De Beers Predicts Increase in U.S. Diamond Demand

Demand for diamond jewelry will rise in 2014, particularly in the United States, De Beers said in a statement included with parent company Anglo American’s financial results. 

The United States and Chinese markets will enjoy the most growth next year, it predicts, as America showed signs of a “generally strong holiday season” in 2013. India, however, continues to struggle; in 2013, it was the only market to not show growth, and the company expects rupee volatility to continue to depress sales this year. 

The predictions came as Anglo announced that De Beers contributed $1.003 billion in profit to its financial results. The company is 85 percent owned by Anglo, with the other 15 percent held by the government of Botswana. 

De Beers’ overall sales increased slightly to $6.4 billion, compared to $6.1 billion the year before. Its rough diamond price index rose 2 percent over 2013, with average realized rough diamond prices jumping 5 percent, driven by the product mix. Those increases occurred in the first six months. Weaker polished prices, high stock levels, and liquidity issues in the second half wiped out some of the gains from the first.

The release also hailed the “strong growth” of Forevermark, with the number of doors up 39 percent in 2012. De Beers Diamond Jewellers opened new stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong and franchise partnerships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Baku, Azerbaijan; Vancouver, Canada; and Kiev, Ukraine.

In a teleconference following the release of its financial results, CEO Philippe Mellier said that, while the company sells 10 percent of its production via e-auctions, it remains committed to its sightholder system. 

“Auctions are a very important tool for price discovery and to enable newcomers to have access to our product,” he said. “We still sell 90 percent of our production to sightholders, and that is not going to change.”

JCK News Director