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.
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.
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.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has announced that Andrew Bone will be stepping down as its Executive Director, effective 27 March 2019. Andrew Bone has been Executive Director since the spring of 2015. Under his leadership, RJC membership doubled and the organization laid the foundations for sustainable growth in the future, the RJC said in a statement.
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.
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 Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has announced that Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) is participating in the Institute’s M2M (Mine to Market) program, a digital platform tracks rough diamonds through to the resulting polished gem. As part of a pilot initiative, a selection of ODC rough diamonds GIA has evaluated for its M2M program will be offered at the ODC July 2018 Spot Auction. The GIA's new service offers retailers a new method of being able to uncover a stone’s history.
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'.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
Nine of the leading diamond industry organizations and jewelry associations have jointly released the Diamond Terminology Guideline, containing recommendations for describing diamonds and synthetic diamonds, announced the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and CIBJO the World Jewellery Confederation in a press release. The Guideline, based on ISO standards and the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, is intended to set the universal standard for communicating about diamonds and their laboratory-grown counterparts.
The Belgian Embassy in Tokyo was the setting for the launch of a new initiative to bring certified, Antwerp-sourced diamonds to the Japanese retail market under the quality label: "Diamonds & Antwerp" (DnA).
De Beers Group today announced it is progressing development of the first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform. The initiative will underpin confidence in diamonds and the diamond industry by ensuring that all registered diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector, the company said in a statement.
Diamond tracker and blockchain startup Everledger has partnered with Gübelin Gem Lab to create the Provenance Proof Blockchain for colored gemstones, reports International Business Times. Gübelin Gem Lab is a renowned gemological laboratory and creator of the Provenance Proof initiative, for which the Gübelin Gem Lab is developing technologies to further drive transparency in the gemstone industry.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA has become a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) by achieving certification against its Code of Practices through meeting the highest ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by the RJC, the two organizations communicated this morning. A large independent audit company has been undertaken to assess ALROSA’s compliance with RJC’s Code of Practices.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has appointed Edward Johnson as director of business development to help expand its expertise and drive growth for the organization. Johnson will focus his efforts around developing strategies to drive membership engagement and strengthen the RJC’s relationships with key stakeholders. His role will be integral to evaluating new opportunities for growth and expansion into niche markets, as well as expanding the RJC globally, focusing particularly on Greater China, India and the USA.
The latest fraudulent twist on the synthetic diamond landscape has profound implications for the efforts to keep natural and synthetic diamonds separate, if the incident in question is not an isolated one. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recently recieved a round brilliant cut diamond (image, left) submitted for an updated diamond grading report. Its girdle was inscribed with an actual GIA report number (image, right), identifying the stone as a natural, untreated diamond. After testing, however, it turned out that the newly submitted diamond was an HPHT-grown synthetic diamond.
HRD Antwerp today launched its new diamond ID CARD: a highly affordable grading report for diamonds that weigh between 0.08 and 0.998 carats. "With this new product, we aim to bring a comprehensive solution to one of the diamond market’s main current challenges: ensuring confidence in small-sized diamonds," says Michel Janssens, CEO of HRD Antwerp.
Next week, on October 26, HRD Antwerp is planning to launch a brand new product that it says will be a revolutionary concept on the diamond grading landscape, the HRD Antwerp diamond ID Card for diamonds smaller than 1 carat. While the details have yet to be released, HRD Antwerp says their new product will help keep the European gemological lab at the cutting edge of diamond grading technology.
Boosting confidence in the diamond trade by overcoming the last great hurdle of guaranteed provenance is no small task, but the daunting scale of the job at hand has not deterred Leanne Kemp, CEO and founder of British tech start-up Everledger. Combining the blockchain technology underpinning Bitcoin with HD photography and specialized applications, the company records 40 metadata points to create a unique thumbprint of each stone.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an in-depth article on the current state of lab-created diamonds and where the industry goes from here. Reprinted from Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics, courtesy of Paul Zimnisky.
Sarine Technologies has announced it is, "expanding its services, adding 4Cs grading and diamond identification to its Sarine Profile Report." Using proprietary tools including its automated clarity, color, cut and light performance grading technologies along with advanced synthetic diamond and treatment detection methods, Sarine claims it will be able to, "deliver an unmatched level of accurate, repeatable and automated diamond grading with less subjectivity and far fewer human errors.
Chow Tai Fook launched CHOW TAI FOOK T MARK, a new jewelry brand with diamonds exclusively from their ‘T Mark’ collection. Each stone is inscribed with the brands patented technology enabling customers to track the stones journey from sourcing - processing, cutting, polishing, authentication, design - to production.
From the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in Mumbai, GemKonnect reports on the formation of the International Diamond Monitoring Committee (IDMC), an initiative intended to ensure the separation of natural diamonds from synthetics as they pass through the diamond pipeline to the retail counter.
JCK news director Rob Bates takes a look at the resurgence of independent bookstores in the U.S. and sees parallels with independent jewelry retailers: "It’s clear the jewelry industry - and in particular the number of independent jewelers - is shrinking. But that’s true of retail overall. And, until recently, it was true of independent bookstores. If you compare today versus decades ago, the number of brick-and-mortar booksellers has fallen. But the independent segment has reversed that trajectory. The number has risen for the last eight years.
Arriving at Antwerp’s splendid 19th century Central Station, with its marble staircases, iron and glass vaulted ceiling and gilded details, shoppers visiting Antwerp are filled with high expectations about the jewelry boutiques awaiting them in the world’s diamond capital. For years these expectations were quickly dashed, as consumers were confronted with myriad uninviting and less-than-reputable jewelry shops once they left the station. Where to turn?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) launched a new service which tracks the origin of a selection of polished diamonds, which offers retailers a new method of being able to uncover a stone’s history. Since the project is only two years in development, GIA's M2M™ (Mine to Market) program is restricted and is not yet able to provide a complete solution to determining a diamond’s provenance. “If you just gave me any polished diamond, I can’t tell you what mine it came from,” says Matt Crimmin, GIA’s vice president of laboratory operations.
The diamond industry has a sort of 'Holy Grail' when it comes to consumer confidence and putting to rest an issue that critics rely on to deride the trade as unethical and still awash with 'conflict diamonds': guaranteed provenance. Acoording to an interview last week, Andrey Polyakov, president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and a vice-president of Russian diamond giant ALROSA, believes one key to obtaining that grail is close at hand in the form of a physical 'fingerprint' that would enable diamonds to be tracked to their origin.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of De Beers Group, today announced the launch of a world-first Synthetic Diamond Detection training course. It is the first in a series of education services to be rolled out during 2017, according to a press release. The two-day lab-based course will be unveiled in the U.S. towards the end of the JCK Jewelry show in Las Vegas on 8 and 9 June, and in India at the IIDGR Facility in Surat on 15 and 16 May.
Some interesting industry developments took shape at last week's Diamond Detection Expo and Symposium sponsored by India's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
American’s have a positive view of the current economic condition leading consumer confidence to reportedly reach the highest level in over 16 years. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index jumped by more than 100 since February, indicating an improvement for the second consecutive month. It also eclipsed economists’ estimates of 114.
The European Parliament last week approved a draft regulation intended to prevent the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations in Africa. If adopted, this “conflict minerals” law will oblige all but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores from conflict and high-risk areas to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules. Authorities in EU member states will be responsible for ensuring compliance by companies.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) will honor iconic retailer Helzberg Diamonds with the Diamonds Do Good Corporate Legacy of Philanthropy Award, the organization writes in a press release. The retailer will be one of three honorees at DEF’s Diamonds Do Good Awards gala, June 4 at the Four Seasons Ballroom in Las Vegas. The award reflects the actions taken by a corporation to better the lives of the local community while making a difference at the global level.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), a committee dedicated to educating and regulating the ethics and integrity of the jewelry industry, has appointed Tiffany Stevens as its new president and CEO, reports JCK. She succeeds Cecilia Gardner, who held this post for 18 years, was general counsel of the World Diamond Council for 15 years and was involved in the Kimberley Process from the time of its inception in 2000.
The Academy Awards taking place tonight are not only Hollywood cinema's biggest night of the year, but are also one of the most pivotal annual events for fashion, brands and iconic jewelry.
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.