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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Diamond Sales Increase

LONDON -- Diamond giant De Beers said Tuesday that sales of uncut stones in the first half of the year surged 44 percent to a record $3.52 billion, driven by continuing strong demand in the key U.S. market.

The result was ahead of market expectations. Mining analysts said last week sales were likely to total a little over $3.3 billion from $2.45 billion in the first half of 1999.

De Beers, which controls two-thirds of world trade in rough diamonds, markets stones in London to 125 trade buyers at 10 sales, or "sights," each year.

The company said the United States accounts for half of global diamond jewelry sales.