The world-leading diamond company De Beers have announced the provisional value of their first sales cycle of 2023 for rough diamond sales at $450 million. The company also confirmed actual sales for between the 5 December and the 20 December at $417 million.

The $450 million compares unfavourably to $660 million in sales revenue for the same period last year.

The company points to wider macro-economic forces leading to caution from purchasing company Sightholders for this decline.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver called for cautious optimism as the year progresses, particularly as China’s economy recovers from its strict zero-covid policy. China is the largest market for polished diamond outside of the US, responsible for 11% of the market, according to 2021 data from De Beers.

The sales figures suggest greater stability in the diamond industry following the Covid-19 pandemic which led to a 28% decline in sales for De Beers during the second sales cycle of 2020, the point at which the pandemic outbreak occurred.

In recent years, consumers have also turned towards artificial diamonds. These can have cost benefits as well as limiting concerns as to the conditions under which individuals are working in diamond mines.

While De Beers has previously expressed that lab-grown diamond subsidiary Element Six is significantly smaller than the natural diamond arms of the business, the consumer interest continues to grow.