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De Beers Lifts Prices of Its Smallest Rough Diamonds

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JOSHUA FREEDMAN • 07-03-2023

De Beers has increased prices of small rough diamonds for the second consecutive sight, as a combination of demand and supply factors has created a hot market for the category.

Prices for tiny stones rose by around 10% on average at this week’s trading session, with sharper advances in certain segments, customers and insiders estimated Monday. The changes were mainly for minus-7 sieve sizes, which weigh about 0.03 carats, across a range of qualities. De Beers declined to comment.

The February sale runs this week from Monday to Friday in Gaborone, Botswana.

Rough under 0.75 carats became a sought-after asset in the second half of 2022 as melee demand from luxury brands strengthened and Indian manufacturers needed cheaper material to fill factories amid thin profit margins. In addition, Western sanctions on Russian diamonds created a mixture of real and perceived shortages in those sizes, for which Alrosa is the biggest supplier. The trade is watching for potential further restrictions as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches.

“Are people preempting what the [new] measures might be on Russia? [The strong market] might have to do with that,” a rough-market participant told Rapaport News on condition of anonymity.

Last year, De Beers made only modest increases in the prices of smalls, even when the segment saw robust demand, a sightholder explained on condition of anonymity. The miner raised prices at last month’s sight by approximately 10% — alongside decreases in the slower, larger goods.

The fresh hikes caught many dealers by surprise, as they were expecting De Beers to monitor the Chinese recovery before making further price adjustments.

Image: Small rough diamonds. (Shutterstock)

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