Diamond trade optimistic as holiday season begins, with online sales growth expected over Thanksgiving weekend. Mall-based retailers and department stores offering heavy discounts to entice customers. New ‘Real is Rare’ marketing targets older millennials searching for intimacy and stability. Signet Jewelers’ shares -30% as 3Q sales -3% to $1.2B, loss of $12M vs. profit of $15M. Chow Tai Fook 1H sales +15% to $3.2B, profit +44% to $234M. Alrosa 3Q sales -14% to $999M, profit -51% to $220M. Hong Kong 3Q polished imports +1% to $4.7B. Industry mourns passing of rough broker Mark Boston. The Rapaport Group wishes all our friends a happy Thanksgiving and a successful holiday season.
Fancies: Curved fancy shapes in good demand. Ovals are strongest category, followed by Pears and Cushions. Some squares — Emerald and Radiant — are okay, but Princess still weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6 to 10 ct. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds, with limited supply. US demand supporting market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Far East demand improving as consumers seek fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies not liquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.
United States: Dealers busy filling holiday orders. Jewelry wholesalers cautious as retailers are holding less inventory and insisting on memo. Jewelers under pressure with sharp rise in online sales expected over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stacking-and-layering jewelry remains strong trend in holiday collections. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, SI1-I2 diamonds for winter engagement season.
Belgium: Trading slower than last week, with European independent jewelers restricting purchases ahead of holiday season. Steady US demand for 0.10 to 1 ct., D-H, VS2-I1, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Shortage of nice fancy shapes above 4 ct. High-end fancy color diamonds strong. Commercial-quality fancy colors not as hot. Rough market cautious with dealers giving over 60 days’ credit to entice buyers.
Israel: Positive sentiment with dealers filling US holiday orders. Suppliers maintaining firm prices with rising expectations for season. Good demand for 1 ct., F-I, VS-SI diamonds. Dealers seeking 0.30 ct., H, VVS2-VS2 and 0.40 ct., I-J, VVS1-VS2 diamonds for specific orders. Buyers paying premium for 3X, no fluorescence goods.
India: Trading improving. Good US demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS2-I1 diamonds and steady Chinese orders for dossiers. Polished inventory reduced since Diwali break. Manufacturing rising but not yet at pre-Diwali levels. Cutters concerned about profitability at current rough prices.
Hong Kong: Robust market. Sentiment improving with hope that Chinese jewelry-retail recovery will extend to diamond trade. Steady demand for 0.30 to 2 ct., D-H, VS-I1, RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Dealer margins tight. Trade optimistic for Christmas and Chinese New Year holiday seasons. Fancy color diamonds — pinks and yellows — gaining popularity among Chinese consumers.