The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella organization of the Antwerp diamond industry, participated from 24 to 28 March in the Belgian State Visit to South Korea, where they co-organized an event to highlight a new partnership between Antwerp and Korea's leading jewelery brand, Golden dew. During the State Visit, and in honor of the jeweler's 30th anniversary, Golden dew launched three special cuts it developed together with three different Antwerp diamond companies.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, announced sales had jumped during the April-to-August period as a result of Asia's strong performance.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of the De Beers Group, announced a polished diamond grading service partnership with Hong Kong-based jeweler Lukfook. The first partnership with a vertically-integrated Sightholder.
Luxury brands are eager to cater to the desires of men as, “men are wearing more and more jewelry,” says Caroline Gaspard, founder of Akillis, a French-based jewelry brand which specializes in unisex jewelry. “The barriers are falling, and younger men are confident in expressing their own look.” Although the jewelry industry is still very much female-centric, brands are making headway by catering to men who are more fashion-forward and not afraid of expressing their individuality through jewelry.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, announced its first retail partnership in Asia for its generic polished diamond grading services. The partnership is with the Soo Kee Group in Singapore, which formally launches in February for the retailer’s bridal brand, Love & Co., for its Lovemarque diamond collection.
Gold is heading for the first monthly decline since May as investors price in the prospect of higher U.S. borrowing costs by the end of the year and slowing purchases of bullion-backed exchange-traded funds. Bullion for immediate delivery is at around $1,315 an ounce but dropped to $1,309 on Tuesday, the lowest level since June 28, and is down 2.7 percent this month, Bloomberg reported.
Tiffany & Co. reported that revenue for the second quarter was $932 million versus the consensus estimate of $934.74 million, as it recorded falling sales on the year in the quarter and first half of this year compared to the year-earlier periods. In the Americas, total sales of $434 million in the second quarter and $837 million in the first half were both 9% below last year, with declines of 9% and 10%, respectively, in comparable store sales.
Shares in Pandora have slipped after the maker and retailer of popular jewelry reported a sales and profit miss. The firm is known for raising forecasts due to the ongoing strength of sales. Revenue for the second-quarter rose 20 percent to $645 million, but that was less than the average analyst estimate and the first such miss in more than two years. A 23-percent jump in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was also less than expected, and that led its stock to fall by almost 7 percent on the Copenhagen exchange.
Further evidence of the slowdown in high-end jewelry sales has been provided after luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co reported its biggest drop in quarterly sales since the peak of the global financial crisis, with the strength of the dollar deterring tourists in the United States from buying its jewelry and denting revenue from markets outside the jeweler's home country. Net sales dropped 7.4 percent to $891.3 million – the biggest fall since mid-2009 – missing the average analyst estimate of $915.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters, while profits dropped 16.6 percent to $87.5 million.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. is aiming to boost sales of wristwatches due to a slowdown in the jewelry market. Tiffany-made watches could account for 10 percent of the company’s sales within a decade, according to Nicola Andreatta, head of the firm's timepiece business, from just 1 percent last year. If it succeeds in hitting that target, it would likely make Tiffany one of the world’s top 10 watch brands, he told Bloomberg.
In a strong indication that jewelry demand worldwide is growing strongly, Pandora reported soaring revenues and profits for the first quarter. Consequently, it raised its revenue guidance as sales soared in Europe and Asia Pacific. Revenue surged 34 percent to $725 million while profit rocketed more than threefold to almost $200 million. Pandora expects revenue in excess of $3 billion this year which would be a 19-percent increase on 2015 from a year ago.
From the United States to Europe and Asia, growing numbers of women are deciding that they are not going to wait to receive jewelry from partners and husbands and are increasingly buying their own jewelry. Women today are more financially independent than ever before, and they also trust their own taste rather than that of their partner or spouse. They also want jewelry that suits their business attire, and are buying themselves jewelry as tangible evidence of their career success, Rough & Polished reports.
Singapore-based securities firm and investment bank UOB Kay Hian (the stockbroking arm of United Overseas Bank Ltd) has joined the Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange (SDiX), the world's first and only commodity exchange trading in physically settled diamonds, as its pioneer broker, writes The Business Times. This means UOB Kay Hian will be able to offer its accredited investors the chance to invest in diamonds as an asset class. Its affiliates in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will have the same access.
Demand for gold worldwide last year was almost flat on the year at 4,212 tonnes (t), according to the World Gold Council’s latest Gold Demand Trends report. Demand bounced back in the second half of 2015 due to sustained buying from central banks and a strong second half from China and India. This was clearly seen in the retail investment sector, with strong purchases of bars and coins by China, Europe and the US, as investors took advantage of weaker prices amid a worsening economic backdrop, financial turbulence and ongoing geopolitical tension.
Sales in the luxury brand's fiscal third quarter ending December 31 declined by 4% at constant exchange rates but rose by 3% at actual rates as the weaker euro compensated for lower tourist numbers in Europe following November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, a favored destination for luxury shoppers. Jewelry continued to enjoy growth across most regions and product categories, partly compensating weak demand for watches, the firm added. Richemont owns the Cartier jewelry brand as well as watchmakers including Piaget and IWC.
In what is a first for the firm, De Beers will allow its sightholders to turn down their entire November allocations until December in recognition of the intense pressure under which diamond manufacturers are working die to the soft condition of the market. “Further to discussions with several of you following recent cutting center visits, we are writing to provide an overview of some of the additional flexibility we will be putting in place for sights 9 and 10,” the company said in a note to sightholders obtained by Rapaport News.
Although China has cut interest rates and reduced the level of reserves banks are required to hold to combat the country's slowing economy, it is not clear that the actions will be sufficient to boost growth, writes the New York Times. It is the sixth time the bank has cut rates since November. The government announced last week that the economy grew at 6.9 percent in the third quarter, its slowest quarterly pace since 2009, but some independent analysts believe the actual growth rate is probably lower than the government’s estimate.
September was the third month this year to show a "marked decline" in watch exports after May and July, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry Swiss reported. Exports slumped in United States, with the worst monthly downturn in five years. "This negative change [in sales overall] has spread to other, hitherto more robust Asian markets, and casts something of a shadow over prospects for the year 2015."
Luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE reported that its third-quarter revenue rose 16 percent as it benefited from a weak euro and strong sales at its wine and spirits division which outweighed slowing growth at its fashion business.
"Do consumers think that diamonds are really rare? No. The quicker we understand this, the faster the market for diamonds will recover," explains diamond jewelry veteran Ayalla Joseph. "Then why do women still love diamonds? Why has the slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ captured the hearts and wallets of millions? We know they are so not rare. So what is it? The answer lies in the fact that they have no function whatsoever other than to prove a man’s love or a woman’s worth. It really is that simple."
A survey by MasterCard shows that millennials (people aged roughly 18-29) in China are the biggest purchasers of luxury goods in Asia Pacific, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong. And they plan to spend close to double the Asia Pacific average on luxury goods in the next year. Jewelry spending come second on their purchase lists at 17 percent, with the most popular luxury items being high-end tech gadgets with 25 percent of spending.
On Tuesday, Platinum futures in New York have fallen to levels last seen during the global financial crisis of 2008 due to investor concerns triggered by the fallout from a cheating scandal at Volkswagen. Platinum, which is widely used in the jewelry industry, for delivery in January dropped more than $20 or 2.5% and fell below $900 an ounce. That price level was last seen in October 2008 as the global financial crisis was at its height.
China and India led the way in the growth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014 and their wealth is expected to grow 10% annually, according to the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2015 published by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. The population of HNWIs, people with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables, in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 8.5% in 2014 to 4.7 million people, an increase of one million over two years.
Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co. has set itself a range of targets for the coming years. These include improving customer experience, increasing store space by 2-3 percent every year, mid to high single-digit sales growth, higher operating margins and doubling earnings growth over the long-term.
Worldwide demand for platinum jewelry fell 11% on the quarter in the second quarter of this year, according to the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) in its latest quarterly update. The reduced demand was seen across the world despite the lower price of platinum. Demand was slower in China in Q2 from Q1 partly as a result of the New Year sales that took place in the first months of the year, but also because of lower jewelry store sales.
London-based Graff Diamonds has disclosed its Fall advertising campaign featuring exceptional diamonds in four images on the theme of nature’s fundamental elements: earth, water, air and fire. The campaign is being launched in newspapers, magazines and online platforms, with the images also being displayed at Graff’s 55 stores in the UK, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Round diamonds below 0.9 carats in weight saw significant price movement to the negative, while items above that weight were more positive, according to IDEX's weekly price round-up. There was a brighter story for prices of fancy cut diamonds, however, particularly for diamonds weighing 0.3-3.99 carats in the medium to better color range. There were price declines for stones in the 4-4.99 carats range, especially in higher colors.
With demand for polished diamonds weak around the world, and stable at best in the United States, the organizers of the 33rd edition of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair forecast only very minor increases in exhibitor and visitor/buyer numbers. UBM Asia says it expects around 3,700 companies and 60,000 visitors/buyers to take part in the September 16-20 show for loose diamond exhibitors at the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), and the September 18-22 show for finished jewelry at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
The Swiss watch industry reported a 9.3% drop on the year in exports last month to $1.95 billion, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The export figures were particularly hit by Asian markets, with sales in Asia plunging by 21.4%. The decline in sales to China was 39.6%, in the United Arab Emirates sales dropped 29.8%, and in South Korea they were 19.7% lower. Meanwhile sales to the U.S. were stable, and exports to Europe "continued to gather momentum, led by astonishing progress in France.
Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile posted a sales rise in its second fiscal quarter of 7 percent to $113.7 million. U.S. engagement ring sales showed a rise of around 8 percent to $65.5 million. Meanwhile, outside of the United States, the firm is continuing to focus on China where there was growth of 59percent in the second quarter, and the Asia-Pacific region expanded by 28 percent and continues to account for more than 50 percent of the company’s international revenue.
Professor Heiner Evanschitzky, Chair of Marketing at Aston University in Birmingham, says: “Amazon has had an incredible 20 years, and already has a legacy as one of the disruptive innovators that set the standard for online retailing and changed the face of the industry, as well as consumer shopping habits, forever.
Rapaport's weekly round-up finds that cutters remain under pressure as De Beers keeps rough prices unsustainably high, with reports that sightholders turned down 35%-50% of the goods on offer at this week's sight which may have been as low as $200 million. Sightholders are preferring to buy polished at lower prices rather than expensive rough for manufacturing.
India's diamond cutting and polishing center is seeing an "unprecedented" decline, says Surat Diamond Association President Dinesh Navadia. "This happens quite a time, but after three or four months, the situation usually improves. This time, the crisis has lasted for a long time," he said, adding that rumors that diamond firms are about to go bust are making the situation even worse.
The third edition of the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair will see more than 200 exhibitors from 28 countries taking part. Last year’s edition of the show attracted just under 10,000 visitors. The show's, organizers, a unit of UBM Asia, said Singapore is the third-wealthiest nation in the world based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also has 105,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and is poised to record the world’s highest growth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) in the next decade.
Declining sales globally, high rough prices and declining polished prices, fears about the impact of a rate rise by the US Federal Reserve, liquidity problems, and companies sitting on big debts, the Indian diamond industry is facing big challenges.
The main headlines this week were that Indian polishing firms turned down a suggested ban on rough imports to underpin high price levels, preferring to maintain job levels and production with lower polished prices. Meanwhile, De Beers is seen keeping rough prices high while allowing sightholders to defer up to 25% of purchases at next week’s sight. Round stones of 0.30 to 0.40 carats are still weak and polishing firms are moving output to 1 carat and larger good.
Diamond trading activity slow, reports Diamonds.net, with prices of polished under pressure as a result of slow demand. However, there is higher demand for caraters due to good American demand, but higher-make stones in the 0.30-0.40 range are weak as Chinese demand remains poor as a result of fears that some Chinese firms are not making payments.
Following its $118 million jewelry auction in Hong Kong which set a new record for the most valuable jewelry auction ever held in Asia, Christie's is preparing for its Important Jewels sale on June 16 in New York. More than 200 lots will be offered, including colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, and signed designer jewels, with the auction forecast to generate $18 million in sales.
The Hong Kong-based retailer said the PT950 platinum jewelry collection of pendants and rings was created for Chow Tai Fook’s customers in Singapore.
UBM Asia Ltd., Taiwan Branch and the Taiwan Jewelry Industry Association will host the third Taiwan Jewellery & Gem Fair from November 20 to 23 at the Taipei World Trade Center.