De Beers sparkles on higher sales

De Beers, one of the world's largest diamond producers, posted a 55 per cent jump in first-half earnings to $1.2bn (£732m) on the back of record sales and an unprecedented jump in prices, driven by China, India and unexpectedly strong demand from the US.

The miner, which is controlled by Anglo American and the Oppenheimer family, said sales of rough diamonds were up 33 per cent at $3.5bn, a first-half record. Rough diamond prices have been boosted by a dearth of new mines, low inventories at cutting centres and increasing demand.