DTC Approves 75 Sights

The Diamond Trading Company announced Monday that 75 companies have received sights and will be offered rough diamond supplies from DTC London and DTC South Africa. DTC will not release the list of names until March, but names of the winners and losers are being circulated throughout the industry.

Six companies, Stuller Inc., Premier Gem Corp., Eurostar Diamonds International, Julius Klein, Michael Werdiger, and the Rand Diamonds, which has a sight in conjunction with Tiffany & Co., confirmed to JCK they are on the list, said Rob Bates, JCK diamond editor, on his “Cutting Remarks” blog. The most complete unofficial list is on the Rapaport Web site.

Among the high-profile companies that did not receive a sight was U.K.-based Signet Group plc, which owns Sterling Jewelers Inc., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S., which applied for a sight for the first time, Cutting Remarks reports. It appears that Antwerp took a big hit, India did not do as well as expected by many in the industry, and New York companies largely survived the axe.

The contract period for the sights will run three years (2008-2011), DTC said. Of the 75 sightholders, six are new applicants qualifying for a DTC supply contract for the first time. These form part of a global network of 79 sightholders that will be receiving sights through wholly owned and joint-venture DTC operations around the world.

DTC said that this marks a transformation in the way the DTC’s rough diamonds are sold to clients globally, with new, independent joint-venture operations—DTC Botswana and Namibia Diamond Trading Company—selling rough diamonds to clients in Botswana and Namibia for the first time. During the previous contract period (2005-07), the DTC sold all of its rough diamonds to clients entirely through DTC London, which offered sights in London and Johannesburg.

“Throughout this process, we have been impressed by the expertise and high standards of applicant businesses, and we would like to thank all of them for their hard work and commitment” said Varda Shine, DTC managing director. “Competition for rough diamonds is now fiercer than ever, and we are confident that the diverse range of companies to which the DTC is able to offer supply are those best placed to add real value to the rough diamonds we sell.”

All applicants for the new sightholder contract have been through a criteria designed to identify those applicants that demonstrated excellence in their technical ability, their distribution and marketing ability, core strengths, financial transparency, and ethical accountability, DTC said in a statement.

“We are successfully implementing a new commercial strategy,” Shine said. “This involves restructuring our operations to help meet the wider economic goals of producer governments as well as providing our clients with the world’s best source of supply, supported by industry-leading intellectual property.”

“Each company will play an important role in meeting the changing needs of an evolving diamond market,” said Gareth Penny, De Beers managing director. “Building upon the significant achievements since 2000, the DTC and its sightholders will work in even closer partnership to help secure the long-term competitive advantage of diamonds over other luxury goods categories.”