In Armenia, there are turquoises, a bit amethysts, a lot of semi-precious obsidian, but no diamonds. Yet there is a great cutting school founded almost 45 years ago.

In the late 40-ies, the first diamond was found in Siberia, in Yakutia. At that time, it was decided to build the seven cutting factories in the USSR with the common name "Sapphire", one of which was constructed in Armenia, in 1971 not far from the town of Abovyan (later in Nor Hachn).

The founding father of diamond processing industry was the director of production unit “Crystal” Ashot Harutyunyan. In 1976, "Shoghakn" (former "Crystal") plant was founded with an annual processing capacity of 140,000 carats. This is not just a city-forming plant, around which the town Nor Hachn actually was built, but, most importantly, it laid the foundation of the magnificent cutting school in Armenia.

A well-known Israeli tycoon Lev Levayev owned the main diamond company of Armenia «Shoghakn» from 2001 to 2008, providing furtherly about 1,500 jobs. By the end of the 2000s there has started the crisis of the industrial branch, rough prices have soared sharply, partially due to the general crisis in the international market and, partially, due to the fall of the dollar.

The new owners of the enterprise decided to restore the work of the plant by opening a gemological laboratory equipped with modern laboratory instruments, a trading platform for the purchase and sale of rough and finished diamonds, linking sellers, cutters and buyers from all over the world with each other, while organizing infrastructure under one roof,  all the necessary services for the convenience of deals, as well as, a new department of colored stones’ cutting. Work is underway on the organization of a training center for preparing diamond cutters and appraisers.

Our company is now cooperating with (SJSC) PAO "Alrosa", "Gokhran" of RF, and with other major suppliers of rough diamonds, as well as, with a number of diamond cutting companies in Armenia and abroad, in order to achieve common goals and to boost the development of the diamond industry in Armenia.


Shoghakn company is the biggest diamond processing enterprise in postsoviet territory. Company is implementing faceting of all existing types of diamonds.


















                     Colorless diamonds are the most valuable gemstones which becomes faceted gems

                                             of regular shape and proportions after their cutting.

                                   The most traditional shape is round brilliant which has 57 facets.


                           There are four factors known as the 4C to describe and classify diamonds:

                                                         Colour, Clarity, Cut, Carat weight.


                                                  Production processes of diamond cutting


Natural rough diamonds pass through the following production steps:

Sorting - is carried out  by color,  natural defects, weight, shape and by the relief of the facet

Marking - is carried out with the help of special marking pencil. Accurate marking of the rough has a great importance for the yield depends on its accuracy.

Sawing -  mechanical sawing is undertaken at this stage and  the tools used in the workshop consist of diamond-bladed edges or discs that are lined in diamond dust. Along with the development of laser industry, the sawing process can also be undertaken with contactless cutting tools like lasers which enable to cut several stones simultaneously with sawing/cutting a narrow sector. Sometimes cleavage of rough can be more effective than its cutting.

Blocking main facets or “rough bruting”- it's the removal of the excess mass of the crystal.

Bruting - is performed to make the separated rough stones in their basic forms. This process is also known as girdling.

Cutting/faceting - it’s the process of creating facets on the stone at a certain angle, due to which the diamond refracts light rays.

There are the following shapes of diamond cut: Pear-shaped, Emerald, Oval, Marquise, Baguette, Heart, Square, Princess, Trillion Cut, Radiant Cut and Round. 

Polishing - diamond surface becomes perfectly smooth using  diamond polishing tools.

Washing - cleaning solution used for diamonds washing consists of concentrated sulfuric acid with the addition of a certain amount of potassium nitrate, distilled water and raw spirit.


Finished stones are inspected in accordance with the technical requirements using different laboratory instruments.



De Beers to hold sight next week without SA rough diamonds – report


De Beers is expected to hold its sightholder sales next week at the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) in Gaborone without rough diamonds from neighbouring South Africa. 
South Africa's minerals minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, had been refusing to grant an exemption to De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) to export diamonds to Botswana for aggregation. 
DBCM had since approached the local courts to force the minister change his position. 
The Patriot newspaper quoted Botswana Chamber of Mines chief executive, Charles Siwawa, as saying that it was surprising that such a decision with far reaching implications on the relationship between the two neighbouring countries had been made by the individual minister. 
"The decision could affect bi-lateral relations between the neighbours. It should not have been unilateral at ministerial level,” he said. 
“One would expect that it would be reached after both governments engage at a high level where one would forewarn the other to make necessary preparations going forward." 
Siwawa said although blocking supply from South Africa for aggregation in Botswana would not stop operations at DTCB, although it would disrupt the diamond mix in the process. 
Diamonds produced by De Beers in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada were aggregated in Gaborone like they used to be in London. 
Once the aggregation process was complete, rough diamonds of higher value were then re-imported back to the producing countries, South Africa included, for cutting and polishing. 
About 40 percent of diamonds mined in South Africa by De Beers were allocated to local diamond cutters and polishers. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

Large Israeli diamond contigent at June HK Show


At the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair this year, 47 Israeli companies will exhibit in the Israeli Diamond Pavilion under the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) umbrella, while 6 others will be located elsewhere in the Fair, says a press note from IDI. 
The show runs June 22 – 25, 2017 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, with the diamond pavilion located in Hall 3BC. A lounge adjacent to the diamond area will feature dedicated Get Diamonds stations which allow a search (also available in smart phones) in English and in Chinese of all Israeli exhibitors’ goods offered. 
In addition, IDI will launch a special website (which will go live on June 21) with full details of all the Israeli companies participating in the show, including background and contact information, as well as a map of the Israel Diamond Pavilion. 
IDI Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer said, “We are optimistic about Asia as we have been seeing a definite rise in demand for diamond jewelry in these markets, especially in China. We believe that the long-term prospects for Asia as a market for polished diamonds from Israel are excellent and it remains a key target for our industry." 

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

Botswana Diamonds engages liquidator over Maibwe JV project


Botswana Diamonds said it has approached the liquidator of the Maibwe joint venture with several possible options to get the project moving. 
Work on Maibwe had been delayed owing to the liquidation of main shareholder and operator BCL, said company managing director James Campbell at a mining conference in Gaborone, Botswana. 
Maibwe was made up of three parties BCL, a Botswana state owned copper/nickel producer which was given 51 percent in return for a $1 million investment; Future Minerals, a local Botswana group (20 percent) who first acquired the licences and Siseko Minerals (29 percent), which was 51 percent-owned by Botswana Diamonds. 
Though 10 prospecting licences are held by Maibwe, comprehensive work had been successfully carried out on PL 186. 
“We received tantalizing results after a drilling programme on PL186 in 2015, sadly we couldn’t work on it because of the liquidation of BCL, but we are in discussions with the liquidator as well as our joint venture partners to try and get the project moving,” said Campbell. 
“We believe that is in the great interest of the country and of course the joint venture partners on the project 
Work on PL186 had managed to identify four diamond bearing kimberlite pipes forming a cluster within close proximity to each other. 
The pipes were identified through a series of ground-magnetic surveys at 50m spacing and 800m of diamond core drilling from which 305kg of sampled material returned diamonds. 
Future Minerals and Siseko, were said to have agreed that Botswana Diamonds would fund a verification drilling programme. 
Campbell confirmed that Botswana Diamonds had since drilled verification holes and was in the process of analysing the samples. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

De Beers, Namibia launch “most advanced” diamond exploration vessel


De Beers has launched the world’s “most advanced” diamond exploration and sampling vessel off the coast of Namibia. 
The inauguration follows five months of successful sea trials, the group said. 
The mv SS Nujoma, which was built to the tune of $157 million in Norway, would enable Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between Namibia and De Beers, to explore diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country well into the future. 
The vessel was the first in the company’s fleet of five other vessels to be dedicated to exploration and sampling. 
“Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver. 
“The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market.” 
The vessel incorporates a range of unique technologies that allows it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. 
It was also capable of sampling at more than double the speed of its predecessor. 
Debmarine Namibia, which was the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore, produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished 

Dominion Diamond reports fiscal 2018 first quarter results


Dominion Diamond Corporation announced its fiscal 2018 first quarter production results for the diamond projects Diavik and Ekati Diamond Mine. 
According to the company, consolidated carats recovered increased 17% to 2.15 million carats in Q1 fiscal 2018 from 1.83 million carats in Q1 fiscal 2017 due primarily to production from the high-grade Misery Main pipe at the Ekati mine, with stable production at the Diavik Diamond Mine. 
According to Dominion’s assessment, the diamond market has become more positive than in recent months and overall prices have improved from early fiscal 2018 levels after a slight dip associated with the residual effects of the November 2016 demonetization of the Indian rupee. 
In India, there has been a recovery of demand in the retail jewelry market following demonetization, and a noticeable rise in activity in the lower-end price ranges, notably from the larger jewelry chains, Dominion noted. It is expected there will be a full return to normal trading activity as work resumes at the Indian diamond polishing factories after the May break. This is the most active time of year for purchases by the jewelry manufacturing segment, as it prepares for the end of year sales season. 
The diamond jewelry retail industry in the United States failed to meet market expectations in the first quarter of calendar 2017. The level of optimism in the market has since increased, except with regards to the outlook for the larger retailers. Traffic is less buoyant in the cheaper diamond ranges than at calendar year-end 2016, however, bridal goods have been more resilient, and the higher end of the market, while slow, is improving. 
The improvement in mainland Chinese demand early in the quarter has persisted and there is increased activity in Hong Kong and Macau, both of which had suffered a retail downturn in recent months, Dominion said. 

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels

ALROSA and DMCC Discuss Cooperation Prospects


ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Ahmed Bin Sulayem agreed upon enhancing cooperation in diamond trade, according to a press release from ALROSA distributed on Wednesday. At a working meeting in ALROSA’s headquarters in Moscow, Sergey Ivanov and Ahmed Bin Sulayem discussed options for expanding ALROSA’s trading activities at the Dubai Diamond Exchange, a trading platform within DMCC. The parties also agreed to step up fight against undeclared synthetic diamonds. “Dubai is one of the world’s leading diamond trading centers. In 2016 alone, ALROSA sold rough diamonds worth USD 259.5 million to companies- residents of the United Arab Emirates. ALROSA’s affiliate Arcos East DMCC has been successfully operating at the Dubai Diamond Exchange, and we are certainly interested in wider cooperation with our partners from DMCC,” noted Sergey Ivanov. ALROSA President accepted the invitation to attend the Dubai Diamond Conference 2017 and visit DMCC.

De Beers Auction Sales set for first third-party polished diamonds auction


De Beers Auction Sales said sellers and buyers of responsibly sourced, exceptional polished diamonds will transact anonymously via its platform for the first time on 29 June when it conducts an exceptional polished stones auction. 
The separate auctions for third-party exceptional polished stones would occur on the same day as the first auctions of De Beers’s own polished diamonds, manufactured directly from its own rough. 
It said all exceptional stones available for auction would be more than two and a half carats in weight, or of fancy colour, and verified by De Beers’s own International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research’s labs to confirm they are natural and untreated. 
About 50 exceptional polished stones would be available at the first auction, including a 7.21 carat, D colour, flawless pear-shaped diamond, a 1.57 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow, internally flawless, cushion cut diamond, a 5.53 carat Fancy Yellow, VS1, cushion cut diamond and a 20.64 carat Fancy Light Yellow, VS2, cushion cut diamond. 
“This platform for exceptional third party diamonds, and the auctions of De Beers Group’s own polished diamonds, offer buyers new opportunities to purchase attractive, responsibly sourced diamonds that have been validated by De Beers as being natural and untreated,” said De Beers Auction Sales executive vice president Neil Ventura. 
“While both polished auction initiatives are still in the pilot stage, we look forward to the learnings we will receive from these first events so that we can continue to innovate and enhance our offering to our customers – both buyers and sellers.” 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Gaborone, Botswana, Rough&Polished 

Dominion Diamond and sign a mine-to-consumer market agreement for CanadaMark certified diamonds


Dominion Diamond Corporation and R2Net, which owns, have signed an agreement which is aimed to bring CanadaMark certified diamonds directly to consumers. will be the exclusive online retailer of CanadaMark certified diamonds, and each of the Dominion's stones listed on its website will bear unique serial number, and will have an official certificate of origin from either Ekati or Diavik diamond mines. 
"We are excited to partner with Dominion, continuing on our path of transforming the diamond industry by giving consumers a better diamond-buying experience – in this case, full transparency of their diamond's journey from the mine to their or their loved one's finger,” said R2Net’s co-founder and CEO Oded Edelman. 
The CanadaMark diamonds are tracked at every stage from the mine to the polished stone through independent, audited processes. The program is a hallmark guaranteeing Canadian origin, and works with clients to assure end consumers that their diamond is responsibly mined in Canada. 
“We are thrilled to partner with to offer increased transparency for diamond buyers, with a complete view into their diamond's source from mine all the way through to the gift box," said Jim Pounds, Dominion’s Executive Vice President, Diamonds. is the fastest growing online retailer of engagement rings and loose diamonds, and Dominion is Canada’s largest independent diamond producer. 

Theodor Lisovoy, Rough&Polished, Moscow

Gem Diamonds recovers two more large diamonds from Lesotho mine


Gem Diamonds said it has recovered a “high-quality” 104.73 carat, D-colour Type IIa diamond and a 151.52 carat Type I yellow diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho. 
This, it said, followed the recoveries of an “exceptional” 80.58 carat D-colour Type IIa diamond and a 98.42 carat D-colour Type IIa diamond in May, as well as a 114 carat D colour Type IIa diamond in April from Letšeng. 
Letšeng had produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded since 2006 when Gem Diamonds took over its ownership. 
“The Letšeng mine is well-known for the production of large, top colour, exceptional white diamonds, making it the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world,” said Gem Diamonds. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau from Gaborone, Botswana, Rough&Polished 

Lev Leviev to take part in emerald mining in Zambia


Billionaire Lev Leviev has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines. 
Bloomberg has cited Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, as saying that businessman bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company controlled in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment. A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details. 
The Zambia company registry shows Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited. Grizzly was previously 85 percent owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Ndiaye is a Zambian who is originally from Senegal, and Grizzly has been digging emeralds in Zambia since 1997, according to Gemcanton. 
Zambia produced 74.7 metric tons of emerald and beryl, a less-valuable grade of the stone, in 2016, a 42 percent increase from 52.8 tons in 2015, according to the Finance Ministry. 

ALROSA’s revenue from diamond sales in May grew 33% up to USD 472.1 million


Public Joint Stock Company ALROSA, the world leader in diamond mining, has announced diamond sale results for May and the first five months of 2017. In May 2017, the Company sold rough and polished diamonds worth USD 472.1 million, which is 33% higher compared to a year earlier. Revenue from rough diamond sales amounted to USD 467.6 million, polished diamond sales – USD 4.5 million. In January–May 2017, ALROSA’s rough and polished diamond sales exceeded USD 2.13 billion − 5% below the same period in 2016. Rough diamonds were sold for USD 2.09 billion, polished diamonds – for USD 44.3 million. Commenting on a 5-percent reduction of the cost of diamonds sold in January-May this year from the same period a year earlier, ALROSA Vice President Yury Okoemov reminded that early in 2016 the Company sold a substantial part of high-priced rough diamonds from previously accumulated stocks. This year, the share of small-size, inexpensive rough diamonds in total sales is higher, which, above all, is related to the composition of stock as at the start of the year. He also noted a revival of demand for inexpensive rough diamonds in India, which showed a noticeable slowdown late last year as a result of a monetary reform in this country.


South Africa, Venezuela ink diamond mining deal


South Africa and Venezuela have reportedly signed an agreement on the setting up of joint ventures in mining, particularly diamonds, in Orinoco Mining, south Venezuela. 
The work area was said to cover 10,000 hectares and it holds about 40 million carats of diamonds. 
Diamond Loupe, citing El Universal, reports that South African deputy minister of mineral resources, Godfrey Oliphant, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Víctor Cano, signed the agreement, with a focus on environmentally friendly technology. 
Meanwhile, Venezuela's Minister for ecological mining development, Jorge Arreaza thanked South Africa for helping the South American country end its eight-year absence from the Kimberley Process. 
"South Africa has also been very supportive of Venezuela's reincorporation into the Kimberley Process,” he was quoted as saying. 
“Thanks to them, we are here today to develop joint diamond projects, projects where the Venezuelan state maintains a sovereign majority of the shares of joint ventures or strategic alliances." 
Venezuela rejoined the Kimberley Process last November after it stopped issuing export certificates in 2005 and unilaterally removed itself three years later as an active participant in the diamond watchdog. 
It exported 23,472 carats of rough worth $882,130 in 2005, according to KP data. 

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished