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October 2005

De Beers expects more diamond price increase this year if demand keeps increasing, said Gareth Penny, De Beers’ managing director designate, at an analyst seminar.

But Varda Shine, soon to be managing director of the Diamond Trading Center, said they will be conservative. “We do not react to the market situation as quickly as other producers may,” she said. “We are looking at long-term sustainable prices.”
She expected demand overall to increase, although the impact of oil prices may hurt the U.S. market. But she said indicators from Japan and other markets looked favorable.

Penny also addressed a question about synthetics. He noted that “of course it’s a challenge, but we have a fantastic team looking at this issue.” He said they were studying how other industries dealt with this kind of challenge.

“It’s very early days for synthetics,” he added “They wouldn’t even register half a percent as far as availability. The question we are focussing on is to make sure the consumer understands that one of the real thing and the other isn’t.”

De Beers also announced the appointment of its first black executive. David Noko, currently operations manager for De Beers’ Kimberley Mines, will become managing director of De Beers Consolidated Mines. He will replace Jonathan Oppenheimer, son of chairman Nicky. The younger Oppenheimer will join his father in the chairman‘s office.

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