By Brecken Branstrator

London--For the first time this year, rough diamond sales were down for De Beers.  

The miner and marketer said Tuesday that preliminary results indicated rough diamond sales totaled $630 million in the fourth sales cycle of the year, down from the revised $666 million total reported in the third cycle.

Results from the fourth sales cycle, which ran up to May 23, include auction sales as well as the sight De Beers held from May 16 to 20 in Gaborone, Botswana.

Since it began disclosing rough diamond sales data on a cycle-by-cycle basis at the beginning of this year--a move designed to increase transparency so the market doesn’t “rely on rumors” when it comes to rough diamond prices--De Beers has reported consistent rough sales increases, though the fourth sales-cycle slowdown is not entirely unexpected. It is a period of the year when rough diamonds sales historically have been lower.

In its first sales cycle of the year, the company said rough diamond sales totaled $545 million in January after a positive holiday season. This was followed by another bump to $617 million in the second sales cycle.

De Beers holds 10 sights throughout the year.

“As normal seasonal trends return to the market, we are encouraged by the continued stability of demand for rough diamonds shown in the fourth sales cycle of 2016,” De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier said.

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