De Beers Is Offering Big Discounts on Low-Quality Diamonds – by Thomas Biesheuval (Bloomberg News – November 12, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — De Beers made steep cuts in the prices of low-quality stones at its sale this week, according to people familiar with the situation.

The world’s biggest producer reduced prices as much as 10 percent for low-quality stones, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the sales are private. It’s the latest sign that the bottom end of the market is in turmoil.

De Beers sells rough diamonds to trade buyers who cut, polish and manufacture them into the polished stones sold in jewelry stores. While there is some correlation between rough and polished prices, lower prices at a De Beers sale is unlikely to make a difference at the consumer level.

Even so, U.S. retail jeweler shares moved on the news, with shares of Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers Ltd. declining on Monday.

The business of low-end diamonds, which tend to be small and flawed, is struggling because of too much supply. Major cutting centers, such as Surat in India, have been squeezed by lower profit margins and the depreciation of the rupee.

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