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The Year in Diamonds, Month by Month

December 27, 2022  |  Joshua Freedman

The weekly Rapaport Market Comments are some of the most popular articles on this site, summarizing the important news and trends in the diamond industry. As 2022 comes to an end, here are the key points we highlighted in a topsy-turvy year for traders.


  • Dealers returning from vacation confident that positive momentum will continue. Mood tempered by geopolitical tensions, stock market volatility and continued spread of Covid-19 Omicron strain.
  • Polished prices supported by good Nov.-Dec. jewelry sales, supply shortages and high rough prices.
  • Focus shifts back to online trading as rapid Omicron spread forces people to avoid offices and international travel.
  • Diamond market hot as De Beers raises rough prices an estimated 15% for small goods, 5% to 12% for 3-grainer and larger.
  • Alrosa Jan. prices +5% to +7%.
  • Mid-tier miners Grib and Mountain Province see strong Jan. gains.
  • High-end jewelry doing well.
  • Industry mourns passing of celebrated diamantaire Johnny Kneller.
  • Hong Kong retail weak due to lack of mainland tourist shoppers.
  • Forecast mixed for Feb. 1 Chinese New Year.
  • Tiffany & Co. executive Marc Jacheet to replace Stephen Lussier as CEO of De Beers brands.
  • European Banking Authority report highlights unfair treatment of diamond trade by lenders.


  • Shortages on secondary market driving “bren” premiums. Prices for smaller rough +5% at Feb. De Beers sight. Alrosa prices estimated +10% at Feb. sale.
  • Alrosa to buy from Gokhran Feb. sale to fill supply gaps.
  • US jewelry revenues +20% in Jan., according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.
  • Russia-Ukraine war shakes global markets.
  • Rising concerns about retail slowdown amid high inflation, geopolitical tensions and stock market volatility.
  • Miners pushing for more efficient supply chain; Alrosa reduces time between processing and sales by 15 to 25 days.


  • US sanctions Russia, including Alrosa and its CEO. Sanctions prohibit imports of Russian rough and polished but allow polished diamonds from Russian-mined rough if they were cut elsewhere.
  • Diamond market sluggish due to US economic caution and China Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Polished price decline fueling uncertainty. Buyers waiting for further decreases.
  • Suppliers willing to negotiate to raise liquidity and reduce inventory.
  • Split in Responsible Jewellery Council over Russia sanction policy; executive director Iris Van der Veken quits; Pandora and Richemont leave over Alrosa membership.
  • Signet, Tiffany & Co. halt trade in Russian-origin goods.
  • Melee and goods below 0.30 ct. weak. 1 ct. stable. Investment-quality diamonds waking up.
  • Alrosa shuts US office, resigns from boards of Responsible Jewellery Council, Natural Diamond Council and Diamonds Do Good.


  • US retail and high-end jewelry sales strong and supporting the trade.
  • Dealer caution stemming from inflation concerns, China Covid-19 lockdowns, and Russia-Ukraine war.
  • Alrosa cancels April tender as more banks refuse to facilitate payments.
  • US places Alrosa on OFAC Specially Designated Nationals list, blocking all US transactions with or benefiting the miner.
  • American Gem Society urges members not to buy Russian-sourced diamonds even if cut outside of Russia and to require suppliers to sign ethical pledge.
  • Alrosa suspension from Responsible Jewellery Council highlights market split in criteria for ethical sourcing. Kering withdraws from RJC; Bulgari steps down from board; John Hall appointed interim executive director.
  • Rapaport halts all activity with Russia and Belarus, introduces rough source disclosure on RapNet, launches new social responsibility website,
  • Expectations that Russian sanctions will lead to shortages, especially in smaller goods.
  • De Beers signs exploration deal in Angola.
  • Sotheby’s HK sells step-cut, 15.10 ct., fancy-vivid-blue De Beers diamond for $57.5M ($3.8M/ct.).
  • Steady US demand for 1 to 1.50 ct. sizes supporting the trade, but dealer prices continue to soften.


  • Polished trading sluggish but suppliers to large jewelry retail brands doing well.
  • Chinese buyers cautious amid slow retail sales.
  • Alrosa cancels rough sales, continues supplying Russia’s Gokhran.
  • High inflation, Russia supply constraints and Chinese Covid-19 restrictions fueling uncertainty.
  • Melee hot as lack of Alrosa supply creating shortages.
  • De Beers positioned to gain from Russian sanctions as May sales +57% to $604M.
  • De Beers scales up Tracr blockchain as crisis accelerates traceability efforts. Savvy dealers seeking ethically sourced goods.
  • Cutters and dealers with US clients separating Russian supply to meet American obligations.
  • RapNet bans diamonds sourced from Russia after Feb. 24, including polished manufactured outside Russia from Russian rough; introduces rough source field for polished.
  • Dealers unsure where market is headed and hope upcoming Las Vegas shows will provide clarity.
  • Manufacturing down due to Surat summer vacation and withdrawal of Alrosa rough.
  • India’s GJEPC presents plan to expand local lab-grown sector.


Sales-contract negotiations continued between De Beers and the government of Botswana, where the valuable Jwaneng mine is located. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)
  • Optimism for US market as Las Vegas shows demonstrate robust demand despite inflation concerns.
  • Recession fears grow after US GDP shrinks 1.6% in 1Q.
  • Polished prices declining amid weak economic outlook and rise in inventory.
  • Small rough strong; tender prices high as Russian sanctions leave supply gap. Some big cutters buying Alrosa goods.
  • De Beers raises prices of small rough amid strong demand, scarcities, and high premiums on secondary market.
  • Natural Diamond Council faces $31M shortfall in marketing budget following Alrosa withdrawal.
  • De Beers, Botswana extend current sales deal to June 2023.
  • China slowdown weighing on 0.30 ct. goods.
  • Excess inventory of less desirable goods; prices declining due to low demand.
  • Russian rough entering supply chain and may disrupt market balance. Alrosa reportedly maintaining production plan of 34M to 35M cts. for 2022.
  • Consumers purchasing diamonds as hedge against inflation and stock market slump.
  • GIA moving to digital-only reports by 2025 and planning to close Antwerp lab on July 31.
  • LVMH invests in lab-grown producer Lusix via $90M funding round.


  • Polished prices declining as demand drops and inventory rises.
  • US dealers resilient despite economic caution. Consumer confidence down in July amid inflation concerns and higher interest rates, Conference Board says. Fed raises rates 0.75%.
  • Rough premiums cool after strong 1H.
  • Cutters have reduced operations due to scarcities and lower polished demand; larger factories shifting between natural and lab-grown production based on availability and price trends.
  • GIA launches source verification service.
  • China’s economy slowing due to Covid-19 lockdowns, crackdown on private sector, real-estate crisis and social protests.
  • India raises goods and services tax on polished to 1.5%.


  • Far East quiet, particularly China, with reduced demand for 0.20 to 0.30 ct. sizes.
  • Primary rough supply expensive; premiums on secondary market declining.
  • Speculation that large manufacturers able to purchase Alrosa rough through non-dollar payment channels. Bloomberg reports Alrosa selling approximately $250M worth of rough a month.
  • Trading seasonally quiet during summer lull.
  • Increasing concern about impact of inflation and higher interest rates on mid-income consumers.
  • Signet Jewelers inks deal to buy Blue Nile for $360M.
  • Pandora to roll out lab-grown collection in US on Aug. 25.
  • IIJS show reflects upbeat Indian jewelry market and spurs optimism for Diwali.


Lily James succeeded Ana de Armas as the face of diamonds. (Natural Diamond Council)
  • Diamond trading quiet over Jewish holidays.
  • Dealers cautious due to market slowdown as polished prices continue to decline. US jewelers optimistic for 4Q.
  • Stock market slump and strong dollar affecting sentiment.
  • Singapore show opens to mixed expectations; Chinese buyers limited by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
  • Grib Diamonds cancels Oct. auction after bank blocks customer payments.
  • New Watch & Jewellery Initiative for sustainability gains nine members.
  • Luxury jewelry doing better than commercial qualities.
  • Polished prices declining as inventory climbs due to drop in sales.
  • Natural Diamond Council unveils “To Treasure, Now and Forever” campaign, names actress Lily James new ambassador.
  • IGI adds cut grade to fancy-shape grading reports.
  • Vipul Shah appointed GJEPC chairman.


  • Trading slow as India shuts for Diwali.
  • Polished prices continue to decline amid weak demand and rising inventory.
  • Dealers expect further price declines and lack urgency to buy.
  • US bridal and high end lifting the industry as early holiday shopping begins.
  • Jewelry outpacing other luxury sectors, says Mastercard.
  • China-Hong Kong trading slow, but retail improving, with lower gold price boosting FY2Q activity.
  • Sotheby’s HK sells cushion, 11.15 ct., fancy-vivid-pink Williamson Pink Star for $58M ($5.2M/ct.).
  • Antwerp dealers hoping for easier access to financial services after Belgium parliament approves new banking law.
  • Swarovski, Breitling, Zales expand lab-grown offerings.


  • Polished trading cautious as Indian suppliers return from Diwali break.
  • Jewelers optimistic ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. Mall-based stores discounting to compete with Black Friday online promotions.
  • Focus on memo as jewelers limit inventory during economic uncertainty.
  • Manufacturers cautious amid high polished inventory.
  • GemGenève signals optimism in high end.
  • China weak as pandemic lockdowns continue.
  • De Beers eases buyer terms at Nov. sight.
  • Sotheby’s Geneva totals $50M, but cushion, 5.53 ct., fancy-vivid-blue from De Beers collection fails to sell.
  • Synthetics growing, but prices continue to slide.
  • Blue Nile offering lab-grown bridal jewelry.


  • Major dealers satisfied with season.
  • NRF reports record foot traffic and digital sales over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Mastercard reports US jewelry sales -3.9% in Nov., but category well above pre-pandemic levels.
  • Economic caution fueling uncertainty about 2023.
  • Covid-19 outbreak in China shaking confidence ahead of Lunar New Year (Jan. 22).
  • De Beers extends sightholder contracts for a year due to market uncertainty, keeps prices stable at Dec. sight.
  • Some categories stabilizing; smalls stronger than larger certified goods.
  • Manufacturers reducing production due to high inventory.
  • Christie’s withdraws emerald-cut, 13.15 ct., fancy-vivid-pink, VVS1 stone from NY auction.

Main image: A diamond polisher at Alrosa. (Alrosa)


The Year in Diamonds, Month by Month

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