Archive

  • Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has decided not to take action against HSBC, Britain's largest bank, whose Swiss arm helped clients to evade tax. HSBC was hit by a scandal last year when leaked bank account details showed how its Swiss unit helped wealthy customers to evade taxes by concealing assets and handing out cash to avoid the authorities. HSBC’s private banking clients, which also featured 2,000 diamond industry names, held more than $100 billion.

  • Israel's exports of polished diamonds plunged by more than 20% in 2015 from the year before to almost $5.0 billion from $6.27 billion, according to figures released by Shmuel Mordechai, Israel’s Diamond Controller. He said the sharp drop was due to the global decline affecting the diamond industry with falling demand in the United States and China together with the high prices of rough and polished diamonds. However, Mordechai said that the declines have affected the Israeli diamond industry less than other diamond centers.

  • Property millionaire David Pearl who bought a long lease at the site after the previous leasehold owner, Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, shut down following the heist last April when £14 million ($21 million) of goods was stolen said he was looking at several options. He was reported as saying that the site could become a museum around the incident, commemorating one of London’s largest raids.

  • Designer Joseph Bruce has created a necklace based on the hole left behind from the Hatton Garden jewelry raid last April, when thieves drilled through a 50cm wall with special drills. The 18K gold necklace, called Hatton Tom Foolery, was commissioned by an anonymous “well known Hatton Garden jeweler,” said Bruce, who added that the piece is also available in silver.

  • With Hong Kong suffering the worst retail downturn in more than a decade, and Chinese tourists deterred from spending by a weaker yuan and the Beijing government's crackdown on corruption and conspicuous spending, jewelry retailer Plukka wants customers to see and feel their products before committing to buying. The start-up aims to go public in Australia on Friday and launched in Hong Kong and New York last month.

  • A Faberge amethyst ring is to be raffled in London with the aim of raising £5,000 as part of a wider initiative to encourage more women to enter the mining profession. The special raffle will be held on December 2 and is organized by Women in Mining (UK), an organization dedicated to promoting and progressing the career development of women in mining and minerals.

  • The value of jewelry exported via Heathrow airport has increased by 18% over the past two years. The UK customs data released by Heathrow airport found jewelry to be the third most valuable export traveling via the airport at £3 billion ($4.8 billion).

  • A London court has heard that two-thirds of the property stolen during a safety deposit case raid in Hatton Garden in London over the Easter weekend in April has still not been recovered. It is estimated that £14 million (around $21 million) worth of jewels and precious metals were stolen when raiders went through a wall into a vault at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd., opening 73 safety deposit boxes, of which 29 were empty. Planning for the raid, described in court as the “largest burglary in English legal history”, began as far back as 2012.

  • Britain posted a rise in sales of jewelry of 1.2 percent to an estimated £4.15 billion ($6.3 billion) in 2015 from £4.01 billion ($6.01 billion) in 2014, according to the annual Jewellery Retailing report by research firm Mintel. Precious metal jewelry sales were strong in 2014, rising almost 4 percent due to women self-purchasing more precious metal jewelry. According to the report 55 percent of women aged 16-24 buy precious metal jewelry for themselves, compared to 45 percent who buy costume jewelry for themselves.

  • Luxury diamond jeweler, Graff Diamonds, is opening an expanded presence within The Fine Jewellery Room at up-scale Harrods in London in an indication of the success of its sales of expensive diamond jewelry. The new store will enable it to showcase more of its fine and rare jewels. Graff CEO Francois Graff said: “Following the resounding success since its launch last year, the Graff store in Harrods has become an important location in London for the company portfolio, increasing our brand footprint.”

  • Bollywood stars and businessmen are coming together to start legal proceedings in London’s High Court for the return of the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, which they say was stolen from its true home. The move could result in some awkward moments at a lunch the Queen is hosting for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace this week, although a Royal source said the row was strictly off the agenda, according to the Daily Mail.

  • Christie’s is to auction former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's jewelry collection in the year that she would have celebrated her 90th birthday. The collection features around 350 historic and personal lots to be sold at two sales. An online only sale comprising 200 lots will take place from December 3 to 16 December, while an auction of 150 lots will be held at Christie’s headquarters in London on December 15. The sale take place 25 years after Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) left office following 11 years as Prime Minister.

  • Signet Jewelers, the largest retailer of diamond jewelry in the world with more than 3,000 stores across the United States, has appointed a Chief Strategy Officer to map out further growth for the firm. Uta Werner will be responsible for strategy development and execution and will be focused on the identification of growth opportunities, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Werner’s other responsibilities include monitoring long-term trends, gathering competitive intelligence, driving cross-business-unit initiatives, and sustaining business model innovation.

  • As much as £1.6 billion (about $2.5 billion) worth of jewelry may have disappeared down Britain’s drains over the years, according to new research. A survey of 2,011 adults found that 14 percent of Britons had personally lost a piece of jewelry in a drain, with an average value of £228 ($350). People living in Wales lost jewelry with a lower average value of around $180, while in the east of England the figure was $510. One respondent in the south east claimed to have lost a jewelry item worth more than $15,000.

  • 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.

  • Although consumer demand across the European Community generally is patchy, consumer confidence in the United Kingdom hit a four-year high in the third quarter of this year despite volatility in global financial markets during the three-month period, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. The quarterly survey, which gathers the views of 3,000 consumers in Britain, found that consumer confidence climbed by 2%.

  • Harrods will be hosting an interactive Bulgari pop up exhibition from October 30 to November 28 at the iconic London store. The exhibition will celebrate Bulgari ‘divas’ including Elizabeth Taylor, Gina Lollobrigida, Ingrid Bergman and Anita Ekberg, all of whom wore jewelry made by the Italian firm. The pop-up’s windows will pay tribute to these glamorous starlets, featuring original imagery of them wearing Bulgari’s creations.

  • A man being held in a high security jail in England after pleading guilty to taking part in the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd raid over the Easter weekend is offering to tell the police where he has hidden his share of the stolen goods. Danny Jones, aged 58, wrote to Sky News crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, saying: “I’ve instructed my solicitor [lawyer] to tell the police Flying Squad that I want to give back my share of the Hatton Garden burglary, they said it’s in motion."

  • In the first ever TV advert by a major international auction house, Bonhams of London will be launching a TV ad campaign dedicated to jewelry later this month. Called Be Part of the Story, the commercials aim to drive brand awareness and encourage people to buy and sell their jewelry at Bonhams.

  • The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has appointed Anne-Marie Fleury as standards and impacts director where she joins the recently appointed Bethan Herbert who is certification and impacts manager and Maria Mursell who is training and assurance manager.

  • A rare British-owned gemstone steeped in history and intrigue sold for a record price of $30,000 per carat at Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale in London. The previous world record price per carat for a faceted Spinel was $16,000 which was set in 2013.

  • London-based Graff Diamonds has disclosed its Fall advertising campaign featuring exceptional diamonds in four images on the theme of nature’s fundamental elements: earth, water, air and fire. The campaign is being launched in newspapers, magazines and online platforms, with the images also being displayed at Graff’s 55 stores in the UK, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

  • The 'Hope Spinel' is being put up for sale for the first time since 1917 by London auction house Bonhams. The stone was once owned by renowned gem collector Henry Philip Hope, and is part of the same collection as the famous Hope Diamond. Bonhams says it expects the stone to sell for around $230,000 to $300,000.

  • In addition, five other men face the same charge of conspiracy to burgle and are due to face trial in November while two other men are yet to enter pleas and four other suspects are also due to appear in court charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property. The raid took place over the Easter bank holiday weekend when thieves used heavy cutting equipment to drill into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company, where they broke into more than 70 deposit boxes and stole property worth around $15 million.

  • The safe deposit box company hit by the $15 million Hatton Garden jewelry heist is closing down after trade slumped as a result of of the high-profile theft. Hatton Garden Safe Deposit appointed accountancy firm SPW as liquidators on August 24. Sunney Sagoo, senior insolvency administrator at SPW, said: “Following the robbery, trade dried up and they applied for company voluntary liquidation. The company is insolvent and it can no longer carry on trading. We are now taking steps to close the company down.

  • Gem-A, the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, said that following the election for seats to its Council, nine new members were elected, with seven from the U.K. and two from the U.S. who will join three existing Council members. Among the first steps the Council will take is the appointment of a new CEO after James Riley stood down earlier this year due to a controversial dispute over alleged misuse of his Gem-A credit card that has created much rancor in the organization.

  • Signet Jewelers Limited, the largest retailer of diamond jewelry in the world, reported second quarter net income of $62.2 million compared to $58.0 million last year. Signet said its second-quarter profit was unfavorably hit by transaction costs principally due to the $34.2 million legal settlement of the Zale acquisition.

  • In an innovative program, scarves made by ex-offenders as part of a police scheme in Leicestershire are donated to women’s groups, particularly women from Asian communities, who are encouraged to wear them to keep their jewelry out of sight in public and thus cut down on jewelry thefts. Previous summers have seen a rise in gold chain snatches, but that has not been the case this summer, according to a report.

  • The sophisticated Hatton Garden heist which saw jewelry worth an estimated $15 million stolen from safety deposit boxes over the Easter weekend last April continues to make waves. Two men have been charged and will appear in court on August 27.

    Nine other people have already been charged and appeared in court on June 4. They are being held in custody and will be brought before a court on September 4. Meanwhile, London police said one man and two women have also been interviewed under caution in connection with the investigation.

  • An MP of Indian descent is calling for the British Prime Minister David Cameron to give his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, a promise during his official visit to Britain in November that the world-famous Koh-i-Noor diamond will be returned to India. "What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond's return," said MP Keith Vaz.

  • Riley resigned last week despite having considerable support among members, trustees, senior executives and several current and former members of the Gem-A board, Professional Jeweller reported. However, it is not clear whether the resignation has yet been formally accepted by the board, which is currently without a chairperson.
    Riley has been on leave since March of this year and was reportedly suffering with ill health. Gem-A is investigating allegations of improper conduct by the former CEO, according to the report.

  • Professor Heiner Evanschitzky, Chair of Marketing at Aston University in Birmingham, says: “Amazon has had an incredible 20 years, and already has a legacy as one of the disruptive innovators that set the standard for online retailing and changed the face of the industry, as well as consumer shopping habits, forever.

  • The miner's diamond jewelry brand is to go on sale at high-profile jewelry retailers. Forevermark's sales last year were in excess of $750 million and is available in 1,600 stores in 34 countries/markets. The brand was initially launched in Hong Kong in 2004, and has since been rolled out in a wide range of countries.

  • Online sales of non-food products in the UK soared 17.6% in June from a year before, with almost 20% of such purchases being made online. However, one observer pointed out that shoppers may simply have preferred to shop comfortably by computer than walk from store to store in high summer temperatures.

  • Online diamond and jewelry retail giant Blue Nile is seeking a bricks-and-mortar store presence, leading other Internet jewelry sellers to do likewise. Now an British online diamond jewelry retailer called Vashi is launching a fundraising campaign to secure £850,000 ($1.3 million) for new physical store openings. The e-tailer is using a crowdfunding platform named VentureFounders to search for investors, and so far it has raised almost £450,000 ($700,000) from 20 investors.

  • We are all used to the phenomenon of female movie stars sporting millions of dollars of jewelry at high-profile events such as the Oscars. But in a new twist, increasing numbers of professional tennis players are wearing high-end wristwatches, making watchspotting a new trend at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

  • Renewed financial optimism is prevailing according to the UK Consumer Confidence Index which sees shoppers' confidence up by six points to seven in June 2015, while all of the five measures used to calculate the Index saw increases during the month. Consumer confidence in June increased to its highest level since the late 1990s.

  • Jewelry brands led the way in sales growth in UK shopping malls in the first quarter of 2015, according to new figures from a leading real estate firm. Jewelry posted a growth in sales of 12% in the first quarter of this year, and a 7.2% rise over the last 12 months.

  • Tiffany & Co. will be launching an interactive exhibition open to the public next week as part of a celebration to mark the opening of a boutique within London’s Selfridges department store. The July 3-12 exhibition at the Old Selfridges Hotel, is called Fifth & 57th, the address of the company’s headquarters and flagship store in Manhattan.

  • The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has established a customs-approved warehouse facility for its members in partnership with Malca-Amit UK Ltd. LDB’s customs warehouse facility enables customers to suspend the payment of customs duties at the point of entry to the UK. LDB members will be able to store goods for approval, to bring goods into free circulation (once duty and valued-added tax are paid) or to re-export goods to another destination. "This flexibility provides members' businesses with a valuable cash-flow advantage," the LDB said.