By Michelle Graff
De Beers’ rough diamond sales totaled $505 million in its most recent round of sightholder and auction sales, while rival Alrosa reported August sales of $294.9 million, a figure that includes rough and polished diamonds.
New York—The strongest demand for diamonds is coming from the top end of the market currently, with De Beers allowing sightholders to defer on lower-end goods.

The diamond miner and marketer’s most recent sightholder and auction sales totaled $505 million, slightly below the $507 million sold in the same period last year. (The $505 million, it should be noted, is a provisional figure that likely will be revised upward.)

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said at this most recent sight, the company gave sightholders the chance to “re-phase the allocation” of lower-value rough diamonds, meaning it let buyers put off on buying smaller stones for now.  

He described rough diamond demand as “stable” ahead of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which was held last week but cut one day short after Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into Hong Kong in the midst of the show.

The figure for sightholder and auction sales for the sixth sales cycle, released last month, was revised upward from $530 million to $533 million.

Alrosa, meanwhile, reported year-over-year increases in diamond sales for both the month of August and year-to-date.

The Moscow-based diamond miner sold $294.9 million in diamonds last month—$283.2 million in rough and $11.7 million in polished—a 14 percent year-over-year increase.

In January through August, Alrosa’s sales grew 9 percent year-over-year to $3.32 billion, $3.26 billion in rough and the remaining $67 million in polished.

Deputy CEO for Sales Yury Okoemov said demand for diamonds continues to be positive and is stable across Alrosa’s entire range of diamonds, with higher-priced rough diamonds performing best.
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He said the company maintains a “moderately positive” outlook for the remainder of 2018. Longer term, the growing demand for diamond jewelry in the world’s three main markets, the United States, China and India, will continue to support the industry, he said. 

Here is a chart showing the year-over-year comparison for De Beers’ rough diamond sales so far this year. The diamond miner and marketer’s 2018 sales are pacing about 2 percent behind last year’s at $3.93 billion to date.

                     2017          2018       
First sales cycle                   $729 million                         $672 million          
Second $553 million $563 million
Third $586 million  $524 million
Fourth $522 million $554 million 
Fifth $541 million  $581 million
Sixth $576 million $533 million 
Seventh $507 million $505 million (provisional)
Eighth $376 million
Ninth $466 million
Tenth $455 million

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