Friday 22 March 2013

Tzoffey's Auction Brings Diamond Week to a Close in Israel

Tzoffey's Auction Brings Diamond Week to a Close in Israel

(Rapaport) The closing day of the March 17 to 20 U.S./International Diamond Week at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) ended with an exceptionally well-attended auction of spectacular white and colored diamonds and gemstone jewelry by Tzoffey's 1818. Reportedly, more than 30 lots were sold.

IDE's president, Yair Sahar, paid tribute to Tzoffey's 1818 owner Avner Sofiov putting together the idea of the auction, creating the lots of diamonds and gemstones and making it a reality in less than two months. "To be able to make something like this take place in two months is exceptional," Sahar said. He added that 1 percent of the proceeds from the auction would be donated to the IDE's Friends for Friends organization to help people in need. IDE's vice president, Ilan Samuel, bought a heart-shaped brown diamond weighing 1.96 carats and then put the diamond back into the auction and donated the money from the sale to Friends for Friends.

Among the highlights of the auction, was a 1.27-carat fancy intense purple pink cushion-cut GIA-certified diamond of SI1 clarity that sold for $242,000. Among the other items was a platinum ring set with a 10.19-carat cushion-cut diamond pave set with brilliant-cut diamonds, a man's ring set with a cabochon sapphire weighing 7.83 carats and mounted in yellow gold and signed by French designer Reza and an outstanding oval-cut fancy color diamond weighing 11.56 carats set in white gold.

In addition, there was an emerald and diamond ring, with the square-cut emerald weighing 13.91 carats and set among 3.02 carats of pear-shaped diamonds in white gold, as well as a cushion-cut ruby weighing 6.22 carats set in white gold and with white pave-set diamonds on either side and many other outstanding jewelry items.

Before the auction, diamantaires from Israel and overseas were given a presentation by renowned diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar, the president of Tacy Ltd., on the issue of the global diamond market. Even-Zohar, who publishes an annual diamond pipeline chart showing the production of rough goods from diamond-producing nations and the value of the diamonds and how much is added at each stage through manufacturing and sales to the consumer, said he did not expect rough prices in 2013 and 2014 to rise "meaningfully," and added that prices would continue to be volatile.

He said that annual rough sales globally were $15 billion, while polished sales were $22 billion, meaning manufacturers added just $7 billion in value. "Manufacturers are the suckers between the mining firms and jewelers," he said. Although manufacturers lost money in 2011 and 2012, their financial situation has never been better. As a result of the financial crisis they had injected equity into their companies, and borrowing had fallen, Even Zohar noted.

However, it is imperative that banks provide credit to the diamond industry as that is the only way to survive and expand. "The business cannot grow without credit."

Even-Zohar also spoke about the danger to the industry posed by synthetic stones, saying that of the $22 billion of polished goods last year at least $500 million were synthetics. Manufacturing of synthetics has ramped up considerably with manufacturers installing hundreds of machines. "In addition, there is a perfect system where synthetic stones are made by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and then improved using the High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) system."

Even-Zohar also spoke about the danger to the industry of recycled diamonds and stones being sold to the ever-expanding pawn business in the U.S. which he estimated to have an annual value of $1.2 billion. "There are enough diamonds held by households for the next 40 to 50 years if they were to all go back into the market. Those are the kinds of volumes we are talking about," he said.