Diamond mining company De Beers has seen rough sales take a hit in its latest ‘sales cycle’, with the company CEO blaming religious festivals like Christmas and Diwali for the nosedive.

Sales of the company’s rough diamonds have been provisionally estimated to be $430 million (£322 million) for its ninth sales cycle of the year, accounting for the 15-day period leading up to 23 November 2021.

This is $32 million (£24 million) below the same period last year and an even greater $62 million (£46 million) behind the sales seen in its eighth sales cycle of 2021.

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Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “Sentiment continues to be positive on the back of strong demand for diamond jewellery from US consumers and this was reflected in the demand we saw for rough diamonds during cycle 9.

“Such demand was in line with expectations given the normal pattern of cutting factory closures in India during the Diwali festival.

“As we head into cycle 10, we anticipate rough diamond demand will likewise be affected by the Christmas holiday closure of cutting factories in southern Africa, but we expect to see positive industry conditions prevailing into the new year in light of the healthy outlook for the key retail selling season.”