JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2015/07/01

Let’s face it…Millennials have shown little interest in buying diamonds. A big part of the blame can be placed on how diamonds are marketed. There is no excitement, no romance; nothing to capture the attention of this important demographic. Online databases brag about ease of searching, mobile capability and low prices but they have been missing the mark. DeBeers, through its Forevermark brand, is bringing back the highly successful “A diamond is forever” campaign. But that has little chance of capturing the hearts of Millennials. It belongs to their grandparent’s generation and they won’t fall for that old, hackneyed slogan.

  

But there is hope. Finally, someone gets it and has an idea of what Millennials want. They want a story, they want personalisation, and most of all they want to share their experience with their friends. Jacques Voorhees, founder of Polygon and CEO of Verichannel had his eyes opened in a conversation with his 23 year old son Alex while showing him how diamonds are sold on various online databases:

“Dad, this is boring. Is this really how diamonds are being sold? A long ugly list like this? Really?”

“Yes, that is how diamonds are sold. What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s not visually exciting. It’s like having to do homework or something. Does anyone find that fun, looking through lists of alpha-numeric characters on hundreds of diamonds? Seriously?”

“Well, I’m not sure it needs to be fun. It’s how people find the best price.”

“I’m not sure that should be the goal, finding the best price. I think the goal should be to make it fun.”

His son recognized that on a database all the diamonds appear to be the same but that in reality they are as different as snowflakes. And the reasons for buying one are different as well. Each one has its own history and each purchase has its own story.
  

We need to let that story out. What’s being emphasized are things like VS1 and VS2. We need to emphasize the story, the emotions. That’s more important, and far more interesting, than the gemmological stuff.”
 

That conversation led to the creation of the Museum of Named Diamonds, a place where consumers can register a name for their own diamond and share a story and artwork of the meaning behind their diamond. The chairman of the Museum’s Board of Governors and past president of GIA, Bill Boyajian states:

“Consumers have for far too long focused on grading reports and commodity-like pricing when it comes to diamonds. It’s time to move the conversation back to diamonds as a unique symbol of love, to connect the diamond to the precious relationship it represents. This is the goal of the Museum of Named Diamonds.”

The program is open to consumers and retailers through Nymify, a commercial entity that helps create the name, the artwork, and the story.

It’s fun, it’s personal, it can be shared online. And most of all…it’s not just a boring list of technical specifications; it is romance. This may be the right concept to get Millennials interested in diamonds.

 

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

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2015/07/01

Bonhams recently heralded 2015 as “the year of coloured gemstones”, and said that out of the glittering kaleidoscope that constantly stream through the auction house, rubies are the most sought after. And with Gemfields poised to launch a major campaign starring the red gemstone, it could in fact be that 2015 is the year of the ruby.

This cuff from Amrapali uses a rough-cut ruby, which is a key trend in ruby jewellery design.

This cuff from Amrapali uses a rough-cut ruby, which is a key trend in ruby jewellery design.


Not only are people actively seeking rubies out, they are willing to pay top prices for them. Rubies achieve the highest prices per carat of any coloured gemstones, according to Bonhams.
 

Fine jewellery houses are now setting rubies as the central stone in cocktail rings, as seen here at Van Cleef & Arpels.

Fine jewellery houses are now setting rubies as the central stone in cocktail rings, as seen here at Van Cleef & Arpels.


Last year the auction house sold a pair of 1930s Cartier Art Deco-style ruby and diamond brooches for $717,600, smashing the top pre-sale estimate of $180,000, while a Van Cleef & Arpels ring set with a 13.34ct sugarloaf cabochon Burmese ruby sold for $521,400 to a Hong Kong buyer, which at $44,000 per carat was the most expensive ruby to sell in London last year.

 

Burmese rubies are difficult to get and extraordinarily expensive but Burmese ruby beads, as used in this Garrard necklace, are more accessibly priced.

Burmese rubies are difficult to get and extraordinarily expensive but Burmese ruby beads, as used in this Garrard necklace, are more accessibly priced.


Top jewellery houses are taking rubies seriously this year, with many new collections dedicated to the gem unveiled at BaselWorld. Chopard added a pair of ruby and diamond earrings to its Haute Joallerie collection, setting 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies against 9ct of brilliant round and pear-shaped white diamonds, while deGrisogono unveiled a ruby version of its Grappoli watch that has 70 briolette-cut rubies jostling round the bezel, a further 256 snow-set rubies on the dial and 598 brilliant-cut round rubies on the case.

Chopard has created a new pair of earrings within its high jewellery collection that have been set with 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies.

Chopard has created a new pair of earrings within its high jewellery collection that have been set with 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies.

 

The Grappoli jewellery watch by deGrisogono is now available in ruby with a total of 924 rubies adorning the dial and bezel.

The Grappoli jewellery watch by deGrisogono is now available in ruby with a total of 924 rubies adorning the dial and bezel.


“Rubies are once again becoming sought after as many jewellery designers and retailers want colour in their stores again,” says London-based jewellery designer David Marshall, who has a store opposite the city’s famous Claridges Hotel.
 

Most popular at David Marshall have been oval and cushion-cut rubies, and Marshall says that demand is on the rise from his clients. “I have been making many different pieces, from simple rings through to very large intricate necklaces, bracelets and earrings,” he says.
 

That growing demand could be set for a fresh spike this year thanks to ethical gemstone miner Gemfields’ plans to raise the profile of rubies amongst consumers. If this new campaign is anything as successful as the one that Gemfields dedicated to emeralds a few years ago, we could all be seeing a bit more red this year.

Gemfields owns 75% of a ruby mine in Mozambique that is currently in the process of expanding its production.

Gemfields owns 75% of a ruby mine in Mozambique that is currently in the process of expanding its production.


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

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2015/06/30

Indian consumers have become more demanding, choosy and price-conscious especially in case of jewellery. Low prices of Silver, which came down almost 20% during 2014, have encouraged them to become more affectionate towards it which ultimately have boosted demand for the white metal. As a result, investment and jewellery demand for Silver in India rose sharply during 2014. The global demand for silverware, jewellery and ETFs also touched record highs during the same year.
 

Another factor is India’s tight restrictions on gold imports that have not only helped the growth in silver demand but also increase investments directed to silver during the past two years. The latest study report on Silver Demand and Supply by GFMS metal consultancy indicates that silver jewellery offtake by the country during 2013 grew higher by 81% to 1,315 tons from 724 tons during 2012. Silver jewellery fabrication demand also surged to record highs of 1,936 tons in 2014.
 

According to statistics released by India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the country’s silver imports have more than doubled from 1,921 tons in 2012 to 5,819 tons in 2013. Silver imports during 2014 scaled new height of 6,842 tons, rising sharply by 18% over 2013. Silver increasingly started replacing white gold in studded gold jewellery. The demand for Indian silver-studded jewellery has seen a big increase over the past two years.

Significant silver demand growth in India

Significant silver demand growth in India

 

The dwindling prices of silver have led to fresh investments in silver bars and coins in India. The drop in sales of gold coins and bars, thanks to some governmental restrictions, has seen the money flowing into silver options. The extreme demand for silver has made some companies launch new platforms for silver jewellery retailing. By virtue of this, India now has emerged as the world’s fourth largest silver coin fabricator after the US, Canada and Australia.
 

As far as silverware consumption in India is concerned, it has almost tripled from 472 tons in 2012 to 1,222 tons in 2014. The consumption during 2014 has also hit its highest level since 2006. While gold ETFs on one hand has declined of 160 tons, silver ETF holdings on the other hand have touched record level of 19,728 tons in 2014.
 

India’s consumers are increasingly becoming aware and demanding about the purity of silver jewellery. Demand for 92.5 sterling silver jewellery has been increasing by 10 to 15% every year. Inspired by this, some traders from Mumbai have recently formed Sterling Silver Jewellery Association (SSJA) with its primary goals as Promoting, Protecting, and Progressing of the industry.
 

The newly elected Chairman of the SSJA Mr. Arvind Bafna says,

“The silver industry needs to have a strong representation at the government as well as industry level and at the same time it needs to create awareness about the sterling silver jewellery. Our association is planning to demand a separate pavilion for sterling jewellery in the upcoming India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) to make our industry’s presence felt at the national and global level.”


Advisor of the SSJA Mr. Pravin Jain says,

“The demand for sterling silver jewellery is going up with a growth rate of 10% to 15% every year with more and more people opting for sliver. So we need to have a separate policy for the import and export of the silver. Besides, the SSJA is committed to protect its members from industry defaulters as well.”


If the same trend persists, industry experts expect rapid growth in silver demand on the basis of significant demand growth from industrial sector. The augmented use of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) and Solar Devices are expected to prove big booster to silver demand during the coming years.

 

 


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

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2015/06/30

The final two jewellery auctions for the spring season were held in New York and both were rather lacklustre events. But there were still several highlights. Coloured gems continued to show their strength while diamonds and signed jewels retained their value and interest.

 

Christie’s auction of 230 lots on June 17 totalled nearly $27.6 million, with 79 percent sold by lot and 94 percent sold by value. This means that 19 percent of the lots didn’t sell but among those that did, many exceeded their high estimates.
 

Three of the top 10 lots belonged to the collection of US business woman and philanthropist, Margaret Adderley Kelly. The first was a 21.71-carat Kashmir sapphire that sold for $4.2 million, more than double its high estimate.

21.71-carat Kashmir sapphire ring sold for $4.2 million at Christie's

21.71-carat Kashmir sapphire ring sold for $4.2 million at Christie's

 

Two other items were an Art Deco necklace featuring a 16.24-carat D-colour, internally flawless, VS2, pear-shaped diamond pendant, that sold for more than $2.2 million, just above its high estimate of $2 million; and a Burmese ruby and diamond cluster necklace (pictured below) that sold for $845,000, well above its $600,000 high estimate.

Art Deco necklace with a 16.24-carat D-colour, internally flawless, VS2, pear-shaped diamond pendant, which sold for more than $2.2 million at Christie’s

Art Deco necklace with a 16.24-carat D-colour, internally flawless, VS2,
pear-shaped diamond pendant, which sold for more than $2.2 million at Christie’s

 

The collection of 28 lots all sold, fetching $9.8 million, nearly double its pre-sale estimate of $5 million.
 

Meanwhile, on Monday Bonhams held its fine jewellery sale. The company did not release result totals but I attended the event and there were a number of items that failed to sell, including three fancy coloured diamond jewels at the end of the auction. Coloured gems, unsurprisingly, did well, as well as Art Deco and Belle Époque and Art Deco period pieces. Signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. also saw mixed results. Classic colourless diamonds were in demand, including several rings that commanded high prices.
 

There was one standout item and it was easily the top lot of the sale. It was a rare and unusual diamond rivière necklace with 51 “Triple X-cut” rated diamonds that sold for

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.2 million.

Rivière necklace with 51 “Triple X-cut” rated diamonds fetched 
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Rivière necklace with 51 “Triple X-cut” rated diamonds fetched

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.2 million at Bonhams.
Photo by Anthony DeMarco

 

Triple X (also known as “Triple Ex”) is an informal designation that means a diamond has received excellent polish, symmetry and cut grades. Only round and round brilliant cut diamonds can receive this designation.
 

Each diamond in the necklace is accompanied by a Gemological Institute of America report that states its three excellence grades. They are joined together by a heart-shaped diamond clasp weighing 2.04 carats. The diamonds are mounted in platinum.
 

Even though the necklace commanded a seven-figure price, it sold below its

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.4 million -
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.8 million estimate.
 

Other top items included a 25-carat sapphire and diamond ring by the M. Gerard French jewellery house that sold for $581,000, beating its high estimate; emerald and diamond earrings that sold for $118,750. Nearly double its high estimate; and a turn of the century imperial topaz and diamond pendant brooch, circa 1900, centred by an oval cushion-cut imperial topaz and suspended by a detachable imperial topaz briolette sold for $87,500, smashing its high estimate of $9,000.

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25-carat sapphire and diamond ring by the M. Gerard French jewellery house
sold for $581,000, beating its high estimate.

 

 


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

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2015/06/24

Polished minerals and art pieces

This is the largest and diverse group of products that you’ll see at a mineral show. It is also the most popular and often the most profitable.
 

Any mineral that has been cut or polished falls into this category. It can be a simple as cutting a geode in half and polishing the cut surface or an agate or other rock sliced and polished into decorative slabs. Since this category appeals to a larger demographic that is not as particular about unadulterated specimens, you will find the greatest number of treated stones. The most common treatment is dying a stone to produce interesting colours, sometimes subtle and often obviously not natural. Another common treatment is coating natural mineral clusters, usually quartz with metal halides producing striking, iridescent colours. These typically will have trade names such as “Aqua Aura” for quartz with a gold halide coating that appears as a metallic light blue colour.

Polished minerals and art pieces

Some stones are cut and polished into geometric shapes such as pyramids and obelisks. These can be as small as a few centimetres or as large as several meters. Spheres and eggs are very popular and there is an entire group of people that collect them in as many minerals or colours as possible.

 

 

Metaphysical stones

Many cultures and individuals believe that stones carry powers that can aid in healing, guide their meditations, or enhance the energy balance in themselves and the space that surrounds them. Almost any gemstone, mineral, fossil or polished rock can fall within this category.

Metaphysical stones

When you see someone at a show that is holding a stone in their hands with their eyes closed in deep meditative thought, or swinging a pendulum over a stone, you can be sure that person is feeling the metaphysical potential of the specimen. Natural crystals, massage stones, and spheres are very popular. Some will look for particular healing stones, sometimes called Vogel ponts, which are usually clear quartz cut to very precise angles and shapes as taught by a crystal healer named Marcel Vogel. These are often quite expensive but those seeking them will pay the price. It really does not matter what your own personal belief is about metaphysical stones, you can count on one fact…they are immensely popular and profitable.

 

 

Carvings and sculpture

It can be a small carved Jadeite Buddha or a large marble sculpture; this category contains stones that have been carved into images or fine art. A small Egyptian scarab in agate or jasper might cost a dollar while a beautiful carving in fine Jadeite may run as high as several million dollars. Roman or Greek classics like David or the Venus de Milo are priceless works of art with deep historical value. Consideration must be given to the material used, the subject matter and quality of workmanship. High value items are usually sold at auction.

Burmese Jade Opal Vase

 

 

The Mineral & Gem Asia show starts in a few days. I hope this series of primers can be of assistance in understanding some of what you will see and learn at the show. Be sure to attend and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the vendors. This may open an entirely new line of exciting products to sell in your jewellery store.

 

 


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

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