Market Comment

August 17, 2023

News: Polished prices in decline. De Beers lets sightholders defer 1 ct. and larger rough to early 2024, as manufacturers have enough goods for the holidays. Shift to fancy shapes is raising production and inventories of cushions. Secondary rough market quiet during sight week. Alrosa 1H sales flat at $1.9B despite sanctions, profit -35% to $563M. Dealers in Belgium and Israel returning from vacation with low expectations for 2H. US inflation rises to 3.2% in July vs. 3% in June. Synthetics ruining demand for 1 to 2 ct. Wealthy buying beautiful fancy shapes and high jewelry with top-quality natural melee. Hong Kong preparing for September show amid soft Chinese sales. William Lamb to replace Eira Thomas as Lucara CEO.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market slower than before. Prices dropping, but less sharply than for rounds. Longer Ovals, Pears, Radiants and Cushions bringing higher prices than shorter stones. Goods with medium and short ratios weak. Prices of square Cushions weakening amid low demand and high inventories. Marquise prices holding up following drop in supply. 0.30 ct. doing well. Orders low for 0.70 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. VS-SI losing strength, except in 1.20 to 1.49 ct. Well-cut stones seeing shortages. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: 

Market split continues, with high end doing okay while middle-income spending stagnates. Synthetics creating deep concerns about replacement of natural diamonds, especially in round, 1 to 2 ct., G-J, SI1-I1 goods. Fancy shapes moving. Melee stable, with expensive material in strong demand and short supply.


Market quiet during summer vacation. Traders gradually returning to offices. Short week due to Assumption Day. Secondary rough market slow despite De Beers sight.


Activity increasing following summer slowdown. Dealers returning with low expectations for second half. Companies budgeting for further price drops but concerned that declines might exceed their projections. Trading focusing on fancies; rounds weak.


Strong domestic jewelry orders supporting trade. IIJS show a big success. Overseas demand for rounds weak, with prices continuing to fall. Manufacturers shifting to fancies in search of better sales; focus is on shorter shapes, as they require similar rough to rounds. Oversupply of cushions in market. Business stopped on Tuesday for Independence Day.

Hong Kong: 

Seasonal lull persists. Dealers returning ahead of Jewellery & Gem World Hong Kong show (Sept. 18 to 24). Traders hoping Chinese buyers will attend to replenish inventories after months of low sales. Local market supporting trade as mainland demand remains soft. Steady orders of 0.30 to 2 ct., D-J, VS-SI2, 3X diamonds.


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