Hong Kong’s retail sales of jewelry, watches and other valuables in January 2019 were up 4.7% year-on-year after falling by 5% in December, according to statistics released by the HK government, as increased tourism from the Mainland and early Lunar New Year shopping lifted overall retail sales. The Hong Kong Tourism Board reported that January tourist arrivals rose to 6.78 million, up 27% from January last year, with the number of visitors from the Mainland - good for more than 80% of the total visitors - increasing by 35%.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and Signet Jewelers have published the first results of their ASSURE Program to independently and objectively test the performance of laboratory-grown diamond detectors (Diamond Verification Instruments). The program intends to eventually test and identify each machine on the market concerning how well they detected or referred man-made stones, including the rate at which they gave false positives.
Signet Jewelers, which claims to be "the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry," is asking its employees in Akron, Ohio and Dallas, Texas to apply for "voluntary buyouts". The buyout program was communicated to all Akron employees (2,600) and 780 in Dallas in a series of staff memos issued a week ago. The announcement came as Signet, which operates more than 3,500 stores including Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda, tries to cut costs as part of its “Path to Brilliance” business plan, spokesman David Bouffard said.
BV Schmuck & Uhren (BVSU) has become the first German jewelry trade association to become a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). The association, which was founded in 1947 and represents nearly 170 medium-sized companies at the national, European and international levels, announced its decision at the recently concluded Inhorgenta Munich show.
Holiday retail sales in the U.S. during 2018 grew a lower-than-expected 2.9 percent over the same period in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), falling short of their forecast that holiday sales would grow between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent. From November 1 through December 31 reached $707.5 billion, according to figures from the Commerce Department, whose results were delayed by nearly a month because of the recent government shutdown.
The average expenditure on an engagement ring in the U.S. stayed flat in 2018 at $3,388, fitting the new pattern of economizing on the big day and a slight shift away from including an engagement ring, according to a survey from The Wedding Report. The survey concluded that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. declined by 4%, from $25,764 in 2017 to $24,723 in 2018.
Americans are expected to spend a record amount on Valentine’s Day this year despite a years-long decrease in the percentage of people celebrating the holiday, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Of the estimated $20.7 billion the NRF expects US consumers to spend on the holiday, almost $4 billion will be on jewelry, putting it at the top of the list, despite the fact that only 18% of people surveyed are planning to gift jewelry (26% men, 9% women).
Gübelin Gem Lab in Switzerland has launched the first colored gemstone blockchain which will track the provenance of gemstones at every step along the supply chain. Called the Provenance Proof Blockchain, its purpose is to provide the industry with a tool that enables genuine transparency concerning the origin and movement of gemstones. A gemstone’s journey begins at the mine, which is where the blockchain ideally starts.
In 2014, I wrote that the lab-grown diamond industry was out-promoting the natural. That is even more pronounced now. I don’t get many pitches from natural diamond companies. And some of the pitches I do get are kind of dull. By contrast, I get at least two or three pitches on lab-grown diamonds a week. My Facebook feed is inundated with ads for lab-grown companies. The man-made segment claims only a single-digit percentage of the market, but it appears to be doing an outsized percentage of the marketing ... The fact is, the natural diamond industry made itself vulnerable to the threat of lab-growns. The industry didn’t promote its product for a decade. Everything that is happening now with lab-grown diamonds was predictable. The industry knew they were coming for decades. But the trade also failed to understand that the rest of the world wouldn’t see the two products the same way it does.
- Rob Bates, award-winning journalist at JCK, from his article, "The Lab-Grown Diamond Industry Is Still Out-Hustling the Natural"
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded revenue of €46.8 billion in 2018, an increase of 10% over the previous year. LVMH's results have upset prevailing wisdom about the health of China’s shoppers with its latest results. The luxury bellwether, which owns some of the world’s most valuable brands including Christian Dior and Givenchy, said Tuesday that demand from Chinese consumers strengthened in the three months through December, defying analysts' expectations for a decline in luxury spending.
Signet Jewelers, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, announced its same-store sales fell 1.3% to $1.84 billion during the "Holiday Season" (the 9 weeks ended January 5, 2019) as the company failed to get enough demand from its legacy product lines and enough traffic in their stores during key weeks in December. For the current quarter ending Feb. 2, it now expects same-store sales to be down 1.6% to $2.5%.
One of the bellwether jewelry brands and the largest jeweler in China, Chow Tai Fook, has reported that same-store-sales of gem-set jewelry in Q4 2018 declined by 5% in mainland China and 8% in Hong Kong and Macau “amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment.” This marks the first quarterly decline in two years for the company despite China’s lowering of its jewelry import tax by an average of 20.7 percent last summer, which was expected to bolster sales.
Signet Jewelers' online diamond bridal jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com has officially opened its new concept retail store in Georgetown, Washington DC. The brick-and-mortar location is a first for the online retailer, and is intended to lure and engage consumers by encouraging them to interact with the product as well as their staff. The initiative launches Signet's effort to draw traffic to their digital platform while tapping into the "immersive" experiential aspect shopping, a combination favored particularly by the younger generations.
53 million Americans plan to buy a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. 21% (1-in-5) Americans plan to purchase a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with men and millennials among the most likely to be in the market for a diamond this holiday season. 35% of millennials plan to purchase a diamond, and more than 1-in-10 plan to buy a diamond engagement ring (13%), while 27% of men plan to purchase a diamond and 11% plan to buy an engagement ring.
- Diamond Producers Association, findings from a recent survey.
Tiffany & Co's worldwide net sales increased 4% to $1.0 billion in the third quarter, with higher spending by local customers noted across the board, but a decline in purchases by Chinese tourists in the United States and Hong Kong put a dent in the jeweler’s Q3 results. The stock market took notice, as shares of Tiffany & Co. plunged 12 percent following their publication of the results, as industry analysts had been anticipating better results.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) has told The Times of India (TOI) that it has no plans to lift the ban on trading synthetic diamonds in the bourse, a rule that entered into force in 2015 following a spate of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic goods.
Monday afternoon in Brussels at the opening of the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary session, World Diamond Council (WDC) President Stephane Fischler urged the delegation to support the strengthening the KP by expanding the definition of conflict diamonds (Read full speech). The expanded definition proposed by the Canadian government includes diamonds associated with widespread and systematic violence.
Jewelry maker Pandora, known for its charm bracelets, reported Tuesday that Q3 sales in the U.S. fell 12% year-over-year to $153.2 million (DKK 1 billion), while worldwide revenue decreased 3% in local currency to $765.8 million (DKK 5 billion). The "unsatisfactory" results prompted the company to reduce its sales and profit margin guidance for this year following revenue declines in consecutive quarters, and is now saying it expected sales in local currencies to increase by between 4 and 7 percent this year, compared with the 7-10 percent it previously projected.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Alibaba Group announced today that they have entered an exclusive partnership to offer Antwerp certified diamonds directly to Chinese consumers via Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, Tmall. The cooperation agreement was signed in the framework of the first China International Import Expo (CIEE), which is being held this week in Shanghai.
Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.
An interim order regarding the liquidations sales of 142 stores that Sears plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization recognizes the ownership rights of vendors that have supplied merchandise to the retailer on memo. Those vendors, which include diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue and jewelry supplier Vijay Gold Designs, objected to Sears' plans to close the stores because the stores held goods supplied by the vendors on consignment and believed Sears would to sell their merchandise “whether they own it or not.”
The world's two largest diamond miners are joining forces to provide enhanced assurance for consumers and trade participants about the provenance and authenticity of their diamonds, as ALROSA has joined De Beers' blockchain pilot program - Tracr.
Chow Tai Fook has announced its partnership with native New York designer Vera Wang on a fine jewelry collection launching October 19, 2018 in Mainland China. "Bringing together the foremost Chinese-American designer in the fashion industry and the renowned fine jewelry company in Greater China," the announcement reads, the new collection will "cater to the modern Chinese bride, who has begun to incorporate diamond jewelry into traditional engagements," moving beyond the traditional gold and jade usually worn by brides in China.
Amazon's filing for a trademark, "For Keeps by Amazon", makes it appear likely that the e-tail giant might be on the verge of launching a new jewelry brand. According to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office on September 19, the patent is for “online retail sales of jewelry, namely precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith."
Farfetch (FTCH), the London-based luxury fashion e-tailer, has just pulled off one of the largest IPOs of the year.
The Millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewelry sales in 2017, as diamond jewelry demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to data published today by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report.
Last week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerpsche Diamantkring - the only rough diamond bourse in the world - featuring internationally-recognized experts from across the spectrum of the diamond trade, including alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.
Signet Jewelers' CEO Gina Drosos said the brand will follow consumer demand when deciding whether the company will start selling lab-grown diamonds in its stores, which currently number about 3,500 (3,000 in North America, 500 international). Industry insiders have told us they suspect decision has already been made. The CEO made the remark during a conference call about Signet's Q2 2019 results.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) last week published an article on a most curious discovery: "One Natural Melee Diamond Found in Large Batch of HPHT Synthetic Melee".
Tracr, the end-to-end diamond industry blockchain being developed by De Beers Group in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has announced the appointment of Jim Duffy as General Manager to lead the next phase of the platform’s development. Duffy assumes the new role as the platform starts to build greater scale, with more than $100 million worth of rough diamonds having been registered on the platform since the launch of the pilot in January 2018.
Tiffany & Co. announced earlier this week it would undertake a three-year renovation of its iconic flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, made famous by the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and "one of the most recognized jewelry retail spaces in the world," according to Anthony DeMarco.
The Diamond Producers Association recently released a statement addressing the controversial changes the US's FTC has adopted regarding the definition and description of diamonds, among other issues.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has responded to the revised U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) guidelines released last week as they relate to the issue of descriptors for diamonds. The industry body regrets the "bias towards the lab-grown diamond sector", said WFDB President Ernie Blom, adding, "we do not feel that the views of the diamond sector were taken sufficiently into account", and called for the FTC to revisit their decision.
A full house at the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, including stakeholders from across the spectrum of the diamond industry, greeted De Beers Group representatives Paul Rowley and Nimesh Patel as they explained the company's foray into the synthetic diamond jewelry market and reinforced its commitment to the natural diamond industry.
Bellweather jewelry group Chow Tai Fook built on its 2017 sales gains by recording a solid first fiscal quarter of 2018 (three months ended 30 June 2018), citing "impressive growth" in the Hong Kong and Macau market. Benefitting from "improving local consumer spending and an increase in visitors from Mainland China", retail sales surged by 21% in Hong Kong and Macau, while same-store sales (SSS) increased by 26%. Sales on the Mainland also fared well, increasing by 11%, with same-store sales up 4%.
Last week at the Kimberley Process Intersessional meeting in Antwerp, during the Special Forum, "Innovation and Technology: State-of-the-art in the rough diamond trade", Daniel Nyfeler, Managing Director at Gübelin Gem Lab gave a presentation on the company's 'Emerald Paternity Test'.
Calling financial year 2018 a "year of recovery", leading jewelry retail group Chow Tai Fook, a bellweather for China's jewelry landscape, reaped the benefits of the retail market in Greater China regaining its upward momentum, leading to a vibrant performance for the group. Chow Tai Fook’s sales and profit rose during the fiscal year in the rising Chinese market, with the retail sector also noting increased tourism to Hong Kong as having a positive impact on sales.
This past Monday, the JCK Las Vegas show and jewelry week surrounding it came to its conclusion with steady trading reflecting a confident US market, despite a significant dip in the number of exhibitors and foot traffic at the various shows. The exhibitors and organizers acknowledged the decline of visitors, but were adamant that those attending the events headed out to the desert with a greater sense of purpose than in prior years, as buyers were looking for specific goods and exhibitors were maintaining existing relationships.
Signet Jewelers recorded a $77.2 million (5.5%) increase in overall sales during the 13 weeks ended May 5, 2018 (Q1 fiscal 2019), yet profits tumbled as the retail group reported a net loss of $496.6 million in the quarter, compared with a profit of $78.5 million in the year-earlier period due to a non-cash impairment related to the credit-outsourcing transition and restructuring charges.
Signet Jewelers, called "the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry" and owns Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared, will become the first retailer to join De Beers' diamond blockchain pilot program for tracking a diamond’s journey digitally from mine to retail. Launched in January 2018 following a successful proof-of-concept trial, the platform, called Tracr, is billed a comprehensive mine-to-customer traceability solution for the entire diamond industry. The pilot project involves a small group of industry participants - five leading diamond manufacturers
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced a series of senior appointments to its Board of Directors as the organisation continues to strengthen its position as the jewellery industry’s foremost standards setting and certification body. The appointments were announced at the RJC’s Annual General Meeting in Moscow on Thursday, 17 May.
The three newly appointed Officers of the Board of Directors are:
The world's most recognized diamond grading institution, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is launching a pilot program together with leading jewerly retailer, Chow Tai Fook which will use blockchain technology to deliver secure, digital diamond grading reports to consumers for the first time.
Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) yesterday reported its financial results for the three months (Q1) ended April 30, 2018, which saw worldwide net sales increase 15% to $1.0 billion, led by gains in North America and Asia. As a result of broad-based sales growth, comparable sales increased 10%. Profits soared 53 percent, to $142 million, as shares jumped as much as 17 percent to $119.60 in New York trading, an all-time intraday high and the biggest one-day leap in almost a decade.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, has announced the launch of Libert’aime by Forevermark, a new flagship store at HKRI Taikoo Hui in Shanghai, the Group writes in a press release. The opening marks the 1,000th Forevermark store in China, and comes as the brand celebrates its 10-year anniversary in the country.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has conducted a survey of 2,011 US adults about their attitude toward synthetic diamonds, finding a clear majority of Americans do not consider diamonds created in a factory ('synthetic' or 'laboratory-grown') as 'real' diamonds (see the full survey results here).
De Beers Group today announced it has provisionally sold $550 million of rough diamonds for the fourth sales cycle of 2018 (Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales), against a backdrop of what has been called "record demand". De Beers published last week a report stating that diamond jewelry demand rose to a record $82bn globally in 2017 after several years of stagnation.
In celebration of the launch of its spring campaign, "Believe In Dreams", as well as their largest new jewelry collection in nearly a decade, “Tiffany Paper Flowers”, Tiffany and Co. has transformed its corner of New York City with its iconic blue hue. Tiffany & Co's marketing blitz took a New York icon, the city's famed yellow cabs, and painted them with the brand's trademark robin's egg blue.
Signet CEO Virginia 'Gina' Drosos recently spoke with Yahoo Finance about digital marketing and millennials, providing some candid perspectives about the thought process of the retail giant. Perhaps her most ringing comment, however, was about laboratory-grown diamonds.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the diamond marketing organization Diamond Producers Association (DPA), spoke with Melissa Smet of De Belgische Diamantnijverheid, the quarterly magazine of the Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry (SBD), about the mission, current progress and future plans of the DPA, as well as some key industry issues. The DPA set up shop and was launched in 2016, but their first real year of investment was 2017, and they invested about $57 million on generic marketing.
JCK’s Rob Bates took a closer look at Amazon’s vetting process for its jewelry sellers. He spoke to Kristin Cherry Jackson, who recently joined 21C Jewelry Solutions consultancy, following her senior position at Amazon.
ALROSA has introduced its long anticipated commercial detector for identifying natural and synthetic polished diamonds - the ALROSA Diamond Inspector, first introduced in 2016. The Company expects that its relatively low price ($9,900) and high accuracy will allow the detector to be in demand in Russia as well as abroad. "It will help fight unscrupulous suppliers who mix synthetic stones grown in the laboratory with diamonds of natural origin", the companys says.
Following its successful 2017, with 19% growth globally, and a solid start to 2018, De Beers has announced it plans to grow its presence of its Forevermark brand on the European market. Starting in Germany, where Forevermark will enter the market for the first time after signing with an exclusive licensee partner, De Beers is in advanced-stage discussions with potential partners in France and Italy. In Germany, Forevermark is partnering with Heinz Mayer, an Idar-Oberstein-based diamond jewelry specialist.
Tiffany & Co. reported that its global net sales for FY 2017 (ended January 31, 2018) increased 4% to $4.2 billion, reflecting sales growth in most regions - particularly in the U.S. and China. However, its comparable store sales remained flat for the year despite 9% sales growth in the fourth quarter (Q4). During Q4, on a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales rose 6% and comparable store sales were 1% above the prior year, falling short of estimates of a 2.7% gain.
Signet Jewelers same store sales declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter and declined 5.3% in full year fiscal ended February 3, 2018, the company announces at the conclusion of a self-described "challenging year". At the same time they announced two additions to its Board of Directors, appointing Sharon L. McCollam and Nancy A. Reardon as Independent Directors effective March 13, 2018.
Grant Mobley, a gemologist and director at Pluczenik gave Harper's Bazaar a primer concerning the distinctiveness of diamonds as compared to laboratory-grown products.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and CARAT+ today announced the inaugural edition of Hack4Diamonds, the first ever ‘hackathon’ in the diamond industry, taking place from May 4 to May 6 in collaboration with Junction and with the support of CARAT+ (see press release in annex).
Helzberg Diamonds has announced a "focused effort on innovating its marketing strategies," naming Ellen Junger as its new chief marketing officer and Carmichael Lynch its new advertising agency of record. Junger previously served as chief customer and marketing officer role for Payless ShoeShource.
Dharmanandan Diamonds (DDPL), a Mumbai-based manufacturer, has partnered with technology company Everledger to place its diamond-tracking data onto the technology company's diamond blockchain platform, which it launched in 2015. The "Diamond Time-Lapse Protocol" integrates Dharmanandan's Diamond Time-Lapse initiative, which tracks a stone’s journey from rough to retail, onto its proprietary diamond traceability blockchain platform to set a diamond's provenance into (digital) stone.
Sergey Ivanov (37), the young CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the world’s largest diamond miner, ALROSA, was in Antwerp for the company’s annual meeting with its 56 long-term clients. ALROSA is a traditional company in a traditional business, and still evokes the reputation of a state-owned giant despite the partial privatization (currently 34%) of the company a few years ago.
With marriage rates falling and divorce rates climbing, the diamond industry is facing a challenge to win over Chinese millennial consumers, Ruonan Zheng writes for Jing Daily.