Industry News Round up…
(Nov 17 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Albany, N.Y.–With a little more than a week to go until Black Friday, Northeastern Fine Jewelry has a plan to compete with the big-box mania of the day, and it involves a camera and a television.
The retailer, which has two stores in New York state and one in Vermont, is marking Black Friday and Small Business Saturday by offering spend-and-receive deals on both days at all three of its stores. Small Business Saturday is a day designed during the holiday season to celebrate, and encourage consumers to shop at, small locally-owned businesses.
(Nov 17 ‘14, JCK Online)
Bonhams will auction a rare collection of 16 flawless hearts and arrows diamonds on Nov. 26 in Hong Kong.
The collection features 16 D-color, internally flawless brilliant-cut diamonds, which weigh a total of 39.98 cts. Each diamond ranges from 1.16 cts. to 4.49 cts. Hearts and arrows refers to the symmetrical light pattern produced from precision-cut round diamonds.
The collection, which will be sold complete, is estimated at $2.25 million-$2.5 million.
(Nov 14 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Geneva–Laurence Graff purchased the 8.62-carat “Graff ruby” for a second time at Sotheby’s Wednesday, paying $8.6 million and setting a new world auction record price for a ruby.
In addition, the sale also raised the price-per-carat record for a ruby to $997,727.
Sotheby’s Nov. 12 “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” sale brought together a group of exceptional jewels and gems from the collection of Greek financier and gem collector Dimitri Mavrommatis, as well as a number of pieces with a noble provenance. The ruby was one of the pieces that belonged to Mavrommatis, having bought it from Graff after it was purchased at auction eight years ago.
(Nov 13 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Tel Aviv–A new global organization launched Wednesday that will focus on tracking prices and supporting sales of fancy color diamonds, particularly yellow, pink and blue stones.
Initiated by third-generation diamantaire Eden Rachminov, managing owner of Rachminov Diamonds and author of The Fancy Color Diamond Book, the Fancy Color Research Foundation, or FCRF, is a nonprofit global membership organization. The focus of the organization is primarily the commercial side of colored diamonds, the pricing and selling, and not the gemology.
(Nov 13 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Geneva–Christie’s recent Magnificent Jewels sale set a new world record for a jewelry auction at $150.2 million, led by a 392.52-carat sapphire that was a record-setter itself.
Called the “Blue Belle of Asia” and set in a diamond necklace, the cushion-cut Ceylon sapphire realized $17.3 million, or $44,063 per carat. Its sale established a new world record price for a sapphire at auction.
(Nov 13 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Whether it’s about one’s business or private life, it is a universal truth that nobody likes receiving negative reviews.
Unfortunately they are out there, with the Internet providing a cloak of anonymity for “trolls”–people who post comments or reviews for the sole purpose of starting arguments, not because they actually have an opinion about the subject or service–and others who wish to post damaging statements under false pretenses.
(Nov 19 ‘14, JCK Online)
A New York federal court judge has ruled that a local couple can keep a 7.35 ct. pear-shape diamond, even though it was garnered illegally from William Goldberg Diamond Corp.
According to an opinion issued Nov. 17 by Judge Shira Scheindlin, the Goldberg company consigned the stone to celebrity stylist Derek Khan in Feb. 2003 for use in fashion shoots. The agreement said Khan was authorized to sell the diamond only if the owner approved the sale. When the diamond was not returned after the customary few days, Goldberg filed a police report and notified GIA, the opinion said. Khan later went to jail for pawning $1.5 million in jewelry he borrowed for shoots, according to The New York Times, which reports he has since mounted a comeback as a stylist in Dubai.
(Nov 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Though the traditional red shades of garnet, especially pyrope and almandite, are the most common and readily available, it’s the exceptional greens of tsavorite and demantoid as well as the orange of spessartite and the raspberry shades of rhodolite that really are catching the eyes of buyers today, both on a retail and consumer level.
There is a wide number of garnet species, and according to the Gemological Institute of America’s gem encyclopedia, no garnet is ever pure in nature, meaning that often the species mix to create varieties with a wider range of colors and characteristics.
(Nov 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has released a legal compliance guide designed to help designers, jewelers and anyone else who engages in e-commerce at either the retail or wholesale level.
The “Guide to Selling Jewelry in the 21st Century: Legal Compliance for Designers, Independent Jewelers and Online Sellers” was sponsored by the Future of Design Jewelry Education Fund, created by Cindy Edelstein in The New York Community Trust.
(Nov 12 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Copenhagen, Denmark–Pandora will open a greater number of concept stores than originally planned this year with a particular emphasis on company-owned and -operated stores, it said Tuesday when reporting third quarter results.
In August, Pandora announced that it was buying the 27 concept stores owned and operated by Hannoush Jewelers for $28 million. The company said it was “refreshing the network” in the Northeastern U.S. due to slumping sales.
(Nov ‘14, National Jeweler)
Marquise-cut and pear-shaped diamonds are surging in popularity once again, as a new generation of brides give these long-stalled cuts a second look.
Once thought of as the bridal baubles of the older generations, brands are presenting marquises and pear-shaped diamonds so that the consumers of today see them in a new light, combining them with other hot trends like colored stones and halo settings and setting them in an east-west style, meaning they sit on the hand horizontally instead of vertically.
(Nov 12, ‘14, JCK Online)
A brazen daytime theft involving an armed robber posing as a deliveryman caused New York City’s 47th Street Diamond District to be closed off for several hours yesterday, as a SWAT team descended on the street to hunt down the suspects.
According to a statement from the New York City Police Dept., at 2:30 p.m., a man disguised as a delivery person was buzzed into a jewelry store on the 8th floor of 23 W. 47th St. and pulled out a gun. He then demanded jewelry from the store’s safe. Four employees were complying when a fifth employee, a 56-year-old man, entered and was hit with a gun, causing a minor laceration. The armed man and a lookout soon fled with an undetermined amount of jewelry and money.
(Nov 11, ‘14, JCK Online)
They don’t call it super for nothing.
The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication, dubbed the “world’s most famous watch,” scored $24 million (23.2 million CHF) at Sotheby’s Nov. 11 Important Watch auction in Geneva, reaffirming its status as the world’s most valuable timepiece.
Five buyers competed for 15 minutes for the sale’s final attraction. The winner had not been announced at press time.
(Oct 27, ‘14, JCK Online)
Chow Tai Fook will unveil a 104 ct. D color internally flawless round brilliant- cut diamond on Nov. 28 in celebration of its 85th anniversary.
The diamond is certified by Forevermark and was cut from the Cullinan Heritage, a 507.55 ct. type IIA diamond from the Cullinan mine in South Africa. Chow Tai Fook purchased the diamond at auction in 2010 for $35.3 million, a record price for a rough diamond.
(Nov 3, ‘14, JCK Online)
Gemological Institute of America’s lab has begun an investigation and suspended its diamond sealing service after it spotted a sealed diamond the report of which didn’t match the stone.
Diamond sealing—which involves putting the gem in a secure tamper-resistant package—is an additional service offered by the lab, generally for the investment market. Only one-tenth of one percent of the stones that the lab grades are sealed, says spokesman Stephen Morisseau.
(Oct 31, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Dubai–Milenyum Mining has discovered and faceted the largest known csarite in the world, a 121.65-carat pear-shaped stone that it expects to retail for close to $1 million.
The gemstone was cut recently from an approximately 430-gram (2,150-carat) piece of rough found in the world’s only known csarite mine, located in the Anatolian mountains of Turkey.
(Nov 4, ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–In a lengthy presentation Monday, De Beers executives gave Anglo American PLC investors an overview of its diamond business, highlighting financial transparency, supply-demand dynamics and the company’s beliefs in brands.
The presentation, the latest in a line in which this once very quiet company shared data from its new Diamond Insight Report, took place Monday afternoon in London, and was broadcast live over the Internet.
(Nov 3, ‘14, The Independent)
With just a month to go until the Victoria’s Secret show hits London, the lingerie brand announced that for the first time two bejewelled fantasy bras will take part in the catwalk extravaganza and that Angels Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio have been confirmed as the models to showcase them.
Victoria’s Secret broke the news on social media over the weekend, revealing that the bras are worth $2m (approx. £1.2m) each. A picture on its official Instagram account showed the Brazilian “dynamic duo” wearing the luxury sets, Lima in royal blue and Ambrosio in gold and rubies.
(Nov 5, ‘14, JCK Online)
The jewelry and watch business should get set for its strongest season since the recession, says a new survey of affluent consumers conducted by Time Inc. and market research firm YouGov.
Jim Taylor, vice chairman of YouGov, predicts the jewelry business will experience a comeback this holiday—and gives JCK seven reasons why jewelers should expect a quite-merry Christmas.
(Oct 24, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Stamford, Conn.–Synchrony Financial is the latest organization to release its forecast for the holiday season, and it predicts single-digit growth in the same range as the NRF and Deloitte.
Synchrony (formerly GE Capital Retail Finance) said Thursday that it expects holiday sales to grow 3.5 percent year-over-year, an estimate that is line with the 10-year historical average of 3 percent.
(Oct 28, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–As the most important sales time of the year, the holiday season is crucial for pulling customers in and interacting with them in order to generate sales.
Innovative, intriguing events can not only attract new customers and bring in existing customers, but engage them in a way that will keep the store front of mind. National Jeweler talked to five retailers across the country about the events they came up with to do just that.
(Oct 28, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Washington, D.C.–A lab-grown diamond company announced Monday that it is now producing high-quality 2-carat diamonds and expects to be growing 3-carat stones by early 2015.
The International Gemological Institute has certified both a round brilliant, 2.03-carat E, VS2 and a 2.21-carat princess-cut E, SI2 stone from Washington Diamonds Corp., the company said.
(Oct 23, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–A cushion-cut, L color, VS2 diamond weighing 101.36 carats sold for $5 million, or $49,100 per carat, during Christie’s Important Jewels auction held Wednesday.
The auction house’s sale, which took place in New York, totaled $33.7 million. It was only 75 percent sold by lot and 77 percent sold by value.
(Oct 5, ‘14, JCK Online)
With retailing’s most hectic season upon us, who could blame you for pushing “decorate the store” to the bottom of the to-do list? But your shop’s image and ambience are particularly crucial during the holidays: Foot traffic is at its peak, and your floor is teeming with impressionable first-time shoppers. A store swathed in elegant holiday decor makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience—encouraging consumers to spend.
Big-box stores have design armies to festoon their buildings in sparkly splendor. But many overtaxed small retailers rely on dated, generic decorations, instead of seizing an opportunity to thrill shoppers’ senses.
(Oct 29, ‘14, JCK Online)
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, which closed bids on Oct. 8, was the most successful since the tender’s founding in 1984.
The tender drew 600 bids, and successful bids came from 10 countries. Rio Tinto keeps prices confidential, but it did reveal that overall prices for the Argyle mine’s signature pink diamonds have more than tripled since 2000.
(Oct 28, ‘14, JCK Online)
The decision by eight important industry groups to boycott the upcoming World Diamond Council meeting in Antwerp is a huge black eye to the industry—and if there isn’t a serious attempt to ratchet tensions downward, it will have negative, far-reaching repercussions. The World Diamond Council is one of the most important groups in the industry—maybe even the most important—but it may find it difficult to represent the industry after a fiasco like this.
(Oct 28, ‘14, The Israeli Diamond Industry)
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), together with seven other major diamond industry umbrella organizations, announced today (Tusday) that it is withdrawing its participation in the upcoming World Diamond Council Annual General Meeting that is to take place later this week, starting on October 28, in Antwerp, Belgium.
(Oct 21, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–On Monday, Jewelers Mutual’s loss prevention team hosted “Social Media: Opportunities and Perils for Jewelers,” a webinar designed to teach jewelers how to use social media to their advantage without making their store a target for criminals.
The company invited two leading social media experts to offer lessons in promoting jewelry businesses online–Shane O’Neill, vice president of Fruchtman Marketing, and Daniel Gordon, a fourth-generation jeweler and the social media planner for the Diamond Cellar in Ohio.
Since it can’t be expected that jewelers have a presence in all social media outlets, O’Neill said that jewelers should consider a few factors when deciding which to use, keeping the store’s security top of mind.
(Oct 22, ‘14, WatchPro)
Richemont Group has successfully forced Britain’s largest Internet Service Providers to block access to websites selling counterfeit goods in London’s High Court.
The same tactic has already been successfully employed by film studios and record labels to prevent the distribution of pirated films and music.
The ruling against BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE will see customer access to seven websites that infringe Richemont trademarks, including Cartier, Montblanc, Van Cleef & Arpels and IWC blocked.
(Oct 22, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Geneva–Sotheby’s anticipates that the 8.62-carat pigeon’s blood “Graff ruby,” one of the finest privately owned rubies in the world, will sell for as much as $9 million at its auction in Geneva next month.
Sotheby’s Nov. 12 sale of “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” brings together a group of exceptional jewels and gems from the collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis as well as pieces with a noble provenance.
(Oct 22, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Platinum prices are expected to rise slightly in 2015, analysts say, with jewelry demand anticipated to increase as well.
Earlier this month, the white metal hit its low for the year, plummeting to $1,229 on the London PM fix.
(Oct 21, ‘14, JCK Online)
The Ebola outbreak is grabbing all the headlines, yet most of us don’t think about whether it affects our industry. But it does—West Africa is a significant source of diamonds, and the artisanal miners in the affected countries produce (depending on the estimates) about 1 percent of the world’s diamonds by value. That is, perhaps, not statistically significant, but it’s still a good deal of diamonds—and diamond mining in West Africa involves a good deal of people.
Babar Turay is an experienced ecologist who has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and Estelle Levin Ltd., with a focus on gold and diamond mining in Sierra Leone. A Sierra Leone native currently living in the diamond district of Kono, Turay has written about his personal experiences in a series of blog posts for Estelle Levin Ltd. (the first one is here), and he agreed to answer questions from JCK about the disease and how it’s affected the diamond sector in Sierra Leone.
(Oct 9, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Seattle–Online jeweler Blue Nile has launched a new mobile shopping application that includes the addition of augmented reality to its “Dream Box” feature, allowing consumers to see what a Blue Nile ring will look like on their hand.
The Dream Box feature, which was a component of the original app that came out in 2010, contains thousands of one-of-a-kind rings from Blue Nile. A shake of the phone reveals a custom Blue Nile diamond engagement ring, and for the first time, users can take a picture of their hand to virtually try on the ring.
(Oct 13, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Shoppers will be cautious this holiday season, with average spending per household expected to decline from $735 in 2013 to $684 in 2014, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S.
Findings for the company’s “2014 Holiday Outlook: Top trends, consumer behaviors and implications for retailers” were based on a survey of more than 2,200 shoppers nationwide.
(Oct 8, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Washington–The most recent holiday sales forecast, released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation, predicts that consumers will spend 4 percent more this November and December than they did last year.
Jewelers who spoke to National Jeweler Tuesday said while they don’t see this forecast as overly optimistic, it will be the high end of the market that’ll drive the growth.
(Oct 14, ‘14, Worthly.com)
Spending $743,590 on a wrist watch is excessive to most. The vast majority of timepieces cost nowhere near that much, even when designed by the most upscale, high-end, famous designers in the world. However, not all designers are Patek Philippe. Sotheby’s Important Watches Sale in Hong Kong on October 8 was more successful than even the auction house imagined, with Patek Philippe watches taking the top seven spots in timepiece sales. The most expensive being the diamond and platinum wristwatch with a perpetual calendar, which sold for more than $740,000.
(Oct 7, ‘14, Circa)
Several distinctive diamonds have hit the auction block since 2013.
Sotheby’s sold an 8.41-carat vivid pink diamond at an Oct. 7 auction in Hong Kong for $17.8 million, a record for that type of diamond. The diamond was predicted to sell between $12.9 million and $15.5 million.
(Oct 7, ‘13, BBC News)
A white diamond the size of a small egg has sold for $30.8m (£19.1m) at an auction in Hong Kong.
A phone bidder bought the 118-carat rock, edging out a previous price record for a white diamond of $26.7m.
(Oct 15, ‘14, JCK Online)
At the De Beers forum at this year’s JCK Las Vegas show, CEO Philippe Mellier surprised attendees by declaring that one of the industry’s biggest problems was diamond trade-ins. When consumers receive low prices for their used gems, he pronounced, that adds to a low opinion of the product.
Just two months later, De Beers launched the International Institute of Diamond Valuation (IIDV), which is nothing less than an attempt to reinvent diamond buying. The service is built around a New York City lab that will value trade-ins for retailers. So far, it’s signed up four jewelers, representing 14 stores—R.F. Moeller, the three-store chain in Minneapolis; two out of nine Rogers Jewelers stores; some Reeds stores; and Padis Gems, San Francisco—in what it stresses is only a pilot project.
(Sep 16, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–The head of LVMH’s watch division allegedly told a Swiss newspaper that TAG Heuer has plans to launch its own smartwatch, but that it must be original and different from Apple Watch.
Reuters reported Sunday that Jean-Claude Biver told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, “We want to launch a smartwatch at TAG Heuer, but it must not copy the Apple Watch. We cannot afford to just follow in somebody else’s footsteps.”
(Sep 17, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–One of the earliest-known Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 watches that belonged to filmmaker and oceanographer Philippe Cousteau is expected to fetch up to $150,000 when it hits the auction block at Antiquorum Auctioneers later this month.
Cousteau is the son of Jacques Cousteau, a French naval officer, conservationist, scientist, author and researcher who studied the ocean and forms of life in water. Philippe Cousteau was the lead photographer on many of his father’s expeditions, wearing the Sea-Dweller timepiece for 10 years before giving it to his close friend, Thomas Horton.
(Sep 15, ‘14, Digital Look)
British miner Gemfields has announced it has entered a joint venture with East West Gem Investments (EWGI), as the group seeks to extend its network in Sri Lanka.
Gemfields has acquired 75% operating interest in 16 exploration licences, covering a range of minerals, for about $0.4m and under the agreement Jersey-based EWGI will hold 25% of three Sri Lankan-based subsidiaries.
(Sep 15, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Jewelry that once belonged to Rachel Lambert Mellon, a horticulturalist and art collector who died earlier this year at the age of 103, will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s in November, including a fancy vivid blue diamond estimated to garner up to $15 million.
Mellon’s collection of jewels and objects of vertu, small objects created from precious materials used as works of art or that have a practical purpose, will be offered Nov. 20 and 21 at Sotheby’s New York.
(Sep 16, ‘14, JCK Online)
Global diamond jewelry sales hit a record $79 billion in 2013, as the market faces a coming rough shortage, according to De Beers’ inaugural Diamond Insight Report.
The report said that U.S. sales rose 7 percent last year, while sales in India and China grew 12 percent. According to the report, one in six U.S. diamond jewelry sales were made online in 2013—about 17 percent. In China, about a quarter of diamond jewelry purchases are made on the Internet.
(Sep 17, ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–Storm Mountain Diamonds unearthed a 23.82-carat pink diamond from its Kao mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and said it will put the stone up for sale this month.
Dubbed the “Lesotho Storm,” Fusion/Hennig Tenders will offer the diamond for sale in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Antwerp between Sept. 21 and Oct. 7. Storm Mountain Diamonds did not respond when asked for an estimated sale price for the stone.
(Sep 16, ‘14, JCK Online)
The 122.52 ct. blue diamond rough found in June—one of the most significant gem finds in recent years—has been sold for $27.6 million, far below the record price some were expecting.
That price works out to a $225,269 a carat.
Petra Diamonds, which found the gem at its Cullinan mine in South Africa, sold it to a partnership comprising an anonymous polisher, which owns 85 percent, and Petra, which owns the rest.
(Aug 19, ‘14, JCK Online)
The new De Beers is many things: a miner, marketer, retailer, and brand owner. Now it also may become a secondhand diamond dealer.
The gem giant has launched the International Institute of Diamond Valuation (IIDV), a New York City–based lab meant to handle off-the-street diamond buying for retailers.
“All the research we have done indicates that the consumer experience with secondhand diamonds isn’t that good at the moment,” says De Beers spokesperson Lynette Gould.
(Aug 25, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Crime is an ever-present threat to jewelers throughout the country, but California jewelers are having a particularly active year.
In jewelry crime driven by organized crews, it’s not uncommon to see a recurrence of similar losses in a single geographic area or even to see specific types of crime scenarios move from one geographic area of to another as the perpetrators attempt to outpace law enforcement authorities. Jewelers especially in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have witnessed an increase in criminal activity this year.
(Aug 25, ‘14, JCK Online)
The Department of Homeland Security has advised retailers to check their POS systems for a malicious hacking software called Backoff.
The software allows hackers to collect credit card payment data from cash register systems.
The program was first discovered in August 2013 but has not been detectable by antivirus software until now. The Secret Service estimates that 1,000 businesses may be affected.
(Sep 2, ‘14, Israel21c.Org)
A rare Purple Orchid diamond, weighing 3.37 carats and worth $4 million, is to be unveiled this month by Leibish & Co. of Ramat Gan, seat of Israel’s diamond exchange.
According to the purveyor of colored diamonds and colored diamond jewelry, purple diamonds of this color and clarity almost never appear in nature. This particular gemstone came from a mine in South Africa, one of the only mines where purple diamonds can be found in the world.