By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
The five blue diamonds recovered from the Cullinan Mine over the course of the same week in September are, from left to right, 9.61, 11.42, 17.57, 21.25, and 25.75 carats. (Photo courtesy of Petra Diamonds)
London—De Beers Group and Diacore are partnering to buy the five blue diamonds recovered from South Africa’s Cullinan Mine in the same week earlier this year.

De Beers and the diamond manufacturer are paying $40.36 million, split equally between the two companies, for the collection, which totals 85.62 carats and ranges in size from about 10 to 26 carats.

Two natural color diamond experts, Joseph Namdar of Namdar Inc. and Eden Rachminov, said they cannot comment on the purchase price until the diamonds are polished and graded.

“I can tell you with absolute certainty, however, that the buyers are counting on the diamonds being graded as fancy vivid blue,” Namdar said. “Even if they are all graded intense blue, I don’t believe they (De Beers and Diacore) will cover their investment.”

Rachminov, chairman of the board of the Fancy Color Research Foundation, which collects and analyzes wholesale and retail data on fancy color diamonds, called the purchase of the five blue diamonds a “smart move.”

“Generally speaking, any rare fancy color diamond is considered to be a safe purchase these days as the supply diminishes year after year,” he said.

“We also see that fancy color diamond producing mines are slowly closing, such as the Argyle mine, and other mines’ futures, such as Petra (Cullinan) in South Africa and Dominion (Ekati) in Canada, are not clear.”

The diamonds (which can be seen below in the slideshow, in ascending order of size) are: 9.61, 11.42, 17.57, 21.25, and 25.75 carats.


De Beers and Diacore said in the news release on the purchase of the diamonds they will select
“expert craftsmen” to study and cut the diamonds.


Petra announced it was selling the five blue diamonds via tender about a month ago, immediately after the financially troubled miner handed itself over to lenders in a debt-for-equity restructuring deal.

The diamond miner is also dealing with allegations that security employees and contractors at the Williamson mine in Tanzania beat and shot at artisanal miners who trespassed on the site, killing at least seven of them. Petra owns a 75 percent stake in the mine; the government of Tanzania owns the other 25 percent.

Leigh Day, the same U.K. law firm that sued Gemfields over human rights abuses at its ruby mine in Mozambique, has filed a claim against Petra in the High Court in London on behalf of 35 Tanzanians who live near the mine and claim they, or their family members, were abused by the mine’s security forces.


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