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Spike in Diamond Prices Isn’t Putting Off Engagements

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Signet has seen robust demand for engagement rings in 2022
CEO says diamond prices have risen around 15%-20% this year
Robust demand for engagement rings suggests 2023 is going to be another big year for weddings, according to one of the largest US jewelers.
Gina Drosos, chief executive officer of Signet Jewelers Ltd., said in an interview that Zales, Kay Jewelers and the company’s other brands are selling a lot of engagement rings this year. In the three months ended April 30, growth was particularly strong for items costing more than $3,000, Drosos said. Many of those were wedding items, which account for about half of the company’s sales.
Drosos and others have dubbed 2022 the “year of the wedding” on expectations that there will be the largest number of celebrations in 40 years, as pandemic-delayed couples head to the altar.
As demand surges, the price of diamonds has risen between 15% to 20% over the past six months, Drosos said. Some of that increase is due to sanctions on stones mined in Russia, the world’s biggest source of gems, although it’s hard to parse out the direct impact, she said. Signet and other jewelers told suppliers to stop buying stones from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Signet’s price hikes for shoppers have been more moderate than the jump in diamond costs, Drosos said, without providing specifics.
“We have been able to mitigate a large portion of those price increases given our vertical integration,” Drosos said. The company has increased production at a factory it owns in Botswana, for example.
Special thanks to Jeannette Neumann and Bloomberg for thsi update

 

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Gem Diamonds unearths 125-Carat Diamond in Lesotho

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Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON: GEMD) has found a 125-carat rough stone at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the miner’s second rock over 100 carats mined this year.
The company, known for the recovery of large, high-quality stones in 2020, has seen output of high-quality diamonds surpassing the 100-carat mark become less frequent over the past year.
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In 2021, Gem Diamonds found only six of such diamonds at Letšeng, compared to the 16 it discovered in 2020.
The find comes as prices for small diamonds have jumped about 20% since the start of March, as cutters, polishers and traders struggle to source stones outside Russia.
State-owned Russian miner Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output, was hit with US sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Higher prices for lower-end stones are good news for miners, but not a game changer, experts say. While every mine is different, a general rule is that 20% of production — the best stones — account for about 80% of profits.
Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, the company has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, with 16 of them recovered last year. At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

 

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RADIANT CUT DIAMOND MICRO PAVE ENGAGEMENT RING

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If you’re one of our 110,000 NextDoorJeweler followers on Tik Tok you know I’ve revealed this is my personal favorite engagement ring design.
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Set up your complimentary in person, or remote consultation by emailing KS@NYCWD.com or calling (212) 719-2214

 

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CONGRATS DEMI AND MIKE

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What a breathtaking proposal Mike, Bravo! Demi, thank for your kind Google review, you’re the best!
Keith is amazing!! I first met Keith when my brother-in-law and I went to pick out a ring for my sister. Keith was recommended to my brother-in-law by a family friend. Keith is so kind and knowledgeable and walks you through the process of what you should look for in a jeweler. He is the best in the business, and there is no need to go anywhere else. My brother-in-law and I were both so impressed leaving his office.
He is attentive and funny and makes the experience of designing the ring an amazing one. Once I saw my sister’s ring one day, I knew I wanted Keith to make my ring.
At the time, I wasn’t dating anyone, but Keith told me I could email him my dream ring, and he would keep it on file. I thought that was funny but why not! I emailed him pictures and details of my ring and hoped that my future fiancé would go to Keith one day. I honestly didn’t think he would keep an email sent three years ago, but he did!
My fiancé learned about Keith through my brother-in-law, and he told me when he went to Keith with my sister, Keith pulled up the email I sent him!
My fiancé said from the first phone call to get the ball rolling in making the ring to picking it up was the best experience. He said Keith is a true professional, and you don’t find many people like Keith in the industry. Save your time, and don’t go to those chain jewelers. Keith will go above and beyond from the first time you meet him and even after your significant other gets your ring.
Our family loves Keith!! Thank you for helping my fiancé design my dream sunflower ring and my sisters
Demetra “Demi” Gregorakis
FIVE STARS
May 16, 2002

 

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Ukraine war puts Indian diamond polishers out of work

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MUMBAI: India’s huge diamond-polishing industry has furloughed around 250,000 of its roughly two million workers because of sanctions on Russia hitting supplies, a trade union said Thursday (May 19).
The South Asian nation cuts and polishes 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds, with Russian diamond miners such as Alrosa traditionally accounting for 30 to 40 per cent of India’s imported rough gems.
“This problem has started ever since the Russia-Ukraine war began,” Ramesh Zilariya, president of the Diamond Workers’ Union Gujarat, told AFP.
“Western countries like the United States and Europe have stopped accepting Russian diamonds that have been polished in India,” he said.
Workers were furloughed this month in the western state of Gujarat, the main hub of the industry, Zilariya added, as companies struggle with cash flow and supply disruptions.
Traders say Russian supply has fallen short since Western sanctions forced Moscow out of the SWIFT cross-border payments system, plunging the supply chain into uncertainty.
“Supply is still disrupted and payments are mostly on hold,” Sripal Dholakia, director at the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council, told AFP.
Dholakia said imports from Russia are “not adequate” at present, and Indian traders are facing higher bank charges while making direct payments in rupees or rubles.
An industry pitch to the Indian government to make future payments via India’s Unified Payments Interface system has gone unanswered.
India exported cut and polished diamonds worth US$24 billion in the year ended Mar 31, data from the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council showed.
Top export destinations included the United States, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.
Many Western buyers are now refusing to accept diamonds sourced in Russia for fear of violating sanctions.
“They have started asking for a bill which specifies that the goods we are supplying are not Russian,” a Mumbai-based jeweller told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Prices too have turned volatile.
“Fifteen to 20 per cent instability is a big thing for us because we work on a margin of two to five per cent … It becomes difficult,” the jeweller said.
The Gujarat diamond union has asked the state government to provide financial aid and re-skilling training to out-of-work polishers to help tide over the crisis.
“(We) asked the government to support workers in the diamond industry because this issue is not going to be resolved in one month,” Zilariya said.
“This issue will go on for at least five, six or seven months.”
India has called for a cessation of violence but has stopped short of condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The two countries have historically had close ties, with Moscow supplying most of New Delhi’s arms.
Source: AFP

 

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Diamond prices are spiking and even De Beers can’t fill the gap

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Prices are surging in some corners of the rough-diamond market, as sanctions on one of the world’s two giant miners ripple through the supply chain. In the past, the industry could turn to behemoth De Beers to crank out extra gems when supply ran tight — but not this time.
The price of a small rough diamond, the type that would end up clustered around the solitaire stone in a ring, has jumped about 20% since the start of March, according to people familiar with the matter. The reason: Diamond cutters, polishers and traders are struggling to source stones after the US levied sanctions on De Beers’s Russian rival, Alrosa PJSC, which accounts for about a third of global production.
For most of the modern history of diamonds, this is the sort of situation where De Beers could have tapped its vast stockpiles or simply fired up latent mining capacity. Little more than 20 years ago, its safes in London held stocks of diamonds worth perhaps as much as $5 billion.
Those days are now long gone. The company only carries working inventory stocks and its mines are running at full tilt. There is little chance of material increases in supply before 2024, when an expansion at its flagship South African mine will be completed.
“It’s very difficult to see us bringing on any new production,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Cleaver said in an interview in Cape Town. “Thirty percent of supply being removed isn’t sustainable.”
De Beers also produces relatively few of the type of diamonds Alrosa specializes in: the small and cheap gems that surround a larger center-point stone or are used in lower-end jewelry sold in places like Walmart or Costco.
For many in the sector, that means growing shortages unless Alrosa and its trade buyers can find a work around.
Alrosa canceled its last sale in April and is unlikely to sell any large volumes again this month, the people said. It’s uncertain when the company will be able to sell normally again, they said, even as the company, banks and buyers look for solutions.
Alrosa’s press service declined to comment. A US Treasury license that allowed for winding down of deals with the company expired on May 7.
The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has divided the global trade. As western governments levy sanctions on Russia and companies pull away from the country, many in India’s diamond industry still want to keep buying, according to people familiar with the matter. And while big-name US jewelers Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers Ltd. have said they will stop buying new diamonds mined in Russia, retailers in places like China, India and the Middle East have not followed suit.
That dynamic is spurring concern that diamonds from Russia will be passed off as other origins.
Very few diamonds remain in one party’s custody through the entire supply chain. Most are cut, polished, manufactured and then set in jewelry by different companies and often traded in between each step. Diamonds are routinely mixed into parcels of similar sizes and qualities throughout this process, making origin tracking almost impossible in many cases.
De Beers, which sells to around 60 handpicked customers, is already looking to beef up its standards. It’s considering increasing both the paper and physical audits it already carries out on its customers to make sure supply remains segregated.
“They have to show us that our production is not being mixed,” Cleaver said.
Special thanks to Thomas Bicsheuvel and Bloomberg for this update

 

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