JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2015/07/27

The first edition of Mineral & Gem Asia concluded on a positive note at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong on 30 June 2015, with over 4,600 local and overseas visitors attending the fair. Organiser UBM Asia expressed that more than 1,900 of the total number of visitors were trade buyers including exhibitors and visitors from June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.
 


“The launch of Mineral & Gem Asia was an important milestone in UBM Asia’s fair history. We were glad that the fair had received great support from the industry. Over 100 exhibitors showcased the world’s rare and invaluable minerals & fossils as well as decorative gemstone products. It gave global buyers a platform to source effectively from suppliers from around the world without having to travel to many overseas shows,”
 

said Mr Wolfram Diener, Senior Vice President, UBM Asia. He excited the extraordinary exhibits featured in the fair.

 “It was a privilege for UBM Asia to have been given the opportunity to showcase rare and well-preserved fossils at our show, thanks to the Stephen Hui Geological Museum of The University of Hong Kong. Among these exhibits were the Permian invertebrate fossils and Jurassic and Tertiary plant fossils unearthed from Lantau Island and Dong Ping Chau in Hong Kong,” Mr Diener continued.

The fair featured 103 exhibitors from 27 countries & regions while the visitors came from 55 countries and regions in Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Oceania, Middle East, Central, North & South America. Mineral & Gem Asia is recommended by The Munich Show.
 

"As the world's No 1 hub for gems and jewellery Hong Kong is the perfect place to establish an international mineral show. UBM did a great job in organizing this first edition of "Mineral & Gem Asia". With its modern venue, a high quality exhibitor list and the attracting special exhibition this was an excellent start with the potential to become Asia's leading mineral show,"
 

said by Mr Christoph Keilmann, CEO of Mineralientage München Fachmesse GmbH, the fair organiser of The Munich Show.

Hong Kong-based visitors totalled 2,981. The largest group of visitors from outside Hong Kong came from mainland China, the number recorded being 835. The mainland was followed by Taiwan, with 126; India, with 83; Thailand, with 82; Japan, with 62 and Australia, with 41.

Dino World
Apart from the spectacular display of rare mineral specimens, the showcase of three dinosaurs – Tyrannosaurus rex-King Kong, the Allosaurus and the Suuwassea – was also well-received by the visitors as they were being displayed to the public for the first time in Asia. A three-dimensional model of the Thermopolis Archaeopteryx and an Archaeopteryx fossil were also very popular among the visitors.
 



Panel of Experts
Seminars conducted by prominent speakers from around the world were popular among the attendees.  Six seminars discussed a variety of topics, including minerals, gemstones and gold specimen collecting.  Among the speakers were Mr Bryan Lees, Miss Monica Kitt, Mr Dougal Pitt, Mr Wayne Leicht, Mr Mark Mauthner and Dr Edward Liu.  
 

      
The fair will be renamed Mineral, Gem & Fossil Asia and will be held from 24 to 27 June 2016 at AsiaWorld-Expo.   The June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, meanwhile, will be held from 23 to 26 June 2016 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.  This special arrangement will enable gemstone exhibitors at the June Fair to attend the Mineral, Gem & Fossil Asia.  In addition, an enhanced advertising and promotion campaign will be executed to attract more trade buyers to the fair.

 

 


Please visit www.JewelleryNewsAsia.com for more industry news and features.

 

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2015/07/24

There’s a lot of talk in the US jewellery industry about the changing market environment. Fuelled by the dire predictions of market research analysts, they talk about a world where the newest generation to enter the market, millennials, no longer want jewellery, especially diamond jewellery.
 

Industry professionals, retailers and manufacturers, worry that these young shoppers are distracted by other things in the marketplace, such as smart phones. That they look at jewellery as something older people wear. They are also concerned about the ethical problems with mining and distributing jewellery and gems, particularly with diamonds. People also worry these new shoppers have very little money. The list of anxieties goes on and on and on.
 

These are all excuses. It’s the job of those in the jewellery industry to make their products appealing to all people. The fact that people in the US may be less motivated to buy jewellery is the fault of the jewellery industry in the US to create an environment that will engage people. It’s also a failure of the worldwide jewellery industry to create appealing products.

 

The Glory of Dawn by Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Co Ltd

The Glory of Dawn by Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Co Ltd

 

There are plenty of things the jewellery industry doesn’t control, such as the cost of materials, changing economies, geopolitical issues and changing tastes. However, there are things the industry does control. The two most important things the industry has control over are what jewellery to sell and how to market it.
 

I spend a lot of my time writing about high jewellery. I know its popularity and appeal is worldwide and includes people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. My social media platforms have people clamouring to see beautiful pieces of jewellery.
 

My argument is that the materials, the technology and skill (through machinery or by hand) is available to create well-design, well-constructed jewellery at any price point. Just because it’s inexpensive, it doesn’t mean it should be cheaply designed and made. Currently, there isn’t enough diversity in the jewellery being sold in the mass market.
 

There’s something else missing: an appealing reason to buy jewellery. Outside of a celebrity partnership, the marketing of jewels is underwhelming. There’s all this talk about emotional appeal of jewellery but the techniques being used are for a 20th century world. The story and the emotional appeal have to attract a 21st clientele.
 

My last column dealt with the skill at which high jewellery brands are able to tell their stories and produce pieces that back up those stories. There’s no reason why other market segments can’t do the same thing.
 

One more thing, people in the US are still buying jewellery at strong rates. This includes the baby boomer generation, which has more money than ever, the millennials, and all the generations in between.
 

People still want to buy jewellery. Anyone who says that isn’t the case is wrong.

 

 


Please visit www.JewelleryNewsAsia.com for more industry news and features.

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2015/07/22

I recently had lunch with a company that creates lab-grown diamonds. I have come across such products before, but I have to admit that I knew little about them and there were some surprising things to emerge from the table that day.
 

The company that I met with is called Anata, and over lunch in the wonderful surrounds of the Kensington Roof Gardens on one of the sunniest afternoons of the year in London, they told me all about how they had a strong foothold in the memorial market – making diamonds from carbon loved ones’ ashes – but were now taking the same principles and pushing into the celebratory market by using carbon from living loved ones, such as locks of a baby’s hair or the mane of a horse.

 

Red round-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

Red round-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

 

White diamonds are hard to make

The most interesting fact I discovered was that white is the hardest colour of diamond to create artificially. This struck me as particularly ironic, as in nature white is the most common colour. The advantages to this, Anata said, are that it can focus on creating some of the more rare colours of diamonds – reds, oranges, yellows, blues – for a fraction of the price you would have to pay for one dug out of the ground.

 

Lab-grown diamonds have inclusions

My preconception of lab-grown diamonds is that they would be completely perfect, with no inclusions – they are made to order in a lab after all. But no, lab-grown diamonds do have flaws, some pretty major ones judging by the samples I put to the loupe at lunch. Anata UK operations manager Anita Bolton told me of one diamond she was taking to a client – she hand delivers all the diamonds grown for customers in the UK – and how she feared the worst when the diamond, which had been grown from the ashes of her client’s deceased husband, presented a huge, black inclusion. However, the story had a happy ending when the client chose to see the inclusion as her late husband making his presence known.

 

Yellow-orange square-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

Yellow-orange square-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

 

Two weeks from carbon to diamond

Another preconception I had of lab-grown diamonds is that they take months and months to grow, but Anata’s team in St Petersburg can grow a diamond in just two weeks by crystalising carbon in a high-pressure, high-temperature machine. This depends on size and colour, of course, with larger diamonds taking longer to grow, and also white diamonds – or as close to white as they can get – taking longer.

 

A cup of carbon

One of the questions I asked at lunch was – how much carbon do you need to grow a diamond? The general answer is that it takes about half a cup of whatever carbon source you choose. This means that if you do choose to celebrate the birth of a baby by making a diamond from its hair, you would need to shave the baby’s whole head (and then some). However, you can actually mix different sources of carbon together so you could always have some of baby’s hair, some of mum’s and some of dad’s.

 

Light blue round-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

Light blue round-cut lab-grown diamond by Anata

 

 


Visit www.JewelleryNewsAsia.com for more industry news and features.

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2015/07/22

Recent jewellery events in London and Paris show that high jewellery is still popular throughout the world.
 

There are a number of reasons for this. One reason that is often overlooked is the importance of storytelling. Piaget recently released its high jewellery collection and based it on the famed Silk Road. More specifically, the jewellery is based on two cities that were among the most important on the 4,000-mile trade route: Samarkand and Venice.
 

Piaget says the two cities were chosen for their cultural wealth, architecture and creativity.

“Each place provides a remarkable field of expression from which the exceptional artisans in the workshops of the Piaget manufacture have been inspired.”

 

The two cities couldn’t be more different, yet the company developed a storyline with its jewellery that ties them together.
 

Samarkand, on the plain of Zarafshan in Uzbekistan, whose Persian name means “supplier of gold,” is an ancient desert city. A good portion of Piaget’s 94-piece jewellery collection reflects the colours of the city’s public square (the Registan) and the infinite expanse of desert.
 

For example, a long necklace with cascading turquoise beads is contrasted by emerald-heart flowers and a scattering of diamonds throughout. A four-leaf flower-ring is centred with a Colombian emerald. An arabesque-style bracelet made of sculpted yellow gold that takes the appearance of fabric is punctuated by turquoise beads. Prong-set marquise-cut stones, taking the appearance of lacework, light up an airy necklace. Ear pendants with cascading diamond motifs punctuated by sapphires reflect light as it moves.

18k white gold ring set with a cushion-cut emerald (7.29 cts), 12 marquise-cut diamonds (1.20 cts), four turquoise beads (approx. 0.50 ct) and 130 brilliant-cut diamonds (3.12 cts) Secret ring in 18k white gold set with a cushion-cut blue sapphire (1.43 cts), 71 marquise cut diamonds (4.83 cts), 78 brilliant cut diamonds (approx. 2.67 cts) and enamel. the top slides open to reveal a night blue sky crafted in Grand Feu champlevé enamel

18k white gold ring set with a cushion-cut emerald (7.29 cts), 12 marquise-cut diamonds (1.20 cts), four turquoise beads (approx. 0.50 ct) and 130 brilliant-cut diamonds (3.12 cts)

Secret ring in 18k white gold set with a cushion-cut blue sapphire (1.43 cts), 71 marquise cut diamonds (4.83 cts), 78 brilliant cut diamonds (approx. 2.67 cts) and enamel. the top slides open to reveal a night blue sky crafted in Grand Feu champlevé enamel

 

Meanwhile, the Venice portion of the collection is inspired by the light, water, architecture, art and mystique of the famed Italian city.
 

A signature white gold cuff bracelet is adorned with a “bird-flower” that mimics the famous Venetian masks worn at balls. The central design includes a flurry of turquoise feathers in a marquetry pattern. An emerald serves as the heart of the design amid a constellation of sapphires and diamonds.

18k white gold cuff set with a cushion-cut emerald (3.46 cts), 8 marquise-cut emeralds (4.80 cts), 8 marquise-cut blue sapphires ( 7.66 cts), 10 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.08 cts) and feathers

18k white gold cuff set with a cushion-cut emerald (3.46 cts),
8 marquise-cut emeralds (4.80 cts), 8 marquise-cut blue sapphires ( 7.66 cts),
10 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.08 cts) and feathers

 

A “secret” ring echoes Venetian celebrations. A sliding diamond and white gold cover reveals a night blue sky crafted in Grand Feu champlevé enamel. The Palazzo ring uses interlacing red spinel and diamond motifs to evoke the flashing camera bulbs on the red carpet of the Venice Film Festival, or the royal box at the Teatro La Fenice. Long earrings with geometrically arranged rubies are inspired by Byzantine windows of the palazzos lining the Grand Canal. An embroidered pink gold cuff bracelet is topped with marquise-cut diamonds are reminiscent of the stone bars on the windows of the Bridge of Sighs.

18k pink gold ring set with a round-cut red spinel (6.31 cts), 12 round-cut red spinels ( 0.44 ct), eight pear-shaped red spinels (0.80 ct), 16 pear-shaped diamonds (3.20 cts), 14 princess-cut diamonds (0.88 ct), six marquise-cut diamonds (0.60 ct) and 150 brilliant cut diamonds (0.80 ct) 18k pink gold necklace set with a cushion cut emerald (4.18 cts), 84 marquise-cut diamonds (9.30 cts), 208 turquoise beads (16.22 cts) and 430 brilliant-cut diamonds (7.44 cts)

18k pink gold ring set with a round-cut red spinel (6.31 cts), 12 round-cut red spinels ( 0.44 ct), eight pear-shaped red spinels (0.80 ct), 16 pear-shaped diamonds (3.20 cts), 14 princess-cut diamonds (0.88 ct), six marquise-cut diamonds (0.60 ct) and 150 brilliant cut diamonds (0.80 ct)

18k pink gold necklace set with a cushion cut emerald (4.18 cts), 84 marquise-cut diamonds (9.30 cts), 208 turquoise beads (16.22 cts) and 430 brilliant-cut diamonds (7.44 cts)

 

Excellent storytelling, marketing that reinforces the story, and jewellery that delivers on script are some of the reasons great luxury brands stay on top of the world.

 

 


Please visit www.JewelleryNewsAsia.com for more industry news and features.

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2015/07/21

The global diamond industry has been passing through a bad phase with weak demand, increasing rough prices, diminishing supply and stagnant polished prices. Banks have declared the gem & jewellery industry in India as ‘high risk zone’. More alarmingly, frequent cases of undisclosed mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural ones have shaken the consumer confidence to a great extent.
 

Now we have come across news reports that China has developed synthetics which, if mixed with naturals, cannot be identified even by the latest technologies available at global laboratories. In fact it should be a welcome techno-innovation by China as the industry is not against production or distribution of the synthetics per se but the fear is that this technological achievement would encourage those unscrupulous elements which are habitual practitioners of mixing undisclosed synthetic diamonds with natural ones.
 

HRD Antwerp recently has come across (near-) colourless lab grown diamonds featuring octahedral and other "natural" shapes. In fact the lab grown roughs featuring morphology previously unique to natural diamonds have now entered the market making it more difficult for rough diamond traders to identify the new lab grown rough diamonds. The rough melee goods checked by HRD Antwerp varied in size from 0.01 ct. to 0.04 ct. and  were produced by Taidiam, a Chinese company offering both HPHT and CVD lab grown diamonds.

 

Hard to detect synthetic rough diamonds

Hard to detect synthetic rough diamonds

 

The industry players should remember here that when a consumer purchases a diamond, he or she wants to know for sure that it is a rare and inherently precious natural gem, brought to the surface after lying for hundreds of millions of years within the earth’s mantle. So any damage to the consumers’ confidence in their natural diamond purchases could lead to grave consequences for the global industry.
 

Undisclosed synthetic diamonds have posed exactly the same risk today. The inability to distinguish confidently synthetics from natural gem diamonds could lead to a collapse of consumer and trade confidence in the value-perception natural diamonds. This may ultimately lead to consumers abandoning the category, temporarily or permanently.
 

De Beers in its recent ‘The Diamond Insight Report’ 2014 has rightly put stress on the need to invest in technological advancement. Technology plays a pivotal role across the entire diamond pipeline, helping both to secure future supply and to maintain the diamond dream. “Technology will remain critically important to support the whole value chain, including in safeguarding the diamond dream from the risk weakening consumer confidence as a result of undisclosed synthetics and treatments to natural diamonds,” the report says.
 

Several trade organizations have been working hard globally since many years to minimize the risks to consumer confidence resulting from deliberate or inadvertent undisclosed synthetics. De Beers has invested about USD 65 million in research during last 30 years to innovate sophisticated technology, including DiamondSure™, DiamondView™ and DiamondPlus™ that can readily detect all types of gem synthetics, providing great boost to maintain consumer confidence.
 

Although technology was already existed to examine synthetic gems, the first generation of detection technology had focused on screening larger gems. At the time, there was no cost-effective method of screening melée diamonds in the supply chain. But research and development efforts were accelerated to control this issue, and effective melée-screening technology is now available.
 

It should be a recurring process to further enhance the present technological advancement to meet the forthcoming challenges  so the global diamond industry can protect itself against any ‘unwanted mischief’ of a handful of dishonest persons.

 

 


Visit www.JewelleryNewsAsia.com for more industry news and features.

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