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The Apple Watch has many in the jewellery industry concerned about the future of their own fine watch sales. There is no question that the Apple Watch will be a big seller and jewellery stores will not get to stock them; they will only be sold in Apple stores. It is easy to see why jewellers may think that this product will be a strong competitor to the watch industry.


Why the Apple watch is not a threat to jewellers?


Apple Watch vs. a Mechanical watch

A fine mechanical watch is a miniature work of art and a piece of history. It is a hand crafted mechanical device developed over centuries with one basic function; to accurately tell time. Without it accurate time it would have been very difficult for humans to explore the world.

The Apple watch is a miniaturized Apple iPhone that just happens to sit conveniently on your wrist. It allows you to do all things you currently do on your Apple Phone, including using GPS to explore the world.

The one thing that the Apple Watch lacks that a mechanical watch has is longevity. A mechanical watch is an heirloom product made to be passed down to future generations, often gaining value over time. An Apple Watch, like all other Apple products, is designed with planned obsolescence. It will have a functional lifespan of a year or two and then will need to be replaced with the latest improved model.


Style vs Function

While there is no doubt that the Apple Watch will eclipse all mechanical watches in function, its form is sleek, thin and plain. Even the $17,000 18K gold case is still pretty basic.

But style matters. Jean-Claude Biver, CEO Tag Heuer said, “You don’t buy a $20,000 watch to tell you what time it is. Time is everywhere. You buy it because it is a piece of art. And art is eternity.”


Boomers vs Millennials

Ask a baby-boomer to tell you the time and they are likely to look at their wrist. Ask the same question to a Millennial and they will check their phone. The Apple Watch will get the younger generation used to having something functional and sometimes expensive on their wrist. This gives a jewellery retailer an opening to discuss other, more stylish products to wear that will enhance their status and still tell the time. Be sure to have a nice selection of entry level mechanical watches on hand. If you can get them to make the transition, they will get hooked; giving rise to a whole new generation of watch collectors

For boomer customers, a little creativity can turn an Apple Watch into a profit stream. Offer enhancements like adding diamond pave or custom engraving to the Apple gold watches.

There is no need to see the Apple Watch as a threat. It is a completely different product from a fine mechanical watch but it can open the door to new sales for jewellery stores.


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In spite of Indian Rupee treading low in the international market, the country’s Jewellery export growth is expected to touch a four-year high, crossing $40 billion, in the current financial year thanks to the congenial atmosphere created due to robust American demand. Industry leaders also expect a rise in demand for gold jewellery in West Asia and Turkey. Based on this favourable business conditions, India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has fixed an export target of $43 billion this year.


The US constitutes around 42% of global jewellery consumption and around 40% of India's overall gem and jewellery export goes to America. Chairman of the GJEPC Mr. Vipul Shah says, "We expecting high single-digit (about 7 to 9%) growth in the overall segment this year. Diamond jewellery demand is robust across all destinations including the US. Gold jewellery demand has also seen an impressive growth in 2014-15. The trend seems likely to continue, on rising order flows. Thus, we can easily cross $40 billion mark in export this year."

China has eroded some of India's market shares in the past few years. But the increasing cost of labour there has now made exports from China more expensive than India, the leaders feel.


India’s jewellery shines again

India’s jewellery shines again


India’s domestic gold jewellery industry is also expected to grow by 8 to 10% in the medium to long-term, according to a recent report released by credit ratings agency ICRA. The growth will be mainly driven by growing penetration of the organized sector and refining consumer sentiments, the report says.

At the same time, recent policy measures by the Indian government have eased gold availability to a great extent. This, coupled with the re-introduction of low cost gold metal loans has also helped create an encouraging environment, it added. This has already been reflected in Q4 of the year 2015, which achieved 19% growth year-on-year growth. During the FY, volumes reached a high of 662 tonnes, despite H1 seeing lower than expected volumes.

The ICRA report also says that in the long term, gold jewellery demand in India has strong cultural underpinnings and is also being driven by evolving lifestyle and growing disposable income, especially in Tier 2, Tier 3 cities and rural markets which account for a major chunk of the demand. It also adds that a majority of the eight leading jewellers it surveyed have seen a moderation in 2013-14 and 2014-15 due to the impact of weak demand and rising competitive pressures. This was founded on an analysis of store-level metrics, including same store sales progress, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) and revenue per sq. ft. ICRA however, estimates that this would change leading to a 4%-8% growth on many of these parameters.

Adding to these expert opinions, Mr. Ishu Datwani, founder of Anmol Jewellers says,

“In the recent years, the Indian manufacturing quality has improved a lot. Our labour being inexpensive, we have been able to compete in terms of pricing and doing very well in the global market. But there is still the upper end to the market which the Italians control where we need to improve gradually. We are still in the more mass produced categories. But there is definitely an improvement in the finishing of our jewellery and we have managed to reduce the gap between us and the Italians in terms of finish.”


As far as domestic market is concerned, Mr. Datwani says,

“There has been a lot of competition here, (for which I don’t think one can blame anybody) but the fact that the country has seen a lot of growth in population and the competition is not just limited to the jewellery industry, but it is across most other industries. Apart from this, the last financial year was a bit tough for the jewellery industry mainly because there has been sluggishness in the economy because of the global slowdown. The impact of the slowdown was not felt earlier, but it was felt only in the last one year. Besides, all the policies of the previous Government had an adverse effect, so it would take to some time for the new government policies to actually show a positive impact.”


“One of the reasons why the jewellery industry is struggling today to survive and grow is being the fact that the younger generation is more attracted towards latest electronic gadgets and instruments and jewellery has taken a backseat. I guess we need to be more innovative & think out of the box to promote jewellery among young consumers. We do have an important cultural reason for people to buy jewellery in our country, which is wedding. So we must promote weddings & in a way tempt the young to go back to jewellery,”

he adds.


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The 2nd edition of the Jewellery & Gem Fair – Europe (JGF Europe) concluded successfully on 25 March 2015 at Messe Freiburg, Germany. The fair attracted over 6,500 jewellery professionals from around the world, of which over 4,500 were buyers from 87 countries and regions. The robust attendance confirms growing support for the new fair.



JGF Europe is positioned as an effective trading platform for mid- to high-end jewellery. We believe that JGF Europe fills the gap in the European trade fair calendar; it gives European buyers the opportunity to source effectively from suppliers from around the world without having to travel to overseas trade shows,” said Mr Wolfram Diener, Senior Vice President, UBM Asia.


With the participation of over 4,500 buyers, this shows that JGF Europe addresses a market need.  We are also glad to receive positive feedback from visitors on the exhibitors’ quality, product range and price,” he continued.



The Top 10 sources of visitors were: Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Austria. There were 1,801 buyers from Germany, while Switzerland ranked the second with 309 visitors, up 17.5% compared to last year. The Top 10 visiting countries account for 70% of the total number of visitors.


In terms of exhibitors, JGF Europe featured 445 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions in 19,000 sqm of exhibition space. The exhibitors were from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. In addition, nine group pavilions representing Antwerp, ACODES, Germany, Hong Kong, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), Italy, Mauritius, Thailand and the United States offered buyers their market specialties.



A number of exhibitors pointed out that JGF Europe is a good platform for them to tap into or expand their network in the European market. To attract even more visitors to coming editions, we will offer additional special attractions, including special displays and business seminars for owners of jewellery stores,” added Mr Diener.



After considering the industry feedback, the fair organiser is happy to announce that the fair dates for the 2016 edition is 19 March (Saturday) to 22 March (Tuesday) at Messe Freiburg, Germany. This arrangement would enable jewellery retailers and goldsmiths to source and replenish inventory during the weekend. “We believe that this will also enable smaller jewellery retailers or jewellers from the peripheral area of Freiburg to have sufficient time to visit the fair,” said Mr Diener.


JGF Europe’s second edition in Freiburg was very successful. Many of the exhibitors who participated last year have returned and have indicated to be very happy with the development of the exhibition. They are keen to support the expansion of this European sourcing platform in the upcoming years. Buyers were able to source a wide range of finished jewellery, diamonds, gem stones and many more high quality materials. This year the show opened for the first time on Sunday. This meant that it was very convenient for local jewellery retailers to visit. Next year we will add the Saturday which will allow us to attract even more interested buyers. We are very pleased with the results of JGF Europe 2015 and are looking forward to another successful show next year,” said Mr John van der Valk, Managing Director of UBM EMEA Amsterdam.



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The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) recently organized its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai. This was the first time that the RJC AGM and Conference was held outside Europe. The event is estimated to have achieved a milestone in the organization's sustained efforts in bringing the message of responsible business practices to India - a global leader in diamond and jewellery manufacturing and sales.


RJC has made substantial progress in India

RJC has made substantial progress in India


The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) joined the RJC as co-hosts to introduce India’s diamond and jewellery industry to a global audience through this event. While doing so, the GJEPC acknowledged the significance of the RJC in the development and certification of responsible supply chains in India, especially for major export markets.


Addressing the Conference, GJEPC Chairman Mr. Vipul Shah said,

“The GJEPC and BDB acknowledge that RJC delivers one of the most effective ways to our members to show they take responsible business practices seriously in order to create confidence with international markets for our products. We are eager to work more closely with the RJC to hasten the progress achieved over the last two years that would further help in promoting RJC membership to our members. This is a primary part of securing the long-term future for an exceptionally successful industry.”


The event highlighted how the Indian manufacturing industry has greatly benefited from a global compliance standard like the RJC to realize export market expectations as well as to maintain skilled workers as a way of improving quality and productivity.

Executive Director of the GJEPC Mr. Sabyasachi Ray gave the delegates an understanding of India’s gem and jewellery industry and proposed some suggestions so that a larger section of the industry could be associated with the RJC model. Mr. Ray underlined some issues or areas of concern which if addressed, he said,

“would support the RJC in creating a common platform and grow membership and integrate better.”  The areas of concern included aspects like the membership fee which is currently seen as high for many micro and small entrepreneurs. The certification fee is also high and as there are several regulatory procedures which the companies have to follow, the overall cost of compliance is becoming very large.”


Mr. Ray suggested that a differential policy based on size should be introduced. He also proposed that the requirements of Legal Compliance and the Audit Process should be displayed on the RJC’s website for greater transparency, so that all companies should clearly know what was expected of them. He also suggested introducing a “level playing field” so that the manufacturers of other countries can also be brought under its ambit.

RJC chairman Mr. James Courage said, “India has always remained as a strategic priority for us (the RJC). We express our gratitude to co-hosts GJEPC and BDB, and all the other international and Indian participants without whose participation the event would not have been successful. The RJC is glad that this event has reinforced our relationship with the GJEPC and BDB to work together for the future triumph of the Indian diamond and jewellery industry.”

RJC has made substantial progress in India and is devoted to working with Indian industry and institutions to fully integrate with this key market. As a prime goal of its increasing commitment to India, RJC has appointed Kinjal Shah as country head, India.


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There was one more red carpet event this year that slipped in under the radar. It was actually a political event known as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

It’s an annual gathering that began 101 years ago as a way for working journalists who cover the White House to acknowledge award-winners, present scholarships, and give the press and the president an evening of friendly appreciation. However, it has grown into an event of glitz and glamour in which celebrity guests, pre-dinner receptions and post-dinner parties have in many ways overshadowed the main dinner, as I witnessed when I attended the event in 1998.


Gina Rodriguez wore Harry Kotlar diamond earrings, Harry Kotlar ring and Chimento bracelet.Bethany Mota wore Brumani earrings. 100.20-carat “ultimate” emerald-cut diamond sold for $22 million—one of the few bright spots of the jewellery auction market this spring.
Gina Rodriguez wore Harry Kotlar diamond earrings, Harry Kotlar ring and Chimento bracelet. Bethany Mota wore Brumani earrings. Chanel Iman wore Harry Kotlar diamond earrings and Harry Kotlar bracelet.


The main event isn’t too shabby either with the president and his administration the subject of a (usually) friendly roast and then returning the favour by telling a few jokes of his own at the expense of the White House press corps.

Washington is known as town in which the majority women in government wear conservative pants suits adorned with a simple white pearl necklace. However, for this event, political leaders, political opinion makers and White House reporters get to rub shoulders with Hollywood’s finest. And wherever Hollywood celebrities gather, even in the centre of political power in the US, there is high fashion.

100.20-carat “ultimate” emerald-cut diamond sold for $22 million—one of the few bright spots of the jewellery auction market this spring. 100.20-carat “ultimate” emerald-cut diamond sold for $22 million—one of the few bright spots of the jewellery auction market this spring.
Bethany Mota wore Brumani earrings. Carla Gugino wore
Jewelmer south sea pearl earrings.


It didn’t even dawn on me to cover this as a major fashion event until this year. Certainly there were no trends of note to discuss. But it could easily be considered the most elegant affair on the red carpet calendar.

I was also a bit surprised at how many jewellery companies took this event seriously as a place to show their best pieces.

Forevermark was in the forefront again, adorning no fewer than four guests in their sparkling white diamond, white metals jewellery. The De Beers jewellery brand shows that it’s serious about its push into the US market, which began in a big way almost a year ago.


Laverne Cox wore Forevermark by Natalie K Diamond Line Bracelet, Forevermark Diamond Drop Earrings, all in 18k white gold and Forevermark Cluster Shield Ring, in oxidized gold. Jenna Dewan-Tatum wore Casa Reale earrings and Casa Reale ring.

Laverne Cox wore Forevermark by
Natalie K Diamond Line Bracelet,


Forevermark Diamond Drop Earrings,
all in 18k white gold

and Forevermark
Cluster Shield Ring, in oxidized gold.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum wore
Casa Reale earrings and Casa Reale ring.


Like the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards, white was the overall look of the evening when it came to jewellery. However, diamonds shared the stage with white gems and pearls.


Hannah Davis in Arya Esha earrings and rings. Darby Stanchfield wore Forevermark By Pluczenik Integré Double Drop Earrings, Forevermark by Galili and Co. Diamond Line Bracelet, Forevermark by Natalie K Three Row Diamond Bracelet, Forevermark by Natalie K Line Bracelets and Forevermark Oval Swirl Ring, all in 18k white gold.
Hannah Davis in Arya Esha earrings and rings.

Darby Stanchfield wore Forevermark By
Pluczenik Integré Double Drop Earrings,

Forevermark by Galili and Co.
Diamond Line Bracelet, 

Forevermark by Natalie K
Three Row Diamond Bracelet,

Forevermark by Natalie K Line Bracelets and

Forevermark Oval Swirl Ring,
all in 18k white gold.


All of the jewels and gowns were appropriate and tasteful as they should be as the president is the guest of honour. One of the few persons showing any flesh was Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Hannah Davis. She was also one of the few people who chose a bit of colour in her jewellery, wearing long earrings and ring by a brand new jewellery brand, Arya Esha. I need to ask the company’s founder, Priyanka Murthy, how she managed to get her jewels on someone at such high-profile event being so new to the industry.



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