JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2014/10/22

De Beers recently delivered somewhat alarming report which may have disappointed the global diamond lovers. In its first annual ‘Diamond Insight Report’ (Download PDF) released in September 2014, De Beers has stated that growing diamond demand would almost outstrip growth in carat production because of the lack of major new discoveries of diamond mines in the last decade and the diminishing production in several existing mines.

 

Be Prepared to Pay Heavy Price for Diamonds!

 

The report states that a moderate growth in supply would not be able to meet the ever increasing demand up to 2020 after which unless major new discoveries are made in the coming years, the diamond supply may decline gradually. Mr. Philippe Mellier, Chief Executive of De Beers Group, commenting the findings of the report says,

"The global diamond demand remains the one true source of value for the industry. With demand prediction to increase further from 2013's record level, the opportunity for further growth is clear. But this must not be seen as cause for satisfaction. The diamond industry would continue to lose grounds to other categories if the industry players do not invest significantly in production, marketing and advancement of technology."

 

The global demand for diamond jewellery reached to a record height of USD 79 billion in 2013 thanks to the rapidly growing preferences for diamonds in China and India. China is the world's fastest growing market for diamond jewellery where the number of diamond jewellery retail doors have increased by almost 30% between 2010 and 2013, states the report. India and China both have witnessed their domestic diamond jewellery demand grow by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2008 to 2013. Market of polished diamonds in the US grew by 7% in 2013. Keeping this trend in mind, with the continuous recovery of the US, the global diamond demand is expected to keep on growing over the long-term.

 

On the other hand, the World Diamond Mark Foundation (WDM) is about to launch generic promotion of the diamond very soon to create global awareness and to increase demand of diamond. This initiative, if proved successful, would surely boost the existing growth rate of the global diamond market. But, as mentioned in the De Beers’ report, with the global diamond production diminishing and the demand increasing, a time would come in near future when the demand would almost outstrip growth in carat production.

 

So, as an obvious solution, exploration expenditure “is expected to go high with the chase to discover the next major source of diamonds,” the report states. Most of diamond exploration today takes place “in underexplored African countries like Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and the vast swaths of arctic Siberia and Canada.”

 

Now, as far as De Beers’ findings of widening gap between diamonds supply and demand as well as exploration of new mines are concerned, there’s nothing new about it. I have been hearing this alarm since last 3-4 years during my talk with various global industry leaders. The industry is well aware of this fact.

 

To sum up, the De Beers report indicates that diamonds would remain forever even if the production goes down drastically in comparison with the demand, but the diamond lovers will have to be mentally prepared pay a heavy increase in the prices of the ever-shining stones in future because of its short supply!

 

 


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2014/10/22

The announcement came suddenly and without warning. Michael Barnes, CEO of the largest specialty jewellery retailer in the US, UK and Canada, announced his resignation. Signet Jewelers Ltd., the company Barnes led for fewer than four years, made the resignation public last week. It includes Barnes’ resignation from the company’s board of directors.

 

Barnes’ last day will be 31 October. It was the standard two-week resignation that any employee is expected to give an employer. Usually, leadership changes are either immediate through a forced resignation or announced months in advance to allow for a smooth transition.

 

Mike Barnes

 

It’s unknown whether this was planned in advance or was sudden but there was no indication of a change in leadership. The public announcement was well orchestrated. In the same statement the company named Signet veteran Mark Light, currently president and chief operating officer, as the person to succeed Barnes as CEO and on the board.

 

The reason given for Barnes’ resignation was so he could be closer to his family in Dallas. Signet is headquartered in Bermuda, with its US headquarters in Ohio, where Barnes primarily worked. He joined Signet in December 2010 to become its CEO a month later. His family never moved.

 

The timing of the announcement was right after Signet’s

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.46 billion acquisition of its biggest US rival, Zale Corp., providing Signet with approximately 3,500 retail outlets in the three countries. It has more than 1,400 in the US. In terms of size, no other jewellery business comes close. Barnes is not staying to complete the integration, although the company says a plan is in place.

 

“Mike has been the leader of the Signet executive management team during a period of outstanding transformation and growth,”

Todd Stitzer, Signet chairman, said in the announcement.

“Mike has been an instrumental part of Signet's success. He has played a critical role in Signet's recent acquisition of Zale Corp. and its continuing integration. He has also led the development of Signet's Vision 2020 Initiative for the future. We understand and respect his personal desire to relocate nearer to his family and pursue opportunities closer to his home in Dallas at this time.”

 

The company, in a SEC filing, said it will pay Barnes accrued but unpaid benefits or obligations, his base salary for 12 additional months and an annual bonus at the end of the fiscal year.

 

Light has been with Signet for more than 30 years, with primary responsibility for the Sterling division, by far Sterling’s largest division, until the Zale Corp. acquisition.

 

“It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to lead the outstanding Signet team through a period of significant transformation,”

Barnes said in the same announcement.

"Over these several years, I've worked closely with Mark, collaborating with him on all of Signet's strategic initiatives, including the Zale acquisition and ongoing integration. I have every confidence in Mark and wish him success in his new role.”

 

It all appears to be an amicable, well-planned split. But the timing is suspect.

 

 


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2014/10/21

Your first introduction to the cruise directors and destination hosts begins with the required lifeboat drill. At your assigned muster station, one of the host staff will be on stage directing the drill. The message is clear: Follow us, do as we say, go where you are told and we will always keep you safe. It is our job. We take our job seriously because we care about you. Trust us; we know what we are doing.

 

Cruise directors and hosts seem to be everywhere; introducing port lecturers, speaking of their own experiences while shopping at the destination, showing off their own jewels found in the next port, hosting the evening’s entertainment. They lead you in silly games to get you out of your comfort zone, breaking down your usual pattern of cautious behaviour. You’re here to have fun and let loose. Try something new. We will protect you. You don’t worry.

The host will become your best friend, confidante, and advisor. They know everything...even where to get the best deal on jewellery. While you wait to exit disembark at the port they keep you entertained and get you excited about all the magnificent jewels and the “lowest on the planet” prices. You are on holiday. It’s time to splurge. You are safe if you follow our suggestions.

 

You hit the port armed with a map of recommended stores, a little bit of knowledge and a boat-load of confidence. You’ll have a handful of coupons for free gemstones, free pendants, free water, gifts and other incentives at different stores. Now the store takes over.

 

The salesman has about 15 seconds to get your attention and start a dialogue. His first step is to up-sell the coupon to turn the free gift into a sale. A free gemstone can be upgraded to one set in a pendant for $29.95 or a bigger and nicer piece for $59.95. Whatever the free gift, it can turn into a sale. They have a five minute window to close the sale or move on to the next level...the good stuff.

 

These guys are experts, practising their craft on dozens of customers per day. They ask what ship you are on. They will remind you that their store is approved and guaranteed by your ship so they must be one of the good guys. They even know your cruise director/best friend personally! They can obviously be trusted. And somehow or another that free gem becomes 5ct bracelet, a 2ct pair of studs or even a 5ct centre stone in a new ring. Maybe you’ll take them all. Get something nice for yourself. You deserve it!

 

Back on the ship you can’t wait to show your new best friends what you bought and thank them for all their help and guidance. The next step is to register your purchase with the ship. This activates your guarantee. More importantly...it gives the ship a way to account for their expected commissions and verify that the store is reporting all the sales.

 

If you forgot to buy something...no worries. Once the ship is on the way home and no longer in competition with the advertisers, the overpriced jewellery store on the ship will have a huge sale.

 

Next: Summing up the industry

 

 


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2014/10/20

It’s difficult for me to believe but Amber, the prehistoric tree resin that is used for jewellery and art objects in the Baltic region, now costs more than gold. The reason is China is buying as much rough amber as possible, driving up the price to unheard of levels, and using it to make inexpensive jewellery to sell inside its borders.

 

This escalation in its price has had a detrimental impact on low-end market for amber. This means, in order to diversify its jewellery exports, the Polish jewellery industry has turned to the creativity and originality of its top jewellery designers to distinguish itself in the international marketplace. Poland also is looking to other materials, such as silver, as it is already the world’s second largest producer of silver jewellery. Many of these designers primarily work with silver, gold and other metals.

 

   
3D necklace made of oxidized and gold-plated silver by Alicia Jakub Wyganowscy. Photo by Anthony DeMarco  

Bracelet made with exotic wood, silver and gold by SzwedDesign
 

  Amber and silver dragonfly resting on a piece of amber by Malgorzata Wasowska Jewellery Company

 

At the recently concluded Gold Silver and Time tradeshow in Warsaw, which I attended, several designers were featured in a special exhibit that coincided with the 25 year anniversary of Poland’s Solidarity movement. Tradeshow officials also dedicated about 60 exhibit spaces to these designers at a discounted price. That’s a significant number considering the tradeshow hosted a little more than 300 exhibitors.

 

“The young people are creating jewellery that is interesting and different … very creative,” says Rafał Galimski, president of the MCT International Fair Centre, co-organizer of the trade fair. “We try to help them with the 60 stands.”

 

One of the selling points of Polish jewellery design (in addition to originality, design and craftsmanship) is value. The Polish currency, the Zolty, is worth about 25 percent of what the euro is worth. Poland’s largest jewellery markets for designer jewellery are Germany, China, Italy and the US.

 

Many of the designs combine a modern aesthetic with a unique artistic perspective from being isolated from the rest of the world during the Soviet occupation. In fact, the approach of many of the designers is artistic rather than market driven.

Colorful cuffs by Marcin Zaremski

 

“Poland is a post-Soviet country,” said Warsaw-based Marcin Zaremski, the veteran of seven jewellery designers who presented their works to reporters. “We didn’t have the formal education, so we had a lot of artists that created jewellery. I think we developed in that direction very well.”

Amber and silver "Dragon" ring by Jacek Ostrowski

 

A younger designer who is getting international attention is Jacek Ostrowski from the northern Polish city of Gdansk. He works with silver, colored acrylic, crystal Swarovski Elements, and of course, Baltic amber.

 

Pendant necklace made with layers of amber and driftwood by Marta Wlodarska of Amberwood

 

Meanwhile, Marta Wlodarska of Amberwood is a purist. As amber is fossilized tree resin, she chooses to create jewellery by pairing the material, sometimes in its natural state, with driftwood from the same beaches of the Baltic Sea where amber is found. However, she doesn’t shy away from using more exotic woods, such as African ebony, brick-red Padouk, and violet Amaranth.

 

There is plenty of creative talent in Poland. The industry needs to work harder to let the world know.

 

 


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2014/10/16

The 32nd September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, the world’s number one fine jewellery event, was concluded with record-breaking figures: 3,695 exhibitors from 49 countries and regions and 59,116 buyers from 157 countries and regions with a remarkable growth of 12-percent. 

The September Fair occupied up to 135,000 square metres of exhibition space spanning two world-class venues - the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The AWE housed exhibitors of raw materials including diamonds, loose gemstones, pearls and equipment and packaging, while the HKCEC housed exhibits of finished fine jewellery.

Today, the September Fair is the most influential business-to-business jewellery trade event where the most engaged jewellers in the industry access premium quality buyers. It is the ultimate platform for lobbying and agenda-setting for the industry, and for discovering the products and ideas that excite the jewellery market. Moreover, it brings global players together for a thoughtful dialogue,’ said Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs, UBM Asia.

September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2014 - Traffic at the Registration Counter September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2014 - Traffic at the Registration Counter

Ms Lau continued, ‘Demand for diamonds and gemstones were robust. The 17-percent growth in visitor numbers from Asia compared to last year’s edition tells us that the region continues to be the key driver in the world’s jewellery market. Response to the September Fair has been overwhelming; buyers from the Middle East have increased by about 25%, India has increased by about 24 percent and mainland China up by about 23 percent. We also noticed growth in the number of buyers from other markets, including Africa about 19%, North America about 12% and Europe about 6%.’ 

59, 116 unique visitors were recorded over the seven-day event, driving more than 131, 700 visits between the two venues. Around 30 percent (17, 079) of the crowd was Hong Kong based visitors while 42, 037 visitors were coming from the overseas. The top ten visiting countries and regions were Mainland China (18, 310), Hong Kong (17, 079), India (3, 867), the United States (2, 211), Taiwan Region (1, 776), Thailand (1,768), Japan (1, 466), the Philippines (1, 093), Korea (1, 075) and Indonesia (920). 

Business during September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair Examining the Gemstones during September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair
Traffic  in Japan Pavilion during September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair Special Events during September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair

View more pictures from the picture gallery

During the September Fair , eight seminars, one diamond auction, one pearl auction and some special events, six conferences were held at AWE and HKCEC. The next edition of the September Fair will be taken place from 16 to 22 September 2015. (16-20 September 2015: AsiaWorld-Expo • Hong Kong;18 - 22 September 2015: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre )

Read the full report here

Upcoming Fairs 

September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair 2015 

16 - 20 September 2015, AsiaWorld-Expo • Hong Kong
Exhibits profile: diamonds, gemstones, pearls, equipment & packaging

18 - 22 September 2015, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
Exhibits profile: fine finished jewellery

The September edition of Asia's Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair will again be held in conjunction with the September Fair, running for four days at AsiaWorld-Expo from 16 to 19 September 2015.

June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair 2015 

The June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair will be held from 25 – 28 June 2015 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. 

Mineral & Gem Asia 2015

The first edition of Mineral & Gem Asia, a comprehensive trade fair organised by UBM Asia, will be held from 27 to 30 June 2015 at AsiaWorld-Expo. The Fair is positioned as an international trading platform for suppliers and buyers from fields of geology, mineralogy, architecture, interior design and the arts. It is expected to attract gallery and museum curators, loose gem traders and private collectors, among others. Exhibitors will offer a wide variety of rough and polished gemstones, fossils, decorative and ancient stones, art pieces and rough, loose, semi- & fully finished mineral products. 

Other important jewellery fairs organised by UBM Asia

CHINA, MAINLAND


Hangzhou International Jewellery & Gem Fair
Dates: 21 – 24 November 2014
Venue: Zhejiang World Trade International Exhibition Center

China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shanghai
Dates: 6 – 9 November 2014              
Venue: Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center

China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen
Dates: April 2015     
Venue: Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center

SINGAPORE   


Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair   
Dates: 23 – 26 October 2014                           
Venue: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore    

TAIWAN REGION

Taiwan Jewellery & Gem Fair

Dates: 21 – 24 November 2014 

Venue: Taipei World Trade Center   

JAPAN    

Japan Jewellery Fair    
Dates: 26 – 28 August 2014                    
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center    

GERMANY

Jewellery & Gem Fair - Europe

Dates: 22 – 25 March 2015

Venue: Messe Freiburg, Germany

INDIA    

New Delhi Jewellery & Gem Fair    

Dates: 6 – 8 September 2014    
Venue:  Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India   

Gujarat Jewellery & Gem Fair

Dates: 21 – 23 November 2014

Venue: Gujarat University Convention and Exhibition Centre

Kolkata  Jewellery & Gem Fair    

Dates: 10 – 12 January 2015    
Venue: Milan Mela Exhibition Complex   

Gem & Jewellery India International Exhibition    

Dates: 14 – 16 February 2015

Venue:  Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, India

Hyderabad Jewellery, Pearl & Gem Fair    

Dates: 5 – 7 June 2015    
Venue: HITEX Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad, India

RUSSIA

JUNWEX Moscow, JUNWEX Watch    
Dates: 1 – 5 October 2014                
Venue: All-Russian Exhibition Centre, Moscow    
    
JUNWEX St. Petersburg    
Dates: 4 – 8 February 2015                
Venue: LENEXPO, St. Petersburg                  
 

 JUNWEX New Russian Style

Dates: 27 – 31 May 2015  

Venue: All-Russian Exhibition Centre, Moscow 

     
TURKEY    

Istanbul Jewelry Show – March    
Dates: 12 – 15 March 2015
Venue: Istanbul Fair Center (CNR EXPO), Turkey    

Istanbul Jewelry Show – October

Dates: 16 – 19 October 2014
Venue: Istanbul Fair Center (CNR EXPO), Turkey


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