LONDON, September 8, 2009 – Demand for polished diamonds in China and India is growing strongly, but not quickly enough to compensate for the drop in buying in the United States, Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, said.
“India and China are growing fast, but not enough to compensate for weaker U.S. demand,” Rapaport told a seminar at the International Jewellery London (IJL) trade fair.
“The U.S. and Europe are saturated,” he added.
Sales of diamond jewellery have fallen sharply in the United States, the world’s top diamond jewellery market, due to recession.
Rapaport, whose group holds periodic auctions in wholesale polished diamonds, said Chinese and Indian demand for diamonds was growing from a small base relative to demand in the United States.
He said he believed global demand for diamonds would grow in coming years, driven by Chinese and Indian buying, and would outpace supply.
The Rapaport Group sold around 43,000 carats of polished diamonds at an auction held in the United States last week, Rapaport said. “Looks like we sold them all,” he said.
“The tender sold out,” he added.
“What we are doing is actually repositioning excess diamonds from the U.S. into India and other developing countries.”
The auction, held from August 31 to September 3, was open to members of the international diamond trade including cutters, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
Sizes and qualities ranged from -2.5 sieve plate assortments to certified stones of more than 3 carats.
Additional 2009 auctions will be held on November 16-19 and December 7-10.
IJL runs until September 9.