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Photo credit: Lucapa

Rough Diamond Sales Surge into April

April’s birthstone is diamond (lucky you, April babies!) and her majesty, Diamond, the queen of gemstones, is having a scintillating 2021 so far.

Photo credit: Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

Prices and Volume Keep Climbing

The Antwerp World Diamond Council (AWDC) released figures confirming trade in rough diamonds continues to climb. Rough trade in February 2021 actually surpassed February 2020’s figures (the last month before the pandemic outbreak). In terms of value, compared to February 2020, Antwerp’s rough exports rose 20% in value and rough imports rose 28% in value. In keeping with the information above, tender performances were uniformly reported as strong in terms of prices and fully booked appointments.

Rapaport reported prices at DeBeers’ sights continued to rise, heading into March. Enjoying a third consecutive price increase, sales of rough 1-2 carat sizes rose 2-4% and 5-10 carat stones were up a significant 10%. Alrosa’s sales of rough diamonds in January and February totaled $782 million, with an additional $21 million of polished diamonds sold for a tidy two month total of $802 million. The Russian miner added another $24 million in March, holding several special auctions related to their centennial anniversary. Just last week Lucapa announced the sale of a parcel of rough crystals for a total of $5.9million, including a 213ct white diamond and 11ct pink.

Photo credit: Lucapa

Online Auction Opportunities

On March 18 Grib Diamonds sold over 620,000 carats of production for over $50 million via online auction, following earlier spot viewings in Antwerp. Specials (individual crystals weighing more than 10.8 carats) and rough diamonds larger than 1.00 carat brought notably strong prices. Their auction model continues, with viewings for an end-April auction commencing on the 16th in Antwerp.

Alrosa, who adeptly shifted to digital rough sales prior to the pandemic, continues to enjoy digital auction revenue as well, selling $5.5 million online in March (included in their $24 million March total, reported above).

Image credit: ALROSA

Exceptional Stones Soar

Just two days ago First Element sold a 162.66ct exceptional stone from their South African alluvial production for a reported price of over $3 million.

Photo credit: First Element

Petra Diamonds sold a 299ct Type IIa colorless rough diamond in March. Recovered from the historic Cullinan mine, that single stone sold for $12.18 million, or $40,701 per carat. Alrosa’s March “Jubilee Auction” offered three large stones, weighing in at 242.31ct, 190.74ct and 136.21ct, which brought in $7.7 million by themselves.

Photo credit: ALROSA

Earlier this year Lucapa reported 4,676 carats of rough diamonds sold into Antwerp from their mine in Lesotho. The parcel, which commanded a record price of $1,198 per carat, also contained a number of larger diamonds, including a 101 carat D colored crystal. And let’s not forget that Lucara kicked off 2021 by unearthing a 341 carat white high quality diamond at their Karowe mine, sustaining a string of ongoing historic diamond finds there: in fact that diamond is the 54th diamond over 200 carats recovered by that operation since 2015.

Here’s hoping the trend continues. And to all my April babies – happy diamond month.

Angi Butler

Angi's first career was in diamond, gemstone and fashion jewelry sales. Now a corporate executive, she shares her advice and opinions on these pages.

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