Sales edge higher at Gem Diamonds

Sales at Gem Diamonds edged higher in the third quarter, thanks largely to operations at Letseng mine in Lesotho.

Gem Diamonds has posted a slight increase in sales for the third quarter of 2010, with precious stones valued at $51.9 million (£32.8 million) changing hands in the three months to September 30th.

The diamond production firm said performance at its Letseng mine in Lesotho helped boost results, with sales from the site climbing 18 per cent to $37.8 million.

A total of 21 rough diamonds sourced from Letseng sold for in excess of $20,000 per carat, including a 17.34-carat pink diamond that fetched $67,474 per carat.

The facility also yielded a 196-carat white diamond at the end of August, which was not included in a tender of precious stones that took place in October and will instead be sold as an exceptional diamond.

Commenting, Clifford Elphick, chief executive of the firm – which is based in London and has assets in eight countries – said prices of the precious stones "have continued to strengthen", thanks largely to demand from eastern nations.