Industry News Round up…
(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.
When a mine unearths one 160-plus ct. diamond, that is a rare and welcome event. But Gem Diamonds recently hit the double jackpot by finding two.
At the end of January, the London-based miner discovered a 162.06 ct. Type II diamond and a 161.74 ct. Type I diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho.
(Feb 14 ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–Petra Diamonds announced Friday that it has sold the 29.6-carat rough blue diamond it uncovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa last month.
South African company Golden Yellow Diamonds for Cora International NY purchased the stone for $25.6 million, or $862,780 per carat.
(Feb 25 ‘14, BBC News)
Dubai’s biggest gold refiner committed serious breaches of the rules designed to stop gold mined in conflict zones from entering the global supply chain, a whistleblower has revealed.
Amjad Rihan led an Ernst & Young team that audited Kaloti and found it was failing to carry out the proper checks.
But after he told the Dubai regulator, it changed its audit procedures. He said that allowed details of the most serious findings to be covered up, with Ernst & Young turning a blind eye.
(Jan 15 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–In light of industry concerns over the possible mixing of lab-grown diamonds with natural stones, the International Gemological Institute is offering free screenings of up to 100 diamonds to all members of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America and the Diamond Dealers Club.
The screenings will be offered only for a limited time and will take place at the IGI’s New York lab, located in The French Building at 551 Fifth Ave. The lab uses advanced equipment, including De Beers’ DiamondSure and DiamondView machines, to detect lab-grown diamonds.
(Jan 15 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Researchers predict the number of weddings in the United States will increase 2 percent in 2014 due to a small increase in the total marrying age population combined with a marginal rise in the proportion of couples choosing to wed.
London-based economist Tim Jackson, chief executive of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute (JIRI), the company founded by longtime industry analyst Ken Gassman, forecasts 2.2 million marriages in 2014, up from 2.15 million in 2013.
(Jan 21 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Los Angeles–Silver jewelry designer and manufacturer Charles Garnier Paris has introduced the Britannia 958 Heritage Collection, a line featuring pieces made with the company’s proprietary manufacturing process that will debut next month at Centurion.
Created through the unique process, the silver is more pure than sterling and undergoes an exclusive refinement process that produces a metal that is stronger and longer lasting, according to the company.
(Jan 28 ‘14, Jennifer Heebner, JCK Online)
The 56th Annual Grammy Awards were entertaining for many reasons: Beyonce and Jay Z’s duet, Taylor Swift’s reaction to the news that she lost the Album of the Year award to Daft Punk, Pharrell William’s Canadian Mountie hat, and, of course, the jewelry worn by stars to the affair. In fact, the jewelry selections on display that night were good—really good!
(Jan 13 ‘14, Jennifer Heebner, JCK Online)
It may be safe to say that the jewelry Twitterverse (#globejewelry was the hashtag of choice) was relatively pleased with the jewelry worn on the red carpet last night at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards. To be sure, a variety of looks were evident.
(Jan 28 ‘14, The Telegraph)
Raymond Weil passed away on Monday in the city of Calvin at the age of 87. A short statement of the brand’s website today reads:
“It’s with great sadness and emotion that the Raymond Weil family and brand announce the loss of our founder, Mr Raymond Weil, who passed away peacefully. Mr Raymond Weil’s independent mind and kindness will continue to inspire us every day”
(Jan 28 ‘14, Diamonds.net)
RAPAPORT… Lucapa Diamond Company recovered a 95.45-carat, type IIa diamond from its Lulo diamond concession in Angola.
The diamond has an irregular equant shape and is the second largest diamond recovered at Lulo, compared to a 131.40-carat diamond recovered in 2012. Both large diamonds were type IIa, which are considered the rarest category of diamonds in the world.
(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.
(Dec 20 ‘13, BBC News)
In 2013, diamonds were everyone’s best friend. Check out 15 of the most jaw-dropping, wondrous, luminescent, and headline-grabbing diamonds this year had to offer.
(Jan 3 ‘14, BBC News)
A bar of soap produced by a family-run business in Lebanon might make you think twice about washing too often.
Infused with gold and diamond powder, a single bar of Qatar soap costs $2,800 (£1,700; 2,050 euros).
(Dec 20 ‘13, National Jeweler)
Brussels–KBC announced Thursday that Shanghai-based Yinren Group has acquired its subsidiary Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB), one of the leading financers of the diamond trade, for an undisclosed sum.
According to a statement from KBC, Yinren Group already has interest in the diamond industry, as well as real estate and international trade. Its operations are located in mainland China, Hong Kong and Brazil.
(Jan 2 ‘14, Diamonds.net)
Diamond prices firm in December as difficult year ends on a positive note. 2013 RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 0.30ct. +10.1%, 0.50ct. -0.7%, 1ct. -4.5%, 3ct. -4%, Rapaport Melee Index (RMI) +3.6%. Markets quiet with improved sentiment after positive U.S. holidays and record stock market year-end close. Expectations rise for Chinese New Year despite cautious economic outlook. Far East gold demand strong as prices plunge 28% in 2013. Indian diamond manufacturing below capacity with tight liquidity. Rough trading stable but manufacturers expected to restrain buying as bank credit tightens.
(Jan 3 ‘14, Diamonds.net)
RAPAPORT… Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. recovered a 32.20-carat, D, type IIa rough diamond from the Lulo concession in Angola. The diamond was produced from bulk sampling and is the largest recovered by Lucapa through its new dense media separation (DM5) plant, which was commissioned in November.
The 2013 watch auction season came to a close Dec. 17 at Christie’s New York with a $12.9 million sale led by a record-breaking Rolex.
Known as Reference 8171 “Padellone,” the 1953 model—a stainless steel and diamond-set automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases and two-tone silver dial—sold for $1,145,000, setting a new world auction record for the reference and quadrupling its pre-sale estimate of $250,000–$350,000.
(Jan 3 ‘14, Diamonds.net)
RAPAPORT… The mood in the diamond industry has already improved in 2014. Initial reports suggest the Christmas season was better than expected for the diamond trade and the U.S. appears inclined toward growth again. Of course, no one expects the diamond market to boom in the year ahead, but there is a sense that dealers and manufacturers will be more aggressive to ensure that they make money in 2014.
On Dec. 4, industry group Antwerp World Diamond Centre unveiled what it’s billing as the “World’s Most Expensive Shoes,” boots covered in diamonds totaling 1,550 cts.
(Nov 29 ‘13, Jeff Miller, Diamonds.net)
RAPAPORT… Global gold demand for jewelry by value fell 15 percent year on year to $20.75 billion in the third quarter that ended on September 30, according to provisional calculations by the World Gold Council. The decrease was price related since gold demand for jewelry by weight increased 5 percent to 486.7 tonnes, reaching the highest level to be achieve for the third quarter since 2010. The average weighted price of gold for the third quarter fell 20 percent year on year to $1,326.30 per ounce. The World Gold Council noted, however, that year-to-date gold jewelry demand is up 6 percent by value to $77.3 billion.
(Nov 25 ‘13, HH Magazine)
In line with previous months, watch exports continued to perform well in October. Their value was maintained at a high level thanks to growth of 1.1%. Indeed the figures indicate the best month ever recorded by the sector, with a result of 2.2 billion francs.
(Nov 21 ‘13, JCK Online)
Having built its reputation on Zambian emeralds, Gemfields Plc, the London-based colored stone miner, is seeing red—for rubies.
The company has set its sights on Mozambique, where it owns a majority stake in a mine that it hopes could supply up to a fifth of global ruby demand, according to a report in Bloomberg.
(Nov 22 ‘13, JCK Online)
Forevermark recently unveiled the image that will represent its Exceptional Diamond Collection in local and national advertising and marketing campaigns.
The image is meant to show the diamond’s rough-to-polished transformation—a backstory that the brand plays up in this ultra-luxe line. Each Exceptional Diamond comes with a custom “Journey Booklet” documenting the stone’s origin and evolution.
(Nov 26 ‘13, JCK Online)
Brand consulting firm PSFK specializes in tracking retail’s forward motion by amassing intel for big companies on everything from sweeping trends (such as showrooming) to on-the-verge apps and in-store gadgetry.
(Nov 26 ‘13, JCK Online)
On Nov. 26, Christie’s Hong Kong sold $111,337,808 million in jewelry—the highest-ever total for a jewelry auction in Asia.
With 309 lots offered, the fall Magnificent Jewels sale sold 86 percent by lot and 91 percent by value. Four pieces broke the $5 million mark, and 27 earned more than $1 million.
(Until Apr 27 ‘14, Musuem of London)
This October, the Museum of London will open a major new exhibition investigating the secrets of the Cheapside Hoard. This extraordinary and priceless treasure of late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones – displayed in its entirety for the first time in over a century – was discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London.
(Nov 27 ‘13, ICA)
No retrospective of any contemporary artist of gems has ever been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, until now. Through March 9, 2014, the Museum displays more than 400 works by renowned jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal, who are better known by his initials JAR. The exhibition is the first retrospective in the United States of his work.
(Dec 3 ‘13, Lisa Arthur, Forbes)
Now that online sales are growing at approximately 10 times the rate of brick and mortar, it comes as no surprise when savvy retailers like Macy’s start beefing up their e-commerce capabilities. Recently though, I’ve heard that online retailers may be moving in exactly the opposite direction: They’re planning to open offline brick-and-mortar stores. What’s going on?
A 16pc rise in online sales in November, supported by shoppers hunting for discounts on Black Friday, has boosted British retailers battling against cautious consumer spending.
UK retail sales increased by 0.6pc on a like-for-like basis and 2.3pc in total in November compared to the same month last year, with more than half of the growth in non-food sales coming from online shopping, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s monthly survey.
(Dec 1 ‘13, IDEX Online)
IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that U.S. online retail sales jumped close to 20 percent on the year on Thanksgiving Day, with the average order value being $127.59.
The firm, which monitors traffic and sales for 800 retail websites, said that traffic from mobile devices surged 32 percent from Thanksgiving Day last year and generated almost 43 percent of total traffic. Meanwhile, sales via mobile devices accounted for nearly 26 percent of online sales, a rise of 49 percent from last year.
(Nov 1 ‘13, Professional Jeweller)
In April this year the hammer fell on a fancy deep-blue diamond put up for auction at Bonhams in London. The selling price for this 5.30ct stone? £6.2 million.
This diamond, with its bright blue hue, hit a world record price per carat for any blue diamond at auction and continued the pace for what has been a whirlwind year for coloured gemstones and diamonds at auction.
(Nov 5 ‘13, Professional Jeweller)
Fairtrade International has announced plans to improve the availability of Fairtrade gold wedding rings in a bid to boost sales, with hopes of the number sold hitting 100,000 in the UK next year.
The initiative, led by ethical campaigner and Fairtrade gold and precious metals co-ordinator Greg Valerio, will work with leading UK wedding ring manufacturers to try to boost the number of weddings and civil partnerships sealed with Fairtrade rings to 50,000 in 2014.
(Oct 28 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses announced a zero-tolerance policy toward companies that do not disclose they are selling synthetic diamonds.
The declaration comes amid increased reports of synthetic melee mixed with natural.
(Oct 28 ‘13, Christie Craft, JCK Online)
Joining the ranks of the Logan Sapphire, Hope Diamond, Alan Caplan Ruby, and the Cullinan Diamond comes the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, a 191.87 ct. Paraiba tourmaline necklace. Measuring 36.44 mm by 33.75 mm by 21.85 mm, the stone is said to be worth between $25 million and $125 million, according to published reports.
(Nov 4 ‘13, National Jeweler)
London–A mid-19th century diamond tiara is expected to sell for nearly $400,000 at Christie’s sale of Important Jewels, slated for Nov. 27 in London.
Tiaras of the mid-19th century generally were designed with abundant sprays of scrolling floral and foliate motifs, as well as openwork bands to be worn above the brow or over the chignon (hairstyle at the nape of the neck) on the back of the head, Christie’s said.
(Nov 4 ‘13, National Jeweler)
Geneva–Sotheby’s upcoming watch auction will celebrate the legacy of horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet and include the sale of a highly complex and rare pocket watch.
On Nov. 12 in Geneva, Sotheby’s will offer an extra flat pair cased gold half-quarter repeating pocket watch with equation of time, power reserve, indication calendar and moon phase based on chronometer principles from Breguet.
(Oct 18 ‘13, Fox News Latino)
Seventeen people were arrested as suspects in the biggest jewelry heist in Spain’s history, the December 2012 theft in Madrid of wristwatches valued at more than 23 million euros ($31.4 million), police said Thursday.
Among those arrested is a known thief, Ismael A.V., alias “The Troll,” who is considered to be the architect of the heist.
(Oct 14 ‘13, Channel News Asia)
The annual sale of Rio Tinto’s rare pink-hued diamonds attracted unprecedented interest with at least two of the stones fetching record prices of over $2 million, the mining giant said Monday.
(Oct 16 ‘13, National Jeweler)
New York–With the holiday shopping season approaching, many jewelers are preparing to round out their inventories with pieces perfect for gifting.
Pre-holiday surveys are showing that consumers are ready to spend but still will seek out deals, meaning jewelers not only need to offer promotions but also carry price-point friendly jewelry, keeping in mind shoppers’ budgets this holiday season.
The 118 ct. D Flawless oval sold for $238.7 million in Hong Kong dollars (approximately $30.6 million U.S.) at its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction on Oct. 7, setting a new record for a white diamond.
(Oct 15 ‘13, JCK Online)
October marked “the end of an era” at De Beers, as it closed the book on 80 years of holding its sights in London. And now, we turn the page to a new era: November brings the first allocation held at De Beers’ new sorting center in Gaborone, Botswana.
(Oct 17 ‘13, Diamonds.net)
TRADE ALERT: Buyers Beware. Persistent reports that large amounts of synthetic lab grown diamonds are being mixed with natural diamonds in parcels of melee and pointers. Know your supplier and insist phrase “natural, untreated diamonds” be included on all invoices.
(Oct 18 ‘13, Avi Krawitz, Diamonds.net)
Fancy colored diamond prices are showing significant gains in 2013 while other goods struggle along. As a result, the various auctions and tenders held in the past two weeks continued to set records, headlining the strength of the colored diamond market with both dealers and private buyers driving up prices.
A pear-shaped, vivid orange diamond could fetch as much as $20 million, or $1.3 million per carat, at Christie’s next month.
The auction house will offer the 14.82-carat stone, the largest known orange diamond in the world, in its Geneva sale on Nov. 12. The following day, Sotheby’s (BID) will auction a vivid pink diamond valued at more than $60 million.
Diamonds big enough to be worn by Hollywood film stars could be raining down on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated.
New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form, they say.