De Beers has registered its highest sales total since January, as rough demand has improved ahead of the fourth-quarter holiday season.

The company sold $467 million of rough during its September sales cycle, the eighth of the year — a 57% rise compared with the same period last year, it reported Wednesday. Sales rose 40% versus the seventh cycle.

The miner reduced prices of smaller goods by an estimated 5% to 10% to spur interest after months of rock-bottom demand during the Covid-19 pandemic. It recorded sales of $551 million in January, but figures slumped to unprecedented lows when the crisis froze the diamond industry between April and July. In August, sales recovered to $334 million as manufacturers looked to fill shortages ahead of the holidays and De Beers cut prices of larger goods.

We continue to see a steady improvement in demand for rough diamonds in the eighth sales cycle of the year, with cutters and polishers increasing their purchases as retail orders come through ahead of the key holiday season,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “It’s encouraging to see these demand trends, but these are still early days and there is a long way to go before we can be sure of a sustained recovery in trading conditions.

De Beers implemented a more flexible approach due to restrictions on movement. To this end, it extended the eighth sales cycle beyond the usual one-week session, with the sales total representing an estimate for the period from September 21 to October 9.