THE SITUATION OF THE DIAMOND MARKET | EN

The natural diamond market is experiencing a rather dull period. The perspectives look hard. At the same time the demand for cut or synthetic stones is going through a new leap in the United States as well as in Asia. Decryption.

The forecasts for the future of the natural diamonds are rather gloomy. For a few years now already, some Iring of shortage has been noticed in the top of the range. The purchasing of some fantasy diamonds, coloured ones and more than 5-carat gems, requires patience and the prices are therefore consequently. At Sotheby's and Christie's, some rare stones can reach astronomical prices. In fact, the production of natural diamonds, according to the producers of synthesis precious stones, is expected to die out in 50 to 60 years' time.
 
As regards the world production of diamonds, it is established that over the last decades, no mines have been discovered. Currently the supply in small diamonds may be concerned and further more, the diamond market of the second half of 2012 has not been good at all. A slow down of the demand from China and India may even be noticed in this type of goods. Luckily, the DIC has reduced its production and adapted its prices slightly. Which is not the case for the gems in the new emerging countries such as Brazil, where a new class of the population is becoming, if not extremely rich, at least quite well off.
 
For several years already, the well-to-do Chinese class have been purchasing top of the range precious stones. This situation has largely made up for the slump down of the European market, faced with successive crises since the beginning of the millennium. The big producers have had to face this shortage of nice stones for several years: the mines are drying out, the discovery of new important mines has been on the down side since the 90s in Canada as well as elsewhere. The operation costs are sky high and the critical profitability threshold is drawing nearer. The prestigious Kimberley mine, discovered at the end of the XIXth century, is now defunct. It has been closed and converted into a tourist site.
 
Prospection is no longer an option for solitary seekers, walking over tens of square kilometres looking for satellite minerals. It is now carried out in a scientific way, with aircraft and airships, using as a measure the electromagnetic gravitation of the ground. Yet, in spite of such sophisticated means, no mine has come to light. The two main producers, Rio Tinto and BHP Billtion, do not consider diamonds as their jewels. The profits generated by the diamond sector are said to be only 2 %, which remains very low compared to the profits from their other activities such as copper, iron and especially gold or oil still. According to a report published by CNBCin March 2012, Rio Tinto is in favour of the company withdrawing from the diamond sector all together. The Oppenheimer family left, after having had ist main activity in diamonds for one century, and that is also worth pondering over.

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