Alrosa’s rough diamond auction at HK realizes $10.2 million

We publish courtesy of Diamond World

Alrosa’s diamond auction at the Hong Kong Gem & Jewellery Fair has realized $10.2 million or sale of 81 lots of the 89 lots on offer. The auction comprised of special sized rough diamonds, in all totaling 1,605.54 carats. Of these three rough diamonds were larger than 50 carats each.

There was also an auction of polished diamonds, which achieved sales of 69 polished diamonds or 264.66 carats. The sales amounted to $3.3 million. In this sale, the lots that were unsold included 10 polished diamonds having a total weight of 21.34 carats.

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TanzaniteOne posts half-year profit, output up 21%

We publish courtesy of Mining Weekly

Author: Chanel de Bruyn

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Aim-listed TanzaniteOne produced 1,05-million carats of tanzanite in the first half of 2010, up 21% on the 867 381 ct produced in the first half of 2009.

The gem miner on Monday reported a return to profit, recording a $705 000 after-tax profit in the six months ended June 30, 2010, up from a net loss of $580 000 in the six months ended June 2009.

Revenues were up 74% to $8,6-million in the first half of this year, compared with the $4,9-million in revenues earned the year before.

The sale of 855 847 ct of rough tanzanite, at an average price of $8,07/ct, contributed $6,91-million to overall revenues for the six months.

The balance of the revenue was earned from the sale of cut stones, TanzaniteOne told shareholders in a statement, noting that its own cutting, polishing and sales division was providing a growing revenue stream.

Higher tanzanite prices and improvements in the quality and quantity of tanzanite production had also led to an improved gross margin for the company, the world’s largest miner of the rare gemstone reported.

Meanwhile, the gem miner noted that it was still negotiating with the government of Tanzania with regard to the development of domestic cutting operations, following a ban on the export of rough tanzanite larger than 5 ct implemented earlier this year.

In August, TanzaniteOne announced that it would be allowed to export all its rough tanzanite production, including stones larger than 5 ct, until December 31, while it evaluates the development of local cutting operations.

The company plans to expand its in-house cutting and training capabilities through existing relationships with overseas experts, in addition to entering into agreements with external beneficiation companies in Tanzania.

The company was targeting the production of 2,2-million carats of Tanzanite for the 2010 full year.

GIA officially opens Hong Kong lab

Senior Vice President of GIA Laboratory and Research Tom Moses, far right, gave attendees a tour of Gemological Institute of America's new Hong Kong lab during its formal opening ceremony on Sept 15. Image courtesy of GIA Hong Kong.

Hong Kong–The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) formally opened its Hong Kong laboratory with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by more than 125 industry leaders last week. It is GIA’s fifth international location.

GIA President and Chief Executive Officer Donna Baker remarked at the opening that GIA’s presence in the vibrant Hong Kong market is essential, noting that the GIA has operated a diamond and gemstone take-in facility in Hong Kong for four years and a Hong Kong school for nearly 20 years.

“Hong Kong is home to a thriving and sophisticated gem and jewelry industry,” Baker said, according to a news release. “Hundreds of students have successfully completed their Graduate Gemologist education programs with us and have created fulfilling careers in retail, manufacturing and design, among others. We believe our lab will make it even more convenient for those professionals to access our services and promulgate the international gemological standards GIA has established in its nearly 80-year history.”

Officiating at the opening were Lawrence Ma, founding chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong; Gregory So, undersecretary of Commerce and Economic Development for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; New World Group Chairman Cheng Yu Tung; Ephraim Zion, managing director of Dehres Ltd. and a member of the GIA board; Senior Vice President of GIA Laboratory and Research Tom Moses; Wai Man Cheng, director of the Hong Kong laboratory and Kathryn Kimmel, vice president and chief marketing officer of GIA.

During the ceremony, attendees toured the lab, which will offer on-site services for GIA Diamond Grading Reports and Diamond Dossiers, laser inscription and diamond sealing services.

The lab is located in Room 1411, New World Tower, 18 Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong.

De Beers branded diamond creeps closer to U.S.

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler

London—Forevermark, De Beers’ branded diamond that is available across Asia, will be making its way into the Western Hemisphere, the diamond giant announced Thursday.

After reaching $150 million in retail sales in its first 18 months on the market, Forevermark will be made available in Mexico and select Caribbean islands, as well as in India and Singapore, before the end of the year.

According to a media release from De Beers, Caribbean retailer Diamonds International will carry Forevermark diamonds and diamond jewelry in seven doors in the Caribbean and Mexico. Information on the locations of those seven doors was not immediately available.

The miner-turned-retailer is barred from selling the branded diamond in the United States due to antitrust laws, but now, De Beers will be making Forevermark available at jewelry stores where American tourists shop to take advantage of Diamonds International’s duty-free status.

Diamonds International, which bills itself as the “largest duty-free jeweler in the world,” operates more than 125 jewelry stores throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America and recently opened stores in Key West, Fla., Alaska and Las Vegas. The company’s corporate headquarters are in New York City.

In Singapore, Aspial and Lee Hwa stores will carry Forevermark, while in India, where the branded stone has had a presence at select private events since late 2009, De Beers is in talks with a number of retailers. De Beers plans to select authorized Forevermark dealers in India before the end of the year.

“We launched Forevermark a little more than two years ago with the goal of becoming the world’s leading diamond brand,” Forevermark Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lussier said in the release. “We wanted to develop a brand that not only defines quality and integrity within the diamond industry but that also inspires leading independents jewelry manufacturers and retailers to create precious and exciting diamond jewelry. We believe that growing into these new and vibrant markets is bringing us closer to realizing that goal.”

Each Forevermark diamond is inscribed with a unique identification number and the Forevermark logo and is graded at a Forevermark-specific lab. The minimum requirements for a Forevermark stone are 0.18 carats, SI2 clarity, J color and a cut rated “good.”

Diamonds Secretly Auctioned by Zimbabwe

We publish courtesy of Diamond Price Guide

Despite the fact that Zimbabwe’s diamond industry has been in the international spotlight for nearly a year now due to suspicions of foul-play, human rights abuses and diamond smuggling, the Mines Ministry is doing its best to sell its stones.

This weekend a secret auction of Zimbabwe diamonds from its controversial Marange fields took place at an undisclosed location in Harare from Septeber 9th to September 13th, 2010.  The auction was technically approved by the Kimberley Process (KP), the international diamond watchdog established to eradicate the trade of conflict diamonds and was supervised by Abby Chikane, a monitor from the KP.

Officials refused to disclose the quantity of diamonds auctioned to international buyers or the amount of money netted by the sale. “We will not be releasing the quantity or amount that was generated because these were private sales by private companies,” said Thankful Musukuta, Secretary for Mines.

“No other country in the world releases their sales figures or quantities.  When it comes to the issues of diamonds we must be careful as a country because of the sensitivity of the issues associated with them.”

Regardless of Zimbabwe’s desire to keep statistics of the sale hidden from the public, sources close to the sale told Rapaport News that nearly 500,000 carats of diamonds from the Marange mine were sold.

Despite the KPs approval and supervision, many critics of Zimbabwe’s diamond trade have voiced their suspicions about this recent secret diamond auction. Some have denounced the auction’s secrecy saying that the lack of transparency in the sale may be dangerous.  They believe that auctions such as these make it easy for international diamond traders to skirt laws against dealing with companies on the US and European Union (EU) sanctions list.

The American based Rapaport Diamond Trading Netword (RapNet) has already prohibited its members from trading stones mined from the controversial Marange diamond fields.

It was less than a year ago that the Kimberley Process suspended Zimbabwe’s privilege  to produce or sell diamonds from their Marange diamond fields when investigators discovered that soldiers managing the mines had beaten nearby residents and forced them to work in the diamond mine.

Although Zimbabwe’s KP suspension has since been lifted, the weekend sale was the second and last auction authorized by the KP until the organization completes a second investigation.  Further sales will be allowed if and only if investigators can confirm that the military has ceased to control the mines and has ended all human rights abuses in the Marange diamond fields near the Mozambican border.

Zimbabwe completed its first sale of diamonds from the Marange mines last month, auctioning off 900,000 carats and netting approximately $30 million, under supervision by the KP.  The next sale, pending the KP’s approval, is expected to be scheduled for October.

Zimbabwe claims that the military no longer runs the Marange diamond fields, reporting that field operations in those areas have been contracted to two small South African companies, Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners.  A third Chinese company has also been permitted to operate there.

Some Facts You Didn’t Know About Diamonds

We publish courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Blog

Author: Roe kalb

The word “diamond” comes from the Greek “adamas” – unbreakable or unconquerable. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth, but they are not indestructible. When a diamond is placed in a microwave and the temperature is raised to 1405 degrees F (763 C), the diamond will vaporize, leaving nothing but carbon dioxide residue.

Mines

Diamonds are reputed to be 58 times harder than the second-hardest mineral on earth – corundum – which forms rubies and sapphires. Despite many attempts to use different tools to cut diamonds, eventually people figured out that only a diamond could cut another diamond. Nevertheless, despite their hardness, diamonds are brittle and will shatter if struck with a hammer.
Diamonds are formed over a very long time. Diamond formation takes place some 150 kilometers deep in the earth’s crust over the course of a billion years. Volcanic eruptions force them to the planet’s surface in a type of rock called kimberlite.

Other diamonds are found in or by rivers (alluvial deposits) or even in the sea floor, as in off the coast of Namibia. The largest known diamond in the world is the Cullinan, which was found in South Africa and originally weighed 3000 carats.

Diamond Ring

The original rough Cullinan was three times larger than the world’s next-largest diamond, the Excelsior, which was also unearthed in South Africa.  Later, the Cullinan was cut into the 530.2-carat Great Star of Africa, the 317.4-carat Star of Africa, and several other diamonds, which are now part of the British crown jewels. The largest documented polished diamond is the Unnamed Brown, now known as the Golden Jubilee, which in its rough form weighed 700 carats and totaled 545 carats after being cut – a process that took three years.

The Centenary Diamond, another British crown jewel, also took three years to be cut. At a weight of 273.85 carats, it is reputed to be the largest flawless diamond.

Diamond

Not all diamonds are white. Impurities or exposure to certain elements during formation can give diamonds a blue, gray, orange, red, pink, yellow, green, or black color, with vivid blue, pink, and green being the rarest. While diamonds themselves are plentiful, only some 20% are rated gem-quality (appropriate for jewelry). The rest are used primarily in industry.

Progress has been made in developing synthetic diamonds. Under the recipe devised by scientist James Ballantyne Hannay, lithium is mixed with paraffin and bone oil, and then heated in iron tubes. Modern methods involve crystallizing carbon under immense pressure. Because synthetic diamonds are cheaper than natural diamonds, but not even industry experts can tell them apart, they are becoming a big business.

Diamonds are weighed differently from gold. The gold karat measurement indicates purity, whereas a diamond carat refers to weight, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. The term carat derives from the Arabic qirat (carob). In ancient times, gem traders would weigh stones against carob seeds because of the seed’s almost-perfect uniform size and weight.  The same carat measurement applies to both natural and synthetic diamonds.

Diamonds

The custom of wearing a diamond engagement ring on one’s fourth finger comes from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the “vein of love” ran directly between the fourth finger and the heart. And on the subject of diamond engagement rings, the tradition dates back to the Archduke Maximilian, who presented his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy, with a diamond betrothal ring.
The famous slogan “A Diamond is Forever” is often associated with diamonds. The ad campaign launched in 1947 to push diamonds to a wider consumer market. The strategy worked, and “A Diamond is Forever” was voted the best ad slogan of the 20th century.

Rio Tinto Debuts Argyle Pink Diamonds in China

We publish courtesy of Rapaport

Author: Avi Krawitz

Rio Tinto is showcasing its Argyle pink tender diamonds on mainland China for the first time, the company reported.

Jean-Marc Lieberherr, general manager for sales and marketing for Rio Tinto Diamonds, said the decision to present the goods in China was a reflection of the growing appreciation for rare colored diamond in the Chinese market.

The collection of 55 stones is available for viewing in China to a select group of diamantaires, collectors and connoisseurs.  Following its initial previews in Hong Kong and at the Australian pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in Shanghai and Beijing in partnership with Chinese retailer, Chow Tai Fook.

The highlight of this year’s tender is a round, 2.02 carat, brilliant fancy vivid pink diamond named Argyle Mystra (pictured). The 2010 collection is titled Earth Magic.

After China, the diamonds will be shipped to New York for viewing before returning to Australia in time for the bid deadline of October 26.