From Carats To Peanuts: This how the diamond industry get affected during the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic affects the global diamond industry badly, many mines from Lesotho to Canada has been shut down. Rajen Patel swapped diamond polishing for peanut farming. Patel, who worked for a decade in Surat where about 80 percent of the world's diamonds are polished, joined the exodus of gem workers leaving the city as cases of the virus shot up.
He said, "I won't earn as much I was earning in Surat, but I won't starve and there is no fear of getting infected with coronavirus,".
There is a tremendous decrement in the demand for diamonds during the pandemic, freezing sales, and squeezing prices. Some of the mines got temporarily closed with the risk of becoming permanent, diamond miners are seeking ways to extract more value from their stones.
The lone bright spot has been a steady demand for large, high-quality diamonds from affluent investors, according to financiers and sales data.
Chris Del Gatto, CEO of the Del Gatto Diamond Finance Fund said "There are a lot more inquiries from people seeking to buy these luxury stones as a hedge,"
Prices for high-quality one-carat diamonds are rising steadily and are currently around 12 percent higher than at the start of the year, in contrast to still-depressed prices for lower-quality stones of the same size, data from trading platform Rap Net shows.
"If you are in that top end, the demand is still there because the people who go for these types of goods feel the pressure of the market downturn less," said Gus Simbanegavi, CEO of Bluerock Diamonds.
But only a few miners are lucky enough to have deposits of large, high-quality diamonds, leaving some producers at risk.