De Beer’s Diamond Sales Have Taken a Major Hit Recently

It’s no secret that diamond sales have recently been suffering due to factors such as declining interest from millennials. However, here’s more evidence—perhaps.

De Beers, the diamond mining giant that’s majority-owned by Anglo American, said on Tuesday that its eighth sale cycle for rough diamonds this year was worth just $370 million, down 29% from the $494 million value of the same sale cycle last year.

This is indeed the lowest value for a De Beers sale cycle since the company started publicizing such information at the start of 2016.

However, CEO Bruce Cleaver claimed that sales were “in line with expectations” as its eighth-cycle Sight sale—where customers inspect the rough diamonds before buying them—had this year clashed with the “closure of polishing factories in India and Israel for the observance of religious holidays.”

Cleaver also said this was a “seasonally slower time for rough diamond demand.” In addition, the $370 million figure is provisional.

Diamond sales figures such as these often depend on timing, particularly as De Beers has 10 sale cycles each year. The group’s seventh sale cycle this year also showed a year-on-year fall, but that was because the Indian festival of Diwali took place early this year, sucking demand into the preceding sixth cycle.

Indeed, De Beers issued a report last month that claimed demand for diamond jewellery was actually increasing, albeit very slightly. The company and others in the field have been making a concerted marketing effort to boost demand.

As for judging the success of that push, some more time may be necessary.

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