But De Beers saw rough diamond sales stall as the COVID-19 crisis in India impacted manufacturing capacity.
An assortment of rough diamonds mined at De Beers’ Gahcho Kue mine in Canada. The company’s rough diamond sales declined in May when compared to April and May 2019. (Photo © De Beers Group, Credit: Ben Perry at Armoury Films) New York—The heads of the world’s largest diamond mining companies said demand for diamond jewelry remains strong, though De Beers Group noted a decline in rough sales due to the COVID-19 crisis in India.
Preliminary results released by De Beers this week show rough diamond sales totaled $380 million during its fourth sales cycle of the year, May 3-18.
That is down from the third sales cycle of 2021 (revised total of $450 million) and the fourth sales cycle of 2019, when rough diamond sales totaled $415 million.
(The same period in 2020 is not an apt comparison because of COVID-19. With the entire world in lockdown, De Beers combined sales cycles four and five last year and sold only $56 million in rough.)
CEO Bruce Cleaver said demand for diamond jewelry remains “robust” in the United States and China.
However, the brutal second wave of COVID-19 raging in India—the world’s largest diamond manufacturing hub—has impacted manufacturing capacity and, in turn, rough diamond demand during what is typically a slower season anyway, he said.
“Our thoughts are with all those in India as the country navigates the current challenges presented by the pandemic, reminding us that the road ahead remains uncertain and that we must continue to adopt a watchful approach,” he said.
In the month of April, Alrosa’s diamond sales totaled $401 million, including rough sales of $383 million and polished sales of $18 million.
That is up from $357 million in March, including $345 million in rough and $12 million in polished.
And it is a 26 percent increase compared to diamond sales of $318.7 million in April 2019.
(April 2020 diamond sales, rough and polished, totaled only $15.6 million. Alrosa said then that it “virtually stopped selling rough and polished diamonds” due to COVID-19 lockdowns.)
Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev also described diamond jewelry demand in key markets as “robust” and said stocks in the midstream remain “modest” while rough diamond supplies are low.
Commenting on Alrosa’s performance, he said, “Our April sales were well-supported by the successful results delivered by auctions of high-quality large rough, as well as by strong sales of polished diamonds.”