Industry News Round up…
(Nov 26 ‘13, JCK Online)
Brand consulting firm PSFK specializes in tracking retail’s forward motion by amassing intel for big companies on everything from sweeping trends (such as showrooming) to on-the-verge apps and in-store gadgetry.
(Nov 26 ‘13, JCK Online)
On Nov. 26, Christie’s Hong Kong sold $111,337,808 million in jewelry—the highest-ever total for a jewelry auction in Asia.
With 309 lots offered, the fall Magnificent Jewels sale sold 86 percent by lot and 91 percent by value. Four pieces broke the $5 million mark, and 27 earned more than $1 million.
(Until Apr 27 ‘14, Musuem of London)
This October, the Museum of London will open a major new exhibition investigating the secrets of the Cheapside Hoard. This extraordinary and priceless treasure of late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones – displayed in its entirety for the first time in over a century – was discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London.
(Nov 27 ‘13, ICA)
No retrospective of any contemporary artist of gems has ever been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, until now. Through March 9, 2014, the Museum displays more than 400 works by renowned jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal, who are better known by his initials JAR. The exhibition is the first retrospective in the United States of his work.
(Dec 3 ‘13, Lisa Arthur, Forbes)
Now that online sales are growing at approximately 10 times the rate of brick and mortar, it comes as no surprise when savvy retailers like Macy’s start beefing up their e-commerce capabilities. Recently though, I’ve heard that online retailers may be moving in exactly the opposite direction: They’re planning to open offline brick-and-mortar stores. What’s going on?
A 16pc rise in online sales in November, supported by shoppers hunting for discounts on Black Friday, has boosted British retailers battling against cautious consumer spending.
UK retail sales increased by 0.6pc on a like-for-like basis and 2.3pc in total in November compared to the same month last year, with more than half of the growth in non-food sales coming from online shopping, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s monthly survey.
(Dec 1 ‘13, IDEX Online)
IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that U.S. online retail sales jumped close to 20 percent on the year on Thanksgiving Day, with the average order value being $127.59.
The firm, which monitors traffic and sales for 800 retail websites, said that traffic from mobile devices surged 32 percent from Thanksgiving Day last year and generated almost 43 percent of total traffic. Meanwhile, sales via mobile devices accounted for nearly 26 percent of online sales, a rise of 49 percent from last year.
(Nov 1 ‘13, Professional Jeweller)
In April this year the hammer fell on a fancy deep-blue diamond put up for auction at Bonhams in London. The selling price for this 5.30ct stone? £6.2 million.
This diamond, with its bright blue hue, hit a world record price per carat for any blue diamond at auction and continued the pace for what has been a whirlwind year for coloured gemstones and diamonds at auction.
(Nov 5 ‘13, Professional Jeweller)
Fairtrade International has announced plans to improve the availability of Fairtrade gold wedding rings in a bid to boost sales, with hopes of the number sold hitting 100,000 in the UK next year.
The initiative, led by ethical campaigner and Fairtrade gold and precious metals co-ordinator Greg Valerio, will work with leading UK wedding ring manufacturers to try to boost the number of weddings and civil partnerships sealed with Fairtrade rings to 50,000 in 2014.
(Oct 28 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses announced a zero-tolerance policy toward companies that do not disclose they are selling synthetic diamonds.
The declaration comes amid increased reports of synthetic melee mixed with natural.
(Oct 28 ‘13, Christie Craft, JCK Online)
Joining the ranks of the Logan Sapphire, Hope Diamond, Alan Caplan Ruby, and the Cullinan Diamond comes the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, a 191.87 ct. Paraiba tourmaline necklace. Measuring 36.44 mm by 33.75 mm by 21.85 mm, the stone is said to be worth between $25 million and $125 million, according to published reports.
(Nov 4 ‘13, National Jeweler)
London–A mid-19th century diamond tiara is expected to sell for nearly $400,000 at Christie’s sale of Important Jewels, slated for Nov. 27 in London.
Tiaras of the mid-19th century generally were designed with abundant sprays of scrolling floral and foliate motifs, as well as openwork bands to be worn above the brow or over the chignon (hairstyle at the nape of the neck) on the back of the head, Christie’s said.
(Nov 4 ‘13, National Jeweler)
Geneva–Sotheby’s upcoming watch auction will celebrate the legacy of horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet and include the sale of a highly complex and rare pocket watch.
On Nov. 12 in Geneva, Sotheby’s will offer an extra flat pair cased gold half-quarter repeating pocket watch with equation of time, power reserve, indication calendar and moon phase based on chronometer principles from Breguet.
(Oct 18 ‘13, Fox News Latino)
Seventeen people were arrested as suspects in the biggest jewelry heist in Spain’s history, the December 2012 theft in Madrid of wristwatches valued at more than 23 million euros ($31.4 million), police said Thursday.
Among those arrested is a known thief, Ismael A.V., alias “The Troll,” who is considered to be the architect of the heist.
(Oct 14 ‘13, Channel News Asia)
The annual sale of Rio Tinto’s rare pink-hued diamonds attracted unprecedented interest with at least two of the stones fetching record prices of over $2 million, the mining giant said Monday.
(Oct 16 ‘13, National Jeweler)
New York–With the holiday shopping season approaching, many jewelers are preparing to round out their inventories with pieces perfect for gifting.
Pre-holiday surveys are showing that consumers are ready to spend but still will seek out deals, meaning jewelers not only need to offer promotions but also carry price-point friendly jewelry, keeping in mind shoppers’ budgets this holiday season.
The 118 ct. D Flawless oval sold for $238.7 million in Hong Kong dollars (approximately $30.6 million U.S.) at its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction on Oct. 7, setting a new record for a white diamond.
(Oct 15 ‘13, JCK Online)
October marked “the end of an era” at De Beers, as it closed the book on 80 years of holding its sights in London. And now, we turn the page to a new era: November brings the first allocation held at De Beers’ new sorting center in Gaborone, Botswana.
(Oct 17 ‘13, Diamonds.net)
TRADE ALERT: Buyers Beware. Persistent reports that large amounts of synthetic lab grown diamonds are being mixed with natural diamonds in parcels of melee and pointers. Know your supplier and insist phrase “natural, untreated diamonds” be included on all invoices.
(Oct 18 ‘13, Avi Krawitz, Diamonds.net)
Fancy colored diamond prices are showing significant gains in 2013 while other goods struggle along. As a result, the various auctions and tenders held in the past two weeks continued to set records, headlining the strength of the colored diamond market with both dealers and private buyers driving up prices.
A pear-shaped, vivid orange diamond could fetch as much as $20 million, or $1.3 million per carat, at Christie’s next month.
The auction house will offer the 14.82-carat stone, the largest known orange diamond in the world, in its Geneva sale on Nov. 12. The following day, Sotheby’s (BID) will auction a vivid pink diamond valued at more than $60 million.
Diamonds big enough to be worn by Hollywood film stars could be raining down on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated.
New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form, they say.
(Oct 17 ‘13, Natinoal Jeweler)
New York–An 8.77-carat rectangular-cut fancy intense pink diamond sold for $6.3 million at Christie’s, making it the top lot of the Magnificent Jewels sale held earlier this week.
(Oct 16 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The 20 ct. t.w. engagement ring Kim Kardashian received from former husband Kris Humphries fetched $749,000 at Christie’s New York on Oct. 15—above its $300,000 to $500,000 estimate, although below its $2 million reported value.
The buyer was not named.
(Sep 20 ‘13, Jennifer Heebner, JCK Online)
The findings of Engagement 101’s new 2013 Just-Engaged Couple Survey reveal a lot about the newly married, including that 71 percent of men “would be open to wearing an engagement ring for guys,” called a man-gagement ring.
Saint-Prex, Switzerland–Dominique Loiseau, a Swiss/French watchmaker whose master works included the Blancpain 1735 and the Alpha-Omega automaton, has died.
He was 64 and had been in bad health for some time.
(Sep 19 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The joint venture was said to be with “two partners who bring more than 75 years collective experience in the gemstone industry.” The partners were not named in the release. Scio CEO Michael McMahon was unavailable for comment at press time.
The facility will produce approximately 48,000 carats of synthetic rough a year, a release said. It did not specify what colors or sizes would be produced.
(Sep 29 ‘13, Emili Vesilind, JCK Online)
The jewelry business is often maligned for lagging a few steps behind the larger retail industry when it comes to incorporating new technologies, customer experiences, and best practices. But among the global companies flirting most heavily with cutting-edge advances in retail are, in fact, some of the most established jewelry and watch brands. For our annual Future of Retail issue, we cast our net wide—poring over innovations that not only are on the cusp but also seem poised to become ubiquitous in the industry in the near future. What follows is a clutch of educated predictions on how the future will influence and alter the fine jewelry store.
Four men drove a 4×4 through the front window of the store on Rue de Castiglione, before making off with the jewellery and watches.
They then set fire to the vehicle before fleeing in another car.
Forensic policemen are examining the Casty store in the central first district of the capital, home to numerous jewellery shops.
The heist near Place Vendome is the latest to hit France after a spate of high-profile robberies in the southern resort of Cannes.
(Sep 3 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
The unrest in Syria should keep the price of gold close to the $1,400 mark for most of the rest of the year, according to a new analyst note by Goldman Sachs.
The investment bank raised its second half gold forecast to $1,388, a stark jump from its previous $1,300 estimate, The Economic Times reports.
(Sep 24 ‘13, Alex, Samsung)
Together, the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear go hand in hand to make staying in touch effortless, as well as making it easy to capture and enjoy all the memorable moments that happen unexpectedly.
Read on to find out more about these groundbreaking devices and how they work together.
(Sep 30 ‘13, JCK Online)
Blue diamonds are among the rarest diamonds out there, and a mine in Lesotho just hit the jackpot with the discovery of a 12 ct. one.
On Sept. 30, Gem Diamonds’ Letšeng mine discovered not only the 12 ct. blue, but an 83.9 ct. white described as “exceptional quality.” The mine’s statement did not comment on the blue stone’s quality.
It has taken two years to weigh, polish and cut. Now the “world’s most perfect diamond” could be yours — for $35 million.
The 118-carat white diamond is being auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong next month with an estimate of $28-$35 million (£17.5-£22 million). Sotheby’s believes that it could smash the estimate and, with it, the record for a diamond at auction of $27 million.
(Sep 25 ‘13, BBC News)
It says the oval-cut stone – the “Pink Star” – will become the most valuable diamond ever to be offered at auction.
Sotheby’s David Bennett says the diamond belongs in “the ranks of the earth’s greatest natural treasures”.
This little job offer caught our attention. Employer: The Royal Collection Trust. Workplace: Buckingham Palace. Starting salary: “£31,200 per annum” for a 37.5-hour week. Type of contract: Standard. Accommodation available? No! Mandatory requirements: Possess a qualification in Horology to BHI (British Horological Institute) final grade standard or equivalent. Also hold a full, UK driving license and be able to work flexibly including early mornings, weekends and travelling to other residences.
(Oct 2 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
More consumers are interacting with retailers though their phones and tablets than through desktop computers, according to a new survey from Shop.org.
The report found that more than half (55 percent) of all retail-related Internet time originated on smartphones and tablet devices. Just 45 percent came from desktop devices.
It was an unexpected find for the young French alpinist as he approached the summit of Mont Blanc. Poking out of the ice and snow on the shoulder of western Europe’s highest mountain was a metal box containing precious gems – including emeralds, rubies and sapphires – worth hundreds of thousands of euros that had lain hidden for about 50 years.
Geneva–The auction of the latest potentially record-setting stone was announced Wednesday, with Sotheby’s Geneva set to sell a 59.60-carat pink diamond that could shatter the current world record for any gemstone sold at auction.
The auction house is calling “The Pink Star,” an oval-cut diamond that is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, “the most valuable diamond ever to be offered at auction.” It will be part of Sotheby’s Nov. 13 auction in Geneva.
The 215 pieces, which had arrived from China via air cargo, would be worth $1.25 million if sold as genuine at suggested retail prices, the CBP said.
CBP officers discovered the counterfeit merchandise after inspecting the shipment manifested as “watches,” with a declared value of $173 and weighing 68 pounds.
(August 21 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
Last week’s post on lab-grown diamonds elicited a storm of comments-some of which went over well-trodden ground, such as whether “synthetic” is a valid term. The debate at times got a little heated and divisive-which is unfortunate and really kind of pointless, because someday the natural and synthetic markets will have to coexist.
(August 22 ‘13, Rob Bates, JCK Online)
While the Seattle-based e-tailer has talked about making big sales via its phone app before, Kanter told Motley Fool they are becoming increasingly common.
(August 28 ‘13, National Jeweler)
New York–Executives for Tiffany & Co. said they were “very satisfied” with their second quarter results in all regions of the world except the Americas, where sales still are “soft.”
(August 27 ‘13, National Jeweler)
New York–Pieces from French designers as well as a 19.51-carat diamond ring from Harry Winston will be among the highlights of Sotheby’s next Important Jewels sale, scheduled for Sept. 24 in New York.
(September 2 ‘13, BBC)
The auction house Christie’s, which is famous for art, jewellery and memorabilia, is starting to hold sales online.
It is also the first company of its kind to be granted a license to operate independently in mainland China.
Goldman Sachs raised its second-half 2013 gold price forecast to $1,388 from $1,300 an ounce on recent price activity but maintained its medium- and long-term price forecasts
“We believe the recent uptick is a result of investors positioning themselves for an increase in inflation rates and speculation regarding a potential military strike on Syria,” the bank said in an equity research note dated Sept 2.
The audience will be there for her voice, but when Joyce DiDonato, the American mezzo-soprano, takes to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, they might easily be forgiven for being equally transfixed by her appearance.
Leave it to Queen Bey to make a bedazzled set of fangs look good! Showing off a look on her Tumblr blog that can only be described as vampire chic, Beyonce flashed her pearly whites to the camera, revealing a glittering gold grill that peeked out along her bottom row of teeth.
(August 7 ‘13, Henry Austin, NBC News)
A $1.3 million reward was offered Tuesday after diamonds and jewels were stolen in what is believed to be the world’s biggest heist.
A masked gunman made off with an estimated $136 million worth of gems from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, France, during the audacious daytime raid on July 28.
In a scene worthy of George Clooney’s screen alter-ego, the gentleman thief Danny Ocean, a robber threatens to blow up a high-end jewellery store on La Croisette in Cannes with a hand-grenade. While his accomplice points a gun at staff, the robber fills a sport holdall with expensive watches and heads for the door. Suddenly, he stops and turns. “Desolé,” he says to the terrified sales staff, “C’est la crise.” (Sorry, it’s the economic crisis).
(August 14 ‘13, National Jeweler)
Copenhagen, Denmark–Pandora reported Tuesday that continued strength in the U.S. market is driving its sales in the Americas, with U.S. revenues climbing more than 50 percent in the second quarter.
U.S. sales increased from $92.6 million in the second quarter 2012 to $142.5 million in the second quarter 2013, a 56 percent jump. Pandora said the Mother’s Day holiday was strong and that both core and new products, including its silver bangle bracelet, are selling well.