In September, De Beers’ Rough Sales Show Signs of Softening
Rough diamond sales totaled $500 million, up only about 2 percent year-over-year and down 22 percent from the previous sales cycle.
Sales to sightholders and auction customers totaled $500 million (a preliminary figure that’s normally later revised upward) in De Beers’ eighth sales cycle of the year, which spans the period of Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
That is only a slight increase from the $492 million recorded in cycle 8 2021, and down 22 percent when compared with sales cycle 7 2022 ($638 million).
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said sales were in line with expectations in what normally is a quieter time of year for the diamond industry. Polishing factories in India are preparing to shut down for the Diwali holiday, which starts on Oct. 24.
But he added that, “the steady overall demand for De Beers Group rough diamonds is reflected in the ongoing consumer demand for diamond jewelry ahead of the key holiday sales season in the U.S.”
While De Beers’ rough diamond sales continued to top last year’s results, they did show signs of softening in September-October.
The slowdown could be attributable to the upcoming holiday, as cited by Cleaver, but also could be an indicator of what a number of industry analysts, including Edahn Golan and Sherry Smith, have noted recently.
After a blockbuster couple of years, fine jewelry sales seem to be coming back down to Earth.
De Beers’ rough diamond sales grew less than 2 percent year-over-year in the eighth sales cycle.
That is a significant drop-off from the peak year-over-year growth of 57 percent recorded in May, which was followed by gains of 36 percent, 23 percent, and 21 percent in June, July, and August, respectively.
Year-to-date, however, the company remains well ahead of last year’s rough diamond sales total.
As of the eighth sales cycle of 2022, De Beers has sold $4.99 billion in rough diamonds compared with $4.06 billion at this time last year, an increase of 23 percent.
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