Mar 28

Sierra Leone to Tender 709ct. Diamond

RAPAPORT… A 709.48-carat diamond discovered by a pastor in Sierra
Leone will go up for sale by international tender, authorities have announced.

The stone, believed to be the 13th-largest rough diamond
ever found, will be available for viewing at the Bank of Sierra Leone for a
week starting this Wednesday, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources said
in a statement last week.

Potential buyers can obtain bidding documents on payment of
a non-refundable $5,000 fee, as well as a $50,000 deposit, the ministry said. The
sealed offers will be opened in front of all bidders on April 6.

Artisanal miner Pastor Emmanuel A. Momoh found the diamond
earlier this month in the Kono district, and the stone was presented to Sierra
Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Koroma has previously said the selling
process will be transparent and that the highest bidder will win the stone,
subject to a reserve price. He has also stressed the importance of selling it
within the country for the benefit of the nation.

Mar 28

U.S. Jewelry Stores Continue Gains

RAPAPORT… Sales at U.S. specialty jewelry stores increased 4% to $1.84 billion year on year in January, according to the nation’s Census Bureau.

The figure is provisional and not adjusted for seasonal fluctuation, noted the data agency, which released the numbers this month.

The increase came after sales rose 3.7% to a revised $30.3
billion for the whole of 2016, with a 7% spike in December compared to the
previous year.

Mar 28

Hong Kong Slowdown Hits Chow Sang Sang

RAPAPORT…

 Chow Sang Sang saw a sharp drop in
sales last year, the Hong Kong-based jeweler reported Monday, citing weak consumer sentiment and a decline in tourist levels.

Group revenue slid 16% to $2.07
billion (HKD 16.09 billion) in 2016, according to a company statement. Sales in Hong
Kong and Macau fell 23% to $1.11 billion (HKD
8.65 billion), with mainland China revenue slipping 4.6% to $944.9 million (HKD
7.34 billion). Profit slumped 34% to $95.5 million (HKD 742.2 million).

A sluggish economy resulted in
lower consumption in regions where the retailer is active, especially Hong
Kong, the company explained. The strong Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to
its U.S. counterpart, made the municipality a less attractive tourist
destination. This had a notable impact on visits from mainland China, which
dropped 6.7 percent, Chow Sang Sang pointed out.

Meanwhile, despite an increase of more
than 20% in the price of gold during the year – a consequence of global
economic and political uncertainty – there was no corresponding rise in demand
for gold jewelry, the retailer said. The company’s sales in this category slid
34% by volume in Hong Kong and Macau as a result.

Mar 28

Ex-De Beers Exec Varda Shine Joins Sarine

RAPAPORT… Former De Beers executive Varda Shine is set to become an
independent director at Sarine Technologies, as the company diversifies its
board to prepare for expanding its services.

Shine (pictured) was CEO of the Diamond Trading Company – now De Beers
Global Sightholder Sales – between 2006 and 2014, during which she oversaw the
division’s move from London to Gaborone.

She is currently an independent director of the state-owned Mineral Development Company Botswana, as well as a non-executive
director of miner Lonmin.

Her appointment comes as Sarine directors Ehud Harel, Eyal
Mashiah and Hanoh Stark have decided to step down from the board. The company
plans to recruit another two directors this year besides Shine, according to a
statement on Monday.

“As the group focuses its expansion and growth on the
downstream polished diamond trade segment of the diamond industry, and in
compliance with corporate governance principles, the company’s board has
decided to diversify its composition,” Sarine executive chairman Daniel Glinert
said in the statement.

Shine’s addition to the board is subject to approval at the
group’s annual general meeting in Singapore on April 25.

The company, headquartered in Hod Hasharon, Israel, and
listed on the Singapore Exchange Mainboard, supplies mapping equipment
and other technology used predominantly in the diamond-manufacturing sector.

Mar 28

Rio Tinto Taps New Diavik Mine Chief

RAPAPORT…

Rio Tinto has appointed Patrick Boitumelo as president and
chief operating officer of its subsidiary Diavik Diamond Mines (DDM), the
company said Tuesday.

Rio Tinto owns 60% of the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest
Territories and operates the deposit through DDM. Dominion Diamond Corporation
owns the remaining 40% of the asset.

Boitumelo – who will start at the end of July after
relocating to Yellowknife, Canada – was most recently general manager of engineering
and projects at Kennecott Utah Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has extensive
senior experience in the mining industry across a range of asset classes,
including diamonds, Rio Tinto said.

The hire comes as Rio Tinto prepares to bring the Diavik mine’s
A21 extension onstream, with production planned to start in 2018.

Image: Diavik Diamond Mines

Mar 28

Lab Using Nanotech for Emerald Traceability

RAPAPORT… Gübelin Gem Lab has unveiled a radical solution for tracing
the origin of emeralds, using nanotechnology to mark stones with an invisible
imprint that is accessible at any stage of the supply chain.

Branded the “emerald paternity test,” the technology is a “true
game-changer for the colored-gemstone industry,” the Switzerland-based
laboratory said in a statement Monday.

DNA-based nanoparticles are applied to rough emeralds at the
mine and are designed to survive the stages through which the gemstone passes,
including cleaning, cutting, polishing, transportation and setting. They can be decoded at any point in their journey from
mine to jewelry.

This is the first time nanotechnology – the branch of technology
dealing with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers – has been used for this
purpose, the lab claimed.

The tiny particles are small enough not to impact the
stone’s appearance, even with an optical microscope, meaning they will not
affect a stone’s grading properties.

“This technology offers all stakeholders along the entire
supply chain, from the miner to the final customers, proof of the exact source
of emeralds, instilling confidence and creating trust,” said Daniel Nyfeler, the
organization’s managing director. “It enables a new level of transparency for
the gemstone trade.”

The House of Gübelin, which operates the lab, introduced the
tracing technology for an emerald extracted at the Belmont mine in Brazil. The
company added the nanoparticles to the emerald directly at the mine, and the
stone is now on a platinum ring.

Mar 28

Gold Bullion Coin Worth $4 Million, Stolen in Berlin Museum Heist

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24hGold

Mar 28

Bullion Stars gold market charts for March

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24hGold

Mar 27

U.S. Jewelry Store Sales Continue Rise

RAPAPORT… Sales at U.S. specialty jewelry stores increased 4% to $1.84 billion year on year in January, according to the nation’s Census Bureau.

The figure is provisional and not adjusted for seasonal fluctuation, noted the data agency, which released the numbers this month.

The increase came after sales rose 3.7% to a revised $30.3
billion for the whole of 2016, with a 7% spike in December compared to the
previous year.

Mar 27

Dominion Team to Assess Potential Sale

RAPAPORT… Dominion Diamond Corporation has set up a team of directors
to evaluate a potential sale of the company, the miner said in a statement
Monday.

The committee will work with Dominion’s management team and
advisors to “consider alternatives that could include the sale of the company or
other strategic transactions,” according to the statement. The panel consists of company chairman Jim Gowans (pictured) and fellow board members Trudy Curran, David Smith
and Josef Vejvoda.

The move comes after Dominion dismissed an informal $1.1
billion takeover offer from the Washington Companies last week, claiming Washington
undervalued the business, but saying it was prepared to enter discussions with
the suitor. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the miner had held merger talks
with Stornoway Diamond Corporation, another Canada-based rough producer.

“While the board of directors remains confident in the
company’s long-term strategic plan and the opportunity it provides to enhance
value for all shareholders, we are open to exploring all strategic alternatives
that are in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders,” Gowans
said.

“The board is committed to maximizing shareholder value
through a fair and open process, and we look forward to engaging constructively
with all parties,” he added.