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.
Tiffany & Co.’s Chief Executive Officer, Frederic Cumenal, has decided to step down from his post. The Board of Directors is actively searching for a successor, but until then, former CEO Michael J. Kowalski will serve as Interim CEO while continuing as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In a statement, the company said the decision was based on its disappointing financial results and that the brand needed to improve its performance.
U.S. retailers are under threat of having no option but to close their stores and move their business to the Internet, write Lindsey Rupp and Molly Smith for BloombergMarkets. In the last 18 months, over 5,000 stores have closed their doors, with an additional 10% of all U.S. retail spaces being forced to repurpose or close down altogether. Although consumer spending this holiday season (Nov-Dec) increased overall by 4% to $658.3 billion, ending slightly higher than earlier projections, this can be attributed to deep discounts and online purchases.
From De Beers' press release: Speaking at a reception for customers of its Global Sightholder Sales business during the first Sight of 2017, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO, today highlighted the importance of all parts of the diamond sector working together, following the unpredictable events of a volatile year in 2016.
The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS Laboratories) announced the release of a new service offering - "Only My Diamond" - that allows suppliers and retailers to present the diamond to their customers by "bringing the grading report to life", and providing complete details on the 4Cs, with visual and descriptive explanations of the diamond characteristics. The service is an interactive online tool on AGSLab.com, providing an enhancement to AGS Laboratories' Diamond Quality Document (DQD) by offering supplementary diamond quality information.
Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a short film on its diamonds, highlighting their journey through Tiffany's vertically integrated supply chain from mine to their studio in Antwerp, from Antwerp to the company’s polishing workshops in Mauritius and their final journey to New York. The film gives the viewer unprecedented access inside from inside three critical junctures of the journey from responsible mining to sorting, marking, cutting, polishing, grading, setting – and finally, the famous Tiffany Blue Box®.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
The diamond industry is changing, and the global environment in which we operate is changing too. There is a constant and inseparable interaction between the two. We must continue to evolve ... The diamond industry should change its traditional approach towards consumers. My proposed new approach towards current and future consumers is one based on openness and transparency. For most consumers, the diamond mining and manufacturing process is opaque.
Consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level since August 2001 as Americans were more upbeat about the outlook than at any time in the last 13 years, writes Bloomberg based on a report from the Conference Board, a New-York based independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December: the Index now stands at 113.7 (1985=100), up
Reflecting on the impact of the Trump election victory on the future of the diamond trade, particularly on the U.S. and India, independent industry consultant Pranay Narvekar writes in GJEPC's Solitaire International that America's share of the global polished diamond market - already the highest by far at 45% of total value - should only increase in the coming years, while the strength of the dollar and other expected policy moves will only exacerbate uncertainty throughout the trade.
HRD Antwerp, the Antwerp based grading lab, officially opened a first Centre of Excellence in Shanghai, a concept that combines the strenghts of the grading lab and select retailers across the globe, aimed at increasing consumer confidence and knowledge by offering a true in-store experience.
Under the slogan, "Bring out any truth hidden behind your jewel that promised natural diamonds", the Dharmanandan Research Centre (DRC Techno) announces the J-Secure synthetic screenig device. Claiming it to be the, "World's first instrument that detects synthetic diamonds in studded jewelry", DRC says it will detect synthetic diamonds as small as in the -2 sieve size (0.003 carats) that have been jewelry. DRC is best known for producing D-Secure, which detects synthetics in loose diamonds.
Helen H. Wang, an award-winning author and expert on China’s middle class, writes for Forbes that Chinese millennials, in addition to their burgeoning numbers (by 2020, Chinese millennials are expected to reach 300 million strong, compared to 80 million in the U.S.) have two distinct advantages over their U.S. counterparts: no student loan debt and no housing expenses. According to China National Administration of Tourism, writes Wang, more than 120 million Chinese traveled abroad in 2015, spending $194 billion.
The United States Jewelry Council (USJC) will host a jewelry industry summit, "One of the most important consumer confidence issue of the day – undisclosed lab-grown diamonds." Signet Jewelers is sponsoring the event. In addition to the 13 U.S.-based jewelry trade associations that are members of the U.S. Jewelry Council, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses also supports the event, which will be held November 1 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
A federal jury in New York awarded Tiffany & Co. $5.5 million in damages last week in part one of a two-part verdict being handed down in its case against Costco Wholesale Corp., writes Michelle Graff for National Jeweler.
Diamond companies, especially the small and medium-sized firms who make up the bulk of our membership, cannot easily access financing. Diamond manufacturing and trading companies need to finance their operations, however with banks facing higher capital requirements, risk aversion and increased regulatory burden, the financing they make available to diamantaires has fallen significantly in recent years and that has meant reduced operational flexibility and increased vulnerability to market movements for diamond companies.
In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated.
"We have come a long way from Henry Ford famously paying his workers a living wage so they could afford to buy his cars. Today, there is a huge disconnect between those at the top and the people they employ. Then those same executives go on earnings calls and scratch their heads about where all the shoppers went." So concludes JCK's Rob Bates his pointed analysis of the sluggish state of jewelry retail and the failure of high-level executives to understand why the middle-class are not spending; or perhaps more accurately, that the middle class is disappearing.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr is CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, formed in May 2015 by seven of the world’s leading diamond companies to maintain and enhance consumer demand for, and confidence in diamonds. Lieberherr joined Rio Tinto’s diamond business in 2005, "a life-changing move", he tells us. With the official launch of DPA's "Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond." campaign to take place in early October, Lieberherr lays out his vision of the DPA and responds to some questions on key issues in the diamond industry.