Dealers Don’t Predict Big Diamond Price Drops

In spite of the soft diamond market, New York dealers interviewed by JCK don’t foresee big price drops, noting prices have stayed firm for desirable goods.

Last week, Martin Rapaport lowered the price of certain round and fancy shapes on his widely-watched price list. Rough prices also fell at last month’s tenders from BHP and Diamdel. And the market is generally described as weak, with demand slipping in both India and China, and steep drops in polished exports recorded by India, Israel, and Belgium.

But local dealers say that in-demand better quality goods remain hard to get, and their prices have not dropped.

“The market is certainly weaker than it was a few months ago,” says Stuart Samuels, president of DTC sightholder Premier Gem. “I don’t know if it’s a temporary thing, or just a summer thing. But there is still demand for certain diamonds when you have them and no one else does.”

Oren Sofer, a partner at Beny Sofer, says he doesn’t think that fancy prices will drop significantly.

“In terms of princess and cushions, in the most basic items I see the prices as very very firm,” he says. “I have spoken to about a half dozen of our vendors in India and Israel. No one lowered the prices just to follow Rapaport. So the discounts got less but the overall price stayed the same. No one was willing to lose money just because Rapaport lowered his prices.”

New York City dealer Elliot Krischer says that dealers will be watching this week’s rough tenders for clearer indications of the market. But he says there is still demand for “nice goods,” which he defnined as having excellent cuts and G-H-I colors.

“There has been a slight decrease in the rough market,” he says. “The demand is soft, but I just don’t see availability.”

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