21 Mar
Coloured gemstone producer Fura Gems announced that it has begun initial production and bulk sampling at its Coscuez emerald mine in Colombia. Chief Executive Dev Shetty commented that the company had achieved an important milestone by beginning bulk sampling within eight weeks of acquiring the mine. Shetty observed, “The initial production of 1,720 carats of emeralds, including 826 carats of top quality emeralds, during the early stage of the program further confirms the quality of the mine. We will continue to build our geological knowledge of the license area and also strive to modernise the mine. Fura has now become the first publicly listed company in the world to commence a bulk sampling operation in Colombia, the world’s largest supplier of emeralds.” Fura owns a 76 percent...
21 Mar
Vladimir Sklyaruk with the device
ALROSA has developed a synthetic diamond detector priced at $9,900. Known as the ALROSA Diamond Inspector, the device can differentiate between natural and synthetic polished as well as detect simulates such as cubic zirconia and moissanite. The device works even with diamonds already set in jewellery. The device was developed in conjunction with Russia’s Federal State Budgetary Institution Technological Institute for Super-hard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM). A joint venture between ALROSA and TISNCM, known as the Diamond Scientific and Technological Center LLC, will be in charge of the production and sale of the device. Vladimir Sklyaruk, the joint venture’s General Director, commented, "One of the main competitive...
21 Mar
Bhupesh Jain
In another blow to the reputation of the Indian gem and jewellery industry, the State Bank of India (SBI) has reported that the Chennai-headquartered jewellery retail chain Kanishk Gold, which also owns the Krizz jewellery brand, has committed a loan fraud of ₹824 crore ($126.4 million). With interest factored in, the loss to banks exceeds ₹1,000 crore ($153 million). The SBI has sought the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in probing the case. The promoters and directors of the company, Bhupesh Kumar Jain and his wife Neeta, are said to be currently residing in Mauritius. Kanishk Gold has a credit history dating back to 2007. In 2008, the SBI took over the firm’s loans from ICICI Bank. At that point, they amounted to ₹50 crore ($7.7...
20 Mar
Only state-owned mining entities will hold majority shares in Zimbabwe’s diamond and platinum mines though amendments to the country’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act allow foreign investors full control in any other mining sector. However, existing diamond mining ventures do not need to immediately comply with the law as they can negotiate a timeline of compliance with the authorities. Zimbabwe has significant alluvial diamond deposits at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in its Marange region. Eight foreign-owned concessions, six of them with Zimbabwe government holdings, operated mining ventures here. However, the Mugabe administration first accused them of cheating the country out of tax revenue and  President Mugabe even said $15 billion in diamonds were fraudulently spirited...
19 Mar
ALROSA said that a 9 percent decrease in the average price of the rough diamonds it sold, coupled with a 13 percent appreciation of the Russian ruble against the dollar saw its revenue for 2017 drop 13.2 percent from the previous year to RUB 275.4 billion ($4.8 billion). Net profit fell 41.1 percent to $1.4 billion. Company CEO Sergey Ivanov commented, ““Although production and sales volumes increased, ALROSA's 2017 financial results were affected by a number of macroeconomic and market factors, especially the stronger ruble and the product mix changes. However, our efforts to enhance operational efficiency proved successful and, despite higher production and sales volumes, helped us maintain per unit costs at the 2016 level.”
16 Mar
Kennady Diamonds' North project in Canada's Northwest Territories
De Beers Group today announced it has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its partner in the Gahcho Kué mine, Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. The MoU contemplates incorporating properties owned by Kennady Diamonds Inc. (Kennady Diamonds) into the Gahcho Kué joint venture, in the event that Mountain Province’s proposed acquisition of Kennady Diamonds is approved. Mountain Province and De Beers will now work towards a definitive agreement based on the MoU. De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter said, “We have been very pleased with the progress of our partnership with Mountain Province in the Gahcho Kué mine. Their proposed acquisition of Kennady Diamonds opens up some potential new...
16 Mar
ALROSA announced that it had sold at auction, rough diamonds worth $13.5 million and polished worth $2.8 million at the recent Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show that ran from February 27 to March 3. ALROSA’s rough sales arm, the United Selling Organization (USO) auctioned 112 large rough diamonds over 10.8 carats each, with the total weight of 1,787 carats. “The Hong Kong auction with 50 participating companies demonstrated that the demand for rough diamonds of this size category remains stable.The auction closed with good results, our expectations were justified," commented ALROSA Deputy CEO Yury Okoemov. Meanwhile, DIAMONDS ALROSA, ALROSA's polished sales division, which deals in stones over 1.8 carats, auctioned 67 polished diamonds with the total weight of 205.56...
15 Mar
The winning pieces, clockwise from top left: The Family Bond, Indian Amulet, Undulation and Forgotten Triumphs
Platinum Guild International (PGI) India teamed up with Anglo American Platinum in South Africa to launch the PLATAFRICA 2017 platinum jewellery design  and manufacturing competition with the theme of Bold Minimalism, aimed at Indian millennials. The four winners of the competition presented their creations along with their design philosophies to industry media on Wednesday in Mumbai. PGI said four design hooks were selected to allow designers to explore the properties of platinum to create statement pieces for the Indian millennials: New sculptural — artful, bold and assertive, multi-dimensional design. Linear constellations — complex lines of metal...
14 Mar
US jewellery retail giant Signet Jewelers Limited reported total sales of $6.3 billion for fiscal 2018, down $155.4 million or 2.4 percent compared to the previous year. Fourth quarter sales of $2.3 billion were 5.2 percent below the previous year. Guidance for fiscal 2019 is total sales of $5.9 billion-$6.1 billion and same store sales down low-to-mid single digits. The total sales decline in fiscal 2018 was driven by a decline in base same store sales, partially offset by benefit of the extra 14th retail-calendar week of sales worth $84.3 million, as well as the addition of R2Net (acquired in September 2017) which contributed $88.1 million in sales for the year. The group reported that same store sales declined 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.39 billion and fell by 5.3 percent...
14 Mar
All of India is now experiencing the fallout from the nearly $2 billion scam at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) perpetrated by diamantaires and jewellers Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country central bank, has now banned the issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Letters of Comfort (LoCs) by Indian banks. These instruments are issued by Indian banks to importers in order to enable them to get foreign exchange from banks overseas at a cheaper rate to the one offered in the domestic market. The move could impact companies that have a long working-capital cycle and could push up the overall cost of imports by half a percentage point. It also levels the playing field for foreign-owned banks which have hitherto been unable to compete on...
14 Mar
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) held an Executive Committee Meeting in Idar-Oberstein on Wednesday, discussing a wide variety of subjects including the World Diamond Council's proposed changes to its System of Warranties (SoW), nomenclature issues, Know Your Client (KYC), the proposed inclusion of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) into the WFDB, finance and the situation in India in the wake of the alleged fraud involving jeweller Nirav Modi.  "We held very frank discussions on a wide range of internal WFDB issues, as well as many pertaining to topics of critical importance to diamantaries in their daily work," said WFDB President Ernie Blom. "We have set up a small team which will review the proposed changes to the SoW and will have comments ready...
13 Mar
The Indian gem and jewellery industry has taken a double hit as first the State Bank of India (SBI), one of the largest diamond financing banks globally, tightened its lending norms to the industry by asking for more collateral, and then the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) disallowed the hedging of price risk in gold, gemstones and diamonds. Both developments are a result of the nearly $2 billion scam at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) perpetrated by diamantaires Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi. While SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar had stated last month that the banks exposure of ₹13,000 crore ($2 billion) to the gem and jewellery industry was less than 1 percent of its ₹16 lakh crore ($246.6 billion) dementing lending, the bank’s board nevertheless asked for the gaps in risk mitigation to be plugged...
12 Mar
Russian state-controlled diamond miner ALROSA announced that it had made an early repayment of $450 million in short-term bank debt with money from the sale of its gas assets in February this year. A loan of $250 million was repaid to Rosbank and another of $200 million to  Raiffeisenbank. Both loans were raised in December last year. ALROSA said that the repayments have reduced its debt by more than 27 percent to $1.17 billion. ALROSA Chief Financial Officer Alexey Philippovskiy stated, "As part of the efforts to improve liquidity management, ALROSA repaid short-term bank loans for a total of $450 million ahead of schedule. The resulting savings on interest payments would amount to $9 million, positively impacting ALROSA's financial performance in 2018.”
12 Mar
The six gold mining companies involved in a class action lawsuit by South African miners over fatal lung diseases brought about by their work in the mines, and the human rights lawyer representing the miners both say they are hopeful that a settlement can be reached within six weeks. Richard Spoor, the American lawyer who has previously beaten the big tobacco companies in the US and now represents the affected South African miners afflicted by the lung disease known as silicosis, said he was confident a settlement would be finalised within six weeks. A spokesman for the six gold miners — Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Anglo American — who have formed the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) working group to deal with the issue,...
09 Mar
Stephane Fischler
World Diamond Council (WDC) Acting President Stephane Fischler joined a renowned group of executives and dignitaries yesterday at a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event, discussing the Kimberley Process (KP) and strategies to advance its ongoing contributions toward peace, security and sustainable development in diamond mining communities. The event was held on March 7 at UN headquarters and was co-hosted by the governments of Australia and Botswana. This year marks the beginning of a pivotal period for the KP — a two-year review and reform process led by the European Union Chairmanship and ending during next year’s Indian Chairmanship in 2019.  The side event followed the adoption by the UNGA of a resolution titled The Role of...
09 Mar
Kimi Balsillie is an Environmental Officer at theGahcho Kué Diamond Mine
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) launched a content series about women working in the diamond industry, on its newest platform, Stories Behind the Brilliance of Diamonds to mark International Women’s Day on March 8. The series sheds new light on the positive impact the industry has on women around the world and includes personal accounts from individuals working at mine sites, jewellery manufacturers, jewellery designers, and retailers. “We launched this storytelling series on International Women’s Day to celebrate the professional, economic, social and cultural contributions and achievements of women in the diamond industry,” said DPA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Marquardt. “We...
08 Mar
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has teamed up with CARAT+ to host the Hack4Diamonds event from May 4 to 6 in Antwerp. The event will address contemporary challenges in the diamond industry by bringing together young innovators, students and start-ups with expertise in computer science, marketing, business management expertise, blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. “In order to stay ahead of global competition, it is also important that we engage with external businesses and professionals and listen to their insights and particular expertise,” said AWDC CEO Ari Epstein, adding, “this culture of co-creation, led by the inaugural Hack4Diamonds event in Antwerp, is what will truly spur innovation across our industry.”
08 Mar
London-listed Gem Diamonds has got off to a blazing start in 2018. The company announced on Wednesday that it had recovered a 152-carat, top white colour, Type IIa diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho — the sixth diamond over 100 carats recovered at the mine this year. The mine is known to produce large stones but Gem Diamonds only recovered five diamonds over 100 carats in 2016 and seven in 2017. Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has recovered five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds, making the mine the highest dollar-per-carat-of-kimberlite operation in the world. The mine is at an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, making it also the world’s highest diamond mine.

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