Rapaport Magazine

Doha Exhibition Strong

ALROSA to Boost Production, Gold Jewelry Demand Soars, CIBJO Commission Report, Carnegie Receives Patent, Jewelers, Fishermen, Residents Join Boycott of Bristol Bay Gold Mine

By Rapaport
RAPAPORT... Buying was active at the 8th annual Doha Jewelry and Watch Exhibition held in Qatar in February, indicative of the still-strong Middle Eastern market. Harry Winston brought special pieces in for the five-day, public show, such as an emerald and diamond suite that included a necklace adorned with 161.09 carats of emeralds and 44.73 carats of diamonds, which alone retailed for over $11 million.

William Goldberg made several special pieces for the show, including a number of pieces bearing the company’s exclusive Ashoka cut, an antique, elongated cushion cut, and an $800,000 pendant in a floral motif featuring 131 carats of graduated diamonds. Pearls wrapped in diamonds were also important statement makers and brands such as Robert Wan brought in black Tahitian pearls with diamond accents and designs to entice buyers.

ALROSA to Boost Production

ALROSA estimated that its annual production will rise 15 percent from current levels to reach 39.6 million carats by 2018. The Russian diamond miner produced 34.4 million carats in 2010, making it the largest producer by volume for the year, slightly above De Beers production of 33 million carats.

ALROSA’s production target would keep it neck and neck with De Beers, which expects to ramp up output to a new plateau of around 40 million carats a year. De Beers cut production in 2009 due to lower demand brought about by the economic downturn.

During the next seven years, ALROSA said production will be boosted by the completion of the underground constructions at its Mir, Aikhal and Udachnaya mines. The company also plans to scale up its prospecting and exploration efforts and implement a modernization program at its core production facilities.

The increase in production is expected to boost ALROSA’s annual rough sales to $3.51 billion by 2018. Combined sales of rough and polished diamonds amounted to $3.48 billion in 2010.


Gold Jewelry Demand Soars

The World Gold Council (WGC) released its final report for 2010 and concluded that the jewelry sector enjoyed a strong recovery, with annual demand up 17 percent from 2009. Consumers across Asia drove gold jewelry demand, particularly from China and India. Demand for gold jewelry from China will continue to increase rapidly during 2011, while demand from India is likely to remain resilient. Annual demand for gold jewelry rose from approximately 760 tons in 2009 to about 2,060 tons in 2010. In terms of value, gold jewelry demand hit a record of $81 billion.

By value, gold demand jumped 38 percent and achieved a record at approximately $150 billion. During the year, central banks became net buyers of gold for the first time in 21 years, removing a significant source of supply to the market. Investment demand for gold dropped 2 percent compared with 2009, but still represented the second-highest year on record at $52 billion.


CIBJO Commission Report

CIBJO’s Gemological Commission, headed by Dr. Margherita Superchi of Italy, has issued its Special Report ahead of the 2011 CIBJO Congress next month in Porto, Portugal. At the CIBJO Congress, the Gemological Commission will examine the need for setting an international gemology standard on how CIBJO, and especially the Gemological Commission, will communicate on nomenclature matters with companies, educational and academic institutions and consumers.


Carnegie Receives Patent

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office assigned Carnegie Institution a patent for a process to create “colorless single-crystal CVD diamonds at a rapid growth rate,” developed by Russell Hemley, Ho-kwang Mao and Chih-shiue Yan.

Jewelers, Fishermen, Residents Join Boycott of Bristol Bay Gold Mine

Commercial fishermen, Alaska natives and 54 leading jewelers have signed a pledge to boycott any gold from the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska. The mine, a joint venture between Anglo American and Northern Dynasty Minerals of Vancouver, would be the biggest open-pit mine on the continent and generate up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste that would be disposed in the Bristol Bay watershed, threatening the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, which generates about $450 million per year and provides 10,000 jobs.

Commercial fisherman and Alaska natives want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to include a provision in the Clean Water Act that would restrict the dumping of mine waste in streams, wetlands and rivers that drain into Bristol Bay. At press time, the EPA had announced it would start a scientific review of the issue.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2011. To subscribe click here.

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