamond

Taj Mahal diamond

The “Taj Mahal” diamond, a 40th birthday gift from Richard Burton to Liz Taylor. (Henny Ray Abrams / AFP/Getty Images)

It was once a symbol of love — a birthday gift from one movie icon to another.

Now Elizabeth Taylor’s heart-shaped diamond known as the “Taj Mahal” is at the center of a legal squabble between the trustees of the glamorous actress’ estate and Christie’s auction house.

The precious stone was given by her then-husband Richard Burton on her 40th birthday.

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton

The “Taj Mahal” diamond, a 40th birthday gift from Richard Burton to Liz Taylor. (Henny Ray Abrams / AFP/Getty Images)

“I set out to buy the Taj Mahal for my wife’s 40th birthday,” Burton told reporters at a Budapest hotel in 1974, according to Times reports. “Finding it difficult to buy the Taj, I bought this diamond for her instead.”

Burton told reporters Taylor gave the gift the once-over. “Elizabeth went over it with a magnifying glass…. She liked it.”

Burton was known for lavishing her with priceless gems, including the behemoth Krupp diamond and a 25-carat heart-shaped pendant of diamonds and rubies.

The Taj Mahal was among an array of items in Taylor’s immense collection of jewelry and other belongings that were sold by the New York auction house in 2011 and 2012.
lRelated Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79; legendary actress

The diamond pendant sold for more than $8 million to an anonymous buyer after Taylor died in 2011.

The dispute

The dispute focuses on an inscription on the piece that bears the name of a Mughal emperor’s wife. The empire, which covered a swath of Southeast Asia, existed from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries.
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Months after the diamond’s sale, the buyer — who is known only to the auction house ­— demanded that the sale be canceled based on the buyer’s contention that the stone was not from the Mughal period, according to the lawsuit filed by trustees of Taylor’s estate.

Christie’s agreed to cancel the sale even though the auction house had never guaranteed the age of the diamond, the lawsuit alleges. The diamond had been described only as being of Indian origin, the trustees contend.

$7-million battle

The auction house has demanded that Taylor’s trust return more than $7 million it received from the sale, the lawsuit said. The trustees allege the auction house has violated its agreement to auction off the estate and did so only to appease a “VIP customer.”

A Christie’s spokesperson said in a statement that the auction house “was pleased to create a landmark auction event on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust that produced over $183.5 million in proceeds for the beneficiaries of the trust — the friends and family of Elizabeth Taylor.”

The statement says the suit involves the auction house “seeking the return of a small portion of these proceeds due to the cancellation of a single item from that sale, and Christie’s looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter.”

An attorney representing the trustees declined to comment.

The lawsuit also alleges that Christie’s has refused to return unsold items as part of an effort to strong-arm the trust into returning the sale proceeds of the diamond.

Also at issue

The trustees say the auction house also canceled the sales of other items (including a Bela Kadar painting, which sold for £7,000 in London); failed to account for some items sold at auction (including silver-plated ear clips, a pink tulle sequined evening gown and a Valentino bag); and failed to pay the trust for items sold at auction (including an emerald-and-diamond ring known as the “Bulgari Ring” worth nearly $3 million).

The trustees allege that other proceeds that have yet to be turned over had been earmarked for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com

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Henry Sapiecha

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This ‘perfect’ 100ct diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

An internally “flawless” 100-carat emerald-cut diamond was shown Monday in Dubai only weeks before the jewel goes under Sotheby’s hammer in New York next month, where predictions suggest it could fetch up to $25 million

The gem, discovered a decade ago at one of De Beers mines in South Africa, is one of just five diamonds over 100 carats and of comparable quality to have been offered at auction, according to Sotheby’s.

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

The current owner of the diamond spent more than a year studying, cutting and polishing the rough diamond before delivering the stone to the auction house.

Sotheby’s sold the first 100-carat perfect diamond at an auction in 1990. The price per carat for these diamonds has increased from $125,000 to $260,000 from the first auction until the most recent, in 2013, the auction house said.

The stone’s details include “100.2-carat, D colour, Internally Flawless, Type IIa stone”, which, for the uninitiated, means it has the clearest colour, without any blemishes on being magnified and is free from imperfections.

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

Sotheby’s hopes that showcasing this “perfect” diamond in Dubai and other locations ahead of the April auction will help it attract the attention of the Middle East’s wealthy elite.

All images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Tourist charged over pink diamond theft in Cairns Australia yet to see fate

The missing diamond.

A British tourist charged over the theft of a rare pink diamond in Cairns will learn his fate next month.

Detectives allege Matthew Mark Luke John Osborne, 30, stole the Argyle diamond, worth more than $100,000, from a Cairns jeweller in February last year.

He was arrested at Melbourne Airport five days later as he prepared to board a flight to the UK via New Zealand.

The diamond has never been found.

Osborne’s case was mentioned briefly in the Cairns District Court on Tuesday when a sentencing date was set down for April 30. He has entered no plea.

His lawyer, Vicki Toong, asked for the delay to allow mental health reports to arrive from the UK.

Osborne has been in custody since his arrest.

AAP 

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Henry Sapiecha

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Diamond Thief Gets 15 Years in Paris Heist

The Harry Winston boutique in Paris, file

The Harry Winston boutique attracts a wealthy clientele

PARIS — A French court meted out a prison sentence of 15 years on Friday to a convicted drug trafficker considered the ringleader of a spectacular $100 million diamond heist at a Harry Winston jewelry store that thieves in flowing wigs carried out with inside knowledge from a security guard.

Throughout the trial, which lasted almost four weeks, the main defendant, Daoudi Yahiaoui, 50, minimized his role in the 2008 robbery in the so-called golden triangle of luxury boutiques in Paris. But the tribunal concluded that he was the brain behind the robbery and a holdup in 2007, which together resulted in the theft of more than 900 diamonds and other jewels.

Mr. Yahiaoui was one of eight men on trial, and the others were sentenced to prison terms of nine months to 15 years. With video of the 2008 robbery, the plot unraveled over the years as the thieves sought to sell the gems, unaware that their telephones were tapped and they were being tailed by investigators seeking to recover the jewels. About 500 gems remain missing.

Mouloud Djennad, 39, the guard who admitted being the “inside man” in the plot, was sentenced to five years, but he remained free with three years of the punishment suspended and additional time reduced for the period he spent in pretrial detention.

During the trial, he expressed remorse for his actions, apologizing to a former co-worker, who was a witness, and weeping in his hands.

The trial, which started Feb. 3, offered an unusual view of the plotting of a diamond theft, one of many that jolted the luxury districts of the French capital in a wave of organized robberies.

The robbery seemed flawlessly executed, but the thieves were tripped up by a series of mistakes, like leaving behind a handbag with a fingerprint, and by their troubled efforts to sell the diamonds amid tensions with intermediaries scouting for buyers.

In March 2011, on the fifth search of Mr. Yahiaoui’s home in a Paris suburb, investigators found stuffed in a drainpipe a hand cream bottle that contained missing earrings, assorted rings and a 31-carat diamond solitaire.

The actual estimates of the loss varied because of the difference in retail and wholesale values of the gems. In court, a lawyer for Harry Winston testified that the company had received insurance payments of $36.7 million for the 2007 holdup and $52.6 million for the second robbery.

Recovered jewellery, 2009

Some of the jewellery was recovered but most remains missing

Many of the men on trial are related to each other. Mr. Yahiaoui’s brother-in-law introduced the guard to him after he casually revealed security weaknesses in the jewelry store. Mr. Yahiaoui’s brother and nephew were also sentenced in the plot.

Lawyers for the guard defended his involvement by saying he was naïve and trusted Mr. Yahiaoui because they shared family roots in the Kabylie region in northeastern Algeria. Mr. Djennad, who has been working in a butcher shop while awaiting the trial, said he had become trapped in his friendship with Mr. Yahiaoui, who intimidated him into participating in the second robbery in 2008 despite his misgivings after the first holdup.

Grainy black-and-white video from the store shows him opening the door to the men in their outlandish outfits and then standing by the door as they fled with a rolling suitcase of gems.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Unknown quantity of diamonds stolen from diamond mine in South Africa + Hong Kong Diamond Necklace worth $4.6m

Undisclosed number of diamonds stolen from South African mine

South African police is searching for sixteen men who stole an undisclosed number of diamonds from a mine near Prieska, Northern Cape, at about 3:40 am Monday.

According to Sapa news agency, the gang tied up security guards and two employees and demanded the safe keys.

Since they were unable to access to the safe, they broke into a room used for sorting the diamonds, running away with an undisclosed number of precious gems, the agency reports.

Undisclosed number of diamonds stolen from South African mine

Also in Hong Kong

On Friday, four people — one of them reportedly a girl between 12 and 14 years old — stole a diamond necklace worth more than $4.6 million in Hong Kong.

The three adults posed as “big spenders” to distract the shop’s employees, an unnamed police source told the South China Morning Post. Meanwhile, the girl grabbed a key to open the cabinet containing the necklace, which was 100-carat gold embedded with more than 30 diamonds, the paper’s source said.

Nobody noticed the necklace was gone until way after the group had left the premises, the paper added.