Industry News Round up…

Groupon Says It's Selling Engagement Rings at $10,000 Discount

(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.

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$33 Million Fabergé Egg Found at Flea Market

The Third Lost Imperial Egg. (Courtesy Wartski )

(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.

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Apple accused of ripping off famous Swiss clock design

(Sep 20 ‘12, Josh Lowensohn,
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.

Apple's iOS6 clock and an official SBB watch from Mondaine

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Fossil to Introduce Google-Powered Smartwatch This Year

(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.

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Sales of Elephant Ivory Now Prohibited

(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.

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2.89 Carat White Diamond Found at Crater of Diamonds

Brandon Kalenda holding his 2.89-carat Jax Diamond.

(March 11 ‘14, JCK Online)
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.

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Ivory Coast to Urge UN to Lift Diamond Export BAN

(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.”

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True North wins 30-year license for Aappaluttoq Ruby Deposit in Greenland

The exploitation licence will become officially effective on March 10.

(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.

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Metal supplier introduces 3D printer for jewelry

This bangle was designed by Towe Norlen of Towe Jewels and produced through the direct metal laser sintering process using the 3D printer at Cooksongold.

(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.

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Large rough stones net $13M for Gem Diamonds

This 162.02-carat rough diamond from a mine in the African kingdom of Lesotho sold for $68,687 per carat at the Gem Diamonds tender held last month.

(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.

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Hedge fund sues five banks over gold 'manipulation'

(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.

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California couple finds $10 million in buried treasure while walking dog

A can containing 19th century gold coins is shown in this undated handout photo courtesy of Kagin's, Inc.

(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.

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Consumer sentiment on current economy best since '08

(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.

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Platinum Patek sells for $800K in Hong Kong

This platinum Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, the top lot of Antiquorum’s recent auction, sold along with its certificate of origin, additional platinum case back, setting pin and technical and instructional documents.

(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.

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Israeli Bourse Bans Synthetics From Trading Floor

(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.

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Trends from Tucson: Cool colors dominate

This 14-karat white gold ring by Drukker Designs featuring color-gradient tourmalines and diamonds ($500) was among the pieces showcased at GemFair Tucson 2014, which took place Feb. 4 to 9.

(Feb 25 ‘14, National Jeweler)
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.

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Two 160-Plus Carat Diamonds Found at Mine

Gem Diamonds.

(Feb 13 ‘14, JCK Online)
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.

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Petra's big blue diamond goes for $25M
South African company Golden Yellow Diamonds purchased Petra Diamonds' 29.6-carat blue diamond on Friday for $25.6 million, or $862,780 per carat. Petra described the stone, which was found last month, as "exceptional."

South African company Golden Yellow Diamonds purchased Petra Diamonds' 29.6-carat blue diamond on Friday for $25.6 million, or $862,780 per carat. Petra described the stone, which was found last month, as "exceptional."

(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.

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Gold market breaches 'covered up'

Kaloti is currently building the biggest refinery in the world in Dubai

(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.

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IGI offering free synthetics screening to DMIA, DDC

(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.

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Number of weddings to rise slightly in 2014

Here comes … an increase in the number of weddings in 2014, which could mean sales of more bridal sets, such as this platinum set from Ritani, for jewelers.

(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.

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Charles Garnier launches new silver collection

(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.

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Drop Earrings and Big Rings Dazzle at the Grammys

Earrings by Kimberly McDonald worn by Miranda Lambert to the Grammys

(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!

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Art Deco, Yellow Gold, and Geometry Took Jewelry Honors at the Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Lawrence in Neil Lane Art Deco platinum jewelry

(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.

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Raymond Weil dies at 87

(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”

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Lucapa Recovers 95-Ct. Diamond at Lulo

(Jan 28 ‘14,
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.

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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

(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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15 Diamonds That Made Headlines 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.

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Gold and diamond infused soap is 'world's most expensive'

(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).

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Antwerp Diamond Bank sold to Chinese company

(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.

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Market Comments 1/2/2014

(Jan 2 ‘14,
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.

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Lucapa Diamond Recovers 32-Carat Stone at Lulo

(Jan 3 ‘14,
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.

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Christie's Concludes 2013 Watch Auction Season With $12.9 Million Sale

The top lot, a stainless steel Rolex, Reference 8171 “Padellone,” which sold for $1,145,000 (photo courtesy of Christie's)

(Dec 18 ‘13, JCK Online)
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.

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2014: Growth Potential

(Jan 3 ‘14,
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.

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Antwerp Unveils "World's Most Expensive Shoes"

(Dec 4 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Antwerp may have taken luxury footwear to a whole new level.

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.

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Global Gold Jewelry Demand -15% to $21M

(Nov 29 ‘13, Jeff Miller,
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.

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Swiss watchmaking in October 2013: continued growth and high value

(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.

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Gemfields Thinks Mine Could Supply 20% of Global Ruby Demand

(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.

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Forevermark Debuts Exceptional Diamond Collection Image

The Forevermark Exceptional Diamond Collection image

(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.

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Mobile Marketing and a Streamlined Consumer Experience Dominate PSFK's "Future of Retail" Conference

(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.

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Christie's Hong Kong Sets Asia's Jewelry Auction Record

Another big Burmese ruby sale: This Burmese ruby and diamond Flora necklace by Bulgari earned $3.79 million. CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2011

(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.

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The Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels

(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.

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Breathtaking Jewels by JAR on View at Metropolitan Museum

Multicolored Handkerchief earrings, 2011, with sapphires, demantoid and other garnets, zircons, tourmalines, emeralds, rubies, fire opals, spinels, beryls, diamond, platinum, silver and gold. Photograph by Jozsef Tari. Courtesy of JAR, Paris.

(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.

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Which Is Better For Retail Sales, Online Or Offline Customer Engagement?

(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?

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Online sales rise 16pc as 'Black Friday' boosts retailers

Amazon has warehouses in the UK and employs 15,000 people but diverts its UK sales to Luxembourg Photo: Alamy

(Dec 3 ‘13, Graham Ruddick, The Telegraph)
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.

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Thanksgiving Day Internet Sales up 20% on Year

(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.

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IN DEPTH: Fine gemstones at auction

(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.

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100,000 Fairtrade wedding rings objective for 2014

Fairtrade International is teaming with British manufacturers to drive Faitrade wedding ring sales in 2014

(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.

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WFDB Calls Synthetic Nondisclosure "Fraud"

(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.

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World's Largest Paraiba Tourmaline Unveiled

The Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba necklace

(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.

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