De Beers is piloting a program to have its rough diamonds cut and polished and then sell them via auction. The first sale of De Beers’ polished diamonds is scheduled to take place in June.
London--De Beers announced Thursday that it’s testing a program in which it will sell polished diamonds created from its own rough via auction.

Normally, the diamond miner and marketer sells rough diamonds only to sightholders and other diamond manufacturers that, in turn, cut and polish them.

But this June, De Beers is trying out a program where it will have a third-party independent contractor carry out cutting and polishing on its behalf (the company said it already does this sometimes to better understand if its rough is producing the kind of polished diamonds that clients need), and then put those polished diamonds up for offer at an auction scheduled for June 29.

The diamonds will have grading reports from both the Gemological Institute of America and the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), the lab that is owned by De Beers.

David Johnson, a De Beers spokesperson, told National Jeweler via email that the company is not disclosing how much volume in carat terms will be offered. It also is not elaborating on the quality of the polished diamonds that are being auctioned, saying only that “it will be a wide range as it reflects the full range of polished from our rough products,” he said.

All registered buyers of De Beers Auction Sales will be able to bid in the auction for the polished diamonds cut from the company’s rough. It is scheduled to take place June 29.

Neil Ventura, executive vice president of auction sales for the De Beers Group, said in a news release the company wants to test the level of demand for diamonds with a “clear and attractive source of origin” and with dual grading reports.

Ventura added that the auction also would generate an additional polished price reference for diamonds in U.S. dollars per carat--meaning a reference other than RapNet, the list currently maintained by Martin Rapaport and his Rapaport Group.

For information on how to register as a buyer for De Beers auctions, visit DeBeersGroup.com/auctionsales.

Johnson said more auctions of De Beers’ polished diamonds are scheduled beyond June 29. Details on those sales will be shared at a later date.

De Beers’ announcement that is piloting a polished sales program is the latest in a series of interesting initiatives from a company that had the same sales structure for decades.

Back in November, De Beers launched a pilot program that allows other companies to sell diamonds on its auction platform. Johnson said that program is ongoing but remains in the pilot stage.

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