The latest results from De Beers Group and Alrosa both show consumer demand for diamond jewellery will remain high and fuel upstream sales of rough. Plus, with December and the lead up to Christmas typically being one of the busiest times of year for jewellers and wholesalers, sales for engagement rings, bands and diamond staples are expected to do well. With input from two major players in the Australian diamond industry, we sought to discover how well this year has been and how it will end for white diamonds. – By Stefan Juengling
Sales soaring in all stone types
As detailed in a recent article from National Jeweler, the consulting and data aggregating company The Edge Retail Academy reported that sales of diamond products are up 40 per cent over the past 12 months. This success is concurred by our contributors with director Nirav Shah from Affection Diamonds reporting that sales are even higher than last year, and still continuing to grow. As for the types of diamonds that are selling well, he said they are selling round and fancy shapes like oval, pear, marquise and others in fair amounts equally.
“We have experienced increased demand for fancy cuts from last year,” he said. Shweta Khan is owner of both Adelaide-based diamond wholesaler Akshmi Diamonds, and Brisbane-based retail diamond jeweller Starfire Diamonds, and she said that sales for diamonds and diamond jewellery have been strong due to the shortage of wellpriced, quality diamonds in the world market.
However she said round brilliant cut diamonds are always in demand. “We see other cuts go up and down in demand but rounds have always been our staple as there is always a market for it,” she said. She said that at one stage oval cut diamonds were popular and they couldn’t get enough of them, which pushed up the price. “Princess and cushion cuts are steady.”
How are the stone stocks?
With business doing so well, it’s obviously important to keep enough stock on hand to meet demand. Shweta said that stock levels at Akshmi Diamonds change and they stock a range of cuts, primarily round brilliant cut diamonds followed by ovals and other fancy cuts.
“The stock sizes range from the small sizes all the way up to 2 to 3 carat,” she said. “We are strong in E – F colour SI.”
Nirav said that Affection Diamonds have an amazing range which covers white diamonds, colour diamonds, and all manner of unique hard-to-find diamonds. “We are strong in from the smallest diamond up-to substantial large diamonds in white, colours and all fancy diamonds,” he said.
Lab created diamonds’ place
When probed on the impact lab created diamonds have had on the natural diamond market, Nirav said that lab created diamonds are a viable alternative option for consumers who want a larger size diamond, but without
the budget to afford a natural diamond of equal size.
“Also termed ‘Ethical Diamonds’ they seem to resonate with the younger generation that see it as being a conflict-free option,” he said.
Shweta believes natural and lab grown diamonds have their own share of the clientele and function cooperatively rather than competitively alongside each other. “For us, natural diamond sales have not been affected by lab grown diamonds,” she said. “Both are having good sales simultaneously.
A shift in taste: quality over price
Asked about how consumer taste in diamonds have shifted over the past five years, Shweta said there has been a move towards smaller, better quality diamonds rather than bigger, lower quality. “With all the information out in the market, people are appreciating quality over price,” she said.
Nirav said he’s noticed consumers moving toward a greater variety in diamond shapes, colours and sizes.
Preparing for the Christmas diamond boom
As mentioned earlier, Christmas is typically one of the busiest times of year for jewellers and wholesalers, and our contributors have come prepared, and expecting big things. Nirav said that solitaire diamond rings as well as diamond studs and bracelets will do well.
Shweta is cautiously optimistic about the festive season, concurring that it too is the busiest time for Akshmi Diamonds and Starfire Diamonds, but that that may all change with the state borders reopening. She also opined that they will be a demand for gemstones as well as diamonds. “In recent times there has been more and more demand for bright coloured gemstones, this may be because as a population we need some brightness in our lives?” she said.
She also said that both tennis bracelets and stacker rings have been in demand, and she expected that to continue for the rest of the year.