Diamond companies that consistently win De Beers’ online rough auctions will now be invited to apply to become sightholders, the company announced.
Currently, both clients and non-clients can participate in the auctions, conducted by the company’s Diamdel subsidiary.
If the auction bidders do graduate to the company’s elite list, the new clients will be sightholders for the rest of the current contract period, which lasts until 2015.
The new policy should affect a “limited number” of auction buyers, says spokeswoman Lynnette Gould, and is not likely to mean that any existing sightholders will be dropped from the roster, although it’s possible that some may have their ITOs (intentions to offer) withdrawn.
The De Beers intention to offer is an annual agreement to supply clients with a specified range of goods, depending on availability.
It is also possible that certain sightholders may receive an additional ITO if they purchase that range consistently at auction.
Any auction winner who is invited to become a sightholder will be graded against the standard De Beers client criteria, including its Best Practice Principles. They must also score at least as well against those criteria as the lowest qualifying London sightholder did in 2011.