TheGemBank.com

thegembank.com

Everything Starts With A Stone

T: + 44(o)20 7242 3748

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 24 October 2014


Hello and welcome to this week’s Thank TheGemBank.com it’s Friday newsletter. I hope you have all had a successful week and the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo hasn’t blown you away. As always, much has happened this week in our industry from court rulings, to platinum value going back up, and Graff selling its pigeon blood Ruby next month. I have picked the best industry stories to regale you with, so take five and put your feet up and Read all about it!

In this issue;
Ebola outbreak affecting the Jewellery Industry
Good News for Platinum in 2015
There’s Money in Pigeon Blood
U.K Court Ruling to Block Counterfeit Sales
How jewellers can use social media safely
Company News


Ebola outbreak affecting the Jewellery Industry
Barely a bulletin goes by without a report on the latest with the Ebola crisis. But is this affecting our industry and if so, how? West Africa is a significant source of diamonds, and the artisanal miners in the affected countries produce (depending on the estimates) about 1% of the world’s diamonds by value. That is perhaps not statistically significant, but it’s still a good deal of diamonds—and diamond mining in West Africa involves a good deal of people. Mining has for the moment not ceased, however naturally it has considerably decreased, especially in Sierra Leone. Here the diamond industry is second only to agriculture in terms of the country’s work force. Mining here depends on the partnership along a chain that has established trust (diggers, landowners, buyers/dealers, etc.). The interdependence of these business partners is so important that any break in the chain causes significant impact on the whole sector.

To read Babar Turay’s – an experienced ecologist who has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and Estelle Levin Ltd – interview about the disease and how it’s affected the diamond sector in Sierra Leone click here A Firsthand Look at the Ebola Crisis and the Diamond Industry

Good News for Platinum in 2015
Earlier this month the white metal hit its low for the year, plummeting to $1,229 on the London PM fix. However you can’t keep a good metal down and analysts are predicting that not only will the price rise in 2015, but it will see a steady growth along with the anticipated increase in jewellery demand.

In 2015 Thomson Reuters are forecasting an average annual price of $1,475 for platinum, in line with a poll of 23 analysts conducted by Reuters that forecasts platinum to average $1,477.50 an ounce next year. That is up slightly from $1,424 this year. That same poll also predicts a rise in palladium prices in 2015, which were volatile this year, peaking above $900 an ounce before sinking as low as $725 in intraday trading. The metal is expected to average $890 an ounce in 2015, according to the analysts’ poll. Leyland said the Thomson Reuters palladium forecast for 2015 is $950 an ounce.

Philip Newman, a founding partner of London-based consultancy Metals Focus, said one aspect of the U.S. market that has helped independent jewellers with platinum sales specifically is more major retailers (with bigger advertising budgets) stocking platinum jewellery and marketing it. This advertising generates consumer recognition that trickles down to independent jewellers. In addition, the improved economy has meant better sell-through on platinum pieces. This in turn means more jewellers are stocking platinum in their cases, enabling customers to purchase pieces on the spot rather than having to order and wait for it.

Read more: Platinum to average $1477 in 2015 [top]


There’s Money in Pigeon Blood
The Pigeon Blood coloured Graff Ruby is going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in Geneva next month. And they are already anticipating that the 8.62-carat pigeon’s blood “Graff ruby,” one of the finest privately owned rubies in the world, will sell for as much as $9m.

Sotheby’s 12 November sale of “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” brings together a group of exceptional jewels and gems from the collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis as well as pieces with a noble provenance. Also highlighting the sale are a 14.45ct Burmese ruby and diamond ring, a 100.85ct diamond ring, and a 16.37ct diamond ring from Graff.

There are also two coloured diamonds included in the top lots–which have been selling for record amounts in international jewellery auctions over the past few years – due to the rise in global demand for coloured gems – including a fancy intense 3.16ct blue diamond ring and a fancy intense purplish pink diamond ring of 4.53 carats. Watch this space for a report next month on what these beautiful pieces went for.

Read more: ‘Graff ruby’ expected to sell for $6M-$9M [top]


U.K. Court Ruling to Block Counterfeit Sales
Brand owners Cartier can force Internet service providers to block websites that sell counterfeits, the English High Court of Justice ruled on 17 October, responding to a legal challenge from Cartier.

In the case, Cartier owner Richemont asked five leading U.K. Internet service providers to block sites that allegedly sell counterfeit Cartier goods. The ISPs argued that this would mean additional costs for them—given it affects as many as 40,000 sites—and that they were just “intermediaries” that don’t do business with the sites in question. In his ruling, Justice Richard Arnold said that removing these sites should be looked at as “cost of doing business,” and the ISPs already have the technology to block sites. He added that a past case against eBay affirmed that intermediaries bear responsibility for trademark infringement. This is of course fantastic news for the luxury brand industry as the sale of counterfeit goods, especially luxury counterfeit goods damages our industry on many levels. However, the downside is due to the vastness of the internet and the shrewdness of the criminals behind the sales, this will be an extremely difficult law to police. Still, it is a step in the right direction.

Read more: Richemont scores win over online counterfeiters [top]


How jewellers can use social media safely
On Monday, Jewellers Mutual’s loss prevention team hosted “Social Media: Opportunities and Perils for Jewellers,” a webinar designed to teach jewellers how to use social media to their advantage without making their store a target for criminals. As social media is expanding daily – it would be almost impossible to be present on them all. There are also a few factors in deciding which site would be best for each individual jeweller. Here are the main sites – they all have their own niche in the market so all there is left to do is choose which portal is most beneficial for you.

Facebook
This is still the leader – on here you can put images, video and quite a bit of text in each post. However, there have been many hacking issues with this, but it is something the company are continually working on.

Instagram
This network is becoming extremely popular, and is an amazing opportunity to share high res images of your products. Most users are between the ages of 18 and 29, Instagram can be a great place to target the bridal customer. Instagram posts can be used to start conversations that will engage existing customers as well as bring in new customers and clients.

Hashtags, in which keywords are followed by the pound sign–as in #bridaljewelry–can make categories searchable to users who want to find certain products or categories.

Pinterest
Another image site, but less interactive. Pinterest comes organically because of actions such as re-pins, likes and comments, it provides an opportunity for businesses to get involved in photo and product sharing without having to spend too much time on building up the brand’s presence.

Twitter
A personal favourite, Twitter really provides the opportunity to build relationships with clients with its direct interactions and short, to-the-point messages. Used correctly, it provides a great way to build a following and give clients direct access to a business or brand.

And with hashtags and keywords also extremely important on Twitter, categories and trends also provide the opportunity for users to search exactly what they’re looking for and for businesses to have a way to put themselves in front of the right audience.

Read more: How jewelers can use social media safely[top]


Company News
I hope you are enjoying not only our weekly updates but our new website too. The website is regularly updated, we now offer clearer images, more images per stone and we have priced everything showing. There is a retail price if you have not registered, but registered companies will get a discounted trade price. Go to www.thegembank.com to see what we’ve done.

I hope you are enjoying our newsletter. If you have anything that you would like us to cover, or a person of interest to the industry that we could interview, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend. [top]

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 17 October 2014


Hello, and welcome to the Thank the Gembank it’s Friday Newsletter. Are you excited and ready for the silly season? Most City centre Christmas lights will get switched on within the first week of November. Because like it or not as soon as the fireworks cease on Bonfire night, which is only a few weeks away, the start of the Christmas buying season has been proclaimed. It’s what Guy Fawkes would have wanted. By now many of us in the industry are preparing to put our November-December marketing plans into action. Forecasts for consumer spending look to be look very positive this year, so it may be a very merry Christmas after all!

In this issue;
De Beers’ Recycled Diamond Program
It’s Been a Big Week at the Auctions
White diamond sells for record $27.3m in Hong Kong
Vivid pink diamond reaches record price at Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions Patek Philippe Watch for $740,000
Holiday Sales Forecasts are Looking Positive
PWC’s key points to being competitive this holiday season
Blue Nile app Lets Shoppers Virtually Try on Rings
Company News


De Beers’ Recycled Diamond Program
De Beers’ recycled diamond deal – an idea which wasn’t initially well received – has proved to be popular with retailers. The service is built around a New York City lab that will value trade-ins for retailers. Although the programme is only in its infancy so far, it has already signed up four jewellers, representing 14 stores-R.F. Moeller, the three-store chain in Minneapolis; two out of nine Rogers Jewellers stores; some Reeds stores; and Padis Gems of San Francisco.

The service’s popularity stems from the fact that although the price offered to the seller of the diamond is still at wholesale price De Beers, through this unique service, are offering “the highest possible price” on the secondary, wholesale market.

If the program works, the retailers will have two advantages. While the retailer will make less on the diamond than if he or she bought it for stock and then sold it at retail (with every piece De Beers buys, it remits a small markup to the retailer), their payment will be both faster and guaranteed. Moreover, if the store consistently pays the top price for its diamonds, that should bring in more sellers and more traffic.

Read more: Why Retailers Like De Beers’ Recycled Diamond Program [top]


It’s Been a Big Week at the Auctions
It was a busy week at the auction houses as an internally flawless vivid pink diamond set an auction record at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. In Bonhams, New York, Burmese rubies and pearls shared centre stage and in watches, Patek Philippe timepieces took the top seven spots at a Hong Kong sale.

Here are the highlights:


White diamond sells for record $27.3m in Hong Kong
A white diamond the size of a small egg has sold for $30.8m (£19.1m) at an auction in Hong Kong. A phone bidder bought the 118ct rock, edging out a previous price record for a white diamond of $26.7m. Hong Kong has quickly become one of the world’s biggest auction hubs thanks to rising numbers of wealthy collectors from mainland China and other Asian countries.

Read more: White diamond sells for record $27.3m in Hong Kong [top]


Vivid pink diamond reaches record price at Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s said that its Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on 7 October resulted in a world auction record for a fancy vivid pink diamond when an 8.41ct internally flawless pink diamond sold for nearly $17.8m. The purple-pink gem also is a type IIa diamond, among the most chemically pure with exceptional optical transparency, according to the auction house. The previous world auction record for a fancy vivid pink diamond and record price per carat for a pink diamond were both achieved by a 5ct fancy vivid pink diamond that sold for more than $10.7m, or $2.15m per carat in Hong Kong in November 2009.

Read more: Vivid pink diamond sells for record $17.8 million [top]


Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions Patek Philippe Watch for $740,000
Sotheby’s Important Watches Sale in Hong Kong on October 8 was more successful than even the auction house imagined, with Patek Philippe watches taking the top seven spots in timepiece sales bringing millions of dollars in sales. The most expensive being the diamond and platinum wristwatch with a perpetual calendar, which sold for more than $740,000. Among the top watches sold at the important auction was a pink gold watch with a minute repeating calendar that features qualities such as a retrograde date and moon phase feature. This watch was auctioned for $697,436.

Sotheby’s is naturally now excitedly looking forward now to November when the auction house holds their annual Geneva sale, in which they will also bring back some of the most iconic watches of all time – watch this space as more records are bound to be broken.

Read more: Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions Patek Philippe Watch for $740,000[top]


Holiday Sales Forecasts are Looking Positive
The most recent holiday sales forecast, the National Retail Federation, predicts that consumers will spend 4% more this November and December than they did last year. Obviously this is just a prediction but perhaps we can get a little excited as the NRF was almost exactly on the button last year with their forecast of holiday sales increasing by 3.9% and finally coming in at 3.8%!

The NRF isnt the only organization to predict a 4% increase in spending this season; consulting and financial advisory firm Deloitte said last month it expects holiday sales to climb between 4 and 4.5% over last year and online sales to increase as much as 14%.

The NRF bases its sales forecast on an economic model that utilizes several indicators, among them consumer credit, disposable personal income and monthly retail sales releases.

Read more: Jewelers weigh in ’solid’ holiday growth prediction[top]


PWC’s key points to being competitive this holiday season
To effectively compete during the holiday season this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers created a list of eight strategies that retailers should implement to meet the increasing demands for today’s consumer.

  1. “Shout out” the holiday banner promise, the company said, to make sure the consumers know what role the store can play in their overall shopping experience. Repeatedly changing marketing and merchandising strategies confuses shoppers.
  2. Invest in the in-store experience to set the store apart from other retailers. Shoppers are looking for easy in-store navigation, knowledgeable associates, merchandising innovation and in-stock visibility.
  3. The omni-channel shopping experience should at least be comparable to what’s currently being seen in the market now.
  4. Deals are critical for driving traffic into the store.
  5. Ensure that marketing and merchandising personalizes all shopper communications. “More is not better. Personal relevance is,” the company said.
  6. Whenever possible, give increased attention to the most loyal shoppers.
  7. Cyber security should be a high priority to ensure that shoppers’ confidential information is protected. “Shoppers will not tolerate another season of privacy invasion,” PWC said.
  8. Create a winning strategy for the holiday season, and align the entire organization around that.

Read more: 8 keys to being competitive this holiday season[top]


Blue Nile app Lets Shoppers Virtually Try on Rings
As most people own smart phones these days – this app, which technically could be created by anyone in the trade – is quite a good idea. Yes most consumers who are purchasing jewellery over £100 prefer to do it in a bricks and mortar store. However, it would be remise to ignore those few percent of consumers who are prepared to spend sizable cash in online jewellery purchases. And as time goes on, and online sales increase, this app may just be the answer in swaying customers to buying from you over a competitor. Blue Nile’s new mobile application lets users select a custom ring from the Dream Box feature and then try it on via augmented reality once they snap a photo of their hand. From there, they can share it on Facebook or Twitter or send the image via text or email.

The app also includes a “Build Your Own Ring” section to allow shoppers to customize their ring from seven different categories and hundreds of styles. They can use the augmented reality feature in this part of the app to try on the ring they have created.

Read more: Blue Nile app lets shoppers virtually try on rings [top]


Company News
I hope you are enjoying not only our weekly updates but our new website too. The website is regularly updated, we now offer clearer images, more images per stone and we have priced everything showing. There is a retail price if you have not registered, but registered companies will get a discounted trade price. Go to www.thegembank.com to see what we’ve done.

I hope you are enjoying our newsletter. If you have anything that you would like us to cover, or a person of interest to the industry that we could interview, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend. [top]

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 3 October 2014

Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 Jewellery Roundup

Even though the leaves on the trees are turning gold outside, the fashion world has already spoken, and forecasted the trends for the sunny days of Spring/Summer 2015. But before you read on and find out what jewellery styles we will be wearing next year – leave all thoughts of minimalism at the door.

The two hottest jewellery trends that kept jumping out, be it in New York, London, Paris or Milan, were black diamonds and pearls, sometimes together on the same piece, but more often they took centre stage within their own jewellery creation. Other than that, it’s really quite simple, whatever style your jewellery takes you, BIG is definitely in. Whether it’s a statement necklace, earrings or cocktail rings worn in multitude, all are made with a healthy overdose of bronze, silver, gold, copper, brass, chains and wired forms. Overall the lavish jewellery on the catwalks these past weeks were rather breath-taking.

Gemstones, have been tipped to continue their rise in popularity, which makes larger but affordable glitzy statement pieces much easier to make and for the consumer – to buy. In some cases the hues are kept monochromatic, tone-on-tone. Inspiration has been taken from Asian, Chinese, Persian and African designs, the mix of materials and textures of crystals, pearls, and chains create decadent, rich and lavish, large pieces – executing a nostalgia of opulence from the past into modern day grandeur.

Vintage was also used by many designers, specifically Victoriana and Baroque in design. The jewellery in these styles showed movement, lightness, fragility but strength. There were large gold cuffs cut to look like lace. Different vintage pieces collected together and redesigned to give a more sophisticated look as well as height and size to each piece. Pearls, gemstones of every colour, but mostly purples, vibrant greens and pale blues. Knuckle high rings with matching cuffs for each wrist.

There was also more than a hint of the return of 1990’s jewellery fashion, with the re-run of body piercings, both fake and real, belly rings with large coloured gemstones. Large pendants, but this time around it’s not just for necklaces, but for bracelets and anklets too. Even padlocks are making a come-back – on necklaces, earrings and rings. Super large, single earrings – not always worn on the lobe.

So the rule of 2014 seems to be continuing on into 2015 Spring/Summer, more is more and bigger is always better!

See our latest Fashion Week article on our blog at Fashion Week Jewellery Trends Autumn/Winter 2014

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 19 September 2014


Hello, and welcome to the Thank thegembank.com It’s Friday newsletter. If like me, you have been keeping a close eye on the New York fashion week you will have noticed the abundance of colour in the stones that have been used in jewellery, all set within a mixture of precious metals. It’s London fashion week now and indicators are already showing that the jewellery is even bigger than that of New York, but with the same vibrancy of colour used in the stones, and a little more vintage in style. So watch this space, as I will be doing a round-up of the catwalk jewellery fashions at the end of this month.

In this issue;
122 Carat Blue Fetches $27 Million
Lesotho mine yields 23ct pink diamond
Worldwide Diamond Jewellery Sales Hit $79 Billion, as Rough Shortage Looms
Sotheby’s to sell jewels of a Mellon
Gemfields broadens its portfolio to include Sapphires
Sea-Dweller of famous ocean lover for sale
TAG Heuer to develop smartwatch
Company News


122 Carat Blue Fetches $27 Million
Remember the 122.52ct blue diamond that was unearthed in June, at the Cullinan mine in South Africa? Well it has been sold for $27.6m, a hefty price tag by anyone’s standards, but still far below the record price some were expecting.

When its discovery was first announced selling price predictions excitedly announced a possible $40m price tag, thus setting a new benchmark for the highest recorded price for a piece of rough (the current record is held by Petra, which sold a 507ct white stone for $35.3m in February 2010).

Spokesperson Cornelia Grant says the stone was tendered in South Africa and Petra considered both partnership opportunities as well as straightforward bids. “The agreement announced today offered the best value to Petra,” she says. “Not only do we record a significant sales value for the rough stone, but we also share in the value of the entire polished yield.” The miner has gone the partnership route before, when it teamed up with Sotheby’s to cut and polish a 26ct blue. That was eventually sold at auction as the 7ct Star of Josephine, which sold for $9.5m.

Read more: 122 Carat Blue Fetches $27 Million, Doesn’t Set Record [top]


Lesotho mine yields 23ct pink diamond
Storm Mountain Diamonds unearthed a 23.82ct pink diamond from its Kao mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and said it will put the stone up for sale this month. The company however at this point has declined to offer an estimate value of the stone. Dubbed the “Lesotho Storm,” Fusion/Hennig Tenders will offer the diamond for sale in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Antwerp between September 21st and October 7th.

The recovery of the Lesotho Storm follows Storm Mountain Diamonds’ earlier discovery of a 36.06ct pink diamond it dubbed the “Pink Storm,” also found at the Kao mine. Storm Mountain is a wholly owned subsidiary of Namakwa Diamonds, and owns and operates 63% of the Kao mine, which is in Lesotho, a small kingdom located entirely within South Africa. This source of pink diamonds could be very important in a few years when the Argyle mine closes. Only time will tell of course as Argyle still unearths 90% of the world’s pink diamonds.

Read more: Lesotho mine yields 23-carat pink diamond [top]


Worldwide Diamond Jewellery Sales Hit $79 Billion, as Rough Shortage Looms
Global diamond jewellery sales hit a record $79bn 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% last year, while sales in India and China grew by 12%. According to the report, one in six U.S. diamond jewellery sales were made online in 2013. In China, about a quarter of diamond jewellery purchases are made on the Internet.

The report also highlights the looming rough diamond shortfall. While rough production hit 145m carats in 2013—an increase over the prior year—that remains well below the 2005 peak of 175m carats, it said. “Diamond supply is expected to plateau in the second half of the decade before declining from 2020 onwards,” the report said, noting that costs associated with mining such as electricity, labour, and diesel, are rising. At the same time diamond demand is expected to increase, due to the burgeoning middle class in India and China. But it warned not to take the market for diamonds for granted.

Read more: Worldwide Diamond Jewelry Sales Hit $79 Billion, as Rough Shortage Looms [top]


Sotheby’s to sell jewels of a Mellon
Jewellery that once belonged to Rachel Lambert Mellon, a horticulturalist and art collector who died earlier this year at the age of 103, will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s in November, including a fancy vivid blue diamond estimated to garner up to $15m.

Mellon’s collection of jewels and objects of vertu, small objects created from precious materials used as works of art or that have a practical purpose, will be offered 20-21 November at Sotheby’s New York.

Highlighting Mellon’s jewellery is a 9.75ct pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond of VVS2 clarity. The potentially internally flawless stone, mounted in platinum, is accompanied by a Gemmological Institute of America report and is expected to sell for up to $15m.

Another pear-shaped fancy blue diamond, this one weighing 9.15ct and also mounted in platinum, has a pre-sale high estimate of $1.5m.

Read more: In NY, Sotheby’s to sell jewels of a Mellon [top]


Gemfields broadens its portfolio to include Sapphires
Coloured gemstone specialist Gemfields has broadened its portfolio to include sapphires from Sri Lanka.

Gemfields, which already mines and markets emeralds and rubies, has set up a joint venture with East West Gem Investments that will see it acquire 75% of sixteen exploration licences in Sri Lanka for $400,000.

Gemfields said it wants to apply in Sri Lanka the exploration and mining knowledge gleaned from its operations in Zambia (emeralds) and Mozambique (rubies).The joint venture partners will also set up a gemstone trading company, Ratnapura Lanka Gemstones, which will source rough sapphires in the local market and where Gemfields will apply its proprietary gemstone grading systems and marketing nous.

Ian Harebottle, Gemfields’ chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce our entry into what we consider to be the third of the ‘big three’ coloured gemstones. Sri Lanka is already known as a key source of sapphires of all colours, and of the highly sought-after padparadscha sapphire.”

Read more: Gemfields enters Sri Lankan JV[top]


Sea-Dweller of famous ocean lover for sale
One of the earliest known Rolex Sea-Dweller watches that belonged to filmmaker and oceanographer Philippe Cousteau is expected to fetch up to $150,000 when it hits the auction block at Antiquorum Auctioneers later this month.

Cousteau is the son of Jacques Cousteau, a French naval officer, conservationist, scientist, author and researcher who studied the ocean and forms of life in water. Philippe Cousteau was the lead photographer on many of his father’s expeditions, wearing the Sea-Dweller timepiece for 10 years before giving it to his close friend, Thomas Horton. The watch will be included in the auction house’s September 30th sale of “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces,” which will be held in New York.

Read more: Sea-Dweller of famous ocean lover for sale[top]


TAG Heuer to develop smartwatch
The head of LVMH’s watch division has allegedly told a Swiss newspaper that TAG Heuer has plans to launch its own smartwatch, but that it must be original and different from Apple Watch.

Reuters reported Sunday that Jean-Claude Biver told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, “We want to launch a smartwatch at TAG Heuer, but it must not copy the Apple Watch. We cannot afford to just follow in somebody else’s footsteps.”

A request sent to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which owns TAG Heuer along with Hublot and Zenith, for confirmation on the quote was unanswered as of press time.

Biver’s comment comes less than a week after the Apple Watch announcement, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the “smartwatch” category. Although details have been released on what the product will offer, the company hasn’t gone into great detail on its distribution plans for Apple Watch.

Read more: TAG Heuer to develop smartwatch[top]


Company News
I hope you are enjoying not only our weekly updates but our new website too. The website is regularly updated, we now offer clearer images, more images per stone and we have priced everything showing. There is a retail price if you have not registered, but registered companies will get a discounted trade price once logged in. Go to www.thegembank.com to see what we’ve done.

If you have anything that you would like us to cover, or a person of interest to the industry that we could interview please don’t hesitate to let us know.

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB it’s Friday – 5 September 2014


Hello and welcome to the latest newsletter. And hello new season, I ask you, where is this year going? I don’t want to be a scare monger but now we are in September, albeit the first few days, business are looking seriously towards the silly season and getting ready for it. With only 16 Saturdays left till Christmas and reports on consumers saying that seasonal shopping starts in the first few weeks in October, it’s never too early to get our seasonal business plans in place. After all Christmas is second only to Valentine’s Day for the purchase of jewellery.

You may also find yourself visiting or exhibiting in one of what seems like hundreds of gem and jewellery exhibitions taking place this month around the world. We’ve just finished IJL in London and would like to say thank you to all those that came by. If you missed us, you can see everything we were showing on our newly relaunched website www.thegembank.com

In this issue;
The Emmy Awards – who wore what
Bonhams to Auction the Duke of Windsors Diamond Frog
New technology grades symmetry of diamonds
Purple Orchid diamond
Cloud software hacking warning
What jewellers can learn from crimes in California
De Beers Now Valuing, Buying Diamond Trade-Ins
Company News


The Emmy Awards – who wore what
Platinum, platinum everywhere, on every star we saw on the red carpet this year. From the Neil Lane modern cocktail rings as seen on Gwen Stefani, to Jessica Pare’s vintage pendant necklace, A-list women chose to showcase their jewellery in naturally white platinum settings. The best enhancement to encase the brilliance of diamonds and coloured gemstones. Oversized earrings, wrist cuffs, natural pearls and art deco jewellery both original and new were also big news on the red carpet this year. Kelly Osborne – in true rock heritage fashion – wore a little bit of almost every style – black diamond earrings encased in platinum, cocktails rings on almost every finger and vintage style bracelets

For a full list of who wore what visit Platinum Jewelry Rules The Red Carpet At The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards


Bonhams to Auction the Duke of Windsors Diamond Frog
Bonhams has announced that its autumn Fine Jewellery Sale will take place on 17 September at the auction house’s new headquarters on London’s Bond Street.

The showcase of the sale is a pair of diamond jewels being sold together; a diamond and green peridot frog, which was a gift from the Duke of Windsor to Wallis Simpson in 1937, and a diamond brooch designed in the late 1800s based on the Prince of Wales’ feathers, the badge of the Prince of Wales.

The pair is estimated at £5,000-£10,000 ($8,253–$16,506). The current owner purchased them both at the Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor sale at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 1987. The brooch was converted to a bar brooch after that sale.

Read more: Bonhams to Auction the Duke of Windsor’s Diamond Frog [top]


New technology grades symmetry of diamonds
Tiffany & Co set a challenge – find a better grading system for their diamonds. To be implemented in the diamond grading systems, and also into the manufacturing systems…to enable Tiffany & Co to manufacture polish(ed) diamonds to the highest standards.” Sarine Technologies answered by developing a new system that grades round and fancy-shaped polished diamonds to determine the stones’ symmetry and proportions. 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. Specifically the technology measures facet junctions, misalignments and distortions, all of which play into the overall symmetry grade of a diamond.

The great news is that this new technology is not exclusive to Tiffany & Co and will be available to everybody.

Read more: New technology grades symmetry of diamonds [top]


Purple Orchid diamond
Purple diamonds of this colour and clarity almost never appear in nature. After four months of meticulous polishing to bring out its radiant orchid colour – which happens to be the Pantone Colour of the Year – the cushion-shaped stone will go on display to the public for the first time at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair starting 15 September.

The rare Purple Orchid diamond, weighing 3.37 carats and worth $4 million, is to be unveiled later this month by Leibish & Co. of Ramat Gan, seat of Israel’s diamond exchange. This particular gemstone came from a mine in South Africa, one of the only mines where purple diamonds can be found in the world. Founder and President Leibish Polnauer said “There are very, very few diamonds on the market above 3 carats with purple as the main colour, which is what makes this exquisite diamond so rare.”

Read more: Purple Orchid diamond worth $4 million [top]


Cloud software hacking warning
You must have been under a rock if you missed this week’s big news story of celebrities getting their cloud software hacked. This week’s story, however ridiculous, is pertinent to anyone whose usage of cloud software is prolific, but especially for those of us in business, who use remote data saving software. Thieves are becoming more and more “tech savvy” in order to infiltrate business databases. Recently The American Department of Homeland Security 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. Retailers are encouraged to contact their antivirus and cash register system vendors to assess their exposure. But beware, the name of the hacking software changes by the minute – the safest bet is to make sure your software is unhackable in the first place. The main problem is easy passwords – still most people, apparently more than 80% of us, use obvious names and dates for our passwords. It may be a pain to remember, but a difficult password with numbers and letters mixed which has no meaning to you will be the most difficult for hackers to bypass.

Read more: Retailers Warned of Hacking Software[top]


What jewellers can learn from crimes in California
Crime is an ever-present threat to jewellers throughout the world, but California jewellers of late are having a particularly bad time of it.

When jewellery crime is 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.

Jewellers, especially in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have witnessed an increase in criminal activity this year.

Despite this criminal activity being localised to California, it’s important for jewellers across the globe to always consider the types of crimes being committed and how vulnerable their own operations might be to a similar criminal attack. By being proactive, you will be better prepared to avoid being targeted and keep your business more safe and secure.

What can you do?
Always assume that criminals are observing you and your store. Because you are in the jewellery industry, you are indeed a potential target regardless of where your operation may be located.

Encourage your staff to maintain and share a suspicious incident log of all unusual behaviour, individuals or vehicles your team observes. If you suspect your store is being cased, contact the local authorities.

Read more: What jewelers can learn from crimes in California[top]


De Beers Now Valuing, Buying Diamond Trade-Ins
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 second-hand diamonds isn’t that good at the moment,” says De Beers’ spokesperson Lynette Gould. De Beers’ solution is the IIDV, which will provide two services for retailers who have customers who want to resell diamonds. In the first, “quicker but less accurate” option, the retailer does an in-store valuation of the stone and then sends the info to the IIDV, which responds with a market price quote.

De Beers’ motivation is to improve the trade-in experience, in the hope that by offering fair value it will encourage other players to up their game so the consumer experience is improved.

Read more: De Beers Now Valuing, Buying Diamond Trade-Ins[top]


Company News

TheGemBank.com relaunch.

We have been working hard over the summer to bring you a brand new website. With lots of updates, we now offer clearer images, more images per stone and we have priced everything showing. There is a retail price if you have not registered, but registered companies will get a discounted trade price. Go to www.thegembank.com to see what we’ve done.

I hope you are enjoying our newsletter. If you have anything that you would like us to cover, or a person of interest to the industry that we could interview, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB it’s Friday – 8 August 2014


Hello, and welcome to this week’s instalment of Thank The Gembank it’s Friday! I hope you have all had a successful week or at the very least an imaginative and inspirational one. This Friday we have news on another whopping rough diamond being unearthed, Blue Nile tightening its belt, De Beers finding more clever ways to expand its customer base and news on the Couture Press Preview and more.

The countdown to the weekend starts here, so relax, have a cuppa and read on…

In this issue;
198 Carat Rough Found in Lesotho
De Beers expanding rough customer base
Blue Nile’s Sales Fall as Diamond Prices Rise
Couture Press Preview
Pandora debuts ‘Hearts of Today’ to support charities
Ring Cam Captures the Big Moment
Company News


198 Carat Rough Found in Lesotho
Gem Diamonds announced last Tuesday that its Letseng Mine in Lesotho has unearthed another eye wateringly large white diamond, weighing in at 198 carats and measuring 1.18 inches across. Initial reports states that it is of excellent quality and shows no fluorescence. 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.

This latest rough white diamond recovered was given an estimated price of $10 million to $15 million by Panmure Gordon analysts, which drove the company’s shares to rise by more than 7% and become one of London Stock Exchange’s top gainers last Tuesday. The diamond is a type IIa, and recovered at the end of last month. Since Gem Diamonds acquired a 70% stake in the mining operation in 2006, the mines have continuously recovered large gem quality white diamonds. So far, it has already unearthed four of the twenty largest white diamonds in the world.

Read more: 198-Carat Gem Quality White Diamond Found in Letseng Mine in Lesotho [top]


De Beers expanding rough customer base
Companies that are not De Beers sightholders will now 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.”

To be deemed as an “Accredited Buyer” you will already have purchased a certain amount of rough diamonds in the year prior to the beginning of the contract period, adhere to De Beers’ ethics principles and meet certain financial requirements.

When asked if this was a way of rewarding companies that currently contribute to the generic marketing of diamonds; something De Beers used to do on a grand scale before its share of the world’s supply of rough dwindled, Johnson said, “Our concern is the value of the diamond industry.” He said Strategic Supply does give De Beers the ability to get rough diamonds into the hands of companies that are stoking consumer demand, though he also notes these diamonds could go to those further along the supply chain, such as those in cutting and polishing.

Read more: De Beers expanding rough customer base [top]


Blue Nile’s Sales Fall as Diamond Prices Rise
The online diamond retailer, Blue Nile, has said that rising prices for diamonds had a negative influence on sales of their engagement jewellery, and that it is reducing its profit margin on some diamonds in order to spur more sales. Revenue for the Seattle-based e-tailer’s second quarter of 2014 (ended June 29) fell 1.3% to $106.6m. Engagement ring sales sank 4.6% to $60.9m.

“We struggled to maintain growth specifically in the sale of diamond products in carat ranges,” said chief financial officer David Binder on a conference call following release of the financial results. “The cost of small-size stones were up by significant double-digit percentages versus the prior year, and the cost of mid-size stones increased significantly in March.” With larger sizes, where the cost increases were more moderate, sales still grew, he said.

In response, the company instituted “targeted price changes” in its diamond prices. The decreases, company CEO Kanter has indicated, are not as steep as they were in response to price increases in 2012. Net income for the quarter totalled $2.2m, which was flat from the prior year.

Read more: Diamond sticker shock shaves Blue Nile earnings [top]


Couture Press Preview
Now in its third year, the Couture Press Preview gives editors from major consumer and trade publication; think books such as Marie Claire, Vogue and W; the chance to see pieces from some of the industry’s most innovative jewellery designers and brands.

This year, a total of six brands participated, erecting their showcases at the Midtown Loft & Terrace in Manhattan last Wednesday as a steady stream of editors, writers and bloggers came and went throughout the day.

Brands exhibiting at the preview were: Anthony Lent, Buddha Mama, Clara Williams Company, Pamela Huizenga, Pinar Oner and Yoko London, each company with a completely different aesthetic from the next. Basically if you are wondering what jewellery people will be wearing in the autumn/winter season – look no further.

Their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CoutureEvent?hc_location=timeline has the best images with very easy perusal. Basically, for the coming season, think peals, gold, coloured stones, birth stones, jewellery with interchangeable centre pieces and my personal favourite, for its sheer bonkers brilliance, the Buddha Mama collection.


Pandora debuts ‘Hearts of Today’ to support charities
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 programme 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.

Pandora has assembled a board of five women–human rights advocate Penny Abeywardena; Emmy Award-winning journalist Shaun Robinson; philanthropist June Sarpong; sociologist and author Pepper Schwartz; and Andrea Alvey, a member of Pandora’s board of directors; to help narrow down the submissions to twenty semi-finalists. All twenty will be recognised at a luncheon scheduled to take place in November.

The company is now taking nominations for the 2014 Hearts of Today initiative, which is open to the public and can be accessed on the Hearts of Today section of Pandora.net.

From there, the public will be able to vote for the final eight winners online. Each of the eight winning women will receive a $25,000 donation to help the organization with which they are working.

Read more: Pandora debuts Hearts of Today to support charities[top]


Ring Cam Captures the Big Moment
A group of Michigan entrepreneurs has invented a product that captures the marriage proposal instant forever: The “Ring Cam,” a jewellery box with a small camera installed, so that the reaction to the proposal can be saved, memorialised, and even posted on Facebook, ahhh. The product started as a design project at Hope College. One of the participants came up with the idea after a friend got engaged.

“He had hired a secret photographer to take pictures of the proposal,” says cofounder Scott Brandonisio. “They didn’t come out that well. He couldn’t really see any facial expressions. He felt like, ‘If I just got a little bit closer…’ ” From there came a napkin sketch of a ring box with a camera in it, and eventually the idea turned into reality. The current iteration has a camera on top of the box, meant to be the perfect angle for a groom down on one knee. This invention really is for the social media generation, where nothing is either private or sacred. Ok, so I might be being a little unfair, perhaps most of the people who actually buy this gadget will keep this very precious moment to themselves, nah!

Read more: Ring Cam Captures the Big Moment[top]


Company News
I hope you are enjoying the bulletins, if you have a story, a blog idea, an interview opportunity or you would like me to cover anything specifically please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Before you go, let me leave you with this quote “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

Remember to follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest.com.

Have a great weekend

Thank TGB it’s Friday


Hello and welcome to another Thank TheGembank it’s Friday. I hope you have all had a busy and successful week. So let your wind down to the weekend start here. Make yourself a cuppa and let me regale you with some of the best news stories that our industry has to offer this week.

In this issue;
JA New York – Roundup
Amazon now selling 3-D printed products
Consumers Still Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shopping—Especially for Jewellery
Perhaps the most important watch ever made
3 Carat Synthetic Colourless Diamond Produced-Largest-Ever Grown Gem
Company News


JA New York – Roundup
JA New York describes itself as the one-stop source for customer-pleasing merchandise, and the perfect setting for the business of jewellery. It promised an electric mix of the season’s best buying opportunities—an easy-to-work marketplace that brings the entire industry together for three focused days of buying, trend spotting, treasure-hunting and business-building interaction in the jewellery capital of the world. Catering for vendors from high-end designers to major manufacturers to rising stars, and encompass every taste, style and price point. Lofty self-appraisal indeed, but did it deliver?

The new fresh layout of the show proved to be a positive point for many of the exhibitors, including Barbara Ross-Innamorati of Evocateur, who said that the setup allowed for easy navigation and drove traffic to their booth, both positives for a new company looking to build its business. Other exhibitors noted that the show provided ample opportunity to meet a lot of new people and write a good amount of business.

The next season trends that so far that have been reported are coloured stones and drama – nothing subtle for the upcoming season then. Vintage, of course, no surprise there, with a specific leaning towards art deco and art nouveau designs. Asymmetric designs, in all colours of metal including yellow and rose gold. Bold coloured stones, such as chocolate diamonds styled with brushed rose gold and Birthstones such as tourmaline and agate – again this all points to a continued resurgence of vintage styled jewellery as these stunning stones lend themselves to art deco and art nouveau designs perfectly. Large coloured diamonds, especially yellow, were also even more prevalent in this show than the last.

Statement pieces such as chandelier earrings are very much back in vogue for the upcoming party season. As are very wide wrist cuffs with large stones attached to the top – this is going to be a huge trend for the Autumn/Winter as the most stylish of glitterati, Kate Moss, have already been seen sporting wide cuffs on each wrist, in fact Ms Moss has suggested pairing cuffs with her latest dresses for Top Shop. And before you scoff, Top Shop is high fashion, it’s just cheap high fashion! Ear Cuffs that cover the whole ear at every price point were also very popular.


Amazon now selling 3-D printed products
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 jewellery. 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.

It provides a wide range of products to browse such as jewellery, toys, home décor and fashion accessories. A number of moderately priced products are available for under $40, such as cufflinks, bobble head figurines and unique wine glass holders. For a little more, at the $100 price range, customized fashion accessories such as pendants, earrings and necklaces can be created and printed.

This of course will have no bearing on high end jewellery. However there is a huge market for throw-away weekend pieces where this price point is perfect. This genius invention would also be great for novelty and personalised jewellery. At the very least it’s a new avenue of potential sales if the right design is hit upon.

Read more: Amazon now selling 3-D printed products [top]


Consumers Still Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shopping—Especially for Jewellery
Despite all the hype about e-commerce, most consumers still prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online, particularly for jewellery, 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 co-author of its new omnichannel shopping preferences study. “Brick-and-mortar will remain the cornerstone of retail.”

The survey found that 90 percent of all sales are made in physical stores. In two-thirds of online transactions, a physical store is involved in some way, the study found. The preference for physical stores was even greater in “high touch and feel” categories like apparel and accessories, Brown says. Consumers favoured buying jewelry in particular in physical stores because they felt those stores offered service not available online, the survey said. They also preferred jewellery for in-store pickup. Perhaps the most interesting result of the survey is that it showed that teenagers prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores, maybe because of the social aspect, as they frequently coordinate shopping trips with friends, and it becomes a social experience in the mall.

For brick-and-mortar stores, the big lesson here is “to create compelling and differentiated experiences and build relationships with customers that keep them coming back,” Brown says.

Read more: Consumers Still Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shopping—Especially for Jewelry [top]


Perhaps the most important watch ever made
A watch gifted to former president and five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rolex in 1951 is going to auction later this year in Boston. The Oyster Perpetual Date just chronometer bears engravings of Eisenhower’s initials, DDE, as well as five stars and the inscription 12-19-1950, which celebrates the date he became NATO’s first Supreme Allied Commander. Eisenhower wore the watch when he appeared on the cover of “Life” in 1952. This was the 150,000th Rolex ever made, and continued the company’s tradition of giving military leaders each 50,000th watch produced. Winston Churchill received the 100,000th. Auctioneer Bobby Livingston believes it’s the “most important Rolex watch ever made,” and is estimated to be worth over £1m.

Read more: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Rolex Watch [top]


3 Carat Synthetic Colourless Diamond Produced-Largest-Ever Grown Gem
Pure Grown, the man-made diamond company formerly known as Gemesis, is selling a 3ct K SI stone-which it calls the largest colourless diamond ever produced by non-natural means. Lisa Bissell, the recently appointed president and CEO of the company, she 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. With Bissell taking over, the rechristened New York City–based company owned by Suraj Mehta, son of Indian diamantaire Jatin Mehta-is solely devoted to sales and marketing. Bissell says the diamonds sell for around 25 percent less than comparable naturals. The company plans to continue to sell through its website, but it also hopes to sell to manufacturers and independents and is planning to produce its own jewelry. “It’s not a low-end product,” she says, “so it doesn’t lend itself to that.”

While she says it is not clear how many carats the company plans to market, she adds supply is pretty steady, and her job is take the company to the next level with proper education and a consistent message for both the trade and consumers. She added that her company is committed to disclosure, and all its stones have girdle inscriptions signifying their origin. It also insists sellers be open about their origin, as required by the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. “I turn down people every day if they don’t agree to disclose.”

Read more: 3 Carat Synthetic Colorless Diamond Produced-Largest-Ever Grown Gem[top]


Company News
I hope you are enjoying our “new look” newsletter. If you have anything that you would like us to cover, or a person of interest to the industry that we could interview, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Remember to follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest.com.

Have a great week

Richard

Thank TGB it’s Friday

Hello and welcome to the latest Gembank newsletter. It’s been an absolute scorcher of a week, so give yourself a break from catching those rays for a few minutes, and let me bring you up to date with the past week’s most interesting industry news – with of course, my own personal take on each.

Enjoy!

In this issue;
Van Cleef and Arpels Fairy Tale Collection
First Half Net Sales up 7% for Swatch
Rough Prices up 6 % year-to-date
Silver Price Will Now Be Set by Electronic Auction-Based System
New York Antique Show Starts this Friday, 25th July
Raymond Weil Announces a new watch designed and to be sold in aid of the Mladost Orphanage
Glitterati News
Company News


Van Cleef and Arpels Fairy Tale Collection
Van Cleef and Arpels have taken the French fairy tale “Peau d’Ane” and brought it to life with some of the most beautiful sapphires, emeralds, tourmalines and yellow diamonds, to create truly magical pieces that will melt any girl’s heart. If you are yet to see this collection, even online, I urge you to take a few minutes and click on the link. You won’t be disappointed, you may come away inspired and you will certainly believe, if only for a short while, that all dreams come true. The use of coloured gems is no new thing to Van Cleef and Arpels. However, to use them so abundantly, and with so much flair, is magnificent. Each piece has been designed to enthuse ethereal charm, and each piece is bound to serve as inspiration to jewellery design for the next few seasons at least.

Read more: Van Cleef & Arpels[top]


First Half Net Sales up 7% for Swatch
In its half-year report released Tuesday, Swatch Group reported that net sales for the first half of 2014 grew by 7% year-over-year at constant exchange rates, from $4.44 billion to $4.54 billon. Gross sales rose 9% to $4.82 billion, compared with $4.63 billion in the first half of last year. This of course is great news for Swatch – they may in part put this recent profitability down to their clever investments made in 2013. The company made significant investments in the Harry Winston brand, which Swatch Group purchased in a $1 billion deal from the company now known as Dominion Diamond Corp. in 2013. The investments included a wider product range and increased availability of “high jewellery,” as well as a new watch collection presented at Baselworld 2014. Renovation of Harry Winston retail stores also took place.

Read more: First half net sales up 7 percent for Swatch [top]


Rough Prices up 6 % year-to-date
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%.

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

Read more: Rough prices up 6 percent year-to-date [top]


Silver Price Will Now Be Set by Electronic Auction-Based System
It’s not just the pricing of gold that is set to change. The London silver price mechanism will now be set via an electronic, auction-based mechanism administered 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. CME Group will provide the price platform and methodology and Thomson Reuters will provide the administration and governance, the LBMA said. The silver-price setting mechanism, which dates back to 1897, was due to expire on Aug. 14 after participant Deutsche Bank announced its intention to drop out of the process.

Read more: Silver Price Will Now Be Set by Electronic Auction-Based System [top]


New York Antique Show Starts this Friday, 25th July
Is it an oxymoron to suggest that vintage is so now? Regardless of what terminology is correct, vintage is very on trend right now. Be it actual vintage jewellery and watches, or new pieces designed to look from a different era, they are being bought at every price level and interest rather than waning seems to be gathering momentum. Which is perhaps why we have the upcoming New York Antique Jewellery and Watch show, scheduled to take place this Friday and run for 3 days in Manhattan.

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

Attendees also will have the opportunity to purchase from highly sought-after collections from well-known brands like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., David Webb, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Read more: New York antique show kicks off Friday[top]


Raymond Weil Announces a new watch designed and to be sold in aid of the Mladost Orphanage
RAYMOND WEIL, has announced a design partnership with award winning classical guitarist and exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist Miloš Karadaglić who has designed a special edition maestro timepiece to help raise funds and awareness for the Mladost Orphanage in Bijela, Montenegro.

The Miloš Karadaglić special edition consists of a 39.5mm stainless steel case that houses a bespoke RW4200 mechanical automatic self-winding mechanism with visible balance wheel with rose gold highlighting. The dial design has been inspired by a guitar and features an intricate string design that wraps around the entire circumference of the watch dial that is highlighted by rose gold indexes and a rose gold plectrum. The finishing touch is a black leather strap with stainless steel folding clasp with double push-security system and an exhibition case featuring Miloš’ signature.

The Miloš Karadaglić special edition project has been designed to raise awareness and much needed funds for his preferred charity, Mladost Orphanage. The charity, which was founded in 1946 is the only orphanage in Bijela, Montenegro, home to up to 160 children aged between one month and 18 years old. The home cares for children from different backgrounds – including those who were orphaned during the Balkan upheaval. The aim of the orphanage is to provide a safe place for its residence to grow and prepare for their independent adult lives by providing social support, high quality education and professional non-parental care.

Read more: Raymond Weil furthers musical ties with guitarist-designed watch[top]


Glitterati News
Never knowingly understated, the glitterati queen Cheryl Cole has got married. But it’s the ring that everybody is talking about, well that, and the terrible turquoise shoes on the image that she tweeted. The ring was designed by Roman Garfunkel of Geraldo Jewellers, at the reported cost of £275,000. A huge white diamond set in platinum, it is bold, but utterly stunning.


Company News
I hope you enjoyed our “new look” newsletter. If you have a story that you would like us to cover, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Remember to follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest.com.

Have a great week

Richard

International Gemstones Ltd – June Newsletter


Hello and welcome to another newsletter from International Gemstones and Major Trading. It’s been a busy month – another behemoth of a blue diamond has been unearthed. There has been a technological advance, a smart ring, that will aid mankind in no way what so ever. We have watch news from Baume & Mercier, Patek Philippe and Oris who are celebrating their 110th year. A group of diamond leaders have formed a conglomerate of sorts to help tackle industry issues – which on the surface appears to be a positive move, but in other industries this type of move has produced a closed shop and stifles new ideas, so we shall see. I also have trend news on stones, materials and jewellery styles that have emerged from the Las Vegas show. So lots to get through – you know the drill by now, put your feet up and settle in for at least the next 10 minutes. Enjoy!

In this issue;
Petra finds “exceptional” 122ct blue diamond
Diamond leaders form body to handle industry issues
Gemfields First Ruby Auction Achieves $34M
Bluetooth has got a bling to it
Chinese Jeweller, Chow Tai Fook Buys Hearts on Fire
Chopard USA President and CEO Hruschka Resigns

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

After a decade, Baume & Mercier returns to women
Patek ‘Titanium Collection’ soars at Sotheby’s
From Oris, 5 new watches as it marks 110 years
Jewellery Trends from Jewellery Week Las Vegas 2014

The Couture Show Trends
Company News

Petra finds “exceptional” 122ct blue diamond

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

Petra Diamonds Ltd’s shares jumped 6.5% as soon as they made the announcement that a magnificent blue diamond had been unearthed at the Cullinan mine in South Africa on Friday 13th. The crystal is currently being analysed in order to gauge its value, and the company will not put it up for sale before its financial year runs out at the end of this month. FinnCap analyst Martin Potts said “So far, the highest price on record paid for a rough diamond was $35.3m [£20m], paid in February 2010 for a 507ct white stone, also recovered from Cullinan. We think that this stone may break that record.” This is the Cullinan mine’s second exceptional blue diamond find this year, the first being 29.6ct unearthed in January. It is little wonder then that this mine is known as the world’s most important source of blue diamonds.

Read more: Rare Blue Diamond found in South Africa’s Cullinan mine
www.petradiamonds.com [top]

Diamond leaders form body to handle industry issues
At first glance this story doesn’t appear that interesting or note-worthy. But hang on, the four top leaders within the diamond and gem industry – CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation; the World Federation of Diamond Bourses; the International Diamond Manufacturers Association; and the World Diamond Council have formed a body? Their primary purpose of the body will be to reflect the interests of all participants and stakeholders in the industry through discussion and coordination, the group said in a statement. Their first priority being to create guidelines to ensure the integrity of the supply chain of precious stones. Tougher regulation of the supply chain is a positive move of course; but what is worrying is how this “body” will work in the future. In other industries this type of conglomerate has resulted in a closed shop, which is never good for the smaller suppliers or indeed new suppliers attempting to gain entry into the trade. I hope it doesn’t happen here – but I will be keeping a close eye on this in the future.

Read more: Diamond leaders form body to handle industry issues [top]

Gemfields First Ruby Auction Achieves $34M
Gemfields announced Wednesday that its first auction featuring high- and low-quality ruby and corundum from the Montepuez mine in Mozambique realised $33.5 million, averaging $18.43 per carat. They also 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. The success of the auction can be attributed in part to the development of a “first-of-its-kind” comprehensive grading and sorting system that Gemfields developed for rough rubies, which was based on the proprietary rough emerald grading system used at the company’s Kagem emerald mine in Zambia. Proceeds from this auction will be repatriated back to Mozambique, to the Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada, in which Gemfields owns 75 percent, and to the Government of Mozambique, which owns 25 percent.

Read more: Gemfields First Ruby Auction Achieves $34M [top]

Bluetooth has got a bling to it

Ringly launch collection (Courtesy Ringly)

Have we not had enough of “smart” devices yet? Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of technology and its advances, but this new “smart ring” is taking it to new levels that are completely unnecessary. Oh and it even has a daft name “Ringly”. This ring will tell you when there’s an incoming call or other alert, by discreetly vibrating or glowing, so never again will you miss that vital automated PPI call. And of course, there’s an app for both iOS and Android that can be used to set the length of time the ring buzzes or glows based on the type of alert or who exactly is getting in touch. As well as calls, texts, email and calendars, the app already supports notifications for Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Vine, LinkedIn and Tinder among others, and further integration will come as the app and the product develop. “Ringly” is taking the unusual step of crowd funding the device via its own website and hopes to raise $60,000 via pre-orders. If it hits its target, then the first “Ringly” ring will be on the fingers of their first owners this Autumn. The first four “Ringlys” will be offered in US sizes 6, 7 and 8 with a choice of black onyx, rainbow moonstone, pink sapphire, and emerald stone and for a limited time only will cost $145 rather than $195. While there has been talk of other smart rings, the “Ringly” differs because it was founded by a former eBay exec and has received $1 million in capital funding.

Read more: New Fashionable Smart Ring Notifies You of Phone Calls, Messages [top]

Chinese Jeweller, Chow Tai Fook Buys Hearts on Fire
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group is buying the Boston based luxury diamond company Hearts on Fire Co. for $150m. The mass-market Hong Kong jeweller hopes to expand its catalogue of high-end gems for Chinese consumers. Established in Boston in 1996, Hearts on Fire has a retail-partner network with more than 500 locations in 31 countries. Last year, Hearts on Fire audited net sales of $104.8m, up 5.5% from $99.3m a year earlier.

Chow Tai Fook owns 2,077 jewellery points of sale in Hong Kong and China. In its latest fiscal year, it did approximately $10bn in business ($77bn HKD). It is also a major manufacturer and wholesaler with a De Beers sight. Chow Tai Fook will sell Hearts on Fire products in its retail network and will open the first branded boutique in China six months after the deal is completed.

When asked about the sale of Hearts on Fire, CEO Rothman enthused that the company would experience “Explosive Growth,” and yes, in the current far eastern market the already successful Hearts on Fire will surely encounter unprecedented expansion. For the rest of us in the jewellery trade this is further evidence that growth in the Chinese economy could benefit us all.

Read more: Chinese jeweler buys Hearts On Fire[top]

Chopard USA President and CEO Hruschka Resigns
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 yet.

A spokesperson did not give any reason for Hruschka’s departure—he was spotted attending the Couture show in Las Vegas just three weeks ago. The veteran luxury executive has been credited with spearheading the opening of Chopard’s first U.S. boutique, on Madison Ave. in New York City.

This hasn’t been news for long – but as these things go the conspiracy theories are already rife with the whys and hows – however all are quite unfounded. Certainly there is a story here – you can’t just resign on the spot as a CEO, you can however be sacked…………

Read more: Chopard USA President and CEO Hruschka Resigns [top]

Let Us Call Recycled Pieces “Made in the USA,” Groups Ask
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. 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.

The request argues that when a metal is recycled, it begins a new life cycle and therefore has a new origin. It asks for a ruling that if a metal is recycled at a domestic refinery, it should be allowed to make a “made in the USA” claim.

In addition to the JVC, groups involved in the request are the Manufacturing Jewellers and Suppliers of America, Jewellers of America, the American Gem Trade Association, and the Richline Group. So why is this so important? Firstly, the trend to buy all American products is not only very fashionable over in the states but is being actively encouraged by the U.S government as a way to help recover the economy. So by carrying the Made in America stamp is a very useful tool for attracting domestic buyers. Secondly this is an extremely clever financial move as made in U.S.-based businesses can claim a deduction for manufacturing products domestically rather than sending the work overseas.

Read more: Made in USA Tax Deductions
Read more: Let Us Call Recycled Pieces “Made in the USA,” Groups Ask [top]

After a decade, Baume & Mercier returns to women

A 34 mm quartz watch from Baume & Mercier's new "Promesse" collection of women's timepieces

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. It is a combination of quartz and automatic watches, with prices starting at $1,900.

The brand said the concept behind Promesse, is that the watch is a promise the woman makes to herself to keep alive the memories attached to receiving the watch, whether it was for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other special occasion.

Read more: After a decade, Baume & Mercier returns to women [top]

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.

It’s not only coloured diamonds that are shattering auction estimates. A selection of unique Patek Philippe watches grouped together as “The Titanium Collection” sold for a collective $7.1m Tuesday, surpassing the pre-sale high estimate of $4.9m. 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 $2.9n.

Also included in the Titanium Collection was a Patek Philippe Ref. 5001T Sky Moon tourbillon, which sold for $1.3m, and a Ref. 5103P, which realized $773,000.

The collection’s Flawless Officer Ref. 3928 and Unique Celestial Ref. 5012T, which sold for $737,000 and $545,000 respectively, each set new world auction records for highest price paid for their respective models. Overall, Sotheby’s sale of Important Watches in New York totaled $11.7m, marking the highest-ever result for a various-owners sale of watches at Sotheby’s New York. More than half of all lots topped their highest pre-sales estimates.

Read more: Patek ‘Titanium Collection’ soars at Sotheby’s [top]

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.

Oris is marking its 110th year in business by introducing its first movement produced entirely in-house in 35 years.

Named in honour 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.

It is one of the few Swiss watch companies that makes only mechanical watches, though from the early 1980s up until this year the company was designing and developing modules in house but outsourcing the assembly to third parties like ETA and, later, Sellita.

The Calibre 110 is the first movement fully developed in-house by the brand in more than three decades and took 10 years to create.

This is great news for the collector as Oris watches are highly collectable.

Read more: From Oris, 5 new watches as it marks 110 years [top]

Jewellery Trends from Jewellery Week Las Vegas 2014
The Las Vegas show has become one of the most important events on the jewellery industry’s calendar in recent years. Designers fly in from all four corners of the globe to unveil their latest offerings to a very eager crowd. And much like the clothes fashion weeks, the roster of designers ranges from the biggest names on the block to the new emerging talent who are trying to make their own splash in the industry. Coloured stones and pearls this year were everywhere. Not just coloured diamonds – although there were plenty of those, but I am noticing a re-emergence of opals – beautiful in their alien-like way and fiery topaz. Perhaps these stones are experiencing a come-back due to birthstones becoming popular once again, or is it that vintage jewellery, which is very much in vogue, is peppered with these beautiful gems? Coloured diamonds were noticeably more in use, as were emeralds – due in part perhaps to the great efforts of Gemfields. But perhaps once again consumer’s tastes for all things vintage, especially in art deco jewellery, has spurred designers on to more colourful and elaborate designs.

Yellow gold and rose gold were also widely used by designers both from the biggest names and the newbies. Also very prevalent was the use of ethical gold and stones – not all jewellery was made with these but the trend to use ethically sourced stones and gold has been steadily growing in the past 3 years.

Read more: 12 Jewelry Trends From Jewelry Week Las Vegas 2014
Read more: Couture Show Las Vegas: the new jewellery designers who will be making their debut in Las Vegas [top]

The Couture Show Trends
Ear cuffs – yes they are back. The latest ear cuff incarnation covers the whole ear, and anchors at the lobe. Lots of designers have made versions of ear cuffs at a vast set of price points, says Helena Krodel, vice president of communications at Luxe Intelligence. “What was once an ‘ethnic’ look that was indigenous in Indian culture has become more far-reaching as of late, appealing to wearers from a wide range of cultures, personalities and ages,” she says.

Increasing appreciation for coloured gemstones has brought attention to Paraiba and Paraiba-like tourmaline, says graduate and certified gemologist Edward Boehm, who also owns Chattanooga, a Tennessee-based gemstone supplier and consultancy company RareSource. Designers have helped to increase consumer awareness of this copper-bearing form of tourmaline, which ranges in color from vivid turquoise to coastal-water blue.

Read more: Three trends that rocked Couture [top]

Company News
We are adding new stones to our website daily and have close to 1000 stones online. To celebrate that moment we will be relaunching our website www.thegembank.com.

See our latest blog on “Coloured Diamonds Being Back in Vogue”. If you know of an industry story or you would like to hear about a certain part of our industry please get in touch, as only by working together and swapping knowledge will we get stronger.

Remember to follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest.com.

Thank TGB It’s Friday

Hello, yes it’s another newsletter from The GemBank. Why so soon? Well there have been so many great industry stories over the past 10 days that I thought it best to keep everybody in the loop! We’ve had company defects, the mysterious Mona Lisa of watches being put up for auction once again, gold pricing rules being put under the spotlight and palladium reaching a 13 year price high.

Enjoy!

In this issue;
TAG Heuer Exec Defects to Apple
Reform to Gold Pricing
Sotheby’s Expects Record Price for World’s Most Famous Watch
Palladium Prices Hit 13-Year High
How the wealth gap is affecting the jewellery industry
Company News


TAG Heuer Exec Defects to Apple
When first I read this story I was shocked, but really this isn’t the first time that Apple have nabbed one of the big players from another team to add weight to one of their products. And really that’s all this will be, a face and name from a very prestigious watch brand to help in the product launch of the new iWatch this coming October.

Tag Heuer are neither confirming nor denying this officially. However Jean-Claude Biver, president of the watch division for brand owner LVMH, in an interview with CNBC said “They took the sales director of TAG Heuer,” Biver said. “He took a contract from Apple to launch the iWatch. This is a great job. If he would have gone to my direct competitors, I would have felt a little bit betrayed. But if he goes to Apple, I think it is a great experience for him.” This I think says it all, they still don’t consider the iWatch to be a competitor within the watch industry. Rather an extension to the already giant brand that Apple already is. Undoubtedly this will be a great piece to technology as most Apple products are, but just because this particular product digitally tells the time, does that make it a watch? If it does, then by extension is your smartphone a watch too?

Read more: TAG Heuer Exec Defects to Apple[top]


Reform to Gold Pricing
The World Gold Council is suggesting that the benchmarking process for gold needs to be reformed as if from scratch. As it stands, “The gold fix” – a benchmark price that influences trading in the precious metal – is agreed twice a day by four banks in London via a telephone auction.

However, the process has changed little since it was introduced in 1919, and is seen as vulnerable to manipulation. Although it must be stressed that there is no evidence of this actually occurring. However, witnesses said there was a high chance that the market is being rigged, leading MPs to urge the FCA to investigate the gold fix.

So, regulators are now set to take the first steps towards a root-and-branch reform of the gold fix. The World Gold Council will shortly be holding a summit of banks, watchdogs and mining companies to review the gold fix.

Read more: Thorough reform of gold fix needed, says World Gold Council [top]

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


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

On November 14th Sotheby’s Geneva expects to fetch a record $17 million, for what it calls the Holy Grail of watches—the Henry Graves Supercomplication. It is considered to be the most complicated watch ever made completely by the human hand.

There is much smoke, mirrors and legend surrounding this stunning watch, described as the Mona Lisa of timepieces among watch collectors. It has been seen at auction before, in 1999, when it set the auction record for a timepiece, selling for $11 million. But it was never really made clear who exactly bought it. Now some 15 years later it appears at auction again and still ownership is not clear. Some say that a member of the royal family of Qatar returned it to Sotheby’s to help cover his debts to the auction house, although Sotheby’s declined to comment on this, saying the consigner of the watch requested confidentiality.

The story of how this watch came to be made is stuff of legend, making the timepiece all the more sought after. It was commissioned in 1933, by a New York City banker and watch collector Henry Graves Jr. He asked Patek Phillipe to produce the most complicated watch in the world, as part of a “gentleman’s duel” with fellow watch collector James Ward Packard.

Read more: Sotheby’s Expects Record Price for World’s Most Famous Watch [top]


Palladium Prices Hit 13-Year High
Palladium, once billed as the less costly alternative to platinum has – due to a dwindling supply – seen its value climb to its highest in 13 years. Supply has been tightened due to a strike in South Africa where most of the world’s palladium is mined, however investors fear that supplies will continue to be tight even after the strike ends.

Palladium has long been used in the automotive industry, however in recent years it has been considered by some as a most cost effective alternative to platinum. In 2010 Palladium was officially recognised as a precious metal. If a Palladium designed ring weighs more than 1 gram it is now a legal requirement for it to be hallmarked.

Palladium is actually rarer than gold, so in the future who knows how high the price of this precious metal will reach.

Read more: PRECIOUS-Palladium at 13-year high on lingering supply concerns [top]


How the wealth gap is affecting the jewellery industry
I have come across an interesting article on the growing wealth gap in America. Over in the states statistics are showing that wealthy Americans’ salaries are many multiples larger than their worker counterparts. A larger gap than ever has been seen has developed and the gap keeps growing. This trend however is seen not just in America but in most countries across the globe – there is once again an enormous gap between the rich and poor, between the haves and have nots. Gaps such as this have not been seen since Edwardian times. However the gap is wide now, not due to being born into a status that one could do little about as was the case 100 hundred years ago, but rather the rapidly disappearing middle class.

But why is this social shift so important to us in the jewellery trade? It has been the middle class with their aspirations and social climbing that have purchased the bulk of jewellery products since the 1950’s. Yes the upper classes have bought the very expensive higher end products but how many of those sales can keep a company going? Especially if that company wants to grow. No, it’s the middle classes that De Beers aimed the “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” marketing campaign at. As they knew that the middle class, with their huge numbers and growing credit worthiness, were to be the bread and butter for the company.

So now that those lucrative middle class numbers are shrinking at an exponential rate what is the jewellery trade going to do? As the article says there is no clear answer. But keeping up with how those with money spend their cash be it through social media and interactive websites is perhaps one answer. Or finding ways to stand out from the crowd by offering first rate customer service by offering the more personal touch with every sale will once again garner loyalty. One thing is for sure though, by working together, by supporting each other and exchanging ideas and experiences, will we help our industry steer through these changing times.

Read more: Changing times, and the growing wealth gap[top]


Company News
See our latest blog on Sapphires being back in vogue. Two more “back in vogue blogs” will be coming to you over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out! Things are changing slightly with our written correspondence via newsletters and blogs. Soon you will be hearing more frequently from us, Yay! With our “Thank The GemBank it’s Friday” where you will receive up to the minute news, blogs and opinion pieces – great stuff.

As always if you have a story, opinion or a blog idea please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Remember to follow us on Twitter and check out our boards on Pinterest.com.

Have a great month

Richard

Next Page »