MARKET COMMENTARY – Prices of lower-clarity diamonds rise in March, Rapaport reports

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Prices of SI-clarity diamonds increased in March as the previous month’s trends continued. Prices of VVS-plus goods declined, The Rapaport Group reported.  

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds — reflecting round, D to H, IF to VS2 goods — fell 0.6% in March and 0.4% during the first quarter. RAPI for 0.30- and 3-carat diamonds declined in March by 1.7% and 1.1% respectively, while the index for 0.50 carats rose 0.3%.

MARKET COMMENTARY – Prices of lower-clarity diamonds rise in March, Rapaport reports

Prices for round, 1-carat, D-H, SI diamonds increased 1.7% in March as the lower-clarity segment saw a correction after last year’s severe declines. Competition from synthetics heavily impacted the category during 2023. 

Buyers remained selective. Diamonds with no fluorescence or black centers sold at premiums. Those with fluorescence and black centers started selling at low prices. Fancy shapes declined in price. Long ovals, pears, radiants and cushions performed better than classic shapes. 

Group of Seven (G7) sanctions on Russian diamonds over 1 carat went into effect March 1. The implementation was smooth in the US, where the authorities require self-declaration of goods’ non-Russian status. In Antwerp, where officials are requesting documented proof of origin, dealers suffered delays of more than a week. These blockages eased by the end of March.

Many questions about the US sanctions remain, including how the government will treat “grandfathered” diamonds. Martin Rapaport sent a letter to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), requesting exemptions for any diamond transactions that do not result in the movement of money to Russia, such as the trade in diamonds that are already in the US. 

Alrosa reportedly agreed to sell rough to Russian state gem depository Gokhran in response to the sanctions. Certain boxes from the February De Beers sight fetched premiums on the secondary market, indicating that the SI segment was recovering gradually. 

US retail was seasonally slow between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. China remained weak. Indian domestic demand was a bright spot.

MARKET COMMENTARY – Prices of lower-clarity diamonds rise in March, Rapaport reports