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In seasons past the knuckleduster has been enjoying a revival. Now the trend for rings that span more than one finger is diversifying, with the styles more subtle than their chunky forebears.


Magnipheasant Plumage three-finger ring set in 18ct white gold with white diamonds by Stephen Webster.


Between the fingers

The most delicate interpretation of this trend is for rings that sit underneath the fingers and have posts that pop through the spaces between the digits. These posts may be carved metal or perhaps set with gemstones.


Yoko London has created this innovative ring which loops round a finger and runs the width of the hand to pop up at the other side with a diamond-set flower.


When on the hand, this ring from Yoko London makes it look as though the Tahitian pearl and diamond clusters are floating between fingers.


A fantastic example of how this design can work well can be found at Yoko London. The brand has tipped its posts with a Tahitain pearl in the middle with diamond-set rose gold posts at either side. When worn, the gems appear to be simply floating in the middle of the fingers.


These Pensami rings from Carberonia sit gemstones in-between the fingers.


This playful ring from Wendy Yue’s Diamond Tree collection winds a gem-set monkey through the fingers.


Over the fingers

For a chunkier style more in line with the original knuckledusters, there are the bar rings that loop under one finger but have bars that span out across other fingers.


The Bacoli Due ring by Sif Jakobs is set with CZ stones and spreads out across neighbouring fingers.


Danish jewellery brand Sif Jakobs has included these rings within its autumn/winter collection. The silver Bacoli rings scoop under one finger and then span out across the hand with chunky CZ-set bars.


Elena Votsi’s Cyclos ring sends a bar of gold spanning across the fingers.


Hand bracelets

Sitting slightly lower than a ring but higher than a bracelet is the hand bracelet or bar, an increasingly popular design with fine jewellery houses as well as fashion brands.


While this doesn't strictly fall into the ring category it is definitely an extension of this trend for spreading metal across the width of the hands.


Gaydamak has a wide range of hand bracelets designed to sit below the knuckles.

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The two gold schemes recently introduced by the Indian government have received jaded response with Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) earning an initial collection of INR 246 crores and only 400 grams of gold deposited under the Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS).


Will India’s gold schemes succeed?
Will India’s gold schemes succeed?


The government intends to collect INR 15,000 crores by the end of March 2016 but the debutant offer of SGB has collected just INR 246 crores which is equivalent to 917 kg. or about 0.1% of the country’s annual consumption of gold of 820 tons.


In spite of the poor response to the scheme, the government has termed it as excellent. “The SGB received 63,000 applications for 917 kg. gold amounting to INR 246 crore in first phase. This is an excellent response for an innovative product,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in a tweet.


However, the statement issued by the ministry appears to acknowledge the scheme might be faulty. “Founded on the feedback received from the stakeholders of the schemes, the government machinery would continuously monitor and review the progress of the schemes at the regular intervals and make essential changes, in order to increase the reach of the schemes,” it mentioned.


The industry leaders here point out that the price of gold, decided for the first auction at INR 2,684 per gram, was 2% higher than the prevailing market price which is enough to wipe out the benefit of the interest rate of 2.75%. They feel that the pricing should be dynamic with investors getting the ruling price on the day of allotment.


The GMS, which offers resident Indians to deposit their precious metal and earn an interest of up to 2.5%, has also attracted a lukewarm response. As on November 20, only 400 grams of gold were deposited under the scheme, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC)’s Northern Region Chairman Mr. Anil Sankhwal said.


While the GMS aims to dig out household gold stocks of an estimated 22,000 tons, the SGB scheme would help shift part of the estimated 300 tons of physical gold bars and coins purchased every year for investment into the demat gold bonds. While the interest on the bonds is taxable, the capital gains are not.


Looking at the poor response generated by the GMS, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) it is working on fine-tuning the scheme to make it more attractive. “We need some fine tuning (Gold Monetization Scheme),” Mr. Raghuram Rajan, the Governor of RBI says.


The industry leaders have urged the government to allow Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certified jewellers to act as collection agent for GMS and the finance ministry has readily accepted the suggestion. Currently, there are 3.5 lakh jewellers in the country, of which 13,000 are BIS-certified. BIS is expected to complete the registration of 55 numbers of collection and purity testing centres by the end of December 2015.


The government sources have also initiated talks with rich Indian temple trusts for bringing their vast stocks of gold into the financial system through the GMS. While it may be quite early to judge the schemes, the government machinery will have to do a lot of hard-work if it is to succeed in garnering INR 15,000 crore from the sale of SGBs and digging out substantial cache of the idle gold lying with Indians through GMS.


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We began a discussion through our post here (published on 10/11/2015) whether the natural diamonds are really rare or its scarcity is created by cartel of mining companies? Here is the URL for those who may have missed the article


Miners don’t dictate terms now
Miners don’t dictate terms now


We tried to contact the heads of some mining companies including De Beers but we did not get any feedback from them on the above question. But some leaders assertively responded to our queries. Let’s see what they feel about it.


Are natural diamonds really rare or its production exceeds today's demand?

President of Moscow Diamond Bourse and Chairman of the World Diamond Mark Mr. Alex Popov says, “Indeed the production today exceeds demand for certain categories of diamonds. On the other hand, some sizes and colors are very rare and their prices go up constantly. One has only to look on the recent auction results. The industry faces two choices - to increase demand with clever generic promotion, or to close manufacturing of unprofitable items. Most probably we should do both.”


Responding to this question, Vice President of the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE) Ms. Ali Pastorini says, “I too, read the recent reports of the John Hopkins University study that diamond formation in the very deep Earth may be a more common process than earlier was thought. But what the study never suggested was that there may more viable deposits of gem-quality diamonds than we earlier would have expected.”


“The John Hopkins study spoke of geological processes taking place 150 to 200 kilometers below the Earth's surface, whereas the deepest drilling exploration ever made was less than 14 kilometers below the surface, and diamond mines are typically not much more than half a kilometer deep.”


“In fact, all reliable research shows that the rate of growth in the supply of natural diamonds is lower that the growth in consumer demand for diamond jewelry. Bain & Co. earlier forecast that demand for polished diamonds will expand by 6.4 percent in terms of value annually over the next decade, with rough diamond supply only growing at a compound annual rate of 2.0 percent globally, and possibly plateauing after 2020.”


“And just this past September, Goldman Sachs released a report in which it stated that, from 2017, it expects to a see an acceleration of the trend of demand outstripping supply. This, Goldman Sachs said, will be underpinned by the completion of mining projects currently under development, after which there will no significant increment in supply in the absence of new large-scale deposit discoveries.”


“And, even if there is a significant diamond find, let us not forget that it takes about eight years from the time that a deposit is discovered to the point that it comes on line.”


Independent gems & jewellery consultant since more than a decade and Quality Assurance Inspector at Zale Corporation since last 9 years, Mr. Sunil Shukla says, “Rough Diamonds are not rare but it's production is controlled by mining companies so that polished diamonds can be sold at good rate and they can get good returns on that.”


We further asked them: Is there any cartel of diamond mining companies, which has been creating artificial scarcity of rough by controlling its supply?

Mr. Popov says, “No, there's no cartel whatsoever. Diamond companies are controlled by shareholders who demand return on investment. This in turn makes any cartel unmanageable as the producers have conflicting interests. In a way we see the example of this competition in the recent price reductions.”


Ms. Pastorini comments, “While historically De Beers openly controlled rough diamond supply for close to century, it deliberately relinquished that position starting in the year 2000. It remains one of the larger suppliers to this very day, but in 2015 is unlikely to even be the largest, since it will produce less than Alrosa, both in terms of carats and U.S. dollars. And there are other powerful suppliers out there, like Rio Tinto, Dominion, SODIAM, Petra and others.”


“But not only does the entry of a more players into the rough diamond market preclude the potential of a cartel controlling supply and prices, so does the way in which diamonds are sold. The days in which De Beers or others can oblige the clients to buy exactly what they are offered are long gone. As we have seen just over the past several months, diamond trading and manufacturing companies are prepared leave goods lying on the table. Once upon a time that simply would not have happened.”


“Rough diamonds increasingly are sold on tender, where the market dictates demand and prices. This, too, suggests that there are no cartels at work,” she adds.


Mr. Shukla observes, “There are mining companies (Rio Tinto, Alrosa , De Beers etc.) and they do mining of diamonds and later they are auctioned. But as the demand of polished is less due to many stimulants, diamond manufacturers have reduced polishing rough Diamonds to get the demand of existing stock. So I can say situation right now is reverse.”


The situation may have changed now, as they rightly say so that gone are those days when miners used to dictate their terms.


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Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.  Although this day is an American holiday there is one thing that should be universal…giving thanks for everything that is good in our lives. We are fortunate to be in an amazing industry with opportunities to grow and prosper at every step.  Here are just a few things to be thankful for.


1.  We get to play with rare stuff

We work with some of the most beautiful and rarest objects on Earth.  We routinely handle things that most people may never get to see and even fewer will be able to own.  Less than 2% of the women in the world will ever possess a 2 carat diamond, yet for many in our industry it is normal inventory.  That places us into an extremely rare group of humans. 


2.  We are surrounded by beauty

We have beauty in our lives on a daily basis.  It may be an exotic coloured gemstone, a well-cut diamond, or an example of the fine art of jewellery design.  We immerse ourselves with beautiful objects and help our customers bring them into their lives.


3. We can share other people’s joy

Our customers come to see us for their important and joyous occasions. We are with them through all of the stages of their lives; engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations…the list goes on.  We not only share their happiness, we add to it by providing symbols of love that will stay with them for generations.


4. We are constantly learning

The jewellery industry requires a vast amount of knowledge.  Jewellery is an important part of history and as sales people we get to share those stories.  We need to be well versed in a variety of arts and sciences.  Gemmologists study minerology, geology, optics, and the scientific process. Bench jewellers know about metallurgy and chemistry.  Designers deal with geometry, art- and now days- computer sciences.  Every aspect of the jewellery industry requires constant learning.


5. We explore the world

Our industry gives us the opportunity to travel to all corners of the planet. Some suppliers are in constant motion, visiting clients throughout their territory.  Most retail jewellers will travel to out of town or out of country trade shows.  Gem dealers often travel to very remote locations in the pursuit of new gems.  For many of us, our passports are our most prized possession.


6.  We are multi-cultural

Our industry knows no borders. We get to meet people from all over the world.  It helps us grown as individuals, teaching us understanding and compassion.  We celebrate all holidays and can share in each other’s customs, food, and lifestyles.  While the rest of the world seems to be dividing and falling apart, we come together bound by our shared passions for gems and jewellery.


So why not take a few moments before we get slammed with our seasonal rush and reflect on why we are thankful to be in this business.  

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A key jewellery trend for spring/summer 2016 will be the long-loved floral motif, with bejewelled blooms bringing colour and drama to fine and fashion designs.


While some jewellery trend inspirations lend a curve here or a suggestive twist there, the floral trend is a very literal one. This is a chance to have fun recreating the contents of a florist’s shop in metal and gemstones, with big blooms in bright colours.


A ring from the Embracing Flowers collection by Palmiero.

A ring from the Embracing Flowers collection by Palmiero.


Colour can be brought into the designs in a number of ways, perhaps through the addition of coloured gemstones, such as the pink sapphires used to edge Fei Liu’s Orchid Flower ring, or enamel, as used by Shaun Leane to bring the flowers on his Cherry Blossom designs to life. Finnish jewellery maker Kalevala Jewelry has used stained glass to trap the image of flowers inside silver jewels for its My Millefiori collection.

Fei Liu uses pink sapphires to bring colour to his Orchid Flower ring.
Fei Liu uses pink sapphires to bring colour to his Orchid Flower ring.
The clean white petals of the Cherry Blossom are brought to life in enamel by Shaun Leane. Kavela Jewelry has used a technique called Millefiori to trap the image of flowers within glass.
The clean white petals of the Cherry Blossom are brought to life in enamel by Shaun Leane. Kavela Jewelry has used a technique called Millefiori to trap the image of flowers within glass.


Texture and volume will further bring bejewelled blooms to life. Flora Bhattachary has achieved both with her Jyamiti ring that has a floral design created by hand-carving a hunk of amethyst, while VanLeles’ floral earrings stack individual 3D flower shapes together to create a lively loop of pink flowers.

Flora Bhattachary carved a flower out of amethyst for her Jyamiti ring. These precious earrings by VanLeles have a wonderful 3D effect.
Flora Bhattachary carved a flower out of amethyst for her Jyamiti ring. These precious earrings by VanLeles have a wonderful 3D effect.


Global jewellery trend analysis service Adorn Insight noted the importance of floral jewels in the coming seasons at a presentation given at London trade show IJL: “Big, bold blooms burst in a riot of colour, and texture with acid green orchids and supersized irises. Create an impression of volume, with gently rippling edges and undulating surfaces, perfect for leaf and petal-based looks. Explore colour in the form of pavé gemstones in graduated hues, enamel embellishment, mixed golds and even colourful titanium flourishes.”

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