WSU researchers document transformation of graphite into hexagonal diamond – EurekAlert (press release)




A new study by Washington State University researchers answers longstanding questions about the formation of a rare type of diamond during major meteorite strikes.

Hexagonal diamond or lonsdaleite is harder than the type of diamond typically worn on an engagement ring and is thought to be naturally made when large, graphite-bearing meteorites slam into Earth.

Scientists have puzzled over the exact pressure and other conditions needed to make hexagonal diamond since its discovery in an Arizona meteorite fragment half a century ago.

Now, a team of WSU researchers has for the first time observed and recorded the creation of hexagonal diamond in highly oriented pyrolytic graphite under shock compression, revealing crucial details about how it is formed. The discovery could help planetary scientists use the presence of hexagonal diamond at meteorite craters to estimate the severity of impacts.

The research was possible because of an unprecedented experimental development-the WSU-led Dynamic Compression Sector at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source. The DCS is a first-of-its-kind experimental facility that links different shock wave compression capabilities to synchrotron x-rays. Using its unique capabilities, the WSU team was able to take x-ray snap shots of the transformation of graphite to hexagonal diamond in real-time.

The results of the researchers’ work are published in the journal Science Advances.

“The transformation to hexagonal diamond occurs at a significantly lower stress than previously believed,” said WSU Regents Professor Yogendra Gupta, director of the Institute for Shock Physics and a co-author of the study. “This result has important implications regarding the estimates of thermodynamic conditions at the terrestrial sites of meteor impacts.”

Making diamonds

WSU shock physicist Stefan Turneaure and a team of researchers found that the crystalline structure of a highly oriented form of graphite transforms to the uncommon hexagonal form of diamond at a pressure of 500,000 atmospheres, around four times lower than previous studies had indicated.

To obtain their results, the researchers shot a lithium fluoride impactor at 11,000 mph into a 2 mm thick graphite disk. They then used pulsed synchrotron x-rays to take snapshots every 150 billionths of a second while the shockwave from the impact compressed the graphite sample. Their work clearly showed the graphite sample transformed into the hexagonal form of diamond before being obliterated into dust.

“Most past research relied on microstructural examination of samples after they were shock compressed to infer what might have happened,” Turneaure said. “Such late-time measurements do not tell the whole story of what happened to the material during shock compression.”

Moving forward

Turneaure and Gupta said the next step in the research will be to investigate under what conditions pure hexagonal diamond can be recovered after shock compression.

“Diamond is a material that is very easy to get excited about and our work in this area is just beginning,” Gupta said. “Moving forward, we plan to investigate the persistence of this form of diamond under lower pressure. Because it is thought to be 60 percent harder than the common cubic diamond, hexagonal diamond could have many potential uses in industry if it could be successfully recovered after shock compression.”

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Audit alleges ex-GSU workers used public funds on jewelry, clothing, TV, auto repairs – KSLA-TV

An Upstate man’s post about losing his brother to opioid addiction has touched hearts all around the world.

Renotta Thompson sells her jewelry at her store in Delafield and the Milwaukee Art Museum – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Next Door Boutique may have opened several months ago in downtown Delafield, but Renotta Thompson’s work represents a lifetime of work. The boutique, which used to be in Brookfield, is where Thompson displays her knits and jewelry under the brand RRT Designs. She pairs her pieces with complementary clothing and accessories in her clothing store.

For Thompson, her jewelry making process starts with a bead. She’s been collecting antique beads for more than 20 years.

“I love ethnic jewelry. A lot of the time it’s a bead,” Thompson says of creative process. “I like fabricating the metal element. I don’t have a set idea as I start; each piece evolves.”

She finds the beads in stores, at flea markets and on trips with her husband to the Southwest. She takes those antique beads and fabricates them into jewelry, combining the pieces with newer beads and stones, and pewter that she cuts and molds herself. She sells her jewelry at the Milwaukee Art Museum and at her store. 

She makes necklaces, bracelets and earrings that are, overall, simple in design and construction. They’re sometimes chunky chokers, sometimes just a pendant, but they’re always interesting.

Each piece is unlike any other. It has to be, considering some of the items she uses are products of a time before machines made products uniform. Take the Hebron beads in bracelets she keeps at the front counter. The color of each stone is a bit different from the next, reflecting its hand-made nature.

She explains her process. She experiments by combining the stones with pewter, which is a soft metal that she can shape however she likes. 

“I don’t solder anymore,” Thompson said. “Everything I do is simpler now, more affordable.” She explains that she used to work with sterling silver but that it costs a lot more. She typically sells her jewelry for $30 to $100. 

Thompson applies that do-it-yourself approach to knits as well. She knits simple scarves, hats and wraps, table runners and pillows, but she often spins her own yarn for the pieces. Or she weaves one pieces and adds a crocheted element to it. Or she adds simply prints to a woven pieces. There are layers of texture and color in each piece. 

“I’ve always liked antiques,” she said. “I collect Japanese, Chinese, Indonesia pieces for our home.” 

You can see the ethnic influence in her slightly bohemian style. In her boutique, she pairs her work with complementary clothing and accessories like soft knits, loose tees and funky jewelry. 

Thompson said, “I became interested acquainted with textiles and jewelry in college, and I went back to it as I was working.”

She studied occupational therapy in college, and said that jewelry making, knitting and weaving was part of the coursework at the time.

She had a fiber shop in Wauwatosa, then opened her clothing boutique, Next Door, in Brookfield before relocating the store to Delafield. She lives in Hartland with her husband. 

She said, “I enjoy coordinating (the jewelry) with items in the store. It all comes together in the store.” 

You can visit Thompson’s store and get an insight into Thompson’s aesthetic for yourself. 

 

Diamond Looks to Work With Saudi Wealth Fund as Kingdom Opens Up – Bloomberg

Bob Diamond’s Atlas Merchant Capital is weighing investments opportunities in Saudi Arabia, including working with the kingdom’s wealth fund, as the country seeks to transform its economy.

“Saudi Arabia as a domestic financial services industry has become investible again,” Diamond said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. “One most striking thing to me is the opportunity to be an investor in Saudi Arabia. Our team is looking at opportunities there.”

Atlas Merchant Capital CEO and Founding partner Bob Diamond discusses investing in Africa. He speaks on Bloomberg

Diamond was among global business leaders who last week attended an investment summit in Riyadh organized by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which plans to control more than $2 trillion by 2030. The event, dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert,’ aimed to raise the profile of Saudi Arabia as an international investor and highlight domestic opportunities to foreign investors. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for a $500 billion city on the Red Sea and said the kingdom was returning to “moderate” Islam.

“The opportunity to help the sovereign wealth fund to invest in a more diversified way and a more specialized way outside of Saudi Arabia is also an even better opportunity than it had been,” Diamond said.

The Public Investment Fund is the center of the kingdom’s diversification efforts and has committed $20 billion to an infrastructure investment fund with Blackstone Group and $45 billion to a technology fund run by SoftBank Group Corp. The PIF holds stakes in several Saudi banks, including Samba Financial Group, Riyad Bank, and National Commercial Bank, the largest in the kingdom.

Europe Opportunity

The former Barclays Plc CEO is also looking at opportunities in Europe, particularly in countries such as Greece, where his firm already invested in a lender, and Italy, where he’s looking for deals.

“We think both Greece and Italy are at the point where it is time to invest in their banks again,” Diamond said. “We are developing the technology to be a true challenger bank in Greece, taking on deposits and making loans to small business. There are opportunities very similar to this in Italy and we are working with a number of people on the ground.”

Diamond is also building a pan-African banking business after leaving the British lender in 2012. Through London-listed Atlas Mara Ltd., he has acquired stakes in banks in seven African countries including Nigeria and Zambia. The investor plans to have a presence in 10 or more African countries in the next three to five years, up from the current seven, he said.

    Spot the difference: why DIY diamonds pose a threat to big miners – Financial Times

    Amish Shah is the third generation of his family to work in the diamond business. But the first to sell stones grown in a laboratory rather than dug out of mines in far-flung corners of the world — a process that threatens to shake up the $80bn diamond jewellery market built on notions of love and marriage.

    By mimicking the conditions at the core of the earth, machines are now able to produce diamonds that are identical to natural ones — in weeks, rather than billions of years. Mr Shah insists they are better quality, cost less and leave a smaller carbon footprint, which he hopes will make them more attractive.

    “It’s bigger and better,” says the 42-year-old, whose grandfather started in the business in the Indian city of Kolkata in 1933. “If someone puts a one carat [diamond] on their hand that is mined or a carat and a half that is a created diamond — what makes the biggest difference to them? Who doesn’t want a bigger and more brilliant diamond?”

    For most of the 20th century the diamond market was dominated by De Beers, which still controls about 30 per cent of the world’s supply of mined stones, and other mining houses with operations stretching from South Africa to Canada’s Arctic. And while sales of lab, or as some critics describe them pejoratively “synthetic”, diamonds are currently only about 2 per cent of supply, they are expected to reach 10 per cent by 2030, according to analysts at Citi. That could grow even faster depending on the tastes of consumers as big jewellers from Barneys in New York to Swarovski now stock lab-grown versions of engagement rings.

    “Synthetics have become a real threat to the natural diamond producers,” says Tel Aviv-based Chaim Even-Zohar, who writes an industry newsletter. “Exploration money will dry up because synthetics are increasingly considered a pure, more affordable economic substitute.”

    Chart showing the increase in market share and volume of lab grown diamonds

    The success of lab grown diamonds, however, will depend on winning over consumers, especially a millennial generation getting married later than their parents. It will also depend on how the powerful natural diamond industry responds to the threat. Miners, from De Beers to Russia’s Alrosa, have the most to lose from any shift in the jewellery industry, since diamond polishers, cutters and retailers can just switch to lab-grown stones.

    “This situation will play out in the next five to 10 years,” says Anish Aggarwal, a partner at the diamond consultancy Gemdax, which advises the whole supply chain including the large mining companies. “The lab-grown guys have some real assets, but so do the natural guys. They are the incumbents; they have the ability to shape their own
    destiny.”

    The search for man-made diamonds began in the 19th century, but the first successfully grown in a lab only dates back to the early 1950s. Scientists at a General Electric research laboratory went public with their discovery in 1955, saying they had created a diamond by simulating the pressure and temperature below the earth using a hydraulic press.

    The value of shares in General Electric rose by $300m on the day, while those of De Beers fell. But due to its high cost of production and quality, this early lab diamond posed little threat to the jewellery industry. Ralph Cordiner, president of General Electric, said at the time that it was “probably the most costly diamond you ever looked at”.

    In 1957, when GE started to sell lab-grown diamonds, the price was double the cost of natural ones sold by De Beers, according to The Diamond Makers, a book on the discovery by Robert Hazen.

    Workers operate a drilling rig to prepare for rock blasting at the Letseng diamond mine, operated by Gem Diamonds, in Lesotho © Bloomberg

    For 50 years lab diamonds were mostly used for industrial applications such as drill bits. Element Six, a company owned by De Beers, has been one of the biggest producers of industrial diamonds ever since. During the past decade, however, the quality has improved and production costs have fallen.

    There are two common methods of production: creating the diamonds by high pressure, as GE originally did, or by using chemical vapour deposition, known as CVD. With CVD a single crystal diamond seed, that can be bought online for as little as $100, is placed in a vacuum chamber filled with a carbon containing gases such as methane. The carbon from the gas builds on the seed, forming diamond crystals.

    “In the last five years there’s been quite a few breakthroughs in terms of the technologies and the reliability of the equipment, which means the costs have fallen over the knife edge of being profitable,” Paul May, a professor at the University of Bristol, says. “Now it is actually possible to make gemstone quality at a profitable price in the lab.”

    St Petersburg-based New Diamond Technology says it can make high quality diamonds suitable for jewellery up to 15 carats in size. The company produces about 4,000 to 5,000 carats a month of lab-grown diamonds using the high pressure method, according to Nikolay Khikhinashvili, its general director. “Our machines are like UFOs,” he says. “They are very big and heavy. Each one is around 80 tonnes, and right now we have 30 machines.”

    It is impossible to tell the difference between natural and lab-produced diamonds with the human eye. It is even difficult with the traditional methods of loupes and microscopes used by diamantaires, who cut and polish diamonds.

    This was brought home to the industry in 2012 when it faced its worst nightmare after 600 undisclosed lab-grown diamonds were found in a parcel of 1,000 sold as natural stones in New York, raising fears about unchecked contamination in the supply chain. The International Gemological Institute issued a notice saying misrepresenting products could cause “irreparable damage to the industry’s reputation”.

    In September De Beer’s International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research released a screening device for jewellery retailers, costing $16,250 which it dubbed “SYNTHdetect”.

    Marilyn Monroe helped glamorise diamonds in the 1950s but after more than 60 years of marketing success, the narrative that diamonds are forever may be wearing thin

    “Technological developments are making the production of man-made gem synthetics commercially viable and there are increased distribution sources,” De Beers’ parent Anglo American warned in its 2016 annual report, listing them as a risk factor for the first time. “The marketing of synthetics seeks to place them as being environmentally or socially superior.”

    The relationship between diamonds and marriage is an invented one. Before De Beer’s launched its “A Diamond is Forever” campaign after the second world war, the gemstones were decorative jewellery for the rich, not a mass market item. “In the public’s mind, diamond rings were still associated with aristocrats, stuffed shirts and gangsters,” wrote the author Tom Zoellner in The Heartless Stone.

    But after more than 60 years of marketing success the De Beers narrative may be wearing thin, especially with millennials. While De Beers insists they are spending the same on diamonds compared with previous generations, surveys show they are getting married later and spending on experiences rather than luxury items.

    The success of lab-grown diamonds depends on winning the marketing war — especially among millennials in the US, the largest market for diamonds by sales, according to De Beers. In 2016 the top diamond producers — including De Beers, Alrosa and Rio Tinto — launched an advertising campaign targeting millennials that used the strapline “Real is Rare”.

    “There is a place for synthetics, perhaps as a fashion item, but there is nothing rare about them and they are not diamonds in my book,” says Bruce Cleaver, chief executive of De Beers. “It’s a traditional question I know, but if you ask a lady would you like to be given for your engagement gift a natural diamond made by the miracle of nature 4bn years ago or something made in a press last week, it’s pretty obvious what the answer is.”

    Natural diamonds are extracted from millions of tonnes of rock that is dug out of large open pits mostly in Botswana, the Northwest Territories of Canada and Russia © Bloomberg

    For some the answer is not so clear cut. Lab diamonds have much shorter supply chains, more easily use renewable sources of energy and benefit from an association with sustainability. Natural diamonds are extracted from millions of tonnes of rock that is dug out of large open pits mostly in Botswana, the Northwest Territories of Canada and Russia. Known as rough diamonds, they go on to be polished and cut in Antwerp in Belgium, or India, before they end up at retailers.

    No conflict

    Synthetics are also conflict-free, which avoids any association with “Blood Diamonds”, a name derived from the use of the stones to fund African civil wars. That tainting of the stones gained greater prominence after the 2006 film of the same name featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.

    In response miners are burnishing their environmental credentials. In May De Beers said it is exploring options for carbon-neutral mining at some of its operations within five to 10 years. It also says lab-grown diamonds are not as green as they seem, as it takes a large amount of energy to produce them. “The claims from synthetics producers that [they] are the eco-friendly option don’t stand up to scrutiny,” a spokesman for De Beers says.

    “The lab-grown industry needs to create a brand and a niche to develop the product,” Paul Zimnisky of Diamond Analytics in New York says. “But what is going to drive that demand? Is it that the consumer loves its association with high tech, or because it is environmentally friendly, or is it the price point?”

    Prices aren’t there yet, he adds. Lab-grown diamond engagement rings can cost 15 to 25 per cent less than natural diamonds but that is a far cry from the 95 to 90 per cent discount of rubies and emeralds, which can also be used as engagement rings. “I just can’t see a consumer spending $8,000 [on a lab diamond] compared to $10,000 for a nice engagement ring,” Mr Zimnisky says. “To save 10 to 20 per cent doesn’t seem like enough yet.”

    The reality is that diamonds have never been scarce. For much of the 20th century their supply was controlled by De Beers, which had more than 90 per cent of the market. Since the 1990s other suppliers such as Alrosa have broken into the sector, but diamonds still benefit from being a so-called Veblen good — a luxury item whose price does not follow the usual laws of supply and demand — and whose appeal partly depends on their artificially high prices.

    If they try to compete on cost, lab-grown diamond producers risk destroying their own industry. Factories full of machines producing high-quality diamonds 24 hours a day could see them losing their scarcity value. “A lot does depend on whether they flood the market or make them too cheaply,” Prof May says, “which is something that the diamond miners are terrified of.”

    Sellers of lab diamonds say they offer an alternative to consumers, rather than being hell-bent on destroying the mined industry. “It all comes down to consumer choice,” says Mr Shah. “Uber hurt the taxi industry. It’s the consumer that decided — it’s their choice.”

    Note to the reader: In the picture at the top of the page the natural diamond is on the left and the lab-grown one is on the right.

    How to ‘grow’ a lab diamond

    © AFP

    Diamonds, crystallised forms of carbon, are created over millions of years under very high temperatures and pressures hundreds of miles below the earth’s surface. The pressure is, says Oliver Williams, a professor of physics at Cardiff University, equivalent to 100-times what you would find at the bottom of the Mariana trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

    Yet it is now possible to recreate that pressure in a laboratory, one method for forming your own raw synthetic diamond, at a price and to a quality that rivals the real thing, so long as you have the right equipment and a lot of money.

    © Bloomberg

    First you need a diamond seed — single crystal diamonds — which can be acquired from companies such as New Diamond Technology and Sumitomo in Japan. Then you need the machinery.

    There are two big processes to make the diamonds, either through a method known as High Pressure High Temperature, or using gases, known as chemical vapour deposition, or CVD. Buying a CVD reactor can set you back about £400,000. The HPHT process, left, mimics the high pressure that created diamonds in the Earth’s crust. It uses a metal catalyst to dissolve the carbon on to a diamond seed. Temperatures can go as high as 3,000 degrees Celsius.

    © Bloomberg

    The CVD process, in contrast, uses low pressure, but employs a vacuum which is filled with hydrogen and methane to provide the source of carbon. The gas is turned into a plasma at extremely high temperatures, releasing the carbon.

    “When I switch on my reactor the gas goes from room temperature to the temperature of the surface of the sun almost immediately,” Prof Williams says. Lab grown diamonds, left, have the same chemical properties as natural ones, often contain less defects and are difficult to detect without advanced scientific instruments. “Scientists can make better diamonds than nature,” he says.

    Diamond Offshore: Prepare For Correction – Seeking Alpha

    Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO) has been the leading offshore drilling stock in the current rally, rising more than 60% from August lows, outpacing rivals like Noble Corp. (NE), Rowan (RDC), Transocean (RIG) and Ensco (ESV). I have repeatedly praised Diamond Offshore’s management for their conservative strategy both in my articles and comments. However, the stock has gone a long way since August. Is the upside really justified? The company’s third-quarter report gives us a chance to discuss this issue.

    Diamond Offshore reported earnings of $0.25 per share, easily beating analysts’ expectations. Due to previous-era contracts and operational efficiency, Diamond Offshore is still able to post positive numbers. However, the most attention should be paid to forward-looking catalysts.

    The company has secured short-term work for Ocean Patriot and Ocean Apex. Ocean Apex will be doing a one-well job for Shell (RDS.A) (RDS.B) in U.K. from early March 2018 to mid-May 2018 at an undisclosed rate. The rig will later perform a previously disclosed job with Apache (APA) from early June 2018 to early June 2020 at an undisclosed rate. Ocean Apex will drill one well for Woodside in direct continuation of the current contract from mid-February 2018 to early April 2018 at an undisclosed rate. The day rate on the previous short-term job was $205,000. I expect that the new contract comes at a similar rate. During the earnings call, Diamond Offshore stated that both contracts were above cash breakeven.

    Also in the news, Diamond Offshore stated that it was moving its cold stacked rig Ocean Onyx to Asia. Speaking about the move, the company stated that it was able to book a cheap trip and this was a crucial factor in this decision. Thus, Ocean Onyx is moving from a still-overcrowded market of the Gulf of Mexico to a potentially more lucrative market in Asia. Despite the move, I don’t expect any news from Ocean Onyx in the near term. While the Asian market may certainly be attractive in the future, current data does not point to increased activity in the region.

    As for the market outlook, Diamond Offshore has once again stated that it was not ready to call a bottom. It also added that it was in no rush to enter into any transaction. This was a highly interesting comment given the previous rumor that said that Diamond Offshore ordered a floating factory in China. It’s possible that the company is just secretive about the breakthrough technology, but it’s also possible that it is not ready to make any move at all. As per Diamond Offshore, there has been no pick up in customer inquiries despite the recent oil price upside, so oil producers want to see a stable $60+ oil (BNO) before making serious moves.

    There is certainly a significant risk in missing the opportunity to secure rigs at rock-bottom prices. Peers Transocean and Ensco have already made their moves with the purchase of Songa and the acquisition of Atwood. Diamond Offshore clearly needs to add some modern rigs to its fleet. However, the 6th-gen floater market remains oversupplied and current day rates are very low – the most notable data point is Transocean’s recent contract with BHP Billiton (BHP). In this light, Diamond Offshore’s reluctance to pay for rigs that will be either stacked or work at near-breakeven day rates is understandable.

    Financially, the company is very strong with first debt maturity coming in 2023. This fact gives Diamond Offshore the time to wait for market recovery. The company’s financial strength is the main reason why Diamond Offshore enjoyed the most upside among its peers. You can easily come with a very bad scenario for Ensco, which weakened its finances with the acquisition of Atwood, or for Noble Corp., which has a less favorable maturity schedule. However, it’s next-to-impossible to come up with such a scenario for Diamond Offshore.

    However, the upside in the company’s current shape is also limited without growth moves. Four 6th-gen drillships are working at lucrative day rates in contracts that will keep the majority of them busy until 2020. However, this backlog is known to everyone and there’s no upside for those rigs in the coming few years. Among cold stacked rigs, the company mentioned Ocean Onyx and Ocean Endeavor as prime candidates for reactivation. Such a reactivation (if coupled with a decent contract) may certainly serve as an additional upside catalyst, but it won’t be a game changer. I’d argue that the company needs either to order a floating factory or to purchase additional rigs (at good prices, of course) to have substantially more upside from current levels.

    Looking at both daily and weekly charts for Diamond Offshore, I’d note that the company’s shares are near resistance lines on both timeframes. In my opinion, technical considerations start playing an increasingly important role after a major run when investors and traders are looking for exit levels. In this case, Diamond Offshore’s upside may continue in the near term due to corresponding upside in oil, which has recently breached the $60 level and may develop additional momentum. However, the rapid change in Diamond Offshore’s share price is not supported by such a change in business fundamentals. The stock is entering a speculative territory and deserves a tight stop for a long position. No one has a crystal ball to call an exact day when a correction might start, but one thing is clear – when it starts, it will be significant as the price increase has been very robust, while business fundamentals did not change that much.

    Disclosure: I am/we are long DO.

    I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Additional disclosure: I may trade any of the above-mentioned stocks.

    Traveling Gold Appraiser Not Likely To Give Best Value For Your Jewelry – CBS San Francisco Bay Area

    SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It sounds like an easy way to make money: a traveling gold show coming through town, offering instant cash for your old jewelry. But how do they compare to local gold buyers?

    KPIX 5 decided to check it out.

    Huntington Rare Coins and Precious Metals travels the state, promoting its visits to town with glossy brochures offering a “2 day only” opportunity to get instant cash for your valuables.

    Bay Area jeweler Tom Broadwin agreed to lend KPIX 5 $6,000 worth of gold, plus some fake costume jewelry to mix in, to allow for an undercover test of what Huntington had to offer.

    Of course, sellers shouldn’t expect to get the full value of your gold, as gold buyers need to make a profit. But Huntington’s offer of 47 percent of the gold’s actual value seemed low.

    It turned out many local jewelers were much more generous. At Albany Coin Exchange in Albany, the proprietors walked KPIX 5 cameras through the process as they tested every item and offered 70 percent of the gold’s value. They even provided an itemized printout of their offer for each piece to take home.

    After a quick look with a magnifying glass, Fort Knox in Alameda accurately separated the real gold from the fake and offered 72 percent of its value.

    But across the Bay, Bay Area Gold and Silver on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco gave the best deal by far. Using a computerized device to test each item, the owner offered 86 percent of the gold’s value.

    The lowest local offer came at Numis International in Millbrae where, unlike every other jeweler, the valuables were quickly whisked away from sight.

    When the owner returned, he would only offer a lump sum for all the jewelry, refusing to say what they would pay for each item unless we paid him a $75 appraisal fee for each item first. Their offer for everything was not much better than the traveling gold buyer’s: About 49 percent of the gold’s value

    “On gold, I will never pay less than 75 percent of the market. If the items are saleable where I think I can resell them, I will pay 90 percent of the market,” said Tom Broadwin.

    Broadwin said the lowball offer from the traveling gold buyer didn’t surprise him.

    “When they come to hotels or other venues they know they are never going to see you again,” he said.

    But he was shocked by the description of the experience at Numis International.

    “These people have a lot of nerve. They should be willing to tell you exactly what you have and make a firm offer under no obligation of any kind,” he said.

    Broadwin said sellers shouldn’t have to pay to sell their gold or let their jewelry out of their sight during the sale.

    “In my office, if I do so much as clean the jewelry, the client follows me in to where I clean it, gets to see exactly what is done. It never leaves their sight or possession,” said Broadwin.

    Yet at Numis International, the pawn shop wouldn’t even say whether an item was real gold unless we agreed to sell it to them first for pennies on the dollar. And they were the only store to ask for payment prior to appraisal.

    While you might do that for insurance purposes, sellers shouldn’t have to pay to sell their jewelry items.

    And while jewelers do have the right to give lowball offers, consumers have the right to shop around

    KPIX 5 reached out to all of the stores visited for the investigation, including the traveling gold buyer, who declined to comment on the findings.

    Tom Broadwin also offered a key piece of advice for anyone planning to sell their gold: figure out what its worth before you get it appraised. Watch the clip below to find out how.

     

    Diamond Offshore: Street Looks Past Results – Diamond Offshore … – Seeking Alpha

    Earnings season continues for offshore drillers, with Diamond Offshore (DO) topping revenues and earnings expectations this Monday morning. But despite the beat and the immediate positive market reaction to the numbers (the stock was up 13% pre-market at one point), I see few reasons for Diamond to celebrate profusely, particularly on the business development front. The long-awaited inflection point in the offshore drilling space, at least in my opinion and in what pertains to observable financial impact, seems to be still out of sight.

    Source: Oil Guru

    Diamond Offshore by the numbers

    Revenues of $366.0 million built up on last quarter’s momentum, when Diamond delivered the first YOY top-line improvement since the start of the downcycle. But the nearly 5% growth over 2016 levels arrived just about in line with expectations. Adjusted EPS of $0.25 was five cents above consensus, as contained opex and a better effective tax rate helped to offset some loss of drilling efficiency.

    Cost and cash management, in fact, were the main highlights of the quarter, in my view. G&A ticked up sequentially, but non-cash expenses associated with depreciation (as Diamond’s rig fleet continues to shrink and adapt to market realities) helped to soften the blow of declines above the gross profit line.

    Drilling costs came in richer sequentially, pressuring drilling margins that reached only 45.9% this quarter vs. 50.9% in 2Q17. The deterioration is unfortunate, given Diamond’s progress at driving efficiency gains into margins last quarter. But with higher-margin projects being replaced by new contracts that are likely to be barely above cash breakeven, I would be too optimistic to expect profitability to improve considerably and sustainably in the immediate future.

    See summarized P&L below, for both 3Q17 and the previous quarter.Source: DM Martins Research, using data from company reports

    Looking at Diamond’s recently released fleet status update, not much has changed in terms of new business to support renewed optimism for the future. Sure, additional work secured on both the floater and jackup sides this quarter are always welcome, but they were unsurprisingly short-term in nature and likely inked for very low dayrates – drillers don’t even bother disclosing the price tag on their services anymore. I believe contract activity this quarter had more of a headline than a meaningful financial or operational impact to the company.

    Very importantly and on a more positive note, cash generation was quite robust, as the graph below illustrates. The main driver seems to have been a sizable pullback in working capital of over $65 million in 3Q17, underscoring the company’s conservative approach to managing its capital – last quarter, Diamond retired five rigs to save on future reactivation costs. Now, the company’s net debt position is the most favorable it has been since the beginning of the crude oil bear, in 2014, which might be the most meaningful metric coming out of the quarter’s results worth timidly celebrating.

    Source: DM Martins Research, using data from company’s reports


    Thoughts on Diamond stock

    Diamond Offshore continues to squeeze all it can from a sector that fails to improve substantially. Contract extensions are rolling in, but possibly at terms that are unlikely to fuel investor optimism once the initial excitement wears off. As a result, I would be surprised to see DO maintain its initial, positive reaction to the print in the next few days and weeks, absent new developments not disclosed in the company’s earnings release. On the plus side, DO remains rather affordable (see graph and table below), particularly in the context of solid cash generation and responsible cost containment.

    ChartDO EV to EBITDA (Forward) data by YCharts

    Source: table compiled by DM Martins Research, data from YCharts

    I still find investing in offshore drilling too risky for my taste. Only if or once the tides begin to turn (a bump in crude oil prices well above $50/barrel would help greatly) and the industry sees signs of substantial improvement would I expect DO to reverse course and offset a good chunk of its sharp losses of the past couple of years.

    Note from the author: If you have enjoyed this article and would like to receive real-time alerts on future ones, please follow D.M. Martins Research. To do so, scroll up to the top of this screen and click on the orange “Follow” button next to the header, making sure that the “Get email alerts” box remains checked. Thanks for reading.

    Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Effect of nano-diamond on magnetorheological fluids – Science Daily

    Diamond Offshore: Street Looks Past Results – Seeking Alpha

    Earnings season continues for offshore drillers, with Diamond Offshore (DO) topping revenues and earnings expectations this Monday morning. But despite the beat and the immediate positive market reaction to the numbers (the stock was up 13% pre-market at one point), I see few reasons for Diamond to celebrate profusely, particularly on the business development front. The long-awaited inflection point in the offshore drilling space, at least in my opinion and in what pertains to observable financial impact, seems to be still out of sight.

    Source: Oil Guru

    Diamond Offshore by the numbers

    Revenues of $366.0 million built up on last quarter’s momentum, when Diamond delivered the first YOY top-line improvement since the start of the downcycle. But the nearly 5% growth over 2016 levels arrived just about in line with expectations. Adjusted EPS of $0.25 was five cents above consensus, as contained opex and a better effective tax rate helped to offset some loss of drilling efficiency.

    Cost and cash management, in fact, were the main highlights of the quarter, in my view. G&A ticked up sequentially, but non-cash expenses associated with depreciation (as Diamond’s rig fleet continues to shrink and adapt to market realities) helped to soften the blow of declines above the gross profit line.

    Drilling costs came in richer sequentially, pressuring drilling margins that reached only 45.9% this quarter vs. 50.9% in 2Q17. The deterioration is unfortunate, given Diamond’s progress at driving efficiency gains into margins last quarter. But with higher-margin projects being replaced by new contracts that are likely to be barely above cash breakeven, I would be too optimistic to expect profitability to improve considerably and sustainably in the immediate future.

    See summarized P&L below, for both 3Q17 and the previous quarter.Source: DM Martins Research, using data from company reports

    Looking at Diamond’s recently released fleet status update, not much has changed in terms of new business to support renewed optimism for the future. Sure, additional work secured on both the floater and jackup sides this quarter are always welcome, but they were unsurprisingly short-term in nature and likely inked for very low dayrates – drillers don’t even bother disclosing the price tag on their services anymore. I believe contract activity this quarter had more of a headline than a meaningful financial or operational impact to the company.

    Very importantly and on a more positive note, cash generation was quite robust, as the graph below illustrates. The main driver seems to have been a sizable pullback in working capital of over $65 million in 3Q17, underscoring the company’s conservative approach to managing its capital – last quarter, Diamond retired five rigs to save on future reactivation costs. Now, the company’s net debt position is the most favorable it has been since the beginning of the crude oil bear, in 2014, which might be the most meaningful metric coming out of the quarter’s results worth timidly celebrating.

    Source: DM Martins Research, using data from company’s reports


    Thoughts on Diamond stock

    Diamond Offshore continues to squeeze all it can from a sector that fails to improve substantially. Contract extensions are rolling in, but possibly at terms that are unlikely to fuel investor optimism once the initial excitement wears off. As a result, I would be surprised to see DO maintain its initial, positive reaction to the print in the next few days and weeks, absent new developments not disclosed in the company’s earnings release. On the plus side, DO remains rather affordable (see graph and table below), particularly in the context of solid cash generation and responsible cost containment.

    ChartDO EV to EBITDA (Forward) data by YCharts

    Source: table compiled by DM Martins Research, data from YCharts

    I still find investing in offshore drilling too risky for my taste. Only if or once the tides begin to turn (a bump in crude oil prices well above $50/barrel would help greatly) and the industry sees signs of substantial improvement would I expect DO to reverse course and offset a good chunk of its sharp losses of the past couple of years.

    Note from the author: If you have enjoyed this article and would like to receive real-time alerts on future ones, please follow D.M. Martins Research. To do so, scroll up to the top of this screen and click on the orange “Follow” button next to the header, making sure that the “Get email alerts” box remains checked. Thanks for reading.

    Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.