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Weekly Digest: Polished prices, Art Deco delights and the reign of Kashmir sapphires

03/05/2018

In our weekly summary of the biggest news from the international diamond and diamond jewellery industries, the London Diamond Bourse, Gem Diamonds and Lucara make new appointments, the latest RapNet Diamond Index shows steady polished prices, and Colombian emerald cabochons dazzle with diamonds at auction. 

Diamond prices stable amid slow April trading

The diamond market was seasonally quiet in April as dealers took vacation over the Passover and Easter holidays, the Rapaport Group reported.

Polished prices were steady, with manufacturers protecting their profit margins against recent increases in rough diamond prices. 
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds was flat in April. RAPI for 0.30-carat stones declined 0.6%, while RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds rose 0.2%. 

RAPI for 3-carat diamonds slid 0.2%. 1-carat RAPI increased 2.8% in the first four months of the year, but was 1.3% lower than a year ago, Rapaport said.

Related News: Rough diamond market showing signs of recovery

Emerald jewellery smashes estimates in Bonhams sale

Three Art Deco emerald and diamond jewellery pieces, attributed to British designer Hennell, smashed their pre-sale estimates after a bidding war in a Bonhams London auction on April 25, eventually selling for a total of GBP £1.93 million.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Hennell was known for offering its clientele jewels of superlative quality, rivalling the offerings of the best French houses.

An Art Deco emerald and diamond dress ring by Hennell. The magnificent emerald, weighing 9.28 carats, is of Colombian origin and is cut as a polished sugarloaf cabochon. The gem is offset by the ring's refined gallery and shoulders that are a jigsaw of trapezoid, baguette, tapered baguette and square-cut diamonds.

All three pieces exceeded their pre-sale estimates, Bonhams said. The first, an emerald and diamond pendant-necklace, sold for GBP £1.33 million, far exceeding its estimate of £150,000 - £200,000. 

Related News: CARAT+ to impress with new Coloured Gemstones Sector at 2018 edition

The second lot, an emerald and diamond dress ring, sold for £368,750, beating its estimate of £150,000 - £250,000.

The third piece, a diamond clip brooch, sold for £230,750, against its estimate of £100,000 - £150,000.

 
The 1930s emerald and diamond pendant necklace sold by Bonhams. The necklace features a double-sided cabochon emerald crescent, of Colombian origin, weighing 12.13 carats. It is thought that the cabochon crescent in the pendant was an old-mine gem, originating from a much earlier Indian jewel. It made $100,000 per carat.

“Superb emerald specimens like this do not come to market very often so we're delighted to bring them to auction for the first time,” said Emily Barber, Director of Bonhams Jewellery, UK. 

Related News: Roberto Coin to showcase spectacular diamond designs at CARAT+ 2018

Phillips to sell 52.5ct sapphire necklace 

A highlight of Phillips’ Spring Sale of Jewels and Jadeite in Hong Kong on May 28 will be a very rare and important unheated Kashmir sapphire and diamond necklace, with the sapphires weighing 52.50 carats (estimate: HKD 17 – 23 million; USD 2.2-2.9 million). 

All of the 21 soft and velvety blue sapphires on this necklace hail from Kashmir, specifically in a valley amidst the Himalayan Mountains between Pakistan and China, Phillips said.

This necklace sets itself apart by assembling a selection of the rarest sapphires, composed in a pleasant graduation accentuated by specially-cut diamonds. 

“We are very proud to be entrusted to present a very rare and important Kashmir sapphire and diamond necklace – the first to be offered at auction in the past decade,” said Terry Chu, Head of Jewellery, Phillips Asia.

Related News: CARAT+ unveils speaker and seminar line-up for 2018 edition

London Diamond Bourse appoints Alan Cohen President

The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has appointed Alan Cohen President, succeeding Menachem Prager.

Cohen, who has been a member of the exchange since 1976, has been its vice president for the past two years. 

“I appreciate the hard work that others have done before me in the association, and I hope to be able to build on that to move LDB in a direction that benefits the diamond industry,” he said.

Related News: CARAT+ welcomes GIA GemFest to 2018 edition

Gem Diamonds and Lucara make new appointments 

Gem Diamonds has named Johnny Velloza as its new Deputy CEO, effective immediately. He will also continue in his role as chief operating offer, which he has held for two years, and will join the company’s board in June. 

Elsewhere, Lucara Diamond Corp has appointed Naseem Lahri as the first female Managing Director of its Boteti Mining subsidiary, which owns the high-value Karowe mine. 

“I am delighted to be welcoming Naseem into her new role as managing director of Boteti, the first woman and the first Motswana woman to serve in this capacity for a diamond company in Botswana,” said Lucara CEO Eira Thomas. 

Lahri has been the chief financial officer and director at Boteti for the past five years and has more than 17 years of experience in the mining industry.

Words by David Brough

Discover more industry news on the CARAT+ website every week. 

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CARAT+ is The World’s Premier Diamond Event, covering the full spectrum of the diamond and diamond jewellery trades. The show specialises in four sectors: loose diamonds, branded diamond jewellery, non-branded diamond jewellery and services for the diamond jewellery industry.

Taking place in Hall 1 and Hall 4 of the Antwerp Expo on 6, 7 and 8 May, entry to the show is restricted exclusively to industry professionals, including diamond and jewellery wholesalers and manufacturers from around the world, and jewellery retailers from across Europe and the wider world. 

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