JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2015/05/28

This year in the UK there has been a distinct push to move Fairtrade gold higher up on the agenda of a very important customer group – soon-to-be newlyweds. And as we enter into the fifth month of the Fairtrade Foundation’s I Do campaign, soon to be rolled out worldwide, there are distinct signs of success.

 

Fairtrade gold bars – Bars of Fairtrade gold are marked up and packed in Peru before making the journey to Cred in the UK.

Fairtrade gold bars – Bars of Fairtrade gold are marked up and packed in Peru before making the journey to Cred in the UK.

 

In March, a shipment of 15kg of Fairtrade gold was delivered to the UK, landing on the doorstep of ethical jeweller Cred. That’s enough gold to make more than 3,700 wedding bands.

 

Giloy, Herbert & Soehne GmbH & Co KG Cred – These 18ct yellow gold wedding bands by Cred are one of the ethical jeweller’s bestsellers.
Giloy, Herbert & Soehne GmbH & Co KG
- bellaluce & Solitaire Rings

Cred – These 18ct yellow gold wedding bands by Cred are one of the ethical jeweller’s bestsellers

 

Cred has been a driving force in the ethical jewellery industry since 1996 and got involved in importing fair trade jewellery into the UK a decade ago. In fact, it was the first retailer in Europe to sell independently certified fair trade gold, as well as the first high street boutique in the UK to only sell ethical jewellery. It also claims to have been the creator of the world’s first pair of environmentally and sociably responsible wedding bands back in 2003.
 

“Fairtrade gold is getting real traction now as more and more people are asking where their gold comes from,” says Cred chief executive Alan Frampton, who adds that Cred has had increased demand for Fairtrade gold since the launch of the I Do campaign from both customers new to the metal and those now looking to expand their collections. “Knowing that the lives of the miners are enhanced by the Fairtrade premium makes it the best gold in the world.”

 

Harry Kotlar & Co Arabel Lebrusan – Scrolls engraved wedding band and solitaire engagement ring in Fairtrade 18ct white gold by Arabel Lebrusan.
Harry Kotlar Yellow Diamond Ring
in French cut style
Arabel Lebrusan
– Scrolls engraved wedding band and solitaire engagement ring in Fairtrade 18ct white gold by Arabel Lebrusan.

 

While Cred might have been a pioneer, it is now far from the only jewellery company keen to work with Fairtrade gold, and the number is growing. Since the launch of the Fairtrade Foundation’s I Do campaign in January, 33 more goldsmiths in the UK have signed up to sell Fairtrade gold – an incredibly significant amount.
 

The aim of the I Do campaign is to try and get couples setting out to buy their wedding rings to stop and think about where that gold comes from and to encourage them to ask jewellers questions about the gold’s provenance. And the target set for the campaign is to convert 50,000 couples to buy 100,000 Fairtrade gold rings, which would lead to a premium of US

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million for the impoverished mining communities supported by the Fairtrade Foundation around the world.

 

Jeanne Marell – Jeanne Marell Dovetail wedding bands are made from Fairtrade silver and Fairtrade gold joined together. Rosy Blue Hong Kong Limited
Jeanne Marell – Jeanne Marell Dovetail wedding bands are made from Fairtrade silver and Fairtrade gold joined together. Diamond Solitaire Rings
by Rosy Blue Hong Kong Limited

 

This money, generated by a premium paid to miners on top of a set fair price for the gold they deliver, will allow them to invest in healthcare, education and anything else that they need to prosper. Most importantly, it means that Fairtrade can continue to pay gold miners a fair wage for the work they do.
 

The campaign is already helping Fairtrade gold gain momentum in the UK, and if the I Do campaign succeeds in converting even a fraction of consumers buying the 500,000 wedding bands expected to sell in the UK this year then the Fairtrade Foundation will have achieved something truly exceptional.
 

Big changes start with small steps, and the UK was the first step in what will be an attempt to change attitudes across the globe. Switzerland will be the next country I Do will launch in, so let’s hope it, and all the other countries to follow, will be just as successful, or even more so.

 


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2015/05/27

It seems that where ever you go people are constantly looking at their smart phones. Traditional sales people often find it frustrating to pry a someone’s attention away from their phone.
 

So why not use your customer’s phones to get their attention and help you make a sale?

2 new ways to use smartphones in your jewellery store

 

Beacons

Beacons are a new, fast growing technology that lets you capture customers through their smartphones. A beacon is a close proximity network that connects directly to a mobile device through low energy Bluetooth(BLE.) Apps like Apple’s iBeacon listen for signals from nearby beacons and sound an alert. The user then checks their phone to find your message. This is already in use for grocery stores and department stores. In the very near future, more apps will be beacon aware. This is a natural addition to travel and shopping apps.
 

There are several ways to use beacons in your jewellery store. When a shopper nears your store, a beacon message can motivate them to come in. Imagine a customer walking past your store getting a message that it is good time to get their jewellery cleaned for free. Once inside your store a beacon can tell them about today’s specials. In a large store, several beacons can be used to track the customer through different departments providing offerings in each department. Since most people will research online, why not make it easy for them and beam a 4Cs buying guide as they approach your diamond counter?
 

There are several companies offering beacon solutions to retailers. This is a good time to get an early start on this rapidly expanding marketing technology.

 

Payments

Many retailers are bypassing traditional credit card processors in favour of mobile based card readers like Square and Paypal Here. The advantages are zero start-up costs, no monthly fees and almost instant access to funds. It is a great way for a new business to accept cards without the bother of applying for a credit card processor. It is especially helpful for selling at trade shows, street fairs and travelling wholesalers. You no longer need to be tied to a phone system.
 

But smartphones could eventually make cash and credit cards obsolete. Apps like Google Wallet and Apple Pay allow a customer to pay directly from their phones or smart watches…no physical card needed. Tied to your POS system, a transaction can take place anywhere on the sales floor without the need to stand in a queue at a checkout counter. Currently in development is PayPal Beacon, a Bluetooth device that will connect your POS system with the PayPal app on a customers' smartphone when they enter a store. Customers will simply say they're paying with PayPal, and the transaction will be automatically completed.
 

Modern consumers want a super convenient, dynamic customer experience. Mobile technology can make that a reality.

 


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2015/05/27

Since 2000, I only missed two JCK Las Vegas trade fairs (once for a family emergency and once when the economy collapsed in 2009 and I lost my job). This year will be the third time I will not attend.

 

Inspired by ruined architectures, the brand’s signature collection draws together the elegant, elongated, sometimes elaborate, architectural language of the classical column. Irene Neuwirth Necklace

Completedworks Pillar - Inspired by ruined architectures, the brand’s signature collection draws together the elegant, elongated, sometimes elaborate, architectural language of the classical column.

Irene Neuwirth Necklace A one-of-a-kind colorful jewelry piece made of a variety of gems.

 

I’ll still be in Las Vegas but I will only be spending three days at the fairs so I decided to spend all of my time at The Couture Show. When I started freelancing for the jewellery industry in 2010, I would spend one day at Couture and the remaining four or five days at JCK Luxury, JCK Las Vegas, and Swiss Watch by JCK. One year I was real ambitious and added the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show to my itinerary.

 

Gurhan Gold and Opal Pendant in 24k gold with irregular-shaped opals and round diamonds Moritz Glik’s Kaleidoscope

Gurhan Gold and Opal Pendant in 24k gold with irregular-shaped opals and round diamonds

Moritz Glik’s Kaleidoscope - Combines tiny gold star motifs with his signature diamonds, all shaking between two sapphire crystals.

 

Gradually, I started spending less time at JCK Las Vegas and more time at Couture. Last year I only attended JCK for a half-day. Couture now is the centre of what I write about. There are several reasons for this.
 

It is the most exclusive among the many jewellery tradeshows being held in Las Vegas this week. The five-day event beginning May 28 attracts international and national jewellery brands. It is also a showcase for major jewellery designers and couture jewellers. The Wynn Las Vegas is also a superior facility and it’s located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip as opposed to the south end, which lacks excitement.

 

Omi Privé Opal and Diamond 3-Stone Ring Ornella Iannuzzi Rock It! Pendant Cage

Omi Privé Opal and Diamond 3-Stone Ring - A 4.33-carat opal centre stone is augmented with sapphires and diamonds set in 18k yellow gold.

Ornella Iannuzzi Rock It! Pendant Cage - Opal bead set in an 18k yellow gold geometric cage.

 

These are all good reasons but the main reason my focus has changed is because the jewellery is far more interesting at Couture. There’s variety and range. There’s quality design and craftsmanship.

In recent years Couture has expanded its footprint internationally among exhibitors, buyers and press. More than 4,000 buyers are expected to view the offerings of more than 350 exhibitors this year. Exhibitors range from the international powerhouses Roberto Coin, David Yurman and Pomellato; nationally-known jewellers like Lagos; and major independent designers like Stephen Webster. There are other lesser-known jewellers also creating interesting pieces. Jewellers are starting to move to Couture. Among the established first time exhibitors are Omi Privé, Gumuchian and London-based art jeweller, Completedworks.

 

Stefan Hafner Jasmine Bracelet Temple St. Clair 18k Small Flower Necklace with Royal Blue Moonstone (61.92cts) and diamonds (0.90cts)

Stefan Hafner Jasmine Bracelet in white gold embellished with diamonds inspired by the inspired by the rich decoration of ancient Moroccan palaces, enveloped by the citrus scent of the royal gardens.

Temple St. Clair 18k Small Flower Necklace with Royal Blue Moonstone (61.92cts) and diamonds (0.90cts)

 

In addition to jewellery, the show has been attracting more luxury watch brands. Expect this trend to continue as Couture recently announced that it has partnered with advising and consulting company, Kaiser Time Inc., to develop the watch category for the show. Among the watch brands exhibiting for the first time are Baume & Mercier, Hermes, Gucci and Tudor.
 

Next year, I hope to return to a revived JCK Las Vegas.

 

 


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2015/05/26

A long-term pending demand of India’s jewellery industry to set up a modern Exhibition & Convention Centre in Mumbai is recently accepted by the Maharashtra government. In fact the industry is lucky enough to get more than it had expected when Chief Minister (CM) of the state Mr. Devendra Fadnavis recently declared to set up a ‘Jewellery and Knowledge Park’ in 500 acres with all modern infrastructures like Training Institute, Research Centre, residences for employees, hostel, schools and hospitals including an Exhibition and Convention Centre near Mumbai.
 

Mr. Fadnavis made this announcement at a function organized by India Bullion & Jewellery Association Ltd (IBJA) wherein he also instructed Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to locate and allot a suitable plot for the ambitious project. The CM said,

"Skill development is the prime focus of the Maharashtra government. We are keen on taking a major step by joining the national programme of 'Make in India' and my government's initiative of 'Make in Maharashtra'." He also assured the gems and jewellery industry during the function of providing all required help to boost the exports.

 

India has a potential to become a global jewellery manufacturing hub

India has a potential to become a global jewellery manufacturing hub

 

Mr. Fadnavis emphasized that India’s gems and jewellery industry which engages 35-40 lakh workforce, has employment potential of providing jobs to one crore if better opportunities and infrastructure are created through the proposed smart city. It will also help the country in enhancing its share in value addition and upgrade workers skills.
 

The proposed Jewellery and Knowledge Park, expected to come up near Mumbai’s Panvel or Khopoli suburbs is estimated to cost INR 3,500 crore. It would be set up on a land of 500 acres which would have a dedicated zone for manufacturing and related activities on 300 acres. The project is expected to be complete within a period of 7 to 10 years.
 

As far as growth of India’s gem & jewellery sector is concerned, a recent report published by credit rating agency ICRA says,

“India’s domestic gold jewellery industry is also expected to grow by 8 to 10% in the medium to long-period. The said growth would be mainly driven by increasing penetration of the organized sector and refining consumer sentiments.”

 

The ICRA report further mentions that gold jewellery demand in India has strong cultural underpinnings in long term and this would be 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. The report 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% to 8% growth on many of these parameters.
 

With the help assured by the CM of Maharashtra, India’s gem and jewellery industry (the second largest foreign exchange earner for the country with 13% share in 2013-14), hopes to increase it further through value addition and upgrading workers' skills. India has a potential to become a global jewellery manufacturing hub. After downtrend for the past three years, gems and jewellery industry has started looking up and we will achieve the glory once again, the industry leaders here feel.

 


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2015/05/22

It appeared in the New York Times and it included quotes by Philippe Mellier, the chief executive of De Beers. Therefore it became quite the topic on social media with US industry “experts” jumping in to comment.
 

However, judging from their comments—ranging from applauding an e-commerce solution for a single boutique luxury retailer to another pity party over younger consumers choosing electronics over jewellery—it’s pretty clear they didn’t read the story.
 

Mellier was specifically talking about the diamond industry in the story, which for the past 100 years operated like no other industry on this planet. It received easy bank financing without revealing its financials. It received the money despite selling a product whose value is based largely on documents with methodology as subjective as they are objective, and the exceptional marketing and advertising campaigns by De Beers. And it received funding despite conducting business largely without oversight.
 

Now with the post-recession economy and new government oversight banks are scrutinizing these businesses the same as they would any other business. They are finding that investing in the diamond industry isn’t a good thing, according to the article, except for those “good companies that are transparent and profitable and are bankable,” Erik Jens, chief executive of diamond and jewellery clients at ABN Amro, said in the story.
 

De Beers also has tightened the financial requirements for its sightholders. 
 

Mellier and De Beers recognize that “The tension is not coming from demand, which is still growing…. It is coming from the change in the industry.”
 

The business model has to change, not only because of bank lending, but to be more flexible and quicker to adjust to the marketplace—whether it’s fashion trends, sudden supply-side changes or even geopolitical tensions. 
 

De Beers recognizes this largely because it has to. It is no longer the independent entity that feeds the diamond and jewellery industry with products and marketing. It is now a very small part of a large corporate operation. Its first priority is to its corporate leadership and shareholders. That’s why in many ways De Beers is competing with the industry by launching its own branded retail stores and diamond jewellery brand; and refusing to lower prices for its sights.
 

But sometimes even De Beers can be its own worst enemy. In the “Executive Summary” of its 2014 Diamond Insights Reports, it sees the top priority for the diamond industry as,

“safeguarding and nurturing the diamond dream—that is, the allure that diamonds have for consumers, based on their association with romance and a sense of the eternal, and the fact that they are seen as a lasting source of value.”

 

The flipside of this is that it also means maintaining the veil over the not so romantic aspects of the diamond industry. In this changing world, nothing has changed so dramatically as the instantaneous way information is spread across the globe. Bad news about the diamond industry will get to people. De Beers and the rest of the diamond industry don’t have a way to respond. 

 


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