Tiffany closes diamond polishing plant in Namibia

Michelle Graff

Windhoek, Namibia – Tiffany & Co. confirmed Monday that Laurelton Diamonds, its diamond sourcing, cutting and polishing subsidiary, has closed its polishing factory in the Namibian capital of Windhoek and laid off all 157 employees in the process.

Tiffany spokesman Nathan Strauss said while demand for the company’s diamonds remains “healthy,” Laurelton is consolidating “to ensure the viability of our other locations and can process enough rough at other plants where manufacturing costs are lower.

Laurelton Diamonds owns and operates polishing facilities in Antwerp; Haidong, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and in Mauritius, an island nation located about 1,200 miles off the southeast coast of the African continent. It also has a polishing facility in Gaborone, Botswana, which it operates with local partners.

Strauss said Laurelton has no plans to close any other polishing factories.

Tiffany’s announcement comes at a time when diamond manufacturers worldwide are under extreme margin pressure, as rough prices remain high and demand for polished diamonds sluggish.

It also follows news that the mine Tiffany tapped for yellow diamonds, the Ellendale in northwest Australia, has gone into voluntary administration after the quality of stones, and the prices they fetched at auction, declined. The closure left many workers there unemployed as well.

Source National Jeweler