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Picture: 123RF/MAKSIM SHBEKO
Picture: 123RF/MAKSIM SHBEKO

De Beers says sales in its fifth cycle of 2022 rose by more than a third compared to the previous year, driven by buoyant US demand for jewellery and the gradual reopening of retail outlets in Covid-19-hit China.

The world’s number one diamond producer by value, which is 85% owned by global resources company Anglo American, brought in $650m (R10.5bn) in its fifth cycle, up from $477m in the prior year, and from $604m in the fourth cycle. It is still below the $660m it booked in its first cycle of 2022.

De Beers holds 10 cycles a year, but the figures are provisional as the group has extended viewing of stones beyond its normal one week due to Covid-19-related restrictions on travel.

“Diamond jewellery demand continues to perform well in the key US market, and this was reinforced by positive sentiment following the influential JCK Las Vegas jewellery trade show held in mid-June,” CEO Bruce Cleaver said in a statement.

“The continued strength of US demand for diamond jewellery and the gradual reopening of retail outlets in China following Covid-19-related lockdowns have supported the sales momentum of De Beers Group’s rough diamonds in the fifth sales cycle of the year.”

De Beers has now sold a provisional $3.13bn so far in 2022, having sold $4.82bn in 2021 and $2.79bn in 2020.

De Beers is not the only precious stones group to report robust demand, with ruby and emerald miner Gemfields reporting recently that a ruby auction in Thailand in June brought in a record $95.6m, almost twice the result of an auction held at the same time three years ago.

This also followed a recent record set for an emerald auction in May, also in Thailand, which brought in $43.3m. Gemfields at the time described demand for its stones as “remarkable”.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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