World Diamond News - Feb.2001
De Beers Hints at Sales SlowdownFollowing Weak Holiday Sales
Though their official figures will not be available until the end of
February, De Beers officials have said that sales did, indeed, drop during the
India’s Diamond Workers StrikeTo Protest Trader’s Arrest
India’s main diamond market—one of the world’s largest—shut down in January as members of the diamond industry went on a one-day strike to protest the arrest of one of their own.
The arrest of diamond trader and financier Bharat Shah triggered the strike. Shah, also well known as a film maker in India, was arrested on allegations of links to organized crime in the country. Shah is the president of the Mumbai (Bombay) Diamond Merchants’ Association.
More than 100,000 diamond traders shut down for business and took out advertisements in local newspapers to condemn the arrest of Shah. Reports said that the strike also protested the media’s alleged condemnation of the entire diamond industry during the arrest of Shah.
Lazare Kaplan Sees Record Polished Sales;Angolan Mining Hurts Rough Sales
Lazare Kaplan’s net sales fell 30% in their second quarter, ending Nov. 30.
The termination of buying from Angola has struck a blow to Lazare Kaplan’s rough sales, and even a record increase in polished sales—and the huge profit margin from processing brown diamonds into white Bellataire stones— could not quite make up for the loss.
The company reported record polished stone sales increases of 108% in the
second quarter of 2000, to $62.6 million, from $30 million during the same
period last year. Net income was also up by $.09 cents per share, yet net sales
were down—to $78.3 million
Rough diamond sales, however, were down 80%—or $81.9 million to $15.7 million from $81.9 million in the second quarter of 1999. The huge drop in rough diamond sales is traced to the company’s cessation of buying operations in Angola.
Russia Will Issue Export Quotas
Russia is expected to issue precious metal and diamond export quotas, currently held up in bureaucratic red tape, sometime in February, in a move toward beginning exporting. Authorities will reportedly issue one-year quotas to Alrosa, which sells rough diamonds, and Norlsk Nickel, which mines 20% of the world’s platinum.
South African Mafia ImplicatedIn Mugging of Diamond Merchant
The mugging of Cape Town diamond merchant Bernard Sher has been linked to Mafia kingpins Vito and Pietro Pallazzolo, along with jeweler Abdulla Azies Samaai, according to press accounts.
Sher was robbed by a gang last year. According to recent court testimony, Samaai, who is accused of hiring the gang, was paid by the brothers to pay off the muggers. Sher was robbed of $254,000 in diamonds.
Israel Polished Exports Up 19.4 %
Israel’s net exports of polished diamonds rose 19.4% in 2000, to $5.3 billion from $4.457 billion in 1999, according to Israel’s Industry and Trade Ministry.
The diamond industry remained strong despite continuing threats of terror. Imports of polished diamonds rose 43%, rough diamond imports were up 7.5% and exports of rough diamonds grew 25.6%. The United States remained Israel’s largest market. in 2000.v