Category Archives: De Beers

World’s largest diamond miner De Beers will now be selling synthetic stones

Anglo American’s De Beers shocked the diamond market on Tuesday by announcing it will start selling jewellery containing man-made stones rather than precious rocks recovered from the ground, for the first time in its 130-year history.

The pivotal swing for the world’s No.1 diamond producer, which vowed never to sell synthetic stones, will begin in the US in September. There, the lab-made gems will be marketed through Lightbox, the company’s new fashion jewellery brand, which will sell them for a fraction of the price of real rocks.

Chief executive Bruce Cleaver explained the reasons for the U-turn by saying it would allow De Beers to offer what consumers have told the company they want, but aren’t getting: “affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”

“We see an opportunity that’s been missed,” Cleaver said.

The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds. Currently a 1-carat synthetic sells for roughly $4,000, about half the price of a natural diamond. De Beers new lab gems will sell for around $800 a carat.The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds, pressuring rivals that specialize in synthesized stones. A 1-carat man-made diamond sells for roughly $4,000 and a similar natural diamond fetches about $8,000. De Beers new lab diamonds will sell for around $800 a carat.

Diamond Producers Association’s chief executive, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, welcomed the news as it expects it to set a new standard in the disclosure and marketing of synthetic diamonds. “The DPA has always been clear that more fair and transparent practices need to be adopted by synthetic diamond producers,” he told in an emailed statement.

Lieberherr added the association was confident that De Beers’ move would benefit consumers and bring much needed clarity to the synthetic diamonds market.

The Anglo American’s unit has stepped up efforts in recent months to lead the industry quest for a way to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence & or terrorism.

A subsidiary of De Beers Group, Lightbox will be the only jewellery brand to source lab-grown diamonds from the company’s Element Six business, a world leader in lab-grown diamond technology for more than 50 years. That unit has been producing synthetic diamonds for drill bits in the oil and gas industry, but this is the first time that De Beers will actually sell them to the end-users.

Any Lightbox lab-grown diamonds of 0.2 carats or above will carry a permanent laser-inscribed Lightbox logo inside the stone. Invisible to the naked eye, but easily identified under magnification, the logo will clearly ID the diamond as lab-grown and also serve as a mark of quality and assurance that it was produced by Element Six.

This latest laser-etching technology, developed by Oxford University spin-out Opsydia, can make etched marks only one-fiftieth the size of a human hair, the academics involved said in a separate statement.

Synthetic diamonds have the same physical and chemical features as mined stones. They’re made from a carbon seed placed in a microwave chamber and superheated into a glowing plasma ball. The process creates particles that can eventually crystallize into diamonds in only 2.5 months. The technology is so advanced that experts need a machine to distinguish between lab-made diamonds and mined gems.

Each diamond will be laser-inscribed internally with the Lightbox logo to assure shoppers it is part of the official range. The laser-etching technology has been developed by an Oxford University spin-off


Henry Sapiecha

De Beers taps into polished diamonds market with first-time auction

Anglo American’s De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond producer by value, has decided to begin selling its own polished diamonds in auctions for the first time in its history.

The pilot auction, scheduled for June, will include a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from the company’s own rough diamonds.

The pilot auction, scheduled for June 29, will include a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from De Beer’s own rough diamonds.All the polished rocks will carry grading reports from both the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) — De Beers’ in-house grading unit — and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

“We are interested in testing the level of demand from polished buyers for diamonds that have a clear and attractive source of origin, and that offer the assurance of product integrity that dual certification provides,” Neil Ventura, the miner’s executive vice president of auction sales, said in the statement.

If successful, the process would provide De Beers with more insight into the polished market, while also helping consumers fill gaps in supply or inventory if they were unable to find goods at the company’s rough auctions, he added.

All registered De Beers auction buyers will be eligible to bid in the first sale, which takes place on June 29.

Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest new diamond mine starts commercial production

Gahcho Kué, owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is now full steam ahead in production.

Gahcho Kué, co-owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is located at Kennady Lake, about 280 km northeast of Yellowknife image

Canada’s Gahcho Kué mine, the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years, reached commercial production Tuesday, its owners De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds announced.

Located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, near the Arctic Circle, the mine is expected to produce around 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its 12-year lifetime.

Gahcho Kué was only the sixth diamond opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing such gems.Production ramp-up at Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), began in August — a month before the mine’s official opening.

Thursday’s announcement marks an important operational milestone and also comes slightly ahead of schedule, the partners said in a joint statement.

“Today marks a significant landmark for De Beers in Canada as Gahcho Kué becomes an important contributor to the group’s global production,” De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.

The mine “secures Canada’s position as one of the world’s leading diamond producers,” added Patrick Evans, President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds.

It’s estimated that Gahcho Kué will contribute $5.2 billion to the territorial economy until 2028, according to a socio-economic impact report prepared by De Beers.

Another reason why the mine’s opening is important for Canada’s economy is the fact that two of the country’s major diamond operations — Diavik and Ekati — are approaching the end of their productive lives. Gahcho Kué, although smaller than those mines, is expected to offset the production drop-off.

The mine, estimated to be one of the world’s 10 biggest diamond mines, is the sixth precious rocks operation opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing diamonds.


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

De Beers blue diamond smashes sales records in Asia, fetches almost $32M at auction

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The “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4” may not have the catchiest name in the history of famous diamonds, but the very rare 10.10-carat blue gem has just broke all auction records in Asia, as it fetched almost $32 million.

The rock, the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond to ever appear at auction, was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong as part of a high profile gem sale.

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The internally flawless diamond was part of the Millennium Jewels collection, unveiled by De Beers in 2000 to commemorate the turn of the century, and displayed at London’s Millennium Dome.

At the time, the blue gem was the target of an attempted multi-million pound robbery in November 2000, which was foiled by the Metropolitan Police.

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The auction house will sell another coveted blue diamond, set in a ring once owned by former child star Shirley Temple, on April 19, in the U.S.


Henry Sapiecha

De Beers cuts diamond prices

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De Beers has cut diamond prices in an attempt to stem the predicted slowdown in the sector.

It comes as the diamond industry is forecast to decline significantly this year.

Data from WWW International Diamond Consultants indicated diamond prices slipped 18 per cent last year, and according to IBISWorld reports, the industry is predicted to experience an annual compound decline of 4 per cent over the five years through 2015-26, to fall to $380.1 million.

“The industry’s performance has been volatile over the past five years, due to fluctuating production volumes and prices; a significant drop in revenue in 2013-14, and another expected fall in revenue in 2015-16 are expected to underpin the industry’s poor performance over the period, “ IBISWorld stated.

Prices have declined one per cent month on month.

This fall, while in line with the general decline in mining, has been precipitated by Australia oversupplying the market.

The diamond arm of Anglo American, De Beers, has dropped prices by almost seven per cent, according to Bloomberg.

It has also cut its production targets to buoy prices by removing supply, although it still accounts for approximately 40 per cent of world production.

Yet it is not all negative news, with RBC Capital Markets expecting some stabilisation in the future, stating they were ‘cautious’ on rough prices this year.


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

De Beers Sightholders Reject 25 percent of Goods offered

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De Beers December Sight

December sight is estimated at $600 million. With minor adjustments to prices and assortment qualities reported in categories.

Sightholders and brokers reported that 25 percent boxes were deferred or left on the table.

An India a sightholder said that they had already complained at the previous two De Beers sights that prices were too high to polish diamonds with a profit. We haven’t seen any movement from De Beers so there was other option but to leave the goods.

Diamantes said that prices at the ALROSA sale declined, and the negative sentiment at the sight reflected the mood in the rough market at large.

Rough trade on the open market was week, even though boxes were offered at a loss with generous credit terms.

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Henry Sapiecha

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De Beers to change its diamond sales model

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Global diamond giant De Beers Group announced Tuesday it is implementing an updated model for the allocation of rough diamonds by its primary distribution arm, Global Sightholder Sales (GSS), for the March 2015 to March 2018 contractual period.

The fresh model, said the Anglo American (LON:AAL) unit, involves a new method for determining GSS’s rough diamond customer base, with a simplified, compliance and demand-based customer qualification process being introduced.

The world’s largest diamond miner by market value also said it will adopt a more flexible sales approach, through which non sightholder diamond businesses would have opportunities to buy rough diamonds from GSS.

“The more rigorous financial and existing ethical compliance requirements will also help to reinforce third-party confidence in the strength and transparency of GSS’s customer base,” De Beers Group CEO Philippe Mellier said in the statement.

This is not the first innovation to rough diamonds sales De Beers introduces this year. In January, the firm said it has not ruled out an expansion of its Victor diamond mine in Canada. In March, it revealed it was looking to tap into the new markets, landing later a new diamond exploration license in Angola, the world’s fourth largest producer of diamonds by value, and sixth by volume.

Around 90% of De Beers’ total rough diamond availability by value is sold through GSS.

Henry Sapiecha

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