a regular feature provided by RM Weare & Co

Difficult trading in the first half of 2015 has been confirmed by various diamond producers and polished manufacturers.
De Beers reportedly had 65% of their offering left from the last sight as a result of many cutters not being able to afford the prices.
A criticism from cutters has been that De Beers and Alrosa, the world’s two largest

rock n gem magazine issue 68


diamond producers, have refused to adjust their rough diamond prices in light of the tough conditions facing the industry further downstream.

Cutters are facing high rough prices at a time when there is over supply for many categories of polished stones, a global decline in demand and liquidity which is increasingly affecting the industries access to finance as banks see the industry as an increasing risk.
These difficulties are having major consequences for cutting centres with China and India laying off 300,000 workers; there has also been a big increase in the number of companies defaulting.

However, mining companies are having their own difficulties which explain their resistance to reduce prices.
De Beers has reported a 25% decline in sales and has cut production forecasts as a result. There has not been a major new diamond discovery for many years and so miners are faced with extraction becoming increasingly difficult from existing mines, this requires ever more money.
Companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have been working to divest their diamond holdings in efforts to simplify their business and concentrate on their core ferrous businesses.

Slow growth in China is affecting the sales of coloured stones as well as diamonds. The continued productivity of the Mozambique ruby mines in this climate is leading some cutters into difficulty as they still hold large stocks of rough paid for with borrowed money. The high price that was paid has meant there are few discounts to be found even as dealers try to off load their stock.

Natural Zircon is selling well with demand for vivid light blues and browns. Most of the material we are seeing is being mined in Cambodia although there is an unsteady stream of Tanzanian material being cut in the Jaipur Indian markets. The strong colour and relative affordability of the material is making it an increasingly popular choice as the prices for top quality coloured Beryls and natural Topaz soar.
The price for natural greens, pinks and reds is very high and there is limited supply for these rarer colours.

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