Diamonds and other precious stones forming part of a Czech National Museum collection in Prague, assumed to be worth millions of dollars, were discovered during a routine audit to be fakes and synthetics. The cheap imitations include a 5-carat diamond, which is just a piece of glass, and a 19-carat sapphire which turned out to be synthetic. As told by Radio Praha, "The major reconstruction of the headquarters of the National Museum in Prague has revealed more than just peeling paint and cracks in the walls.
Israeli authorities have placed Israeli diamond and mining mogul Beny Steinmetz under house arrest over allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea linked to his BSG Resources (BGSR) mining company. One of Israel’s wealthiest men, Steinmetz has been arrested in Israel over claims that he paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure mineral assets in one of the world’s poorest nations.
The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry jumped by 3.3 percent in May from April, according to seasonally unadjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and soared 9.9 percent from a year earlier, according to Rapaport News. However, the sharp increase was not in line with diamond prices for the month, with Rapaport's diamond index showing that prices of 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds were flat, while prices of 0.30-carat diamonds fell 1.1 percent and 0.50-carat diamonds slipped 0.3 percent during May.
Sales of platinum jewelry in the United States surged by 10%, while silver jewelry sales soared even more – up 15% - in 2015, JCK reported the two metals’ promotional groups as saying. Platinum jewelry sales rose around 10 percent in ounces last year, the third straight year that sales in volume have increased, according to Platinum Group International. The rise was triggered by the fall in the price of platinum. The precious metal’s price was 10% lower than the average price of gold. Meanwhile, the Silver Institute reported a 15% increase in silver jewelry sales in 2015 at U.S. retailers.
Gold and jewelry markets across India re-opened on Monday after traders ended an 18-day strike that resulted in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for businesses and taxes for the government. The strike was aimed at pressuring the government to reverse a 1% excise duty imposed on gold and diamond jewelry in the 2016-17 budget. Although the government has not yet announced the withdrawal of the planned excise tax, which could make gold and diamond jewelry more expensive, it has decided to set up a task force led by an economic expert to look into it.
India jewelers are estimated to be losing about $150 million a day in income from a shutdown protesting a proposed 1% tax enters its second week, the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation told Bloomberg. Shops will stay closed until the government assures jewelers that a 1% duty proposal is withdrawn, said Bachhraj Bamalwa, a director at the federation, which represents 300,000 jewelers and bullion dealers across the country.
The Fairtrade Foundation reported that volume sales of Fairtrade gold jumped 440% in Britain last year. The foundation also said Fairtrade mining co-operatives in Latin America sold 170 kg of Fairtrade gold on the global market which generated a ‘Fairtrade premium’ of $340,000 on top of the selling price to invest in community projects, Jewellery Focus reports. In addition, the number of registered goldsmiths using Fairtrade gold in 11 markets rose to 389, with 142 being in Britain.
More than 300,000 jewelers across India are taking in a three-day strike starting today (Thursday) to protest against a proposed 1% excise duty on gold and diamond jewelry which they believe will severely impact sales of jewelry. In excess of 300 industry associations, including manufacturers, craftspeople and others, are participating. The proposed tax would be another burden on an industry already beset by challenges, said All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman G V Sreedhar.
After three years in which the price of gold declined, the yellow metal saw a resurgence in 2016, and that is continuing this year so far.
The repercussions of budget changes affecting the Indian jewelry market have started to be felt with India’s biggest gold market closing down on Tuesday as jewelers in the country’s commercial capital began an indefinite strike to try to reverse a plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce an excise tax. Jewelers in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar stopped work and want the proposal for a 1% levy announced in Monday’s annual budget to be withdrawn, according to Ketan Shroff, a spokesman for the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd., which has 10,000 members, Bloomberg reported.
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.
Gold prices are continuing to climb, passing a new three-month high early Thursday to around $1,140 an ounce. Gold prices, an important factor for jewelry makers in their jewelry-manufacturing decision, have received support due to global growth concerns and as sharp falls in oil prices have pushed investors towards safe-haven assets.
"A century of first-hand experience in the art of managing markets is helping diamond producers accomplish what the rest of the mining industry has been unable to during the commodity collapse: shut down supply," writes Thomas Biesheuvel for Bloomberg Business. With rough diamond prices dropping 18 percent last year, world supply was reduced by a quarter as the biggest producers, De Beers and Alrosa, cut output and sales. That compares with the situation in commodities such as iron ore and copper, "where companies like Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd.
Chinese store sales of gold, silver and jewelry rose 7.3% on the year in 2015 to $42 billion, the country's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported. There was an 11.1% jump in sales in December to $4.6 billion, the NBS said. The figures are somewhat surprising due to the slowing Chinese economy and diamond industry accounts of reduced buying in the world's second-largest diamond consuming market.
The founder of Cred Jewellery, Greg Valerio, has been awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the Queens New Years Honours list for 2016 for his work for Fairtrade Gold and with gold mining communities in South America and Africa. Valerio founded Cred Jewellery in 1996 to pioneer responsible mining practices in the jewelry industry. In 2003, Cred established the first transparent supply chain of gold and platinum from Oro Verde in Columbia, and was the first jewelry company to pay social premiums for ecological gold.
Gold took a hit to its image as a safe haven asset in 2015 with its longest decline since 1984. Bullion futures fell for a sixth-straight quarter in the final three months of last year, and lost 10 percent of its price in 2015 and have fallen by about 45 percent since reaching a record high in 2011. The price of gold has fallen as the U.S. dollar has surged on the back of rising American interest rates and a general collapse in prices of commodities from iron ore to oil.
As plummeting commodity prices have forced miners to watch their profits and investments go up in smoke, Mineweb reports that numerous junior miners are shifting away from their core exploration activities to pursue a business with high returns: marijuana.
U.S. platinum jewelry imports surged 85 percent in the third quarter of 2015, gold jewelry imports were up 12 percent as prices for both precious metals fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, according to Thomson Reuters GFMS calculations. U.S. imports of gold jewelry were driven mainly by higher imports from India, Oman, Thailand and Turkey.
The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) estimates that global demand for platinum jewelry in 2015 at 2,850 thousand ounces will be 5% lower than the corresponding figure of 2,990 oz in 2014, mainly due to weak demand in China. The projection was part of its fifth Platinum Quarterly data set. However, the body sees a slight improvement in 2016 and believes that jewelry demand could rise marginally to 2,905 oz.
The World Gold Council's (WGC) Gold Demand Trends report shows demand for gold jewelry climbed 6 percent on the year in the third quarter of 2015 to 632 tons from 594 tons in the year-earlier quarter. Buyers in India, China, the United States and the Middle East bought more gold as the price of the yellow metal declined in July and August, the WGC said in its report.
India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to announce on November 3 the extension of incentives under the ‘Make in India’ initiative for the gem and jewelry sector. The short-term and medium-term initiatives include the establishment of Special Notified Zones (SNZ) for the sale of rough diamonds by mining companies, a reduction of net profit rates for the diamond industry to 2.5 percent from 6 percent, reductions in import duty on gold and silver to 2 percent from 10 percent, and zero percent for cut and polished colored gemstones from 2.5 percent among other measures.
The market value of the mining industry's listed companies has fallen below $1 trillion for the first time since April 2009. Only four years ago, during the peak of the so-called “mining boom”, the sector was worth nearly US$2.5 trillion. In its recently published Industry Monitor, SNL Metals & Mining notes that the aggregate market capitalization of 2,684 listed companies tracked in the SNL database at the end of September was only $934 billion, compared with $1,030 billion at the end of August.
Worldwide demand for gold during the third quarter rose 6.6 percent on the year to 1,074 tonnes, according to the GFMS Gold Survey: Q3 2015 Review and Outlook, a publication of Thomson Reuters. Jewelry making, which accounts for almost half of demand, declined slightly on the year, according to the publication, as “higher demand in India was offset by a slow recovery in Chinese offtake, although demand in the latter was not as bleak as in the first half."
A survey carried out by the Edinburgh Assay Office found that 70 percent of consumers will search for a trust scheme mark on an online site before committing to a purchase. In addition, more than 90 percent of shoppers say knowing their online jewelry purchase is the genuine article is "very important." In 2014, U.K. online retail sales overall rose to £37 billion (around $57 billion) and the survey shows that trust remains one of the biggest barriers to trade with 80 percent saying they will only consider buying from retailers with whom they are familiar.
India's central bank has announced a set of guidelines governing the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) which is expected to be formally launched by the Prime Minister on November and targets the reduction in the country's annual approximate 900 tonnes of yellow metal imports, according to the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The government aims to make some of the country’s gold inventory, estimated at more than 20,000 tonnes, held by individuals, trusts or mutual funds available for sale.
Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, one of the world's largest jewelers, posted a rise of 4 percent in retail sales on the year for the three months to September 30. The firm said the increase was due to a rise in demand for gold items following the fall in the price of gold since mid-July. Same-store sales, a critical indicator for the retail sector, declined by 3 percent in value terms but edged up 1 percent in volume terms for the second fiscal quarter.
Platinum Guild International (PGI) is launching a bridal group campaign in 2015 with industry partners for China’s lucrative bridal jewelry market. The campaign aims to further boost the demand for platinum bridal jewelry in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, and helps develop similar markets in middle-tier cities through joint promotions with national retailers and manufacturers, as well as to reinforce platinum’s leading role in the China bridal market at the same time.
The announcements of the death of gold, it appears, were somewhat premature as the price of the yellow metal continues to rise. Gold prices dropped in the summer on the belief that rising jobs numbers in the United States would lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates from September. However, September saw just 142,000 jobs created, well below analysts' estimates of 205,000 and rates are not expected to rise before December at the earliest.
Diamonds, together with platinum-group metals, made the biggest positive contributions to growth in South Africa’s mining output, which slowed to 3.8 percent year-on-year in August, compared with a 4 percent year-on-year increase in July, according to Statistics South Africa.
The Third International Economic Jewelry Forum, with the theme 'New Realities, New Challenges, New Strategy in a Changing Global Marketplace,' has concluded. The event provided the opportunity for wide-ranging debates featuring senior officials from the government, ALROSA, the Gohkran and the country's jewelry organizations. The aim of the Forum was to create policy guidelines and recommendations for the development of Russia's jewelry industry by the country’s jewelry community and other bodies.
The price of gold is continuing to rise after lower-than-expected American job rises appeared to delay any interest rate rises by the U.S. Federal Reserve to December at the earliest and possibly not until 2016. On the Comex market in New York, gold futures with December delivery dates were trading up nearly $10 or 1% at $1,146.80 on Tuesday after briefly reaching the psychologically important level of $1,150 an ounce.
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.
The price of gold has soared higher along with the price of gold miners' stock prices after global economic fears on Thursday triggered a return to safe-haven buying. Futures contracts in New York with December delivery dates were up 2% to a high of $1,156 an ounce – gold's best level in a month.
With India importing 1,000 tonnes of gold a year to satisfy its domestic jewelry demand, ministers believe that approving the opening of colonial-era mines and others will serve to help reduce the country's huge foreign trade deficit which is boosted by gold imports. Indian officials are expected to auction licenses for new gold mines across the country in the coming months, and to revive long-abandoned mines.
A team of researchers from Tulane University in the United States has compiled the first-ever ranking of firms required to provide disclosure regarding their use of so-called conflict minerals under Dodd-Frank Act. “Anybody with a relative interest in ethical sourcing would be interested in this list,” said Matthew Whitteker, the marketing director for Assent Compliance, a software and services firm in Ottawa that commissioned the Tulane study. “For any company that manages this well, both Wall Street and Main Street will look at their brand favorably.”
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.
The 10th China Gold & Precious Metals Summit 2015 is due to be held in Shanghai from December 9 to 10. Officially endorsed by the China Gold Association and the Shanghai Gold Exchange, it is China’s largest precious metals gathering and brings together more than 2,500 senior executives from jewelers, mining companies, refiners and fabricators, bullion dealers, mints, gold and commodity exchanges, investment and bullion banks, central banks, trading houses, brokerage firms, money managers, consultancies, service providers, trade associations and lawmakers.
Out of 180 mines assessed over the past three years by teams of businesspeople, government officials, and civil society members, 141 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been declared as conflict-free, meaning there are no armed groups, including the Congolese army, and they do not use child labor or pregnant women. The process is taking place in the DRC for the first time and came about as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act on conflict minerals. The validation teams still need to travel to several other areas of the country.
The 39th MidEast Watch & Jewellery Show in the UAE will have 50 percent more floor space, with 30,000 sq m, compared with 20,000 sq m in past editions. The sharp drop in gold prices is expected to generate strong intertest in a region known for its gold jewelry purchases, say organisers. The show takes place from October 6 to 10.
Titanium wedding rings are causing problems in emergency departments because the metal is too strong. In some cases, industrial equipment has been needed to remove titanium rings from a patient’s finger if it has become dangerously swollen. While gold and silver are easy to cut, titanium requires specialist equipment such as dental saws, drills and diamond-tipped saws. In one case, firefighters needed bolt cutters to remove a man’s ring.