The diamond business has been losing its luster of late and the industry’s largest producer wants to bring some of the shine back.
De Beers is taking action to jolt demand for the precious stones again by making one of its biggest price cuts in years, according to a new report from Bloomberg. In its first sale of the year, the company has slashed prices 10 percent across the board with discounts up to 25 percent on some larger stones, sources familiar with the matter told the outlet.
The last few years have been a rollercoaster ride for the diamond industry. During the pandemic, like many luxury goods, it received a boost from consumers buying online during Covid lockdowns. But when that demand faded, a glut of supply plagued the industry. Then a wave of inflation tamped down sales, while lab-grown diamonds began to eat into the demand for natural stones. All of this happened as the Chinese market faltered as well.
To keep prices from totally collapsing, last fall the two biggest diamond mining companies—De Beers and Russia’s Alrosa—stopped selling diamonds altogether. Alrosa—which now faces a sales ban in the E.U. over Russia’s invasion in Ukraine—halted transactions for two months from September, while De Beers followed suit in October. Both resumed sales of rough stones to finish 2023 after the market appeared to stabilize.
To kick off 2024, De Beers made its biggest price reductions in the “select makeables” category that includes diamonds between two and four carats, which are usually divided into smaller stones and cut for use in bridal rings. This class of diamond, which has been susceptible to competition from lab-grown diamonds, saw a 25 percent reduction by De Beers. The last time the company made this significant of a discount was in 2019 when it faced an oversupply of stones. Now De Beers will have to see if its latest action can brighten the industry’s future.