DTC Highlights 2003 Diamond Sales

March 15, 2004

DTC Highlights 2003 Diamond Sales

Worldwide diamond sales grew 7% in 2003 compared to 2002, says De Beers' Diamond Trading Co. Asia was a bright spot for the company, which saw sales rise on the strength of branded lines of jewelry.

Despite war and the SARS outbreak in 2003, the strongest growth in diamond sales came from India, which last year grew 22% from the year before. DTC singles out the symbolic "Nakshatra" branded jewelry (which contains seven diamonds arranged concentrically and tagged "The Brightest Circle of Light") which has become India's premier brand.

Japan and China also did well. In Japan, several DTC sightholders joined with retailers (large department stores and independent retailers) to launch the highly successful "Trilogy" branded diamond jewelry, similar in concept to the Past Present and Future three-stone promotional campaign launched in the U.S. In China, where the SARS outbreak was focused, an 8% growth rate of diamond sales was achieved. DTC says this is due to a rise in the popularity of diamond wedding bands. Studies show 85% of recently married women received diamond wedding jewelry.

In the U.S. a solid, if more modest, growth of 6.5% was reported.

"The hugely successful retail figures demonstrate the transformation of the diamond industry from a price-driven commodity into a modern, healthy, growth-driven market of the future," says DTC. "This transformation was at the heart of the Supplier of Choice strategy announced three years ago."

Looking ahead, Business Day of Johannesburg, South Africa, says De Beers aims to raise output of rough diamonds by 7%, but says there will probably be an increase in the price of rough. De Beers raised the price of rough by nearly 3.5% in 2003.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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