Diamond Shavings: Your Friday Web Roundup

We’ve actually got some very good comments this week. Check ‘em out …

Now the news …

Alarama purchased by Berkshire-Hathaway’s Richline Group. My thoughts.

Four Points goes chapter 11.

Fabrikant creditors get deal, and a whopping 7.5 cents on the dollar.

Rio Tinto rejects BHP takeover.

Media Watch:
This Reuters article on South Africa’s first black-owned diamond cutter has the “Indian sweatshops” line that provoked this commentary.  
– NPR’s Marketplace on diamond futures.
– Kimberley Process plenary reports: Financial Times, MSNBC video, NPR’s Marketplace, AP, Voice of America, Eupolotix.com, InterPress. Also: Communique (PDF), NGO statements.
Financial Week says jewelry manufacturing makes “subprime looks sublime.”
Contra Costa Times probes diamond psychology.
The Times talks to Clifford Elphick.
– This Wired post on Amazon and conflict diamonds piles on scoop after scoop of stupidity to form an incredible bulls—t sundae. You can spot the errors yourself, but it took me, oh, 30 seconds to find Amazon’s conflict diamond policy. I also think Wired might be the first media outlet to take the Conflict Free Diamond Council seriously; I am still amazed at this chart.
– The Columbus Dispatch on 47th Street.

Chaim on De Beers and its Best Practice Principles. Still mulling this. I usually agree with Chaim, and agree that De Beers’ reliance on its lawyers has probably made it a worse company in many ways, and that the BPP should be enforced strictly. However, perhaps because I come from the lawyer-intensive US of A, I do think people should be assumed innocent and you can’t judge someone guilty until they are convicted of a crime. In Jacob the Jeweler’s case, what he admitted to (providing false information) was something he did personally, which does not necessarily infect his whole business, as the other charges were dropped. (The sightholder in question, by the way, is DD Manufacturing.) Also, De Beers has pled guilty to some things itself.

Financial Roundup:
– Amazon’s 3Q diamond sales growing
– So are Blue Nile’s. (Assorted commentary, conference call.)
– Signet/Sterling: Sales, profits up.
– Zale’s 1Q: Sales, profits, down (not terribly).

 The Jericho mine in Canada is losing “a lot of money.” 

More speculation that Lazare Kaplan’s going private.

Congo Republic comes back to Kimberley Process. Taiwan now an observer.

“Affordable luxury” feels the pinch.

From the blog:
Sightholder List: Looks Like a “Bloodbath.”

Have a great weekend …

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JCK News Director