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By JULIA WILLIAMS Diamondology Ltd


Not just beautiful...


As I sit down to write this piece I quickly scan the financial headlines, a wobbly Eurozone, unemployment is on the increase and the retail sector looks set for another tricky Christmas trading period. Bearing this in mind it is not surprising that being in the trade of retailing any luxury goods is going to be tough. So how is the diamond world being affected? With this uncertainty, safe but still good investments are on people’s minds. I have never been asked so often as in the last 6 months, are diamonds good investments?


Diamonds have been used over the centuries as sound places to keep your wealth, and often proved useful in times of strife as they are so portable. For anyone wanting to invest in diamonds there is a scale for quantifying the rarity of the crystal, which directly impacts on the value it has. This grading scale, the 4C’s, must be used along with gemmological certificates to ensure you know what you’re buying and that it’s great value when you buy it.


But looking at this question from Page 98 Money & Investment


a wider angle is at the moment very interesting. Diamonds more than ever before have become a global industry, but this needs more explanation. As a summary of the last 10 years, the global nature of diamonds existed but that each stage of a diamonds’ journey from where it was mined, then sorted, polished and set into jewellery, and finally reaching a consumer could well have meant the diamond had travelled to every continent on earth. The main consumers of diamonds were for many years the Americans occupying nearly half the market share in the retailing of diamonds. The cutting and manufacturing could have been done in Europe or Asia, and the source could have been Russia, Australia or Africa. This pattern has existed over the past 10 years at least.


However due to the changes in the global balance of the economy, the US is seeing its diamond sales slowing down and being caught up by China and other Asian economies.


These economies have the disposable income and they have become the focus of the diamond world’s growth.


According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in a survey of all businesses with annual retail sales over $782,000, gold, silver and jewellery sales from January to July this year reached $16.4 billion an increase of 49.4% from the same period last year. So the diamond world is looking at expanding or shifting its operations and strategies for growth to the East.


In the East the jewellery market is a growing market not only due to the disposable wealth growing in these countries, as they could be spending it on designer handbags and the latest cars and home appliances. The western concepts of marking an occasion with diamonds, for example of diamond engagement rings and Valentines Day which never existed before are becoming more mainstream or reinvented.


So this sounds very cheery and buoyant doesn’t it. However in some areas of the diamond world times are tougher. Going back to 2003 there was a big shift in the diamond rough supply chain. The main supplier of uncut diamond rough, De Beers decided to shake up it’s


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