New York—Consumer demand for diamond jewelry remains high and continues to fuel upstream sales of rough, the latest results from De Beers Group and Alrosa show.
De Beers Group expressed cautious optimism about the coming months, noting the potential risk the ongoing pandemic poses, while Alrosa said it faced supply issues in August, needing more rough than it had available to sell.
For De Beers, sightholder and auction sales for the seventh sales cycle of the year (Aug. 23-Sept. 7) totaled $515 million, essentially flat over the sixth sales cycle’s revised total of $514 million, and up 54 percent compared with a year ago ($334 million).
When compared with roughly the same period in 2019, pre-pandemic but a difficult year for the diamond industry, De Beers’ sales are up 78 percent, $515 million vs. $287 million.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said demand for rough diamonds remains solid due to continued strength in diamond jewelry sales in its two key markets, the United States and China.
“The midstream’s optimism for the remainder of the year was also evident at the recent JCK Las Vegas trade show, which was a success despite being held under challenging circumstances,” he said.
“As we now head towards a traditionally slower period for rough diamond sales, we remain cognizant of the risks to economic recovery from the global pandemic.”
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Alrosa’s sales slowed in August as it grappled with supply issues.
Sales of rough and polished diamonds totaled $306 million in the month, $297 million in rough and $10 million in polished.
That is down from $334 million in July, but up 41 percent from $216.7 million in August 2020 and a 68 percent increase from $181.8 million in August 2019.
Alrosa’s rough and polished diamond sales through the first eight months of 2021 are nearing $3.0 billion, topping both 2020 ($1.24 billion) and 2019 ($2.16 billion).
“This year demand for rough diamonds remained strong despite the traditional summer slowdown at cutters and polishers,” said Alrosa Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev.
However, the miner’s total sales in August were lower because it did not have enough rough available for sale, due in part to disruptions in mining operations caused by COVID-19.
The gap in production was partially offset by Alrosa taking the unusual step of buying diamonds at an auction held by Gokhran, the state-run gem repository, in July.
“Going forward, we expect our supply of rough diamonds to stabilize as production recovers, enabling us to benefit from favorable market conditions,” Agureev said. “At the same time, the robust demand from end consumers combined with the persistent shortage of rough diamonds will support positive price dynamics.”