In recent weeks there have been growing signs that the volume of synthetic rough diamonds flowing into the pipeline is rising significantly. Most goods appear to be of Chinese origin, and in sizes from one point up to three quarters of a carat. What is particularly worrying is a definite rise in the incidence of synthetics stones in quite large parcels of rough diamonds, which its owners previously had assumed were all natural ... Right now we are seeing particular demand among members of the rough diamond trade, who have a particular need to defend the integrity of their product.
- Joseph Kuzi, CEO and President of Diamond Services, anounces expansion of its synthetic screening service in Hong Kong and New York due to rise of undisclosed rough synthetics in pipeline
Forevermark, the diamond brand from the De Beers Group of Companies, has expanded to 2,000 retail outlets globally with the intention of expanding by an additional 10% this year, said CEO Stephen Lussier. The opening of the 2,000th Forevermark outlet, the Zen Diamond Anatolium store in the city of Bursa in Turkey, was followed by an announcement of a strong 2016. The brand spent US$85 million on consumer-facing marketing activities in 2016 to help stimulate global demand for diamond jewelry.
De Beers Diamond Jewelers on Old Bond Street is considering leaving its flagship London store after almost 15 years, citing an increase in rent and business rates as motivating its decision to relocate, writes The Telegraph. A spokesperson for the company told The Telegraph increased costs related to its lease had led it to “explore alternative options on Bond Street” for its move.
"Last year, 1,669 jewelry businesses (including manufacturers and wholesalers) ceased operations in the United States, a 50 percent jump from 2015, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade", writes JCK's Rob Bates. In total, the number of jewelry businesses fell by 6%. He notes that a surprisingly large number of businesses closed their doors in the fourth quarter, traditionally a time when the trade is in full swing. Bates provides the gory details: 1,269 U.S.
Signet Jewelers has announced several organizational changes, "Designed to enable execution of key business priorities including strengthening customer service, enhancing digital capabilities and driving profitable growth." This includes the promotion of Sebastian Hobbs, UK Managing Director, to the newly created role of President and Chief Customer Officer, while two long-time executives will be retiring: Ed Hrabak, Signet Chief Operations Officer; and Tryna Kochanek, EVP, North American Store Operations.
Citing data from its RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI), Rapaport News writes, "Diamond manufacturing profits were squeezed in January amid strong rough demand while polished prices softened." Despite a disappointing holiday season, demand of rough is strong as jewelers will need to restock after the holiday season. This is demonstrated by De Beers' First Cycle sales of $720 million, its largest sight since July 2014.
Last week - on the occasion of the "Diamond Year" that the City of Antwerp will celebrate from October 2017 through February 2018 - the City of Antwerp dug deep into its "Insolvente Boedels" archive, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage resource, to reveal documents dating the diamond trade in Antwerp back to 1447 - or 570 years ago. The "crown jewel" of the documents revealed is an edict dating from 1447 in which the 'College of Mayor and Aldermen' decree that, "No one may trade in fake diamonds." The College was well ahead of its time.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded a 5% increase in revenue, reaching $40.08 billion (€37.6 billion). With an organic revenue growth of 8%, Q4 saw an acceleration compared to earlier in the year. Europe, the Unites States and Asia, excluding Japan, remain well positioned and continued to show significant improvement. This slower demand in Japan and France was likely due to the continued decline in the number of tourists. The strongest performers included fashion and leather goods (+34%) and wine (+13%).
U.S. retailers are under threat of having no option but to close their stores and move their business to the Internet, write Lindsey Rupp and Molly Smith for BloombergMarkets. In the last 18 months, over 5,000 stores have closed their doors, with an additional 10% of all U.S. retail spaces being forced to repurpose or close down altogether. Although consumer spending this holiday season (Nov-Dec) increased overall by 4% to $658.3 billion, ending slightly higher than earlier projections, this can be attributed to deep discounts and online purchases.
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
The Seattle-based online jeweler Blue Nile has partnered with online diamond buyback company Mondiamo to create what it calls a transparent process for those looking to sell their diamond jewelry, writes The Seattle Times. The service works like this: Customers enter details of their stone’s grading report on the site and receive a minimum guaranteed cash offer. (For non-GIA reports, the price is adjusted based on a proprietary algorithm.) If there is no report, no offer is given.
Rob Bates of JCK has gathered his sources to put together an overview of holiday jewelry sales and says that, "The data shows a mixed, but not altogether downbeat, picture. This year, holiday results appear to be all over the map—some independents did great; others recorded a 1 to 2 percent gain, which has become standard for many since the recession. In a surprise, we also saw mixed results at the mass-market level as well." Below are a few notable takeways from the information JCK has gathered.
According to Thomas Biesheuvel of Bloomberg, the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) - an international alliance of the world’s leading diamond mining companies whose mission is to protect and promote the integrity and reputation of diamonds, and of the diamond industry - will ask its backers to raise its budget to as much as $60 million a year. DPA chief executive officer Jean-Marc Lieberherr declined to comment on the article.
From De Beers' press release: Speaking at a reception for customers of its Global Sightholder Sales business during the first Sight of 2017, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO, today highlighted the importance of all parts of the diamond sector working together, following the unpredictable events of a volatile year in 2016.
Tiffany & Co. reported its sales results for the holiday period, the two months leading up to December 31, 2016. Worldwide net sales improved slightly as opposed to the previous year to $966 million from $961 million a year before, due to a sales growth in Asia-Pacific and Japan. These results were offset by lower sales in the Americas and Europe as worldwide comparable store sales declined by 2%.
Birks, a group that operates 46 luxury stores in Canada, Florida and Georgia reported an 11% sales increase this holiday season. In the U.S. sales increased by 16% whereas in Canada sales grew by 3% compared to the previous holiday season. The growth in sales was the result of the company’s success in growing its average sales transactions and conversion rates, reflecting the success of the company’s long-term sales growth strategies.
National Jeweler’s Editor-in-chief Michelle Graff made 3 Predictions regarding the retail market for 2017 based on current market trends and the way consumer demand is changing with the times. Retailers, including larger chains, will continue the 2016 trend of closing down. Women’s clothing retailer The Limited announced that they were closing all their stores and operating strictly online.
The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS Laboratories) announced the release of a new service offering - "Only My Diamond" - that allows suppliers and retailers to present the diamond to their customers by "bringing the grading report to life", and providing complete details on the 4Cs, with visual and descriptive explanations of the diamond characteristics. The service is an interactive online tool on AGSLab.com, providing an enhancement to AGS Laboratories' Diamond Quality Document (DQD) by offering supplementary diamond quality information.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver sat down with Joseph Pisani of the Associated Press to talk about how the diamond industry is trying to reach millennials, "the under-35-year-olds who may be more focused on paying off student loan debt than buying diamonds and getting hitched." The commercials the Diamond Producers Association launched in 2016 - the financing for which De Beers contributed to as member of the DPA - abandon the conventional view of diamonds purcha
The ‘Clicks and Bricks’ retail sales model for jewelry combines the strengths of online shopping and the bricks and mortar business model, a successful and growing formula that is providing great returns for companies like Ritani, writes Better Diamond Initiative (BDI). "Ritani, which was a wholesaler earlier, has transformed into an USD 50M online jewelry company. It is the 40th Most Promising Company of America according to the Forbes’s list", and the main reason is the combination of online and physical retailing.
Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a short film on its diamonds, highlighting their journey through Tiffany's vertically integrated supply chain from mine to their studio in Antwerp, from Antwerp to the company’s polishing workshops in Mauritius and their final journey to New York. The film gives the viewer unprecedented access inside from inside three critical junctures of the journey from responsible mining to sorting, marking, cutting, polishing, grading, setting – and finally, the famous Tiffany Blue Box®.
India's Titan Company said in a stock exchange filing that its performance in the October-December quarter was lifted by a 15 percent retail growth in its jewelry brand, Tanishq, despite India’s demonetization of the country’s ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes weakening consumer demand, writes Azman Usmani for Bloomberg Quiint. Titan Company Ltd.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
The diamond industry is changing, and the global environment in which we operate is changing too. There is a constant and inseparable interaction between the two. We must continue to evolve ... The diamond industry should change its traditional approach towards consumers. My proposed new approach towards current and future consumers is one based on openness and transparency. For most consumers, the diamond mining and manufacturing process is opaque. If we become more open about how diamonds reach the consumer, we will change the consumer’s perception of the diamond industry and of diamonds themselves. In my opinion, it is transparency that will transform end consumers’ behavior and bolster their confidence.
- Ehud Arye Laniado, from his "Year-End Wrap Up: How the Diamond Industry Can Move Forward in 2017"
Consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level since August 2001 as Americans were more upbeat about the outlook than at any time in the last 13 years, writes Bloomberg based on a report from the Conference Board, a New-York based independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December: the Index now stands at 113.7 (1985=100), up
In 2015, Chinese millennials - specifically women aged 18 to 34 - accounted for 68% of Chinese diamond sales, worth $6.76 billion last year, according to research by De Beers. Jily Ji, a 27-year unmarried college graduate: “We don’t have to passively wait to be gifted a diamond by a man, diamond jewelry is a natural way to express ourselves. It’s a far better investment than most fashion items as it won’t only gain value, but can also be passed down through the generations.” In their "Diamond Insight Report 2016" De Beers points out that U.S.
HRD Antwerp, the Antwerp based grading lab, officially opened a first Centre of Excellence in Shanghai, a concept that combines the strenghts of the grading lab and select retailers across the globe, aimed at increasing consumer confidence and knowledge by offering a true in-store experience.
De Beers newly appointed CEO, Bruce Cleaver, sat down with The New York Times regarding Diamonds and Millennials. In October the DPA, Diamond Producers association, launched their highly anticipated “Real Is Rare” campaign, partly funded by De Beers.
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Auction, which took place at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York on Wednesday, saw $51 million worth of jewelry go under the hammer. A GIA-certified Type IIa rectangular, 51.35-carat, D-color, VVS1 diamond fetched a whopping $5.6 million - over $108,000 per carat - well within the estimated $5 to $7 million.
The recently published Global Diamond Report 2016 prepared by Bain & Company and AWDC covers industry developments in 2015 and early 2016 and takes a close look at the millennial generation (roughly speaking, people born between 1980 and the early 2000s) as a new category of diamond buyers.
Bain & Company together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has published their sixth annual report on the global diamond jewelry trade, with the lead insight being that in 2015 - not a banner year by any stretch of the imagination - retail sales grew 3% at constant exchange rates but declined about 2% in US dollar terms due to currency depreciation and slower demand in China. This followed a period of growth from 2012 through 2014, signifying that diamond jewelry consumption has entered "a moderation phase".
Black Friday's online sales beat estimates as shoppers moved online for the shopping holiday, with mobile devices driving more purchases than ever, writes Adobe Digital Insights. ADI adds that this year's online sales shattered 2015's record as the convenience of mobile likely spurred more shoppers to make purchases remotely, rather than navigating crowded brick-and-mortar locations. ADI reported total online sales for the period Nov. 1-30 at $43.9B, with total online sales growth at 7.4%. Thanksgiving Day alone saw $1.15B of online sales for y-o-y growth of 13.6%.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from The De Beers Group of Companies, unveiled The Forevermark Black Label Collection, a new generation of beautiful fancy shape diamond cuts creating an exceptional sparkle. The brand developed its own propitiatory technology that maximizes the brilliance of each stone, as a diamonds beauty is intrinsically related to the way light is refracted. The new technology allows for perfectly symmetrical cuts which are presumed to be unprecedented in accuracy in every shape.
Tiffany & Co.’s shares rose by more than 6% following the announcement of their third quarter update, reporting the jeweler’s first sales growth in over 2 years. Net sales worldwide advanced by 1% to $949 million, and comparable store sales declined 2%. These figures reflect the mixed results across geographic regions and the various product categories. Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany’s chief executive officer, said “We are encouraged by early signs of improvement in sales, but we clearly need more positive data over time before this can be considered an inflection point.”
In response to Walmart selling their $18,000 Diamond Watch on walmart.com, Cartier issued a statement clarifying that Walmart is not authorized to sell its products. Walmart has more than tripled its online offering of products over the past year, and made headlines last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that a third-party vendor, New York-based Jewelry Unlimited, was selling a $18,000 diamond watch by Cartier on walmart.com on Black Friday. Cartier took aim at Walmart on Monday, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of the watches sold via walmart.com.
The Timex Group Swiss Luxury Division - which manages the watch business for luxury fashion brands Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus and Nautica through licensing agreements - is the latest company to leave the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. According to Paolo Marai, president and CEO of the division of the Timex Group, the money the company spends participating in Baselworld - $3 million - could be better spent elsewhere. “I think that Baselworld is a huge investment for everybody and is in my opinion losing some effectiveness,” he said.
On November 14, Richemont announced they would cut 210 jobs, this following the announcement from Chairman Johann Rupert, who abolished the CEO position in the company’s biggest management shakeup since 2009.
Chow Tai Fook, the Hong Kong based jewelry powerhouse that has taken Asia by storm, operating more than 1,800 stores in Mainland China, has finally made its way to the U.S.
The group opened their first shop-in-shop at Macy’s in Flushing Queens, colloquially referred to as ‘the Chinese Manhattan’, on November 12 2016. The shop spans approximately 500 square feet, and is based in one of the most dynamic districts in New York City with a large customer base of immigrants and tourists.
Two investment bubbles, 340 years apart, provide living proof of Edmund Burke’s famous observation that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Rough diamond broker and founder and president of N.Rothmann, Nurit Rothmann recounts the history of two remarkably similar speculative bubbles: the spectactular rise and sudden collapse of the tulip market in 1637 and the rough diamond market in the late 1970's and early '80s. Reprinted here by special arrangement.
Citing data from the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), Rapaport News writes that jewelry business closures in the U.S. increased 31 percent to 416 nationwide in the third quarter, although most companies had “ceased operations,” which means they closed for reasons other than financial difficulty or consolidation. "These totaled 392, representing a 42 percent jump from a year ago. Bankruptcies crept up to 10 cases from nine a year earlier.
In her recent article for Bloomberg, "Happy Couples Don't Buy Diamonds Online the Way They Used To," Polly Mosendz analyzes the changing landscape for diamond engagement rings - and in particular the online sales thereof. She notes firstly the trend for diamond rings to change hands online in way they never did previously, resulting in tremendous growth in the second-hand market.
In a surprise announcement, online jeweler Blue Nile said Monday that it has entered into an agreement to be taken private by an investor group comprised of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. The all-cash deal is valued at $500 million.
According to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Chinese Consumer in 2030” (paywall) released this week, 35 percent of China’s population is predicted to be “upper-middle class” or above by 2030, reports Jing Daily. EIU's summary introducing the report states, "The traditional drivers of China’s economy, investment and exports, are struggling, but the country’s consumers keep spending.
Jing Daily writes that according to Bain & Company’s annual industry "Bain Luxury Study" report, 2016 marks the first time in history that Chinese consumers contributed less to global luxury sales than they did the year before, despite China’s luxury market growth re-emerging into positive territory after two years of recession.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has enlisted American rapper, actor, comedian, entrepreneur and record producer Nick Cannon to find contemporary answers to the question implied in "Why Real is Rare": a short docu-film which is the latest iteration of the DPA's "Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond" campaign. The film explores how and when couples realize their connection has become a commitment. What makes finding the real thing so rare among couples in contemporary culture?
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan takes a close look at US consumers' polished diamond purchasing trends based on data that retail metrics research firm NPD collected from nearly 4,000 specialty jewelry retailers. Golan says that, "One of the biggest issues in the diamond industry, especially in the manufacturing sector, is a lack of impartial and detailed data about consumer purchasing habits.
The weakening of the yuan against the Hong Kong dollar is making life even more difficult for the city’s retailers, with brands forced to raise prices of local goods for mainland visitors to offset the yuan's fall amid an already weak tourism industry, writes the South China Morning Post.
Anyone telling you that lab created diamonds are cheaper [than natural] is straight out lying (they just use weaker certificates to make inflated quality claims; the oldest scam in the book) ... You shouldn’t ignore value entirely. Say an average natural diamond retains roughly 50% of its value after purchase. Eventually the value of the diamond will rise, so if you ever try to sell it, you should be getting at least half (or possibly much more) of the original purchase price. Lab-created synthetic diamonds have no resale value. So, from a value perspective, you would need to buy the lab-created diamond at a massive discount to justify giving up the value retention of natural diamonds ... The companies selling lab-grown diamonds claim that their diamonds are 30-40% cheaper. That is an outright lie. So If you are planning on buying a diamond and looking to get the best bang for your buck, natural diamonds are a far better choice than man-made diamonds.
- The Diamond Pro, on the losing value proposition of synthetic diamonds.
A major U.S. jewelry manufacturer and retailer Stuller and Dominion Diamond Corp. have partnered to bring CanadaMark melee diamonds to the U.S. market, writes Logan Sachon for JCK.
What do Millennials want? A question the entire diamond trade has been posing. Millennials are obsessed with the concept of individualism and crafting a unique persona, so why should selecting their engagement ring be any different? Many brides-to-be prefer receiving or even designing a ring that suits their unique personalities. Brilliant Earth, a sustainable jewelry company that offers a create-your-own option, analyzed engagement-ring shopping behavior in the U.S.
Wedding planner website The Knot asks a common question to diamond ring purchasers: “How can you be sure your stone is conflict-free?” The fact that this question is still a concern to consumers even today, when ‘conflict diamonds’ have been all but eliminated from the supply chain, points to a misconception that most, if not all natural diamonds are considered conflict diamonds. But what exactly is a ‘conflict diamond’? Why do people still hold to the misconception that there is a great risk of buying them? And what steps can consumers take to be absolutely certain?
The campaign is about the appreciation of a husband for his wife for the little things that she does which makes his life, a life worth living. The wife is at the core of the commercial and depicts how she is the soul of the household and how everyone’s life is better because of the love care and concern she shows them and how she completes them. It signifies that every woman is the diamond in her husband’s life and is truly deserving of a diamond as appreciation of all the effort she puts in for her family.
- From press release on Oct. 11 launch of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council and De Beers Group campaign, “Ek Heera Aapke Heere ke Liye” (Only a diamond is worthy of your diamond).
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded a 4% increase in revenue, reaching $29 billion (€26.3 billion), for the first nine months of 2016, the group announced in a press release. Organic revenue grew 5% compared to the same period in 2015. With organic revenue growth of 6%, Q3 saw an acceleration compared to the first half of the year. Asia showed a significant improvement during the quarter. The United States remains well positioned, as does Europe.
Under the slogan, "Bring out any truth hidden behind your jewel that promised natural diamonds", the Dharmanandan Research Centre (DRC Techno) announces the J-Secure synthetic screenig device. Claiming it to be the, "World's first instrument that detects synthetic diamonds in studded jewelry", DRC says it will detect synthetic diamonds as small as in the -2 sieve size (0.003 carats) that have been jewelry. DRC is best known for producing D-Secure, which detects synthetics in loose diamonds.
Helen H. Wang, an award-winning author and expert on China’s middle class, writes for Forbes that Chinese millennials, in addition to their burgeoning numbers (by 2020, Chinese millennials are expected to reach 300 million strong, compared to 80 million in the U.S.) have two distinct advantages over their U.S. counterparts: no student loan debt and no housing expenses. According to China National Administration of Tourism, writes Wang, more than 120 million Chinese traveled abroad in 2015, spending $194 billion.
Earlier this week, Michelle Graff of National Jeweler reported that Tiffany's had been awarded $5.5 million in their legal dispute with Costco. A New York jury has now ruled that wholesale merchandiser Costco must pay them an additional $8.25 million, potentially bringing the total to $13.75 million pending the judges verdict.
JCK's Emili Vesilind digs into Cassandra's SHOP Report, which its website describes as, "A deep dive into young consumers' habits and attitudes around the future of retail, shopping, and spending," and aims to provide, "a comprehensive portrait of the evolving ways Gen Y (also known as Millennials) and Gen Z are approaching the purchasing process and the dynamic role that brands are playing in the lives of these influential young consumers." Vesilind writes, "Emily Anatole, Cassandra’s associate insights director,
The highly anticipated launch of the Diamond Producers Association's "Real is rare. Real is a diamond" category marketing campaign is finally a fait accompli. Two intense ads featuring young couples will air on broadcast television and various digital platforms such as Hulu alongside a social media push. The Diamond Producers Association has also planned a major public relations initiative in its efforts to reintroduce young Americans to the appeal of a real diamond.
The Chinese National Day holiday period - also known as Golden Week - started October 1 and runs until October 7. It is the most important period after Chinese New Year in terms of the number of Chinese travelers, writes Jing Daily.