International diamond firm De Beers says that as of Tuesday it had sold $650 million worth of rough diamonds in its first sales cycle of the year, an increase of 18% over the value sold for roughly the same period in 2020. Business Insider reports that in rand terms, the sales totalled some R9.7 billion in worth as the value chain for diamond jewellers continued to restock following lumpy sales in the broader market for luxury items in 2020. “While risks to recovery as a result of ongoing restrictions on the movement of both people and goods persist, we have been encouraged by demand conditions,” CEO Bruce Cleaver said in a statement, with the firm now expecting to only slightly decrease its production of diamonds this year, by perhaps as little as 3%.