Diamonds “’ prices
expected to rise
further this year
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 January 2011 – Rough diamond prices are expected to rise further this year, but they are not likely to match last year’s sharp double-digit percentage rebound, which was boosted by restocking from mainly American jewellers.

Making this prediction here, the head of De Beers Sales Division “’ the Diamond Trading Company “’ Varda Shine  said: “We believe 2011 is going to be a solid year. But we don’t think it’s going to be as good a year as 2010 because in 2010 you had all the restocking by the American retailers,” she added.

“This year we won’t have the restocking,” she told Reuters in an exclusive interview. “However, we will still have the demand growth.”

Final figures were not yet available, but the surge in rough diamond prices last year was in ‘healthy double digits’, bringing them above levels seen before the downturn, she continued.

De Beers is 45% owned by mining group Anglo American, 40% by South Africa’s Oppenheimer family, and 15% by the Botswana government.

De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer also said that the company’s performance was very strong last year. “We were extraordinarily pleased and, I think, surprised,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Shine and Oppenheimer were speaking at De Beers headquarters here after the launch of the first sales event of the year, where half a billion dollars of gems will be purchased by De Beers specially selected clients.

De Beers had previously forecast that the United States “’ the world’s biggest market for diamond jewellery, with about 40% of the total “’ increased sales by 2 to 3% last year. “I think we may have exceeded it,” Shine said. "That gives us a lot of confidence because that means the American consumer is feeling more confident to buy diamond jewellery.”

World diamond jewellery sales growth was estimated at “a middle to high single digit percentage” in 2010, she added.