Business World

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Diamonds in the rough: Gem stone buyers reject De Beers

Precious: Model Iman wearing diamonds by De Beers. Photo: Reuters
Precious: Model Iman wearing diamonds by De Beers. Photo: Reuters

Diamond buyers have taken the rare opportunity to reject stones from iconic supplier De Beers as the company offered almost unprecedented flexibility to ease a growing crisis.

De Beers sold just $280m (€252m) of diamonds this month, 44pc less than a year earlier. The only sale smaller in the last three years was in July, when many customers refused to buy amid concerns they couldn't make money on the rough diamonds. The Anglo-American unit's sales this year are down $1bn from the same time in 2018.

The mostly family-run businesses that cut, polish and trade the world's diamonds are battling to make a profit because of a surplus of polished stones and as demand for diamond jewelry stagnates. It has also become harder for these companies to access financing.

De Beers took the unusual step of offering concessions to its customers, known as sightholders, who are usually expected to accept the price and quantities they're offered.

Bloomberg

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