By Michelle Graff
An aerial shot of Alrosa’s Udachny underground diamond mine in Russia. Alrosa, De Beers and the Rapaport Group all issued updates on the diamond market last week.
New York--Diamond prices fluctuated little between August and September, the latest report from the Rapaport Group shows.

Prices for 1-carat, half-carat and 3-carat diamonds all dropped very slightly, 0.2 percent, while prices for 0.3-carat diamonds rose 0.3 percent month-over-month.

Year-to-date (Jan. 1 to Oct. 1), prices have dropped for 1-carat (down 2 percent) and 3-carat diamonds (10 percent) but are up 0.3 percent and 3.5 percent for 0.3-carat and 0.5-carat diamonds, respectively.

The Rapaport Monthly Report stated that the holiday season in the United States is “not expected to be stellar” due to cautious consumer spending among economic volatility and “political uncertainty,” a reference to the presidential election, which will be over in about a month.

The report also mentions the fact that industry’s “much-anticipated generic marketing campaigns” are not yet established enough to make a real difference; Stephen Lussier of De Beers and the Diamond Producers Association said as much last week when the DPA screened the first commercials for “Real is Rare.”

“The key is, it’s a first step in this journey,” he said, referencing the industry’s years-long effort to get a generic marketing campaign off the ground. “We’re not setting out to transform Christmas this year.”

Rapaport’s outlook differs from the forecasts released by the National Retail Federation and PricewaterhouseCoopers this week, and the projection made last month by Deloitte. All three are calling for a solid year-over-year increase in holiday sales.

De Beers & Alrosa Sales
Also last week, De Beers Group reported provisional results for the eighth sales cycle of the year, which ran from Sept. 6 to Oct. 3.

Preliminary results indicate that the diamond miner and marketer sold $485 million in rough diamonds to sightholders and via its auction platform.

CEO Bruce Cleaver said De Beers’ sales were slightly above expectations given the normal seasonal demand patterns, the shorter-than-normal period between sales cycles seven and eight, and the upcoming holidays at some of the world’s major diamond cutting centers, such as Diwali in India.

(A figure for a year-over-year comparison is not available, as this is the first year De Beers has been releasing cyclical sales results.)

The company also revised its provisional sales figure for sales cycle seven, from the $630 million figure shared last month up to a final of $639 million.

Here’s how De Beers’ rough diamond sales have tracked so far this year.

First sales cycle: $545 million
Second: $617 million
Third: $666 million
Fourth: $636 million
Fifth: $564 million
Sixth: $528 million
Seventh: $639 million
Eighth: $485 million (provisional)

Alrosa, too, issued a report on its sales results for September.

The Russian mining company said rough diamond sales totaled $435.1 million, while polished sales were $18.9 million, equaling total diamond sales of $454 million for the month.

Alrosa Vice President Yury Okoemov said the company saw “good demand” in all categories of rough and that sales were up “significantly” over September 2015, though the company did not provide a year-over-year figure for comparison.

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