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).
On September 19, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) President and CEO Susan Jacques announced the opening of GIA’s Tokyo campus at a ceremony attended by several industry leaders. Beginning in November, the new GIA campus in Tokyo will offer the Diamond Essentials Intensive and Diamond Grading Lab classes in Japanese.
According to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group, the shifting dynamic of women’s expanding roles in society and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations of diamond jewelry acquisition. Social and economic changes have expanded the symbolism of diamond jewelry, women are now more empowered which has led to record levels of self-purchase, as well as the establishment of a new consumer type.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a De Beers Group company, has entered a partnership with one of Japan’s leading bridal jewelry retailers, I-PRIMO, to provide polished diamond grading reports. The reports will provide assurance to I-PRIMO customers that their diamonds meet the retailer’s strict quality standards, writes De Beers in a press release. I-PRIMO only uses loose diamonds that have been graded as ‘excellent’ for engagement rings and all melee diamonds must meet ‘Heart & Cupid’ grading standards.
Tiffany & Co. today (March 17) reported its financial results for the full year and the three months (fourth quarter) ended January 31, 2017, which were consistent with its previously issued guidance for the 2016 fiscal year. Worldwide net sales declined 3% in the year and rose 1% in the fourth quarter, while in both periods higher gross margins countered growth in operating expenses. Net earnings per diluted share declined 1% in the full year and 2% in the fourth quarter. The company generated more than $700 million of cash flow from operating activities in the full year.
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.
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.
Luxury products group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton posted an increase in revenue on the year before of 4% to 8.6 billion euros for the first quarter 2016. "The U.S. market is strong and Europe remains well oriented except for France which is affected by a fall in tourism," the firm said in a statement. "Asian markets are varied, but Japan continues to progress." The company's Watches & Jewelry unit recorded organic revenue growth of 7% in the first quarter of 2016, outperforming the market, it reported.
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds have partnered with esteemed Japanese bridal house, Hatsuko Endo, to showcase the finest in beauty and romance from Australia and Japan, creating "a spectacular collaboration of craftsmanship and couture", according to a press release. Hatsuko Endo’s exquisite collection of international designer wedding gowns was paired on the runway in Tokyo with bespoke Argyle pink diamond jewelry, created by some of the finest Japanese jewelry master-craftsmen.
Japan has emerged as a key locale for Chinese traveler-driven sales growth in 2015, as mainland China’s luxury consumers shift their spending away from once-favorite shopping destination Hong Kong. Hermès reported recently that Japan was the source of its highest sales growth rate globally in the third quarter with a 16.6% increase. In contrast, its Asia-Pacific sales excluding Japan declined 1.5%, which the brand said was thanks in large part to a continued retail slump in Hong Kong and Macau.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to restart the country's stagnating economy but analysts say the plans need fleshing out. Abe said that Japan, the world's third-largest diamond consumer and economy, needs a strong economy, child-care support and social security to combat the demographic problems facing Japan due to the aging and shrinking of its 127-million population.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), recognized as one of the foremost authorities in gemology, has raised its profle in Japan by launching its website in Japanese. The announcement from GIA reads, “The translation of our website is part of GIA’s commitment to delivering gemological information and instruction in Japan in Japanese,” said Bev Hori, GIA’s chief learning officer and senior vice president of education. “Japan is one of the world’s largest markets for gems and jewelry, so it’s important for GIA to make our educational resources available in this important country.
Following the worldwide circulation of an Interpol 'Purple Notice', which provides information the ways and means used by criminals, police in Tokyo recently arrested two Chinese suspected of stealing a diamond ring valued at $170,000 at Narita Airport. Evidence provided by a Tokyo jeweler’s CCTV system enabled Interpol in Japan to publish a Purple Notice illustrating how the suspects entered the shop in January and pocketed the diamond ring while diverting the seller’s attention.
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.
The plunge in China’s stock market and concerns about its economic growth are having effects well beyond the nation’s borders -- with shares of Japanese companies that benefit from Chinese tourists also declining.
Tourism has boomed in Japan as the yen has weakened, with visitors from mainland China more than doubling in the first five months of this year. Chinese are the biggest spenders, according to a survey by the Japan Tourism Agency, spending big on everything from heated toilet seats to diamond rings.
The appeal of gem-set jewelry that was a part of the luxury fashions of the 1980s and 1990s has declined with Japan's ageing population searches for a simpler lifestyle and to raise cash after 20 years of economic stagnation. The second-largest buyer of diamonds until several years ago, exports of used diamonds are up 77% this year, according to Ministry of Finance data, with unwanted jewels being sold for cash at a record rate and exported to buyers in China and India.
Ichiro Uchihara, CEO of Uchihara Group, a Japanese jewelry wholesaler and retailer catering to high-end consumers, spoke with Rapaport News about the company’s strategy and efforts to expand its brand equity in Japan, Asia and internationally. A few key quotes:
Imports of polished diamonds by the sub-continent are soaring, with market sources in India saying it is due to high volumes of sales of older items of jewelry set with diamonds in countries such as Japan, China and the United States. The recycled items are being exported to India where they are reworked into new jewelry pieces.
The world's third-largest economy grew in the first three months of this year at a faster rate than previously forecast. Gross domestic product in the world's third-largest diamond consuming country grew an annualized 3.9%, more than a preliminary 2.4%, according to revised data. The median forecast of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for 2.8% growth.
Leaders of seven of the world's most powerful economies – the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – along with the European Union will debate extending the sanctions at the body's June 7-8 summit in Germany.
Japan's diamond and gold exports are surging on the back of a weaker yen, with exports through April rising to record levels, exporting US$2.79 million in diamonds in April, up 60% year-on-year. Diamonds and other jewelry snapped up around the world by Japanese during the bubble years are now flooding into China, India and other Asian countries. According to the Japan Re-Jewelry Council in Tokyo, Japan imported 87 million carats, or 17.4 tons, of diamonds between 1965 and 2013.
A badly timed rise in consumption tax last April pushed the economy into a technical recession, but the economy is recovering – albeit slowly – said a former Bank of Japan executive director.
The country's imports of polished diamonds in January fell by almost 21 percent on the year to $58.2 million, while in volume terms imports fell 40 percent to 137,537 carats although the average price per carat jumped nearly 32 percent to $423.