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Local diamonds a cut above the rest

2020-10-13  Maihapa Ndjavera

Local diamonds a cut above the rest
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Namibian diamonds are of great quality, with the highest average value per carat in the world, Namibia Desert Diamonds (Namdia) general manager of sales and marketing Lelly Usiku said last week during an orientation session. 
 Equated to other diamond producing countries like Russia and Botswana, Namibia produces considerably less in quantity with just over two million carats in 2019. 

 Botswana in the same year produced over 23 million carats and fetched an average of US$145 per carat compared to Namibia’s average of US$500.25 per carat. 
 Usiku said despite the low quantities compared to other diamond producing countries, 95% of Namibian diamonds are of gem quality. 

 She said this makes Namibian diamonds sought after and it aids in securing a premium price. 
 According to her, Namibia’s diamonds, after being liberated from Kimberlite hosts, a journey for more than 1 000 kilometres to the Atlantic coast along the Orange River: “During this voyage, they were subjected to intense abrasion over and over again, and as a consequence, only the best gems without inclusions, flaws or imperfections survived.” 
 The future of the industry is moving towards greater transparency and traceability. 
 According to Usiku, the buying power lies in the Millennial and Generation Z, who not only want to purchase a diamond for its beauty, but also for the value of the story that lies behind the diamond. 

 “Cognisant consumers seek out a conscious purchasing experience, creating and implementing systems that allow consumers to trace the origin of a diamond; the processes behind it enhance that experience,” she said. 
 The outbreak of the pandemic also created an opportunity for the industry to consider alternative methods of sales such as online portals that mimic the physical purchasing experience. 

 One of Namdia’s long term strategic plans is to create a Namibian brand that is world-renowned. With this in mind, Namdia is open to fostering and building relationships with clients that will help create this legacy. 
 “We have clients distributed across the world, especially in the diamond trading hubs of the world, but we are always looking for opportunities to expand our footprint. Our current client’s contract expires next year and this will grant us the opportunity to create new trade markets that we do not currently have,” explained Usiku. 

 She further stated that Namdia uses the 4Cs for diamond grading to value their products. The 4Cs relate to cut, colour, clarity and carat weight – a universal language that was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). 
 The combination of these factors defines a diamond’s quality and ultimately determines its value. 
 When explaining, Usiku said carat is the weight and reflects the diamond’s size. 
 The larger the diamond, the rarer and more valuable it becomes. 
 The cut is the shape that the diamond eventually takes on and this is what maximises the sparkle, fire, brilliance and overall visual beauty of a diamond. 

 The cut is a measure of light performance as light hits a diamond. 
 The angles, locations, sizes and shapes of facets will determine the diamond’s sparkle. 
 A diamond’s colour is the soft tint of the shade of yellow/brown that is seen inside the diamond. 
 All diamonds on the GIA, D through Z scale are considered white although on the lower end they can have a hint of yellow colour. 
 Colour is a natural element in diamonds. 
 The browner the tint of colour, the less the sparkle of the diamond because light performance and reflection are reduced. 

2020-10-13  Maihapa Ndjavera

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