Details are now coming in on the recent De Beers price increase, which at least one sightholder described to me as the biggest since the go-go days of the early 1980s.
On some of the bigger goods, the increase may have been as high as 15 to 20%, all but wiping out the recent speculation-driven premiums, although is not clear whether this will increase polished prices.
What did annoy some is that the increase, while clearly weighted towards the biggest stones, also impacted many other categories that weren’t subject to speculation.
All this says some interesting things. First, it’s another, possibly worrisome, parallel between this current period and late 1970s/early 1980s. It’s also interesting that, back not so long ago, when De Beers was urging sightholders to market their diamonds, it was willing to let them have the premiums so they could invest the money in marketing programs. Now that marketing is being pushed down the priority list, De Beers no longer feels the need to let sightholders “keep” those profits.
And finally, the fact that De Beers is getting so much pressure from its producer partners is probably a factor as well.