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Small-Diamond Slump to Pressure Manufacturers

Polished Prices Stable in November

Dec 4, 2018 4:50 AM   By Rapaport
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RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, December 4, 2018, New York… The sharp decline in prices of small, low-value diamonds will exert further pressure on India’s manufacturing sector, according to the latest issue of the Rapaport Research Report. Prices in some categories have dropped by up to 20% in 2018 due to an oversupply and weaker demand.

The report, “A Crisis in Melee,” outlines four factors influencing the weakness in the market for small diamonds:

1. The addition of three new mines in 2017 brought global rough production to its highest level since 2008, resulting in an excess of supply.
2. Manufacturers became cautious due to tighter credit in India and the depreciation of the rupee.
3. Some US retailers are shying away from natural melee because of the threat of undisclosed synthetics. There is a shift toward better-quality goods, which includes a small but growing preference to use better-quality lab-grown melee rather than lower-quality natural stones.
4. Technology used in jewelry design has changed the way small diamonds are traded, leading the melee market to be more selective.

These factors will continue to pressure India’s manufacturing sector in 2019. With rising labor costs, small stones are becoming less economical to produce at current lower price levels. India’s polishing factories will be forced to streamline their operations, and mining companies are expected to reduce their production plans.

While prices of small, low-value diamonds declined, the market for larger, certified polished stabilized in November, supported by US holiday demand. Sentiment improved after a positive start to the season. There is concern about the impact of the US-China trade war on luxury retail as Chinese tourists are spending less abroad.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds rose 0.6% in November and was up 2% since January 1.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
November Year to date
Jan. 1 to Dec. 1
Year on year
Dec. 1, 2017 to Dec. 1 2018
RAPI 0.30 ct. -0.4% 2.9% 4.1%
RAPI 0.50 ct. 0.1% 4.3% 4.9%
RAPI 1 ct. 0.6% 2.0% 2.2%
RAPI 3 ct. -0.5% -1.5% -3.3%
© Copyright 2018, Rapaport USA Inc.

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Rapaport Media Contacts:
US: Sherri Hendricks +1-702-893-9400
International: Alex Shine +1-718-878-5138
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About the Rapaport Research Report: The Rapaport Research Report provides subscribers with in-depth analysis of key themes affecting the diamond market. It also presents exclusive analytics on diamond prices for a variety of categories, based on sales and inventory data from RapNet® – The Diamond Market.

About the Rapaport RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™): The RAPI is the average asking price in hundred $/ct. of the 10% best-priced diamonds, for each of the top 25 quality round diamonds (D-H, IF-VS2, GIA-graded, RapSpec-A3 and better) offered for sale on RapNet® – The Diamond Market. has daily listings of approximately 1.6 million diamonds valued at approximately $7.4 billion. Additional information is available at

About the Rapaport Group: The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1976, the Group has more than 20,000 clients in over 121 countries. Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, providing the Rapaport benchmark Price List for diamonds, as well as research, analysis and news; RapNet – the world’s largest diamond trading network, with over 15,000 members in 97 countries and daily listings of approximately 1.6 million diamonds valued at approximately $7.4 billion; Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing GIA and Rapaport gemological services in India, Israel and Belgium; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 500,000 carats of diamonds a year. Additional information is available at

Image: (De Beers)

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Tags: diamonds, India, Jewelry, melee, Rapaport, RAPI, RapNet, RapNet Diamond Index
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