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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Have a good month!

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

Company News

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.

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

You can email me, or use twitter @thegembank

Have you got your trade discount log in yet? When you log into www.thegembank.com, you will see much of our current stock, with prices. Those prices are what I call semi retail, with a higher mark up to protect my jewellery making customer, and give them a decent profit margin. If you want to see your discounted prices, email me back with details about your business and I’ll send you a special log in. This will give you a trade price.

Have a great month

Richard

TGB: January Newsletter Part 1

Happy New Year!

On behalf of everyone at International Gemstones and Major Trading, I hope 2014 brings you happiness and success.

In this edition we have news on the state of the diamond market in 2014, the cherry on the cake as far as auctions went, an expensive bar of soap, the top 10 diamonds in 2013, what a little twitter can do for you and more besides. So, before the year fully kicks off, take time out for 5 minutes and enjoy the January Edition of the newsletter that will keep you up to date with what’s going on in the jewellery trade.

In this edition;
Diamond Growth Potential in 2014
Christie’s Concludes 2013 Watch Auction Season With $12.9 Million Sale
Lucapa Diamond Recovers 32-Carat Stone at Lulo
Diamond prices firm in December as difficult year ends on a positive note.
Antwerp Diamond Bank sold to Chinese Company
The Most Expensive Soap in the World
Top 10 Diamonds of 2013!
We’re begginning to tweet!
Company News

Diamond Growth Potential in 2014

The mood in the diamond industry has already improved in 2014. Initial reports suggest the Christmas season was better than expected for the diamond trade, as they usually do, and the U.S. appears inclined toward growth again in 2014. Of course, no one expects the diamond market to boom in the year ahead, but there is a sense that dealers and manufacturers will be more aggressive to ensure that they make money in 2014. Rough prices are not expected to rise significantly in 2014 as diamond manufacturers are determined to garner better profit margins than they did in 2013. But it’s not going to be easy as they are likely to face continued pressure from mining companies.

Read more: 2014: Growth Potential

Christie’s Concludes 2013 Watch Auction Season With $12.9 Million Sale

The top lot, a stainless steel Rolex, Reference 8171 “Padellone,” which sold for $1,145,000 (photo courtesy of Christie's)

Described by Aurel Bacs, Christie’s international head of watches, as the grand finale to the most successful year of watch auctions ever orchestrated by any auction house in history, the 2013 watch auction season came to a close on 17th December at Christie’s New York with a whopping $12.9 million sale led by a record-breaking Rolex. Known as Reference 8171 “Padellone,” the 1953 model—a stainless steel and diamond-set automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases and two-tone silver dial-sold for $1,145,000, setting a new world auction record for the reference and quadrupling its pre-sale estimate of $250,000–$350,000. The 365-lot auction of Important Watches was sold 91 percent by lot and 95 percent by value. A 1960 Patek Philippe fetched $725,000 and a 2012 Richard Mille skeletonized wristwatch with tourbillon that earned $605,000 rounded out the top three lots. Combined with results of the 11th June auction, Christie’s 2013 New York watch sales totalled more than $20.8 million.

Read more: Christie’s Concludes 2013 Watch Auction Season With $12.9 Million Sale

Lucapa Diamond Recovers 32-Carat Stone at Lulo

Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. recovered a 32.20-carat, D, type IIa rough diamond from the Lulo concession in Angola. The diamond was produced from bulk sampling and is the largest recovered by Lucapa through its new dense media separation (DM5) plant, which was commissioned a few months ago in November. The company described the diamond as irregular, dodecahedral and of exceptional colour and clarity. Lucapa also believes the stone could be flawless but it will require thorough testing to confirm. What makes this find even more exciting is that more of these giant diamonds may be found, well that’s what the company’s M.D is leading us to believe anyway as he stated that the Lulo project are mining widespread pits within their 3,000 square kilometre range and are confident of finding more of the kimberlite pipe or pipes, that are the source of these magnificent diamonds. So watch this space and see…

Read more: Lucapa Diamond Recovers 32-Carat Stone at Lulo

Diamond prices firm in December as difficult year ends on a positive note.

2013 ended on a slight high for diamonds due firstly to the end-of-year shopping season in the U.S, and secondly resulting from improving economic trends, which will hopefully boost consumer confidence in 2014. As so much spending comes from the Far East these days, expectations are also rising for the upcoming Chinese New Year, despite the economic outlook whilst having improved slightly is still a little bleak. Far East gold demand also remains strong as prices plunge 28% in 2013. Rough trading of diamonds remains stable, but manufacturers are expected to restrain buying as bank credit further tightens.

Read more: Market Comments 1/2/2014

Antwerp Diamond Bank sold to Chinese Company

The Shanghai based Yinren Group has bought its subsidiary Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB), one of the leading financers of the diamond trade, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of ADB will allow Yinren leverage upon ADB’s know-how, network and brand reputation in view of the further development of the Chinese market, and to play a role in the interaction between the world’s main diamond centres; including Antwerp, Mumbai, Dubai and Hong Kong – not forgetting the fast upcoming centres of the Far and Middle East.

Read more: Antwerp Diamond Bank sold to Chinese company

The Most Expensive Soap in the World

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: Gold and diamond infused soap is ‘world’s most expensive’

The Headline Grabbing Diamonds of 2013!

Barely a week passed in 2013 without a jaw dropping, drool-worthy diamond either going under the hammer or being found. The best of the bunch were of course coloured diamonds – which doesn’t surprise me in the least!

No1

The Pink Star

In September, this pretty pink pebble sold for 83$ – far outreaching its estimate. Sotheby’s announced it that the 59.6ct oval cut pink diamond is the “most valuable diamond ever offered at auction.”

No2

257ct diamond found

Found in by Lucara Diamond Corp. at its Karowe Mine in Botswana, it isn’t as big as a diamond planet, but it’s pretty close!

No3

The Orange Diamond

The Orange, the largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever offered, sold for $35,540,612. The prodigious sale set two new world records: the highest price per carat ($2.4 million) paid for any diamond sold at auction; and the highest-ever price paid for an orange diamond at auction.

No4

5 carat brown diamond – found by a 12 year old!

Found in Arkansas – I don’t know about you but I immediately considered jumping on a plane with my pan handle as my only luggage! That’s what Terry Stags did – but the brown diamond he found at the same park was only 2.95ct.

No5

118ct D flawless Diamond sells for less than the Orange diamond

The 118 ct. D flawless oval sold for $238.7 million in Hong Kong dollars (approximately $30.6 million U.S.) at its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction on Oct. 7, setting a new record for a white diamond.

No6

25.5 Carat Blue Diamond found in Africa

In April, a 25.5ct blue diamond was recovered by Petra Diamonds Limited at the Cullinan mine in South Africa.

No7

Fancy Deep blue Diamond sells for $9.6 million

Later on in the same month – April, a show stopping 5.3 ct. fancy deep-blue diamond sold for $9.6 million at Bonhams’ Fine Jewellery sale in London. This set a record $1.8 million per-carat price for a diamond that colour.

No8

Not one, not two but three Ultra Rare Red Diamonds found

Red made a statement when Argyle announced in May it would feature three ultra-rare red diamonds in its Pink Diamond Tender, including the 1.56ct I2 fancy red, dubbed the Argyle Phoenix

No9

Princie Diamond Most expensive Jewel ever sold at Christie’s

On April 16, the Princie, a 34.65ct fancy intense pink cushion cut, scored $39.3 million ($1.1 million a carat) at Christie’s New York—making it the most expensive jewel ever sold in the auction house’s 200-plus year history.

N10

74ct yellow diamond that once belonged to a Persian shah

And last but certainly not least is the Gina Lollobrigida’s jewellery collection. Sotheby’s sold the entire lot for $4.96 million back in May. The auction also featured a 74ct yellow diamond that once belonged to a Persian shah no less!

Read more: 15 Diamonds That Made Headlines in 2013

We’re beginning to tweet!

There has never been a better time to be on twitter. For those of you not using Twitter, it can be a very effective way of keeping up with what’s going in any industry or anything that interests you personally. Sure there are plenty of people sharing their eating and toilet habits, but the beauty is you don’t have to follow them. You don’t have to do anything other than set up an account (anonymously if you want) and follow the people that tweet what you like to read or learn more. Let them do all the hard work.

The trend has always been for people to show off how many people are following them, but it doesn’t need to be about your ego. It can however be a really useful resource for keeping up with what’s breaking and trending the jewellery industry.

The main difference say to Facebook, is that no one need know you’re there, and updates are short and snappy, often with links to more important articles and videos the deeper you dig.

Set up your account at twitter.com then follow our account https://twitter.com/TheGemBank if you want more information like this.

Company News

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring January’s birthstones – the fiery red garnet and the cloudy pink mystical rose quartz www.thegembank.com/resources/blog/gem-of-the-month-garnet-the-gem-of-loyalty-and-friendship.

Have you got your online discount yet? With every day, we are adding more stones tothegembank.com, our online site. You can get prices by signing upwww.thegembank.com/members/signup.php in here, but they are semi retail. You can get a more accurate price by contacting us and will update your status to trade verified. Then you get to see discounted prices when you log in. It’s a great way to service your customers better using our online stock as a guide. Contact us for more information.

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 and I’ll include it, I’ll even tweet it.

May I take this opportunity once again to wish you and yours a very happy and fortune-filled New Year. Let’s take the opportunity to work more closely together in 2014

Richard

TGB: December Newsletter Part 1

Hello and welcome to the latest Gembank bi Monthly newsletter. Well it’s finally here; the final run up to the festive season is upon us. This is a fantastic time of the year for us in the trade as most jewellery is purchased, by men that is, in the next few weeks right up to 5pm Christmas Eve. In this edition we have news on online sales, diamonds, Swiss watches, the Cheapside Hoard, bejewelled wellies and so much more. So, before the ado gets furthered, take time out for 5 minutes and give yourself a well-earned break and enjoy this spectacular edition of the best trade newsletter on the block.

Merry Christmas!

Auction Round-Up Now available
Online sales are not the future they are the now
The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels
Joel A Rosenthal to be featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mobile Marketing and a Streamlined Consumer Experience Dominate PSFK’s “Future of Retail” Conference
Forevermark Debuts Exceptional Diamond Collection Image
Gemfields Thinks Mine Could Supply 20% of Global Ruby Demand
Swiss Watch Sales Continue to Grow
Global Gold Jewellery Demand -15% to $21M
Antwerp Unveils “World’s Most Expensive Shoes”
Company News

Online sales are not the future they are the now

Amazon has warehouses in the UK and employs 15,000 people but diverts its UK sales to Luxembourg Photo: Alamy

Online sales of non-food products have grown by 16% year-on-year. Reports by KPMG say that in November, £1 in every £5 was spent online. Sales are also set to soar in the final few weeks up to Christmas, according to the head of KPMG. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) also reported that the four-week period from 27th October to 3rd November was the fastest growth registered this year, and that over the past three months, online sales contributed over half the growth of non-food sales. Across the pond the results reflect the same story – IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that U.S. online retail sales jumped close to 20 percent on the year on Thanksgiving Day, with the average order value being $127.59.

These results in part have been attributed to the success of Black Friday sales. This is a US tradition where retailers heavily discount their goods in order to attract consumers back into shops after Thanksgiving. However, retailers are now adopting the tradition in the UK too. This is being led by Amazon, which enjoyed its busiest ever shopping day in the UK on Friday, with 4m items ordered. Before you start assuming that high end items such as jewellery and watches might not sell as well online, sales results prove otherwise. Cartier, since giving their website a new look earlier this year, reports that they have enhanced the friendliness of the online services and have dramatically boosted its evocative appeal. Cartier has certainly raised the bar for a new standard of luxury digital experience.

While it is true that some customers will always prefer to purchase goods in a bricks and mortar store – most consumers like to mix their online and off line spending. Therefor it is vitally important, in order to survive in this very difficult economy, to embrace all available platforms in order to sell our goods.

Read more: Thanksgiving Day Internet Sales up 20% on Year

Read more: Online sales rise 16pc as ‘Black Friday’ boosts retailers

Read more: Which Is Better For Retail Sales, Online Or Offline Customer Engagement? [top]

Auction Highlights Special Now available

As you all know, this has been a crazy year for jewellery and gemstone auctions around the world. As soon as one new world record-setting gem came along, another one came right behind it, dwarfing it. To keep up with what has gone on, I have written a summary of all the year’s action. It makes very interesting reading. If anything it should make your stock cheap by comparison, or should I say well worth the money!

Read more: Auction Highlights Special [top]

The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels

Whether you are a fan of jewellery, history or you love a great mystery you will love the latest unmissable exhibition by the Museum of London: The Cheapside Hoard- London’s Lost Jewels! The hoard of treasure from the late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones – on display for the first time in its entirety – was discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London.

Through new research and state of the art technology, the exhibition will showcase the wealth of insights the Hoard offers on Elizabethan and Jacobean London – as a centre of craftsmanship and conspicuous consumption, at the crossroads of the Old and New Words. It will also explore the mysteries that remain, lost among the cataclysmic events of the mid-17th century. Who owned the Hoard, when and why was it hidden, and why was it never reclaimed?

Read more: The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels [top]

Joel A Rosenthal to be featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Multicolored Handkerchief earrings, 2011, with sapphires, demantoid and other garnets, zircons, tourmalines, emeralds, rubies, fire opals, spinels, beryls, diamond, platinum, silver and gold. Photograph by Jozsef Tari. Courtesy of JAR, Paris.

One of the most acclaimed jewellery designers of the twentieth century, Joel A. Rosenthal, will be featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Through March 9, 2014, the Museum will display more than 400 works by renowned jewellery designer Joel A. Rosenthal, who are better known by his initials JAR. In conjunction with the exhibition, JAR has designed a unique collection of earrings and watches for the Museum.

JAR’s stunning eccentric handmade pieces are the most coveted in the world, he has a cult following like no other. There is hardly a woman alive who wouldn’t kill to own a piece of his jewellery – but so few actually do. He is famously reclusive, and his shop front in Paris has no display windows, nothing to indicate what happens inside that perfectly blank exposure. To open JAR’s door, you need an introduction, if your name is not on the “list” you are simply not getting in, no matter who you are.

Read more: Breathtaking Jewels by JAR on View at Metropolitan Museum [top]

Mobile Marketing and a Streamlined Consumer Experience Dominate PSFK’s “Future of Retail” Conference

The New York City-based think tank—which is perhaps most famous for its engaging website that tracks consumer and retail trends—corralled a crew of pioneering retailers culled from its fourth annual Future of Retail report for “PSFK San Francisco: The Future of Retail,” a half-day conference in San Francisco on 21 November. The subjects of optimizing the mobile shopping experience and unifying branding across retail channels were front-and-centre in many of the brief presentations. In his greeting, Scott Lachut, PSFK’s head of research and strategy, commented that “the purchase path has changed” because “omnichannel retailing has disrupted the way people shop.” The bottom line: “Shoppers don’t care what the actual channel is they’re using, but they do expect a similar experience across all channels.” Lachut stressed that “trading data for better shopping experiences” is retailing’s new modus operandi. “We’re starting to see systems that are allowing consumers to freely trade their data in order to get something of value in return from a retailer,” such as better customer service and discounts.

Read more: Mobile Marketing and a Streamlined Consumer Experience Dominate PSFK’s “Future of Retail” Conference[top]

Forevermark Debuts Exceptional Diamond Collection Image

The Forevermark Exceptional Diamond Collection image

Get used to this image as Forevermark recently unveiled their image that will represent its Exceptional Diamond Collection, in local and national advertising and marketing campaigns.

The image is meant to show the diamond’s rough-to-polished transformation—a backstory that the brand plays up in this ultra-luxe line. Each Exceptional Diamond comes with a custom “Journey Booklet” documenting the stone’s origin and evolution. The Exceptional stones were manufactured by New York City–based Julius Klein Group. So far the Collection is available at only a handful of fine jewellery retailers in the states; however it shouldn’t take long to reach our shores.

Read more: Forevermark Debuts Exceptional Diamond Collection Image [top]

Gemfields Thinks Mine Could Supply 20% of Global Ruby Demand

Watch this space as this could greatly affect the price of rubies. Having built its reputation on Zambian emeralds, Gemfields Plc, the London-based coloured stone miner is seeing red—for rubies. The company has set its sights on Mozambique, where it owns a majority stake in a mine that it hopes could supply up to a fifth of global ruby demand, according to a report in Bloomberg. In 2012, the miner acquired a 75 percent stake in Montepuez Ruby Mining in northern Mozambique; a 131-square-mile concession considered the largest ruby-mining concession in private hands in the world today, according to a Gemfields statement.

CEO Ian Harebottle told Bloomberg that the company plans to more than double the mine’s monthly ruby production to 2.5 million carats by July. “Our first rough ruby auction will take place in the first half of 2014, so the market can expect to see cut and polished not long after that,” Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle tells JCK. “We’re very excited to offer a new opportunity for marketing and selling rubies, particularly in the U.S., and we are seeing real enthusiasm for the product at all different levels.”

Read more: Gemfields Thinks Mine Could Supply 20% of Global Ruby Demand [top]

Swiss Watch Sales Continue to Grow

In line with previous months, Swiss watch exports continued to perform well in the latter half of 2013. Their value was maintained at a high level thanks to growth of 1.1%. The figures indicate that October was best month was ever recorded by the sector, with a result of 2.2 billion francs. Steel watches were the main impetus for growth with a rise in value of 4.6%, while gold and bimetallic products lost ground. Platinum timepieces made an important contribution to the general upturn.

Read more: Swiss watchmaking in October 2013: continued growth and high value [top]

Global Gold Jewellery Demand -15% to $21M

Global gold demand for jewellery has fallen 15 percent year on year to $20.75 billion in the third quarter that ended on September 30, according to provisional calculations by the World Gold Council. The decrease was price related since gold demand for jewellery by weight increased 5 percent to 486.7 tonnes, reaching the highest level for the third quarter since 2010. The average weighted price of gold for the third quarter fell 20 percent year on year to $1,326.30 per ounce. The World Gold Council noted, however, that year-to-date gold jewellery demand by value is up 6 percent to $77.3 billion. Unsurprisingly China’s consumers generated the highest demand for gold jewellery by weight, accounting for 34 percent of global demand, as 24-karat gold (chuk kam) jewellery became extremely popular, according to the Council.

Read more: Global Gold Jewelry Demand -15% to $21M [top]

Antwerp Unveils “World’s Most Expensive Shoes”

The diamond-covered boots

Just in case you are wondering what on earth to buy your loved one for Christmas Antwerp has come up with the answer, bejewelled wellies! On Dec. 4, industry group Antwerp World Diamond Centre unveiled what it’s billing as the “World’s Most Expensive Shoes,” boots covered in diamonds totalling 1,550ct. The paisley-patterned black leather ankle boots are decked out in some 39,083 natural fancy coloured champagne, grey, and pink diamonds. The boots are said to be for sale and are valued at $3.1 million.

Read more: Antwerp Unveils “World’s Most Expensive Shoes” [top]

Company News

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring December’s birthstones – the cool and beautiful gems of blue turquoise and tanzanite.

More prices are going on the site every day, so log in and take a look. If you would like to know what discount you get from these prices, send me an email and I’ll let you know.

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

May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays and a wonderful, fortune filled New Year.

TGB: November Newsletter Part 1

Hello and welcome to the latest Gembank bi Monthly newsletter. Brrrr it’s rather chilly outside, heralding the return of the silly season and the man in the big red suit. In a few weeks time every town centre, main street and shop will be filled with twinkling lights and gift ideas. Love or hate this time of year, we in the trade cannot escape it, and why should we? Some of us make most of our yearly profits over the next few months and for others, at the very least if offers large bonuses. After all, tis the season to buy jewellery! In this rather fabulous edition of TheGembank.com newsletter we have news on watches, tiaras, coloured gems and fairtrade gold. We also give you the opportunity to support victims of the typhoon that recently struck the Philippines. So take five and enjoy your favourite trade newsletter.

In this issue
Behind Every Successful Jeweller is a Great Gem Dealer
Breguet pocket watch to sell for as much as $1.1M
Tiaras to go under Christie’s hammer
World’s Largest Paraiba Tourmaline Unveiled
WFDB Calls Synthetic Nondisclosure “Fraud”
100,000 Fairtrade wedding rings objective for 2014
Coloured Gemstones perfect for investments
Typhoon Haiyan Philippines Appeal
Company News

Behind Every Successful Jeweller is a Great Gem Dealer

Are you ready for the Christmas buying scramble? Remember, here at The Gem Bank we offer total support. A bespoke service, tailor made to the specific requirements of each individual jeweller. Whatever you require, from sourcing a single particular stone to cluster purchases. Behind every successful jeweller is a trusted gem dealer. By outsourcing your gem buying it frees you up for the important business of selling your products, in this the most incredible selling season of the year. It’s never too late to get in touch; we work all the way up to Christmas right along with you, as most people – namely men – buy jewellery gifts for their partners in the last week before Christmas.

Breguet pocket watch to sell for as much as $1.1M

This pocket watch is said to be a prime example of the “creative genius” of legendary watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Sotheby’s upcoming watch auction in Geneva will celebrate the legacy of horologist Abraham-Louis Brequet and include the sale of a highly complex and rare pocket watch. On November 12, Sotherby’s will offer an extra flat pair cased gold half-quarter repeating pocket watch with equation of time, power reserve, indication calendar and moon phase based on chronometer principles from Breguet. The watch, the auction house said, boasts an exceptionally large number of complications for a timepiece from the mid-1800s and is one of only three known Breguet watches from this period to have these specific complications and design.

Pocket watches are very much a returning trend, so if you are interested in owning one for yourself, the estimated sale price is between $650,000 to $1.1 million.

Read more: Breguet pocket watch to sell for as much as $1.1M [top]

Tiaras to go under Christie’s hammer

Christie’s will offer a selection of tiaras in its upcoming Important Jewels sale, including this example from the mid-19th century, which also can be worn as a necklace.

A stunning mid-19th century diamond tiara is expected to sell for nearly $400,000 at Christie’s Important Jewels sale November 27th in London.

Tiaras of the mid-19th century generally were designed with abundant sprays of scrolling floral and foliate motifs, as well as openwork bands to be worn above the brow of over the chignon (hairstyle at the nape of the neck) on the back of the head, Christie’s said.

The tiara up for auction falls into the openwork category, with its simple design and unobtrusive setting showcasing the large cushion-cut and pear-shaped diamonds.

Read more: Tiara, pearl lots to top Christie’s London sale [top]

World’s Largest Paraiba Tourmaline Unveiled

The Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba necklace

Joining the ranks of the Logan Sapphire, Hope Diamond, Alan Caplan Ruby, and the Cullinan Diamond comes the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, a 191.87ct Paraiba tourmaline necklace. Measuring 36.44×33.75×21.85mm, the stone is said to be worth between $25 million and $125 million, according to published reports – small change, if you’re an oligarch! The piece was created to highlight the beauty and purity of the earth and its living ecosystems within our oceans. Precious and semiprecious gemstones, along with a 10ct fancy coloured yellow diamond, highlight the transparent blue hue of the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba.

Read more: World’s Largest Paraiba Tourmaline Unveiled [top]

WFDB Calls Synthetic Nondisclosure “Fraud”

A major step in the right direction. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) recently issued an official warning that it will not stand for the passing off of synthetics as natural diamonds. During the organisation’s executive meeting in London, which took place in October, “a unanimous decision was made to take severe action against any member who is found to knowingly misrepresent or fail to disclose synthetic diamonds,” it added.

The federation has noted with concern the “growing tendency of undisclosed synthetic diamonds entering the market.”

“While the WFDB acknowledges that synthetic diamonds have a place in the market, they must not be confused with or marketed as natural diamonds,” WFDB said in a statement. “It has been the policy of the WFDB that synthetic gems must be declared and as such, the federation will have a zero-tolerance approach towards individuals or companies who do not abide by this.”

It added that “members of the diamond industry need to understand that they are personally responsible for what they sell, which is why it is of the utmost importance to know your supplier and the legitimacy of their product – whether it is ensuring they are KP compliant or disclosing synthetics.” “The law is clear and the punishment for fraud will be pursued. The WFDB will work with all legal agencies across the globe to assist in the prosecution of those who participate in this type of fraud in the diamond industry,” it continued. Meanwhile, Roland Lorie, co-CEO of IGI Worldwide, called on members of the diamond and jewellery community to unite and find solutions to this challenge. “The real danger for the diamond industry is not the presence of synthetic diamonds, but the non-disclosure – and mixing of these with natural diamonds. If we react professionally and united, natural and synthetic will be able to co-exist, perhaps to a point where people will manufacture and trade both of them – but separately and transparently,” Lorie said in his message to the industry. Lorie said “the industry has to come together and establish clear rules, like what was done with the Kimberley Process.” “Once rules are set, confidence will return and the scare will diminish,” he continued.

Read more: WFDB Calls Synthetic Nondisclosure “Fraud”[top]

100,000 Fairtrade wedding rings objective for 2014

Fairtrade International is teaming with British manufacturers to drive Faitrade wedding ring sales in 2014

Fairtrade International has announced plans to improve the availability of Fairtrade gold wedding rings in a bid to boost sales, with hopes of the number sold hitting 100,000 in the UK next year. The initiative, led by ethical campaigner and Fairtrade gold and precious metals co-ordinator Greg Valerio, will work with leading UK wedding ring manufacturers to try to boost the number of weddings and civil partnerships sealed with Fairtrade rings to 50,000 in 2014.

A number of British manufacturers, including Brown & Newirth and Hockley Mint, have pledged their commitment to Fairtrade wedding bands following an in depth discussion surrounding Fairtrade gold that took place at the recent Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) UK Jewellery Conference.

Read more: 100,000 Fairtrade wedding rings objective for 2014 [top]

Coloured Gemstones perfect for investments

A pair of natural pearl earrings, sold at Sotheby's Gina Lollobrigida auction. (Sotheby's)

Hardly a newsletter goes by without a coloured gemstone going under the hammer and breaking the auctioneer’s estimate. So it is little wonder that people are now seeing them as positive investments. But don’t just take my word for it, here are just a few of the comments made by the major auction houses.

Indeed, sapphires, rubies and natural pearls have become auction must-haves. The price rise in natural pearls sold at auction has been sudden and acute, as Christie’s head of jewellery in London Keith Penton explains: “We have seen a steady rise in the price of natural pearls over 10 years and a more marked shift upwards in the last three.” Though coloured stones have carved a path at auction, it is coloured diamonds that continue to make an impact and command some of the highest prices in the sale room, smashing record after record as they go.

“Because of the very high quality of diamonds offered and the exceptionally strong prices achieved, the market is perceived by buyers and sellers to be strong,” Meredith explains. “A hundred years ago coloured diamonds were not fully understood and were seen more as attractive curiosities. The strong market has led to a far better awareness and understanding of their beauty and rarity.”

Meredith speaks of the world record set by the Graff Pink at Sotheby’s Geneva and the further record achieved at auction record for the 110ct yellow Sun-Drop Diamond, which sold for CHF 11.28 million (£s;7.73m) in 2011.

“Without question the demand for coloured diamonds continues unabated,” states Bonhams’ Ghika, noting the impact and charm of the 5.30ct blue diamond sold in April.

Penton at Sotheby’s believes the future looks bright for gems at auction. “I don’t foresee any change in the short term at the top end of the market as high quality, rarity and portability are a winning combination,” he states. “Sellers want to take advantage of the increased global demand and buyers want to move their assets into something rare and portable.”

Read more: IN DEPTH: Fine gemstones at auction [top]

Typhoon Haiyan Philippines Appeal

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday 8 November, causing catastrophic damage. It is the strongest storm ever to make landfall, hitting an area where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October.

The 300-mile wide typhoon – locally known as Yolanda – has left a trail of destruction with thousands feared dead. The full extent of the damage will become clearer as rescue teams reach the more remote areas.

I have a link on the website to globalgiving.co.uk.

Read more: http://www.thegembank.com/super-typhoon-haiyan-relief-donations [top]

Company News

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring November’s birthstones – the warm Topaz and the beautiful Citrine.

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.

Goodbye for now

TGB: October Newsletter Part 2


Hello and welcome to the latest Gembank bi Monthly newsletter. It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas, well at least for those of us in the jewellery trade. As we all start to look towards the silly season I have included a few of the bang on jewellery trends that all the fashionistas will be wearing come December 25th. Also in this issue we have news on diamonds in the rain, big orange diamond sales and a TRADE ALERT on synthetic diamonds being mixed with natural diamonds. Oh and a story on how coloured diamonds are very much on trend. So sit back, take a breather and enjoy the best trade newsletter around.

In this issue;
It’s raining Diamonds!
Biggest Orange Diamond May Fetch $20 Million at Auction Sale hits a record as pink diamonds sparkle!
Kim Kardashian’s Ex gets closure as he sells her 20-carat engagement ring has sold at auction for a cool $749,000.
Coloured Diamond Boom
Synthetic, Lab-Grown Diamonds Being Mixed With Natural Parcels of Melee, Pointers
Credit Suisse sheds a very bright light on the Swiss Watch industry
What Sightholders Really Think About De Beers’ Move to Botswana
118 Carat D Flawless Diamond Sets Record, But Big Blue Fails to Sell at Auction
Holiday Season Silver jewellery trends
Company News


It’s raining Diamonds!

Diamond rain could be "the most common precipitation in the Solar System" the authors say

Diamonds big enough to be worn by Hollywood film stars could be raining down on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated. New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form. Lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond. These diamond “hail stones” eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planets’ hot cores

The biggest diamonds would likely be about a centimetre in diameter – “big enough to put on a ring, although of course they would be uncut,” says Dr Kevin Baines, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He added that they would be of a size that the late film actress Elizabeth Taylor would have been “proud to wear”.

Read more: ‘Diamond rain’ falls on Saturn and Jupiter [top]


Biggest Orange Diamond May Fetch $20 Million at Auction

A pear-shaped, vivid orange diamond could fetch as much as $20 million, or $1.3 million per carat, at Christie’s next month. The auction house will offer the 14.82-carat stone, the largest known orange diamond in the world, in its Geneva sale on Nov. 12th. The following day, Sotheby’s (BID) will auction a vivid pink diamond valued at more than $60 million.

“The Orange,” the largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world. The pear-shaped diamond of 14.82 carats is estimated at $17 million to $20 million. Source: 2013 Christie’s Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

Christie’s diamond has been with the same anonymous owner for at least 30 years, the auction house said, describing its clarity as VS1.

“It’s very, very good, but it has natural imperfections,” said Alan Bronstein, a consultant in coloured diamonds, who knows the stone.

Read more: Biggest Orange Diamond May Fetch $20 Million at Auction [top]


Sale hits a record as pink diamonds sparkle!

The 2013 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender of 64 red, pink and blue stones drew a record number of bids over US$1 million from established markets such as Japan and Australia as well as emerging markets China and India.

The highlight was the Argyle Phoenix, a 1.56 carat gem and one of three Fancy Red diamonds on offer, which sold for more than US$2 million to a Singapore-based jeweller, the highest per-carat price paid for any diamond ever produced from Rio’s Argyle mine in Western Australia. The exact price was not disclosed due to client confidentiality. Another record was set for the Argyle Dauphine, a 2.51 carat Fancy Deep Pink diamond, which also sold for more than US$2 million, to a US-based dealer. Rio’s Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said the prices reflected “increasing demand from the world’s top jewellers, designers, collectors and connoisseurs.”

Read more: Rio Tinto pink diamonds fetch record prices [top]


Kim Kardashian’s Ex gets closure as he sells her 20-carat engagement ring has sold at auction for a cool $749,000.

The enormous diamond ring, given to the reality star by ex-husband Kris Humphries, was purchased by an as-yet unknown buyer at Christie’s in New York City Tuesday 15th October.

Bidding for the 16.21 carat Lorraine Schwartz diamond began at $200,000 at the auction, entitled ‘Bright and Beautiful’. The ring, which features a 16.21 ct. rectangular-cut diamond (graded I VS1 by the GIA), flanked on either side by a trapeze-cut diamond, each weighing approximately 1.8 carats, will end up costing the buyer $749,000 taking into account the auction house’s mark-up.

‘As the finale of the morning session, Lot 194 saw active participation in the room, on the phone banks, and from Christie’s LIVE,’ said the auction house spokesman Gabriel Ford. ‘This impressive diamond ring was sought out by 2 bidders in the back of the room, one online bidder and was ultimately won by a bidder on the phone.’

It was confirmed last month that Kris was selling the ring which was originally reported to have cost $2 million. Thus endeth the deep and meaningful 72 day romance!

Read more: Kardashian Ring Fetches $750,000 at $46 Million Christie’s Auction[top]


The Coloured Diamond Boom

You are just not on trend if you don’t own at least one coloured diamond! Fancy coloured diamond prices are showing significant gains in 2013 while other goods struggle along. As a result, the various auctions and tenders held in the past two weeks continued to set records, headlining the strength of the coloured diamond market with both dealers and private buyers driving up prices. Of course, this trend is not new. The strength of the coloured diamond market has been well documented in this publication and others, maintaining a decade-long uptrend, even through the crash of 2008. But industry veterans note a significant change in the past year.

Eden Rachminov, managing owner of Rachminov Diamonds 1891, describes an onslaught of new players in the coloured diamond market. “White goods have been soft in the past two years, while coloured stones have been a good item,” he explained. “Therefore, many companies have decided to build an inventory of fancy colours. So instead of a healthy market that we traditionally had with five to seven major players, suddenly there are 30 to 40 companies in each country with fancy coloured diamonds in stock.”

Read more: The Colored Diamond Boom [top]


Synthetic, Lab-Grown Diamonds Being Mixed With Natural Parcels of Melee, Pointers

TRADE ALERT: Buyer Beware. Persistent reports that large amounts of synthetic lab grown diamonds are being mixed with natural diamonds in parcels of melee and pointers. Know your supplier and insist phrase “natural, untreated diamonds” be included on all invoices.

Read more: Synthetic, Lab-Grown Diamonds Being Mixed With Natural Parcels of Melee, Pointers [top]


Credit Suisse sheds a very bright light on the Swiss Watch industry

Swiss Watches – arguably the best known Swiss export has been under the Credit Suisse spot light recently. Not very much insider information is known about this industry, perhaps because discretion is the other quality the Swiss are very well known for! Credit Suisse state that the Swiss Watch industry is incredibly well positioned on the world market, however even they face some very tough challenges ahead. They take a look at the durability of Chinese demand while identifying emerging markets. While analysing the consequences of toughening up the supply side of things and the changes affecting the “Swiss Made” label. The conclusion of this study is positive as they say that although they face structural challenges ahead they expect the Swiss Watch industry to continue growing.

Read more: Swiss Watch Industry [top]


What Sightholders Really Think About De Beers’ Move to Botswana

A few months ago I included a report about De Beers’ rather radical move to Botswana. Well November brings the first allocation held at De Beers’ new sorting centre in Gaborone, Botswana. This move affects three groups: The people of Botswana, who hope to benefit from the increased activity there; employees of what used to be known as the Diamond Trading Co., some of whom have elected not to move to Africa (with De Beers vice president Varda Shine’s status unclear); and the company’s clients, who have to attend the sites 10 times a year. This move so far, other than to the local Botswanians, is proving to be quite unpopular. The travel is now much much longer, the facilities are not exactly 5 star, and gulp, no wifi – which is surely now one of life’s staples!

Read more: What Sightholders Really Think About De Beers’ Move to Botswana [top]


118 Carat D Flawless Diamond Sets Record, But Big Blue Fails to Sell at Auction

The Greatest White Diamond Ever

The stone Sotheby’s called “the greatest white diamond ever to appear at auction” indeed secured its place in the record books at its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Auction—although the equally notable “Premier Blue” failed to find a buyer.

The 118 ct. D Flawless oval sold for $238.7 million in Hong Kong dollars (approximately $30.6 million U.S.) at its Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction on Oct. 7, setting a new record for a white diamond.

However, the Premier Blue, a rare 7.59 ct. fancy vivid blue stone, described as the size of a shirt button, failed to find a new home as it didn’t sell.

Read more: 118 Carat D Flawless Diamond Sets Record, But Big Blue Fails to Sell at Auction [top]


Holiday Season Silver jewellery trends

We can’t deny it now, the silly season is almost upon us. Silver is once again very on trend. It was THE metal of choice at all the festivals this summer, it was graced many of the London Fashion Week catwalks last month, and on many of the celebrities who like to be seen milling about with these things. The National Jeweller has very kindly put together the top picks of silver for this autumn/winter season. Monochrome is the best way to wear it and top of the list is the large silver and onyx cocktail ring. Very long silver drop necklaces – keeping with the art deco trend. And large oversized silver drop earrings – seems like that particular trend is holding firm then!

Read more: Trendy silver picks for the holidays [top]

Company News

Visit our blog this month where we are featuring October’s birthstones – the stunning opal and the beautiful pink Tourmaline. 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

Goodbye for now

TGB: October Newsletter Part 1

Hello and welcome October’s almost bimonthly newsletter. It seems that September flew by too fast and we now find ourselves in October playing catch up. September kicked off the exhibition season with a number of ‘local’ shows kicking off the month, followed by the big shows in Bangkok and of course Hong Kong. Reports were mixed, but the overall sentiment is that those who actively go looking for business. Those who hope business will come to them are struggling.

In this issue we have news on diamonds pink, blue and white, smartwatches, another French Jewellery heist and the latest jewellery trends. So dust off your sunglasses and enjoy the latest newsletter brought to you by TheGemBank.com!

In this issue;
A Cut Above – The Most Valuable Diamond ever Auctioned, and it’s Pink!
The Greatest White Diamond To Go Under the Hammer
12 Carat Blue Diamond Found
Another Smartwatch
Gold Price Will Stay Up Due to Syrian Crisis, Says Goldman Sachs
Yet Another Jewellery Heist in France
New Technology Propels the Jewellery Industry into the Future
Venture Plans to Mass Produce Diamonds in China
Legendary Watchmaker Dominique Loiseau Dies
Jewellery Trends
Company News

A Cut Above – The Most Valuable Diamond ever Auctioned, and it’s Pink!

All eyes will be on Geneva’s Magnificent Jewels auction on 13th November. Sotheby’s is selling the “Pink Star,” a 59.6 ct. oval cut vivid pink diamond it calls the “most valuable diamond ever offered at auction.”

The diamond is estimated at $60 million, but if the auction goes the same way as most of the other gem auctions this year the actual price will exceed that by far. The gem, which was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, has received the highest possible colour and clarity rating from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

It weighed 132.5 carats in the rough, and was cut and polished over a period of two years by Steinmetz Diamonds, the New York-based auction house said in a statement on Wednesday. “I have had the privilege of examining some of the greatest gemstones in the world over the past 35 years, and I can say, without hesitation, that the Pink Star diamond is of immense importance,” said Mr Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East.

Read more: Diamond to be sold by Sotheby’s at record price of $60m

The Greatest White Diamond To Go Under the Hammer

It’s egg-shaped and the largest of its kind and has taken two years to weigh, polish and cut. Now the “world’s most perfect diamond” could be yours — for a mere $35 million, tempted? The 118-carat white diamond is being auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong October 7th, with an estimate of $28-$35 million (£17.5-£22 million). Sotheby’s believes that it could smash the estimate and with it, the record for a diamond at auction of $27 million!

Read more: ‘Perfect’ white diamond goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s

12 Carat Blue Diamond Found

A mine in Lesotho hit the jackpot when it found a rare blue diamond, never mind that it is a sizable 12 carat! However it is still unknown what the quality is of this unusual find. The value of blue diamonds can be seen in the record prices they fetch at auction. On April 24, a 5.3 ct. fancy deep-blue diamond sold for $9.6 million at Bonhams’ Fine Jewellery sale in London-setting a per-carat record ($1.8 million) for a diamond that colour.

Read more: 12 Carat Blue Diamond Found in Lesotho

Another Smartwatch

While I still don’t believe that the invention of a Smartwatch will impact in any way on the luxury watch market, or indeed the watch market in general the Galaxy Smartwatch may impact somewhat on the sales of the Apple Smartwatch. Mainly because it is cheaper, and promises to interact more smoothly with your Galaxy phone, Samsung calls it a device that will keep us “constantly connected.” So you will never miss a text or email again. Phew, because simply lifting one’s phone out of one’s pocket was becoming very tiresome indeed.

Read more: Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear: The Perfect Match

Gold Price Will Stay Up Due to Syrian Crisis, Says Goldman Sachs

The unrest in Syria should keep the price of gold close to the $1,400 mark for most of the rest of the year, according to a new analyst note by Goldman Sachs. The investment bank raised its second half gold forecast to $1,388, a stark jump from its previous $1,300 estimate, The Economic Times reports. “We believe the recent uptick is a result of investors positioning themselves for an increase in inflation rates and speculation regarding a potential military strike on Syria,” the bank said in a Sept. 2 note, according to the news report.

Read more: Gold Price Will Stay Up Due to Syrian Crisis, Says Goldman Sachs

Yet Another Jewellery Heist in France

Three heists took place in the city of Cannes earlier this year

Three heists took place in the city of Cannes earlier this year French Jewellery robberies seem to be catching. This is the third in so many months. Four men rammed their car into an upmarket jewellery store in central Paris early September. They smashed the shop window and made off with a two-million-euro ($2.6-million) booty, a police source said. According to John Kennedy of the Jewellers’ Security Alliance, France has the same amount of jewellery thefts as the United States, despite having one-fifth the amount of jewellers.

Read more: Paris: Jewellery Stolen In Casty Shop Raid

New Technology Propels the Jewellery Industry into the Future

All retailers want to know what their customers are thinking as it would make selling so much easier. Well the technology it seems is finally here, Facial Recognition, is one of the innovations for the store of the future. What makes this most exciting is that the global companies who are flirting most heavily with cutting-edge advances in retail are, in fact, some of the most established jewellery and watch brands. From better software for profiling customers to 3D printing using metal to give your customers a better idea of what their bespoke jewellery designs will eventually look like. This year’s JCK show featured a desktop 3-D printer from B9Creator that spit out ultra-detailed jewellery designs in minutes.

Read more: What Does the Future Hold for Jewelers?

Venture Plans to Mass Produce Diamonds in China

Fake/ Lab grown/ synthetic diamonds – whatever you want to call them, they are just about to be taken to the next level of production. Scio Diamond Technology Corporation, the Greenville, S.C. company that manufacturers lab-grown diamonds, announced that it had signed a joint venture agreement to mass produce gems in China. The joint venture was said to be with “two partners who bring more than 75 years collective experience in the gemstone industry.” The names of these two partners have somehow been left out of all PR material associated with this thus far. Scio CEO Michael McMahon was unavailable for comment at press time. The facility will produce approximately 48,000 carats of synthetic rough a year, a release said. It did not specify what colours or sizes would be produced. The venture’s facility will be located in China, and will contain 100 Scio-designed diamond-growing reactors that will produce Type lla, single crystal CVD diamonds. The facility will have the capability to expand to 400 diamond-growing reactors over the next two years. It is set to start operations next year.

Read more: Venture Plans to Mass-Produce Diamonds in China

Legendary Watchmaker Dominique Loiseau Dies

Dominique Loiseau (Photo: National Jeweler)

Dominique LoiseauSaint-Prex, Switzerland–Dominique Loiseau, a Swiss/French watchmaker whose master works included the Blancpain 1735 and the Alpha-Omega automaton, has died. He was an artisan and teacher at the International Museum of Watchmaking in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, restored collector’s timepieces and automata, and created a number of exceptional pocket and wristwatches. Among these are the Renaissance and Capriccio pocket watches, the Rose des Temps clock and the six Montres de Sables.

Read more: Legendary watchmaker Dominique Loiseau dies

Jewellery Trends

The Man-gagement ring. Is this the latest step in the evolution of metro sexuality? Michael Buble was seen sporting one of these a few years ago, so it doesn’t seem to be a flash in the pan trend. Perhaps this is just a natural step towards sexual equality? It is now seen as the norm for a married man to proudly wear a wedding ring, where only a generation ago it was rare, so why not also a man-gagement ring? Especially as more and more women are proposing to their partners. Consider as well that same sex marriages are increasing year on year. The man-gagement ring looks here to stay, in 10 years time it will probably be accepted practice, and we will wonder why we even raised an eyebrow to it.

If you’re wondering what diamonds go with men?? Brown diamonds do.

Read more: Poll: Most Men Might Wear a Man-gagement Ring

Company News

Some of our hard work is coming to fruition. The website has close to 1000 stones on it and we are starting to add videos of the stones to give you the complete picture. We are about to double the number of Coloured diamonds on the site WITH PRICES! I realise the pricing issue is becoming a problem for many of you who registered to get prices from the site. I am working daily on pricing more stones, please bear with me.

Our twitter feed @thegembank has come to life keeping you up to date with news from the trade, new additions to the site, enquiries we have from our customers and interesting stories from our community.

I hope to have some exciting news on white diamonds by the time the next newsletter comes out, so watch this space.

Visit our stone of the month page this month were we are featuring October’s birthstones – the beautiful Opal and Pink Tourmaline. I do hope you are enjoying our almost bi monthly newsletters, if you see a story or have something that you would like to feature please feel free to let me know, I will mention it.

Goodbye for now

TGB: September Newsletter

Hello and welcome to September’s first bi monthly newsletter from the Gembank. The fast moving jewellery trade has once again offered up a plethora of stories over the last few weeks. So put the kettle on, sit back and let me regale you with the tops stories of the last fortnight! In this newsletter we have opera singers, diamonds; mined and synthetic, reports on gold prices and a foiled attempt to import counterfeit luxury watches into Los Angeles! Enjoy!

In this issue;
How cultured!
Gold Price Will Stay Up Due to Syrian Crisis, Says Goldman Sachs
Christie’s attracts Asian online bidders
Sotheby’s selling 19-carat Harry Winston diamond
Tiffany’s sales in the Americas ‘remain soft’
Buying Diamonds via iPhone apps
Don’t mention synthetic diamonds!
Customs Officials Seize $1.2 Million in Counterfeit Watches
Company News


How cultured!
Joyce DiDonato, the American mezzo-soprano, takes to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 7th September for the Last Night of the Proms, wearing so much jewellery she will be accompanied by a security team, not to guard her, but the jewels! DiDonato, the main singer at the event, will wear the jewellery which is worth many millions in her hair, around her neck and wrists, and on her ears. The gems have been loaned by Chopard, the Swiss jeweller and watchmaker, and are so valuable that they have described the jewellery as “priceless” they added that the security guards, who will be posted around the venue, must keep their eyes on the jewellery at all times.

Read more: Priceless gems pomp up Proms


Gold Price Will Stay Up Due to Syrian Crisis, Says Goldman Sachs

Goldman raised its second-half 2013 gold price forecast to $1,388 from $1,300 an ounce but maintained its medium- and long-term price forecasts.

Goldman Sachs has raised its second-half 2013 gold price forecast to $1,388 from $1,300 an ounce on recent price activity but maintained its medium and long-term price forecasts. This is due to investors positioning themselves for an increase in inflation rates and speculation regarding a potential military strike on Syria, however despite the raised forecast, the bank said longer term it expected prices to ease on improvement in U.S. economic activity and the reining in of accommodative monetary policy.

Read more: Goldman Sachs raises H2 2013 gold price forecast


Christie’s attracts Asian online bidders
The auction house Christie’s, is starting to hold sales online and it’s also the first company of its kind to be granted a license to operate independently in mainland China. Even though the Asian markets are still quite volatile, Christie’s have said that there has been significant growth in sales from Asia. 50% of new buyers to Christie’s are now via online auctions, and many of those buyers are from Asia, specifically China. Asian buyers now represent a quarter of the auction house’s sales globally. They say that because of this, it has made perfect sense for them to open a Christie’s branch in Shanghai, of which there will also be an online component running alongside it. Jonathan Stone, chairman and international head of Asian art at Christie’s, said the auction market in Asia may overtake the West.

Read more: Christie’s attracts Asian bidders


Sotheby’s selling 19-carat Harry Winston diamond
You can’t have a Gembank newsletter without a sale of a very large, almost priceless gem! So here it is, however this time it’s a bit unusual as it’s a white diamond! At September’s Sotheby’s Important Jewels auction the Harry Winston diamond ring is likely to steal the show . It is a dinner plate sized 19.51-carat polished diamond, E colour VVS2 quality type IIa emerald-cut diamond, which will go on display on September 20th and under the gavel on September 24th, is expected to bring in between $1.2 and $1.8 million. Other notable names in the sale include Van Cleef & Arpels, Suzanne Belperron, Schlumberger and René Boivin, who is known for his naturalistic designs. Signed pieces from Bulgari and David Webb. I’m telling you now, so you’ve got time to save up!

Read more: Sotheby’s selling 19-carat Harry Winston diamond


Tiffany’s sales in the Americas ‘remain soft’
Everything is going well for Tiffany, except on their home turf – the Americas, where they have said sales are still a bit soft! Weighing on margins was the shift in sales toward more higher-priced, and lower-margin, items. Tiffany Vice President of Investor Relations Mark Aaron explained that sales of what Tiffany classifies as fine (platinum, diamond and gold) and statement (pieces priced at $50,000 and higher) jewellery outperformed sales of silver, its alloy Rubedo and plain gold jewellery in the second quarter. Diamonds overall are doing “well” for the retailer, he said, noting success with jewellery from its annual Blue Book, the Great Gatsby collection – 1920’s inspired, very on trend – and its keys in gold with diamonds.

Read more: Tiffany’s sales in the Americas ‘remain soft’


Buying Diamonds via iPhone apps
Harvey Kanter Blue Nile’s CEO said that customers are “regularly” buying $100,000 diamonds using their smartphones. Kanter also noted that 40% of his company’s traffic comes from mobile devices. He went on to say, “the younger customer is very, very accessible and, even more importantly, has grown up with the phone, to the point where their phone is actually their PC and they don’t go to a normal PC,” he said. “The older folks may still look at the PC as the No. 1 place to go, but younger folks today, and our core customer—who is about 30 years old, buying engagement settings—really goes to a mobile device first.” The global love affair with the convenience of tablets and smart phones looks set to continue, so perhaps this is the way forward to attract the younger buyer.

Read more: Blue Nile Customers Regularly Buy $100,000 Diamonds Via Phones, Says CEO


What to do about the problem of synthetic diamonds!
In the last newsletter I included a story titled, “when is a diamond not a diamond” – if you missed it, please rectify immediately! This topic has long sparked a very heated debate among those in the diamond trade. So how should we view the synthetic diamond, and is it correct to even use that description for it, perhaps we should say “man made” or “lab grown”? Eric Franklin, president of diamond grower D. Nea Diamonds, which sells their own lab-grown stones, said as far as he is concerned he leaves the decision on what type of diamond to buy up to the customer. He said that what is most important is that all parties know it is a real diamond (not an imitation, CZ, etc.). And all parties involved in a sale are aware that the diamond is not mined. When asked if he believed if his “lab grown” diamonds are better, he said again, that he would leave it up to the buyer. So still no clear answer yet, but whatever we call it, it’s certainly not going to go away so ignoring it won’t do. The heated debate is sure to continue!

Read more: How Should We Think-and Talk-About Synthetic Diamonds?


Customs Officials Seize $1.2 Million in Counterfeit Watches

Counterfeit watches seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Counterfeit watches seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Photo: JCK Online)

A big thumbs up to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers after they seized $1.2 million in counterfeit Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Omega watches at Los Angeles International Airport in early August. The 215 pieces, which had arrived from China via air cargo, would be worth $1.25 million if sold as genuine at suggested retail prices, the CBP said. CBP officers discovered the counterfeit merchandise after inspecting the shipment manifested as “watches,” with a declared value of $173 and weighing 68 pounds.

Read more: Customs Officials Seize $1.2 Million in Counterfeit Watches




Company News
Visit our blog this month where we are featuring September’s birthstones – the beautiful blue sapphire and Lapis Lazuli. 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.

Goodbye for now

TGB: August Newsletter


Hello and welcome to another one of our bi-monthly newsletters. There certainly has been a lot going on in the last few weeks and I have reported on some of the best stories here. If it’s too hot where you are, grab yourself an ice cream and enjoy our latest newsletter. In this issue we have news on diamonds, fake diamonds, coloured gems and new age watches! Enjoy!

In this issue;
Blue Diamond, the size of a shirt button, to be sold at Sotheby’s
Apple Smart watch may affect watch sales
Are coloured diamonds a girl’s new best friend?
When is a diamond not a diamond?
Obama renews ban on Burmese Rubies and Jade
Pandora’s US sales up 56%
The Pink Panther Strikes again!
$1.3 million reward offered in wake of Cannes jewel heist
Latest Jewellery Trends
Company News


Blue Diamond, the size of a shirt button, to be sold at Sotheby’s

Diamonds reaching record breaking prices at auction have become so par for the course these days that’s it’s almost passé. So what is it about this particular diamond sale that is so exciting? Well, firstly, this isn’t just any blue diamond; this is an internally flawless and the largest round brilliant, fancy vivid blue diamond ever graded by GIA. Secondly, Sotheby’s expects it to bring in $19 million, which would be a world record per-carat price for any diamond sold, not just a blue one. Not so banal now hey?

Read more: 7.5 Carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond To Be Sold at Sotheby’s [top]


Apple Smart watch may affect watch sales
Perhaps watch makers are right to worry about the pending release of the Apple Smart Watch, after all Apple does seem to dominate every market that it releases technology in. These fears have been backed up by the results of a study by the Jewellery Consumer Opinion Council. The survey found that nearly two-thirds of those who wear a watch regularly would be likely to switch to the proposed iWatch. “In the short term, after the watch is introduced, it will hurt,” says JCOC president Elizabeth Chatelain. “It will affect the more traditional watch market at all price points. The non-digital watch may end up somewhat obsolete, because people will want something more.” While this may to some extent be true, if you think about it, watches as purely timepieces are already obsolete anyway. Because practically everybody has a mobile phone in their pocket, which can give you the time at a glance. Watches aren’t merely a tool for telling the time, yes that is their primary function, but that is not the only reason why we wear them. The right watch can be the epitome of cool, the height of fashion and a clear symbol of status. It can be an heirloom, a golden handshake or a throw away fashion item. A watch is still the only adornment other than a wedding band and maybe cufflinks that many men will wear. So, with this in mind, I don’t think watch makers have too much to worry about!

Read more: Apple Smartwatch Could Steal Some Watch Business, Study Finds [top]


Are coloured diamonds a girl’s new best friend?

Duchess of Cambridge wore Diana's engagement ring

Sapphires have rivalled diamonds since the Duchess of Cambridge wore Diana's engagement ring

Over the past eight years, the prices of rubies and sapphires have increased faster than that of diamonds. Why? Well, there are a few factors in play here. As always a price is determined by demand, and demand for coloured gems has risen exponentially. In Asia fashion tastes have always leaned towards coloured gems, and in recent years the Asian economic markets didn’t suffer like the Western ones, so that could be a factor. But perhaps the main reason is the fact that more and more women are buying their own jewellery. Predominately in the past men have bought their wives and partners jewellery, and men prefer to play it safe, they know that the white diamond will always be well received – and so it should, as a sparkling white diamond is stunning. However, many women when buying or choosing their own jewels, choose at least one coloured gem within a piece and are often choosing a single coloured gem in place of a white diamond in a solitaire setting. Or it could be the influence of royalty and celebrities – Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz, often choose to wear sapphires and emeralds. And the Dutchess of Cambridge inherited the most famous of sapphire engagement rings from Princess Diana. Whatever the reason according to Diamond Manufacturers’ Mr Dominguez, demand for coloured stones has increased threefold since 2010.

Read more: Diamonds lose their sparkle, as women choose colour [top]


When is a diamond not a diamond?
Diamond growing technology is getting more sophisticated and less expensive which means that these synthetic gems are beginning to appear at the low end of the market. The Analytical Gemology & Jewellery lab said it recently took in a batch of diamonds, the diamonds were purchased in Mumbai in July, weighing a total of 6 carats. Here is where the story gets interesting and rather worrisome for the future. The buyer of said diamonds was no amateur, they actually specialize in HPHT-Treating natural stones and they used a portable device to determine the stones type.

However, the device did not detect that the gems were synthetic-demonstrating that advanced technologies are increasingly needed to spot man-made stones! The obvious solution is to have a more sophisticated device to determine if what you are buying is a diamond or not, however these methods are not always portable and are more expensive. As Jerry Ehrenwald, president and CEO of IGI North and South America, put it in a 2012 interview with National Jeweler, “Since the moment synthetic diamonds were commercially available the ability to either consciously or not consciously defraud someone was able to happen. It was just a matter of time.”

Read more: Lab Finds New Batch of Undisclosed Synthetics

Read more: NY lab reports finding more undisclosed synthetics[top]


Obama renews ban on Burmese Rubies and Jade
Since 2003, the United States government has banned the importation of gemstones from Burma (Myanmar), especially valuable ruby and jadeite. Though Burma has now made substantial progress towards reform, the sanctions on ruby and jadeite are still in place the U.S. Department of the Treasury said it opted to extend the embargo on jewellery specifically “due to continuing concerns, including with respect to labour and human rights in specific sectors,” as the sale of gemstones benefits the country’s ruling military junta. This is of course important news for the gem industry as Burmese rubies are considered the best in the world, they are prized for their “pigeon blood red” colour and nearly 90% of the world’s rubies come from there. Thus the already steep price hike in recent years of rubies will probably continue to rise. While on one hand Obama’s government should be applauded for this move, as the human rights in the mining sectors of Burma are still atrocious. However a more cynical view is that it is unfair to ban just the gem merchants in dealing with Burma when other Burmese imports have no embargo on them at all.

Read more: Obama again renews ban on Burmese rubies [top]


Pandora’s US sales up 56%
Even though we are still in a global economic melt down, people are still wanting to buy jewellery as proven by the latest sales figures from Pandora. The company recently reported that continued strength in the U.S. market is driving its sales in the Americas, with U.S. revenues climbing more than 50 percent in the second quarter. During the quarter, jewellery classified as “other,” including the new silver bangles and leather bracelets, recorded the sharpest increase in sales, jumping 324%. Charm sales increased 43 percent during the quarter, silver and gold bracelet sales were up 31 percent and sales of rings climbed 18 percent.

Read more: Pandora’s US sales up 56% in Q2 [top]


The Pink Panther Strikes again!

Police examine the crime scene at the Carlton Cannes jewellery

Police examine the crime scene at the Carlton Cannes jewellery, after it was raided on 28 July. Photograph: Bebert Bruno/SIPA/Rex Features

Police examine the crime scene at the Carlton Cannes jewellery, after it was raided on 28 July. Photograph: Bebert Bruno/SIPA/Rex Features

No this isn’t the film, this is about the Pink Panther Diamond Thieves, and yes, they have struck again, or that is what the police suspect anyway! The Pink Panther group has been operating for a suspected 13 years. Police believe that they might be ex-military, and so far have amassed a stolen diamond fortune of $330 million. Police have now named them as the chief suspects behind the Cannes Carleton Hotel Heist.

Read more: Carlton Cannes jewellery heist bears hallmarks of Pink Panther gang [top]


$1.3 million reward offered in wake of Cannes jewel heist
Speaking of the Cannes Carleton Hotel Heist, a reward of $1.3 million has now been offered by a French risk manager working for Lloyd’s of London for the first person who provides information which leads to recovery of the stolen jewels.

Read more: $1.3 million reward offered in wake of Cannes jewel heist [top]


Latest Jewellery Trends

Beyonce gold vampire grill

Beyonce flashes gold vampire grill (Photo: NYDailyNews.com)

In the last newsletter I reported on the rise of the “Push Present” in case you missed this, the push present is a present a father gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth to their child. The latest trend however that comes out of celebville belies all reason, mouth grills! Also known as fronts or golds, a grill is a purely decorative piece of jewellery designed to be worn over one or more teeth. Made of metal and in some cases even studded with gemstones. Celebrities are always searching for the next thing to bling and now it seems it’s their pearly whites! Beyonce was seen shopping wearing hers, while Rihanna and Miley Cyrus have had theirs made to look like diamond fangs. This trend seems to be trickling down rather quickly to the masses too, as according to ebay mouth grills have trebled in sales in the last month!

Read more: Beyonce flashes gold vampire grill: Celebrity teeth makeovers [top]


Company News
Day by day thegembank.com is adding more and more stones to the website and now we’ve started adding videos.

Now I know that many of you are looking for prices on our site and you can’t find them. As we move over to our new online system we are making it a priority to our prices back online. Please bear with us. Thanks

Visit our blog, this month we feature August’s stone of the month, beautiful green peridot and vibrant jade. I do hope you are enjoying our bi-monthly newsletters. If you have a story or something you would like us to feature please feel free to let me know

Goodbye for now

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