Monthly Archives: April 2015

LONDON Hatton Garden diamond & jewel heist: New pictures show how a gang stole $116m on Easter

Run the jewels The thieves used a heavy duty drill to bore holes into the vault wall. Photo London Metropolitan Police image

Run the jewels: The thieves used a heavy duty drill to bore holes into the vault wall. Photo: London Metropolitan Police

British police have released new images showing the extraordinary lengths the Hatton Garden burglars went to in their lucrative heist over the Easter weekend.

The team of robbers raided a safety deposit business in the vault of a London building, making off with a reported £60 million ($A116 million) worth of precious stones and jewellery.

Police believe they entered the premises through a side door on the night before Good Friday.

The building houses several businesses who share an entrance. Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd was in the basement.

Basement-door london $116m diamonds & jewells heist

The robbers disabled the communal lift on the second floor then used the lift shaft to climb down into the basement from the ground floor. They forced open shutter doors into the basement where Hatton Garden Safety Deposit is located, then made their way to the vault

Security-door london $116m diamonds & jewells heist

A total of 72 safety deposit boxes were opened, out of 999 boxes in the vault. Of these, seven were vacant, and 11 were due to be drilled out for non-payment of fees, police said.

Looking-into-the-vault London Diamond & Jewells heist image

The thieves used a heavy duty drill – a Hilti DD350 – to bore holes into the vault wall. The wall is half a metre thick and made of re-enforced concrete.

Vault-door london $116m diamonds & jewells heist

They then used wheelie bins to move the jewels to their white getaway van.

The suspects dressed as construction workers and gas workers, and timed the raid over the Easter long weekend, entering on Thursday night and leaving on Easter Sunday.

hatton $116m jewellery heist image of suspects

It later emerged that an alarm at the premises set off on Good Friday was ignored by police.

Drilling was heard by neighbours but didn’t lead to any investigation.

Police have so far made no arrests.

Burglary-plan $116m jewellery diamonds heist london image


Henry Sapiecha

Brazil Minerals mines largest rough diamond to date

Brazil Minerals reports large rough diamond. Image from Brazil Minerals.image

Brazil Minerals (OTCBB: BMIX) mined a 4.01 carats diamond, it’s largest to date.

The company said the gem has good appearance with the ability to yield high colour and clarity grades. The company plans to cut and polish the diamond before selling it.

Brazil Minerals is a U.S. publicly-traded company with current revenues from sales of rough and polished diamonds, gold, and sand.

Full news release is below.

Brazil Minerals, Inc. Reports Largest Rough Diamond & Expected Further Cash Flows From Sand Products

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL–(Marketwired – Apr 6, 2015) – Brazil Minerals, Inc. (OTCBB: BMIX) (the “Company” or “BMIX”) announced today that it had mined its largest rough diamond to date at 4.01 carats. This gem has very good appearance and no visible points or inclusions, and thus appears to be able to yield high color and clarity grades. The Company plans to have this rough diamond cut and polished before selling it.

Separately, BMIX announced that conversations are in advanced stages with potential partners regarding aggregate products derived from its high-quality, abundant sand. Aggregate sand products include materials used in construction, such as mortar. Sand is a consistent source of revenues for the Company and able to generate positive cash flows, primarily due to a combination of much lower operating costs and relatively strong demand.

In particular, these sand-based products are much less dependent on the use of diesel, which is the single largest cost in the Company’s mining and processing of rough diamonds and gold. Over time, BMIX plans to substantially diminish diesel use in the plant processing for diamonds and gold by implementing several approaches.
About Brazil Minerals, Inc.

Brazil Minerals, Inc. (OTCBB: BMIX) is a U.S. publicly-traded company with current revenues from sales of rough and polished diamonds, gold, and sand. Our intention is to continue to grow and become a premier diversified and profitable company focused on Brazil. We believe that our team is our main strength. Our team combines over 100 years of Brazilian business expertise and American experience in finance, private equity and venture capital.

BMIX owns 100% of MDB, a Brazilian producer and seller of polished and rough diamonds, gold bars, and industrial-use sand. MDB operates a fully-operational mining concession with the largest alluvial processing plant for diamonds and gold in Latin America, and has the Brazilian permit to export its production.

BMIX also owns 25% of RST Recursos Minerais, Ltda. (“RST”), a Brazilian company with 10 mining concessions and 12 other mineral rights for diamond and gold. The RST areas are located near MDB’s plant, in the Jequitinhonha River valley, a well-known area for diamonds and gold for over two centuries.

Our goal is to become an attractive and liquid alternative for investment in Brazil, the 6th largest global economy. More information on BMIX can be found at


Henry Sapiecha

Lucapa Diamond unearths 63.05-carat rock from Angola mine

lucapa-diamond-unearths-63-05-carat-rock-from-angola-mine image

Australia-based Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has unearthed a 63.05-caratwhite diamond from its Lulo mine, in Angola.

The stone is the largest diamond recovered since Lucapa and its partners began commercial alluvial diamond mining operations at Lulo in January 2015.

the finding highlights the potential for widespread recovery of large gems from the mine, which could prove to be more valuable than Angola’s biggest diamond producer

According to the miner, the finding highlights the potential for widespread recovery of large gems from the mine, which could prove to be more valuable than Angola’s biggest diamond producer, Catoca, which is also the world’s fourth-largest kimberlite mine.

Lulo, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) east of Angola’s capital Luanda, is a joint venture between the company and the Angolan government. The mine hosts type-2a diamonds, which the company qualifies as “the world’s rarest and most valuable gems”. These kinds of precious rock account for less than 1% of global supply and, according to Lucapa, the world’s most famous large, white, flawless diamonds belong to this category.

Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.

The government has recently reduced taxes and cut state ownership requirements as it seeks to rekindle the industry after the global financial crisis forced mines to close.


Henry Sapiecha

Scientists reveal diamond bearing rocks more common than originally thought


A team of Australian scientists have unveiled a ground-breaking study that identifies, for the first time, the exact source of diamond-bearing rocks known as orangeites.

The paper reveals that orangeites —until now believed to be common only to South Africa— may be present in much higher abundance worldwide

Published Monday in the April edition of Nature Communications, the paper reveals that orangeites —until now believed to be common only to South Africa— may be present in much higher abundance worldwide, especially in Australia.

Rough on the outside, these rocks contain not only treasured diamonds but also tiny fragments of mantle and crustal rocks. By using highly sophisticated geochemical and isotopic analytical techniques, the scientists were able to link those fragments to the source of the orangeites, deep in the interior of the planet.

“We found strong evidence that orangeites are sourced from MARID (Mica-Amphibole-Rutile-Ilmenite-Diopside) mantle, which up until recently had only been recognised in South Africa,” leading author, Professor Fiorentini — from The University of Western Australia — said in a statement.  “However, ongoing studies suggest that MARID mantle may occur in other continents, including here in Australia.”

The group also found evidence that suggests orangeites were formed from lava produced by massive volcanic eruptions several tens of millions of years ago. Until now, the common belief was that diamonds were formed about 990 million years ago.

‘Perfect’ 100-carat diamond goes under Sotheby’s hammer Cecilia Jamasmie | April 20, 2015

perfect 100 carat-diamond goes under sothebys hammer image www.worldwidediamonds (2)

An internally “flawless” 100-carat emerald-cut diamond that will go under Sotheby’s hammer in New York on Tuesday is expected to 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.

perfect 100 carat-diamond goes under sothebys hammer image www.worldwidediamonds (1)

“Simply put, it has everything you could ever want from a diamond: the classic shape begs to be worn, while the quality puts it in an asset class of its own,” said Lisa Hubbard, Chairman of North and South America for Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, in the press release.

perfect 100 carat-diamond goes under sothebys hammer image www.worldwidediamonds (4)

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.

perfect 100 carat-diamond goes under sothebys hammer image www.worldwidediamonds (3)

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.

Sotheby’s estimates that the auction, which features more than 350 other pieces, is estimated to achieve more than $50 million in sales.


Henry Sapiecha

Lucara Diamond unearths 342-carat rock at its mine in Botswana

lucara-diamond-unearths-342-carat-rock-at-its-mine-in-botswana image

Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) has added to the excitement of huge gems being found this month by announcing it has unearthed a 341.9 carat gem quality diamond from its Karowe mine in Botswana.

The “exceptional colour and clarity” stone, said the Vancouver-based firm, was recovered while processing fragmental kimberlite from the central and south lobe interface of the mine, located in the central district of the southern African country.

According to Lucara, this Type IIa diamond will be sold along with two other greater than 100 carat diamonds, also recovered at Karowe.

The miner also said that timing of the sale of these diamonds is still to be determined.

Last year, the company sold a 203-carat diamond for $8.2 million for, three weeks after Gem Diamonds sold a 198-carat stone from its Lesotho mine for $10.6 million. A bit earlier, a 123-carat gem from South Africa got Petra Diamonds $27.6 million.

In addition to the Karowe mine, the Africa-focused diamond miner holds 75% of the Mothae project in Lesotho.


Henry Sapiecha

Coronet Gets Guinness World Record for $2 Million Diamond Guitar


Hong Kong-based Jewelry brand Coronet celebrated its first appearance in Baselworld with a bang: the company partnered with Chow Tai Fook and designer Mark Lui to create a $2 million Diamond Gibson Guitar, and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the maker of the most valuable guitar ever made.

Named “Eden of Coronet”, the guitar is adorned with over 400 carat diamonds set in approximately 1.6kg of 18k gold.

According to Coronet, the guitar took a team of 68 people to produce, adding up to 700 work days to complete.


Henry Sapiecha

10 richest diamond mines in the world & what they produced

Diamond mining the world over has the promise of vast riches to the few top mines


1. Jwaneng

  • Carats: 11.5 million (2009)
  • Location: Botswana

Jwaneng is owned by Debswana, and the mine was opened in 1982. It now produces 60 per cent to 70 per cent of Debswana’s total earnings. De Beers claims Jwaneng is the richest mine in the world. In 2009, the mine treated 8.2 million metric tonnes of rock to produce 11.5 million carats.

That’s less than 1.5 carats per metric tonne of rock.

Image: ‘The Mike Tood’, an antique diamond tiara, which belonged to the late actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Photographs: Tyrone Siu/Reuters


2. Argyle

  • Carats: 9.8 million (2010)
  • Location: Australia

The Argyle mine is located in northwest Australia and is owned and operated by Rio Tinto.

The mine began production in 1985 and has produced more than 750 million carats through 2010.

The mine is the world’s largest producer of pink diamonds, even though the Argyle Pinks, as they are known, account for just 0.01 per cent of production.

The Argyle mine produced 9.8 million carats in 2010.
Image: A photograph of Elizabeth Taylor is seen behind jewels on display.
Photographs: Mike Segar/Reuters


3. Orapa

  • Carats: 9.53 million (2010)
  • Location: Botswana

Orapa is another Debswana-owned mine. The mine was opened in 1971 and is an open-pit mine from which nearly 13 million metric tonnes of rock was processed in 2010, or about one metric tonne for every 1.3 carats.

The Orapa mine produced 9.53 million carats in 2010.
Image: A diamond ring.
Photographs: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Tags: Orapa , NEXT , Botswana


4. Catoca

  • Carats: 7.5 million (2009)
  • Location: Angola

The Catoca mine is located in Angola and is owned by a consortium that includes Russia’s Alrosa, Brazil’s Odebrecht, Israel’s Daumonty and Angola’s state-owned mining company.

The mine went into production in 1997 and claims to be the world’s fourth-largest kimberlite pipe, the geological formation from which most of the world’s diamonds are mined.

The mine is expected to produce 60 million carats over its lifetime, about 35 per cent of which are gem quality.

Production in 2009 totalled 7.5 million carats.

Image: Luxury clocks and watches are displayed inside a Graff Diamonds store at Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.
Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters


5. Diavik

  • Carats: 6.5 million (2010)
  • Location: Canada

The Diavik mine is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Rio Tinto owns 60 per cent interest in Diavik and is the mine’s operator.

The mine went into production in 2003 as an open-pit operation that will be transitioned to a fully underground mine by next year.

The kimberlite deposits are small, but produce high-grade gem quality stones. The Diavik mine produced 6.5 million carats in 2010..
Image: A model displays the Sun-Drop diamond during a media preview in Geneva.


6. Venetia

  • Carats: 4.3 million (2010)
  • Location: South Africa

South Africa’s Venetia mine is owned and operated by De Beers.

The open-pit mine began production in 1992 and now produces about 40 per cent of South African total diamond production.

The mine processed more than four million metric tonnes of rock in 2010, giving a yield of about 1.1 carats/metric tonne.

The Venetia mine produced about 4.3 million carats in 2010.
Image: A Bonhams employee poses with the Bulgari crossover ring.
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters


7. Ekati

  • Carats: 3 million (2010)
  • Location: Canada

The Ekati mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories is 80per cent-owned by BHP Billiton.

The open-pit mine began operations in 1998 and processed 4.93 million metric tonnes of rock in 2010, yielding less than one carat/metric tonne of diamonds.

The Ekati mine produces about three per cent of the world’s annual volume of diamonds by weight and nine per cent of value.

BHP estimates that Ekati contains about 0.3 carats/metric ton of rock. In 2010, Ekati produced three million carats.
Image: A 24.78 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond in Geneva.


A 7.03 carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby and a 12.79 carat Colombian emerald and diamond ring in Geneva.

8. Finsch

  • Carats: 1.3 million (2010)
  • Location: South Africa

The Finsch open-pit mine in South Africa was once owned by De Beers, but is now owned by independent and privately held Petra Diamonds.

The mine began operations in 1978, is South Africa’s second-largest by production and is estimated to have produced 1.3 million carats in 2010.

Petra estimates 26.6 million carats remain to be produced.

Image: A 7.03 carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby and a 12.79 carat Colombian emerald and diamond ring in Geneva.
Photographs: Reuters


  1. Letlhakane
  • Carats: 1.2 million (2010)
  • Location: Botswana

The Letlhakane mine is a Debswana property, a 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana.

It went into production in 1975.

The open-pit mine processed 3.3 million metric tonnes of rock in 2010 and produced 1.2 million carats.

This is the deepest of the Debswana-owned mines and is located near the Orapa mine.
Image: An aquamarine and diamond brooch is displayed at Bentley and Skinner jewellers in London,

Tags: Botswana , NEXT , The Letlhakane , Debswana , Orapa


10. Kimberley

  • Carats: 100,000 (2010)
  • Location: South Africa

South Africa’s Kimberley mine first went into production in 1871. The original mine closed in 1914 and the underground mine closed in 1995.

De Beers, the original owner, sold underground mining rights to Petra in 2007, and Petra produced about 100,000 carats from the mine in 2010.

De Beers is re-treating the dumps on the surface and recovered 823,000 carats in 2010 from nearly 5.5 million tonnes of rock.



Henry Sapiecha

De Beers making it harder for diamond dealers to join supply chain

Cecilia Jamasmie | March 30, 2015

De Beers making it harder for diamond dealers to join supply chain

De Beers is fine-tuning details of a set of new conditions for companies seeking to join its group of customers known as “sightholders.”

According to (subs. required), the diamond giant — which sells $6 billion of unpolished gems a year and is the world’s largest supplier by value — wants traders to hold a specified proportion of equity in their businesses, so they are less reliant on bank borrowing.

De Beers, which last revised its sightholder contracts in 2011, will give companies time to make changes to their accounting practices. But sightholders unwilling or unable to do so will lose their status.

The move seeks to direct gems to the most financially sound purchasers and make the business more transparent, echoing other signs that the diamond industry is starting to modernize.

The introduction of online trading, where dealers can buy and sell parcels of gems worth millions online, is providing real-time pricing data, and represents a challenge to the old, more secretive ways of doing business, while banks that lend to the industry are demanding a more corporate approach from diamond traders and manufacturers.

Anglo American (LON:AAL) bought Oppenheimer family’s 40% ownership in De Beers for $5.1 billion in 2012, increasing its stake to 85% and ending the dynasty’s 80-year ownership. Botswana controls the rest of the business, founded by the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes


Henry Sapiecha