Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY
Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY

De Beers, one of the world’s largest diamond producers,  saw rough diamond sales surge as the jewelers prepare for the end-of-year holiday season. 

Anglo American’s rough diamond sales value for De Beers’ eighth sales cycle of 2020 (spanning from September 21 to October 9) amounted to a provisional $467m (R7.7bn), up 40% from $334m recorded in the previous cycle and 57% higher than the $297m recorded for the comparative period last year. 

Its marked improvement since March this year when De Beers’ diamond sales dissipated as production virtually disappeared amid the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns. 

“We continue to see a steady improvement in demand for rough diamonds in the eighth sales cycle of the year, with cutters and polishers increasing their purchases as retail orders come through ahead of the key holiday season,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, which is 85% owned by global resources company Anglo American.

“It’s encouraging to see these demand trends, but these are still early days and there is a long way to go before we can be sure of a sustained recovery in trading conditions.”

Head of strategic communications at De Beers Group David Johnson, said some of the factors that supported rough diamond demand include, “improving retail demand for diamond jewellery in key consumer markets, low levels of existing pipeline inventory, the gradual increase in capacity in the cutting and polishing sector, and the indication from consumer research that diamonds will have a key role to play this holiday season due to the desire for people to buy meaningful gifts and to connect with loved ones following the experience of Covid-19”.

He, however, cautioned against comparing the figures with last year’s, given how atypical 2020 has been as a result of the pandemic.

De Beers said that, owing to the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe, it had also continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the eighth sales cycle, and extended the “sight event” beyond its normal week-long duration. 

A sight event is a sales event where authorised buyers are able to inspect diamonds ahead of purchase. 

De Beers said the rough diamond sales figure was provisional and remains subject to adjustment based on completed sales.

steynl@businesslive.co.za

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.