We publish courtesy of GIA’s Gems & Gemology EBrief
Author: Russell Shor
The Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair opened Sept. 14 with heavy traffic, high expectations and hard bargaining on prices.
Although China is the world’s fastest-growing market and largely unaffected by the world economic slump, buyers were cautious about prices, especially in the diamond pavilion, where considerable down-trading was evident.
Exhibitors at the Asia World Expo Center near the airport reported that demand was fairly strong for diamonds, but that buyers were looking mainly for middle- and lower-clarity goods — a clear break from the past, when they would rarely buy grades below VS1.
Even the rarefied world of top fancy-colored diamonds witnessed a cautious approach, as exhibitors reported that buyers have been bargaining hard on prices and then walking away (perhaps to return before the show ends).
“A lot of stones never make it to the (cutting) wheels today,” said one dealer. “This is the case with big stones and top qualities — D and E colors and high clarities — where prices may be better later on.”
Colored stones were also in demand, but again dealers reported that truly top goods were extremely hard to find because of a prevailing belief that prices will improve.
After several well-publicized thefts during the first day of the show — including a large diamond and an emerald necklace — organizers increased security, requiring buyers at the gemstone pavilion to provide a photo ID along with their show credentials.
Zimbabwe: In other news, Zimbabwe sold a second lot of diamonds from its controversial Marange deposit this week. Details about the prices paid or the quality of diamonds in the sale were not released by Insider press time. This sale follows the 900,000 carats sold at the August tender, which reportedly brought some $43 million.
The rough diamonds had been embargoed until last month, when Kimberley Process officials who investigated conditions at the four Marange mining areas issued a decision that KP requirements were being met.
Most of the buyers at the September sale were diamond manufacturers from India and rough brokers from Dubai.
An estimated four million carats are stockpiled at Marange, and new production could total several million carats a year.
Russell Shor, Senior Industry Analyst