COMMENTARY – Rough diamond demand to soften as Indian manufacturers mull pausing imports


By David Brough

Demand for rough appeared set to ease as Indian cutters, who process most of the world’s diamonds, considered pausing imports in order to work through big polished inventories.

The combination of the expected voluntary Indian 30-day suspension on rough imports from May 15, with social distancing in the Indian factories seen inevitable after the lockdown, and reduced mining production, augur for an erosion of excess diamonds supply in the medium term.




The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds was basically flat for April due to the low volume of trade during the lockdowns, Rapaport reported.

The index was down 8.5% since the beginning of the year.

As some economies moved to ease lockdowns, potentially allowing jewellery stores to reopen, diamond jewellery demand appeared set to pick up.

Diamond jewellery marketing will focus on bridal and self-purchase.

Diamond jewellery retail will benefit increasingly from online sales, and more innovative experiential in-store marketing when shops reopen as lockdowns ease.

Sotheby’s has seen a strong start to its auctions season online during the lockdowns, with the sale in late April of a 1930s Cartier gem-set, diamond and enamel “Tutti Frutti” bracelet for $1.3 million, the highest price for any jewel sold in an online auction.

“With an unexpected global event in the COVID-19 virus, this has just pushed all bids online to a tried and tested platform,” Kristian Spofforth, head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department, told Jewellery Outlook.

“The sourcing for sales ahead is more of a challenge, but often we are working on things months in advance, so we can keep going during the lockdown.”