JEWELLERY EDITORIAL
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2014/07/30

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a confusing name for a dysfunctional organization that no one outside the diamond industry understands because this august body decided long ago that consumers and others in the industry don’t matter.

 

The esteemed body of gentlemen (and a few ladies) met in Shanghai early June (in private of course) and in typical KP fashion issued a vague two-page statement nearly two months later on its website. I consider this progress as the last time the public portion of the KP website was updated was a full year earlier.

 

The discussion, when not welcoming or congratulating one another, centered on the Central African Republic (CAR) and reports that its diamonds are being mixed in with the KP certified diamonds.

 

I first learned about the decision from this story with the headline, “KP Wants Firm Action On CAR Conflict Diamond Trade”. I can almost see KP leaders shaking their fist at the head table in a display of how upset they are.

 

A Kimberley Process certificate

A Kimberley Process certificate

 

A year earlier the KP ordered the temporary suspension of diamonds from CAR because Seleka, an alliance of rebel militia factions that overthrew the CAR government, is alleged to use diamonds to fund illegal activities including arms sales and human rights abuses.

 

The suspension hasn’t stopped the group from selling their diamonds through KP channels. This is a dangerous organization that has nothing to fear from the KP. Why? Because a year after the ban, which hasn’t apparently worked, the KP in its most recent meeting has decided to use three of its committees to study and document the matter further and provide a report in September that would be ready for its annual November meeting.

 

The organization also urged more cooperation with the CAR government, the African Union and relevant United Nations bodies. And it has asked the representatives of its 81-member states to report to the KP and local authorities any incoming shipments of rough diamonds that they suspect may contain diamonds of CAR origin. All of these things should be part of the routine work of this organization.

 

The KP couldn’t stop Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds fraught with alleged human rights abuses and it will be just as difficult to stop Seleka from selling its diamonds.

 

I almost feel sorry for the KP. It’s a near impossible task to keep representatives from 81 nations from varying cultures with their own special interests to agree on anything. Add to this the new levels of danger and complexity in the world today and you have a very difficult task.

 

However, it appears that KP members only care about giving the illusion that there are no conflict diamonds being traded in the industry—and attending occasional meetings at posh resorts.

 

What is unforgivable is KP’s refusal to allow any public scrutiny. What is it hiding?

 

 


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2014/07/30

In the U.S., virtually any supplier of specialized goods or services is required to have some form of licensing and/or certification beyond a standard business permit. In most cases additional training and testing is required to qualify for the license. If you want to sell houses or cars, do nails, cut hair, give a massage or work on plumbing you’ll need to prove to the state that you have the proper training and skills in your chosen product or service. If you don’t, you can’t work. You can be liable for large fines or jail for operating without a license.

 

Yet there are no legal requirements for working in the jewellery industry. A repair jeweller can work on a customer’s treasured heirloom worth tens of thousands of dollars with no formal training or proof of skill and ability. The customer trusts a jewellery sales person to provide detailed information and accurate grading to guide them with a buying decision that may be equal to the price of a fine car or even a house. Yet there are no requirements for a jewellery sales person to prove their knowledge or ethics. An appraiser prepares a legal document describing the features and values of a piece of jewellery that third parties will use to make financial decisions. Yet legally someone with no training can be an appraiser. Anyone can open a gem lab and grade to their own standards without even proving that their technicians have any gemmological training at all.

Licensing is actually protecting the customers.

 

Indeed, the multi-billion dollar jewellery industry is an unregulated free-for-all where anything goes with very few consequences. Occasionally problem jewellers will be exposed and taken to task but all of the action takes place in the media or civil court, rarely in criminal court. Two recent cases illustrate the point: A Nashville jeweller made the news by using lab reports that exaggerate the grades of diamonds. And several well-known department stores were called out on national television for not fully explaining lead-glass filled rubies. But on the whole very few jewellers will be caught for misrepresentation, non-disclosure or any number of unethical practices that are common in our industry.

 

Maybe the time has come that our industry needs regulation. A bench jeweller should have certification for a variety of skills such as sizing, stone setting, or engraving just like an auto mechanic is certified in brakes, engines or air conditioners. A professional jewellery sales person needs to fully understand and communicate the complexities of gemstones, treatments, metals and style. Licensing could include requiring continuing education to stay current with the newest information. Appraisers would need training in valuation and legal procedures to get a license.

 

Licensing would be a big step in cleaning up our industry and getting us respect as professionals...but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. So that leaves us to regulate ourselves and we don’t seem to be doing a very good job of it. If we want a clean, ethical industry we need to clean our own yards first.

 

 


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2014/07/29

India’s gold jewellery sector is yet to recover from a series of the earlier and present government measures introduced to curb the gold demand and to control the ever swelling Current Account Deficit (CAD). Now the sector is again facing dawn fall in domestic jewellery demand on the eve of Diwali, this time because of the likely poor monsoon.

 

Monsoon plays a decisive role in the Indian economy. Country’s agriculture sector accounts for 20% of the economy, with two-thirds of its population reliant on farming. Mr. Haresh Soni, Chairman, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) says, “We fear that the jewellery demand would come down in the rural areas which is dependent on agricultural income. However, we are still hopeful that the monsoon may recover in the later part and remain for an extended period to make up for the deficits.”

 

While on one hand, the industry appears to have lost hopes of rural demand, the situation in metros and urban areas, on the other hand seems to be no different. With the India Government increasing the tax exemption limit in its recent interim budget by ₹50,000 to ₹2.5 lakh, many people are now opting to invest in productive assets than buying gold, feel analysts.

India’s jewellery sector still under pressure

India’s jewellery sector still under pressure

 

High inflation has also compelled India’s middle class consumer to opt for low cost jewellery with lower gold content. Traders here say that light-weight jewellery is becoming more popular among consumers. Though they tend to prefer conventional gold jewellery for weddings, middle and upper middle class customer are now opting for jewellery with lesser gold content.

 

As far as investment options are concerned, equity markets and mutual funds have turned out to be more dividend payers. Traders here say that gold investors lost heavily last year because of the volatility in prices. Moreover, the sharp fall in gold prices during recent months has made them extra vigilant.

 

But it would be interesting here to note growth figures of some of the listed jewellery companies during 2009-10 when India had last received deficient rainfall. Titan’s sales during 2009-10 grew by 22% and its profit rose to 53%; Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ)’s sales and profit went up by 32% and 62% respectively. Other big jewelers like Gitanjali Gems, PC Jeweller, Thangamayil Jewellery and Tara Jewels also achieved robust growth.

 

Some of the factors which might have led to their startling growth are, in the wake of the world-wide financial crisis, gold prices had gone up sharply during that period which helped jewellers make up in terms of value what they had lost during the first half of the year.Secondly, volume growth had made a comeback in the second half of 2009-10 with stimulus measures supporting economic growth in India and customers readjusting themselves to higher gold prices and resuming purchases. Thirdly, with listed jewellery companies remaining focused on metro cities and urban markets, they might have remained unaffected from the impact of lower discretionary spending by the rural consumer, who remains the most affected by poor monsoon.

 

So, with the situation remaining the same for listed jewellery companies (they remain focused on the big cities and towns), this year also they are unlikely to be affected by dwindling rural India’s purchasing power, if in case the economic growth picks up with the help of non-farming sectors.

 

But there are still two factors which could prove be dampeners. One, unlike 2009-10, gold prices are weaker at present than the year before, with the world-wide demand for the yellow metal waning. This would keep realizations low. Moreover, India government’s decision to continue with the gold import curbs may put a spanner in the demand growth.

 

 


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2014/07/23

Oversized cat eye sunglasses, maxi dress, sandals...wait...upgrade your vacation style with the most flattering jewellery too. One develops her personal style and expression through her vacation outfit and accessories as you can wear anything you really like in your leisure time. 

Vacation Style Lookbook by JewelleryNetAsia

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings are just essentials for causal look. Your hair must be clean with a tied-up or all-back ponytail, otherwise it will get tangled with the hoops. Hoops come with different ranges of width for different occasions. Whilst sunbathing at a seaside, a pair of oversized hoops in silver will do. Also, the camera will love you a lot if you invest in a pair of diamond hoops for your evening events during the trip. 

925 Silver Hoop Earrings by Yuncheng Jewelry Factory Chang'an Town Dongguan City, China Pave Style Hoop Earrings by JCL Design LLC, USA
 

Left: 925 Silver Hoop Earrings with cubic zirconia by Yuncheng Jewelry Factory Chang'an Town Dongguan City, China; Right: Pave Style Hoop Earrings with 600 stones by JCL Design LLC, USA

Dabaar Hoops by H.Ajoomal Fine Jewellery, India 14K Yellow Gold Rose Cut Diamond Pave Setting Hoop Earring by Gemco International, India
 

Left: Dabaar Hoops by H.Ajoomal Fine Jewellery, India; Right: 14K Yellow Gold Rose Cut Diamond Pave Setting Hoop Earring by Gemco International, India

Diamond Hoop Earrings by MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd, Thailand

Diamond Hoop Earrings by MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd, Thailand

 

Long Necklace and  Multi-Strands

You know a long or multi-strands necklace can make a vacation maxi dress perfect. No matter whether it is opaque or not, a choice of natural stones, coral or pearls will be ideal in holidays for a scent of nature and seduction.  

Coral Necklace by Collaro Salvatore Srl, Italy

Coral Necklace by Collaro Salvatore Srl, Italy

Amethyst Long Necklace 38' /18k Gold Plating by Eastern Accents Jewelry Co Ltd, China Infinito by Bizzotto Gioielli, Italy

Left: Amethyst Long Necklace (38"/18k Gold Plating) by Eastern Accents Jewelry Co Ltd, China; Right: Infinito by Bizzotto Gioielli, Italy

Fashon Jade Jewellery Pendant by Kunming Shiqun Trade & Economy Co Ltd, China

Fashon Jade Jewellery Pendant by Kunming Shiqun Trade & Economy Co Ltd, China

 

Stacking Rings and Bangles

Multiple and stacking bangles are added with ethnic colours. The sound of the bracelet slipping one by one off your wrist is just amazing. And the most important thing is that this kind of beautiful stacking jewellery can seldom be worn in the workplace where you will crack it easily with your keyboard.So seize the days with these stacking accessories with full of joy!

 

Bracelet by Daverivicenza Srl

Bracelet with Black Stones by Daverivicenza Srl, Italy

Diamond Stack up Rings by Winda Lee, Hong Kong 18K Gold Diamond Bracelets by House of Jewels, Hong Kong

Left: Diamond Stack up Rings by Winda Lee, Hong Kong; Right: 18K Gold Diamond Bracelets by House of Jewels, Hong Kong

 

18K Gold Bangle by Bally Jewellery Limited, Hong Kong Etienne Perret Ceramique Maxine Ring by Etienne Perret, USA

Left: 18K Gold Bangle by Bally Jewellery Limited, Hong Kong; Right: 18K Gold Diamond Bracelets by House of Jewels, Hong Kong

Right: Etienne Perret Ceramique Maxine Ring (Orange diamond in 18K Gold & black gem ceramic ) by Etienne Perret, USA 

 

Spark Set by Firma Corundum sp. zo. o., Poland

Spark Set (Made with Alcantara, sterling silver 925 and exclusive SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystals) by Firma Corundum sp. zo. o., Poland


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2014/07/23

Selling is both an art form and a skill. Some people have an innate ability to persuade; others need to practice hard to achieve results. Selling jewellery is particularly challenging because of the cost involved for nearly invisible differences so don’t lose the sale by ignoring the basic techniques of selling. Here are 6 common mistakes that kill sales.

6 common ways to kill a sale

  1. “May I help you?” We’ve all used this greeting at some time in our careers and it is a sale killer. It is too easy for the customer to say “No thanks, just looking.” You need to engage your customer in conversation. Greet them as if they were coming into your home; ask if they need anything or if they just want to play with some pretty jewels for a while.
     
  2. Don’t ask questions. It is our job to find out what the customer wants and likes. If they are looking for a ring, ask which finger? Do you like yellow or white gold? How about rose gold? What is your favourite gemstone or colour? Keep asking until you can narrow it down to a few choices. If you don’t ask them they aren’t going to tell you.
     
  3. Don’t listen. It does no good to ask questions and not listen. Your customer will constantly be giving you clues about how to sell to them. Listen attentively to everything they say. They more they talk, the better chance you’ll make the sale.
     
  4. Make assumptions. Never assume anything about a customer. As soon as we start thinking to ourselves that this person can’t afford an item, or won’t like a style; we begin the process of down-selling our transaction. We will show something less expensive or less flashy. Show your best. Show your wildest. Your customers will often surprise you and buy it. At the very least, they will enjoy trying on something they can only dream about.
     
  5. Leave it in the showcase. Jewellery will never sell from a showcase yet in almost every store I see someone pointing to an item and describing instead of taking it out for a better look. Rather than telling someone about an item, show it to them. Get it in their hands, let them try it on. With jewellery it is often a case of love at first touch.
     
  6. Wait for the customer to say yes. Customers will not close the sale for you; you need to ask them for the sale. There are hundreds of books on ways to close a sale. Read a few of them to get some ideas and keep practicing on live customers. Don’t fear the rejection, it’s part of the game. But you won’t get their money without asking for it.

 

Most experienced sales people will find these mistakes to be old news, too basic to think about. But because of that we tend to forget about them. How many times does your sales crew fall into these traps? Maybe it is time to go over the basics again.

 

 


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