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I’ve been following Gemfields since 2008, close to its beginning. The coloured gemstone mining and marketing company began with a 75 percent ownership of the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia. The government of Zambia owns the remaining 25 percent. Then it set out to develop a mine-to-market strategy of selling emeralds.

The details of this model changed quite a bit over the years as the company’s value rose and fell with the volatile global economy along with other challenges.

Gemfields, listed on the London Stock Exchange (GEM),
is currently trading close to its all-time high.


In recent years the company expanded into other mines and gems. It owns a 75 percent stake in the Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique as well as licenses in Madagascar for ruby, emerald and sapphire deposits. In addition, Gemfields holds a 50 percent stake in the Kariba amethyst mine in Zambia and interests in 16 exploration licenses in Sri Lanka.

If that’s not enough, Gemfields acquired the Fabergé brand in January 2013 to create what it calls “a globally recognized coloured gemstone firm” that provides Gemfields “with direct control over a high-end luxury goods platform and a global brand with exceptional heritage.”

To help market its coloured stones, Gemfields recruited actress Mila Kunis as its brand ambassador. It also partners with high-profile jewellery designers to create one-of-a-kind pieces with their gems.

Despite all the changes, one thing that has been consistent about the company over the years is the traceability of its coloured gems. Knowing the mines where these gems originate and controlling the mining and selling of these gems assures consumers of the provenance of the gems and that they are produced in an ethical and humane manner, the company says.

The company sells its gems through auctions. It recently completed its 18th auction, this one held in the Zambian capital city of Lusaka. The company sold 10.1 million carats of lower-quality emeralds and beryl from the Kagem for $14.5 million, or an average of $3.72 per carat. The auction set a new record average value per carat for a lower quality emerald auction, the company reported.

The company also held an auction of 27.7 million carats of higher-quality amethyst from the Kariba mine. The auction realized $450,000 or an average

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.77 per carat from the sale of 25.2 million carats.

An important thing to note is that it was the seventh auction held in Lusaka within the past two years. It wasn’t Gemfields choice to hold auctions in Zambia—it was a directive from the Zambian government. Previously, it held all its auctions in Jaipur, India, and Singapore but government leaders felt the country and its people weren’t benefiting from the sale of gems mined in their country. Gemfields argued it needs to sell at places that will likely get the most interest and the best price.

It was just another bump on a long a rocky road for Gemfields. The company lost the argument but the company and government won in the end as the auctions in Zambia have been largely successful.

“We’ve set another record for realized per carat prices at an auction of lower quality emerald and beryl, and have now completed seven successful auctions in Zambia, all during the last 22 months,” said Ian Harebottle, Gemfields CEO.



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Disclosure of treatments in coloured gemstones and diamonds always seems to be a controversial subject. Many jewellers and gem dealers fear disclosure. Some online and television companies hide their disclosures with a hard to find link, often leading to a very generic and inadequate chart. Here are a few good reasons to make open disclosure statements part of your business.

1. It’s the law

In the US, the FTC has very clear rules for gemstone disclosures. The FTC states in sections 23.13 and 23.22 that any diamond or gemstone treatment must be disclosed either at the point of sale, or by online or jewellery television vendors in the solicitation for or description of the product when gemstones have: 1) treatments that are not permanent; 2) treatments that create special care requirements for the gemstone; and 3) treatments that significantly affect the value of a gemstone. Other countries may have similar rules. You may want to consult a lawyer for clarification of any laws that affect your business.


2. Not disclosing can cost a lot of money

Failure to disclose treatments can eventually bite you and the bite will be painful. When your customer’s fracture filled diamond is ruined by a jeweller’s torch or the coating on a “Mystic Topaz” comes off during routine cleaning; you will have one very unhappy customer and you will have to replace the stones. If you conveniently forget to mention that their red diamond has been treated with HTHP (High Temperature High Pressure) or a blue diamond has been irradiated; your customer may assume that it is natural. Since there is a huge difference in value between a natural and a treated coloured diamond your customer will be rightfully upset. If fact, they can sue for the “benefit of the bargain". In some jurisdictions they could be awarded the difference between the actual value and the assumed value or even force you to replace the treated stones with natural. If you are forced to replace a piece of jewellery containing a few carats of treated red diamonds with naturals, you might as well just hand over the keys to your store, your house, and your car. Even if you can afford the natural stones, you won’t be able to find them.


3. You become the expert

This is your opportunity to show off your knowledge. You can discuss the fascinating treatments brought about by modern technology that make exotic gemstones affordable and available to the general public. Of course if they insist on a natural stone… that’s great!


4. It’s ethical

Many consumers distrust the jewellery industry and failure to disclose only reinforces that feeling. We can only clean up this ethical crisis in our industry by starting with ourselves. Telling the whole truth creates trust. You can show that you have nothing to hide and are proud of your product as it is without embellishment or deceit. It is not only the responsibility of everyone in our industry to stay diligent in protecting our reputations; it is the ethical and moral thing to do.

So do the right thing for your customer, our industry and yourself. Gladly, proudly and knowledgeably disclose ALL pertinent facts about the products you sell.



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Last week we had an electrifying five days in London as the city was once again taken over by London Fashion Week (LFW), an event famous for championing the freshest design talent. While most eyes were on the clothes during the Autumn / Winter 2015 catwalk shows, mine were on the finer details and a few key jewellery trends emerged.



Hoops proved to be popular among fashion designers choosing to accessorise collections with jewellery this season. Issa took the concept further than most with simple gold hoops on models’ wrists and elbows, on both arms in a Grecian style, and also as necklaces and earrings.

Other designers stuck to a pair of simple hoop earrings, among them Lucas Nascimento who offset a deep V-necked floral sweater with a chin-grazing pair as well as dressing models in bronzed neck hoops, and Ashish who dressed a wide diversity of models in silver ear hoops ranging from jaw length to collar length.

The majority of designers linked multiple hoops together to create longer shapes, such as Jonathan Saunders’ shoulder-length earrings made up of three graduating black, silver and white hoops.

Jewel Tech International Manufacturing Co Ltd HOOPS_Issa – Simple gold hoop bracelets at Issa AW15.

Invisible setting Ceylon Sapphires Earrings by Jewel Tech International Manufacturing Co Ltd

Simple gold hoop bracelets at Issa AW15
(Source: Instagram@issalondon)



They say not all things in life are created equal, and this was definitely the intention of some LFW designers when it came to earrings. JW Anderson sent models down the runway with one large triangular earring on the right lobe and anything from a perspex fold to a metallic hoop on the left, so long as it didn’t match.

Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label also enjoyed playing with odd ear baubles, adding even more drama around the paint-splashed models’ faces with a selection of curiosities that included chains decorated with paper clips and what appeared to be glittering dog bones.

Blush Collection Diamond Earrings with Spiny Oyster and Mother of Pearl Inlay This specially cut Bolivian ametrine ring by Sheldon Bloomfield creates an almost kaleidoscopic effect

Blush Collection Diamond Earrings with Spiny Oyster and Mother of Pearl Inlay by Kabana

A triangular earring clashes with a blue Perspex ear clip at JW Anderson AW15



The recently revived choker continued to be a feature of many AW15 LFW runway shows. Julien MacDonald kept it simple with retro-esque thick, black material chokers while Vivienne Westwood Red Label tapped into the brand’s punk heritage with a selection of chokers and short colliers that took inspiration from dog collars, tools, chains and spikes.

Simone Rocha threw in a couple of single and double chokers made from beads but mainly interpreted the trend by winding strands of the models’ hair round their necks. Also at the avant garde end of the spectrum was Giles’ gothic Victoriana show that included a standalone ruff choker and ruff cuffs.

Simone Rocha wrapped models’ hair round their necks to make chokers on its AW15 runway

Simone Rocha wrapped models’ hair round their necks to make chokers on its AW15 runway
(Source: Instagram@simonerocha)


Becker, Richard Hans GmbH & Co KG Designs Dubai UK Fashion Ltd

Unique pieces for pearl chokers or gemstone necklaces
by Becker, Richard Hans GmbH & Co KG

Ruby set 5 - Ruby necklace
by Designs Dubai UK Fashion Ltd



The catwalks for AW15 were awash with all-black ensembles, and some designers extended this theme to jewellery. Julien MacDonald created darkly alluring jewels to complement black and jewel-toned eveningwear that included necklaces and earrings made out of glossy, blackened metal wound into fluid lines.

Simone Rocha also ramped up the glamour of evening collections with black jewels made from shiny oversized faceted beads, wrapped round necks and dropping from ears, to tie in with jewel embellishments on the clothing.

Julien Macdonald used black jewellery to add drama to darkly hued AW15 eveningwear

Julien Macdonald used black jewellery to add drama to darkly hued AW15 eveningwear
(Source: Instagram@julienmacdonald)


Della Monica Antonio Magerit

Cameo and onyx earrings
by Della Monica Antonio

by Magerit



While brooches tend to straddle the fashion and jewellery genres, many jewellers still create them and if the LFW catwalks are anything to go by, we could be seeing demand for them rise in AW15. The design of the brooches was as varied as where they were placed – pinned to coats, buttoned on dresses and taking the place of ties on shirts.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label offset the chaos of its punk-inspired collections with pretty antique-style silver and pearl brooches on the lapels of coats and collars of shirts, while Bora Aksu positioned big floral crystal brooches over shirts’ top buttons and Sibling used two brooches connected by a chain to close its cardigans and jackets.

Brooches were pinned over top buttons on shirts at Bora Aksu AW15

Brooches were pinned over top buttons on shirts at Bora Aksu AW15
(Source: Instagram@bora_aksu)


Jatin Gems Liangher Jewellery Co Ltd

Brooch studded with Single cut and Pearl
by Jatin Gems

Natural Coral Pendant/brooch
by Liangher Jewellery Co Ltd



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India’s Finance Minister (FM) Mr. Arun Jaitley once again, has literally ignored all demands put forward by trade bodies like Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) within a span of less than one year. 

After inception of Mr. Narendra Modi Government in May 2014, FM Mr. Jaitley, while giving his first interim budget in July 2014 had ignored the industry’s all demands including a reduction in gold import duty, setting up of Special Notified Zone (SNZ) for diamond trade etc. Mr. FM has continued to maintain his same approach towards the industry in his latest budget also which he introduced in India’s Loksabha (Parliament) on the 28th Feb, 2015.


Government has ignored jewellery industry’s demends in latest budget


Instead, Mr. Jaitley has preferred to concentrate on tightening his grip on the Current Account Deficit (CAD) and import of gold by introducing monetization of gold. He has also announced sovereign gold bonds and India-made ‘Ashok Chakra’ embossed gold coins, to replace the need for import.

The FM also proposed to introduce Sovereign Gold Bonds as an alternative to purchasing or investing in physical gold to encourage individuals to deposit gold. The Bonds would be issued by the central government which would carry a fixed rate of interest and would be redeemable in cash in terms of face value of gold at the time of redemption. The government would not have to repay in gold at the time of redemption; instead, an amount equivalent to gold would be repaid and the customer who deposited gold could use the amount to buy physical gold if he so desires. If the government hedges its gold price risk in sync with the gold bonds, the price risk for such bonds could be eluded.

In his annual budget for 2015-16, Mr. Jaitley also advised refiners to work on developing an Indian gold coin carrying the Ashok Chakra. This would help in reducing the demand for coins minted in foreign countries and also help recycled gold available in the country. The move is expected to help assess real import of gold in the country and put more stress on strengthening the attempts to unearth more domestic gold.

Mr. Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council says, “This is an exceptional budget for gold. The policy announcements aim towards making gold a part of the larger financial system and a fungible asset class. Recent policy suggestions have cohesively pointed towards the need to go beyond duty cuts and artificial regulatory limitations on demand and instead focus on holistic solutions.”

“India will now be able to set in place a measured monetization framework for gold from the existing stocks in private hands worth over USD 1 trillion.  The monetization scheme will drive orderly recycling and enhance transparency, benefiting millions of households and the macro economy, as it has the potential to translate gold savings into economic investments. Standard India gold coins will ensure gold availability aligned to customer preferences and will help in curbing the unofficial market,” he adds.

Expressing his displeasure about the budget proposals, GJEPC Chairman Mr. Vipul Shah says, “As far as the G&J industry is concerned, our only reaction is ‘disappointment’! The FM has completely ignored one of the most significant areas to control black money and our long-time pending demand to reduce the gold import duty. Smuggling of gold plagues the industry and leads to illegal trading. The duty reduction would have helped us control the issue to a great extent. But we appreciate Mr. FM’s efforts to reduce demand for overseas gold and control the CAD by introducing the gold monetization scheme to and Indian gold coins.”

The FM has now made it mandatory to produce Permanent Account Number (PAN) for all jewellery sales and purchases exceeding Rs 1 lakh in value, as a dampener. Jewellers here fear that the new limit, much smaller than the current Rs 5 lakh, may affect jewellery sales.



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Being in the trade we all have a great deal of knowledge about jewels. However, few have the background of Susan Abeles, director of US Jewellery for Bonhams auction house.

Abeles was watching the awards and looking for trends not only in the short term but down the road when some of the pieces made for the red carpet Sunday may end up on the auction block years from now. She also is examining the vintage jewellery that stars chose to wear on the red carpet. Product placement on the red carpet is big business and any new or old piece of jewellery worn by the right star with the right look can increase the value of that piece dramatically, as well as the reputation of the jewellery company for years to come.

Like others, Abeles also wanted to see how the jewellery matched the gowns and hairstyles.

Overall Abeles said she expected more statement coloured gems, such as sapphires and rubies, and more colour in the gowns. Outside of red, the colours for many of the outfits, soft and warm, were largely matched with diamonds or light-coloured gems, she said.

“I had expected to see more colour but the colour palette was very different from what I expected to see. On the whole the palette was of soft muted colours,” she said. “And their jewellery reflected it.”

She also noted that those who wore red gowns chose to match them with colourless diamonds.

“Red in particular (was) worn by Solange, Dakota Johnson and Rosamond Pike, yet their preference for diamonds as jewels still dominated. Diamonds in hanging pendant earrings, antique ear pendants, and substantial diamond studs were worn by many—most notable Lady Gaga during her performance.”

Abeles’ top ten Oscars picks, with commentary, are as follows:

1) Margot Robbie – “Van Cleef & Arpels transformable fine necklace: gorgeous”.

2) Rita Ora - Bulgari snake necklace, “flexible and sexy”.

3) Lady Gaga - Pair of very large diamond studs, “classic but statement”.

4) Jennifer Hudson - Emerald and diamond ear pendants and ring, “bold and colourful, confident”.

5) Cate Blanchett - Tiffany bib, “shows colour, strength and originality, stepping out of what one would consider a red carpet jewel”.

6) Chloe Grace Moretz – “original and forward thinking diamond ear jackets” by Forevermark Diamonds.

7) Emma Stone in a matching pair of diamond bracelets by Tiffany & Co. “Probably inspired by Suzanne Belperron designs ”.

8) Lupita Nyong'o pearl dress and diamond ear pendants, “She stole the show!”

9) Gwenyth Paltro – Anna Hu cabochon ear pendants with colour, “great jewellery choice from an important and current jewellery designer. I would recommend collecting a piece of Hu’s work.”

10) Laura Dern – “In Bulgari with a story”.




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