What's Going on with the Diamond Supply Chain?
To say we are living in strange and unprecedented times at this point would be an understatement, however it truly is a bizarre time in the diamond industry.
The market has yet to fully recover from the supply chain disruptions (and resulting product scarcity) caused by the pandemic that sent prices soaring in 2021 and 2022. Sanctions against Russian sourced diamonds last year also removed a third of the global supply from the market, which further amplified product scarcity. The combined effect caused Manufacturers to engage in bidding wars at tenders, paying record setting prices for rough in order to secure supply and continue production.
As markets corrected and we entered 2023, the pendulum for demand (which reached a fever pitch in 2021 through 2022) has swung dramatically in the opposite direction. In the face of a significantly more conservative global economy and the continued strength of lab grown sales in the retail sector, prices for traditional white diamonds have entered a free fall from their lofty pandemic-buoyed heights that the industry is scrambling to address. DeBeers has dropped prices for rough multiple times to entice buyers to purchase at tenders, however, manufacturers, who are sitting on expensive inventory acquired at the height of the frenzy, are declining to purchase. Russian giant Alrosa has suspended sales of rough all together for the remainder of 2023 (to the Eastern markets that have not enforced the same sanctions as the West) and India is likely to suspend all rough imports into the country for the next couple of months - declaring it irresponsible for mining companies to continue to flood the market with supply that exceeds demand.
While we are hoping to see production resume and for pricing to stabilize by Spring of 2024, we can expect continued scarcity for niche natural diamonds like Salt & Pepper goods and novelty Fancy Cut white diamonds. With nary a Step Cut Kite, Hexagon, Lozenge or Baguette in sight, and bridal quality Salt & Pepper Diamonds far and few between, be prepared to sell from stock as sourcing stones will be difficult this Fall through the holidays and into the new year.