Archive

  • US Ambassador to the European Union Stavros Lambrindis today announced on Twitter that the US will lift the travel ban to the US and will allow vaccinated and pre-flight tested EU citizens to travel to the country in early November. Travelers will have to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated as well as provide a recent (3 days) Covid-19 test with proof of negative results. Once arrived, contract tracing and wearing a face mask will be required but travelers will not need to quarantine. 

  • Swiss luxury group Richemont, owner of the Buccellati, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry brands, recorded a 129% increase in sales in the three months ending on June 30. The outstanding performance was led by the Jewellery Maisons and Specialist Watchmakers, with a growth of 142%, to €2.52 billion (US$2.97 billion) and 143%, to €849 million (US$1 billion), respectively.

  • After jewelry sales in the US doubled in March, they almost tripled in April according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

    Compared to a year ago, jewelry sales increased 255%, benefiting from a strong base comparison as US stores were forced to close in April 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consumers are anticipating a return to gatherings and events and government stimulus payments, warmer weather and a broader reopening also foster spending.

  • In 2020 close to 8 million luxury watches were listed on eBay, of which 200,000 were sold. As consumers expand their investment opportunities, platforms like eBay are trying to enhance the consumer experience by launching programs like the Authenticity Guarantee program; where each watch priced over US$2,000 is physically checked by an expert. As the company intends to expand its offerings, they have now introduced an escrow service for luxury watches to enhance consumer trust in high-end digital shopping.

  • US Jewelry Sales are back on track since COVID-19 hit retail markets a year ago. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, jewelry sales in the US increased 106% year on year in March. These figures are a result of government stimulus payments and a broader reopening across the country but also benefit from a strong base comparison with March 2020, when people first started social distancing which resulted in a dip in spending. However, in comparison with March 2019, jewelry sales rose by 30% which reflects a release of pent-up demand.

  • LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, recorded revenue of 14 billion euros (US$16.7 billion) in the first quarter of 2021, up 32% compared to the same period in 2020. The quarter marks the return to growth after several quarters of decline during 2020, a year that was severely disrupted by the global pandemic.

  • Citing recognition of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for gemological report services and education, a Belgian court has ordered AIG Belgium to immediately cease using ‘AIG’ alone or in conjunction with other marks. AIG operated as both the American International Gemological Laboratories and Antwerp International Gemological Laboratories. If the lab fails to do so, they risk significant penalty payments.

  • Consumers don’t like feeling rushed when making luxury purchases, and brands like Breitling have found a suitable solution. #BreitlingSelect allows subscribers to try up to three Breitling watches in a year from a dedicated portfolio of timepieces. Part of the offer is that the subscribers will then be able to purchase one of the three watches at a special price.

  • The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) launched their Official Partner Program for jewelry retailers across the United States who seek to enhance diamond desirability with consumers. The program is part of Natural Diamond Councils' third phase, where they intend to create deeper connections with retailers globally.

  • In the last quarter of 2020, the Natural Diamond Council surveyed 5,000 respondents to better understand the desirability, perceived value, and shopping habits of American Millennials (25 – 39 y/o) and Generation Z (18 – 24 y/o). Together they represent 38% of the adult population and 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. Within the next decade, their income is projected to rise by more than 70%.

  • Bloomberg, citing the encouraging jewelry sales results of brands like Signet, Tiffany and Macy's, reports that US shoppers - at least those who can - are spending their money on diamond jewellery, rather than trips or restaurant visits. High-end products have been performing particularly well in the last quarter and those spending are spending more than normal on items, the article states.

  • According to data from Edge Pulse, The Edge Retail Academy's aggregated jewelry sales data platform, US independent jewelers' uptick in sales in June is continued and even amplified in July, with a 10% increase in gross sales. Remarkably, diamonds are driving the improved sales trend, with a 16% increase in gross sales and 19% in the amount of units sold in July.

  • National Jeweler reports that independent retailers, according to data rom The Edge Retail Academy performed better than expected with a revenue increase of 2 percent compared to June 2019.

  • Bloomberg reports that in a response to France's plans to start taxing US-based tech companies, which were the result of failed EU-US negotations a month ago when the US representative walked out, the US is now planning to impose a 25% tax on luxury (especially handbags) and beauty products imported from France. The total value of the goods listed by the US Trade Representative's website, Bloomberg reports, amounts to roughly 1.3 billion US$.

  • In an extensive report, Rapaport spoke to a number of jewelers across the US, gauging how businesses are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although circumstances were different throughout the US, with states deciding independently on how strict they applied lockdown measures, the majority of retailers came up with ways to adapt, through appointments, curbside pickups or even home deliveries. The impact of the global pandemic is hitting jewelry retail sales, but many jewelers seem optimistic.

  • Rapaports trade analyis of the import and export figures of polished diamonds in April in the world's largest consumer market for diamonds demonstrate the massive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest. According to the report, polished imports dropped to the lowest level, with net polished imports (polished imports - polished exports) sinking to -807 million US$, where in the same period (January to April) last year, the net imports stood at a surplus of 474 million US$.

  • Coming off a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry, which 21 percent of Americans plan to give to their loved ones, friends and pets.

  • De Beers Group Industry Services has announced a new collaboration with leading US wholesaler, RDI Diamonds Inc., to become its premier source of diamond grading reports, the company stated in a press release. It will be the first time De Beers has provided grading services in the US.

  • Jewelry sales during the U.S. holiday season showed a modest increased compared to 2018, with higher-end independent jewelers performing particularly well, according to several surveys. Online buying surged, while foot traffic in retail stores slowed. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report shows that the jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength.

  • Tiffany & Co. announced on Thursday Dec. 26 that its overall global sales during the holiday shopping season (from November 1 through Christmas Eve) rose about 1% to 3% compared with the same period last year, with the largest contribution coming from China, Europe and a recovery in the Americas. Mainland China drove the business during the holiday period, with Tiffany seeing a double-digit sales increase there, offset by declines in Hong Kong.

  • Based on research from Rob Bates of JCK Magazine, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, Signet Jewelers, is now selling laboratory-grown diamonds at all its major U.S. jewelry banners. These include Kay, Jared and Zales, as well as their online site James Allen, which was already selling them. David Bouffard, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, told Bates that the sythetic diamonds will be available in bridal as well as fashion jewelry. Jared is selling loose lab-grown diamonds and ring settings as part of its Chosen collection.

  • Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co fell short of investor expectations for profit and sales during the third quarter ended Oct. 31 2019, as weak demand in the U.S. and retail disruption in Hong Kong offset growth elsewhere in China. Tiffany's business in the Americas and Europe has struggled to generate growth in recent years as price-conscious younger customers gravitate to lower-priced competitors like Signet Jewelers - which last week released “better-than-expected” results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.

  • ALROSA USA, the rep office of the Russian mining giant sold 255 polished diamonds, total weight 435ct and a mix of different cuts, and including 21 fancy colored diamonds, to companies from various countries. Total revenue of the auction amounted to US$4.8 million, exceeding the US$3 million of the first auction held in New York last summer.

    The sale of the "in-house" manufactured diamonds through auctions, as well as the expansion and active presence of the company in key consumer markets like the US is in line with ALROSA's approach to expand its scope beyond mere mining.

  • A significant decline in Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong in October put a dent in the otherwise positive month, as several of the leading markets recorded strong growth. According to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Swiss watch exports passed the 2 billion francs (CHF2.03 billion/USD$2.04 billion) representing 1.5% growth compared to the same month last year.

  • Alrosa sold 93 rough diamonds with a total weight of 1,560 carats, and earned $11 million in sales revenue at an auction for special size rough diamonds (weighing over 10.8 carats) held in New York. At approximately $7,050 per carat, the miner says it is the best result achieved in the last few months. There were 95 participants from the US, Belgium, India, Israel, UAE, Russia and Hong Kong.

  • Zimbabwe accused the U.S. of ignorance after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced it that it is blocking rough diamond imports from the Marange fields because they were produced with forced labor, writes Ray Ndlovu for Bloomberg. 

  • Imports of rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe and gold mined in artisanal small mines (ASM) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been blocked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the suspicion of forced labor. The two items were on a list of five products from five different countries singled out for 'Withhold Release Orders' (WRO) which were issued "based on information obtained and reviewed by CBP that indicates that the products are produced, in whole or in part, using forced labor", the agency writes.

  • Sales of jewelry at dedicated jewelry stores in the U.S. fell by nearly 5% (-4.6%) to $14.4 billion from $15.1 billion in the first half of 2019, according to figures from the US Census Bureau (see link). In June, the decline was the sharpest of the year, falling 10.5% to $2.31 billion from $2.58 billion in the same month a year ago. This would indicate a downturn in consumer confidence, although provisional figures from July show a 1.3% increase July 2018, at $2.41 billion.

  • Signet Jewelers' sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 (ended Aug. 3) fell but did not decline as much as expected, and investors took notice. The company's stock, declining hard and fast since 2015 - and down over 60% year-to-date in 2019 - jumped by roughly 25% on the news and have held its gains. The world’s largest jewelry retailer announced reported that total sales fell 3.9% to $1.34 billion in Q2 and that comps for same-store-sales fell 1.5%, outpacing the forecasted 2–3% drop.

  • Tiffany & Co. reported a decline in sales in the Americas and globally in the second quarter, with the company pointing to weak spending among tourists and locals in the Americas and Asia Pacific spurred by unrest in Hong Kong. Net sales in the second quarter tailed off by 3% to $1.05 billion in the three months ended July 31, in part due to a strong performance in the same quarter a year ago when they earned $1.08 billion. Worldwide same-stores sales were down 4 percent, the jeweler announced, while net income of $136.3m in the second quarter was down 6% from a year ago.

  • Signet Jewelers Limited claims to be the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry and is clearly the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US, UK and Canada. It operates over 3,300 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and JamesAllen.com. Just over a year ago the company was among the S&P 500, but its share price and market cap have fallen hard.

  • President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. is putting 10% tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, effective Sept. 1. This means that starting at the beginning of next month, every single good coming into the U.S. from China, except those with exemptions, will be subject to an import tax. Called the 'tranche four' tariffs, the list includes rough and polished diamonds (whether or not worked), loose 'synthetic ...

  • Retailers and importers across the US - including those in the diamond and jewelry trade - breathed a collective sigh of relief this past weekend following the announcement of a temporary trade truce between the US and China, and an agreement to reopen negotiations. This past weekend at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, U.S. President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China agreed to a ceasefire that will forestall another punishing round of of $300 billion in tariffs Mr.

  • The withdrawal of India’s beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program is expected to have a "moderate" impact on India's exports of gems and jewelry to the US, but will not directly impact diamond exports - contrary to what some have been reporting.

  • Russia's Alrosa is the world's largest diamond miner by volume, yet the company has largely flown under the radar in the United States, the world's largest diamond market. Rebecca Foerster, head of the company's North American division, is on a mission to change that, and she says Alrosa's sustainability initatives are the key, according to Richard Feloni of Business Insider. Further, the company's transparent mine-to-retail value chain is an easy sell for American retailers seeking to assuage their customers' desire for responsible supply chains.

  • Leading Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook is expanding in North America, this week announcing the establishment of a "business hub" in Boston to supply products and services - jewelry and technology - on a wholesale basis to US retailers. Chow Tai Fook North America (CTFNA) says it "will offer customized, specialty collections in the diamond and fine jewelry segments, as well as private label offerings, to address the evolving needs of jewelry consumers." CTFNA, which owns diamond jewelry brands Hearts on Fire and Mémoire, recently moved Hearts On Fire President Caryl Capeci into the role of

  • Earlier this year in a cost-cutting move, Signet Jewelers, which claims to be "the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry," asked its employees in Akron, Ohio and Dallas, Texas to apply for a "Voluntary Transition Program" out of the company. “Based on participation," the company wrote, "we may need to take additional actions including an involuntary reduction-in-force.” The message wasclear enough: take the buyout or risk being fired without one. Not enough people took the severance package and assistance in finding a new job voluntarily, and the firings have arrived.

  • The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has launched a new e-learning program for diamond retailers, entitled “Behind the Brilliance of Diamonds.” Developed to help all US retailers, the hour-long program - split into 3 informative modules – offers educational material and quizzes, going beyond the 4Cs to highlight the intangible value of natural diamonds. 

  • 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.