De Beers said it earned $540 million from its first global sightholder sales and auction sales for the year compared to $248 million realised during the last sales for 2015.
It said in a statement emailed to Rough & Polished that the improved sales were due to a positive holiday season in the US from a retail perspective, low levels of rough diamond purchases by the midstream in the fourth quarter of 2015.
It also said a consequent reduction in manufacturing saw polished diamond stocks pull through the pipeline, resulting in firmer polished prices.
De Beers said rough diamond demand broadened across the entire product range as cutting and polishing factories began to increase their activity.
“We are encouraged by the result of the first sales cycle of 2016, and will keep working closely with our customers to deliver sustainable improvements in the diamond industry in 2016,” said group chief executive Philippe Mellier.
The group’s boss said last week that “we may be starting to recover some of the lost momentum”.
He was, however, quick to caution that these initial positive signs must not be viewed as grounds for complacency.
“In fact, this is possibly the most crucial point as we now stand at a crossroads,” said Mellier in Botswana.
“The midstream trading environment remains delicate, the recovery remains a work in progress and our actions in the near future remain crucially important. Just as we have needed to take great care with our actions in response to the recent challenges, we must be equally watchful as things begin to improve,” he said then.
“And while we may have seen a few encouraging signs, if there’s one thing we can be sure of in the year ahead, it’s that we will experience volatility.”