Industry News Round up…
(July 7, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Our country, like the rest of the world, is in a time of great flux. The economy has pulled people in two directions–rich and poor–as historically seen only prior to revolutions. Russians were starving on the streets in 1917 as the tsar indulged himself and the nobles with fineries from the jewelry house of Fabergé. And remember the phrase “Let them eat cake,” uttered about the masses at the time of the French Revolution?
(July 8, ‘14, Reuters)
NEW YORK/LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – Palladium rose for the 12th straight session to its highest in more than 13 years on Tuesday amid firm automotive demand and continued concerns supplies in South Africa will tighten even after the end of a months-long strike.
Gold turned lower even as the dollar’s recent rally faded and investors awaited clearer signs from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it is on track to raise U.S. interest rates next year.
(July 10, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
On Nov. 14, Sotheby’s Geneva expects to fetch a record $17 million for what it calls the Holy Grail of watches—the Henry Graves Supercomplication, considered the most complicated watch ever made completely by the human hand.
The Supercomplication set an auction record for a timepiece when Sotheby’s sold it in 1999 for $11 million. That record holds to this day. The bidder was anonymous, and it was not clear who owned it in recent years, although a 2010 Bloomberg article says that a member of the royal family of Qatar returned it to Sotheby’s to help cover his debts to the auction house. (Sotheby’s declined comment, saying the consigner of the watch requested confidentiality.) Now the auctioner will offer it again in a sale that coincides with Patek Phillipe’s 175th anniversary.
(July 7, ‘14, James Titcomb, The Telegraph)
The mechanism for setting the gold price needs to be radically redrawn to restore faith in the market, the industry body for the precious metal has said.
Regulators are set to take the first steps towards a root-and-branch reform of the gold fix, amid widespread claims of rigging in the market.
(July 7, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
In an intriguing indication that the much-anticipated iWatch may be sold in some of the same channels as traditional timepieces, a top TAG Heuer executive has taken a job at Apple.
While TAG Heuer neither confirmed the executive’s departure nor announced his replacement, Techcrunch and other sources have outed Patrick Pruniaux, the watch brand’s vice president of global sales and retail, for defecting to Apple.
(Jun 24 ‘14, Hannah Connorton, National Jeweler)
New York–Three major trends were prevalent among the pieces showcased at this year’s Couture show: ear cuffs and climbers, pieces featuring openwork, and the use of Paraiba, or Paraiba-type, tourmaline both as center and accent stones.
These major trends are a combination of new (ear cuffs) and ongoing (openwork) and are dependent on global fashion trends and current market conditions, as well as the price and availability of metals and stones.
(May ‘14, Rachel Garrahan, The Jewellery Editor)
The Couture Show Las Vegas is like opening a giant treasure chest of gems. Taking place in what is known as Las Vegas’ Jewellery Week at the end of May, Couture is just one of the shows from which brands will launch their latest collections, but it is undoubtedly number one in terms of fine jewellery design.
(Jun 6, ‘14, Jennifer Heebner, JCK Online)
Notes on new collections seen during the most important week of jewelry shows in North America have been digested, and the top trending looks have made themselves apparent. The following list is based on market work completed from May 27 to June 4 at the LUXURY, JCK Las Vegas, and Couture jewelry shows. While these looks were the most prevalent, consider each according to the best fit for your store. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts and observations.
Hölstein, Switzerland–Swiss watch brand Oris is marking its 110th year in business by introducing its first movement produced entirely in-house in 35 years.
Named in honor of the company’s anniversary, the Calibre 110 is a hand-wound movement that features a 10-day power reserve and a patented non-linear power reserve indicator. These are two complications that have never come together before, Oris said.
New York–A selection of unique Patek Philippe watches grouped together as “The Titanium Collection” sold for a collective $7.1 million Tuesday, surpassing the pre-sale high estimate of $4.9 million.
The highlight of the collection, and the top lot of the sale overall, was Patek Philippe’s first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch, created in 1903 and completed and sold in October 1923. A Swiss museum purchased the watch for $2.9 million.
(Jun 20, ‘14, Michelle Graff, National Jeweler)
New York–Baume & Mercier unveiled its first new women’s watch collection in nearly 12 years in an event this week held at New York’s Gotham Hall.
The line, called “Promesse” (French for promise), will be available at select retailers nationwide and online at Baume-et-Mercier.com beginning in September. There are a total of 13 watches in the collection in two sizes, 30 mm and 34 mm.
(Jun 19, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Magazine)
A piece made with metals recycled domestically should be allowed to be advertised as “made in the USA,” according to a request to the Federal Trade Commission filed June 17 by four industry organizations and the Richline Group.
Currently, FTC rules say that if a product is advertised as “made in the USA,” it must be “all or virtually all” manufactured in the United States, says a statement from the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), one of the groups that submitted the request. That is not easy for U.S. manufacturers to comply with, the group says, since most of the metals used in manufacturing emanate from overseas, and their origin is hard to determine once refined and smelted.
A “Made in the U.S.A.” label can be a useful incentive for attracting domestic consumers to your products.
But now, it can also help you save a bundle on taxes . . . If you now how to take advantage of a little known deduction in the tax code.
(Jun 20, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Magazine)
Marc Hruschka, the president and CEO of Chopard USA since 2006, has left Chopard, the company confirmed.
His last day was June 11. No successor has been named at press time.
(Jun 19, ‘14, China Daily)
Chow Tai Fook Jewerlly Group Limited, one of the leading jewelers in China, is buying the Boston-based luxury diamond company Hearts On Fire for $150 million to expand its range of high-end gems in the Chinese market.
The acquisition will be funded by internal cash reserves and is the company’s first since it went public in Hong Kong in 2011. The cash-free, debt-free deal is scheduled to be completed by the end of September and will bring Hearts on Fire to locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong by March of next year.
(Jun 10, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Ringly, an 18k gold-plated smart ring that “talks” to the user about messages on her smartphone, is now being pre-sold on the Internet.
While there has been talk of other smart rings, the Ringly is notable because it was founded by a former eBay exec and has received $1 million in capital funding.
(Jun 18, ‘14, Deena Taylor, Diamonds.net)
RAPAPORT… Gemfields Plc reported that its inaugural auction of ruby and corundum from its 75 percent owned Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique achieved $33.5 million or an average $18.43 per carat. The auction took place in Singapore on June 12 to 17 and was 92 percent sold by lot.
The company noted that 55 companies, many of which attend Gemfields’ emerald auctions, placed bids on the lots. Buyers were present from Thailand, the U.S., India, Germany and Israel.
(Jun 18, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Antwerp, Belgium–The heads of four of the jewelry and diamond industry’s leading international representative organizations have established a joint consultative committee called “The Presidents Forum.”
Established at a meeting held Tuesday during the 36th World Diamond Congress in Antwerp, the forum will be comprised of the presidents of each of the four forming organizations: CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation; the World Federation of Diamond Bourses; the International Diamond Manufacturers Association; and the World Diamond Council.
(Jan 21, ‘14, BBC News)
A rare blue diamond has been discovered in a mine in South Africa.
The 29.6-carat stone was recovered by Petra Diamonds at its Cullinan mine, about 40km (25 miles) north-east of Pretoria.
“This stone is one of the most exceptional stones recovered at Cullinan during Petra’s operation of the mine,” the company said.
Petra unearthed a 25.5 carat blue diamond which sold for $16.9m (£10.3m) in 2013.
(May 13, ‘14, Brecken Branstrator, National Jeweler)
Williamsville, N.Y.–The New York jeweler charged with misrepresenting diamond simulants as the real thing pleaded guilty Friday to the charges brought against him, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
(May 9, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Business Insider just came out with a slide show featuring a bunch of scary-sounding charts demonstrating the growth of e-commerce. “Let’s face it, the old retail model is dying fast,” it begins. “Hundreds of stores are closing, because sales are tanking.” It declares that e-commerce is driving nearly all U.S. retail growth.
(May 7, ‘14, NDTV.com)
Gold prices have probably peaked this year and could sink to their lowest since 2010 at $1,100 an ounce as the US economic recovery gathers pace, consultancy Metals Focus said on Wednesday.
Weakness is likely to set in after an impressive start to the year, it said, when gold rallied to six-month highs. But a replay of last year’s 28 per cent plunge, triggered by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering of extraordinary stimulus measures, is not on the cards.
(May 8, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The coming year will likely bring more downward motion for gold and silver prices, with the price of gold possibly falling to $1,100, according to the Gold and Silver Mining Focus published by Metals Focus.
(May 5, ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Apple has not yet entered the watch business—though signs say it will—but it already has a powerful intra-industry opponent: Swatch.
The Swiss watchmaker plans to fight any registration of the term iWatch, complaining that it is too similar to its trademarked name iSwatch, a spokeswoman confirmed.
(April 30 ‘14, Anthony DeMarco, Forbes)
A 28.18-carat square emerald-cut Kashmir sapphire sold for nearly $5.1 million. It achieved $180,731 per carat, setting a world auction record of a price per carat of a sapphire. The untreated gem on a ring is framed by 32 tapered baguette diamonds with a mounting by Oscar Heyman & Brothers. It is described by the American Gemological Laboratories as “a gem of singular importance.” The proceeds of the sale will go toward charity, according to the auction house.
(April 17 ‘14, Logan Sachon, JCK Online)
A man has found a 6.19 ct. white diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark.
David Anderson has named the diamond, which he found in the East Drain area of the park, the Limitless Diamond in honor of the religious charity Speed the Light. He plans to give all proceeds from the sale of the diamond to the organization.
(May 4 ‘14, Albert Robinson, IDEX Online)
Auctioneer Christie’s will be holding a sale called Spring Jewels, an online-only auction of contemporary jewelry and watches by luxury brands such as Bulgari, Chanel, Cartier, Rolex and Tiffany late this month.
(April 30 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–A 15.23-carat fancy intense orangy pink diamond garnered $6.1 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale Tuesday in New York, coming in at the low end of its pre-sale estimate.
Set in a platinum ring, the cushion-cut VS2 diamond is accented by 0.75 carats of round diamonds. The lot’s anticipated sale price was $6 million to $7 million.
(May 4 ‘14, Albert Robenson)
The Graff Vivid Yellow, a daffodil yellow diamond weighing 100.09 carats, is set to be one of the highlights of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction to be held on May 13.
The diamond is among the largest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds in the world.
(April 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Hong Kong–A jadeite bead necklace with a Cartier clasp sold for $27.4 million at Sotheby’s Monday, smashing its pre-sale high estimate of $12 million and setting a new world record for any jadeite jewelry and Cartier jewel sold at auction.
(April 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Paris–Sales in the United States were strong in the first quarter for LVMH, with the luxury goods conglomerate’s company-owned watch and jewelry boutiques performing particularly well.
(April 10 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
It weighs 217.78 grams and is the size of a golf ball—and scientists are calling it the largest single-crystal piece of gold ever found.
The New Mexico–based Los Alamos National Laboratory, which studied and announced the find, estimates the piece’s value is $10,000—but given how big it is, it could fetch as much as $1.5 million.
(March 27 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Think your new Rolex is snazzy? Get a load of this.
For its debut at Baselworld, Graff Diamonds made a splash by unveiling the Hallucination, a candy-colored diamond timepiece it’s billing as “the most valuable watch ever created.”
It carries a $55 million price tag.
(April 7 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
On May 13, Sotheby’s Geneva will auction the 100.9 ct. Graff Vivid Yellow, considered among the largest fancy vivid yellow diamonds in the world.
The stone, named for famed London diamond collector Laurence Graff, is described by the auction house as “of exceptional beauty and extraordinary fire and brilliance” with a “sensational daffodil yellow” color.
(April 8 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Buying an engagement ring on Groupon may not be the height of romance-though it may be hard for grooms to turn down the group-deal company’s offer of a princess-cut ring at a purported $10,000 discount.
The Chicago-based e-tailer recently rolled out a Wedding Shop featuring jewelry and engagement rings.
(March 20 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
A Midwest metal dealer who bought a gold item at an antiques mart that he intended to melt down for scrap was shocked to discover it was a rare Fabergé egg worth a reported $33 million.
The man paid $14,000 for the item, Kieran McCarthy, director of London antique dealer Wartski, tells JCK, and intended to sell it for a quick $15,000.
(Sep 20 ‘12, Josh Lowensohn, Cnet.com)
The new look of Apple’s clock app on the iPad that came alongside iOS 6 yesterday is ruffling some feathers abroad.
In a report in Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger (by way of Macrumors), the Swiss Federal Railway service, or SBB, has taken offense to the app’s design, to which it says it owns the trademark.
(March 19 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The smartwatch revolution may be one step closer to reality.
The Fossil Group will release a smartwatch using Google’s Android platform later this year, according to an announcement on the tech giant’s blog.
The news came as Google revealed its new mobile technology platform “Android Wear”—which it plans to kick off with watches, since they are “the most familiar wearable.” Fossil was the only watch or fashion brand mentioned in the announcement.
(March 14 ‘14, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The White House has introduced new measures that effectively ban any commercial trade of elephant ivory in the United States, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee announced.
Maybe reality TV is good for something after all.
A Louisiana resident found a 2.89 ct. white diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., after his mother-in-law urged a visit after seeing it on a reality show.
(March 6 ‘14, DIB Online)
Ivory Coast will appeal to the United Nations to lift its ban on the country’s rough diamond exports next month, reports Reuters, citing an unnamed government official.
Last year, the UN Security Council said it would review the export ban in line with the Ivory Coast’s progress towards compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). At its November plenary in Johannesburg, the KPCS recognized that Ivory Coast had, indeed, fulfilled the KPCS minimum requirements “as possibly could be achieved under the UN embargo.”
(March 3 ‘14, Mourad Haroutunian, Proactive Investors)
True North Gems Inc. (CVE:TGX), which explores and develops North American colored gemstone deposits, advanced to the highest in more than three years after winning an exclusive 30-Year mining licence for the Aappaluttoq ruby deposit in Greenland.
True North jumped 29 percent to 15.5 Canadian cents at 12:51 p.m. after reaching 16 Canadian cents, the highest intraday level since December 2010.
(March 12 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–U.K.-based Cooksongold, a global supplier of fabricated precious metals, has announced a strategic partnership with consultancy firm A3DM Technologies to bring the 3D printing of precious metals to customers in North America.
The new partnership debuted at this year’s MJSA Expo New York, which concluded Tuesday.
(March 5 ‘14, National Jeweler)
London—The 162.02-carat and 161.31-carat diamonds recovered by Gem Diamonds Ltd. in January sold for a total of $13.5 million at the miner’s February tender.
London-based Gem Diamonds announced Wednesday that the larger stone, the type II 162.02-carat diamond, went for $11.1 million, or $68,687 per carat, while the smaller 161.31-carat, type I stone sold for $2.4 million, or $14,636 per carat.
(March 11 ‘14, Madison Marriage, Financial Times)
Barclays, HSBC, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia are being sued by US hedge fund AIS Capital over allegations that the banks manipulated the gold price.
A Washington-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of AIS Capital Management against the five banks on Monday.
(Feb 26 ‘14, Dan Whitcomb, Reuters)
A trove of rare Gold Rush-era coins unearthed in California last year by a couple as they walked their dog may be the greatest buried treasure ever found in the United States, worth more than $10 million, a currency firm representing the pair said on Tuesday.
The 1,400 gold pieces, dating to the mid- to late 1800s and still in nearly mint condition, were discovered buried in eight decaying metal cans on the couple’s land last April, said coin expert David McCarthy of currency firm Kagin’s.
(Feb 26 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Though Nielsen research shows that their confidence retreated slightly in February, consumers overall are feeling more upbeat than they have in nearly six years.
On Tuesday, The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index for February, a monthly survey gauging consumer sentiment conducted by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics on what consumers buy and watch.
(Feb 26 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Hong Kong–A platinum Patek Philippe Ref. 5207 tourbillon minute-repeater with a perpetual calendar sold for $807,845 at Antiquorum’s auction held Saturday, the highest-grossing lot of the sale.
The rare timepiece, which also features moon phases and a honey gold-colored dial, surpassed the auction’s anticipated top lot, a rare and limited-edition Patek Philippe Ref. 5004A.
(Feb 25 ‘14, JCK Online)
In a sign of the ongoing tension between the natural and lab-grown diamond sectors, the Israeli Diamond Exchange has banned man-made diamonds from its trading floor.
The decision to forbid trading of created stones on the bourse floor was made in late December, says spokeswoman Sharon Gefen. She adds that while exchange members are free to trade in lab-grown diamonds outside the bourse, they must commit to full disclosure or face suspension.
Tucson–Perhaps one of the best indicators of what’s to come in the year, even years, ahead for fine gemstone jewelry are the trends that pop up during them gem shows that take over Tucson every February.
This year, colors on the cooler end of the spectrum seemed most popular, and a few stones were moving beyond their most well-known shades to show their versatility.