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Investment diamonds will open a new distribution and sales channel that the diamond industry dearly needs to evolve - Alain Vandenborre, SDiX
The issue of investment diamonds has become particularly clamorous during recent years. While experts continue to debate whether it is possible to turn diamonds into a popular investment tool, Singapore launched the first Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange (SDiX), which is doing quite a brisk business. Its Executive Chairman and founder Alain Vandenborre gave this interview to Rough&Polished where he shared his vision of diamonds as an investor, described the work of the Exchange and told about the existing obstacles for and potential prospects of investment diamonds.

In India demand for diamond jewellery is growing - Sulish Verma
Vikas Chain & Jewellery (P) Ltd of Delhi is one of the leading manufacturers and wholesalers of gold chains, gems and diamond jewellery in India. The company’s collections comprise superbly crafted jewellery embellished with diamonds and precious stones of the finest quality. In an interview with Rough&Polished, Sulish Verma, the company’s managing director, touches upon the present conditions prevailing in India, its effects on the jewellery sector’s growth and cautions  jewellers to focus on design and quality to survive in the competitive business scenario, as well as to gain the confidence of today’s discerning customers.

Botswana, SA highly prospective says De Beers
De Beers, a leading global diamond miner in terms of value, said Botswana and South Africa are both highly prospective and geologically form part of the same cratonic region in Southern Africa. The group’s head of media relations Lynette Gould told Rough&Polished’s African Bureau Editor-In-Chief Mathew Nyaungwa that although they had been continuously prospecting for kimberlites in Botswana since 1955, the diamond producer historically had less access to prospective ground in South Africa due to the mineral legislation pre-1994, but with the introduction of the new legislation in 2004, new areas had opened up. Meanwhile, the group said it was currently having discussions with the Angolan government and state-diamond company Endiama for new concessions.

Ukrainian emerald cartel
Several years ago, the agents of the Ukrainian Security Service intercepted a large parcel of smuggled Colombian emeralds at the Borispol Airport in Kiev. The case promised to set off much drumbeat, but it quickly fell apart. There were two reasons for this: the affair involved a senior official of one of the law enforcement agencies in Ukraine, while the emeralds turned out to be ... synthetic. Later, some of the participants in this case were forced to leave Ukraine due to the well-known political events in the country. One of them agreed to comment the specifics associated with the trade in synthetic gemstones to Rough&Polished. Our meeting took place in Athens in early March of this year.



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21.04.2014
Gemfields secures $15m working capital
Gemfields, which has emeralds business in Zambia, says it recently agreed a $15 million working capital facility with key shareholder Pallinghurst.

21.04.2014
Richland says no money for TanzaniteOne until illegal miners are ejected
Richland Resources says it will not put any more money into TanzaniteOne Mining (TML), the joint venture with state-owned mining group Stamico, until it completes a strategic review of its operations and gain access security in Block C at Merelani, in Tanzania, is secured.

21.04.2014
Rio Tinto’s diamond production up 24% in Q1-2014
In its 2014 first quarter ‘production report’, Rio Tinto has declared a 24% increase in diamond production of 3,650,000 carats for Q1 as against 3,236,000 carats for the same period in 2013.



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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