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Archive for the 'Diamond News' Category

Famous Hope Spinel Gemstone Sells for $1.5 million

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Hope SpinelThe Hope Spinel sold recently for much more than expected. The 50.13 carat stone sold for a massive $1.5 million at a Bonham’s auction on the 24th September. For a spinel diamond this is a record and doubles the price per carat for a spinel set in 2013 at $16,000 per carat.

The Hope Spinel was a famous part of the Henry Philip Hope’s gem collection, previously sold in 1917 and is set in a 19th century gold and silver brooch flanked by smaller diamonds. This is the first time it has been available for auction for 98 years.

Jean Ghika, the director of jewellery for the UK and Europe for Bonhams said, “We are delighted with the price it has made. It was an exceptional gemstone with a priceless provenance. These pieces just don’t come to the open market often, and when they do, they are hotly contested. Bonhams is honored to have been chosen to handle the sale of such a unique and magnificent gem.”

Spinels have very similar refractive qualities to diamonds and garnets, according to the Gemological Institute of America, and they’re a fairly common occurrence in nature. Forbes notes that they are often mistaken for rubies.

Barber said the Hope Spinel’s “exceptional transparency, flawless cut, beautiful color and large size” classify the stone as an “exceptional treasure of nature.”

Henry Philip Hope, a rich and power merchant banker was the owner of the famous Hope Blue Diamond as well as several hundred other valuable gemstones. Moving to the UK from Amsterdam at the end of the 18th Century and potentially liable for death duties Hope gifted much of his collection to a nephew but this did not stop the 700 strong collection becoming the subject of a protracted legal battle.

As explained by Emily Barber, UK Jewellery Department Director at Bonhams auction house who sold the magnificent gemstone on September 24 as part of its London Fine Jewellery sale, explained: “Henry Philip Hope died in 1839 leaving a will but the collection of gems wasn’t mentioned anywhere – he was trying to avoid death duties and hoped it might be kept together.

“He didn’t have any children but he had three nephews and he secretly gifted the collection to one of them during his lifetime.

“After his death, two of his nephews believed they had been gifted the collection which caused ten years of very bitter and very public wrangling over who would inherit the collection.
“Eventually it was decided that the younger nephew Alexander Beresford-Hope would inherit the bulk of the collection. But his elder brother, Henry Thomas Hope, would retain eight of the most valuable stones, including the Hope Blue Diamond and the Hope Spinel.”

The jewels were inherited by his widow, Anne Adele On Henry Thomas’s death and their only daughter, married to a profligate and notorious gambler, the 6th Duke of Newcastle bequeathed the Hope Spinel to her second grandson, Henry Francis Pelham-Clinton, on condition he assume the Hope surname.

Emily Barber said: “He only really had a lifetime interest and would have needed a court order to sell it. But he was a gambler too and by the mid-1890s, Lord Francis Hope, as he was then known, was declared bankrupt, only nine years after receiving his colossal inheritance.”

“He went to court asking to sell some of the collection and he privately sold the Hope Blue Diamond to a dealer in 1901. That now resides in the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington.

“By 1917, all that remained of the Hope collections were finally dispersed at Christies and the Hope spinel was lot 35 in the sale of ‘The Hope Heirlooms’.
“The spinel was bought by a dealer - it went for £1,060, about £80,000 in today’s money – and it next turned up in the collection of Lady Mount Stephen, who was married to a Canadian philanthropist living in the UK.
“She was a close friend of Queen Mary – the Mount Stephens were very well connected to the British royal family – and gifted a diamond necklace to Queen Mary that Princess Margaret eventually wore on her wedding day.

“When her husband’s great niece was presented at court in the 1920s, she loaned her the Hope Spinel to wear. When Lady Mount Stephen died in 1933, the spinel went to her niece-by-marriage, Elsie Reford, who along with her husband, amassed one of the most important collections of art in Canada. The spinel was gifted to Elsie Refords’ granddaughter, who was also Lady Mount Stephen’s god daughter.
“It not only had the amazing provenance but it’s also an exceptional gemstone in its own right. It’s 50 carats and the actual stone is about two and half centimetres in diameter.
“We’ve had this spinel assessed by SSEF, a premier gemmological laboratory in Switzerland who have confirmed it is from these ancient mines and due to its exceptional transparency, flawless cut, beautiful colour and large size, it’s classed as an exceptional treasure of nature.

“Very large historical specimens were found in the ancient Kuh-i-Lal mines, in Tajikistan. These include the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Timur Ruby both in the Crown Jewels. Both are called rubies when in fact they are spinels.

“The mines are geographically difficult to get to and politically in the 20th century weren’t being used. That makes spinels like these exceptionally rare even without the provenance of the Hope Spinel. It’s a fabulous story; it’s always exciting to re-discover something that has been lost.

The Easter Bunny Strikes Again!

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Hatton Garden Safes

Over the quiet Easter break, a diamond heist worthy of an exciting movie, was carried out in the diamond centre of London’s Hatton Garden.

The vault at The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd building with millions of dollars in diamonds was broken into with heavy cutting equipment after the thieves tunnelled their way through a wall accessing a lift shaft and rappelling down to the basement vault. An estimate 370 million dollars’ worth of diamonds was removed at their leisure over four days.

This area of London carries the biggest concentration of diamonds in the UK and is a prime target for enterprising thieves.

Police are investigating although it is unlikely any or most of the diamonds will be recovered.

It is though that a hugh fire last week in London may have something to do with the heist.

According to John O’Connor, Former head of The Flying Squad said, “… he believed the blaze in Holborn may have been started by the same gang that raided Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd’s basement vault, just over half a mile away, over the Easter weekend.

He suggested that the power outage would have made the vault easier to access.

He told LBC radio: “(The police) may be connecting it to the underground fire at Holborn station which disabled all the electricity in that area for a period of time. I think that probably was deliberate. “I’ve never heard of an outage of electricity like that causing a fire that lasted as long as that. That seems to me as too much of a coincidence.” He suggested the power outage may have assisted in the heist.

Of course this is not the first diamond heist in the diamond district of London. In 1987 60 million dollars’ worth of diamonds was stolen.

Sources:
The Guardian
Diamond World

New Major Diamond Association Looming

Monday, March 9th, 2015

The major diamond industrial companies and miners are now getting together to formulate an association of diamond producers.

A meeting of eight representatives of the biggest diamond companies in the world meet just recently to form up an Industrial Diamond Association. The meeting was held in Rio Tinto’s London Headquarters and present were Industrial giants such as Anglo American P_Ls DeBeers, Russia’s Alrosa AO. Also present were Petra Diamonds Ltd., Gem Diamonds Ltd., Lucara Diamond Corp., Dominion Diamond Corp. and OAO Lukoil.
There has been no coordinated representation of the industry since the demise of the De Beers monopoly in 2004 and with the rise in manmade cheaper diamonds flooding the market the industry leaders feel this is a threat to their commerce.

According to a statement by Rio Tinto, “A meeting was held to assess the need for a producer association similar to other commodity-based organizations. The idea of the body is to promote the interests of diamond producers and the diamond sector more generally. We will continue the discussions with industry participants.”

It is expected the association will have an annual budget of 6 million dollars, no doubt supplied by the major participants.

The focus has been on manmade diamonds of late and William Lamb, the chief Executive of Lucara recently stated, “Synthetics pose one of the more noticeable threats,” He said that the rise of manmade stones was one of the topics discussed and a producers association would help to formalize an industry response to questions from consumers and investors on the issue.

“There was an agreement that it was time that we had something like this in place,” Lamb said.

Of concern is the practice of undisclosed mixing. This is where manmade stones are passed off as genuine diamonds and mixed in with genuine stones in a parcel. According to Bloomberg, The Times of India recently reported 110 manmade diamonds discovered in a parcel in the Indian city of Surat, the world’s biggest cutting center. The undisclosed mixing of diamonds has been discovered on several occasions in the nation with India’s Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council starting the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee to combat the issue.

The association will also work on the promotion of the industry and how to provide more information to consumers.

Diamond Bourse for Surat on its way

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Loose diamonds

12,000 diamond merchants, keen to be a part of the SDB have signed up for membership of the soon to be built Surat Diamond Bourse on a 100-acre or 15 million square feet area for trading, offices and admin facilities. Construction work is expected to begin soon on the 2000 acre Surat Dream City,to emulate the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

“The SDB will be run by a 31-member committee comprising leading diamond polishing and trading players. The company will be headed by Vallabhbhai Lakhani of Kiran Exports. Other leading diamantaires who are part of the committee include Govindbhai Dholakia from Shree Krishna Exports, Laljibhai Patel of Dharmanandan Diamonds and Sevantibhai Shah of Venus Jewel,” said Mathurbhai Savani, Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust.

He further added, “We are aiming to make SDB a world-class facility. All kinds of infrastructure will be provided to the diamantaires. Around 10,000 offices will be there and the project will take three years to complete.”

The SDB is registered with the government who are in the process of finalising the land for the exchange, Dinesh Navadiya, president of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), said recently “The new bourse will facilitate diamond trade in Surat (and) will take almost two years to complete,” he said. “The total investment will be around Rs 2,000 crore. Apart from global players, we have received 10,000 applications from the diamond trade from all over India.” Surat is a global hub for the trade in polished diamonds with the turnover pegged at Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Chandrakant Sanghavi, Gujarat regional director of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), explained that membership of the exchange does not mean Mumbai diamond traders who operate out of the Bharat Diamond Bourse have to move to Surat. “It is not mandatory. Whoever wants to shift to Surat can do it according to his own will. The exchange will help small and medium diamond units more, (those) who do not have the capability to set up shops in BDB,” said Sanghavi. “It has become difficult particularly for small diamantaires to operate from Mumbai. Even some of the employees are unwilling to work from Mumbai as the cost of living has skyrocketed. Moreover, Surat is the hub of polished diamonds, therefore there is a ready ecosystem available for us to function,” said Sanghavi.

The SDB, which is touted to be bigger than Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, is expected to create jobs for more than 20,000 to 30,000 people. SDB will make Surat the trading hub of polished diamonds whose turnover is pegged at Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The trading offices of all the big diamond companies will be based at the SDB and that assorting of the rough diamonds will be done in Mumbai. Close to 15,000 diamond traders, merchants and manufacturers are keen to set up shops in the proposed SDB.

References:
www.diamondworld.net//Content/Foundation-laying-ceremony-soon-for-Surat-Diamond-Bourse/11098
articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-11/news/52687117_1_surat-diamond-association-diamond-trade-small-and-medium-diamantaires
timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/Surat-Diamond-Bourse-inches-to-reality/articleshow/36946138.cms

Sotheby’s seeking a new CEO

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The CEO of Sotheby’s, William Ruprecht has resigned and will step down from the post as son as a successor has been found. Ruprecht, 58, has been the CEO and Chairman of Sotheby’s for 14 years and the decision is by a mutual agreement according to an announcement by Sotheby’s recently.

“The board is focused on ensuring a smooth transition that will facilitate Sotheby’s continued success,” Domenico De Sole, the board’s lead independent director who is heading the search committee, said in the statement. “We are moving with a sense of urgency but we will take the time we need to find the right leader for Sotheby’s.”

This follows a closed in fight with the billionaire investor Daniel Loeb over the past few months resulting in Loeb, Founder of Third Point LLC and two of his candidates were appointed to the Sotheby’s Board of Directors. Third Point is the third largest shareholder of Sotheby’s with over 6.5 million shares and a 9.64 percent holding.

It seems evident that major disagreements on policy direction are the reason for the abrupt change in leadership.

Sotheby’s are now actively seeking a replacement more in line with their Boards policy.

Shares, at the time of writing, sit at $42.95. A 9.4 percent risde after declining 10.7 percent this year.

Sotheby’s Important Jewels Auction

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Diamond at Sotheby's Auction

Early in 2015 Sotheby’s will have their Important Jewels Auction. This will be on the 05 February 2015 10:00 AM EST in New York. There will be two sessions, Session 1 at 10am and session 2 at 2pm.

According to Sotheby’s, “Spanning more than 100 years of jewelry design, the Important Jewels sale this February presents an appealing array of antique, art deco, retro and contemporary jewels made by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Tiffany & Co., JAR and more. With estimates from $5,000 collectors will discover classic diamond rings, colored stones and wearable jewels that will always be in style.”

Sotheby’s is an established auction house that deals in high valued items such as historical jewelry, old masters paintings and other treasures.

Other current Sotheby’s Auctions are:

December 2014
1 - 31 December 2014, Hong Kong
The Sotheby’s Diamonds Collection is available for purchase throughout the year at the Hong Kong salon. To schedule a private viewing, please call + 852 2822 8179.

1 - 31 December 2014, New York
The Sotheby’s Diamonds collection is available for purchase throughout the year at the New York Salon. To schedule a private viewing, please call +1 212 894 1400.

1 - 31 January 2015, Hong Kong
The Sotheby’s Diamonds Collection is available for purchase throughout the year at the Hong Kong salon. To schedule a private viewing, please call + 852 2822 8179.

1 - 31 January 2015, New York
The Sotheby’s Diamonds collection is available for purchase throughout the year at the New York Salon. To schedule a private viewing, please call +1 212 894 1400.

Gemfields unearths a 40 carat ruby

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

40 carat ruby

Gemfields, one of the leading suppliers of gemstones has just announced it has ‘unearthed an “exceptional” 40-carat ruby at its Montepuez mine’ in Mozambique.

Gemfields PLC, described as an AIM listed multinational natural resources company, specializes in high quality emeralds, amethysts and rubies from its mines on the African Continent.

The gemstone miner, who also owns the largest emerald mine in the world at Kagem, Zambia, stated it expected the ruby to be sold at auction in Singapore before the end of the year (2014).

Chief executive of Gemfields, Ian Harebottle, said: “As an African by birth and at heart, I am exceedingly proud that possibly one of the finest rubies to have been discovered in recent generations has been unearthed from African soil.”

Gemfields have been having problems with its Fabergé jewellery brand and hopes to turn Fabergé around to a profit status within two years. While Gemfields, under the leadership of Harebottle, has seen a satisfactory 50 percent increase in its valuation this year with its share price now valuing the company at $415 million, it is still haemorrhaging one million dollars a month from the Fabergé Brand. Gemfields had planned to increase the number of Fabergé outlets but will scale that back to 12 to 15 over the coming years.

“All things being equal, we should certainly be a $1 billion business in the next 18 months. At that stage we would move from the AIM market to (London’s) main board. And from there, who knows?” Harebottle said. “Within the next two to three years I might sit my guys down and say ’shall we buy De Beers’?”

De Beers, the world’s largest diamond miner by value, is currently majority owned by diversified miner Anglo American since they bought it several years ago, and is worth roughly $15 billion.

“There is nothing wrong with Anglo but it’s mostly an iron ore company … in gemstones it is about the right tonnes and about promotion,” Harebottle said.
“We don’t have to be as big as them to buy them. We just have to be going in the right direction and convince the shareholders that they would be better off with us.”

Gemfields PLC is an AIM-listed multinational natural resources company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, specialising in the mining, processing and sale of coloured gemstones, in particular emeralds and rubies.

Stock price: GEM (LON) 50.00 GBX 0.00 (0.00%) 26 Nov 5:21 pm GMT -

Relaxed Diamond Grading or a Billion Dollar Diamond Deception?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

DiamondMartin Rapaport The well-known diamond advocate and expert has just issued a statement expressing concern that the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) is ‘providing grading reports using GIA terminology while applying alternative standards that overstate diamond grades.’

In other words, providing grading reports using GIA grading terminology whilst, at the same time, applying a different grading standard that overstate diamond grades.

This would result in a diamond being sold for much more than its value and, according to Rapaport; there are a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds affected this way.

The Rapaport Group provides a broad range of added-value services to the diamond trade. These services include GIA LabDirect service that provides take-in and delivery window access to GIA diamond grading laboratories for clients in Israel, Belgium and India. Similar services are provided to HRD Antwerp. Rapaport has worked with GIA for over 20 years and has handled millions of GIA diamonds for clients.
Rapaport states in a recent press release that there has been a systematic over grading of a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds by the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) by promoting the diamonds as being graded according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) yet the grade is lower in either color or clarity.

This is illustrated by a recent law suit in which it was claimed that diamonds graded as G color were in fact M and N colors. EGLs explanation for this apparent deception was that “there is no single, international standard for diamond grading that has national or international status or acceptance.” It did not explain, however, why EGL promoted GIAs grading other than their own,

This appears to be a systematic deception practiced that has, so far included about a billion dollars’ worth of diamonds. When you consider hat the difference in grading can amount to a thousand or more dollars for the consumer, this is big biccies.

Diamonds are graded according to a set criterion known traditionally as the four Cs. Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight. Each affects the value and therefore the price of the diamond as it flows through from extraction to the consumer.

The color is divided into 13 colors or tints with pure white at the top of the range to a poor yellow being at the bottom. The Clarity of a diamond refers to the imperfections or lack of them to be found in a diamond. This is important for two reasons. The more imperfections a diamond has the less sparkle it will have and secondly it offers up the diamond more prone to fracturing. The Flawless commands the highest price. There can be marked difference in price of a thousand dollars or more between grades. More on the 4 C can be found at http://priceofdiamonds.org/4cs.shtml

EGL USA is one of the largest and oldest independent gemological institutions focusing on gemstone certification and research. Originally part of an international network founded in Europe in 1974, EGL USA opened its first U.S. lab in the heart of New York’s international diamond and jewellery district in 1977. Their website is www.eglusa.com More on EGL at http://priceofdiamonds.org/EGL-USA.shtml

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) was established in February the 15th 1931 by A jeweller, Robert and his wife Beatrice Shipley. The GIA is a non-profit organisation and is considered by many to be the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones and gems. The website is www.gia.edu/index.html. According to their website, when most jewelers knew little about the gems they traded, Robert Shipley decided to professionalize the industry through education, research, and gemological instrumentation. The Institute, initially based out of their home, offered mimeographed mail-order courses and provided gem-testing services using borrowed microscopes and other equipment. More on GIA at http://priceofdiamonds.org/gia.shtml

Rapaport is calling for recognition that it is an unfair trade practice to sell diamonds using GIA terminology while applying alternative grading standards that overstate the quality of a diamond. Also that over-graded diamonds be defined as diamonds graded using GIA terminology that, when verified by the GIA, are more than one color or one clarity grade lower than the original grade. And finally make suppliers responsible for what they sell and requiring them to provide a full refund in the event that they sell over-graded diamonds. Failure to provide the refund, or the continued sale of over-graded diamonds, should result in the member’s suspension.

Most Expensive Diamonds in the World

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Winston Blue
The most expensive diamond in the world was set when Petra Diamonds Limited announced that the 122.52 carat blue diamond recovered from the Cullinan mine in June this year was sold for USW27.6 million dollars recently. This is equivalent to $225.269 dollars per carat. The highest price on record however is the “Winston Blue”, a pear-shaped 13.22 carat stone and the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world, which was sold for US$23.8 million by Christie’s in May 2014, setting a world auction record of US$1.8 million per carat for a blue diamond. This sets apart blue diamonds as one of the most highly concentrated forms of wealth known to man, even more so thank the highly valued Pink Diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine.

The CEO of Petra Diamonds Ltd stated, “We are pleased to have concluded this arrangement which records an excellent sales value for the rough stone, and also gives Petra exposure to the uplift in value post beneficiation. We look forward to providing the market with further information on the stone’s journey at the appropriate time in the future.”

Blue diamonds are one of nature’s rarest diamonds. In fact they are so rare that there are no official statistics on their recovery, however the Cullinan mine in South Africa is known as the world’s most important source.

Located at the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountain range, 37 kilometres north-east of Pretoria in South Africa, Cullinan is one of the world’s most famous diamond mines.

Other blue diamonds obtained by Petra from the Cullinan mine since its acquisition in 2008 include:

A 39.9 carat diamond sold for US$8.8 million (or US$220,551 per carat) in 2008.
A 26.6 carat diamond which yielded a fancy vivid blue and internally flawless 7.0 carat polished stone. Sold for US$9.49 million (or US$1.35 million per carat) at a Sotheby’s auction in 2009, at the time this was the highest price per carat for any gemstone sold at auction and the highest price for a fancy vivid blue diamond sold at auction. It was subsequently named the ‘Star of Josephine’ by its new owner.
A 25.5 carat diamond which sold for US$16.9 million (or US$663,144 per carat) in 2013.
A 29.6 carat diamond which sold for US$25.6 million (or US$862,780 per carat) in February 2014.

The Cullinan mine acquired its name with the discovery of the Cullinan diamond in 1905, the largest rough gem diamond ever found at 3,106 carats. This iconic stone was cut into the two most important diamonds which form part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London - the First Star of Africa, which is mounted at the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre and which at 530 carats is the largest flawless cut diamond in the world, and the Second Star of Africa, a 317 carat polished diamond which forms the centrepiece of the Imperial State Crown.

Cullinan is renowned for being the world’s most important source of blue diamonds. It provided the collection of 11 rare blues displayed in 2000 at London’s Millennium Dome alongside the Millennium Star and which included the fancy vivid blue ‘Heart of Eternity’ (27 carats polished).

Reference:
otp.investis.com/clients/uk/petra_diamonds1/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=341&newsid=444853

Petra Diamonds’ Production and Revenue Up 17 Percent

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Petra Diamonds Limited has announced its Trading Update (unaudited) for the year ended 30 June 2014(the “Year” or “FY 2014”), ahead of its preliminary results for the Year (“Full Year Results”) which will be released on 22 September 2014

Production is up 17% to 3,110,823 carats (FY 2013: 2,668,305carats), above market guidance of 3 million carats (“Mcts”) and Revenue up 17% to US$472.6 million (FY 2013: US$402.7 million).
Costs remained well controlled despite the ongoing inflationary pressures experienced in the mining industry, specifically labour and electricity; further detail will be given in the Full Year Results announcement.
Capex of US$210.0 million (FY 2013: US$191.2 million), in accordance with the roll out of the Group’s expansion programmes.
Cash at bank of US$ 33.3 million (30 June 2013: US$26.2 million); this figure excludes debtors received shortly after year end of US$55.4 million (30 June 2013: US$74.8 million).
Net debt at 30 June 2014 of US$125.6 million (30 June 2013: US$120.8 million), in line with management’s expectations

A firmer diamond market was experienced in H2 FY 2014, with rough diamond prices achieved by Petra for FY 2014 either in line with or above guidance.

Recovery of an exceptional 122.5 carat blue diamond at the Cullinan mine in June 2014 , which the Company expects to sell in FY 2015
Johan Dippenaar, CEO of Petra Diamonds, commented: “FY 2014 has seen a further year of solid production and revenue growth, with the Group on track to reach annual production of circa 5 million carats by FY 2019. We have also recorded further progress with our expansion programmes, which remain on schedule and on budget. Petra has experienced a firmer diamond market during the second half of FY 2014 and the outlook remains positive due to constrained supply and a firm US market, as well as continued growth in emerging markets.

Ref: Petra Press release Extract. www.petradiamonds.com/~/media/Files/P/Petra-Diamonds/Attachments/pdf/financial-reports/2014/14-07-28%20-%20RIS%20-%20Trading%20Update.pdf

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