2017 diamond flows and what lies ahead

IDEX just reported on the 2017 Diamond Pipeline in the latest number of their online magazine. The 2017 update of IDEX’s conceptual map is an insert of a wider analysis of the current state of the diamond industry. It’s always worthwhile to read informed analysis; don’t miss it at http://www.idexonline.com/Magazine.html.

IDEX’s Magazine view is somber, considering 2017 as the calm before the storm. “The industry is heading into a period where the next few years will see some of the fundamental operating principles of the industry undergo changes“. The main industry drivers, in their opinion are the

  • industry financing,
  • tightening diamond supplies (apparently good news for me, as my company is active in the exploration and evaluation of diamond deposits especially in Angola),
  • lab-grown diamonds (synthetics) – our favorite villain since I remember,
  • compliance and the
  • data tsunami (with the potential to reshape the industry) – see our post of a few weeks ago on gold, gold, gold, crypto coins, blockchain and diamonds.

I am an optimist: changes are just a fact of life. There will be those that won’t adapt, others will. To be one of the laters, keep checking your markets’ pulse, keep changing.

gold, gold, gold, crypto coins, blockchain and diamonds

What happened, what may happen

For those interested in the yellow metal, the World Gold Council recently released two documents on the 2017 gold market events and on the outlook for 2018. We all now how forecasts work (I have just read and quote “if you have to forecast, forecast a lot“). Even so, the more you read and know, the better (provided you have a critical knowledgeable mind). The documents are available for download at WGC’s website or from here:

In another issue, a World Gold Council report states that:

  • Cryptocurrencies are no substitute for gold. In a summary of their report, WGC says”Bitcoin’s parabolic price rise was the big story of 2017 – putting the spotlight on the cryptocurrency market. While gold’s performance was a solid 13%, it was a fraction of the 13-fold increase of bitcoin by the end of the year.
    Some commentators went as far as to claim cryptocurrencies could replace gold. Cryptocurrencies may become an established part of the financial system. But, in our view, gold is very different from cryptocurrencies, as gold:

    • is less volatile
    • has a more liquid market
    • trades in an established regulatory framework
    • has a well understood role in an investment portfolio
    • has little overlap with cryptocurrencies on many sources of demand and supply. 

    These characteristics underpin gold’s role as a mainstream financial asset that will likely continue to resonate in today’s digital world.

Diamonds as an investment is no longer news; it’s been around since the oil crises of the seventies. There has been some evolution recently, related to the blockchain technology and crypto coins:

  • De Beers, has announced that “it is progressing development of the first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform.” Read more here, at IDEX.
  • The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) unveiled a new diamond-backed digital coin at IDWI (international Diamond Week in Israel). “The Israel Diamond Exchange and startup CARATS.IO have unveiled a new diamond-based crypto currency called CDC (Carats.io Diamond Currency), which they created together. The new coin was unveiled yesterday (Monday) at the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI – February 5 – 7, 2018). The trade in the crypto currency will be based on a new index, presented yesterday for the first time, which will reflect the daily trends in the diamond trade at the IDE. The index will be updated daily on big LED screens, which will be set at the Trading Hall. The index will reflect diamond prices set according to 14 parameters for comparing diamond prices”. To know more, just read here, at IDE’s website.
    According to Founder and CEO Avishai Shoushan, CARATS.IO’s extensive ecosystem of products will elevate the entire diamond industry. CARATS.IO is creating two separate cryptocurrencies, each backed by diamonds purchased on the Israel Diamond Exchange. One coin, called CUT (Carat Utility Token), will be used specifically in B2B transactions between eligible diamond traders. This currency will enable safe peer-to-peer transactions, altogether eliminating the need for financial intermediaries. The second currency, called CARAT, is meant for the wider market of financial institutions and digital currency investors. Both currencies will be backed by diamonds, with a market cap coverage of 25 percent, significantly reducing their speculative level of investment.“, in previous news.

One decade of ups and downs in rough and cut diamonds

Quarterly Zimnisky Rough Index.png


The last two decades have been a carrousel of emotions in the mining industry:

  • Oil and gold prices had steadily been growing since 2001. Oil spiked to maximum historical values in 2008 (and then crashed, to climb again for 3 consecutive years, plateau for 4 years, until mid 2014, crashing again, reaching nominal values of 2005, and recovering marginally since then).
  • Gold has had a more regular pattern, growing since to 2001 until 2011, maintaining a high plateau until the end of 2012, crashing until mid 2013, becoming relatively stable since then.
  • Polished diamonds have shown a much less volatile behaviour, with some ups in 2008 and 2011 (mimicking the markets’ general mood) but rapidly stabilising into a nominal stability (a slow real price decline).
  • Rough diamonds prices rose roughly 50% in nominal terms (as measured by the Zimnisky Rough Index) since 2007, a more subdued increase in real terms. The price increased in the 2009 – 2011 period, after which it stabilised until early 2015, after which it slowly declined until today.

Why are diamond prices less volatile than other mineral commodities’?
Why do rough and polished prices behave differently?
New deposits discovery and production capacity expansion seem increasingly difficult; why don’t diamond prices increase significantly in real terms?
Are there two different markets in diamonds?
What is the impact of new recovery technologies (XRT) in diamond markets?

Will discuss that in the next post. What is your opinion?

The oil and gold indices were calculated by just dividing the monthly gold average nominal price in US dollars by their price (nominal US dollars) in January 1980.

The Antwerp Diamond Index is a set of indices used to measure the price variation of five types of polished diamonds. The index is based on prices in US $ and gives the average price evolution on the Antwerp market of diamonds ranging in colour from exceptional white + to white and in clarity from LC to VS2:

  • 1 ct diamonds (1973 =100)
  • 1/2 ct diamonds (1973 =100)
  • A = Small Brilliant (1980 =100)
  • B = Melée (1980 =100)
  • C = 1/4 ct diamonds (1980 =100)

The Antwerp Diamond Index is maintained by the Diamond Office of The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). To know more about AWDC and the Diamond Office , just visit their website: https://www.awdc.be/en/diamond-office.

The Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index was created to consolidate rough diamond price information and publish current respective price changes of rough diamonds on a weekly basis in the form of an index.  The intent of the Index is to track, analyze, and disseminate current aggregate rough diamond price fluctuations for use by a range of diamond industry participants.

The proprietary index methodology primarily incorporates price data from rough diamond transactions in the primary market, e.g. sales via long-term contract, tender, and auction by commercial miners. The Index also includes a minor sensitivity to polished diamond prices, given that miners utilize the polished market as a factor when determining contract pricing of rough. In addition, the Index includes a minor sensitivity to stand-alone diamond mining equities, as the relative liquidity that equities provide can imply the current profitability and revenue generation ability of diamond miners, which is directly influenced by the current rough diamond market.

Given the nature of natural diamond production, the variance in quality of stones produced, or the product mix, can impact global rough diamond prices on an average price-per-carat basis. The Index strives to represent as accurately as possible current price changes reflected in the average rough diamond transaction valued on a per carat basis in U.S. dollars. The Index value does not directly represent the price of a 1-carat rough diamond, but the percentage change in the average value of a rough diamond transaction relative to the initial Index value, at a given point in time.

The Index is based on an initial value of 100 using data starting on April 4, 2004. The Index is updated on a weekly basis, typically on Saturday. Retroactive revisions to index data are made on a quarterly basis typically after public miners release official quarterly sales figures.
(adapted from http://www.paulzimnisky.com)

To know more about the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, or obtain Paul Zimnisky’s insight on the diamond markets, check http://www.paulzimnisky.com.


Segunda-feira, 16 de Outubro 2017
Instituto Superior Técnico
Museu Décio Tadeu – Pavilhão de Minas
das 1500 às 1700

Na data em que faz um século da criação da DIAMANG, temos uma oportunidade para:

  • Celebrar a DIAMANG e os diamantesPortugal e os PortuguesesAngola e os Angolanos e o projeto que desenvolveram no coração do continente africano;
  • Recordar a gesta anterior de Portugueses, Brasileiros e Africanos no princípio do século XVIII, senhores, homens livres ou escravos, que nos sertões brasileiros revolucionaram o mundo dos diamantes, imutável desde a Antiguidade; recordar a abertura de novos mundos e mercados no século XVI, com a descoberta pelos navegadores Portugueses da rota do Cabo, globalizando os diamantes e especiarias da Índia nos mercados europeus.
  • Celebrar uma comunidade de povos e nações que partilham língua, história e cultura nos quatro cantos do mundo.
  • Não esquecendo a História e a celebração do passado, sobretudo, construir pontes para o futuro, promovendo e desenvolvendo em Portugal, em Angola, no Brasil, o conhecimento e a investigação científica sobre os diamantes, as pedras e os minerais preciosos e os seus jazigos, por um lado, e sobre as culturas, povos, línguas e geografia de África, a América do Sul e a Ásia, por outro.

Programa de dia 16 de Outubro, já na segunda-feira

15:00 – Abertura: Prof. Luís Chambel e Prof. Manuel Francisco

Apresentação e discussão informal do programa das comemorações (a decorrer durante o próximo ano)
Visita guiada ao Museu Décio Tadeu e às coleções da DIAMANG e de Angola

15:45 – O diamante, Portugal, Brasil e Angola: uma viagem secular – Luís Chambel

16:30 – Discussão do programa de comemorações e da visita ao Museu (continuação)

Mais informações: mensagens para luischambel@sinese.pt ou messenger (Facebook)

100 anos – DIAMANG, 2017

Bom Agosto, boas férias para todos os que as gozam agora.
É altura de começar a planear o final do ano e 2018.

A DIAMANG faz 100 anos daqui poucos meses.

É oportunidade para celebrarmos ao longo de 2017 e 2018, a DIAMANG e os diamantes, Portugal e os Portugueses, Angola e os Angolanos.
Já existem algumas ideias; são precisas mais. O que podemos fazer, e onde?
  • O quê?
    • Conferências técnicas
    • Almoços
    • Exposição de fotografias
    • Edição de livros
    • Artesanato da Lunda
    • Minerais e rochas ligados aos diamantes
    • Que mais?
  • Onde?
    • Lisboa, claro.
    • Luanda, evidentemente.
    • Porque não na Lunda?
    • Porto.
    • Sardoal.
    • Moura.
    • Viana do Castelo.
    • Onde mais?
Serão precisos voluntários para ajudar a organizar e coordenar os eventos; estou certo que poderei contar com Pedro Batista Tomé, Joao Pedro Roque, Isabel Inácio, Luz d’Oliveira Belchior, Jose de Sá, Graziela Valente, Ana Carvalho, Isabel Redondo e muitos outros em todo o Mundo.
Vamos precisar de recursos audiovisuais, peças e artefactos, mapas, filmes e fotografias (antigas e modernas).
Se me fizerem chegar (através de comentários no blog, no Facebook ou LinkedIn ou através do meu email – luischambel@sinese.pt) as vossas ideias, nome e contactos durante Agosto, poderemos começar a organizar tudo logo no início de Setembro – o primeiro evento será a 16 de Outubro.
Abraço a todos.
Boas férias.



From Monday July 3 to Sunday July 9 12.00pm, HRD organizes a Summer Contest on their Social Media platforms to discover what a diamond symbolizes for our online community.

To participate, post an original photo or video about what a diamond symbolizes for you on your public Instagram account, and make us dream away with you!

The participant with the most original photo/video will win a 0,30 ct diamond graded by HRD Antwerp. The winner will be announced on HRD’s Instagram account on Thursday July 13.

How to participate?
Follow these 3 easy steps:

1. Follow HRD’s Instagram account and like their  Facebook page

2. Post a photo/video on Instagram about what a diamond symbolizes for you, with the hashtag #hrdantwerplovesdiamonds​

3. Make sure your Instagram profile is public until Thursday July 13

Good luck to all of you !


Chuva de diamantes? A erupção de kimberlitos explicada de forma simples

A WIRED, publicação dedicada à divulgação científica e tecnológica, acaba de publicar um artigo sobre a erupção de kimberlitos, as exóticas e raras rochas vulcânicas que arrastam os diamantes durante o seu processo eruptivo.

Vale a pena ler, mesmo quem, como eu, acha que sabe tudo.
Basta seguir o link aqui.