Market Comment

February 23, 2023

News: Diamond market quiet due to US seasonal lull and gradual China recovery. Dealers hoping March Hong Kong show will signal release of pent-up Chinese demand. Pressure mounting to strengthen sanctions on Russian diamonds and include traceability requirements. Small polished stable, but manufacturing margins squeezed after De Beers raised prices for corresponding rough by average 10% at Feb. sight. De Beers 2022 revenue +18% to $6.6B, earnings +60% to $552M, average price +35% to $197/ct., price index +23%. Rio Tinto 2022 diamond sales +63% to $816M, earnings +53% to $151M. Dubai bolstering its position as rough trading center: 2022 rough imports +7% to $10.7B, exports +7% $13.9B.

Fancies: Fashion driving demand for elongated Ovals, Emeralds and Radiants. Goods with medium and short ratios are weak and declining in value. Slow market for 0.30 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. 1.25 ct. and larger, F-J, VS-SI categories stable. Supply shortages of well-cut fancies supporting prices. Oval is leading shape, followed by Radiant, Emerald, Pear, Cushion and Marquise. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: 

Gradual improvement in polished trading after slow January. Dealers struggling to buy in international markets due to low availability of fresh goods. Fancies doing better than rounds; elongated ovals are strongest shape. Round, 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, 3X diamonds weak despite relative popularity in engagement-ring segment. Melee stable.  


Market sluggish but better than a month ago. Dealers pinning hopes on Hong Kong show after China’s January border-opening stimulated trading in the region. Small goods steady, with solid sales of 0.50 to 0.90 ct., G-J, VS-SI dossiers. 1 ct. sluggish. Uncertainty in rough sector following De Beers price changes; some concerned that small polished not seeing same upward movement as corresponding rough.


Dealers cautious amid slow demand and declining prices. Some savvy companies reduced inventory in recent months, waiting for US market improvement before buying again. US demand seasonally quiet. High-end fancy-shape suppliers doing well. Mixed expectations for Hong Kong fair. Some anticipate more activity from Chinese buyers as year goes on.


Trade stable as manufacturers monitor recovery of US and Asia. Chinese dealers and retailers gradually increasing their purchases, supporting demand for 0.20 to 0.50 ct., D-K, IF-I1, 3X (no fluorescence) diamonds. Profit margins thin amid high rough prices on secondary market. Polished production below capacity; factories keeping workers busy with lab-grown or low-cost natural rough. Indian wedding season driving domestic jewelry sales. Industry looking to Hong Kong show as indicator of market direction.

Hong Kong: 

Sentiment improving across the region. Local dealers upbeat for March show, hoping mainland buyers will make purchases after months of slow movement. Steady appetite for 0.30 to 2 ct. diamonds as suppliers prepare for the fair. Retail seeing growth but still below pre-pandemic levels. Chinese consumer spending sluggish; gold selling better than diamonds.


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