By Michelle Graff
A rough diamond embedded in a piece of kimberlite shot in De Beers Group’s offices in London. The company reported another dip in results in its latest round of rough sales. (Photo courtesy De Beers. Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
Gaborone, Botswana—Rough diamond sales were down 44 percent in the latest sales cycle for De Beers Group, as the company continued to allow customers to put off purchases.

The company said Wednesday that sightholder and auction sales totaled $280 million in the seventh sales cycle of the year, compared with $503 million in the same period last year.

The 44 percent drop comes on the heels of a 53 percent decline in the sixth sales cycle and marked the second period in a row De Beers allowed customers to put off purchasing rough diamonds if they didn’t need them.

CEO Bruce Cleaver said Wednesday: “With midstream participants continuing to work down polished diamond inventory levels and reduced levels of manufacturing in the key cutting centers, De Beers Group provided customers with further supply flexibility during the seventh sales cycle of 2019.”
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To date this year, De Beers’ rough sales are off by a little over $1 billion.

According to figures provided by the company, rough diamonds sales have totaled $2.91 billion, down 26 percent from $3.93 billion at this point last year.

Here’s a chart detailing sales in 2018 vs. 2019.

       2018      2019    
First sales cycle                    $672 million                      $500 million        
Second $563 million $496 million
Third $524 million $581 million
Fourth $554 million $416 million
Fifth $581 million $391 million
Sixth $533 million $250 million
Seventh $503 million $280 million (provisional)         
Eighth $482 million
Ninth $442 million
Tenth $544 million

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