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28 July 2006

Coloured Diamonds show in Monte Carlo
Graff Diamonds, world leaders in diamonds and fine jewellery are displaying its unique collection of magnificent jewels in Monte Carlo including rare fancy coloured diamonds and gems in every size and shape.
Naturally coloured diamonds come in a variety of hues and depths of colour – red, pink, blue, and yellow. As very few fancy diamonds are of exceptional quality, those that do exist are considered to be extremely valuable.
Laurence Graff has included some of the world’s rarest jewels - a fancy light pink pearshape diamond weighing 70.39 carats, the regal 90 carat yellow cushion cut Tsarina diamond, a fancy deep blue internally flawless heartshape diamond ring, the Graff Ruby weighing 8.62 carats and many, many more exceptional stones - these phenomenal gifts of nature are among several hundreds of carats on display.
As with all Graff jewels, each piece is designed and made by hand in the Graff workshops with extraordinarily delicate settings which reveal the beauty and intense colours of the gemstones.


Channel Riviera - Menton, France
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30 July 2006

Russian firm makes worlds most expensive mobile phone
Moscow, July. 30 (PTI): A Moscow-based firm has launched production of what has been tagged as the worlds costliest mobile phone.
The Diamond Crypto Smartphone designed by luxury accessories maker Peter Aloisson is priced at a crisp USD 1.3 million and features a cover adorned with 50 diamonds, ten of which are of a rare blue variety.
It also features a few sections made in rose gold, the Moscow News weekly reported today.
Apart from the enticing looks, the phone manufactured by the Moscow-based JSC Ancort Company uses powerful encryption technology to provide special security.
It aims to secure the users identity as well as store information that would help investigate kidnapping, technological blackmail, financial racketeers and corrupt state officials.

Hindu - Chennai,India



26 July 2006

Queens Dresses and Diamonds Go on Show at Buckingham Palace
July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Buckingham Palace, the London home of Queen Elizabeth II, opens its state rooms to visitors today with an exhibition of dresses and diamonds worn by the monarch for official visits and family events.
Touring Canada and the U.S. in 1957, a slender queen wore a crinoline-style dress, embroidered with blue flowers made of beads and shells. For a Group of Eight summit dinner last July in Edinburgh, a filled-out monarch wore silk and lace, embroidered with oversized red flowers. She was clad in an orange garment with turquoise butterflies at a 1992 German state visit.
The queen has made 256 official visits to 129 countries since she was crowned in 1952, usually wearing silks or satins in pastel shades, covered with flowers and leaves made of sequins and beads. The dresses were designed ``to make the queen visible during state occasions at which many hundreds of people may be present, according to the press office of the Royal Collection.
The palace opens its 19 state rooms every summer with an exhibition that celebrates the royal familys history. While its shows dont state any message, they touch on the U.K.s relations with other nations or members of the former empire. Last years show featured dresses worn by the monarchs mother for an official visit to Paris on the eve of World War II.
Norman Hartnell, who designed many of the Queen Mothers crinolines, also designed for her daughter, including her wedding dress in 1947 and coronation dress in 1952. The queens dress for last years G8 summit was designed by Angela Kelly, her senior dresser, and Alison Pordum, her in-house dressmaker.
Diamond Necklace
Jewelry on display includes a diamond necklace and bracelet that feature 21 diamonds given to Princess Elizabeth in 1947 for her 21st birthday by the South African government, and a brooch with a heart-shaped 18.8 carat diamond -- one of eight Cullinan diamonds given to Queen Mary in 1910 by South Africa.
The original Cullinan diamond, mined in South Africa, weighed more than 3,000 carats. It was a gift to King Edward VII in 1907, and was later cut up. Some of the stones wound up in the imperial state crown and scepter.
The queen pays for her own dresses and doesnt accept clothes as gifts, said Emma Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Royal Collection, which is staging the exhibition. Jewelry given to the queen as head of state belongs to the Royal Collection, while personal and family gifts are hers to dispose of, she said.
The monarch doesnt report how much she spends on dresses. Royal Household accounts show she spent 1 million pounds ($1.8 million) last year on catering and hospitality, 500,000 pounds on housekeeping and furnishings, and 300,000 pounds on ceremonial functions.
French Revolution
The way to the exhibition is through the state rooms, furnished with 18th-century gilt chairs, clocks and Sevres porcelain bought by George IV after the French revolution. The galleries include paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Canaletto.
The Queen first opened her primary residence to the public about 13 years ago to raise money for the restoration of another of her homes, Windsor Castle, which was gutted by fire.
Admission is 14 pounds ($25.89), an increase of 50 pence on last year, for adults to see the staterooms and exhibition with an audio guide before exiting through palace gardens. Admission fees go toward maintaining and expanding the royal collection.
At Buckingham Palace, through Sept. 24. For more information, go to http://www.royalcollection.org.uk .

Bloomberg USA



26 July 2006

INDUSTRY WEBSITE COMBATING CONFLICT DIAMONDS GOES LIVE
The www.diamondfacts.org website has gone live with information on tackling the conflict diamonds issue for diamond industry members, with a full site launch planned for August 2006.

The website gives details on the Kimberley Process, and the benefits that diamonds provide to Africa, including jobs, education and healthcare.

It also offers a variety of downloads, including a Conflict Diamonds Confidence Pack, which helps educate about the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties, and the positive contributions diamonds are making to the countries and communities where they are sourced, a Managers Action Guide, which shows how to use the Confidence Packs to ensure compliance, and an Employee Training Manual, which provides information on how to train employees about the issue.

“The elimination of conflict diamonds is a moral imperative for the entire industry and based on our past success, it is an attainable goal. However, for us to succeed, it requires the commitment and participation of everyone in the industry,” says Eli Izhakoff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the World Diamond Council.

World Diamond Council



25 July 2006

N.C. man finds his 50th diamond in Ark. state park diamond mine
MURFREESBORO, Ark. - A North Carolina man who moved to Arkansas last year to devote five days a week to scouring Crater of Diamonds State Park for the gems has found his 50th diamond, the park said Tuesday.
Mike Ellison, from Kings Mountain, N.C., found a 2.18-carat white diamond Sunday after searching in the East Drain area of the parks 37 1/2-acre diamond search area. The diamond is the largest of all his finds.
Park Interpreter Rachel Engebrecht said the diamond looks like a "sparkling piece of ice and appears to be internally flawless."
"It has a frozen appearance, is flat on one side, and is a beautiful raw gem," Engebrecht said.
Ellison, who temporarily relocated to the Murfreesboro area last August to search for the diamonds, said he would sell the diamond "for the right price."
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro is the worlds only diamond-producing site open to searching by the public. Ellisons stone is the 273rd diamond discovered at the park this year.

The Charlotte Observer



25 July 2006

Diamond mogul honoured by Belgium
AFNS] ANTWERP, BELGIUM 25-07-06 – The Belgian foreign ministry has informed Dilip Mehta, the CEO of the Rosy Blue Group, that he has been awarded the title of Baron in the annual royal honors list. The title is one of the highest civilian honors granted by the Belgian monarch.
The announcement was made ahead of Belgiums national day on July 21.
Responding the announcement, Mehta said: “I am humbled and feel that the honour goes to my family, company, the entire Indian community and all my colleagues in the diamond sector. Without their support this would not have been possible. Belgium, and Antwerp in particular, has granted me many opportunities and this is why I have always been happy to live and work here in this multi-cultural and harmonious city from the moment I arrived in 1973. I am extremely proud to have received this award and would like in particular to thank both the Belgian Royal family and Government for honoring me in this way.”
A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS). Article may be reproduced provided that credit is given to AFNS.

AFNS] YELLOWKNIFE, CANADA 25-07-2006 – The Diavik diamond mine produced 8 percent more diamonds during the second quarter of the year ending June 30, with a total production for the three-month period of 2.7 million carats. Production for the year so far is 4.5 million carats.
During the first quarter, the ice road link to the mine closed prematurely, preventing numerous truckloads of operations and construction supplies from reaching the mine. Early in the second quarter, Diavik continued operations as planned with initiatives to conserve fuel and through a three-phase airlift. The first phase was completed and involved flying a hydraulic excavator or ‘shovel’ to the mine. The 500-ton shovel was in production trials at the end of the quarter.
DDMI is retaining its earlier production forecast of 8.5 million carats for the coming year subject to actual performance of air transportation initiatives.
The Diavik Diamond Mine, located 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is an unincorporated joint venture between Rio Tinto plc which owns 60 percent and Aber Diamond Limited Partnership which owns 40 percent.
A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS). Article may be reproduced provided that credit is given to AFNS.


[AFNS] LOS ANGELES, USA 25-07-06 – A survey by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council (JCOC) found that 82 percent of those questioned had not heard of The Blood Diamond movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is scheduled for release at the end of the year. Meanwhile, 46 percent of those who had heard of the film said that they were likely to see it, but nearly 25 percent were undecided.
The film is set against the background of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999 during the civil war and shows how diamonds were used to finance the conflict. The movie does not discuss that Sierra Leone is now peaceful and its diamonds ‘conflict-free’. The diamond industry’s concern is that the movie does not show the situation of the country today, with the civil war over and the legitimate diamond trade showing dramatic gains.
The World Diamond Council has taken the lead in dealing with the film, asking the film’s producers to insert information at the end of the film describing the state of the country’s diamond industry today. Industry leaders are concerned there will be a public backlash with diamond sales taking a hit. The industry is aiming to educate the public, the media and retail staff about the industry’s efforts in stamping out conflict diamonds.
“As awareness levels rise, coupled with the potential negative publicity facing the industry in the upcoming months, there could be a shift towards stronger consumer sentiment,” warns Elizabeth Chatelain, president of MVI Marketing, founder of the JCOC.
“The industry must be prepared for consumers to begin demanding greater accountability for fine jewelry purchases. More consumers, especially younger adults, are considering a company’s citizenship practices as a driver for purchasing a product. Jewelers who take a proactive approach advertise their efforts to advocate responsible practices in the jewelry supply chain will be at a distinct advantage,” Chatelain stated.
The JCOC is an e-panel of fine jewelry consumers throughout North America, representing all ages, income levels, buying categories and both genders.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



25 July 2006

New African diamond producers initiative launched
[AFNS]JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 25-07-2006 – The New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), which is a body operating under the auspices of the African Union, has announced the launch of the Diamond Producers of Africa (DPA) initiative, in conjunction with the Antwerp consulting group IES, which is headed by Marcel Pruwer. The initiative is aimed at developing a common platform for African diamond producing countries.
The DPA is a multifaceted initiative, which includes the development of technical, management, entrepreneurial and leadership skills, financing, technology transfer, strategic beneficiation and critically, leveraging African diamond revenues for the benefit of broader rapid economic development. It will encompass diamond related activities in Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania.
According to NEPAD, the development challenges facing Africa require multi-faceted strategies, which include a new and common vision on trade and development, with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of African economies, and their integration into the regional and global economy. The DPA project is designed to assist in this process.
A code of conduct and mission statement has also been developed, and a beneficiation strategy and leverage strategic development plan are currently being elaborated in conjunction with the African diamond producers. The first workshop engaging all the African Diamond Producers will be held in the next weeks.
The DPA will seek to protect the collective reputation and image of all African diamonds. Best trade practice, good governance, transparency and accountability will be rigorously benchmarked and will sustain both diamond and broader economic development for this group of African diamond producing countries.
“NEPAD looks forward to energetically backing Africa’s growing role and responsibility in the global diamond and jewelry industry", said NEPAD CEO Professor Firmino Mucavele, in Johannesburg.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



24 July 2006

Driver who stole diamonds worth Rs. 2 crore arrested
Rajkot police today arrested a driver who disappeared with diamonds worth Rs. Two crore of a Surat based jewelers. The police has already recovered goods from his sister’s place.
The driver Dilip Ahir was arrested from Gundala village in Gondal district. He had disappeared with diamonds when staff of jeweler was returning after a three day jewelry show in Rajkot last week.

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad



24 July 2006

Two exceptional diamonds found
Two exceptional diamonds were recovered from a mine west of Kimberley in the past ten days, Canadian company Rockwell Ventures and Durnpike Investments, a private South African company, said on Monday.
According to the firms, the diamonds both came from the Wouterspan mining operation near Kimberley.
Trial mining operations at Wouterspan had recovered, among other stones, a 39.97-carat D flawless stone and 41.31-carat light yellow stone, each of exceptional quality, Rockwell Ventures said.
156-carat diamond found
"These two diamonds were recovered during routine mining and recovery operations on the eastern edge of this exceptionally large diamond bearing gravel terrace," the company added.
From January 1 to date in 2006, 15 stones larger than 20 carats have been recovered from Wouterspan. The largest was a 156-carat D flawless stone.
The Wouterspan Terrace is a remnant of a once much larger deposit created by the paleo-Orange River system and representing the precursor to the modern day Orange River.
Current mining operations are recovering and processing about 200 000 tonnes of diamond bearing gravel per month.
"These two exceptional diamonds ... are currently undergoing acid cleaning and valuation by the companys in-house diamond experts prior to being presented for sale at the companys next tender sale," the company said.
Rockwell and Durnpike have signed an agreement in principle with respect to four alluvial diamond properties, one of which is the Wouterspan property.
Closing of the acquisition is expected to occur on or before October 31, 2006.

iAfrica.com - Cape Town,South Africa



20 July 2006

IDEX Online Poll: Synthetics Harm Value of Natural Diamonds
(July 20, 06, 11:09 Danielle Max)

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will soon begin issuing synthetic diamond grading reports. The organization says the decision comes in response to the growing number of gem-quality, laboratory-grown diamonds entering the marketplace and the ensuing need to distinguish them from natural diamonds.

The new reports will provide a description of the synthetic, containing color, clarity, carat weight, and cut information when applicable. The design of the report will be markedly different from the current GIA Diamond Grading Reports for natural diamonds. A distinctive yellow color will immediately identify it as a synthetic diamond grading report.

But while the GIA is happy to grade synthetic diamonds, the industry as a whole is less welcoming of the idea as the latest IDEX Online poll, which asked ‘Do you think the GIA should grade synthetic diamond?’ reveals.

Only 35 percent of those who took part in the poll believe that the new reports offer a needed service.

Seven percent of respondents believe that the new report will make very little difference to the current state of the industry.

However, over half (58 percent) of people who answered the question believe that the GIAs new system will actually harm the value of natural diamonds.

While the GIA may believe that the new reports will further help the public and members of the industry to distinguish synthetics from natural diamonds, it seems that the industry has yet to be convinced

Idex Online



20 July 2006

Stolen diamonds found, now worth Rs 2 crore
Stolen diamonds found, now worth Rs 2 crore
[ 20 Jul, 2006 2141hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

RAJKOT: In a major breakthrough, the police late on Wednesday were able to recover diamonds and jewellery which were stolen by the driver of a car rented by Surat-based Laxmi Diamond Company.

The driver, Dilip Ahir, who had hidden the stolen diamonds and jewellery in his sisters house in Tanasla village of Upleta taluka, is still absconding.

After the recovery, the worth of the stolen diamonds and jewellery was estimated by the police to be Rs 2 crore. The initial complaint was of theft of valuables worth Rs 1 crore.

Police said the stolen valuables were buried in the courtyard of Dillips brother-in-law Ashwin Ahirs house. The police, on the basis of a tipoff, had reached the village at 11 pm and after two hours of interrogation, Rekha, sister of the accused, led them to the spot.

The police dug out the suitcase containing the valuables, including gold bangles, diamond-studded necklaces, gold and diamond pendants, bracelets, earrings and diamonds.

The police have detained the couple and taken them to Rajkot to get information about Dilips whereabouts. During the interrogation, the couple confessed that Dilip had reached their house with the stolen valuables on Tuesday evening.

He had headed straight to their home after committing the theft at Panchnath Plot area in Rajkot. The police have registered a case against the driver of under sections 406 and 420 of IPC.

IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK



21 July 2006

Surat diamonds losing lustre with diminishing demand
STATES BUREAU
Posted online: Friday, July 21, 2006 at 0024 hours IST
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VADODARA, JULY 20: In the wake of poor demand ahead of the Christmas season internationally, the Gujarat diamond industry players apprehend worsening conditions.
Industry players in Surat, considered the main hub of diamond polishing, said customers usually start purchasing, for Christmas, from July.
However, absence of buying indicates a tough time ahead for diamond industry in Surat.
Speaking to FE, Surat diamond association president Muljibhai Dhameria said, “After 15 bullish years, the industry has witnessed sluggishness in the market, which also made its impact more grave”.
The overall international market decline in demand coupled with absence of buying ahead of Christmas forced 20-25% units in Surat to shut shop and those units catering to local market needs are finding it difficult to continue operations.
Appreciation in the rupee value has also made Indian products dearer to importers in overseas market, has added to the local unit’s woes.
Pravin Nanavati, joint secretary, Gujarat Hire Bourse said, “There are 10,000 diamond polishing and cutting units, of which 20% have ceased functioning and those currently functional are operating at lower capacity.
Giving information about the decline in turnover, Nanavati said Surat diamond industry’s total daily turnover is Rs 100 crore to Rs 125 crore, which has dipped 15 to 20%.
Moreover, Surat diamond polishing units import rough diamonds to export them after polishing. But smaller units are not able to import rough diamonds directly.

Indian States Bureau

19 July 2006

Rodgers Reunited With Rings Diamond
POSTED: 8:31 am CDT July 19, 2006
UPDATED: 8:41 am CDT July 19, 2006
OMAHA, Neb. -- What was lost has been found for former Husker and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers.
Missing diamonds from Rodgers Heisman Trophy ring are back in Rodgers hands thanks to a street worker, who is being questioned by police.
Scott Arnold does street maintenance for the city of Omaha. He said he saw a square plate covered with diamonds and a gold Heisman emblem.

"We were doing potholes, chuckholes -- I was waiting for the guy to move the truck, looked down and saw it laying there at the curb," Arnold said.
Arnold called KETV NewsWatch 7 to report his find. He thought it could be the missing diamonds in former Husker Johnny Rodgers ring. Earlier this year, Rodgers had told KETV that he had lost the treasure when he took the ring off to show it to a fan and lost it.
"Ive been showing it for years. Everybody has a part of it from Nebraska, so its a thrill for them to be able to see it," Rodgers said.
In May, a woman said she found the ring in a grocery store parking lot. She returned it to Rodgers, but some diamonds were missing.
Arnold and Rodgers met at KETVs studios on Tuesday night. Rodgers believes that the pieces Arnold found complete his ring, and he promised him Husker tickets and special treatment to thank him.
Unknown to KETV, someone called police and officers were waiting for Arnold outside the building after the interviews. Police took him downtown to question him.
Afterward, Arnold would only say he was just being an honest guy and was treated like a criminal. KETV has every reason to believe Arnold was being honest and truthful.

KETV NewsWatch

18 July 2006

Rajkot driver steals Rs 1 crore diamonds
[ 18 Jul, 2006 2358hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

RAJKOT: Diamonds and jewellery worth Rs 1 crore, kept in the car of Vasant Gajera — one of the owners of Surat-based Laxmi Diamond Company, were stolen by the driver here on Tuesday afternoon.

The driver sped away in the car when the occupants, including Gajera, stepped out to offer prayers at a temple in Panchnath Plot area. Police said that while they left the bag containing the diamonds and jewellery in the car, they carried another bag containing cash into the temple.

The police have registered a case against the driver under sections 406 and 420 of IPC at Rajkot A-division police station and sounded an alert across the region. According to police, Gajera had organised a three-day jewellery exhibition at Rajkot.

After winding up the exhibition, before leaving the city and heading towards Surat, Gajera and his eight staff members decided to go and offer their prayers at Krishna temple.

On returning from the temple, they found the car missing. Driver Dilip Ahir, who hails from Porbander and had recently settled in Surat had disappeared with the car, which was later found abandoned on the outskirts of the city on Sant Kabir road.

The driver is said to have fled towards Porbander. Vasant Gajera is the elder brother of Surat MLA Dhirubhai Gajera.

When contacted police commissioner K Nityanandam said the police in Porbander and Surat have been alerted as the accused has roots in both the cities. He said the police have already initiated steps to nab the accused.

According to information obtained, the diamond and jewellery exhibition was held at KKV Hall on Kalawad road. It was a solo exhibition organised by Laxmi Diamond Company.

Sources said that more than 50 per cent of diamonds and jewellery was sold in the exhibition and the remaining was kept in one of the bags.

IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK



18 July 2006

Documentary on conflict diamonds to air on TV
[AFNS]NEW YORK, USA 18-07-06 – The U.S. TV network VH1, which focuses on entertainment news, is producing a documentary about conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone along with Article 19 Films and the United Nations Development Program.
The film will connect the popularity of flashy “bling” diamonds in the hip-hop world with atrocities committed by rebels financed by smuggled diamonds in Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war of the late 1990s.
Hip-hop musicians Paul Wall and Raekwon and reggae musician Tego Calderon have traveled to Sierra Leone to film the documentary, tentatively titled “Bling: A Planet Rock.” They will meet with local musicians, children and government officials in the West African nation and tour the diamond mining areas. The film will offer viewers suggestions on how to help combat conflict diamonds.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



18 July 2006

CIBJO announces new diamond Blue Book
[AFNS] MILAN, ITALY 18-07-06 – Harry Levy, president of the CIBJO Diamond Commission, said that a new version of the Diamond (Blue) Book is long overdue, as there have been many new developments in the diamond trade. “There seems to be a fundamental change in how CIBJO regards itself,” Levy said. “In the past, it was an instrument for the jewelry industry at large. However, without abandoning this role in the industry, CIBJO is now looking toward the end user and consumer confidence, and is becoming an arbiter in the protection of their interests.”
CIBJO said the new Diamond Book will be far more informative than the previous edition regarding the terms used, how they apply and how to read a diamond grading report. It will include a glossary and a reference section where consumers can get more information on many aspects of the diamond industry. Levy added that while the new Diamond Book will retain a section containing many of the rules of the diamond industry, the rules regarding diamond grading will become a separate section of the Book.
Levy said that the he hopes the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Vancouver, at which the organization will celebrate its 80th anniversary, will also be a forum for discussion of synthetic and treated diamonds. He said that work is underway on a mechanism to air the views of IDMA, WFDB, their joint consultative body the International Diamond Council (IDC), CIBJO and other interested bodies on these issues.
A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS). Article may be reproduced provided that credit is given to AFNS.


New De Beers mine in Botswana may open in 2008
AFNS] GABORONE, BOTSWANA 18-07-06 – De Beers may open its first new mine in Botswana at the “AK6” kimberlite deposit, near its present Orapa Mine, by the end of 2008, at a cost of $60 million to $100 million, reports Mineweb.com.
The website quoted John Teeling, executive chairman of African Diamonds, which holds a 30 percent stake in the AK6 project, as saying the mine could produce 1.5 million carats a year once it is fully online. The large uncertainty in capital costs is because the partners have not yet decided whether to treat AK6 as a stand-alone mine or truck the ore to Orapa, a cheaper option. Teeling was speaking at the Capital Resources Botswana Resource Sector Conference on July 12.
The last new De Beers mine to open in Botswana was Jwaneng, in 1982. The Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane, and Damtshaa mines are all run by Debswana, the 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswanan government, which is not participating in the AK6 project for now, leaving De Beers with a 70 percent stake in the new mine.
Dublin, Ireland-based African Diamonds is spinning off its assets in Sierra Leone and Guinea to form a new company, West African Diamonds, so it can concentrate on AK6, Teeling said. African Diamonds shareholders will get shares in the new company, which will seek to raise money to start mining diamonds in Sierra Leone.
A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS). Article may be reproduced provided that credit is given to AFNS.


World Diamond Council appoints Ernest Blom as vice chairman
[AFNS] NEW YORK, USA 18-07-2006 – The Executive Committee of the World Diamond Council (WDC) has announced the appointment of Ernest Blom, the recently elected president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), as its vice chairman. The WDC is the body charged with coordinating the international diamond industry’s fight against conflict diamonds.
In his letter to Blom informing him of his appointment, WDC Chairman Eli Izhakoff wrote: “I am looking forward to working with you and the executive board in meeting the new challenges confronting our industry.”
Blom was unanimously elected by the general assembly of the WFDB, at the 32nd World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv. Blom, who is chairman of the Diamond Dealers Club of South Africa, previously served as WFDB vice president. He was a founding member of the WDC when it was created in 2000
“It is an honor for me to receive this appointment,” Blom said. “The WFDB has long stood at the vanguard in the struggle to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds, and indeed was a key player in the creation of the WDC. In my new role and as WFDB president, I will do all that I can to ensure that the diamonds reaching the market remain untainted by suffering and conflict.”

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



18 July 2006

Analyst says diamond market sluggish
[AFNS] GABORONE, BOTSWANA 18-07-06 – The world diamond market is weaker than it might be since De Beers increased rough diamond prices at the Diamond Trading Company’s February sight despite lack of retail demand, analyst James Allan said at the mid-July Botswana Resource Sector Conference in Gaborone, according to miningmx.com.
Growth in retail demand in India will be slow this year, forcing the industry to continue relying on the U.S. retail market, which is responsible for about 50 percent of all world demand for diamond jewelry, Allan said. Overall, diamond prices have risen 35 percent since 2002, slower than the rate of inflation for other minerals.
Allan said the total level of diamond industry bank debt is $11 billion to $12 billion, high enough to cause concern. In the longer term, though, a $3 billion shortfall in rough diamond supply should drive prices back up.
Annual rough diamond production worldwide is expected to fall from 140 million carats today to 130 million carats in 2010. Botswana was responsible for about 26 percent of the total in 2005, according to Diamond Intelligence Briefs. Allan said South Africa’s share will decline further to 14 percent as a result of export tariffs it is imposing on rough diamonds in an attempt to boost its domestic polishing industry.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



18 July 2006

DTC adjusts diamond prices at July sight
[AFNS] LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM 18-07-06– The Diamond Trading Company has adjusted its diamond prices with effect from its July sight, which began on Monday, July 17.
"This has led to some box prices going up and some box prices going down," said Lynette Hori, a company spokesperson. She noted that the DTC reviews De Beers’ six-month production forecast from itself and its production partners before the start of each intention to offer period. “This is done to have a better idea of the quantities of different categories of goods that are anticipated to be available to make up sight holder boxes," Hori said.
According to Hori, a result of the review for the period from July through December 2006, DTC has made some changes to the mix of goods it will supply in order to maintain consistency.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



16 Jul 2006

Indias diamond traders mourn bomb victims
MUMBAI, July 16 (Reuters) - The bombings in Indias financial capital have devastated Mumbais flourishing diamond market.
Of the 181 dead, 15 worked in the trade, with at least 15 more injured from the nearly 700 wounded -- making it one of the communities hardest hit by the railway blasts.
Industry officials say the community, a close-knit group of Hindus originally from the neighbouring state of Gujarat, is deep in mourning, holding condolence meetings and organising financial support for the victims and their bereaved families.
"We are in shock and we are feeling a deep sense of loss," said Sanjay Kothari, marketing head of the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council. "To lose so many people has been a serious blow and we have to do what we can to help."
India is the worlds biggest exporter of cut and polished diamonds, with Mumbai being one of the main centres for the international diamond trade.
It is one of the countrys top foreign exchange earners -- generating around $17 billion last year -- and employs around 1 million people including traders, cutters and polishers.
The traders, of which there are about 200,000 countrywide, make an affluent living, buying rough gems from Africa and Australia, having them cut and polished and then exporting them to jewellers in Hong Kong and the United States.
Rather than face the traffic of the overcrowded metropolis, thousands of traders join the millions of Mumbais train commuters daily travelling from the suburbs to the city centres vibrant Charni Road, the main diamond market.
Handling thousands of dollars worth of precious gems every day, they work in tiny, obscure offices in dilapidated buildings often without sign boards, aimed at keeping a low profile and avoiding attracting attention.
The only visible sign of their opulent trade are the few armed security guards outside their buildings, who interrogate visitors as they enter and escort them to their destination.
But despite their vigilant, cautious behaviour, the blasts have clearly left them shaken, fearing that they were an intentional target, like other middle-class professionals such as bankers and stock-brokers, due to their wealth.
The explosives were planted only in the first-class carriages for men.
This has left most to believe the attacks were aimed at the wealthier, working in sectors which significantly contribute to the economy, rather than the lower income earning masses travelling in second class.
"The industry is worried as its clear they were targeting the affluent section of the population," said Vasant Mehta, a diamond merchant, whose office is based in a towering building, housing around 200 gem companies.

By Nita Bhalla, Reuters



14 July 2006

Mumbai diamond sellers fearful

MUMBAI — The narrow lanes and crowded buildings around Mumbais historic opera house are usually jammed with shouting, gesticulating diamond merchants, small traders whose daily labour of buying, cutting, polishing and selling the gems make India the worlds largest exporter of cut diamonds.
Friday, the district was nearly silent. At a loss of $73-million a day, Mumbais diamond industry has shut its doors, out of fear and anger.
Its traders, cutters and diamond couriers, most of them immigrants from Indias famous diamond-producing province of Gujarat, take the crowded trains of Mumbais Western Railway home each night, at around 6 p.m., to their neighbourhoods in the northern suburbs.
The trains form a central part of the diamond industry, transporting many of its 100,000 employees — as well as $50-million worth of diamonds every day, which are carried by nervous-looking couriers by rail to polishing centres in northern India. India exports more than $17-billion in diamonds a year, most of them out of Mumbai.
Tuesday nights blasts, the workers believe, were aimed directly at their industry. Of the 200 people killed, 42 have been identified as diamond traders from Mumbai or Gujarat, and industry representatives believe that number will increase as relatives in Gujarat identify more of the dead. The industry employs an estimated 100,000 people in Mumbai.
On Thursday, the few traders who showed up to work agreed to declare a bandh, a Hindu general strike, beginning Friday against attacks on their industry. It isnt clear if trading will resume on Monday.
A senior Indian police official said Friday that the targeting of the blasts at the diamond industry is one of the reasons Pakistan-based organizations, possibly including al-Qaeda, are suspected of being the instigators. India-based Muslim extremists have targeted people by religion, throwing bombs into Hindu gatherings, but they have not previously targeted specific classes or industries, a trademark al-Qaeda strategy.
It isnt the first time the diamond trade has been a target of terrorism. In August of 2003, bombs attributed to a local Muslim organization killed 53 people in the Zaveri Bazaar, the traditional centre of the diamond trade. The wave of Muslim bomb attacks in 1993 also included blasts in the area.
Several of the diamond workers were reportedly Muslims.
Friday, several hundred diamond workers held a prayer service, in a lavish movie theatre in the middle of their trading district, that quickly turned into an angry protest. Many of the traders said that the Mumbai government has done nothing to protect the lucrative industry from attacks.
“This is time for action and not words. We have had enough of empty talk. Let us now ensure the industrys well-being,” said Sanjay Kothari, a veteran diamond trader and leader of the community. He called for an industry-run security force as an alternative to Mumbais deficient police services and weak local government.
Across Mumbai, anger is mounting over the lack of municipal leadership. The Times of India, in a front-page editorial, Friday denounced the city for “weak leadership, an inept bureaucracy, an ill-equipped police force and a political system interested only in milking a rich megacity dry.”
While the diamond traders include some very wealthy merchants who live sheltered lives and travel in private cars, the vast majority of the employees are small traders, earning between $600 and $5,000 a month; brokers who earn between $200 and $60,000; and polishers, who can earn as little as $50 a month.
Some believe that the blasts could have had an even worse effect on the diamond trade.
“Had the blasts occurred half an hour later, at least 500 people from the diamond trade alone would have been killed,” the head of a major Mumbai diamond export firm told The Economic Times of Mumbai.

By Doug Saunders of The Economic Times of Mumbai



13 July 2006

Botswana’s first new diamond mine in 26 years
GABORONE (Mineweb.com) --De Beers could have its AK6 kimberlite deposit in Botswana running as a fully-fledged mine by the end of 2008, making it the country’s first new diamond mine since Jwaneng became fully operational in 1982.

On Wednesday at the Capital Resources Botswana Resource Sector Conference, John Teeling, executive chairman of African Diamonds, De Beers’s 30% partner in the project, said the capital cost would be between $60 million and $100 million, producing up to 1.5 million carats a year once at full production.

Botswana produces the second highest number of diamonds each year behind Australia. Botswana’s diamonds are, however, much more valuable, generating more than a quarter of global rough diamond revenue each year.

The AK6 kimberlite pipe forms part of a joint venture with De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond producer, which will take a 70% equity stake in the operation once it reaches bankable feasibility study stage, with African Diamonds holding on to the rest. Notably, the Botswana government has not talen its normal half share.

There are certain issues that still need to be clarified on the project according to Teeling. For one the large range in the capital expenditure is there because the mine may be built as a stand-alone which means it would reach closer to the $100 million mark, although the ore could be trucked to the nearby Orapa mine, the world’s second largest economic kimberlite pipe, hence the much lesser $60 million figure.

Other issues include government’s equity participation in the project, which is currently zero. De Beers owns 50% of its other mines in the country through the Debswana entity, while the country’s government owns the other half. The African diamonds deal is with De Beers and not with Debswana.

To keep focus on its favourable Botswana future, Teeling says African Diamonds’s assets in Guinea and Sierra Leone will be spun-off into a new entity later this year, called West African Diamonds.

Teeling says the current proposal is to distribute the shares in West African diamonds to African Diamonds shareholders as well as raise new funds to bring the Sierra Leone projects into production.

By: Gareth Tredway of Mineweb.com



12 July 2006

WFDB Resolutions Center On Synthetic Diamonds
By Jeanette Goldman
Posted: 7/12/2006 5:40 AM

(Rapaport...July 12, 2006) The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) released three resolutions taken by the WFDB concerning synthetic diamonds during the 32nd World Diamond Congress, which took place in Tel Aviv on June 26 to 29, 2006.

The first resolution states that “the usage of synthetic diamonds for gem purposes will be acknowledged and gemological laboratories will be requested and encouraged to issue certificates describing the same, provided that such certificates clearly emphasize the fact that such are synthetic diamonds.”

The second resolution states that “the term synthetic diamonds will be used for man-made or laboratory produced diamonds.”

The third resolution states that “the terminology normally used by laboratories to describe the features of diamonds should not be utilized for synthetic diamonds and that the International Diamond Council (IDC) will be authorized to formulate alternative terminology to describe such features for usage by laboratories.”

By Jeanette Goldman of Rapaport News



12 July 2006

Jeweler honors Marine for tackling theft suspect
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer
When Maj. Erik McInnis tackled a suspected jewel thief at Westfield Annapolis in May, he wasnt seeking recognition.
He didnt expect any public thanks when he reacted on instinct and he certainly didnt want a reward.


"As hokey as this sounds, I consider apprehending scumbags to be an unwritten statement in my general job description of being a Marine," he said at the time.


But Helzberg Diamonds, which recovered a $28,000 diamond engagement ring thanks to Maj. McInniss quick actions, didnt really care what he expected. Company officials wanted to show their appreciation.


Maj. McInnis, who recently was transferred from the Naval Academy to a San Diego airfield, was honored yesterday morning during a ceremony at a Helzberg Diamonds store in California.


The company thanked the 39-year-old Marine by donating $1,000 each to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.


"We wanted to give him something, but thought as a Marine he wasnt likely to take anything," said Stacey McBride, spokesman for Helzberg Diamonds.


And they were right.


"I said, You know, that sounds like a great idea, " Maj. McInnis said.


He picked the relief society, which provides financial, educational and other assistance for service members, family members and survivors in times of need. Helzberg officials decided also to give money to the foundation, which supports the spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical development of children through education.


"He made such a heroic act," Ms. McBride said. "It was very selfless what he did. We were like, We have to do something. "


The former calculus teacher was at the mall May 8 with his two children - ages 9 and 2 - when he saw a shabbily dressed man run out of the jewelry store followed by an employee screaming for help. He left the kids in the malls play area and chased 40-year-old Timothy A. Laboard, of Baltimore, through the back corridors of the mall.


Another father in the play area said at the time that Maj. McInnis hurdled a row of seats and started running before anyone else knew what was happening.


Maj. McInnis followed Mr. Laboard back into the malls main corridor, grabbed his collar and pulled him to the ground. He kept him in a rear figure-four choke hold until an off-duty FBI agent walked up and put Mr. Laboard in handcuffs.


"That is the kind of stuff Ive trained for every day," Maj. McInnis said. "Our rules of engagement are to always protect others. I think the American public kind of expects the Marines to get involved in those types of things."


Mr. Laboard was eventually charged with theft over $500. Police allege that he snatched the diamond ring out of a persons hand inside the store. After he was arrested, he pulled the ring from his mouth and handed it over to an officer, police said.


"Im a drug addict and I need help," Mr. Laboard said, according to a police report.


The case is still pending in District Court. Prosecutors filed for a postponement Friday.


In addition to calculus, Maj. McInnis taught midshipmen martial arts and was the officer representative for the schools Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club. That, he said, is where he learned the submission and grappling moves he used at the mall.


"We are very grateful to Maj. McInnis," said Marvin Beasley, chairman and chief executive officer for Helzberg Diamonds. "His actions were nothing short of exemplary and in the finest tradition of the United States Marine Corps. We are humbled as we recognize the commitment, courage and intelligence that Maj. McInnis and his fellow servicemen and women exhibit daily. Weve seen it first hand."


Still, Maj. McInnis said hes no hero when compared to the men and women fighting overseas. With his new duties in California, he sees wounded soldiers and Marines coming home every week.


"To see those poor bastards; all of this sort of stuff looks trivial," he said.

Published July 12, 2006, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

11 July 2006

Diamond guitar celebrates 60th anniversary of guitar maker
[AFNS] GREENWICH, UNITED KINGDOM 11-07-06 – U.K.-based jewelry house Johnny Rocket has created a special version of the Fender Stratocaster guitar set with 60 diamonds to celebrate the guitar maker’s 60th anniversary.
The guitar is on display at an exhibition in Paris along with musical instruments designed by rock legends Bono and Bryan Adams.
At the end of the year, the bejeweled instrument, which also features more than 50,000 crystals and sterling silver parts, may be auctioned off by Christie’s, with the proceeds going to charity.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).



11 July 2006

Alrosa makes $29 million in annual rough diamond auction
[AFNS] MOSCOW, RUSSIA 11-07-06 – Russian diamond mining monopoly Alrosa made $29 million at its 15th annual auction of large rough diamonds, the company announced July 4, as reported by the RIA Novosti news agency.

Alrosa sold 1,171 stones weighing a total of 20,000 carats, including 11 diamonds weighing 50 carats or more apiece. The largest single stone sold weighed in at 94.2 carats. The auction, which was cosponsored as usual by Gokhran, the Russian Diamond Chamber, drew representatives of 45 diamond firms from Russia, Israel, Belgium, India, Switzerland, China and the United States.
Alrosa’s sales in 2005 totaled $2.86 billion according to a preliminary tally, including $144 million in polished diamond sales. The largest stakeholder is the Russian Federation’s government, which has been seeking to increase its share from 37 percent to just over 50 percent.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).




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