De Beers sells its gems through 10 sales each year in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, and the handpicked buyers — known as sightholders — generally must accept the price and the quantities offered.
Around 60 handpicked customers — known as sightholders — are given a black and yellow box each time. These contain plastic bags filled with stones, with the number of boxes and quality of diamonds depending on what the buyer and De Beers had agreed to in an annual allocation.
Prices for small diamonds, those that usually end up clustered around a solitaire stone in a ring, have soared since early April, when Russia’s Alrosa (MCX: ALRS) was targeted by US sanctions related to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver noted that diamond jewellery sales have been moving in the opposite direction to most other commodities on strong US demand and the reopening of retail outlet in China following covid-triggered lockdowns.
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