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