Following the temporary closure of their stores in 'affected regions' of mainland China, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has temporarily closed around 40 stores in Hong Kong and Macao in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 or nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus)) epidemic, a spokesperson said Monday. The Hong Kong-based jewelry chain operator also will shorten operating hours at its remaining stores in the two cities. These shops will close by 7 p.m. local time until further notice.
Concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the diamond and jewelry trade is growing, not only in China, but also in the markets that supply China, like Hong Kong and India. Events have been concelled, retail sales have plummeted and the outbreak of the virus in China has already had a ripple effect on diamond supply chains as the death toll passes 1,000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has decided to relocate its March auctions for rough and polished diamonds from Hong Kong to other trading centers. The move follows the decision of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to reschedule the Hong Kong trade shows from March until May in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Hong Kong's retail sales of jewelry and luxury items limped to the end an abysmal 2019, with December 2019 sales falling nearly 37% short of December 2018 earnings, as the region closed the year more than 22% lower than the year prior. The impact of months of social unrest has been widely documented, as it crippled consumer sentiment and kept tourists away from the commercial hub.
The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show scheduled for March 2-6 and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (March 4-8) have been postponed until May 18-21, 2020 for precautionary reasons due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Chow Tai Fook, Hong Kong's leading diamond-jewelry retailer and the second largest jeweler in the world by market value after Tiffany & Co., intends to about 15 of its 86 stores in Hong Kong as anti-China protests in the city weigh on the retail market and deter tourists, according to multiple media outlets. Indications that it rather intends to focus on growing its presence in the mainland China market suggests the slump in retail sales is not about the reverse soon.
Retail sales in Hong Kong in general, and sales of luxury items and jewelry in particular, continued to fall sharply in November as local social unrest turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment, writes the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
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.
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.
Hong Kong’s retail sales, and particulaly those of jewelry and other luxury items, took a nosedive in September as the protests that have plagued the city since June have kept tourists away and led to a decline in consumer spending. According to a press release and figures from the Census and Statistics Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the overall value of retail sales in September 2019 decreased by 18.3% to an estimated HKD29.9 billion (US$3.8 billion) compared with the same month in 2018.
In the third quarter of 2019, Israel's imports and exports of all diamonds plummeted 28% compared to the same time last year, writes the Times of Israel following Ynet (Hebrew-language publication). Since the start of 2019, Israel’s diamond industry has seen a 22 percent drop in exports of polished diamonds, which Israeli spokespeople say is likely due to the global economic slowdown and international trade concerns.
Last week, Tiffany & Co. found itself at the center of a social media firestorm after posting an image on Twitter of a woman covering one eye with her hand, leading to accusations that the jeweller supports the Hong Kong protesters and prompting Tiffany's to remove the post. Angry Chinese consumers believed it deliberately evoked a symbolic pose adopted by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators after a woman was shot in the eye with what protesters say was a police beanbag round during violent clashes with police. Her image later popped up in many posters and memes.
Rare and exceptional fancy color diamonds, as well as a large flawless emerald diamond will be in the spotlight at this autumn’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong. The October 7 sale presents three very remarkable stones: a superb 10.64-carat fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond of internally flawless clarity estimated at $19.1 million to $25.5 million, an important 6.01-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, and a magnificent 80.88-carat D-color, flawless diamond.
International diamond brokerage firm Bonas will hold its fourth colored gemstone tender at the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel from Saturday 14 to Wednesday 18 September 2019 to coincide with the September Hong Kong gem and jewelry show. Bonas will tender "the most extraordinary gemstones" to retailers and wholesalers looking for special pieces to add to their collection. This September’s tender will feature 460 examples of precious coloued gemstones. Unlike traditional auctions, tenders have no listed selling price, nor extra fees such as the buyer's premium.
The organizers of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair wrote a letter on Thursday to the three diamond trade organizations calling for the postponement of the fair, saying that the September show will be held as scheduled and reassuring them that "there are positive signs indicating that the situation is cooling down." In that regard, they may have spoken too soon, as
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa will host its second annual True Colors auction of natural color diamonds in September at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair from 16 to 20 September. The auction will last until September 23.
Three leading diamond trade bodies have submitted a joint appeal for the postponement of the Hong Kong Gem and Jewellery Fair, September 2019, until there is a more stable climate in the city.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (CTF) has reported higher sales and continuing expansion of their POS (points of sale) during Q1 FY 2020 (three months ended 30 June 2019), as sales in mainland China stores continued to grow at a strong rate while those in Hong Kong and Macau declined for the second time in the past three quarters. Retail sales grew by 24% in mainland China during the period, with same-store sales (SSS) improving by 11%, the jeweler reported. Retail revenues in Hong Kong and Macau fell by 6%, while SSS dropped further, down 11%.
The impact from the Hong Kong protests is spreading to global luxury retailers, with jewelry - including Swiss watches - taking a hit as shoppers and big-spending travelers stay away. Unrest has forced many stores to close and sparked widespread social disruption. Luxury brand Richemont - which owns several of the world's leading luxury goods companies including Cartier, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and Jaeger-LeCoultre - is the latest firm to say its business is being impacted by the ongoing protests.
Hong Kong’s retail sales are expected to decline by 5 percent to HK$460 billion (US$59 billion) for the full year, dragged down by economic uncertainty, social unrest and a decline in mainland Chinese tourists, according to international advisory firm PriceWaterCoopers (PwC). The estimate is a downgrade from its earlier forecast of a 3 percent drop in sales, reflecting a weaker outlook, as government statistics showed first-quarter retail sales falling 2 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 report,
The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair last week (20-23 June) provided a snapshot of a cautious diamond industry in the midst of a period of weak sentiment and even weaker demand, according to several traders we spoke with this week. And they do not see any quick fixes on the horizon. While it may not be the largest diamond show of the year, Hong-Kong June is the most important mid-year jewelry sourcing event in Asia, and as such provides us the opportunity to take the pulse of the polished diamond trade. The consensus? Sentiment is poor.
‘Wait and see’
Hong Kong based jewelry retail and bellwether for the Chinese market Chow Tai Fook Group (CTF) has announced that its sales grew 13% to $8.5 billion (HK$66,661 million) for the year ending March 31 (FY2019), citing increased purchases of gold jewelry and an expansion of the company’s retail network in China. Retail sales in Mainland China rose by 8% to $3.88 billion, while revenue from Hong Kong and Macau increased 12% to $2.94 billion.
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
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%.
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.
The 24-carat pear-shaped, fancy yellow Moon of Baroda diamond famed for its association with Marilyn Monroe sold for $1.3 million at the Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auction on Tuesday, easily beating estimates of $500,000 to $750,000.
Christie’s in Hong Kong will auction on 27 November the 24.04-carat pear-shaped, Fancy Yellow Moon of Baroda diamond Marilyn Monroe wore to promote the release of the Howard Hawk’s 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It could be value anywhere from $500,000 to $750,000, perhaps more. Christie’s will also auction an autographed photo of the actress wearing the stone. The picture has a presale valuation of $10,000 to $15,000.
Russia's ALROSA has sold 2,234 carats worth of special size rough diamonds (larger than 10.8 carats) at an auction in Hong Kong, earning $10.7 million in sales revenue at an average price of $4,790 per carat. The 2,234 carats derived from 136 gem-quality diamonds, including 25 fancy yellow stones weighing 440 carats in total. 54 companies from Hong Kong, mainland China, Belgium, Israel and India took part in the auction.
Leading Hong Kong jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook is the latest company to turn to blockchain technology to enable its customers to know the origin and authenticity of the diamonds they are buying.
Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased to connoisseurs and collectors from across Asia in Hong Kong; the miner has also unveiled a one-of-a-kind pink diamond and emerald necklace during a world exclusive preview in Hong Kong. Headlining the 2018 collection of 63 pink, red and violet diamonds is The Argyle Muse, a 2.28 carat polished oval diamond, the largest purplish red diamond ever offered at Tender. Rio expects it will be highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from Asia where the colour red is highly symbolic.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA is planning to showcase a unique collection of large, fancy-colored diamonds at the Hong Kong Gem & Jewelry Fair in September, reports Rough & Polished. The collection of diamonds the miner will showcase includes 250 stones of different shapes and colors (including very rare colors) - purple, pink, orange and vivid-yellow - and is said to be the largest collection of fancy-colored stones the company has ever presesnted.
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%.
Following successful auctions of special size rough diamonds (weighing over 10.8 carats) in Vladivostok, New York, Israel and Dubai, Russian miner ALROSA earned total sales revenue of $10.4 million at their latest auction in Hong Kong, which is more than 1.5 times higher than the starting price. In total, 100 gem-quality lots with a total weight of 1,550 carats were sold. The companies from the largest diamond trading centers, including Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, India, the UAE and Russia, attended the auction. 28 firms were recognized as winners for different lots.
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.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA will hold the auctions for the sale of special size rough diamonds (+10.8 carats) in Hong Kong and Vladivostok this June. The auction in Hong Kong will take place on June 13-27, where the company will auction 105 gem-quality lots with total weight of 1,620 carats. The second auction will be held on June 18-29 in Vladivostok, where company plans to auction 130 gem-quality lots with total weight 2,149 carats.
Hong Kong's imports and exports of rough and polished diamonds saw a solid to significant upswing across all categories during the first quarter of 2018 (Jan-March), according to figures published Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China. Polished diamond imports to the trade hub increased by 10% in value to $5.17 billion from the import of nearly 5.3 million carats worth of the polished gems. Hong Kong's exports and re-exports rose by 4% to $3.53 billion from 3.7 million carats.
Coronet, a Hong Kong-based diamond jewellery brand has set another Guiness World Record, this time for the "Most diamonds set on a handbag" with nearly 10,000 embedded in a Coca-Cola-inspired accessory. This Coca-Cola bottle-shaped diamond handbag contains 9,888 pieces of natural diamonds, weighing 120 carats, and took 15 highly skilled craftsmen nearly 100 days to complete, showcasing the utmost creativity and extravagance, Guinness writes. The bag is set with 8,543 black diamonds and 1,345 colorless diamonds.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA held auctions of rough and polished diamonds at the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show two weeks ago, earning a total of $16.3 million. The United Selling Organization (USO) ALROSA sold 112 special size (over 10.8 carats) rough diamonds with the total weight of 1,787 carats, earning US$13.5 million, for an average price of $7,555 per carat. ALROSA Deputy CEO Yury Okoemov said, “The Hong Kong auction with 50 participating companies demonstrated that demand for rough diamonds of this size category remains stable.
Swiss watch exports saw their strongest growth in more than five years during 2017, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. with Hong Kong and mainland China representing the top two markets for Swiss watches. This trend continued to start off 2018, as January sales in Hong Kong rose 21.3 percent to grab a 15 percent of the market, while sales in mainland China surged by 44.3 percent to reach 10.9 percent of the market, overtaking the US.
Is it appropriate for the diamond industry to offer mass quantities of loose one-carat diamonds at these events? What is the message we are sending to the high-end consumers who frequent trade fairs, if they see high-end diamond jewelry pieces at one booth, and then loose diamonds in large quantities offered at wholesale prices at another booth? Does this help us promote diamonds as a rare creation of earth or harm those efforts? Isn’t it clear that we are hurting our own business with these actions?