Industry News Round up…
(Dec 16 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Early next year, a class-action lawsuit will be filed against EGL International and “major retailers” charging that the lab systematically over-graded diamonds that the retailers then knowingly sold to consumers, National Jeweler has learned.
Nashville, Tenn.-based attorney Brian Cummings said Monday that the suit will be filed within the next 60 days by a “major national plaintiffs’ class-action firm,” which he is not yet authorized to name because the firm is still working on the case.
(Dec 17 ‘14, BBC News)
Its central bank said, if necessary, it would provide additional capital to Russia’s banks and financial companies.
The rouble has regained ground from Tuesday’s all-time low, although trading remains edgy and volatile.
The announcement left the currency 10% higher against the dollar. One US dollar bought 62 roubles, far fewer than the record low of 79 on Tuesday.
(Dec 17 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Trunks shows are a good way to showcase goods from a particular designer, or designers, to a motivated customer base.
But getting those motivated customers into the store means advertising, which anyone, including criminals, can see.
David Sexton, the vice president of loss prevention consulting at Jewelers Mutual; Itay Hendel, the CEO of ISPS, a global jewelry security training and risk prevention firm; and Jewelers UnBlocked President and CEO Patricia Low offered the following tips for trunk show safety during the holiday season and year-round.
(Dec 12 ‘14, The Guardian)
For those prepared to throw money – quite a lot of it – at the ideal Christmas present this year, the gift of choice is no longer white diamonds, but coloured gemstones.
The market for coloured stones is on fire, with record prices being achieved for rubies and sapphires. At its latest ruby auction in Singapore, Gemfields achieved an average price per carat of $689 (£438), with total sales of $43.3m from its Montepuez mine in Mozambique. Both figures were records for the London-listed miner and luxury goods specialist.
(Dec 16 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–A pear-shaped, D color, VVS1 diamond weighing 89.23 carats sold for more than $11 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale held last Wednesday in New York.
The auction totaled more than $66.6 million, selling 75 percent by lot and 85 percent by value.
Colored diamonds had a solid performance in the sale, with a number making their way into the top 10 lots, including a pair of pear-shaped fancy light yellow diamond ear pendants (weighing 52.88 and 51.46 carats) that more than doubled their pre-sale low estimate when they went for $5.4 million.
(Dec 05 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Neenah, Wis.–For the fourth year in a row, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company will partner with Sarah’s Hope Jewelry and Jewelers for Children to give to children in need through its “Hope for the Holidays” sweepstakes.
Jewelers Mutual is giving the public the chance to vote among three options for their favorite children’s charity among from now through Dec. 19. The three charities chosen to be in the sweepstakes are: Make-A-Wish America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association.
(Dec 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–Prices for 1-carat and 3-carat stones were down about 2 percent in November as suppliers, strapped by a lack of liquidity, lowered prices in an effort to generate cash.
Prices of 0.30-carat and 0.50-carat diamonds also fell approximately 2 percent month-over-month, according to the RapNet Diamond Index for November.
(Dec 10 ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–Gemfields’ auction of predominantly higher-quality rough rubies from its Montepuez mine in Mozambique totaled $43.3 million, a record total for the company propelled by the sale of a big, rare ruby it recently found.
The auction, which took place Dec. 3 to 8 in Singapore, also realized a $689 per-carat price, also a record for Gemfields.
(Dec 10 ‘14, JCK Online)
Working at a jewelry store doesn’t seem like preparation to work for Apple, but now it might be.
Apple is recruiting retail salespeople with a fashion or luxury background to sell its new Apple Watch, according to a report in 9to5 Mac, which quotes internal hiring documents.
The current head of the Apple stores, Angela Ahrendts, has both a fashion and luxury background, having served as CEO of Burberry.
(Dec 4 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Carlstadt, N.J.–“Marsala,” a robust and earthy wine red, is Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, the color institute announced Thursday morning.
“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty-yet-stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
(Dec 5 ‘14, JCK Online)
Scott Kay, one of the most prominent and celebrated designers in the jewelry business, died of a heart attack on Dec. 4. He was 57.
He is survived by his three children and Regina, his wife of nearly 30 years.
The shocking and untimely death of the trailblazing designer comes at a time when his three-decades-old company was reinvigorating itself. It had hired a CEO and was beefing up its C-suite with an impressive roster of industry talent. Kay had moved up to company chairman, hoping to concentrate on designing and had hinted of other major announcements.
(Dec 3 ‘14, JCK Online)
EGL International, the lab that has become a flash point in the dispute over diamond grading, is shutting down, says Menahem Sevdermish, the EGL network’s new global manager.
The Ramat Gan, Israel–based lab will “soon cease to exist,” Sevdermish says, with the “International” brand name being phased out.
EGL International CEO Guy Benhamou did not return a request for comment at press time.
(Dec 1 ‘14, JCK Online)
A Florida jewelry manufacturer is serving as the plaintiff for a class-action suit that claims the prices of platinum and palladium have been manipulated to enrich certain banks and dealers.
In a complaint filed Nov. 25 in New York federal court, Sarasota-based Modern Settings charges that the three banks and one metals dealer that set the prices via twice-daily teleconferences have used the process for their own ends.
(Nov 26 ‘14, JCK Online)
We’re, uh, No. 1.
In an effort to sniff out the best deals on Black Friday, personal finance site WalletHub combed through 22 mass-merchant circulars. It will not shock JCK readers that jewelry was the most heavily discounted category, with an average 58 percent price cut.
The books, movies, and music category came in second. But those products are under siege from streaming and other digitial formats. With jewelry likely headed for a good holiday, what’s our excuse?
(Dec 1 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–On a weekend usually overshadowed by big-box frenzy, fine jewelry held its own in the days following–or, in some cases, on–Thanksgiving.
On Monday morning, independent jewelers generally reported a surprisingly strong Black Friday weekend, led by sales of diamond goods and luxury watches. Neiman Marcus reported strength in fine jewelry sales as well, as did Dallas department store Stanley Korshak.
(Dec 3 ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–Gemstone miner Gemfields discovered a 40.23-carat ruby–which it has called “one of the most important rubies unearthed in recent times”–at its Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique.
The Gübelin Gem Lab in Switzerland has appraised the piece of rough ahead of Gemfields’ December auction in Singapore, with Gübelin Managing Director Daniel Nyfeler noting in a statement that, “Although difficult to judge in the rough state, the transparency and color of the crystal indicate an important gemstone might be cut from this piece of rough. We are looking forward to following the development of this remarkable rough from its current state to a cut gem.”
(Nov 20 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Mumbai–Diamond manufacturer Kiran Gems is partnering with the Smile Foundation to bring quality education to underprivileged children in India through the Mission Education program.
The collaboration will begin with the support of 100 girls across the country. Kiran will be investing in their education and healthcare for the coming academic session.
(Nov 24 ‘14, JCK Online)
The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is warning the industry of a new seemingly sophisticated con in which jewelry companies are asked to send payments meant for vendors to fraudulent bank accounts.
The New York City–based security group says that it’s received two reports in the last month in which jewelry companies received startlingly on-target communications from vendors informing them of changes in their bank accounts. But when the principals checked with the vendors, they found the vendors had nothing to do with them.
(Nov 25 ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–While results were mixed for Tiffany & Co. globally, sales in the U.S. market were relatively strong, led by consumer demand for fashion jewelry in karat gold.
The New York-based retailer reported Tuesday that same-store sales in the Americas rose 11 percent year-over-year in the third quarter ended Oct. 31. Total sales also increased 11 percent on a constant exchange rate basis, reaching $459 million.
(Nov 13 ‘14, World Gold Council)
Gold demand totalled 929t in the third quarter, which proved to be a generally subdued quarter for the gold market. Jewellery demand softened by 4% year-on-year, but the comparison continues to be heavily influenced by the events in 2013. Longer term analysis shows a jewellery market in good health. Investment demand posted a 6% increase, reaching 204t, although a stable price caused investors to hold back. Central Banks added a further 92.8t to their coffers. Supply was down 7% in Q3; the volume of recycled gold continuing to shrink.
(Nov 25 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Ramat Gan, Israel–The Israel Diamond Institute announced Monday that it will launch a direct-to-consumer, pop-up sales platform for loose diamonds and diamond jewelry on Dec. 1, the day known as Cyber Monday because of the high volume of online shopping.
The pop-up “mini-site” will be up through the end of December to allow various diamond companies the chance to sell directly to consumers for the entire month, IDI said. It will offer considerably discounted goods from a number of top Israeli diamond companies, ranging from 4 percent to 33 percent off, with list prices from $995 to $211,200.
(Nov 25 ‘14, JCK Online)
A heart-shape fancy red diamond ring by Moussaieff set a world auction record at Christie’s Hong Kong today.
The 2.09 ct. ring sold for $5,095,872 ($2.44 million per carat) to a private Asian investor.
“Colored stones and colored diamonds were keenly sought by private collectors and members of the international trade at Christie’s Hong Kong,” said Vickie Sek, deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia and director of Christie’s jewelry and jadeite department. “One of the finest red diamonds ever offered for sale achieved a world record price of well over $2 million per carat. It is also the most expensive red diamond ever sold at auction.”
(Nov 20 ‘14, National Jeweler)
Reston, Va.–Though Comscore Inc. is predicting double-digit gains for online spending this holiday, the digital metrics firm notes that wage stagnation and lack of discretionary income among the middle class could weigh on the season.
Data released by the company Tuesday shows that total online retail spending is forecast to reach $61.1 billion during the two-month period, a 16 year increase as compared with last year.
(Nov 21 ‘14, JCK Online)
On Nov. 20, a 9.75 ct. fancy vivid blue pear-shape fetched $3.3 million a carat at the Sotheby’s New York auction, setting a new high-water per-carat price for any diamond.
That price tops by a full $1 million the per-carat record set just one year ago, when a 14.82 ct. fancy vivid orange scored $2.3 million a carat ($35.3 million total) at a Christie’s Geneva auction.
(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.