TheGemBank.com

thegembank.com

Everything Starts With A Stone

T: + 44(o)20 7242 3748

Thank TGB It’s Friday – The week that saw a New York judge rule against William Goldberg Diamond Corp


Hello and welcome to this week’s issue of Thank TheGembank.com it’s Friday. With one week to Black Friday, the start of the crazy buying season, are you ready to welcome customers to your stores? Do you have the proverbial hook to hand to make you stand out to potential customers? I have other stories to regale you with from our industry over the past 7 days – so relax for a minute and enjoy this week’s fabulous newsletter.

In this issue;
William Goldberg Loses Stolen-Diamond Case
The best ways to handle online complaints
‘Blue Belle’ rings in record sale for Christie’s
Index tracking fancy colour diamond prices launched
Record sale lands famous ruby back in Graff hands
Bonhams to Auction Collection of 16 Flawless Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
A plan for attracting customers on Black Friday
Company News


William Goldberg Loses Stolen-Diamond Case
A New York federal court judge has ruled that a local couple can keep a 7.35ct pear shape diamond, even though it was garnered illegally from William Goldberg Diamond Corp.

According to an opinion issued on 17 November by Judge Shira Scheindlin, the Goldberg company consigned the stone to celebrity stylist Derek Khan in February 2003 for use in fashion shoots. When the diamond was not returned after the customary few days, Goldberg filed a police report and notified GIA, the opinion said. Khan later went to jail for pawning $1.5m in jewellery he borrowed for shoots. The stone was pawned and cut from 7.44ct to 7.35ct. It changed hands a few times and was eventually taken to the Gemological Institute of America for appraisal. The GIA immediately flagged it as stolen and kept it while ownership was determined. In June 2013, the couple sued for the return of the diamond.

The case eventually came down to the issue of whether Khan met the legal definition of merchant. Scheindlin ruled that because Khan had an ‘aesthetic” knowledge of the diamonds, he could pass title to them. In her opinion, Scheindlin admitted that the case’s outcome was not entirely satisfactory. ‘It is undisputed that plaintiffs came into the possession of the diamond innocently,” she wrote. ‘And it is also clear… [Goldberg] will be left to bear an unfortunate liability. Such is the nature of a case like this, where the true perpetrator—Khan—is beyond the court’s grasp.” Ben Kinzler, Goldberg’s co-counsel on the case, says his client is ‘understandably upset” by the ruling and is considering an appeal. He argues the ruling imperils all consignment transactions.

Read more: William Goldberg Loses Stolen-Diamond Case [top]


The best ways to handle online complaints
Brian Douglas, a manager at Reputations.biz, has given his tips on how retailers can best handle online complaints, whether they are legitimate or not.

He suggests to be proactive and ask customers if they are happy to leave a positive review, this way if there is a negative review it is buried within positivity. And when a negative review does appear, reply to the review, this shows you care about customer service. When a negative review does get posted – give yourself time to cool off before you respond. Address the complaint, but be sure to take this opportunity to highlight something positive about your company as well. If a false review is posted – firstly report it to the site, they may just remove it without you having to do anything further about it. Oftentimes, however, the review will remain. In these cases you should publicly explain why the review is false or misleading. As with other negative reviews, be sure to keep your composure and more often than not potential customers will identify it as fake.

For more tips see: The best ways to handle online complaints [top]


‘Blue Belle’ rings in record sale for Christie’s
Christie’s recent Magnificent Jewels sale set a new world record for a jewellery auction at $150.2m, led by a 392.52ct sapphire that was a record-setter itself.

Called the “Blue Belle of Asia” and set in a diamond necklace, the cushion cut Ceylon sapphire realized $17.3m, or $44,063 per carat. Its sale established a new world record price for a sapphire at auction.

Top lots of the sale also included a pair of fancy vivid pink and fancy vivid blue diamond ear pendants purchased by Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds for $15.8m, a kite shape brilliant cut fancy pink VS2 diamond that sold for $6.1m and an oval Burmese ruby weighing 23.66ct set in a ring by Cartier that garnered $6m.

The total of the Magnificent Jewels sale, combined with those of the Patek Philippe 175 and the Important Watches sale, closed Christie’s 2014 fall sale week with a grand total of $185m, the highest since the first Christie’s auction in Geneva in 1969, the action house said.

Read more: ‘Blue Belle’ rings in record sale for Christie’s [top]


Index tracking fancy colour diamond prices launched
A new global organization launched on Wednesday that will focus on tracking prices and supporting sales of fancy colour diamonds; particularly yellow, pink and blue stones.

Initiated by third-generation diamantaire Eden Rachminov, managing owner of Rachminov Diamonds and author of The Fancy Colour Diamond Book, the Fancy Colour Research Foundation, or FCRF, is a non-profit global membership organization. The focus of the organization is primarily the commercial side of coloured diamonds, the pricing and selling, and not the gemmology.

Rachminov said one of the main tools the FCRF offers it members is the Fancy Colour Diamond Index, a chart tracking the prices of blue, yellow and pink diamonds that dates back to January 2005. Though a general version of the index is visible on the organization’s website, members have access to secure area of the site that contains more detailed data.

He said the index is designed to provide objective, historic pricing information to retailers when deciding whether to buy a certain colour diamond or just take it on memo.

Read more: Index tracking fancy color diamond prices launched [top]


Record sale lands famous ruby back in Graff hands
Laurence Graff purchased the 8.62ct ‘Graff ruby” for a second time at Sotheby’s on Wednesday, paying $8.6m and setting a new world auction record price for a ruby.

In addition, the sale also raised the price per carat record for a ruby to $997,727.

Read more: Record sale lands famous ruby back in Graff hands[top]


Bonhams to Auction Collection of 16 Flawless Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
Bonhams will auction a rare collection of 16 flawless hearts and arrows diamonds on 26 November in Hong Kong. The collection features 16 D colour, internally flawless brilliant-cut diamonds, which weigh a total of 39.98ct. Each diamond ranges from 1.16ct to 4.49ct. Hearts and arrows refers to the symmetrical light pattern produced from precision cut round diamonds.

The collection, which will be sold complete, is estimated at $2.25-$2.5m. ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this magnificent collection of hearts and arrows diamonds to Hong Kong,” said Graeme Thompson, director of jewellery for Bonhams Asia. ‘As far as I know, only three similar collections of diamonds have been offered at auction worldwide in the past 7 to 10 years, so this is a chance not to be missed by all diamond buyers and collectors.”

Read more: Bonhams to Auction Collection of 16 Flawless Hearts and Arrows Diamonds[top]


A plan for attracting customers on Black Friday
Black Friday is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In recent years, most major retailers have opened very early and offered promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales. This day has been around state side for many years – however it is now jumped the pond and is gaining notoriety over here in the U.K. On Black Friday here, most people will have already received their November pay packet and are ready to hit the stores, and in the last few years, they arrive expecting huge discounts.

The recipe for sales success these days is perhaps not to compete head on with the big stores, but compete by offering something different, bespoke customer service and the personal touch that only the smaller independent businesses are able to offer.

One jeweller in America is rewarding customers who spend a minimum of $1,399 with a GoPro Hero4 Silver, a popular high-definition camera that is ‘anticipated to be one of the hottest gifts of the upcoming holiday season,”

A bit extreme perhaps, and maybe a little costly for the retailer. However what it does, is single this particular store out to the consumers, and attracts attention. Which can’t be a bad thing.

Read more: A plan for pulling in customers on Black Friday[top]


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB it’s Friday – The week that saw a superstar watch break its own record!


Hello and welcome to yet another fabulous issue of Thank theGembank.com it’s Friday. What a week it has been, from supercomplication watches selling at a record breaking price – for a second time, to a jewellery heist. Although the likelihood of this happening is small, it does serve as a warning as jewellery stores do traditionally carry more products at this time of year. Also pear shaped diamonds are very much in vogue and discovering that out of the garnet family green is king – now all we need is a pear shaped green garnet!

Enjoy!

In this issue;
Superstar! The Holy Grail of Watches Scores $24 Million, New World Record
47th Street Blockaded in Aftermath of Stunning Midday Heist
Marquise and pear-shaped diamonds are back in vogue
Pandora Cashes in on Upturn in the Jewellery Market
How to sell online, legally
Rapaport Calls Diamond Overgrading “Significant Threat” to Industry
Green garnets lead the way
Company News


Superstar! The Holy Grail of Watches Scores $24 Million, New World Record
The Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication, dubbed the “world’s most famous watch,” scored $24m (23.2m CHF) at Sotheby’s November 11th Important Watch auction in Geneva, thus breaking its own record which it has held since 1999 when it went under the hammer for $11m.

The Supercomplication has been called the holy grail of watches, in part because of its fabled and quite complicated history. It was created as the result of a 1925 “contest” between two watch collectors, New York City banking magnate Henry Graves Jr. and automaker James Ward Packard, to see who could create the most complicated watch. Eight years later, at the height of the Depression, Patek Philippe delivered to Graves the final product, which claimed the title of the most complicated watch in the world for 56 years, when another Patek Philippe watch, fashioned in part by a computer, finally topped it with 33 complications – and is still considered the most complicated watch ever built by hand.

The science bit – The 14k gold watch comprises 900 individual parts and boasts 24 complications (features other than time), including a perpetual calendar that extends to the year 2100, indications for the time of sunset and sunrise, a stopwatch for hours and minutes, an alarm, a map of the sky over Graves’ New York City apartment, and chimes that sound like Big Ben.

Read more: Superstar! The Holy Grail of Watches Scores $24 Million, New World Record [top]


47th Street Blockaded in Aftermath of Stunning Midday Heist
A brazen daytime theft involving an armed robber posing as a deliveryman caused New York City’s 47th Street Diamond District to be closed off for several hours yesterday, as a SWAT team descended on the street to hunt down the suspects. According to a statement from the New York City Police Dept, at 2:30p.m on Wednesday 12 November a man disguised as a delivery person was buzzed into a jewellery store on the 8th floor of 23 W. 47th St. and pulled out a gun. He then demanded jewellery from the store’s safe. Four employees were complying when a fifth employee, a 56-year-old man, entered and was hit with a gun, causing a minor laceration. The armed man and a lookout soon fled with an undetermined amount of jewellery and money.

Following the incident, police closed off 47th Street, residents of 23 W. 47th were evacuated, and workers were told not to leave their buildings. Witnesses report seeing SWAT team members and snipers on building roofs, though rumours of a hostage situation appear to be inaccurate.

Read more: 47th Street Blockaded in Aftermath of Stunning Midday Heist [top]


Marquise and pear-shaped diamonds are back in vogue
Marquise and pear-shaped diamonds are surging in popularity once again, as a new generation of brides give these long-stalled cuts a second look. Once thought of as the bridal baubles of the older generations, brands are presenting marquises and pear-shaped diamonds so that the consumers of today see them in a new light. Combining them with other hot trends like coloured stones and halo settings and setting them in an east-west style, meaning they sit on the hand horizontally instead of vertically. Both marquise-cut and pear-shaped diamonds are great aspirational diamonds for consumers who might consider themselves more fashion-forward or trendy. As is the case for many trends in fashion and accessories, celebrities also are pushing these shapes to the forefront. Actress Katherine Heigl, fashion designer and singer Victoria Beckham, singer Christina Milian, actress Elisha Cuthbert and many others have rocked the shapes back in recent years, and consumers have noticed.

Read more: Marquise and pear-shaped diamonds are back in vogue [top]


Pandora Cashes in on Upturn in the Jewellery Market
If we needed any more proof that there is not only an upturn in the global economy but more importantly – for us anyway – in the upturn in the jewellery industry, here it is. In the third quarter of this year, Pandora reported that sales rose by 26 percent globally to $478m year-over-year. Its U.S. sales increased by 15 percent (14 percent in local currency) from $122.3m to $140.7m. Revenue from rings have also increased significantly year-over-year.

In order to maximise on their rising profits Pandora announced in August that it was buying the 27 concept stores owned and operated by Hannoush Jewellers for $28m. The company said it was “refreshing the network” in the Northeastern U.S. due to slumping sales. This week the company has stated that its Pandora will open an even greater number of concept stores than originally planned this year with a particular emphasis on company-owned and -operated stores.

Read more: At Pandora, focus continues to shift inward [top]


How to sell online, legally
The Jewellers Vigilance Committee has released a legal compliance guide designed to help designers, jewellers and anyone else who engages in e-commerce at either the retail or wholesale level. Called “Guide to Selling Jewellery in the 21st Century: Legal Compliance for Designers, Independent Jewellers and Online Sellers”.

The handbook includes information on a number of topics germane to helping independent jewellers protect themselves. The guide also contains information about FTC guidelines for advertising online, implementing anti-money laundering laws that apply to many jewellers, and understanding the Kimberley Process and the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties.

Read more: How to sell online, legally[top]


Rapaport Calls Diamond Overgrading “Significant Threat” to Industry
Rapaport Group chairman Martin Rapaport has called the over grading of diamonds by certain labs a “significant threat” to the industry that could lead to angry customers demanding refunds from jewellers.

He warned that retailers that sell over graded diamonds “best be prepared to buy them back or go out of business.… You should also consider that even if you agree to buy back the diamonds from consumers, an enterprising lawyer might still claim that you defrauded clients by not providing full disclosure of quality and subject you to a lawsuit demanding triple damages.”

Rapaport also lambasted a statement from EGL International (which he accused of overgrading), in which EGL said that no single internationally accepted diamond-grading standard exists. He called it an attack on the “foundation of our industry.”

“According to them, it’s okay to call an N colour a G colour, since anybody can say anything they want in a world with no standards,” he said. “If we can’t differentiate quality, we can’t differentiate price, and this will result in a collapse of diamond prices.” He accused leading trade organizations of “turning a blind eye” to the problem and urged them to expel members who sell diamonds that use the GIA terminology but don’t follow GIA standards

Read more: Honest Grading (PDF)[top]


Green garnets lead the way
Green is everywhere at the moment – everywhere you look up and down the high-street, to couture clothing and jewellery – green is bang on trend. The Garnet gemstone is also getting more and more popular. So it is little surprise that green garnets are leading the way, even ahead of the traditional red shades for garnets.

Today, most garnets on the market are sourced from African countries, but some also come from India, Russia and Central and South America. While pricing and supply trends depend completely on the variety of garnet, prices are rising across the board for most shades of garnet as they become harder to get.

Demantoid garnets (green shades) are the most expensive kind of garnet currently on the market, according to the International Coloured Gemstone Association. They’re in demand both because of their rarity and exceptional colour and luminosity. These stones can range in colour from a slightly yellowish-green to a brownish-green with a golden glow. Demantoid garnets usually are small, rarely exceeding 1 carat and, thereby, most often used as smaller stones in finished jewellery.

They also are special because they are one of only a few cases where an inclusion increases the value of the stone. The appearance of a horsetail inclusion, named for the golden-brown crystal threads of chrysotile that run through the gem and appear as one, makes the stone one of the rarest in the world and greatly can increase what a collector would be willing to pay

Read more: Rocks On: Green garnets lead the way[top]


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 7 November 2014


Hello and welcome to this week’s fabulous edition of the Thank TheGembank.com it’s Friday. As I type, the Guy Fawkes fireworks have finally stopped screaming, thus heralding the beginning of the silly season. Any second now twinkling lights will adorn every shop window. This, my friends, may be the quietest Friday we will have in a good few months (hopefully). But this is good news, as this season promises to be a profitable one, as yet another survey and body of experts predict far higher spending on last year, for luxury goods and in particular the jewellery industry. So sit back and enjoy the last bit of quiet, and have a read of the best and most interesting stories from our industry this week.
Enjoy!

In this issue;
Further Proof that the Holiday Season is looking Bright for the Jewellery Industry
Victoria’s Secret Unveils Fantasy Bra
De Beers are ‘changing with the times’
Mining company cuts world’s largest csarite
GIA to Suspend Sealing Service
104ct D Flawless Unveiled by Chow Tai Fook
Company News


Further Proof that the Holiday Season is looking Bright for the Jewellery Industry
According to a new survey of affluent customers by Time Inc. and market research firm YouGov, this Holiday Season is set to be the strongest since the recession.

Already there have been two reports that the jewellery industry should be up in sales by 4% this year. Now this latest survey is offering further proof that consumers are willing to spend their money on luxury products once again.

Jim Taylor, vice chairman of YouGov, has given several reasons why jewellers should expect a quite-merry Christmas, from customers no longer feeling shame when they spend to consumers buying themselves gifts all on the increase. He also went on to speculate that consumers are buying jewellery as it is perceived as a strong asset but then he does add that the price of gold has fallen – which is a little contradictory, and consumers buying watches because they need to tell the time! However, no matter the reason why consumers are buying luxury jewellery, the surveys and figures from this year so far certainly prove that the purse strings have been loosed once again – long may it continue.

Read more: 7 Reasons This Holiday Will Be Great for Jewelers [top]


Victoria’s Secret Unveils Fantasy Bra
Wondering what to get the girl who has everything this year? Every year before its fashion show, Victoria’s Secret unveils a gem-adorned “Fantasy Bra,” many times created in collaboration with renowned jeweller Mouawad. For 2014 the company has announced that for the first time it is doubling up on the fantasy by having had two Dream Angels Fantasy Bras crafted.

Both are valued at $2m each and are adorned with more than 16,000 gems. Accompanying the bras are arm, leg, stomach and neck pieces of fine gemstones strung together on 18-karat gold chains. Each brazier is handset with rubies, diamonds, and blue and light blue sapphires. Last year’s bra was adorned with more than 4,200 precious gemstones including rubies, diamonds and yellow sapphires and a 52ct pear-shaped ruby, valued at $10m.

Read more: Victoria’s Secret commissions two $2m fantasy bras to be worn by Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio at London show [top]


De Beers are ‘changing with the times’
A little more than a week ago, a cloud hung over the diamond industry in a row over surveys looking too deeply into business. So in a refreshing and positive change this week De Beers executives gave Anglo American PLC investors an overview of its diamond business, highlighting financial transparency, supply-demand dynamics and the company’s beliefs in brands.

De Beers said today’s consumer has a growing desire for both ethical sourcing and branded diamonds. According to the Diamond Insight Reports, in 2013 36 percent of U.S. consumers reported buying a branded diamond, up from 22 percent in 2011 and 7 percent in 2002.

As De Beers has done for years, Monday’s presentation also stressed the anticipated supply-demand gap for diamonds in the future, as no new major mines come online and demand grows due to the middle class of emerging markets. Finance Director Gareth Mostyn said that De Beers believes there is “a very positive outlook for the industry” and noted that long-term, diamond prices have had to recover from the hit they took in 2008 and 2009.

Read more: De Beers is ‘changing with the times’ [top]


Mining company cuts world’s largest csarite
Milenyum Mining has discovered and faceted the largest known csarite in the world, a 121.65ct pear-shaped stone that it expects to retail for close to $1m.

The gemstone was cut recently from an approximately 430 gram (2,150ct) piece of rough found in the world’s only known csarite mine, located in the Anatolian mountains of Turkey. Prior to this the largest known faceted csarite stone was an 88.49ct pear-shaped gem that won a Cutting Edge award in last year’s American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards. The only other csarite stones of a similar size have been cabochon gems that exhibited cat’s eye and colour change effects.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Milenyum two trademarks for csarite; one for the name “csarite,” allowing for greater consumer recognition for the stone, and approval to trademark the tagline “Csarite: Rare. Natural. Exquisite.”

Read more: Mining co. cuts world’s largest csarite [top]


GIA to Suspend Sealing Service
The Gemological Institute of America’s lab has begun an investigation and suspended its diamond sealing service after it spotted a sealed diamond, the report of which didn’t match the stone. Diamond sealing, which involves putting the gem in a secure tamper-resistant package—is an additional service offered by the lab, generally for the investment market. Only one-tenth of one percent of the stones that the lab grades are sealed, says spokesman Stephen Morisseau.

When GIA was recently asked to double-check a sealed stone, it discovered that the gem did not match the grades and description on the accompanying label. GIA has enlisted a corporate investigator to examine the situation. A statement adds clients with concerns about whether a sealed diamond matches the grade can submit their packets for a check to GIA free of charge. The lab has also suspended its duplicate report service, which clients use to replace lost or stolen reports. The lab also offers Report Check, which shows grades online and allows clients to print PDFs of their reports, and some say it’s now redundant.

“There have been instances where stones have not matched the duplicate reports,” Morisseau says. “But that is not related to this sealing issue. The driver of suspending the duplicate reports is Report Check.”

Morisseau says no decision has been made as to whether the two services will be reinstated.

Read more: Mislabeled Diamond Causes GIA to Suspend Sealing Service[top]


104ct D Flawless Unveiled by Chow Tai Fook
Chow Tai Fook will unveil a 104ct D colour internally flawless round brilliant cut diamond on 28 November in celebration of its 85th anniversary.

The diamond is certified by Forevermark and was cut from the Cullinan Heritage, a 507.55ct type IIA diamond from the Cullinan mine in South Africa. Chow Tai Fook purchased the diamond at auction in 2010 for $35.3m, a record price for a rough diamond. The diamond, called the Cullinan Heritage 1, will be showcased alongside other diamonds cut from the Cullinan Heritage in a “masterwork uniquely designed for Chow Tai Fook by a world-renowned jewellery artist,” the company shared. The company has not yet shared estimated value of the diamond or the specs for the final piece of jewellery.

Read more: 104 Carat D Flawless Unveiled by Chow Tai Fook[top]


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 31 October 2014


Hello and welcome to this week’s Thank TheGemBank.com it’s Friday newsletter. It’s been a busy week in our industry from the sale of giant white diamonds, to a boycott over surveys, to pink diamonds enjoying their highest yield in 30 years. As all shopping days are pointing towards Christmas I have included some customer wooing ideas – all to help make sure this year’s sales match the predicted 4% rise on last year’s silly season. So let us not procrastinate further, and let me update you with the choicest news pieces from the last 7 days.

Enjoy!

In this issue;
7 More Diamond Organisations Boycott WDC’s Antwerp Meeting
Highest Yield in 30 years for Pink Diamonds
Seasonal Windows
101ct diamond sells for $5m at Christie’s
Diamond grower producing 2ct, E colour stones
Fun events to engage clients this holiday season
Another holiday sales forecast comes in at 4 percent
Company News


7 More Diamond Organisations Boycott WDC’s Antwerp Meeting
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), together with seven other major diamond industry umbrella organizations, announced on Tuesday that it is withdrawing its participation in the upcoming World Diamond Council Annual General Meeting that is to take place later this week, starting on October 28 in Antwerp, Belgium. Why the withdrawal? Their stated reasoning, delivered via signed letter, has cited the leadership’s decision to authorize Antwerp consultants Gemdax to conduct a survey of WDC members on the “various ethical, legal, and financial challenges facing the Kimberley Process.” Regardless of the angle that this statement is looked at, it appears that these umbrella organisations did not take kindly to being investigated in any way. All this kafuffle over a survey? What on earth are they trying to hide? Surely everybody is as keen to uphold the Kimberly Process, aren’t they?…

While any good manager should make sure everybody is on board with decisions such as a survey of business practices. It is pertinent to also point out that those involved in this boycott did not support the faction now in power or that there was similar finger-pointing in the last three intra-industry skirmishes.

Read more: WFDB & 7 More Diamond Organisations Boycott WDC’S Antwerp Meeting

Read more: The Diamond Industry Embarrasses Itself Again [top]


Highest Yield in 30 years for Pink Diamonds
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, which closed bids on 8 October, was the most successful since the tender’s founding in 1984. Rio Tinto keeps bid prices confidential, but it did reveal that overall prices for the Argyle mine’s signature pink diamonds have more than tripled since 2000. The most valuable diamond from the tender is the Argyle Cardinal, a 1.21ct radiant cut fancy red, one of only 13 fancy reds ever offered at the tender. It was sold to Australia’s Glenn Bakkar Jewels for an undisclosed amount.

Read more: Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender Yields Highest Results in 30-Year History [top]


Seasonal Windows
If you are wondering if you should dress your window to attract customers this Christmas – the answer is an emphatic yes. Figures show that if you get your shop window dressed to impress your target customer, it will increase your store foot traffic, and help to close the sale. But like any Hollywood stylist you have to work on the look, it has to be on trend and designed with your own type of consumer in mind. Because when the look is correct it makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience and will encourage consumers to spend.

Big-box stores have design armies to festoon their buildings in sparkly splendour. But many overtaxed small retailers rely on dated, generic decorations, instead of seizing an opportunity to thrill shoppers’ senses. But not everybody has access to personal window dressers, but the good news is that there are lots of on trend Christmas looks this year, and as long as it is modern and elegant you can’t go far wrong: Metallics, are very on trend – as long as you run with a single metallic throughout the entire display. Vintage is also very in vogue, either chic or kitsch.

The golden rule is that decorations, no matter which style you go for, must be in tip top condition. Frayed bows, balding tinsel and scratched baubles will not win the sale!

For more ideas of designs and looks to go for visit: 2014 Holiday Survival Guide: How to Best Decorate Your Store for the Holidays [top]


101ct diamond sells for $5m at Christie’s
A cushion cut, L colour, VS2 diamond weighing 101.36ct sold for $5 million, or $49,100 per carat, during Christie’s Important Jewels auction held last Wednesday. The auction house’s sale, which took place in New York, totalled $33.7m. It was only 75 percent sold by lot and 77 percent sold by value. The second highest-grossing lot was a rectangular and circular cut, K colour faint brown VVS1 diamond pendant weighing 81.38ct, which garnered $3.2m.

Read more: 101-carat diamond sells for $5M at Christie’s [top]


Diamond grower producing 2ct, E colour stones
A lab-grown diamond company announced on Monday that it is now producing high-quality 2ct diamonds and expects to be growing 3ct stones by early 2015.

The International Gemological Institute has certified both a round brilliant, 2.03ct E, VS2 and a 2.21ct princess cut E, SI2 stone from Washington Diamonds Corp., the company said.

These are not the largest lab-grown diamonds ever produced; Pure Grown Diamonds (formerly Gemesis) claims to hold that honour following its production of a 3ct diamond this summer. But that stone has a lower colour, K, and clarity, SI1, than the new 2ct diamonds Washington Diamonds said it is producing.

Read more: Diamond grower producing 2-carat, E color stones[top]


Fun events to engage clients this holiday season
As the most important sales time of the year, the holiday season is crucial for pulling customers in and interacting with them in order to generate sales.

Innovative, intriguing events can not only attract new customers and bring in existing customers by reinforcing brand loyalty, but engage them in a way that will keep the store front of mind. Open evenings, where you can get your customers into the Christmas spirit with a bit of mulled wine or a glass of Prosecco. Private Shopping events – old and potential customers can receive invitations to private buying evenings. By making your customers old and new feel valued as individuals promotes strong brand loyalty, and encourages them to spend with you over your competitors.

For more customer wooing ideas: 5 fun events to engage clients this holiday season[top]


Another holiday sales forecast comes in at 4 percent
Synchrony Financial is the latest organization to release its forecast for the holiday season, and it predicts single-digit growth in the same range as the NRF and Deloitte.

Synchrony (formerly GE Capital Retail Finance) said on Thursday that it expects holiday sales to grow 3.5 percent year-over-year, an estimate that is line with the 10-year historical average of 3 percent.

The company said its 2014 forecast is based on a number of factors, including the unemployment rate, gas prices–which are down–and private residential construction. It said that a steadying labour market, long-term strength in key economic indicators of personal consumption expenditures, consumer credit and residential construction are creating an environment conducive to boosting retail sales.

Deloitte cited similar positive factors when it released its holiday sales prediction in September, forecasting that sales will grow between 4 and 4.5 percent.

Read more: Another holiday sales forecast comes in at 4 percent[top]


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

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

If Christmas is represented by any colour it has to be red, so we’ve put together a selection of our juiciest rubies. To see more click here

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend. [top]

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 24 October 2014


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend. [top]

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 17 October 2014


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Here are the highlights:


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend. [top]

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 3 October 2014

Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 Jewellery Roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank TGB It’s Friday – 19 September 2014


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Worldwide Diamond Jewellery Sales Hit $79 Billion, as Rough Shortage Looms
Global diamond jewellery sales hit a record $79bn in 2013 as the market faces a coming rough shortage, according to De Beers’ inaugural Diamond Insight Report.

The report said that U.S. sales rose 7% last year, while sales in India and China grew by 12%. According to the report, one in six U.S. diamond jewellery sales were made online in 2013. In China, about a quarter of diamond jewellery purchases are made on the Internet.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Read more: Gemfields enters Sri Lankan JV[top]


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Read more: TAG Heuer to develop smartwatch[top]


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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB it’s Friday – 5 September 2014


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


New technology grades symmetry of diamonds
Tiffany & Co set a challenge – find a better grading system for their diamonds. To be implemented in the diamond grading systems, and also into the manufacturing systems…to enable Tiffany & Co to manufacture polish(ed) diamonds to the highest standards.” Sarine Technologies answered by developing a new system that grades round and fancy-shaped polished diamonds to determine the stones’ symmetry and proportions. Called DiaMension Axiom, the automated system uses microscopic magnification and advanced video imagery analysis to grade a polish diamond’s facet symmetry, Sarine said, a feature that typically is evaluated manually by gemologists using microscopes. Specifically the technology measures facet junctions, misalignments and distortions, all of which play into the overall symmetry grade of a diamond.

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

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


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

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

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


Cloud software hacking warning
You must have been under a rock if you missed this week’s big news story of celebrities getting their cloud software hacked. This week’s story, however ridiculous, is pertinent to anyone whose usage of cloud software is prolific, but especially for those of us in business, who use remote data saving software. Thieves are becoming more and more “tech savvy” in order to infiltrate business databases. Recently The American Department of Homeland Security advised retailers to check their POS systems for a malicious hacking software called “Backoff”. The software allows hackers to collect credit card payment data from cash register systems. The program was first discovered in August 2013 but has not been detectable by antivirus software until now. The Secret Service estimates that 1,000 businesses may be affected. Retailers are encouraged to contact their antivirus and cash register system vendors to assess their exposure. But beware, the name of the hacking software changes by the minute – the safest bet is to make sure your software is unhackable in the first place. The main problem is easy passwords – still most people, apparently more than 80% of us, use obvious names and dates for our passwords. It may be a pain to remember, but a difficult password with numbers and letters mixed which has no meaning to you will be the most difficult for hackers to bypass.

Read more: Retailers Warned of Hacking Software[top]


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

When jewellery crime is driven by organized crews, it’s not uncommon to see a recurrence of similar losses in a single geographic area or even to see specific types of crime scenarios move from one geographic area of to another as the perpetrators attempt to outpace law enforcement authorities.

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

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

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

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

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


De Beers Now Valuing, Buying Diamond Trade-Ins
The gem giant has launched the International Institute of Diamond Valuation (IIDV), a New York City-based lab meant to handle off-the-street diamond buying for retailers. “All the research we have done indicates that the consumer experience with second-hand diamonds isn’t that good at the moment,” says De Beers’ spokesperson Lynette Gould. De Beers’ solution is the IIDV, which will provide two services for retailers who have customers who want to resell diamonds. In the first, “quicker but less accurate” option, the retailer does an in-store valuation of the stone and then sends the info to the IIDV, which responds with a market price quote.

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

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


Company News

TheGemBank.com relaunch.

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

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

By working together our industry will get stronger.

Have a great weekend.

Thank TGB it’s Friday – 8 August 2014


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

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

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


198 Carat Rough Found in Lesotho
Gem Diamonds announced last Tuesday that its Letseng Mine in Lesotho has unearthed another eye wateringly large white diamond, weighing in at 198 carats and measuring 1.18 inches across. Initial reports states that it is of excellent quality and shows no fluorescence. The find was of very high quality and shows no fluorescence. It is expected to fetch a substantial price. Gem Company looks to the sale of this latest diamond find this year.

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

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


De Beers expanding rough customer base
Companies that are not De Beers sightholders will now have the opportunity to compete for the rough diamonds that weren’t offered to, or refused by sightholders, and will be known as “accredited buyers.”

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Pandora debuts ‘Hearts of Today’ to support charities
Pandora is launching a new initiative to celebrate the women around the world who work to improve the lives of women and children in their communities. The Hearts of Today programme launched in the United States on July 28 to give Pandora the chance to support a number of charitable causes important to women to help make changes needed for the future.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Have a great weekend

Next Page »