Industry News Round up…

Worldwide Diamond Jewelry Sales Hit $79 Billion, as Rough Shortage Looms

(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.

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Lesotho mine yields 23-carat pink diamond

(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.

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122 Carat Blue Fetches $27 Million, Doesn't Set Record

(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.

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De Beers Now Valuing, Buying Diamond Trade-Ins

(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.

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What jewelers can learn from crimes in California

(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.

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Retailers Warned of Hacking Software

(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.

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Purple Orchid diamond worth $4 million

(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.

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New technology grades symmetry of diamonds

(Sep 3, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Kfar Saba, Israel–Challenged to provide a solution for Tiffany & Co., Sarine Technologies has developed a system that grades round and fancy-shaped polished diamonds to determine the stones’ symmetry and proportions, technology that will be available to other companies in the industry.

Called DiaMension Axiom, the automated system uses microscopic magnification and advanced video imagery analysis to grade a polish diamond’s facet symmetry, Sarine said, a feature that typically is evaluated manually by gemologists using microscopes.

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Bonhams to Auction the Duke of Windsor's Diamond Frog

(Sep 4, ‘14, JCK Online)
Bonhams has announced that its autumn Fine Jewellery Sale will take place Sept. 17 at the auction house’s new headquarters on London’s Bond Street.

The most valuable piece of the sale is a diamond riviére necklace made of 40 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 76 cts. in total. It is estimated at £250,000-£400,000 ($412,380–$660,250).

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Ring Cam Captures the Big Moment

(Aug 4, ‘14, JCK Online)
It’s the moment that this industry is built on. The moment that has spurred countless jewelry commercials. The moment when the woman receives her engagement ring and—hopefully—cries and says yes.

Now, a group of Michigan entrepreneurs has invented a product that captures that instant forever: the Ring Cam, a jewelry box with a small camera installed, so that the reaction to the proposal can be saved, memorialized, and even posted on Facebook.

The product started as a design project at Hope College. One of the participants came up with the idea after a friend got engaged.

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Pandora debuts Hearts of Today to support charities

(Aug 4, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Columbia, Md.–Pandora is launching a new initiative to celebrate the women around the world who work to improve the lives of women and children in their communities.

The Hearts of Today program launched in the United States on July 28 to give Pandora the chance to support a number of charitable causes important to women to help make changes needed for the future.

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Diamond sticker shock shaves Blue Nile earnings

(Aug 5, ‘14, The Seattle Times)
High prices for diamonds bit into Blue Nile’s revenues and earnings, prompting the Seattle-based online jewelry retailer to reduce its profit margin on some diamonds in order to spur more sales.

Sales of engagement jewelry in the U.S. fell 4.6 percent to $60.9 million in the quarter ended in June from the same period a year ago. Executives attributed the decline to sticker shock, as the cost of small-sized diamonds rose by double-digit percentages from last year.

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De Beers expanding rough customer base

(Aug 6, ‘14, National Jeweler)
London–Beginning in March 2015, companies that are not De Beers sightholders will have the opportunity to compete for the rough diamonds that weren’t offered to, or refused by, sightholders, and will be known as “accredited buyers.”

Accredited buyers will have the chance to purchase ex-plan: rough that falls outside of the intention to offer (ITO), the 12-month forecast of what De Beers intends to offer each sightholder based on the size, clarity, etc. of diamonds they normally need. De Beers said it expects to have an “enlarged pool” of ex-plan availability in the next contract period, as it makes more rough available through this channel to give different diamond companies, not just sightholders, the ability to show demand for its diamonds.

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198-Carat Gem Quality White Diamond Found in Letseng Mine in Lesotho

(Aug 6, ‘14, Day News)
Gem Diamonds announced last Tuesday that its Letseng Mine in Lesothohas unearthed another large gem quality white diamond. The rough white dazzling diamond weighs 198 carats and measures 1.18 inches across. The find was of very high quality and shows no fluorescence. It is expected to fetch a substantial price. Gem Company looks to the sale of this latest diamond find this year.

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3 Carat Synthetic Colorless Diamond Produced-Largest-Ever Grown Gem

(July 24, ‘14, JCK Online)
Pure Grown, the man-made diamond company formerly known as Gemesis, is selling a 3 ct. K SI stone­—which it calls the largest colorless diamond ever produced by nonnatural means.

Lisa Bissell, the Fabrikant veteran recently appointed president and CEO of the company, says that she has every intention of selling the gem, which has a report from the International Gemological Institute. “I don’t run a museum,” she says. She predicts it may fetch $21,000.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower's Rolex Watch

(RR Auction)
Considered by many the most important and valuable Rolex wristwatch, here offered is Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1951 18K iconic yellow gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust reference 6305 chronometer on a matching 18K Jubilee bracelet with deployment clasp, presented to General Eisenhower by Rolex to celebrate the production of their 150,000th watch to obtain ‘Official Chronometer’ certification, and to recognize the general’s great achievements in World War II. Rolex employed a highly skilled artist in Switzerland to accomplish Ike’s requested engraving on the watch-back and clasp, in both places inscribing his initials, “DDE,” and on the watch-back adding the five-star general insignia and date that NATO appointed him as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, “12-19-1950.” Dwight D. Eisenhower frequently wore this watch throughout his tenure in presidential office, and it is accompanied by an unparalleled offering of corroborating information, documentation, and photographs.

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Consumers Still Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shopping—Especially for Jewelry

(July 29, ‘14, JCK Online)
Despite all the hype about e-commerce, most consumers still prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online, particulary for jewelry, according to a new survey by A.T. Kearney.

“The future of retail is omnichannel, but it’s anchored in brick-and-mortar,” says Michael Brown, partner in the consulting firm’s consumer and retail group and coauthor of its new omnichannel shopping preferences study. “Brick-and-mortar will remain the cornerstone of retail.”

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Amazon now selling 3-D printed products

(July 30, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Seattle–Amazon has entered the 3-D printing arena with the launch of its “3D Printed Products” store, a marketplace that gives shoppers access to more than 200 unique, customizable print on-demand products, including jewelry.

The new store features a search tool, interactive 3-D preview functionality, and a customization widget that allows customers to create and design products to their liking starting from available design templates.

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Raymond Weil furthers musical ties with guitarist-designed watch

(July 22, ‘14, Luxury Daily)
Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil has tapped classical guitarist and recording artist Miloš Karadaglic to design a special edition maestro timepiece for charity.

Raymond Weil will auction off two of the 50 watches produced at select events over the course of 2014, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Mladost Orphanage in Bijela, Montenegro, a cause chosen by the musician. This will not only help the brand with its corporate social responsibility, but it will reinforce the watchmaker’s position in the music industry.

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New York antique show kicks off Friday

(July 22, ‘14, National Jeweler)
New York–More than 100 vendors are set to exhibit at the upcoming New York Antique Jewelry & Watch show, which is scheduled to take place Friday through Monday at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.

The antique jewelry and watch collections that will be on display at the show span all eras of jewelry history, from Renaissance to modern days, and pieces will feature such precious and semi-precious stones as colored diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, jadeite and pearl.

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Silver Price Will Now Be Set by Electronic Auction-Based System

(July 18, ‘14, JCK Online)
The London silver price mechanism will now be set via an electronic, auction-based mechanism administrated by CME Group and Thomson Reuters, according to a statement from the London Bullion Market Association.

The new mechanism was chosen because it is electronic, “auction-based and auditable and tradable with an increased number of direct participants,” the LBMA said in a statement.

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Rough prices up 6 percent year-to-date

(July 21, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Moscow–Alrosa reported a 13 percent increase in revenue from rough diamond sales in the first half of the year in a “positive” market where it said rough prices rose about 6 percent.

In reporting preliminary first half and second quarter sales results Monday, the Russian diamond miner said it sold 21.1 million carats of diamonds through the first six months of the year, with revenue from rough sales reaching $2.7 billion.

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First half net sales up 7 percent for Swatch

(July 23, ‘14, National Jeweler)
Biel/Bienne, Switzerland–Though operating profit and net income declined for the Swatch Group in the first half of the year, net sales increased.

In its half-year report released Tuesday, Swatch Group reported that net sales for the first half of 2014 grew by 7 percent year-over-year at constant exchange rates, from $4.44 billion to $4.54 billon.

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Changing times, and the growing wealth gap

(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?

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PRECIOUS-Palladium at 13-year high on lingering supply concerns

(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.

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Sotheby's Expects Record Price for World's Most Famous Watch

The Henry Graves Supercomplication. (Courtesy: Sotheby’s)

(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.

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Thorough reform of gold fix needed, says World Gold Council

(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.

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TAG Heuer Exec Defects to Apple

(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.

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Three trends that rocked Couture

(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.

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Couture Show Las Vegas: the new jewellery designers who will be making their debut in Las Vegas

(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.

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12 Jewelry Trends From Jewelry Week Las Vegas 2014

(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.

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From Oris, 5 new watches as it marks 110 years

Oris created the Calibre 110 to celebrate its founding in 1904. It is the brand’s first watch in 35 years with a movement produced entirely in-house.

(Jun 16, ‘14, National Jeweler)
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.

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Patek 'Titanium Collection' soars at Sotheby's

Patek Philippe’s first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch sold for $2.9 million, more than double its pre-sale high estimate of $1.2 million, at Sotheby’s New York on Tuesday.

(Jun 12, ‘14, National Jeweler)
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.

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After a decade, Baume & Mercier returns to women

A 34 mm quartz watch from Baume & Mercier’s new “Promesse” collection of women’s timepieces

(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 beginning in September. There are a total of 13 watches in the collection in two sizes, 30 mm and 34 mm.

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Let Us Call Recycled Pieces "Made in the USA," Groups Ask

(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.

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Made in USA Tax Deductions

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.

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Chopard USA President and CEO Hruschka Resigns

(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.

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Chinese jeweler buys Hearts On Fire

(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.

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New Fashionable Smart Ring Notifies You of Phone Calls, Messages

Ringly launch collection (Courtesy Ringly)

(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.

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Gemfields First Ruby Auction Achieves $34M

(Jun 18, ‘14, Deena Taylor,
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.

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Diamond leaders form body to handle industry issues

(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.

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Rare Blue Diamond found in South Africa's Cullinan mine

The "exceptional" 29.6 carat blue diamond is the latest rare stone to be found in the Cullinan mine. (Photo: BBC News)

(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.

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Jeweler admits to selling fakes for last 16 years

(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.

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Online Might Be Taking Over Retail. But Not Necessarily Jewelry (for Now)

(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.

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Gold Prices May Fall to 4-Year Low This Year: Report

(May 7, ‘14,
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.

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Gold May Fall to $1,100, Forecast Says

(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.

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Swatch Takes Legal Aim at Apple Trademark

(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.

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28-Carat Kashmir Sapphire Sells for $5 Million, Sets Auction Record
28.18-carat Kashmir sapphire ring. Courtesy Forbes

28.18-carat Kashmir sapphire ring. Courtesy Forbes

(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.

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6.19 Carat White Diamond Found in Crater of Diamonds State Park

David Anderson's white diamond. Courtesy Arkansas State Parks

(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.

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Christie's to Hold Spring Jewels Online Sale

(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.

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