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News

  1. Q1 Gold Jewellery Demand Soft, Says WGC
  2. Jewellery Buying Groups Formed New Global Alliance
  3. Singapore to Host Jewellery & Gem World 2022
  4. ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Premiered in Tiffany’s 2022 High Jewellery Collection
  5. Christie’s to Auction ‘The Light of Africa’ for $18M in June
  6. New Board of Directors were elected to Jewellery Exporters Association of Turkey
  7. Oroarezzo back with Première Competition
  8. ‘De Beers Blue’ auctions US$57.5M at Sotheby’s
  9. CTF launches Mother’s Day collection
  10. Jewelers of America Announces The 2022 CASE Award Winners
  11. De Beers: Diamond Businesses Staying Cautious About Business Expectations
  12. Synthetic Alexandrite Pioneer David Patterson Dies at 89
  13. 205 CARAT FANCY INTENSE YELLOW DIAMOND GENEVA MAGNIFICENT JEWELS | 11 MAY 2022
  14. Rebecca Foerster Appointed As President of Hearts On Fire
  15. US Steps Up Sanctions Against Alrosa
  16. PGI Study Findings: Consumers Have Different Interpretations of Sustainability
  17. Irving Wong Appointed as Pandora’s General Manager For China
  18. Rolex’s 6 New Watches Unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva
  19. Sixième Sens par Cartier High Jewellery: Heteractis Ring
  20. Will Russian Diamond Ban Help Foster Lab-Grown Diamond Business?
  21. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  22. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  23. JEWELLERY GENEVA Takes Place between 30 March and 3 April 2022
  24. Christie’s Presents 228 carat White Dimond
  25. Gold Bar Integrity Programme to be Implemented
  26. Press Release: BONHAMS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BRUUN RASMUSSEN AUCTIONEERS – DENMARK’S LEADING AUCT
  27. Early Spring Fashion for Natural Diamonds
  28. Jennifer Garner Shines in De Beers Jewellers at the Premiere in New York
  29. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, “Cartier Women’s Initiative Impact Report”
  30. American Gem Trade Association Announces Partnership with JCK Show Again
  31. Chow Tai Fook and Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds Sign Supply Agreement
  32. Registration Is Open for 2022 JCK Show
  33. Alrosa Caught Up in U.S. Sanctions
  34. Tawhid Abdullah Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
  35. The Largest Blue Diamond Appears at Sotheby’s Auction
  36. Price Rise for Nearly 90% Of Fancy Colour Last Year
  37. Dickson Yewn’s Collectibles Given for Sotheby’s Charity Auction
  38. De Beers Boosts Production
  39. Watches & Wonders Geneva To Be Held In Hybrid Format
  40. Jewellery, Gem & Technology Dubai to Debut February
  41. Hong Kong Losing its Dominance as the World's Largest Watch Market
  42. Gift Guide for CNY
  43. Press Release: Sotheby’s Announces New Appointments To Luxury Team In ASsia
  44. Georg Jensen Becomes a Certified Member of RJC
  45. 555.55-carat Black Dimond Unveiled at Sotheby’s Auction
  46. GIA Appoints Anna Martin as SVP for Institute, Industry Relations
  47. Alrosa Boosts Direct Sales of Fancy Diamonds to Investors
  48. CIBJO General Assembly postponed to March 17 and 18, 2022
  49. 7,525 Carat Emerald Discovered
  50. Karl Lagerfeld Jewellery Collections to Shine
  51. Diamonds Travel To The Space
  52. Vicenzaoro January postponed to March
  53. America’s Youngest Jeweller Starts Business via Instagram
  54. Concerns over conflict gold arise again
  55. The 1st International Gemstone & Diamond Trade Summit Wraps Up in Macao
  56. The Knot’s Study:Over 30% of Respondents Say Natural Diamond Unimportant
  57. Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year: Very Peri
  58. Phillips Jewellery Auctions Fetch over HK$181 Million
  59. The World’s First Pure Gold Castle of Magical Dreams by CHOW TAI FOOK
  60. Jewellery Sales Jumped 78% During the Thanksgiving Holiday
  61. Gem Auctions DMCC’s Debut Auction Successful
  62. Cartier’s Christmas Tree Lights Up the City with Love and Hope
  63. Rediscovering Lacloche in Hong Kong
  64. Blue diamonds to lead Christie’s HK autumn sale
  65. JMA show to stage next Thursday
  66. HK auction to help Cambodian kids
  67. Basel fair cancelled again
  68. HKDI show to continue in Dec
  69. Gemfields sells 7,500-carat emerald for good
  70. Sustainability is key to diamond purchases, a report says
  71. Christie’s Geneva jewellery sale fetches CHF53.7m
  72. Cibjo forms working group on fei cui standards
  73. Only Watch raises CHF30m for DMD research
Read More...


HIGHLIGHT

  1. US market unfolds changes and potential
  2. The queen of gems, the gem of queens
  3. Classics return

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  • A pair of blue lab-grown diamonds offered by Lightbox, 0.5 carat (Photo courtesy: Lightbox)
  • A number of individual designers are offering sustainable jewellery, as exemplified by this carved tagua seed and ebony bracelet by USA-based Alexandra Mor. (Photo courtesy: Alexandra Mor)
  • Several gem dealers are specializing in responsibly sourced gems, such as USA-based Columbia Gem House, which features these Montana sapphires. (Photo courtesy: Columbia Gem House)
  • To mine emeralds in Shakiso, Ethiopia, a cooperative was set up to involve and benefit the entire community. Shown here, miners chisel in the rock to collect the emeralds. (Photo courtesy: Bu’aObsa Mineral Development Share Company)
  • MTC has created a separate cutting factory, Esmeraldas de los Andes, in the Free Trade Zone in Bogota, thus giving employment to the community. (Photo courtesy: MTC)
  • As one of its non-mine CSR efforts, Fura Gems supports the training of 30 people to ultimately open a bakery in the Coscuez mining area, which reduces the time to get baked goods from other towns. (Photo courtesy: Fura Gems)

What is shaping the jewellery industry in 2019?

By Cynthia Unninayar

On a global basis, jewellery accounts for about 17 percent of retail apparel sales, as consumers spend approximately US$349 billion per year on personal adornment. This breaks down into about US$42 billion for luxury jewellery (precious metals, diamonds and coloured gemstones) and US$307 billion for lower-priced fashion jewellery, according to Euromonitor International (EI). The United States leads in luxury jewels, followed by Japan, France, China and Italy. The largest consumers of fashion jewellery are China, the States, India, Japan and Hong Kong. EI estimates that 2.7 billion pieces are sold annually, although there is huge regional variation in the cost (average price is US$102) and quantity purchased. By country, China is the world’s largest consumer of gold, jade, pearls and coloured gemstones, as well as the second largest consumer of diamonds.

Sales have also been on the rise overall. In a study commissioned by Alrosa, global jewellery sales grew five percent during Q2 2018, and were up in all the major regions, except for India. The most significant increases occurred in the Asia-Pacific area (+17 percent), due to the proliferation of local players coupled with a strong demand for diamond jewellery in China. Revenue increases varied from three percent to five percent in Europe, North America and Japan. The exception of India was due in part to the Goods and Service Tax enacted in 2017, which impacted sales, and the recent scandals involving a few large jewellery brands that caused consumer confidence to be shaken. Yet, in 2019, the market is expected to expand, thanks to more middle and upper middle households—the main purchasers of jewellery in India.

The overall predicted increase in global retail sales for 2019, especially in Asia, is attributed to the growing numbers of women in the workplace, an increase of per-capita GDP, a rising middle class, declining gold and silver prices, soaring global urban populations and more digital buyers. Yet, there are challenges for 2019, involving changing attitudes of the millennials and Gen Z’ers, many of whom are putting off marriage and children or who are opting for more experiential purchases.

Ethics and CSR

While the diamond sector has long been dominated by large corporations, we are now seeing this playing out to a certain degree in the coloured gemstone sector, where large companies, public and private, are becoming major players. They are mining emeralds in Zambia, Colombia, Ethiopia and Madagascar, along with rubies in Greenland and Mozambique. One of the newcomers is Fura Gems, which has acquired controlling interest in the iconic Coscuez emerald mine in Colombia and recently purchased a large number of licenses for ruby exploration in Mozambique. Another major emerald and ruby player is Gemfields, which mines in emeralds in Zambia and rubies in Mozambique, among other activities. They are shortening the supply chain by auctioning their gems directly to large cutting and polishing companies, and consequently altering the marketing and sales models of rough and faceted stone dealers, manufacturers, retailers and, of course, artisanal and small-scale miners. As a result, the lines are increasingly being blurred between buyers, dealers and jewellery manufacturers.

These large companies are also placing greater emphasis on responsible sourcing, ethical supply chains and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In Colombia, for example, companies such as The Muzo Companies (TMC), which purchased the iconic Puerto Arturo mine in Muzo a decade ago) and Fura Gems have not only modernised the mines and made them safer, they also offer a fair wage and social and health benefits. These companies also understand the need to help the community in general in the mining areas and are supporting a variety of non-mine programs while protecting the environment. Among them is “Furatena Cacao,” a sustainable cocoa cultivation project of TMC, and a bakery and sewing centre supported by Fura Gems. Similar CSR actions are undertaken by Gemfields in its operations in Zambia and Mozambique.

On a much smaller scale, but with CSR top of mind, is the cooperative in Shakiso, Ethiopia, which was created to mine emeralds. This way, the entire community benefits either directly and indirectly from the area’s high quality green gems. There are also many examples of dealers helping local communities, especially in Africa to extract the gems in a safer and more sustainable manner.

In 2019, it will become increasingly important for consumers to know that not only has their diamond or gemstone been sourced responsibly, but that its entire supply chain is ethical, literally from mine to market, including the manufacturer and retailer. This shows them that the industry cares about how its products benefit the communities that produce them.

Traceability and blockchain

An important part of responsible sourcing and an ethical supply chain is traceability. One of the projects in this regard is the “Emerald Paternity Test” (EPT). Developed by Swiss-based Gübelin Lab, EPT has been initiated with several industrial miners. It involves placing nano-particles into a rough crystal at the mine, which can then be traced throughout the emerald’s supply chain, with the ability to trace it back to its origin. While its efficacy has been shown for industrial mining, it has yet to be shown suitable for small-scale mining, unless “they can be organised into a larger group,” notes Daniel Nyfeler, managing director.

Blockchain technology, originally devised for Bitcoin, is also being used in the jewellery and gem industry to trace diamonds and coloured gems from mine to market. Carrie George, vice president, head of sustainability solutions at Everledger which works with both diamond and coloured gem producers states: “The use of blockchain technology for provenance tracking can offer new levels of transparency, standards and simplified market entry, which are highly beneficial for all stakeholders, thus enabling greater prosperity to societies and contributing towards a more sustainable future.”

Lab-grown diamonds

When De Beers announced its new Lightbox brand of lab-grown diamonds, tremors swept through the diamond industry. Applauded by some, disdained by others, man-made diamonds have been around for more than 60 years, and are here to stay. With advances in technology, larger higher-quality diamonds can be produced at lower prices. Today, for a CVD lab-grown gem-quality diamond, prices are around US$300 to $500 per carat compared to US$4,000 per carat a decade ago. With a decline in production costs, retail prices have also dropped—nearly by half in the last two years alone.

According to a report by Bain & Company in association with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), “The current gem-quality, lab-grown polished diamond capacity is estimated at two million carats, the majority of which is melee (diamond size less than 0.18 carats).” The report adds that this amount could increase in the next few years but that “manufacturing capacity will be a major limiting factor in the short to medium term.”

As technology improves, these man-made stones are being produced in larger sizes and in different colours. Because high-quality natural pink and blue diamonds sell for thousands if not millions of dollars, De Beers, via Lightbox, is now selling lab-grown pinks and blues for hundreds of dollars, making them affordable for the average person. Importantly, too, since they are not mined, lab-grown stones avoid the possibility of being labelled as “conflict diamonds”—a definite selling point for some consumers.

Online sales

Internet retail sales continue to climb. In Asia, for example, even total online sales are still relatively low, the online jewellery market is one of the region’s fastest growing industries. In North America and Europe, the convenience of comparing jewels and prices online has also led to an increase in internet purchases. In contrast, Japanese consumers prefer to buy their jewels in brick-and-mortar stores.

In India, the major cities are driving growth in the online jewellery sector. Large dealers are even offering certificates of authenticity in order to build customer confidence. Indians in the age group 24-35 years are driving demand for online jewellery in the country, where there are more than 20 e-commerce companies operating in the jewellery domain.

Internet sales are not, however, limited to lower-priced or fashion jewellery. Jumping online are also the global luxury brands and other fine jewellers. Tiffany & Co, for example, partnered with Net-A-Porter, to offer pieces from the Tiffany T Collection for a limited time. Social media The use of social media, especially Instagram, continues to rise around the world, particularly in North America and Europe, and is having an impact on the way brands interact with consumers. With access to a wider audience and considerably less expense compared to traditional advertising channels, brands are now able to see what potential clients want, and so can adjust their products accordingly.

When making purchasing decisions, younger consumers, especially Gen Z, are more likely to consider the opinions of social influencers, the “likes” on social platforms and customer reviews. It has therefore become necessary for the industry “to rethink its marketing and sales strategies. Self-purchase sales and social media shopping are expected to increase, attracting younger generations of diamond buyers with distinct preferences,” adds the report by Bain & Co.

Being branded

Today’s jewellery industry is primarily local—at least for now. Branded jewellery accounts for about 20 percent of the industry, yet its share has doubled over the last 15 years. There are several reasons for this increase. Some people wear branded jewellery to show off their newly acquired wealth; some turn to brands as a way to express themselves; while others feel they can trust the brands to deliver on their brand promise.

This trend towards branded jewellery will be difficult for small designers and artisans who don’t have the funds for large marketing campaigns. One option for them, though, is to seek distribution through joint sites or multi-brand stores that feature “new” designers as well as luxury “brands”.

Having said that, however, we are seeing a minor trend towards “natural” jewellery, generally by artisans, which features uncommon gems such as geodes, fossils, meteorites, agates and a number of decorative stones, often in their non-facetted state. Many of today’s consumers are also looking for more personalization and individuality in their jewels, which are often found with non-branded artisans.

Changes are under way, in both the industry and in consumer behaviour. It is not enough to just do business as usual. Industry players must be aware of these changes and adapt, or risk getting left behind.

 

 

By Cynthia Unninayar

 

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