May 23, 2011

Strong Indian demand drives up the prices of Myanmar diamonds

Diamond prices have shot up by about 30 percent since the start of the year, a number of jewellery shop owners said last week.

They said domestic prices were being driven by similar rises in India, where many of Myanmar’s stones are purchased.

U Shwe Kyi, the owner of Siam diamond shop in Pabedan township said nearly all jewellery shops have raised their prices since the start of the year.

“Diamond prices have been rising sharply since the last week of April because of similar rises in India, where many diamonds sold in Myanmar are purchased. One carat of next-to-white diamond cost about K700,000 in January but that has increased to about K900,000,” he said, adding that demand for the precious stones at his shop had fallen by half compared with the same period last year.

Daw Cherry Aye, the owner of Diamond Empress shop in Latha township confirmed that diamond prices have risen sharply since the end of April.

“Prices of all diamonds have increased since the last week of April. I bought 4 carats of certified diamonds for K10 million at a diamond and gems emporium in Hong Kong in March but I think they were probably worth more than K13 million now,” she said. However, she said that her customers are not paying any heed to the higher prices and her sales have been increasing.

“Even thought I still have the same number of regular customers, they are buying much more diamonds since February. I have a number of new customers as well,” she added.

U Zaw Min Aye, a diamond trader in Mandalay, said high demand for the precious stones in India was pushing up prices here.

“I was in India two months ago and demand was incredible. Gold is always popular in India but diamonds were very much in demand,” he said.

A spokesperson for Rich Gems in Kamaryut township said the rise in diamond prices was not limited to larger stones.

“Even tiny diamonds have increased from K800,000 a carat in March to K1.1 million now.”

Ma Phyu Phyu Aung, the owner of Aung Thamardi diamond and gold shop in Mandalay, said a combination of higher demand in India and a rise in the cost of cutting and polishing the stones had flowed on to Myanmar.

“In India, uncut diamonds are becoming hard to find and the cost of preparing those stones for use has increased this year. In January, 1 carat of diamond cost US$500 in India but that jumped to $600 in April.

Source: Myanmar Times