JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2014/08/20

English cricketer Moeen Ali wore ‘Save Gaza’ wristbands recently during third test match played between England and India at Ageas Bowl. Moeen is a different type of sportsman, he is intelligent and brave. By a deliberate gesture of wearing the bands, he tried to attract the world’s attention towards the so called atrocities and human right violations done by Israeli troops in Palestine and Gaza strip.

 

But with the timely intervention the International Cricket Council (ICC), Ali was asked to remove those bands as they violated the Council’s norms. ICC norms do not permit a player or umpire to display messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international cricket match.

 

English Cricketer Reignites Palestine Issue

Cricketer Moeen Ali wearing ‘Save Gaza’ wristbands

 

Although the issue is not new to the international fraternity, Moeen Ali’s recent gesture has reignited the debate over the issue. While Ali’s concern may be humanitarian, our concern extends to Israel’s diamond industry. As many as 50 organizations in Palestine, including Palestinian Civil Society, women’s groups and Trade Unions, international organizations having solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for equality, justice and to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, had issued an appeal last year to the global fraternity and jewellers worldwide to reject diamonds cut and polished in Israel.

 

All these organizations contend that the governments of many countries including the US and EU in have failed to safeguard Palestinians from Israel’s diamond-funded military which they allege to have killed thousands of Palestinians including children so far. But unfortunately, nobody in the global diamond industry has heard the above appeal seriously.

 

It may be noted here that diamonds are Israel’s most important commodity accounting for 30% of the country’s manufacturing exports. It has been said that Israel could not manage financial burden of the so called illegal occupation, construction of Jewish colonies on Palestinian lands and the brutal suppression of the Palestinian people without the revenue generated from its diamond industry.

 

Coordinator of the Campaign for Global Rejection of Israeli diamonds Mr. Samer Abed-Rabbo says, “Revenue generated from Israel’s diamond manufacturing industry is one of the major sources of funding for the country’s military which has been accused of war crimes by the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.”

 

Pointing out the repeated refusal of the Kimberley Process to ban all blood diamonds he says: “The failure of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” and ban polished diamonds that fund war crimes means that diamond purchasers are being sold blood diamonds, which are falsely labelled conflict-free by jewellers, including most, if not all, of the world’s big jewellery establishments.”

 

The British government has recently issued guidelines to help boost ethical sourcing of jewellery. These recommendations are to make retailers and manufacturers responsive to human rights abuses that take place in their supply chains. But in spite of repeated assurances given by jewellers and others with a vested interest in the global diamond industry, the trade in the so called ‘blood diamonds’ has never stopped- be it originated in Israel, CAR, Zimbabwe or any other country of the world. The issue is likely to remain unsolved as long as the definition of ‘blood diamond’ is not precise and clear. The ball is now in the court of KP.

 

 


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2014/08/20

The origin of “Art Deco” comes from a French word that represents a significant progress of the city in the aspects of architecture, design, fashion and luxury. The bold and edgy designs were popularised in the 1920-30s and still inspires jewellery designers today. 

Symmetrical and Geometic 

Strong visual designs, such as the architecture of the Chrysler and Empire State Building in New York, represented the rise of city life and societal changes in the 1920-30s. Circles, pyramids, edgy squares, symmetrical polygons and all other geometric styles are likewise incorporated in jewellery design.  

Cradle of Diamonds by Shanghai Kimberlite Diamond Co Ltd, China

 

Left: Art Deco Ring with Tahitain Pearls in the motif in a castle by Aspire Designs Ltd, Hong Kong 

Right: Art Deco Cufflinks with Diamonds, Sapphires in Platinum by M. Khordipour Inc, Thailand

 

Bold Statement 

Societal changes and the development of individualism of women in the 1920s influenced the craftsmen in jewellery and accessories design in that jewellery was worn not only as a sign of wealth but also of wisdom and one’s attitude towards life. Therefore, wearing long dangle earrings, cocktail rings and pendants set with gemstones and diamonds stood out as a bold statement.

 

Round Tanzanite Pendant with diamonds by Alberto Collection, USA

 

Rich, vivid coloured gemstones in asscher, baguettes, emerald, princess, and trilliant cuts are perfect for bold statement jewellery with sharp angles. High-end emeralds, sapphires and rubies are common in art deco masterpieces, not only because of their value, but also because of their vibrant and vivid colours.  

 

Art Deco Ring by Antika, Thailand

Antique and Vintage

The art deco style projects a very unique and complicated character influenced by ancient Africa, China, Egypt, and Greece.  It blends contemporary art with the spirit of ancient beauty. Museums, auctions and private collectors are keen to find antique pieces in art deco styles originating in the 1920s; there are also new designers making pieces inspired by this ever-green vintage style in its modern way with more affordable materials. 

 

Art Deco diamond, sapphire and emerald "belly" (bracelet) by Dumont Estate Jewelry, USA

 

Left: One Mine Diamond Ring by Neli Gems Corp, USA

Right: Vintage Open Work Design by Prowico Co Ltd, Thailand


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2014/08/20

Gold jewellery demand in the US increased 15 percent year-over-year for the second of 2014 the World Gold Council (WGC) said Thursday. It is the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.

 

“The market continues to absorb higher imports of gold jewellery, notably from India, China and Italy, the strength of which indicates growing confidence across the domestic supply chain, aided by higher margins,” the WGC said in its quarterly report, Gold Demand Trends, adding that consumers “continue to feel the benefits of an improving domestic economy.”

 

In value terms the increase was a more modest 5 percent, according to the report. Again it appears that jewellers and consumers were taking advantage of the drop in the price of gold, which fell 9 percent for the period. However, it’s difficult to tell how much of an impact it had as this report, unlike those in past, didn’t focus on gold value.

 

While all of this is good news for the US economy and the gold industry, it is far too early to celebrate. The US recovery continues to grow but it isn’t broad base. I’ve been talking to jewellers around the country working on two stories for Jewellery News Asia and the recovery is sporadic. The middle market is near invisible in some areas, according to some jewellers I’ve interviewed.

Improvement in US Gold Jewellery Demand is Not Yet a Cause for Celebration

Don't celebrate too early

 

Political and economic outlook remains difficult and even worsening through much of the world. A conflict that can’t be contained through diplomatic means could mean another mad dash to gold, thus raising the price of the precious metal and negatively impacting jewellery sales.

 

The only other country to show real strength in gold jewellery sales for the period was the UK, which saw an increase of 25 percent to 3.6 tons.

 

Global demand for gold jewellery declined 30 percent year-over-year, with nearly all Asian and Middle East countries experiencing double-digit declines, led by the world’s two largest markets: China and India. The WGC said the decline was expected due to the strength of 2013 demand and a natural annual weak period for gold jewellery.

 

“In what is traditionally a quiet quarter for gold jewellery demand, Q2 2014, was unsurprisingly lower,” said Marcus Grubb, WGC managing director of Investment Strategy.

 

China was the market most affected by the comparison with the second quarter of 2013, WGC said. Gold jewellery demand fell 45 percent to 143.4 tons. Hong Kong also experienced a similar decline (52 percent to 9.1 tons) due to a drop in mainland China consumers.

 

In India, jewellery demand fell by 18 percent to 154.5 tons. The WGC said holiday and wedding purchases remained steady but the drop was primarily because by the previous government in the run up to the general election, the WGC explained. Now consumers are waiting to see whether India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Damodardas Modi, will remove those restrictions.

 

He has yet to remove them.

 

 


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2014/08/20

Most jewellers have at least one thing that sets them apart as an expert. It could be a passion for diamonds or gemstones. Perhaps it is custom design or the ability to repair almost anything. Use your knowledge or skill to become The Expert in your market, the one that even your competitors will turn to for help. There are many ways to establish yourself as the local expert and it is best to use as many of them as possible.

 

Contact business associations, community organizations and other local groups about being a guest speaker at a meeting. Prepare a presentation that will highlight your area of expertise without appearing to be an infomercial. If you’re a diamond expert you might want to focus on understanding cut. Pepper your talk with interesting anecdotes about diamonds in history. A jeweller could bring a few tools and demonstrate stone setting. If can hold their attention for a while and educate them about one little corner of our trade, you will become The Expert in your community. Let your passion lead the way.

 

Be the local expert

Differentiate yourself, then gain the reputation

 

Television and radio stations often have local interest segments, especially in the morning. They are always looking for local experts to answer questions on air. This is a great way reach a broad segment of your local market with the implied backing of a trustworthy broadcaster. You can’t buy this type of exposure but they will give it to you for free in exchange for five or ten minutes of your expertise.

 

If you are advertising in newspapers, you may want to consider using some of your ad space for a weekly “Ask the Expert” advice column. At first you’ll have to make up your own questions but before long the questions will come in from the public. Keep it light, short and easy to read.

 

Make sure your website has several pages related to consumer information. This shows that you offer knowledge as well as product. Start a blog and update it often. Talk about anything related to your business but try to focus on your area of expertise. Avoid the temptation of using it as a personal diary...leave your cat out of it. Make it informative and entertaining.

 

Online forums are great places to become The Expert but be sure to understand the general moods and quirks of the forum. In most forums it is considered rude to sell or self-promote in a discussion. You only want to answer questions, add comments or start threads that highlight your knowledge. Stick to what you know and try to learn from others.

 

If you are going to claim to be The Expert you’d better be the real deal. the worst thing you can do is give incorrect or misguided information. You will get called out on it and could quickly lose the expert status you worked so hard to achieve. It is not easy but the rewards are worth the effort

 

 


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2014/08/13

It can be frustrating for a jewellery store to create a web-based selling platform. It is difficult to fully portray the look and feel of your brick and mortar store. It doesn’t matter how good your web designer may be, it’s not the same as being in the store...unless you create a virtual tour.

 

Virtual tours are web-based interactive 360° panoramic photographs created by taking multiple shots and stitching them together for one continuous picture. The viewer can use a mouse to move around the photo to see the image from all directions. This is getting to be very common on real estate and hotel websites, allowing a visitor to virtually tour a room or property.

 

Virtual tours require specialized equipment and software to create fully interactive and professional quality images but basic 360° panographs can be made with a smart phone using a variety of panorama apps.

Take your store online

A full featured virtual tour has capabilities rarely used on real estate and hotel sites that are handy for a jewellery retailer. One of the most important and most versatile is a “hot spot”...an area of the photo that is active and clickable. As a viewer moves through your virtual store they can hover their mouse over a showcase to find out what is on display. Clicking on the case labelled “bridal” could move to a close up photo of the case or take the viewer to the bridal section of an online store. In the close up view, clicking on a ring could bring up a full description of the item including additional photos or lab reports. Add a live sales person via chat or Skype to give viewers the same personal, one-on-one attention they expect when visiting in person.

 

Be sure to prepare your store before a professional 360 ° photoshoot. Of course you want it spotlessly clean and looking it’s best, but you need to consider safety as well. Do whatever you can to hide your security equipment. Strategic use of plants, posters and other items can hide the locations of motion detectors, security cameras and safes. Talk to the photography team about digitally removing sensitive security items from the photos. You don’t want to enable someone to case your store from home.

 

Virtual tours are still in their infancy for retail stores, but not for long. Soon they will be fully integrated with your social medial, POS system, online shopping cart and more. It will eventually be a fully-functional second location for your jewellery store. But for now it is a good way to introduce your store experience to online viewers and add interest to your website.

 

 


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