Archive

  • 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.

  • Russia's Alrosa has appointed Rebecca Foerster as President ALROSA USA Inc., and will mainly be responsible for the development of polished diamonds sales and customer service. ALROSA’s office in New York was opened in 2006, but it has not been operating since 2016 for organizational reasons. The full-scale operation was resumed in 2018, when two rough diamond auctions were held there. This year, ALROSA plans to hold four rough diamond auctions in New York and significantly increase its office activity in selling its own polished diamonds.

  • Signet Jewelers, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, announced its same-store sales fell 1.3% to $1.84 billion during the "Holiday Season" (the 9 weeks ended January 5, 2019) as the company failed to get enough demand from its legacy product lines and enough traffic in their stores during key weeks in December. For the current quarter ending Feb. 2, it now expects same-store sales to be down 1.6% to $2.5%.

  • The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has appointed Kristina Buckley Kayel (pictured) as the managing director of its North American division, it announced yesterday, January 3. Kayal will be responsible for developing and implementing the DPA’s consumer marketing and communications strategy, with a focus upon the “Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond.” platform, as well as represent the DPA in local trades and organizations within North America. She will assumes her new role on February 4, 2019.

  • Looking towards 2019, independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, who covers the natural and the lab-created diamond industry, has identified three themes that will likely shape the diamond industry, exclusively for The Diamond Loupe. View the pdf verison here.

  • Tiffany & Co's worldwide net sales increased 4% to $1.0 billion in the third quarter, with higher spending by local customers noted across the board, but a decline in purchases by Chinese tourists in the United States and Hong Kong put a dent in the jeweler’s Q3 results. The stock market took notice, as shares of Tiffany & Co. plunged 12 percent following their publication of the results, as industry analysts had been anticipating better results.

  • Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.

  • An interim order regarding the liquidations sales of 142 stores that Sears plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization recognizes the ownership rights of vendors that have supplied merchandise to the retailer on memo. Those vendors, which include diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue and jewelry supplier Vijay Gold Designs, objected to Sears' plans to close the stores because the stores held goods supplied by the vendors on consignment and believed Sears would to sell their merchandise “whether they own it or not.”

  • Rosy Blue and Vijay Gold Designs, two of Sears Holdings Corp.'s prominent jewelry suppliers, have challenged the retailer's plans to liquidate 142 stores in bankruptcy, saying some of the inventory they have furnished to Sears was on consignment. On October 15, Sears - once an innovative icon of the retail industry - filed for Chapter 11 in New York federal court to provide restructuring and financial relief for the organization.

  • According to new research from Euromonitor International, India is set to overtake US as the world's second largest fine jewelry market by the end of 2018, reports Business Matters. The study shows that China remains the biggest market for fine jewelry with sales reaching US$86.3 billion by the end of 2017, which are expected to reach US$92 billion by the end of this year. The Chinese market as a whole has grown by over 21% in the last five years.

  • Industry consultant Ben Janowski takes an in-depth look at the developments that led De Beers to enter into the laboratory-grown diamond jewelry sector, and what Lightbox may mean long-term for the mining giant. Published in full courtesy of Ben Janowski, who will be lecturing at the Antwerp Summer University program, "From Mine to Finger 2018: A deep dive into the world of diamonds."* 

  • In what can only be described as a victory for laboratory-grown diamond producers, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has dropped the word 'natural' from its definition of a diamond, essentially redefining 'diamond' to include non-mined gemstones, as part its new guides for the jewelry industry. It further gives additional leeway to existing standards regarding the description of lab-grown diamonds (and metal alloys), and has dropped 'synthetic' as an appropriate descriptor of lab-grown diamonds except under certain circumstances.

  • Last week, the United States' Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing states to collect sales tax from online retailers even when a retailer has no physical presence in that state, sending shock waves and uncertainty across the retail landscape. States argued they were losing out on billions of dollars worth of online sales taxes annually as a result of the precedent set by  a 1992 court decision, Quill Corp vs. North Dakota; the new Wayfair v.

  • Many women (and men) dream of the moment their partner will get down on one knee and ask the big question with the little box – but what if it’s not the ring you’ve been dreaming of? Helzberg Diamonds just thought of the perfect solution, the Will You? ring—a $50 “ring before the ring” that marks the proposal, but not the actual engagement.

  • This past Monday, the JCK Las Vegas show and jewelry week surrounding it came to its conclusion with steady trading reflecting a confident US market, despite a significant dip in the number of exhibitors and foot traffic at the various shows. The exhibitors and organizers acknowledged the decline of visitors, but were adamant that those attending the events headed out to the desert with a greater sense of purpose than in prior years, as buyers were looking for specific goods and exhibitors were maintaining existing relationships.

  • The executive director of the World Diamond Council (WDC), Marie-Chantal Kaninda on May 31 addressed U.S. State Department officials and civil society members on the topic of responsible diamond sourcing and the Kimberley Process (KP). This is the first time that the WDC presented to the U.S. State Department and supports the WDC’s strategy to raise awareness for, and encourage participation in, efforts to combat conflict diamonds.

  • Global consumer demand for diamond jewelry hit a new all-time high in 2017, climbing to US$82 billion, a two percent increase on the previous year, according to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group. The US was the main driver of growth for the fourth consecutive year, De Beers writes, where positive macroeconomics and strong consumer confidence - which recently hit an 18-year high - saw demand for diamond jewelry increase four percent to $43 billion, representing more than half of total global demand.

  • 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.

  • The trade is facing its #MeToo moment after stories of degrading behavior emerge. In her blog and trade journal Barbara Palumbo, who has spent 30 years in the jewelry and watch industry, wrote about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry — “Women deal with this literally every single day in our industry”.

  • JCK’s Rob Bates took a closer look at Amazon’s vetting process for its jewelry sellers. He spoke to Kristin Cherry Jackson, who recently joined 21C Jewelry Solutions consultancy, following her senior position at Amazon.

  • Signet Jewelers same store sales declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter and declined 5.3% in full year fiscal ended February 3, 2018, the company announces at the conclusion of a self-described "challenging year". At the same time they announced two additions to its Board of Directors, appointing Sharon L. McCollam and Nancy A. Reardon as Independent Directors effective March 13, 2018.

  • A US court last Thursday passed an interim order that prevents creditors from collecting debt from Nirav Modi-owned Firestar Diamond Inc (FDI) and its affiliates after it filed for bankruptcy. Modi, who is being investigated for illegal transfer of nearly $2 billion from Punjab National Bank, has a majority stake in Firestar Diamond and its other sister companies through his other companies. FDI filed the Chapter 11 voluntary petition in the New York Southern Bankruptcy Court last week, and the bankruptcy court said that the filing of case imposed an automatic stay against most collection a

  • "The [jewelry] industry has seen 20 smash-and-grab robberies in jewelry stores since October, as a troubling trend that began in the Midwest has now spread to other areas of the country", writes Rob Bates of JCK. According to Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) president John Kennedy, “The frequency and the number of these crimes are growing and growing. We think it’s very dangerous.

  • WD Lab Grown Diamonds, based in Maryland in the US, has announced the creation a 6-carat round laboratory-grown diamond, which it says, "now stands as the world's only known lab-made CVD diamond of its size and shape." The company says the large synthetic diamond, made using Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technology, was "grown in just a few months, as opposed to the millions of years it takes to form a diamond in nature." The company's facility, located just outside Washington, DC, produces synthetic diamonds for the jewelry market as well f

  • Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA teamed up with GfK (Growth from Knowledge), consumer research company, to examine the purchasing trends among diamond consumers. The US is the world’s largest consumer market of diamond jewelry, and China is the most rapidly growing market, and the study shows why. The research was conducted in the autumn of 2017, surveying more than four thousand people from the US and China who had bought or received diamond jewelry as a gift within the last 12 months, and targeting men and women aged 25 to 55 years with average or above average income.

  • Brisbane-based retail jeweler Michael Hill has announced, "The complete exit of the loss-making retail operations in the US" as part of a set of strategic actions across its global retail network. The company, which "entered the U.S.

  • Signet's total sales for the 9 weeks ended December 30, 2017 (“Holiday Season”) were $1,881.7 million, down $59.2 million or 3.1%, compared to $1,940.9 million in the prior year, the group announced in a press release today. Same Store Sales (SSS) decreased 5.3%. Sales declines were primarily driven by weakness in the Sterling division (Kay, Jared, R2Net and Regional brands), impacted predominantly by the credit outsourcing transition* which accounted for approximately two-thirds of the decrease. R2Net was the best performer in the division, increasing sales 38.6% to $50.6 million.

  • The U.S. sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, one of the biggest individual mining and diamond investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in what it calls a clampdown on human-rights abusers and corrupt actors, write Thomas Biesheuvel, Mark Burton, and William Clowes for Bloomberg Politics. The U.S. Treasury said Gertler has used his close relationship with the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.

  • According to The National Jeweler, a Delaware judge this week has dismissed the Chapter 11 cases Exelco NV and its subsidiaries filed in the Delaware (US) Bankruptcy Court, ruling that the cases should be heard in Belgium. U.S.

  • According to a survey of more than 14,000 engaged or recently married individuals undertaken for the 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study by popular wedding planner The Knot, the average spend on engagement rings is $6,351, up 25 percent from 2011 ($5,095).

  • The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) launched its new “Real is Rare” advertising last night (Nov. 16) on the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on Univision. The second phase of trhe campaign focuses on real, intimate moments within relationships. “The Reveal” is one of two new videos presenting a modern take on love and diamonds.

  • As Bloomberg first reported last week, Exelco North America, the local branch of the prominent Belgian diamond company Exelco NV, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to prevent KBC Bank from liquidating the company's assests. Back in June, Belgian bank KBC Group NV seized assets from Exelco in an attempt to recover unpaid loans, according to court documents.

  • On September 27, ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov held a meeting with representatives of U.S. diamond industry: the President of U.S.