New York–After several months of gains, diamond prices declined slightly in May ahead of the Las Vegas shows, the Rapaport Group said in its monthly diamond price report.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America was flat in May while the index for 0.30-carat and 3-carat diamonds slid 1 percent. The RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds was down 0.3 percent.
Through the first five months of the year, the RAPI for 1-carat diamonds is up 1 percent but remains about 5 percent below its level from a year ago.
The Rapaport Group described trading during JCK Las Vegas, which wrapped up Monday, “as relatively weak, with traffic slower than previous years.”
It acknowledged, however, that U.S. demand is steady and the country remains the top market for diamond dealers in the world, though sentiment in the market is being impacted by “weaker economic trends in a contentious election year.”
The show also highlighted challenges facing the diamond industry: the price relationship between the rough and polished markets; raising levels of consumer demand across the board; selling the idea of diamonds to millennials; rising interest in lab-grown diamonds; and responsible sourcing.
Polished diamond demand remains specific, as companies at all points in the supply pipeline are working with smaller inventory.
On the manufacturing side, polished production continues to rise and the Rapaport Group described rough diamond demand as “robust,” though De Beers reported a dip in rough diamond sales in its most recent sales cycle.