JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2016/05/27

The baffling U.S. and global economy dealt a blow to a luxury retail giant, even while there are signs that the jewellery industry and the economy as a whole in the U.S. are slowly getting better.

 

Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday reported that its total sales in the Americas (which largely means the United States), fell 9 percent to $403 million, year-over-year, for the first quarter of 2016. Comparable store sales for the same period declined 10 percent. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales declined 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, due to “varying degrees of softness in spending by U.S. customers and foreign tourists.”

 

 

“As expected, this was a difficult quarter in terms of both sales and earnings growth,” said Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany & Co. CEO. “We faced numerous challenges, including continued pressure from foreign tourist spending in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, particularly in Hong Kong.”

 

However, the true culprit in the U.S. is the high dollar, which is causing fewer tourists to visit the U.S. and for those who do to spend less at places like Tiffany. Visitors reportedly are responsible for roughly 25 percent of U.S. sales and 40 percent of sales at the New York flagship store.

 

The message is similar in other markets. Worldwide net sales declined 7 percent to $891 million and comparable store sales fell 9 percent, year-over-year, for the first quarter of the same period. Sales declined in all regions except Japan, which the luxury jeweller attributes to “a continuation of softness in spending by both local customers and foreign tourists.”

 

Net earnings declined by 17 percent year-over-year to $87 million.

 

Lack of tourist spending affected other markets, particularly in Hong Kong and France. Net sales in the remaining regions for the first quarter are as follows:

 

In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales fell 8 percent to $238 million and comparable store sales declined 15 percent, year-over-year. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales declined 5 percent and 12 percent, respectively. The company said total sales growth in China and Korea was offset “by a continued significant decline in Hong Kong and more moderate declines in other markets.”

 

In Japan, total sales of $131 million were 8 percent above the prior year and comparable store sales increased 12 percent, year-over-year. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales rose 1 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Management attributed the sales growth to higher spending by local customers.

 

In Europe, total sales fell 9 percent to $97 million and comparable store sales declined 15 percent, year-over-year. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales declined 7 percent and 14 percent, respectively, “due to softness in most countries, led by France, “attributed largely to lower foreign tourist spending.”

 

Other sales declined 30 percent to $22 million, and comparable store sales declined 21 percent, reflecting lower retail sales in the United Arab Emirates and wholesale sales in other markets.


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2016/05/25

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

 

 

Augmented Reality is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology sector.  Still in its infancy, AR will change retail forever.  The technology already exists and is ready to use.  All it takes is a little creativity to use it in a jewellery store.

 

 

Virtual billboards

AR will eventually replace the jumble of signs and billboards found in many urban shopping environments.  Instead, a visitor can view a street through a smartphone and see an overlay of data identifying businesses along the way.  Each store’s data point can have contact info, hours, specials, and a personalised multi-media message available at a touch.  Or they can take a virtual tour of your store.  An impressive presentation and a compelling call to action will deliver the customer to your door.

 

Analytics and CRM Live

Once in the door, you can build a relationship, follow their movements, tracks their spending habits.  You want to be able to suggest new items,  remind them it is time to inspect their jewellery or update an appraisal.  As an AR display welcomes the customer, tells them their repair is ready and offers today’s special deal, your CRM will be collecting data.  New customers can opt-in to have their data automatically entered into your CRM database.  Each salesperson will have a tablet displaying the customer’s information to help personalise a sales approach.

 

AR Showcases

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have all the information, size, weight, 4Cs, price, etc., displayed with an item?  How about the availability of other sizes or centre stones? With AR, all one needs to do is point their phone at the item and all the information will be in their hands.  Take it one step further--showcases made of interactive glass. You are already familiar with this one; it is on your smartphone.  Why not on your showcases or front window?

 

Not only will AR be a selling tool, but it will also be a breeze for your customer to share instantly on social media, tagged with your brand.  An interactive display encourages a customer to spend more time at looking in your cases.  All you need to do is get the item out of the case and in their hands.

 

AR Check-out.

When a customer finds an item they like, a simple swipe of the finger and it is in their virtual shopping cart.  Another few taps and it is paid.  As they check out, they can specify gift wrapping or home delivery in a perfect blend of bricks-and-clicks.  Or they can keep everything in their shopping cart and make a decision at a later time.

 

Augmented reality will change the mechanics of a retail store.  It will add interest and efficiency to the customer experiences.  But it is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much more you can do with it.

 

Next...AR: the perfect tool for upsells and cross-marketing.


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2016/05/25

Last week in Geneva history was set in dramatic fashion as the “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond shattered a world auction record set just six months earlier, selling for $57.5 million. The 14.62-carat gem sold for more than $3.9 million per carat (another world record), leaving a legacy that will surely be around for years to come. Imagine the price it would have achieved if it had an F or IF clarity grade instead of VVS1.

 

The Oppenheimer Blue diamond
The Oppenheimer Blue diamond

 

This was followed by a record-set for the “Unique Pink,” a 15.33-carat pear-shaped vivid pink diamond that sold for $31.6 million at Sotheby’s Geneva a day earlier (just over $2 million per carat).

 

The Unique Pink diamond
The Unique Pink diamond

 

The demand for coloured diamonds didn’t end there. At both auctions high prices and records were set for several pieces, including:

7.32-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring sold for $17.1 million

* A 7.32-carat IF, fancy blue diamond on ring that sold for $17.1 million

 

* A fancy intense diamond on a brooch that sold for $13.6 million, setting an auction record for a jewel designed by the Parisian jewellery house, Reza.

 

“Oriental Sunrise” earrings with vivid orange-yellow diamonds of 12.20 and 11.96 carats sold for $11.5 million

* The Oriental Sunrise, a pair of 12.20 ct and 11.96 ct fancy vivid orange-yellow oval-cut diamond earrings that sold for $11.5 million ($476,238 per carat).

 

* An 18.51-carat modified pear brilliant-cut fancy pink diamond pendant that sold for $9.7 million ($528,721 per carat), setting an auction record for a fancy pink diamond.

 

* A pair of intense blue and pink diamond ear pendants that sold for $9.95 million.

 

A pear shaped fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings that sold for nearly $6 million, double its high estimate, setting a new record for an online purchase during a live auction.

 

* A 6.03-carat IF, pear-shaped fancy intense blue diamond ring, 6.03 carats that sold for $5.7 million ($955,254 per carat).

 

It’s no secret that statement fancy coloured diamonds has been in great demand in recent years based not only on their rarity and beauty, but as a source of investment. Its investment potential is likely to continue, according to one industry specialist.

 

“The sale of the ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ is likely to inspire a whole new generation of collectors,” said Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77Diamonds.com, an online diamond and diamond jewellery retailer. “Most people know that wine, classic cars and art are collectibles, but diamonds are now coming into their own. This is part of a wider awakening among wealthy individuals who see diamonds as an attractive and viable investment asset.”

 

But will the success of statement coloured diamonds trickle down to the broader market? That’s a little trickier to answer. Several fancy coloured diamond dealers I speak to are optimistic and sales have been increasing. However, what the dealers lack is a cohesive marketing program that takes advantage of the demand for the statement gems.

 

In addition, there’s no real objective research of the coloured diamond market that can relate the recent top selling gems with the rest of the market. The only research I see is from a few of the coloured diamond companies that a vested interest in the results.

 

So convincing the average consumer of jewels on the investment potential of fancy coloured diamonds (if it exists) is a difficult task.


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2016/05/24

One symbol can mean many things to many people, and the humble arrow is a wonderfully versatile vessel, making it a popular design motif in jewellery.

 

One of the best-known meanings of arrows in jewellery is as a symbol of love – a cupid’s arrow that has struck the hearts of two lovers. French jewellery brand Helene Boghossian has captured this perfectly in its new collection called Interlaced Hearts. The jewellery has used an arrow and a heart-shaped silhouette as a clasp for one of the necklaces within the collection, meaning that to secure it you must pass the arrow through the heart.

 

Interlaced Hearts white gold and diamond necklace by Helene Boghossian
Interlaced Hearts white gold and diamond necklace by Helene Boghossian

 

Arrows and hearts as a symbol of love in jewellery has been popular since Victorian times, but the arrow also had a darker meaning to it back then. Jewellers would use arrows to remind their customers of their own mortality, with the jewels used as a sort of mori momento, which was a very popular theme back then.

 

Gold-plated silver jewels from the Arrow collection by Bijoux CN Paris
Gold-plated silver jewels from the Arrow collection by Bijoux CN Paris
 
 
Silver and CZ neck ring with arrow heads by Sif Jakobs
Silver and CZ neck ring with arrow heads by Sif Jakobs

 

While mori momentos are probably not the first thought of today’s jewellery designers working with arrows, these provocative shapes certainly so bring an edge to designs. Arrows carry a sense of danger and adventure that takes us to the cowboys and Indians of the Wild West. Or arrow heads – a more abstract take on this trend that jewellers like Hong Kong’s Mayayuen Jewellery are building collections around – make us think of adventurous archaeologists digging up ancient artefacts.

 

Delta Duo Arrow ring in gold-plated silver by Mayayuen Jewellery
Delta Duo Arrow ring in gold-plated silver by Mayayuen Jewellery

 

Arrows and arrow heads also tap into the trend for geometry in jewellery design. Their perfectly straight edges and equal proportions make for perfect repeatable patterns, or when used singly can bring a strong edge to minimalist jewels.

 

Silver Arrow necklace by Lucy Quartermaine
Silver Arrow necklace by Lucy Quartermaine

 

One final interpretation of the arrow can be found courtesy of a collaboration between British jewellery designer Jessica De Lotz and LA-based life coach Louisa Androila. The pair worked together to create a jewellery line called As Above, So Below that takes inspiration from all things spiritual.

 

These arrow earrings are from As Above, So Below - a collaboration between jeweller Jessica De Lotz and life coach Louise Androlia
These arrow earrings are from As Above, So Below - a collaboration between jeweller Jessica De Lotz and life coach Louise Androlia
 

Within the collection is a pair of earrings with a solo arrow for one stud and the other earring an arrow within a bow. The inspiration? The star sign of Sagittarius.


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2016/05/23

Riding on very thin price difference compared with gold, platinum has been grasping fancy of India’s young generation these days. Prices of platinum have fallen in the past few months that have increased the preference for the white metal.

 

Platinum getting first preference in India
Platinum getting first preference in India

 

In March this year Platinum prices came down drastically and were recorded at INR 24,320 per ten grams which was lower than gold prices. Presently, gold is trading at INR 29,875 per ten grams, while platinum is at Rs 30,080 per ten grams. “Young buyers do have a choice for platinum, but traditional consumers of older age group still prefer gold jewellery," say market observers.

 

A survey-report released by Thomson Reuters says  that the pricing trajectory for platinum and palladium is expected to be higher over the course of 2013, and that the price lows recorded in January are likely to mark the bottom of this cycle for the metals.

 

The report mentions that the platinum price is expected to average

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,005/oz in 2016, though some near term consolidation back towards
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,000/oz could emerge during Q2 on abundant supply. Platinum saw comparatively stronger demand in 2015, though improved mine production saw a marginal physical surplus. The report also says that platinum jewellery fabrication fell by 4% to an estimated 2.46 Moz (76.4 tons) in 2015. China accounted for the bulk of this loss as economic forces limited consumers’ spending on discretionary items.

 

Another report published by World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) and prepared by their research partners SFA (Oxford) says that platinum jewellery demand came down by 11% in Q1 2016. It adds that Jewellery consumption is expected to increase by 1% during the full year, with growth in India, the US and Europe.

 

Global platinum demand rose 10% quarter-on-quarter to 2.01 million in January-March despite lower jewellery (-11%) and industrial usage (-6%), as automotive demand improved (+2%) and investment demand enjoyed a positive quarter after seeing disinvestment in fourth quarter 2015.

 

Ms. Vaishali Banerjee, Country Manager of the Platinum Guild, India (PGI) says, “We will continue to exploit the consumer opportunity and desire for the Platinum by ensuring higher consumer engagement and conversion in 2016.  For both Platinum Day of Love (PDOL) and Men’s jewellery, the strategy adopted by PGI would be to drive the right merchandising mix, consumer experience, training and retail activation to ensure conversion and prevent loss of opportunity. Since most of our primary audience is online, it becomes essential for us to be future forward in our digital strategy. We have an integrated marketing program led by digital to engage the consumer, build consideration and create brand believers.”

 

Market observers say that platinum jewellery's retail manifestation has grown significantly across 800-plus stores. In addition to metro markets, tier one and tier two cities also see potential in platinum jewellery.

 

Platinum sales have seen strong growth of over 30 to 50% during last 3 to 4 years per annum. About four tons was the offtake of India for last year as per government-approved import figures and this makes India the fourth largest consumer after China, Japan and the US.

 

“With a goal to reach more consumers, PGI will target regional chains and large independents in tier two cities to increase retail presence for PDOL and Men’s jewellery. Evara has exited consumers and retailers alike. We have an extensive and integrated marketing program that targets both the mothers and the brides to build relevance and embed Evara as a key piece of wedding jewellery. With the support of the trade partners who believe in the category and are committed to drive it, we expect the bridal segment to contribute strongly to platinum growth in 2016,” Vaishali adds.


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