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Zim mines minister speaks on the streamlining of operations in Marange
walter_chidhakwa_preview.jpgZimbabwe said recently that it had started merging diamond mining firms in Marange to streamline their operations and ensure accountability of proceeds. Rough&Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa caught up with the country’s Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa on the sidelines of a diamond conference held early this month in Harare and asked him about the latest on this development. Chidhakwa revealed that Harare would set up a company called Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company that would house Marange Resources, as a strategic business unit. He also noted that government was still negotiating with other mining companies currently operating in Marange over the rationalisation of their operations.

“Fancy colours remain a niche category for which awareness and demand is yet to be strongly created”, says Suraj Shantakumar
suraj_shantakumar_preview.jpgSuraj Shantakumar is the Director, Business Strategy, of Kirtilal Kalidas Jewellers Pvt Ltd and a key shareholder and director of various family businesses. He graduated in Business Management (Finance) from the California Polytechnic State University. This versatile 27 year old is involved in the management of the family’s many businesses starting with Kirtilal Kalidas Jewellers Pvt Ltd, Vispark Jewellery Manufacturers Pvt Ltd, Suraj Agro Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and Benchmark Softec India Pvt Ltd. Bringing ideas that are fresh and out of the box, Suraj Shantakumar has a strong desire to constantly incorporate the best from across the globe into the operations he is overseeing.

Pyotr Fyodorov: "The entire world is familiar with Yakut diamonds"
pyotr_fyodorov_preview.jpgEPL Diamond, Yakutia’s diamond manufacturing flagship, has reached its 20th anniversary. It is largely due to this company the notion of "Yakut diamonds" (as it happened before to the Russian Cut) traveled around the world turning into a brand. Pyotr Fyodorov, the founder and CEO of EPL Diamond, answered the questions from Rough&Polished telling about the factors behind this success story and about the company’s further goals.

I am particularly inspired by the works of the great Carl Faberge - Pierre Roth, Brussels jeweler
pierre_roth_preview.JPGRough&Polished asked Pierre Roth, a Brussels-based jeweler with 30 years in the trade under his belt, to share the secrets of jewelry making and he kindly agreed to answer our questions.



News

24.11.2014
Rockwell Diamonds secures $3.6 mln to finance projects
Rockwell Diamonds said it recently completed an offering of two-year unsecured convertible debentures in a principal amount of C$4.1 million ($3.6 million) with two insiders, namely Daboll Consultants its principal shareholder and with Mark Bristow, the company’s non-executive chairperson.

24.11.2014
De Beers Diamond Jewellers launches new website
De Beers Diamond Jewellers has launched its new website on debeers.com, which it said is fully responsive to enable a “seamless” experience across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

24.11.2014
GTL Jaipur achieves excellent growth in 1H
The Gem Testing Laboratory (GTL) at Jaipur achieved a 40% growth in its performance in the first six months of FY 2013-14 (April-September 2014), as compared to a 15%  growth achieved in the same period last year, according to gjepc.org.



Cautious prognosis for diamond market after ‘good’ holiday season

30.01.2012

Rockwell Diamonds, which operates alluvial diamond mines in South Africa, said recently that anecdotal evidence suggests that diamond jewellery sales in the United States were better during the last Christmas season than the year before.

This, it said, is expected to assist in the liquidation of inventory with the resultant cash flow improvement rolling over into the January and February rough diamond purchasing period.

Rapaport Group also noted that confidence had improved in the diamond industry since January 1, following a period of relative price stability and a “satisfactory” United States holiday season.

Jewellery seller, Tiffany & Co said that worldwide Christmas-season sales rose 7 percent year on year to $952 million for the two months that ended on December 31.

It said retail sales rose 4 percent to $503 million across the Americas, which include the U.S., Canada and Latin America, while sales leaped 19 percent to $165 million in the Asia-Pacific.

Japan recorded a sales increase of 13 percent to $160 million, it said, adding that Europe sales improved by 1 percent to $117 million.

Rockwell expects diamond prices and demand to increase through the first half of 2012, while Rapaport cautioned that there were concerns whether current price levels were sustainable due to the adverse economic conditions.

The question, however, is whether the conditions that led to a dip in the diamond market during the second half of 2011 were still prevalent.

According to Rapaport the decline recorded during the second half of 2011 was influenced by increasing uncertainty caused by the U.S. and European economic crises, volatile financial, currency and commodity markets, as well as continued political instability in the Mideast.

It said tight liquidity, particularly in India, also impacted trading from July as manufacturers were unable to obtain replacement costs on the high rough prices they had paid earlier in the year.

Clearly, these factors are still prevalent and largely expected to continue influencing the market this year.

The World Bank recently slashed its global economic growth forecasts and warned that rich nations' debt problems may yet reap a crisis that would eclipse the tumult of 2008.

It noted that although the financial turmoil appeared contained at the moment, the risk of a much broader freezing up of capital markets and a global crisis similar in magnitude to the Lehman crisis remains.

It is such a gloomy picture that will largely affect the performance of the diamond market particularly, in the U.S and Europe.

However, this might not be the case in China and to some extend India, which saw its economic growth decelerate in part, last year, because of domestic policy tightening.

Diamonds.net said sentiment in the U.S about prospects for the coming months was mixed as it remains to be seen whether large retailers will build inventories at the same pace as last year.

It also said polished trading remains relatively slow in India due to weak domestic demand and caution by buyers about the general market.

Rough trading was slow but activity is expected to improve in the coming weeks as the January sight cycle begins.

“There is sufficient supply of goods in the market but very few transactions are taking place due to wide price differentials,” it said.

“Large manufactures have maintained their production levels while small and medium size cutters are operating at well below capacity.”

Chinese buyers on the other hand were currently focused on filling last-minute orders before the Chinese New Year begins on January 23, but a slowdown was expected in the coming weeks as the focus turns to the retail market, Diamonds.net said. 

By and large it appears the market will pick in some regions and slow in others.

However, with the economic uncertainty that characterized the better part of the second half of 2011 still hovering above the diamond market, despite good business recorded during the holiday season, it is tricky, as Rockwell Diamonds did, to conclude that all will be rosy during the first half of year.

Predicting the performance of the diamond market this year, especially at this stage is problematic; hence caution is the buzz word.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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