De Beers Announces Price Hike

De Beers announced a 3 percent price increase at its January sight, and sightholders said it will mostly affect bigger and better-quality stones. Prices could jump as much as 5 percent on the highest-quality and most sought-after rough, they said. Smaller goods appear to have received a lesser increase. De Beers spokeswoman Lynette Hori said the increase reflects supply and demand: "The first half of 2004 had shown good growth in retail sales of diamond jewelry across the consumer markets, with initial estimates of a 7 percent [gain]. In the third quarter, the overall world trend was up 3 to 4 percent in local currency value [5 percent in dollars]." She added that preliminary forecasts say diamond jewelry "outperformed the overall retail trend during Christmas." But some sightholders disagreed, complaining privately—which is the only way sightholders will complain these days—th

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