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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

International Gemstones Ltd – May Newsletter


Hello and welcome to another edition of International Gemstones Ltd’s regular newsletter. In this issue we have news on finding diamonds, the sale of a whopping sapphire and iWatches.

There is also good news for our industry that the latest research shows that jewellery is still predominantly purchased in person rather than online. There is nothing wrong with online selling; who doesn’t turn to amazon when you need to buy a quick birthday present or even a new microwave? But jewellery is different. Where most of the online purchasing is done due to necessity, jewellery is predominantly bought in person, where emotions are at the point of sale. Let us not rest on our laurels, the good fight still needs to be fought. By continually affirming good service, value, and giving the customer a great experience every time they walk in the door. By doing this we will not only survive these turbulent times but thrive (but you’ll also need a damn good website).

Christie’s Geneva spring jewellery auction hauls record $154.2 million!
Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction
Speaking of online auctions……….
6.19 Carat White Diamond Found in Crater of Diamonds State Park
28-Carat Kashmir Sapphire Sells for $5 Million
Swatch takes a bite out of Apple
Gold Prices to fall again?
Good News for physical Jewellery Retail
Jeweller admits to selling fakes for last 16 years
Project Blossoming – hope for India’s female children
Company News


Christie’s Geneva spring jewellery auction hauls record $154.2 million!
Geneva has been the centre of history-making diamond sales this week. Christie’s has reported that its spring auction sold a world record of $154.2m in jewellery including the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world.

Harry Winston snapped up a pear-shaped 13.22ct Fancy Vivid blue flawless diamond at Christie’s for $23.8m, setting a new world auction record for the price per carat for a blue diamond, which has been named, “The Winston Blue.”

Christie’s also said that on Thursday a 1912 Cartier diamond brooch brought $17.5m, which is 660 percent more than when it was first sold at Christie’s in Geneva in 1991, while a pear-shaped and D-colour flawless 75.97ct diamond sold for almost $14.5m.


Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction

Christie’s haul on Wednesday night topped the world record set just a night earlier in Geneva when Sotheby’s sold $141.5m of jewellery including the 100.09ct “Graff Vivid Yellow” diamond ring for $16.3m, one of the largest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds in the world. When the hammer fell it set the world record for the largest price per carat for a stone of its kind at $163,331 per carat.

Not only that but the Victory Diamond, a step-cut diamond weighing 31.34ct, which Sotheby’s say belonged to the celebrated philanthropist Florence Gould (1895–1983), one of the great jewellery collectors of the 20th century.

Just a day later on the 14th May Sotheby’s sale of Important Watches featured a selection of watches spanning two centuries. It also included a range of timepieces charting the history of Rolex’s iconic Submariner, along with a fine range of vintage and modern wristwatches created by master watchmakers including Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Panerai.

With the power of the internet, you can watch these and future auctions from the comfort of your office chair at, www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/watch-live.html

Read more: Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels to Feature Graff Vivid Yellow [top]


Speaking of online auctions……….

Christie’s will be holding a sale called Spring Jewels, an online-only auction of contemporary jewellery and watches by luxury brands such as Bulgari, Chanel, Cartier, Rolex and Tiffany late this month.

The sale features over 70 lots ranging in style from classic to contemporary, with price points accessible to a wide range of collectors. The auction will run from 6-20 May.

Leading highlights of the sale include a sapphire and diamond Sutra bracelet and Power ring, by Diane von Furstenberg for H. Stern, a peridot and tanzanite flower ring, by Chanel, and a diamond Frou Frou pendant necklace by Boucheron.

Read more: Christie’s to Hold Spring Jewels Online Sale [top]

David Anderson's white diamond. Courtesy Arkansas State Parks


6.19 Carat White Diamond Found in Crater of Diamonds State Park

Finding diamonds in the proverbial rough, has become such a common news story that I’m quite put out that I haven’t stumbled upon one of my own yet. Remember 14-year-old Tana Clymer, who found the 3.85 ct teardrop-shaped yellow diamond last year at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark? Well another diamond has been found in the same park, a 6.19ct white diamond to be precise.

David Anderson, who found the diamond, has named it the Limitless Diamond in honour of the religious charity Speed the Light. He plans to give all proceeds from the sale of the diamond to the organisation.

The Limitless Diamond is about the size of a jelly bean, and it’s the 15th-largest diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park since 1972,” park interpreter Waymon Cox said in statement. “This diamond is definitely a beauty. It looks almost entirely clear and appears to be an unbroken crystal.”

Read more: 6.19 Carat White Diamond Found in Crater of Diamonds State Park [top]

28.18-carat Kashmir sapphire ring. Courtesy Forbes


28-Carat Kashmir Sapphire Sells for $5 Million

A 28.18ct square emerald cut Kashmir sapphire – described by the American Gemological Laboratories as “a gem of singular importance,” sold for nearly $5.1mn at Sotheby’s New York on 29th April. It achieved $180,731 per carat, setting a world auction record of a price per carat of a sapphire. The untreated gem on a ring is framed by 32 tapered baguette diamonds with a mounting by Oscar Heyman & Brothers. According to Sotheby’s all proceeds from the sale will go to charity.

The sale was part of the Magnificent Jewels auction, in which total sales were $44,313,500.The largest sale of the night was the magnificent fancy-intense orangy-pink diamond and diamond ring. The 15.23ct ring sold for $6,101,000 to an American private collector.

Read more: 28-Carat Kashmir Sapphire Sells for $5 Million, Sets Auction Record[top]


Swatch takes a bite out of Apple

Apple has not yet entered the watch business—though signs say it will—but it already has a powerful intra-industry opponent: Swatch. The Swiss watchmaker plans to fight any registration of the term iWatch, complaining that it is too similar to its trademarked name iSwatch, a spokeswoman confirmed. “Swatch Group registered [iSwatch] several years ago,” says spokeswoman Béatrice Howald. “It is normal practice to register brand names in order to protect them, as it is also normal practice that one continues to monitor ongoing registrations where similar-sounding names are registered and, where necessary, to oppose such registration.”

Reports say that Apple has claimed the name iWatch in numerous countries, for a possible entry into the growing field of so-called smartwatches.

Read more: Swatch Takes Legal Aim at Apple Trademark [top]

Gold Prices to fall again?

It was an impressive start to the year for precious metals Gold and Silver. However “Metals Focus” has reported lately that they predict quite a fall in prices although a replay of last year’s 28 per cent plunge, triggered by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering of extraordinary stimulus measures, is not on the cards. Why? Well, the main reason for this, the consultancy says is the continued disinterest in gold being shown by western investors. While Chinese interest in precious metals, especially gold, has kept the market up, interest in the Far East has waned somewhat of late.

Of course there are numerous factors involved. Some long term investors in gold are now looking for an exit from the market – this Metals Focus suggests will act as a cap for the price. On the other side, those remaining longs are now in “strong hands” which are unlikely to sell out in the near future. As reasons behind this lack of interest on the part of western investors, Metals Focus points to the Fed’s ongoing reduction of its bond purchase programme, “easing concerns” about the fiscal position in both Europe and North America, continued low inflation levels and what it believes will be the eventual de-escalation of tensions in the Ukraine. While the group does not rule out a short drop below the $1,100/oz level during the year, it does expect support for prices to come from continued strong physical demand, particularly from China and India.

While it says it is unlikely that Chinese buying will improve upon the records set in 2013, “a still relatively stable economic backdrop, which will not only boost discretionary spending but also encourage jewellery brands to expand outlets” is set to keep demand strong.

Over in India, it says, conditions have become a little more positive. “Even though any change to the import regulations will not come before mid-May, there are signs that official imports are now working more effectively (while unofficial flows have also picked up). Also, with an improving economy and a fall in the current account deficit, this could benefit the Indian rupee. All these factors should help lift gold demand in the second half of 2014.”

Read more: Gold May Fall to $1,100, Forecast Says

Read more: Gold Prices May Fall to 4-Year Low This Year [top]


Good News for physical Jewellery Retail

It is no longer news that the British high street is in trouble. Walk through almost any town shopping centre and you will see many an empty unit. Online sites offer more choice, slightly cheaper options without the hassle of parking! But not all products that you can purchase are best bought on line – jewellery is a clear example of where the consumer prefers to buy in person. In a recent study on the jewellery industry, McKinsey & Co. estimates that online sales comprise of only 4 to 5 percent of total jewellery sales, and predicts that online sale won’t top 10 percent in the next five years. Similarly, according to BI, only 6 percent of shoppers purchased a luxury item online in 2013, compared to 63 percent who purchased clothing.

Perhaps because jewellery is not bought as a necessity like electrical good or even books. Jewellery is purchased much like art – where one falls in love with a piece that you almost certainly can’t get any cheaper by shopping around. Jewellery is also an intimidating purchase for many consumers—it’s an expensive, complicated, infrequently purchased, “blind” item with security implications, which also makes it not easy to buy online. Where shoppers may know their favourite clothing brand’s and their dress size, how many people know their rig size?

Read more: Online Might Be Taking Over Retail. But Not Necessarily Jewelry (for Now) [top]


Jeweller admits to selling fakes for last 16 years

Is it any wonder why some people are a little wary of the Jewellery industry when you read about stories such as this? And why it is so important that the consumer obtains documents certifying the gems that they are about to purchase?

A New York jeweller has been charged with misrepresenting diamond simulants as the real thing.

Paul Blarr, 47, pleaded guilty as charged to one count of schemes to defraud in the first degree and 10 counts of grand larceny in the third degree, encompassing 89 victims who lost $630,000. These were the highest charges for which Blarr could have been convicted had he gone to trial.

He now faces up to 50 years in state prison, which is the maximum under New York law for a non-murder offence. His sentencing is scheduled for July 25 at 9:30 a.m.

Blarr admitted that between 1 January 1998 and 21 March 2014, he sold counterfeit jewellery, including diamond simulants misrepresented as real diamonds at his two companies, RSNP Diamond Exchange and Amherst Diamond Exchange.

Read more: Jeweler admits to selling fakes for last 16 years [top]


Project Blossoming – hope for India’s female children

Gemfields has partnered with 10 of India’s top jewellers, and the charitable organization Nanhi Kali, to launch a jewellery-related project called Project Blossoming. To support underprivileged girls, and to fight the cause for female education in India.

Project Blossoming takes its inspiration from the words Nanhi Kali – which means ‘little bud’ in Hindi. At the heart of the initiative is the belief that all children have the ability to flourish, and with the right support, they will blossom to realise their full potential.

Ten of India’s leading jewellers are to create a piece of jewellery inspired by the notion of blossoming. Each piece created will be sold at an auction hosted by Christie’s on June 6th in Mumbai. Project Blossoming aims to raise enough funds to support and supply a minimum of 2,000 girls with a quality education.

Chitrangda Singh, one of Indian cinema’s highly acclaimed actresses, is the ambassador for this very worthy cause.

Read more: Project Blossoming [top]


Company News

At International Gemstones and Major Trading we are working hard to get things ship shape for the future. We are about to release a new range of stones on the website that will be more modestly priced. These will range from $1000 to $5000 per stone and will fill a gap currently missing on the site. We also have a lot of coloured diamonds at GIA for certification that should be coming online in the coming months.

Major Trading will be exhibiting at this year’s EPHJ for the watchmaking industry. If you’re in Geneva from the 17-20 June at Palexpo. Our booth is G63.

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring May’s birthstones, the Emerald and the Agate – symbols for wisdom, faith, success in love, and domestic bliss!

I do hope you are enjoying our regular newsletters, if you see a story or have something that you would like to feature or share please feel free to let me know.

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

International Gemstones Ltd – April Newsletter


Hello and welcome back to another edition of the International Gemstones’ newsletter. As we settle back after the Spring break, here’s a look back over the stories from the month so far.

In this issue we have news on flea market finds, vouchers for engagement rings, a HUGE fancy vivid yellow diamond going under the hammer, bling watches, Baselworld trends and more – but you will have to read on. So you know the drill by now. Take five, put the kettle on and enjoy the best trade newsletter on the block.

In this issue;
$33 Million Fabergé Egg Found at Flea Market
Groupon Says It’s Selling Engagement Rings at $10,000 Discount
Sotheby’s to Auction 100.90 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow
Graff Unveils $55 Million Hallucination: “Most Valuable Watch Ever Created”
217-Gram Single Crystal of Gold Identified as World’s Largest
Good news for sales
Jadeite necklace sets two world auction records
Baselworld Trends
Company News


$33 Million Fabergé Egg Found at Flea Market

The Third Lost Imperial Egg.

Simply the best flea market bargain, ever. A Midwest metal dealer has found the antiques/jewellery equivalent to the Holy Grail. They bought a gold item at an antiques mart that he intended to melt down for scrap was shocked to discover it was a rare Fabergé egg worth a reported $33 million.

The metal dealer paid $14,000 for the item and intended to sell it for a quick $15,000. He saw that it contained a Vacheron Constantin watch, so he figured he could sell it at slightly above the gold value, but no one was interested, fortunately. In despair, the man typed “egg” and “Vacheron Constantin” into Google and came up with a Telegraph article on surviving Fabergé eggs that quoted McCarthy who is director of London antique dealer Wartski, and showed a picture of his egg. The man got on a plane to London and presented McCarthy with a picture.

The hedge fund company saw its Gold Fund suffer losses of 67 per cent last year. It is the second plaintiff to pursue the five banks for damages. Kevin Maher, a trader, also filed a class action suit one week ago over allegations that the gold price, which is set twice a day by the banks in a process known as the “London gold fixing”, has been manipulated.

Read more: $33 Million Fabergé Egg Found at Flea Market [top]


Groupon Says It’s Selling Engagement Rings at $10,000 Discount
The Chicago-based e-tailer recently rolled out a Wedding Shop featuring jewellery and engagement rings. Among the deals that have captured the most attention: 1 ct. princess-cut (H-I colour, I1-I2 clarity)diamond ring by Aurora Collection selling for $999-down 91 percent from its listed $11,299 value. That’s a $10,300 discount, the site says.

There is something about this story that just doesn’t sit right. Ok, most people will shop around when they are buying engagement rings, as tastes and desires don’t always match the price tag. But somehow the fact that Groupon is selling discount engagement rings cheapens the whole process. I am not for one minute advocating that anyone should buy what they can afford, but should one of the timeless symbols of love be bought by presenting the discount screen in the local jewellers? Hardly the hallmark moment.

Read more: Groupon Says It’s Selling Engagement Rings at $10,000 Discount [top]


Sotheby’s to Auction 100.90 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow

The Graff Vivid Yellow (Courtesy of Sotheby's)

On 13 May, Sotheby’s Geneva will auction the 100.90ct Graff Vivid Yellow, considered among the largest fancy vivid yellow diamonds in the world. The stone, named after famed London diamond collector Laurence Graff, is described by the auction house as “of exceptional beauty and extraordinary fire and brilliance” with a “sensational daffodil yellow” colour. It carries a $15 million to $20 million estimate.

Read more: Sotheby’s to Auction 100.9 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow [top]


Graff Unveils $55 Million Hallucination: “Most Valuable Watch Ever Created”

The Hallucination (Courtesy of Graff)

By far the most bling watch ever created, its looks are akin to the bottom of a Cadbury roses tin on Boxing Day. And if you look very very closely you will find amongst the hundreds of coloured diamonds, a very small watch face. For its debut at Baselworld, Graff Diamonds made a splash by unveiling the Hallucination, a candy-coloured diamond timepiece it’s billing as “the most valuable watch ever created.” It carries a $55 million price tag.

The ladies’ watch has a pink face and is covered in 110cts t.w. of fancy coloured diamonds, including pinks, yellows, blues, and browns. The creation was the brainchild of the firm’s founder and chairman Laurence Graff, who used diamonds from his personal collection. It took thousands of hours to create, the company said. But for a $55 million price tag, I would at the very least want to see verification that it actually keeps time, which unfortunately at the moment there is no proof of!

Read more: Graff Unveils $55 Million Hallucination: “Most Valuable Watch Ever Created” [top]

Courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory


217-Gram Single Crystal of Gold Identified as World’s Largest

It weighs 217.78 grams and is the size of a golf ball—and scientists are calling it the largest single-crystal piece of gold ever found. The New Mexico–based Los Alamos National Laboratory, which studied and announced the find, estimates the piece’s value at $10,000—but given how big it is, it could fetch as much as $1.5 million. But spokeswoman Nancy Ambrosiano adds, “Obviously that is not our area of expertise.” The lab said it doesn’t know about the history of the object, which at first “seemed almost too perfect and too big to be real.” It received the object from an Ohio scientist, who said a U.S. collector had it for decades, and it was found in Venezuela. The unidentified collector had four gold objects that he gave to the lab to study, but only three turned out to be single crystal. “It had apparently been a matter of curiosity for some time as to whether it was a single crystal or not,” says Ambrosiano. “But they needed to find the right tools to non-destructively evaluate it.” She says that as far as she knows, the crystal is now either back with the collector, or the Ohio scientist he originally brought it to. “It is the sort of thing that is scientifically fascinating,” she says.

Read more: 217-Gram Single Crystal of Gold Identified As World’s Largest[top]


Good news for sales
Sales in the United States were strong in the first quarter for LVMH, with the luxury goods conglomerate’s company-owned watch and jewellery boutiques performing particularly well. In its first quarter earnings report released recently, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton stated that watch and jewellery sales increased from $841.0 million to $842.3 million year-over-year during the period. That is flat at actual exchange rates but a 5 percent increase at constant exchange rates and with comparable structure.

Read more: First quarter sales climb for LVMH [top]


Jadeite necklace sets two world auction records
A jadeite bead necklace with a Cartier clasp sold for $27.4 million at Sotheby’s Monday, smashing its pre-sale high estimate of $12 million and setting a new world record for any jadeite jewellery and Cartier jewel sold at auction. Called the Hutton-Mdivani necklace, the piece boasts 27 jadeite beads of “magnificent green colour, excellent translucency, extremely fine texture and majestic proportions,” Sotheby’s said, that range in size from 15.40 to 19.20 millimetres. The Cartier Collection bought the necklace.

Read more: Jadeite necklace sets 2 world auction records [top]


Baselworld Trends
Even though it has been reported that attendance was down this year at Baselworld, the organisers have fervently stressed that it was visitors that were lower in numbers and not lower numbers of people from the trade in attendance.

But as far as trend spotting goes, Baselworld didn’t fail. One of the most discernible trends was the retro look, a throwback to watches we wore in the swinging sixties. Omega, a recognised trend-setter, displayed its new Speedmaster Mark II, a sportier version of the one originally introduced in 1969, with trendy orange accents. Its close rival, Rolex, went for class with a classic dress watch, the redesigned Cellini now featuring a Date and Dual Time. Rolex also covered a broader base with Tudor, the company’s more affordable subsidiary, bringing out the Heritage Ranger based on a design from the sixties. There was also Ulysse Nardins new Black Sea with flashes of green on the numerals and hands. The real retro look was won by TAG Heuer, which has come out with the asymmetrically-cased Carrera Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer Edition, designed and named to honour its founder.

Apart from throwbacks, easily the biggest trend at Baselworld 2014 was chronographs. Every watchmaker produces chronographs, but this year, they ruled the show. Breitling is one of the greatest chronograph-makers, and its new Calibre B06, made for Bentley, comes with a novel 30-second chronograph, where the central seconds hand makes a full round of the dial in 30 seconds. TAG Heuer and Rolex were both big on chronographs at this year’s fair, but even designer watches were going with the trend. As for metals, demand has risen this year for rose gold, palladium and more options for mixed metals.

[top]


Company News
Visit our blog this month where we are featuring April’s birthstones, the Diamond and the Quartz – symbols of enduring love.

I do hope you are enjoying our bi monthly newsletters, if you see a story or have something that you would like to feature please feel free to let me know.

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TGB: March Newsletter


Hello and welcome to another newsletter from International Gemstones Ltd. Spring has finally sprung and trade news is ripe with stories – from scandal over gold price fixing to 3D printers that can now create in precious metal. Could these machines potentially change our industry for ever? How are we to adapt and keep up with the seemingly endless break-neck speed of technological advances? Or do we rely on the fact that our industry and the creation of truly beautiful jewellery is an art-form and will always need the touch of the human hand?

In this issue;
Hedge fund sues over “London Gold Fixing”
Large rough stones net $13M for Gem Diamonds
3D printers to create precious metal Jewellery
True North wins 30-year licence for Aappaluttoq Ruby Deposit in Greenland
Ivory Coast to ‘demand’ UN lift diamond ban
2.89 Carat White Diamond Found at Crater of Diamonds
Sales of Elephant Ivory Finally Prohibited
Fossil to Introduce Google-Powered Smartwatch This Year
Rotten Apple
Company News

Hedge fund sues over “London Gold Fixing”

Barclays, HSBC, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia are being sued by US hedge fund AIS Capital over allegations that the banks manipulated the gold price. A Washington-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of AIS Capital Management against the five banks on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that the banks “conspired or agreed with one another to restrain trade through collusively manipulating prices of gold and gold derivatives contracts”. The lawsuit is seeking compensation of at least $5m for all groups that invested in the $2.4tn gold bullion market or gold futures and derivatives since 2004.

Connecticut-based AIS Capital runs three funds investing in gold bullion and gold futures and manages $400m on behalf of clients including retirement plans, endowments and large brokerage firms.

The hedge fund company saw its Gold Fund suffer losses of 67 per cent last year. It is the second plaintiff to pursue the five banks for damages. Kevin Maher, a trader, also filed a class action suit one week ago over allegations that the gold price, which is set twice a day by the banks in a process known as the “London gold fixing”, has been manipulated.

Read more: Hedge fund sues five banks over gold ‘manipulation’ [top]

Large rough stones net $13M for Gem Diamonds

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

Remember the two very large rough stones that were found a month ago? The 162.02-carat and 161.31-carat diamonds recovered by Gem Diamonds Ltd. in January sold for a total of $13.5 million at the miner’s February tender.

London-based Gem Diamonds announced Wednesday that the larger stone, the type II 162.02-carat diamond, went for $11.1 million, or $68,687 per carat, while the smaller 161.31-carat, type I stone sold for $2.4 million, or $14,636 per carat. Both achieved top prices in accordance with their colour, clarity and expected size after polishing, Gem Diamonds said. The company did not release any details about the stones’ buyers.

Upon their sale, the two big diamonds became the third and the fourth gems to fetch more than $2 million for the mining company in the last few months.

Read more: Large rough stones net $13M for Gem Diamonds [top]

3D printers to create precious metal Jewellery

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

U.K.-based Cooksongold, a global supplier of fabricated precious metals, has announced a strategic partnership with consultancy firm A3DM Technologies to bring the 3D printing of precious metals to customers in North America. For years, 3D printing has been confined to certain industries, such as medical manufacturing, said A3DM President Steven Adler, but over the past few years Cooksongold has been developing machines especially for precious metals.

“The main difference with these is that (the machines) are capturing every single piece of metal for use,” he said. The M 080 was designed to contain the powder so that metal is contained and loss is minimized. They’re targeting different facets of the jewellery industry with the M 080 machine, according to Adler, including jewellery manufacturers, retailers and designers

Read more: Metal supplier introduces 3D printer for jewelry [top]

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

The exploitation licence will become officially effective on March 10.

Vancouver, British Columbia–The government of Greenland has given Canada’s True North Gems Inc. an exclusive 30-year mining licence for the Aappaluttoq ruby deposit in Greenland.

The exploitation licence became effective on 10 March. Under it, True North has agreed to pay a gross revenue royalty to the government of the country of nearly 6 percent on all sales of rubies and pink sapphires mined from Aappaluttoq. The deposit will be an open-pit mine, and over its initial nine-year life will create up to 80 new jobs in Greenland ranging from mining operations at the Aappaluttoq site to gemstone grading in the Nuuk Processing Facility.

“Today marks the culmination of our exploration, delineation and major permitting activity. Since 2004 we have worked hard to plan a sustainable mining operation that showcases the economic opportunities for our shareholders and the people of Greenland,” said True North President and CEO Nicholas Houghton.

“This also heralds the beginning of our transformation from an exploration company to a producer. It will enable us to showcase and deliver a new supply of rubies and pink sapphires to the worldwide gemstone industry. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all who have worked with us and helped to achieve this major milestone.”

True North also owns 100 percent of the Tsa Da Glisza emerald property in the south-eastern Yukon, Canada, which is comprised of 105 claims covering 21 square kilometres (about 13 square miles).

Read more: True North wins 30-year license for Aappaluttoq Ruby Deposit in Greenland [top]

Ivory Coast to ‘demand’ UN lift diamond ban

Abidjan, Ivory Coast–After being deemed compliant by the Kimberley Process in November, the Ivory Coast will urge the United Nations to lift its embargo on the nation’s diamond exports at a meeting scheduled for next month, Reuters reported.

The UN’s Security Council said last year that it would review the ban on the country’s diamond trade, which was put in place in 2005 following the country’s 2002-2003 civil war, because of the steps the government was taking toward becoming KP compliant.

At the KP’s plenary meeting held in November the organization, which works to stem the flow of conflict or “blood” diamonds into the international trade, members agreed unanimously that the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) now is compliant under the Kimberley Process Certification scheme. This sent a clear signal to the UN that conditions in the country are suitable for the diamond trade to resume.

Given this stamp of approval from the KP, Fatimata Thes, who heads the diamond sector in the Ivory Coast’s Mining Ministry, told Reuters that government officials plan to travel to New York in April to “show what efforts we’ve made and demand the lifting of this embargo, which is hurting our population.”

Read more: Ivory Coast to Urge UN to Lift Diamond Export BAN[top]

2.89 Carat White Diamond Found at Crater of Diamonds

Brandon Kalenda holding his 2.89-carat Jax Diamond.

Maybe reality TV is good for something after all? A Louisiana resident found a 2.89 ct. white diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark, after his mother-in-law urged a visit after seeing it on a reality show. The triangle-shape diamond is said to have a metallic appearance and is “the size of an English pea,” according to park interpreter Margi Jenks. The park, open since 1972, lets visitors search for diamonds, as well as amethyst, peridot, and quartz, which have also been discovered there. The park’s policy is “finders keepers.” Park staff provides free identification and valuation of the diamonds.

Read more: 2.89 Carat White Diamond Found at Crater of Diamonds [top]

Sales of Elephant Ivory Finally Prohibited

It’s been a long time coming, The White House has finally introduced new measures that effectively ban any commercial trade of elephant ivory in the United States, the Jewellers Vigilance Committee announced. Unfortunately the ban does not go far enough as the new rules do not affect warthog or hippo ivory. Hippo ivory does have limitations, Yood says, but warthog does not because they shed their tusks. In a news release announcing the decision, the Interior Dept. noted that illegal poachers killed some 35,000 elephants in 2012. “The U.S. market is contributing to the crisis now threatening the African elephant,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe in a statement. “The largely unregulated domestic trade in elephant ivory has served as a loophole that gives cover to illegal trade.”

Read more: Sales of Elephant Ivory Now Prohibited [top]

Fossil to Introduce Google-Powered Smartwatch This Year

The smartwatch revolution may be one step closer to reality. The Fossil Group will release a smartwatch using Google’s Android platform later this year, according to an announcement on the tech giant’s blog. The news came as Google revealed its new mobile technology platform “Android Wear”—which it plans to kick off with watches, since they are “the most familiar wearable.” Fossil was the only watch or fashion brand mentioned in the announcement. According to the blog, the Android watches will provide users with notifications from apps; answer questions and do tasks—like make reservations—in response to spoken prompts; monitor health and fitness; and control other devices, such as a television.

Read more: Fossil to Introduce Google-Powered Smartwatch This Year [top]

Rotten Apple

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

Apple is trying to tap into Switzerland’s famous watchmaking expertise by poaching local employees, according to a comment made by LVMH watch division head Jean-Claude Biver toa French newspaper.

The tech giant reportedly tried to hire away several employees of Biver’s company Hublot, as well as employees of other watchmaking groups. They have all refused, he added. He added that Apple also tried to buy a scratch-proof gold alloy Hublot has developed called Magic Gold, for a possible luxury iPhone. But Hublot also declined, since it doesn’t consider selling alloys its business.

Read more: Apple accused of ripping off famous Swiss clock design [top]

Company News

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring the March birthstones Aquamarine the sailors gem and Bloodstone the martyr’s stone.

I do hope you are enjoying our bi monthly newsletters, if you see a story or have something that you would like to feature please feel free to let me know.

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

TGB: February Newsletter Part 2

Hello and welcome to the latest newsletter from The Gembank. It’s been a very busy month for the jewellery trade and we have lots to get through, so let’s get started. In this issue there is news on whistle blowers, blue diamonds being sold, Israel making the first move by banning synthetic diamonds from the trade floor, two 160 carat diamonds being found, watch sales, the trend news from this years Tuscan Fair, oh and a couple who found $10M in coins while walking the dog. So take 5 minutes and enjoy – it’s probably raining outside anyway – you can take the family dog for a walk in search of gold later!

In this issue;
Whistle Blown on Dubai’s Conflict Gold
Petra’s big blue diamond goes for $25M
Two 160-Plus Carat Diamonds Found at Mine
Trends from Tucson: Cool colours dominate
Israeli Bourse Bans Synthetics From Trading Floor
Platinum Patek sells for $800K in Hong Kong
Consumer sentiment on current economy best since ‘08
Californian Couple Find $10 million in Buried Treasure While Walking Dog
Company News

Whistle Blown on Dubai’s Conflict Gold

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

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of suspect gold has poured into the global markets as major breaches occurred in new international rules designed to tackle an underground trade linked to African warlords and human rights abuses. Confidential papers produced by whistleblower detailing how, in 2012, one of the world’s biggest gold refineries ignored guidelines designed to stop the trade in so-called conflict gold. It paid more than $5bn (£3bn) in cash for the metal and accepted gold from more than 1,000 customers who walked in off the street with no paperwork.

While there is no evidence that the refinery accepted conflict gold, major breaches in new guidelines were uncovered, raising concern about the history of huge volumes of shipments. Full details of the findings are set out in confidential inspection reports from Ernst & Young, which was brought in to review the practices of the Kaloti Group, a $12bn refining and trading business based in Dubai. Kaloti owns the largest refinery in the Middle East and is at the centre of Dubai’s booming gold industry, estimated to be worth $70bn in 2012. Documents show the group systematically flouted new rules on conflict gold.

Read more: Gold market breaches ‘covered up’ [top]

Petra’s big blue diamond goes for $25M

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

Remember, I reported on this whopper of a stone being found back in January – well they have sold it and a whopping stone deserves a whopping price tag – $25m to be precise. London–Petra Diamonds announced recently that it has sold the 29.6-carat rough blue diamond which it uncovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa in early January.

When the stone was unearthed, Petra described it as “exceptional,” noting that it is an outstanding vivid blue with extraordinary saturation, tone and clarity. “This sale result affirms this stone as one of the most important blue diamonds ever recovered,” Petra CEO Johan Dippenaar said. “An additional allure is the diamond’s heritage from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which is well known as the source of many of the world’s most spectacular diamonds, including the two main diamonds in the British Crown Jewels, and which is the world’s most important source of very rare blue diamonds.”

Read more: Petra’s big blue diamond goes for $25M [top]

Two 160-Plus Carat Diamonds Found at Mine

Gem Diamonds

At the end of January, the London-based miner discovered not one but two very large diamonds. A 162.06 ct. Type II diamond and a 161.74 ct. Type I diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho. A press release described them both as “exceptional” and in “largely undamaged condition,” but a company spokeswoman did not want to venture a guess as to their quality. “As the diamonds are to be tendered in Antwerp next week, it would be very misleading of me to make any comments with respect to what we regard the clarity and color to be,” says investment relations manager Sherryn Tedder. “Each buyer gets the opportunity to examine the diamonds on tender to make up their own minds as to what they believe the diamond to be worth and to make an offer accordingly. “She did note, however that “generally an exceptional Type II diamond from Letšeng will result in top colour and clarity polished stones.”

Read more: Two 160-Plus Carat Diamonds Found at Mine [top]

Trends from Tucson: Cool colours dominate

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

Take note – the Tucson Fair has just finished and as you know this show is one of the best indicators of what’s to come in the year, even years, ahead for fine gemstone jewellery trends. This year, colours on the cooler end of the spectrum seemed most popular, and a few stones were moving beyond their most well-known shades to show their versatility.

Rainbow of sapphires. Sapphires of all colours seemed to be in high demand this year, running the spectrum of the rainbow, especially as the price of the classic blue continues to climb.

Radiant Orchid. After Pantone named it the 2014 colour of the year, this shade, as well as various other hues of purple, stole the scene in Tucson. In addition to sapphires, stones such as tanzanite, amethyst, kunzite and spinels were showing the depth of the colour.

Greens, of all kinds. The popularity of emerald green, which was Pantone’s 2013 colour of the year, has carried over to 2014 and made all shades of green more desirable. While classic stones like emeralds continued to get a lot of love, it’s also opened the market to the likes of peridot and even greener shades of turquoise.

Tourmaline. There was a wide variety of coloured tourmalines in Tucson, even if there wasn’t necessarily a “depth” of them, as Frye notes. Additionally, a lot more people were looking for finer Paraiba tourmaline.

Read more: Trends from Tucson: Cool colors dominate [top]

Israeli Bourse Bans Synthetics From Trading Floor
In a sign of the ongoing tension between the natural and lab-grown diamond sectors, the Israeli Diamond Exchange has banned man-made diamonds from its trading floor. The decision to forbid trading of created stones on the bourse floor was made in late December, says spokeswoman Sharon Gefen. She adds that while exchange members are free to trade in lab-grown diamonds outside the bourse, they must commit to full disclosure or face suspension. In addition, Israel’s diamond controller has decreed that the diamond centre’s customs office will accept only natural diamonds, Gefen says. “Synthetics are not within his jurisdiction and therefore must be treated for customs purposes as any other goods imported or exported,” she adds. Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, says he knows of no other trading club that has banned synthetic diamonds from its floor and seemed surprised when informed of the decision.

New York City’s Diamond Dealers Club stated that they are not considering a similar policy, pointing to a recent statement from its president, Reuven Kaufman, that dealing in synthetic diamonds is “neither illegal or unethical” if it’s done with full disclosure.

Read more: Israeli Bourse Bans Synthetics From Trading Floor[top]

Platinum Patek sells for $800K in Hong Kong

A platinum Patek Philippe tourbillon minute-repeater with a perpetual calendar sold for a staggering $807,845 at Antiquorum’s auction held recently, the highest-grossing lot of the sale. The rare timepiece, which also features moon phases and a honey gold-coloured dial, surpassed the auction’s anticipated top lot, a rare and limited-edition Patek Philippe. Overall, Antiquorum’s sale of Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces, held in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, totalled about $5.4 million and was 80 percent sold by lot. The auction house said bidders were from Europe, the United States, Japan, Singapore, the Russian Federation and Australia.

Read more: Platinum Patek sells for $800K in Hong Kong [top]

Consumer sentiment on current economy best since ‘08
Though Nielsen research shows that their confidence retreated slightly in February, consumers overall are feeling more upbeat than they have in nearly six years.

Nielsen research in their recent customer survey have shown that consumers are overall feeling more upbeat than they have in nearly 6 years. This monthly survey gauges consumer sentiment conducted by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics on what consumers buy and watch.

The index stood at 78.1 for the month, down slightly from 79.4 in January. The baseline for the survey is 100. The Conference Board attributed the drop to concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and earnings. However, the Present Situation Index, which is based on asking consumers about their appraisal of current economic conditions, climbed from 77.3 in January to 81.7 in February, improving for the fourth straight month and nearly hitting a six-year high. The last time the index approached this level was in April 2008–prior to the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, which many believe was a key factor in the unfolding of the global financial crisis–when it hit 81.9.

Read more: Consumer sentiment on current economy best since ‘08 [top]

Californian Couple Find $10 million in Buried Treasure While Walking Dog

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

Finally, dog walkers find something other than a dead body. A trove of rare Gold Rush-era coins unearthed in California last year by a couple as they walked their dog may be the greatest buried treasure ever found in the United States, worth more than $10 million, a currency firm representing the pair said. The 1,400 gold pieces, dating to the mid- to late 1800s and still in nearly mint condition, were discovered buried in eight decaying metal cans on the couple’s land last April, said coin expert David McCarthy of currency firm Kagin’s.

Read more: California couple finds $10 million in buried treasure while walking dog [top]

Company News
Visit our blog this month where we are featuring February’s birthstones – the Amethyst and Bloodstone.

I do hope you are enjoying our bi monthly newsletters, if you see a story or have something that you would like to feature please feel free to let me know.

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

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TGB: February Newsletter Part 1

Hello and welcome to the latest newsletter from International Gemstones and Major Trading. It has been a very busy time for the jewellery industry so far in 2014 and we are only a few short weeks in. But as your luck would have it I am here to bring you the latest and greatest news stories to keep you informed and up to date. So before we carry on, grab a coffee and take five to read this month’s jewellery industry round up. In this issue we have news on huge coloured diamonds being found, red carpet jewellery trends and silver jewellery going exclusive.

In this issue;
Exceptional Rare Blue Diamond found
News just in – Lucapa Diamond Company recovered a 95.45-carat, type IIa diamond
Raymond Weil dies at 87
Art Deco, Yellow Gold, and Geometry Took Jewellery Honours at the Golden Globe Awards
Drop Earrings and Big Rings Dazzle at the 56th Grammys
Style Trend: Charles Garnier launches new silver collection
Number of weddings to rise in 2014
IGI offering free synthetics screening to DMIA, DDC
Company News

Exceptional Rare Blue Diamond found

The "exceptional" 29.6 carat blue diamond is the latest rare stone to be found in the Cullinan mine

Miner Petra Diamonds announced recently that they have recovered one of those most highly coveted kinds of diamonds – a blue diamond. The precious stone is 29.6 carats, and was found at its Cullinan mine in South Africa.

The company says the stone is “one of the most exceptional” it’s ever recovered at the mine, which is an important source of blue diamonds. Petra then went on to say “The stone is an outstanding vivid blue with extraordinary saturation, tone and clarity, and has the potential to yield a polished stone of great value” So no value as of yet, however a similar 26.6-carat blue rough diamond discovered by the company in May 2009, which was cut into a near perfect stone, fetched just under $10m at a Sotheby’s auction.

Read more: Rare Blue Diamond found in South Africa’s Cullinan mine

News just in – Lucapa Diamond Company recovered a 95.45-carat, type IIa diamond

The diamond has an irregular equant shape and is the second largest diamond recovered at Lulo, compared to a 131.40-carat diamond recovered in 2012. Both large diamonds were type IIa, which are considered the rarest category of diamonds in the world. The diamond is still in the process of cleaning and retesting so the colour classification is yet to be announced. However for now the diamond is currently classified as D/E and has also has been described as brown.

Read more: Lucapa Recovers 95-Ct. Diamond at Lulo

Raymond Weil dies at 87

The founder and honorary president of Swiss luxury watch brand Raymond Weil passed away on Monday 27th January, in the city of Calvin at the age of 87. Born in 1926, Raymond Weil founded his eponymous watch brand to great acclaim in 1976 when the industry was in crisis due to strong competition from quartz watches made in Asia. Based in Switzerland, Raymond Weil is one of the last independent, family-run watchmaking brands. Weil’s son-in-law Olivier Bernheim has held the position of CEO since 1996. Olivier’s elder son Elie, is the brand’s marketing director, while his younger son Pierre, is sales director.

Read more: Raymond Weil dies at 87

Art Deco, Yellow Gold, and Geometry Took Jewellery Honours at the Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Lawrence in Neil Lane Art Deco platinum jewelry

There were plenty of big rocks on display; however simple Art Deco pieces certainly stole the show. Jennifer Lawrence – the latest darling of the silver-screen, wore Neil Lane Art Deco platinum jewellery, platinum earrings with black spinel, onyx, black diamonds, jade, and coral, along with four bracelets and rings, all vintage numbers adding up to $2.5 million in value. Zooey Deschanel also wore Neil Lane, with platinum and gold styles featuring diamonds and pearls. Ditto for Globe winner Cate Blanchett, who wore diamond-encrusted sideways-set hoop earrings from Chopard in a style that mimicked the lace effects of her gown by way of marquise-cut stones. Meanwhile during her red carpet walk, co-host Amy Poehler wore an oversize, gladiator-esque geometric-inspired cuff in yellow gold from Karla Welch for Jacob & Co., while Elisabeth Moss dazzled in long Jennifer Meyer yellow gold earrings with a trio of pyramid drops and diamond pavé.

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

Drop Earrings and Big Rings Dazzle at the 56th Grammys

Earrings by Kimberly McDonald worn by Miranda Lambert to the Grammys

The award ceremony that always promises to be a spectacle – and this year didn’t let me down. While all the glitterati tried desperately to out-sparkle each other – and everybody tried not to look too aghast at Madge and her walking stick – the clear winners were the stunning jewels worn by everyone. Pieces ranged from vintage platinum and gold Neil Lane numbers on Pink to coloured stonedrop earrings and rings from Ivy on Katy Perry. Style-wise, drop earrings—from somewhat conservative diamonds by Lorraine Schwartz on Taylor Swift to gemstone-encrusted Hula-Hoop-esque stunners by Kimberly McDonald on Miranda Lambert—were abundant, as were massive precious stone rings. Madonna styled big initials on her glove-free hand; meanwhile, Rita Ora wore a beautiful blend of her own rings and some from Lorraine Schwartz. As always Beyonce stole the show – she wore about $10 million worth of Lorraine Schwartz jewellery, including a pair of 50-carat waterfall diamond earrings and all the diamond cocktail rings available – on every finger. It may seem excessive, but hey, she did save money on the fabric for both of her Grammys outfits!

Read more: Drop Earrings and Big Rings Dazzle at the Grammys

Style Trend: Charles Garnier launches new silver collection

It’s official, now I have seen everything. It does look like a piece of cheese, but this is the world’s most expensive soap – infused with gold and diamond powder, a single palm size bar of Qatar soap costs $2,800 (£1,700; 2,050 euros)

Read more: Charles Garnier launches new silver collection

Number of weddings to rise in 2014

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

With Valentine’s day very close on the horizon – what could be better news for us in the trade than to hear that there is a prediction of an increase in number of weddings and proposals in 2014?
New York–Researchers predict the number of weddings in the United States will increase 2% in 2014 due to a small increase in the total marrying age population combined with a marginal rise in the proportion of couples choosing to wed.

London-based economist Tim Jackson, chief executive of the Jewellery Industry Research Institute (JIRI), the company founded by longtime industry analyst Ken Gassman, forecasts 2.2 million marriages in 2014, up from 2.15 million in 2013. What does this mean for us in the trade? According to JIRI, roughly three-quarters of all brides who tie the knot a get diamond engagement ring. The remaining quarter get a variety of different rings, or no ring at all. This translates to 1.65 million engagement rings being sold in the U.S. in 2014. Jackson said ring trends JIRI believes will be popular include a move toward smaller, multiple diamonds mixed with coloured gemstones, in lieu of the traditional solitaire.

Read more: Number of weddings to rise slightly in 2014

IGI offering free synthetics screening to DMIA, DDC

In light of industry concerns over the possible mixing of lab-grown diamonds with natural stones, the International Gemological Institute is offering free screenings of up to 100 diamonds to all members of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America and the Diamond Dealers Club.

The screenings will be offered only for a limited time and will take place at the IGI’s New York lab, located in The French Building at 551 Fifth Ave. The lab uses advanced equipment, including De Beers’ DiamondSure and DiamondView machines, to detect lab-grown diamonds.

IGI said the reason for offering the free service is two-fold: it benefits the industry as a whole to ensure that there is no mixing occurring, and it allows the lab to collect crucial, reliable data that can help determine how much mixing of synthetic and natural diamonds is going on exactly.

Read more: IGI offering free synthetics screening to DMIA, DDC

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Visit our blog this month where we are featuring January’s birthstones – the fiery red garnet and the cloudy pink mystical rose quartz. As we move into February, it’s Amethyst.

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Have a great month

Richard

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