British PM: Koh-I-Noor Stays in London

We publish courtesy of: IDEX online

The 106 carat symbolic Koh-i-noor, will remain in the United Kingdom, says Prime Minister David Cameron. This despite requests to return the diamond to India.

The diamond is not only part of the royal diamond collection, it is a reminder of the days when the British Empire was so far reaching, that the sun never set on it. For Indians, however, the diamond is a symbol of colonial exploit.

The Koh-i-noor, or “Mountain of Light” in Farsi, was presented to QueenVictoria 160 years ago by the 11 year-old Maharaja of Punjab after his army was defeated by colonial British forces.

In an interview o on India’s NDTV channel Thursday, Cameron said that if the diamond will be returned, “you suddenly find the British Museum will be emptied.”

The Premier is heading to India next week to strengthen ties between the UK and India. The TV question and answer may not set the stage Cameron was hoping for.

Gold prices dip to three-month low

The following brief is published courtesy of: Diamond World

Buyer enthusiasm revived in India

Gold prices currently standing at Rs. 17,750 per 10 grams, the lowest since last three months, have been witnessing a downward trend since last week, in turn encouraging an increase in buyers. The signs of stability noted in the global economy has helped reduce gold prices.

Although the current prices are higher by 25 percent over last year, they have dropped considerably since prices in June which touched Rs.19,000 per10 grams, encouraging buyers.

Retailers who are attending to a large number of buyers even prior to the festive season that hits the markets two weeks from now in India, the largest consumer of gold, predict a good festive season sale this year, with healthy demand atleast upto Diwali. The fall in gold prices witnessed since last week has been the longest phase of lowered gold prices this year so far and as prices decrease, retailers continue their efforts to attract and more buyers.

Tussle over 840-pound emerald back in court

We publish courtesy of: National Jeweler

Los Angeles–The long-running dispute over who owns the 840-pound Bahia Emerald rough that was unearthed back in 2001 could be resolved by the end of the month.

The Bahia is said to be the world’s largest rough emerald.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Kronstadt heard arguments Monday from Anthony Thomas, one of the people laying claim to the massive gemstone, according to a press release from the law firm of Greene Broillet and Wheeler, which represents several of the other parties vying for legal ownership.

After hearing the arguments, the judge ordered the parties involved to return to court on July 30 at 8:30 a.m. According to the release, Kronstadt is expected to rule at that time and he won’t entertain any further legal briefs.

Pending the judge’s ruling, if there are any remaining adverse parties, the case likely will head to trial in September.

Multiple people claim ownership of the gemstone. According to an Associated Press report, it was discovered in Brazil and valued at $400 million and then traveled through New Orleans, Idaho and Las Vegas before being seized by authorities.

Thomas, a gem trader, claimed he is the rightful owner of the emerald because he purchased it for $60,000 from the Brazilians after it was first discovered back in 2001, media reports said.

Greene Broillet and Wheeler attorney Browne Green, who is representing another three of the parties involved in the dispute–Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong and Jerry Ferrara and their companies Market Link Inc. and FM Holdings Inc.–claims that in 2008, those parties obtained valid legal title to the boulder-sized stone. In the release, he and the parties’ other attorneys allege that they have an equitable claim to title as bona fide purchasers of the emerald because they paid seven figures for it.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department currently has custody of the disputed stone.

Firestone Diamonds – Kopane makes great fit

We publish courtesy of Mineweb

Firestone Diamonds is looking to become a much more significant player in the global diamond market with its proposed acquisition of Kopane Diamond

Author: Lawrence Williams


In a special presentation earlier today in London to investors and to Mineweb, Firestone Diamonds CEO Philip Kenny put forward his personal views, and those of his Board, on what he sees as a “Great deal for both companies”.  Firestone has marginally the smaller current market capitalisation so, in effect the proposed acquisition would be a reverse takeover with the smaller, but more proactive and quick-on-its-feet Firestone management taking the lead in the combined company.

There are some big contrasts between the two diamond companies.  Firestone is already a past producer and has just brought its BK11 diamond mine near Orapa in Botswana to production.  It also has other significant cashflow potential through tailings reprocessing deals on De Beers’ huge Jwaneng diamond mine tailings and with Namdeb and is negotiating other similar deals, and also has some great exploration and development potential on satellite diamond pipes in the Orapa area which it is planning to work in conjunction with BK 11, and then further down the road huge potential with the unexploited Tsabong diamond field in southern Botswana.

BK11, though, is a fairly small operation and in Kopane’s Liqhobong diamond pipe in Lesotho, which Kenny describes as world class, indeed the pipe is considered by Firestone to be “one of the most attractive undeveloped kimberlite resources in the world” with the third largest contained carat volume of any kimberlite and the fourth largest in tonnage terms.

Development of Liqhobong by Kopane came to a halt when the bottom dropped out of the diamond market in late 2008, and even with prices recovering more recently Kopane seems to have been unable to get the financial support to kick start the project again.  Firestone, on the other hand, feels that the time is right with rough diamond prices accelerating, and Firestone developing cashflow from its mining operations for a more aggressive small company to push things forward, while the larger combined market capitalisation of the merged company should give potential financiers more confidence to support the development of Liqhobong.

As is the pattern with its other developments, Firestone would have a much more ‘softly, softly’ approach to the Liqhobong operation.  Initially it would restart the existing satellite plant there which was already producing at the rate of 160,000 carats/year when operations were suspended in December 2008 because of low diamond prices.  At that time the plant was treating material from the smaller 1 hectare (2.47 acre) satellite pipe, together with some material from the much, much larger main pipe (8.6 hectares).  Firestone would mine another 2 million tonnes from the satellite pipe and then use the resulting pit for water storage, concentrating on the Main pipe which has an estimated resource of 90.6 million tonnes grading 34.3 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) for a total of 31.1 million carats.  Kenny reckons the combined entity has enough cash to be able to do this without having to raise capital.

With a definitive feasibility study near completion for a full scale operation, Firestone reckons it could build a full scale 4 million tonnes per year plant at Liqhhobong for around $100 million using refurbished equipment for the most part as it has done with BK11.  However Kenny stresses that a go ahead for the full-scale would not be made unless it was seen to generate a sufficient rate of return based on market conditions, cashflow from Firestone’s other operations and the satellite plant and cash in hand and available.

For Firestone shareholders Kenny reckons the combination of the two companies offers huge potential with estimated costs under its development scenario of revenues of $29/tonne mined and operating costs of $12/tonne.  In addition the Lesotho pipes tend to produce a number of large stones of exceptionally high value (Liqhobong has already shown this potential in the work to date) which ae not accounted for in the production/cost analyses.

For Kopane shareholders Kenny says the merger will give them exposure to a broad range of diamond projects and excellent exploration potential rather than being dependent on a single mine.  Firestone is already generating cash flow which will give the company a much firmer base to work from.

Kenny obviously has his eye on Firestone becoming the third significant  junior to mid-tier kimberlite based diamond miner after Petra and Gem Diamonds, and perhaps one day outgrowing them.  The industry remains dominated, though, by major players De Beers, Alrosa and the big diversifieds, Rio Tinto and BHP.

While the logistics of developing a diamond mine in mountainous Lesotho and flat lying Botswana are like cheese and chalk, Firestone management does have particular insights into Liqhobong as its chief operating officer, Tim Wilkes, worked on the mine in the past and has intimate knowledge of what is needed to reinstate and expand the mine and plant in the relatively hostile Lesotho mountain environment.

Kopane also has an exploration jv with Mantle Diamonds in Finland but, in answer to a question, Kenny said that the Finnish operations, as far as Firestone was concerned, were in the deal at no value and he seemed disinterested in continuing work there, effectively saying the combined company would be happy to dispose of the Finnish interest if an appropriate offer were to be made.

The acquisition still has to be approved by shareholders of both Firestone and Kopane.  Both are holding General Meetings in early September to approve, or reject, the deal and hope the acquisition will be completed by the end of that month

Tracking down blues

We publish courtesy of Color-n-Ice

It’s interesting to learn what trace elements create color in fancy color diamonds, but there’s also evidence supporting that certain locales tend to produce certain colors of natural diamonds.

Before diamonds were discovered in South Africa, the world’s only known source for diamonds was Golconda, India. And while blues were scarce as contrasted to the total output, India produced somejim dandy blue specimens. We’re talking the Tavernier Blue from 1642 or the Idol’s Eye. The famed blue Hope Diamond is agreed to have come from India owing to its age.

South Africa’s Premier Mine, opened in 1903, is famous for producing the world’s largest diamond, the gargantuan 3,106 carat Cullinandoorstop. But it has yielded numerous blue stones too along with other South African mines like Jagersfontein and Koffiefontein.

While there may not be much data showing correlation between geologic conditions and the blue colored crystals, it is captivating to consider why that part of the world produced more of these rare colored stones.

The Alisa Mousssaieff blue diamond shown here is emblematic of the renowned London jeweler’s elite stock. “These diamonds are so scarce” she underscored, “when one comes up for sale, you have to grab it.” Wouldn’t we all grab it —if we could!

GIA hosts career fair, Melo pearl lecture

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler

Carlsbad, Calif.–The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has announced plans to host a career fair at its Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters in October, and is also inviting the gemological community to attend a lecture on the much buzzed-about Melo pearl in Bangkok, Thailand, next week.

Details on each of the events are as follows:

GIA Career Fair

The GIA Jewelry Career Fair and Open House is scheduled to be held at the institute’s Carlsbad headquarters on Oct. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A key recruiting event for the industry, the fair boasts a varied agenda that will include panel discussions, career coaching, on-site recruiting, classroom workshops and exhibits.

The opening panel session, “Job Success in Today’s Market,” will include top industry executives offering their expertise on how to create a successful career path. The slate of panelists includes: Alan Bell, managing director of The Bell Group (Rio Grande); Douglas Kazanjian, chief executive officer of Kazanjian Bros; David Pomije, CEO of Top Hat; and Mark Smelzer, publisher of JCK magazine and Donna Baker, GIA president and CEO, is slated to moderate the session.

“The holiday season will soon be upon us, so this is an excellent opportunity for companies to find bright, well-educated and motivated individuals,” said Kathryn Kimmel, vice president, chief marketing pfficer and co-founder of GIA Career Fair. “Career Fair continues to draw a diversified pool of job seekers who are interested in a variety of industry careers, from sales associates and buyers to designers and bench jewelers.”

Additional sessions will include “From Design to Finish” and “Creative Careers.” In addition to one-on-one career coaching, attendees can also visit classroom workshops and check out gem and jewelry exhibits throughout the day.

Employers who would like to recruit at this year’s Career Fair may visit the online registration form, contact GIA’s Career Services office at (800) 421-7250, ext. 4093, or e-mail

Job seekers may call GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair hotline at (800) 421-7250, ext. 4100, or e-mail For more information, visit CareerFair.Gia.Edu.

Melo pearl lecture

GIA Thailand will host a pearl lecture, “Melo Reflections,” by Nicholas Sturman, GIA supervisor of pearl identification, on July 28 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Bangkok.

Addressing the “melo pearl phenomenon that has captured the attention of pearl connoisseurs around the globe,” Sturman will share information on all aspects of the pearl type, from its origins to the gemological characteristics that make the gem so sought after by collectors and dealers alike, a GIA release says.

Sturman, who boasts more than 22 years of experience in the detailed examination of pearls, obtained his Fellowship (FGA) and Diamond Membership (DGA) of The Gemmological Association of Great Britain and spent more than 16 years studying pearls in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where he was the gemological advisor to the Bahrain Government’s Gem and Pearl Testing Laboratory. He writes for various gemological publications and has given presentations in the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Thailand.

GIA Thailand’s Gemstone Gathering is a free event that will begin at 6 p.m. on July 28 in the Pacific Room 1-3 on the 21st floor of the Pan Pacific Bangkok Hotel.

Due to limited seating, those who hope to attend must RSVP  by July 27 to the GIA Laboratory Bangkok on the GIA Thailand campus by calling 02 237-9575 or  02 632-4090. Visit  and for more details.

GEMFIELDS PLC – July 2010 Auction Results and Operational Update

We  publish courtesy of

Jul. 28, 2010 (PR Newswire UK Disclose) -- Gemfields PLC
July 2010 Auction Results and Operational Update

London: Gemfields PLC ("Gemfields" or "the Company", Ticker "GEM") is pleased to present the results of its July 2010 rough emerald auction as well as an

operational update for the three month period ending 30 June 2010. All figures are unaudited. Highlights July 2010 rough emerald auction realises sales of USD 7.5 million, the highest auction revenue to date. Demand for Zambian emeralds, and more specifically Gemfields' Kagem emeralds, has seen a steady increase across all sectors over the past year. Per carat prices improved 83% over the last auction of higher quality material held in November 2009. Four auctions held since July 2009 generated revenues totalling USD 26.2 million. Quarter ending 30 June 2010 saw solid production volumes, good grades and the lowest quarterly unit production costs achieved to date. The year ending 30 June 2010 saw Kagem's operating costs fall 42%, with gemstone production down just 38%, representing real achieved economies of scale. Graphical production update available at

Emerald and Beryl Auctions
Gemfields held an auction of (predominantly higher quality) rough emeralds in London from 19 to 23 July 2010. The auction was attended by 37 companies drawn
from India, Israel, Germany and the United States. The auction saw 0.85 million carats offered, with 0.80 million carats being sold, raising USD 7.5 million.
Gemfields has now completed 4 auctions in the past 13 months, realising revenues totalling USD 26.2 million.
The results of the July 2010 auction are summarised below, together with those from the previously published auctions held in London, Johannesburg and Jaipur:

   AUCTION RESULTS      JULY '09     NOVEMBER '09     MARCH '10     JULY '10  
       SUMMARY          AUCTION         AUCTION        AUCTION      AUCTION   

Dates                  20-24 July   23-27 November   11-15 March   19-23 July 
                          2009           2009            2010         2010    

Location                London,      Johannesburg,     Jaipur,      London,   
                        England      South Africa       India       England   

Type                     Higher     Higher Quality      Lower        Higher   
                        Quality                        Quality      Quality   

Carats offered        1.36 million   1.12 million       28.90     0.85 million

Carats Sold           1.36 million   1.09 million       22.80     0.80 million

No. of companies           23             19              25           37     
placing bids                                                                  

Average no. of bids        10             13              8            18     
per lot                                                                       

No. of lots offered        27             19              56           27

Gareth Penny’s Legacy

We publish it courtesy of JCK

Author: Rob Bates

The upcoming departure of Gareth Penny from De Beers marks the end of an era in the diamond industry. Let’s call it the “post-cartel era.”

Penny announced he was resigning on Friday, on what seems to be his own accord.  De Beers spokespeople noted that he had said from the start that he wanted to serve five years as CEO (the title was formerly called managing director), and that runs out this year.

A lot will be said about Gareth’s record, pro and con. One thing is indisputable: He is, as an analyst said, a “pretty impressive character”; a former Rhodes Scholar, always well-spoken and incisive, he turned PowerPoint presentations into something of an art form. He was also more personable and approachable than prior De Beers executives — and far better on television. (Reporters seem to love him.)

Perhaps Penny’s greatest achievement occurred before he became CEO.  He was not a De Beers outsider; in fact, he was the godson of former chairman Julian Ogilvie Thompson, and worked for the company almost continuously after business school. But he clearly brought a new perspective.  As the overseer of the company’s “strategic review,” he helped introduce the 100-year-old cartel to concepts like social responsibility and legal compliance. All while still in his thirties.

When he finally became CEO, his record was, inevitably, mixed — and the jury is still out on the policy he was most associated with, “Supplier of Choice.” SoC did change the industry’s mind-set to become more marketing and consumer oriented. But it’s probably best known today for the huge amount of money sightholders spent on mostly failed brands and marketing projects.

Another signature initiative, settling De Beers’ legal problems in the U.S., has just hit a major roadblock, with an Appeals Court not approving part of its anti-trust settlement. It will be interesting to see if Penny’s departure causes De Beers to reconsider their support for this agreement.

The rest is a mixed bag. The company hasn’t made any significant new discoveries lately (though neither has anyone else.)  The “Forevermark” program hasn’t set the world on fire. De Beers also hired a lot of people from outside the industry — then had to let many of them go in its recent cutbacks.

Penny was an ambitious man who wanted to shape events, but his tenure was mostly shaped by them.  Once African governments began taking a fresh look at where their diamonds were going, the difficult task of keeping producer countries happy seemed to dominate Penny’s time.

And then there was the recession, which caused De Beers to experience some of the most serious financial problems in its history. In 2009, it was forced to borrow hundreds of millions from its producer partners. Yet, De Beers survived and now seems financially stable. That wasn’t always certain

Penny is leaving on a high note — De Beers’ most recent financial results were impressive, and there is once again talk (mostly denied) that the company will go public.

All in all, the company greatly benefited from having such a fresh and impressive thinker at its helm. Penny says he has no idea where he will go next, and I’m sure he has a world of opportunities open to him. But I hope he stays with diamonds. This industry could use a lot more like him.

Finally, the speculation about his replacement has begun — this article drops some names, including Jonathan Oppenheimer and current co-interim CEO Stuart Brown.  But recall, when Penny was appointed, South Africa’s deputy minerals and energy minister expressed“exasperation and disappointment that [De Beers] will replace one white managing director with another white managing director.”

A lot has changed since then, but it’s possible De Beers will be pressured to appoint a non-white CEO. Appointing someone from Botswana would send a pretty powerful message about where this industry is going, though obviously you want to get the right person for the position.

And so we are once again at a crossroads. So much of Gareth’s job at De Beers involved cleaning up the messes of the past. But the industry has just begun to look to its future.  Let the post-post-cartel age begin!

De Beers produces strong results; CEO resigns

We publish courtesy of: Mineweb

Author: Eric Onstad

In a surprise announcement on Friday, the Diamond producer said Gareth Penny advised the board that he believes it is an appropriate time to step down. The group also announced a surge in H1 profits.


De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, announced the departure of its chief executive in a surprise statement on Friday after reporting a surge in first-half net profit on the back of a rebound in demand.

The group also dampened speculation that had been swirling in recent months that the group’s three shareholders, including mining group Anglo American (AAL.L:Quote), were planning to relist the company.

Gareth Penny said he was stepping down because five years was a good time period for a CEO to be effective and he had long told De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer that was his intention, he told Reuters in an interview.

He planned to remain as CEO full-time through the current quarter and would work part-time in the fourth quarter as a replacement was sought both internally and externally.

“I think you have to signal this quite openly to the market that you’re going to engage in this sort of process otherwise the rumour mills just start,” he said.

Chief Financial Officer Stuart Brown and Chief Commercial Officer Bruce Cleaver will act as interim joint CEOs as Penny lessens his involvement.

“Gareth Penny thinking it is a good time to step down now strikes us as odd having just turned the company around and no doubt a few eyebrows will be raised,” Ambrian said in a note.

Penny, who has been with De Beers for 22 years, may have been blamed for the company being forced into a $1 billion rights issue finalised in February after debt piled up and revenues dried up during the global downturn, said another analyst who declined to be named.


Penny said De Beers’ owners were not working on putting the firm back on the stock market after the group scrapped a listing in Johannesburg and went private in 2001.

Sources close to the situation told Reuters in May that De Beers’ shareholders had been considering a possible re-listing, but felt the time was not right yet.

“Our shareholders have indicated no desire at all to IPO this business. There are not any plans being worked on and that is the bottom line,” Penny told Reuters, declining to comment on whether an initial public offering (IPO) was a future option.

De Beers is 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American (AGLJ.J: Quote), 40 percent by South Africa’s Oppenheimer family and 15 percent by the Botswana government.

The group posted a jump in first half net earnings after one-off items to $255 million from $3 million last year, which analysts said was higher than they forecast. Anglo said it will report an underlying profit of $148 million from De Beers.

“With the balance sheet repaired … rough (diamond) pricing back to pre-crash levels and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margins now above 25 percent, the company is no longer a problem child for Anglo,” Liberum Capital said in a note.

Net debt declined to $1.98 billion at the end of June from $3.2 billion at the end of last year.

Anglo shares gained 0.93 percent to 2500.5 pence by 1008 GMT, outperforming a 0.34 percent increase in the UK mining index .

De Beers rough diamond sales surged 84 percent to $2.6 billion and production more than doubled to 15.4 million carats.

Output in the second half would be similar to that in the first, bringing full year production to 30-32 million carats, up from 24.6 million in 2009, Penny said.

De Beers, which controls around 40 percent of the rough diamond market, was hit particularly hard during the global downturn as consumers shied away from luxury goods, forcing it to temporarily close mines in the early part of last year.

“While encouraged by the strengthening demand in H1, the global economic climate remains fragile especially in the important diamond markets of the U.S., Japan and Europe so we look to the remainder of 2010 with caution and measured optimism,” a company statement said.

The market has been buoyed by exceptionally strong demand from China and India while the key U.S. market was flat and accounted for 40 percent of the global market, down from 44 percent, Penny said. (Editing by Greg Mahlich, Sharon Lindores)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

Tanzanite firm reduces losses

The following report is published courtesy of East African Business Week

Author: Joseph Elinaza

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – TanzaniteOne, the largest tanzanite gemstones producer in the world, has reduced losses after tax by 71 per cent by cutting production to contain costs.

The company decided to cut production costs following the impact of global economic downturn on the global luxury goods sector.

Tanzanite is a precious stone used to manufacture jewelry although locals attach a lot of other psychic uses like bringing good luck to a baby.

The company closed 2009 financial year by posting an after tax loss of $2.5 million (or US 2.54 cents per share) compared to the loss of US$ 8.7 million (or US11.62 cents per share) in 2008.

The result for the year was heavily influenced by a significant reduction in sales revenue experienced during the period, which saw sales reduce by 54 per cent compared to the previous year (2008).

The 2009 financial results issued last month showed that the financial result was also adversely affected by the recognition of a provision of $1.0 million for missing tanzanite inventory in South Africa.

The company is currently pursuing insurance and legal channels to recover the loss.

The company’s South African office has since been closed.

Commenting on the results, Mr Bernard Olivier, Chief Executive Officer said due to the economic crisis in the latter half of 2008, the beginning of 2009 saw weak demand for luxury goods and very low gemstone prices.

“As 2009 progressed the Tanzanite price, as mirrored in the diamond industry, made a consistent recovery, a trend reflected in our ongoing sight results,” Olivier said.

In addition to improving prices, the CEO said, “Our work is optimizing and streamlining operations quickly to deliver tangible improvements to TanzaniteOne’s margins.”

Operational optimization resulted in a 19 % increase in recovery of tanzanite compared to our 2008 forecast and 45 % reduction in company operating costs.

TanzaniteOne said its priority is to continue to expand tanzanite production, with high-tech gemstone extraction operations, and achieve production target of 2.2 million carats for 2010.

The company is hopping to better its financial status through its new marketing initiatives targeting growth of the lighter and included material was launched with a target of opening up in new markets, thus expanding the tanzanite distribution.

“Cutting and polishing technologies have been implemented to realize the maximum value that these categories are able to deliver,” part of the financial statement indicates.

despite the losses the firm is still optimistic that the gemstone will attract a wider market since it can only be found in Tanzania. This alone would ensure it is highly competitive.