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US demand for gold jewellery increased by 4 percent year-over-year to 34.4 tons, according to the World Gold Council. It was the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.


The WGC, in its Gold Demand Trends report for the third quarter of 2014, said the economic recovery and a downward trend in the price of gold created a “revival” of gold jewellery demand in the US that had a “ripple effect” around the world.


“The US sucked in greater volumes of gold jewellery imports from markets as diverse as India, China, Italy, Mexico and Oman,"

According to the report released last week.

“Third quarter growth in the US market was very much an extension of the trend that has prevailed since early last year. Mounting conviction in the economic recovery has boosted sentiment and whetted consumers’ appetite for discretionary purchases. Gold jewellery has been a clear beneficiary: improving sales of higher carat and non-wedding related items helped demand to the highest Q3 total since 2009.”


The report added,

“Lower gold prices have aided the recovery of US demand as retailers are more easily able to meet key price points without crimping margins. Or, similarly, to increase karatage while maintaining price levels. This has enticed some mass- market retailers back into the gold jewellery sector.”


Gold Demand Trends Q3 2014 Infographic | Source: WGC (World Gold Council)


On a global basis, gold jewellery demand fell 4 percent year-over-year to 534.2 tons for the third quarter. However, the decline comes against an unusually robust third quarter of 2013, which experienced the strongest growth for jewellery demand since 2008.


“Longer term analysis shows a market in good health. Q3 demand was marginally stronger than the five-year quarterly average of 527.6 tons, while year-to-date volumes continue to extend the broad uptrend from the low seen in 2009,”

the WGC said in its report.


India had the strongest third quarter by far as it experienced a 60 percent year-over-year increase in gold jewellery demand to nearly 183 tons—the second highest third quarter on record, the WGC said.


“The third quarter of 2013 was decidedly weak as the introduction of complicated new measures to restrict gold imports and the subsequent sharp rise in local prices knocked demand,”

the WGC said in its report.

“But this quarter, other more positive forces were also at play.”


Among those forces is the confidence in the new Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a drop in the price of gold and robust buying during the Diwali festival season.


Meanwhile, China experienced a 39 percent year-over-year decline in gold jewellery demand to 147.1 tons. Hong Kong (where consumers from the mainland China account for most of the demand) fell 31 percent to 9 tons. The WGC said much of this decline is in comparison to the rapid expansion throughout 2013 and that gold jewellery sales are normalizing.


“18-karat (K-gold) jewellery was relatively more robust than the 24-karat (chuk kam) segment,”

the WGC said.

“The government’s anti-corruption drive may have contributed to this trend.”



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India and China, the two pillars of global gold market have been engaged in fierce competition as far as consumption of the yellow metal is concerned. The ‘Numero Uno’ status enjoyed by India as the highest gold consuming country was snatched away by China in 2011. But India has regained its number one position in the third quarter of 2014 with gold jewellery demand sharply dropping in China by 39% and surging in India by 60%.


Mr. Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council (WGC) says,

"Our forecast for the remaining year is the same for both India and China. We expect demand in both to come in at between 850-950 tons. Both the countries remain very positive pillars of the global gold demand."


Last year's number one consumer China saw a 39% drop in jewellery consumption as well as a 30% downfall in bar and coin investment. Its combined demand came down by 37%. The gold crazy country India once again re-established itself as the world's biggest gold consumer, buying 225.1 tons of gold jewellery, coins and bars during the third quarter as compared to compared to 182.7 tons in China.


Glitter of gold worries Government of India


Sounding optimistic, Mr. Somasundaram PR, head of the WGC's India Operations says,

"The demand would continue to have encouraging growth over last year as this is a good demand season and a lot of marriages are happening. Jewellery demand in India surged 60% in the Q3 but investment demand eased by 10%.”


“We (WGC) maintain our forecast that Indian demand would reach to 850-950 tons for the year, driven by jewellery purchases. But Investment demand is expected to fall to 25% of total demand this year from 37% the year before as a sharp price drop has upset the confidence of Indians in bullion as a store of value,” he adds.


The WGC’s Q3 result analysis says that the jewellery demand is also boosted by a weakening of gold prices in rupee terms and by widespread confidence in a new government, along with the onset of the encouraging festival season.


India’s September imports of gold surged by 450% to $3.75 billion.

“Demand for the Q4 as a whole is likely to be healthy but the September surge in imports is unlikely to be replicated," the WGC observed.


The figures may prove to be morale-booster for India’s jewellery industry but certainly not for the government which has been struggling with a high trade deficit. The India government raised gold import duty last year to a record 10% and made it mandatory by introducing the 80:20 Rule to export one fifth of all bullion imports.


As a result of the curbs on gold imports, India’s Current Account Deficit (CAD) was well under control, but alarmed with the substantial surge in imports of the yellow metal during last couple of months, the government may be compelled to introduce such measures to regain control over the heavy gold imports.


India’s October 2014 gold imports have jumped to 148 tons which indicate six-fold rise from less than 25 tons in the same month of 2013. Imports in the September quarter were up by 39%.


Top officials of India’s Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank (RBI) had met recently to consider tightening import controls on gold. But the meeting has remained inconclusive and they have agreed to meet again in a few days to take a decision, official sources say.



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There is nothing else in the world that can melt a girl’s heart like a beautiful, delicately crafted piece of jewellery. Not to mention though, that sourcing for Valentine’s Day is a perennial challenge for many jewellery buyers. 

How well do you know your lover?

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Motif that Sells

Elements such as a heart, bow-knot, cupid, and flowers can always be found in a Valentine's Day collection in eye-catching displays of jewellery stores. 

Most women have a desire for a special gift, but not necessarily something really expensive, from their beloved on that day. The number one choice of all time which never gets old is also a straightforward option: Heart-shaped jewellery. You just know what it means right away. 

Heart Pendant by Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint-Stock Company - PNJ, Vietnam

Heart Pendant by Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint-Stock Company - PNJ, Vietnam

White Gold Diamond Encrusted Heart Bracelet by Meira T Designs, USA

White Gold Diamond Encrusted Heart Bracelet by Meira T Designs, USA

Words of love (925 Silver Beads) by Keyline International Group Limited, Hong Kong Tender Love Earrings by Regal Jewelry Manufacture Co Ltd, Thailand

Left: Words of love (925 Silver Beads) by Keyline International Group Limited, Hong Kong;

Right: Tender Love Earrings by Regal Jewelry Manufacture Co Ltd, Thailand 

Hearts Necklace with Diamonds by Ricky Jewellery Company Limited, Hong Kong

Hearts Necklace with Diamonds by Ricky Jewellery Company Limited, Hong Kong



More Heart-Shaped Items

Left: I Love You Necklace; Right: I Love You Chained Ring. Both from Djula Jewelry, France



Lock Your Heart

A locket is a perfect, personalised gift for this very special day. I know you may start thinking about its traditional use – shrinking and fitting in your lover's picture but you can actually be more open and creative towards this multi-purpose accessory. 

Now there are various designs supporting your creativity including an interchangeable locket for setting your favourite natural gemstones or birthstones, and a locket with solid perfume which is also a big hit among working women. If you have a talent for making solid perfume, forget about the tin box and select the fashionable locket.

Hand Engraved Lockets by MPM Di Gobbato Srl, Italy

Hand Engraved Lockets by MPM Di Gobbato Srl, Italy

Lady's Locket in Stainless Steel with changeable coins, Donny J, Hong Kong Floating charms locket (25mm ) with open and close function, Donny J, Hong Kong

Left: Lady's Locket in Stainless Steel with changeable coins; Floating charms locket (25mm ) with open and close function. Both from Donny J Hong Kong Ltd, Hong Kong

Heart Secret Ring by BALEANI ALTA GIOIELLERIA, Italy

Heart Secret Ring by BALEANI ALTA GIOIELLERIA, Italy


Heart in Heart Details

Using heart-shape findings to highlight your designs for Valentine’s Day will add just the right touch of romance to your collection. A graceful and simple designed heart-shaped clip or chain would definitely make the whole piece stand out.

17x19.0mm Heart Disc SPAT by J. K. Findings, USAJewellery Clip by Yum Luk Kee Jewellery Ltd, Hong Kong

Left: 17x19.0mm Heart Disc SPAT by J. K. Findings, USA; 

Right: Jewellery Clip by Yum Luk Kee Jewellery Ltd, Hong Kong

Wire Heart Chain by Big Silver Manufacturing Co Ltd, Thailand

Wire Heart Chain by Big Silver Manufacturing Co Ltd, Thailand


Gift Box for Giving

Last but not least, don't forget the gift boxes and packaging for Valentine's Day. Appropriate packaging will create that sweet introductory moment when your beloved receives her special gift, so suitability is key to a right match. The choice is quite different from other seasons so it is important to ensure something thoughtful yet elegant. 

Odear Fashion Ltd Man Yue Hong Industrial Ltd

Left: Jewellery box with mini LCD monitor by Odear Fashion Ltd, China;

Right: Leatherette Box by Man Yue Hong Industrial Ltd- Hong Kong

Left: Paper Jewellery Box for Valentine's Day by Land Fortune Industrial Limited - Hong Kong;

Right: Gift Box and Pouch in Paper/ Aluminium by Elegante Arts Packaging Company Limited- Hong Kong

View More Display and Packaging Items 


Photo Source: Shutterstock

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Luminous and luxurious, cultured White South Sea pearls are known world over as the “Queen of Cultured Pearls”. Their large sizes, thick nacre and subtly gleaming luster are prized above all other white pearl types. 


 * White South Sea pearls are cultured in the warm tropical waters of Northern Australia and the Philippine islands, although the best examples of these pearls currently originate from Australia. 

*The pearls are grown in the Pinctada maxima Silver-lipped pearl oyster which can grow up to 12-inches in diameter at maturity. 

* The South Sea pearl oyster can be used as a pearl host up to three times during its lifetime. If it survives the third harvest, it is returned to the ocean to live the rest of its life in the wild, providing genetic diversity for other wild stock. If not, then the shells are harvested for their mother-of-pearl, which is sold to create buttons, inlays and other beautiful items. 


* White South Sea pearls are bead-nucleated. A round bead, made of the whitest, highest quality mother-of-pearl available is implanted into the oyster’s gonad during the grafting process. This round bead gives the oyster a template to lay nacre over, which increases the chances of harvesting a perfectly round pearl. 

* White South Sea pearls are bead-nucleated. A round bead, made of the whitest, highest quality mother-of-pearl available is implanted into the oyster’s gonad during the grafting process. This round bead gives the oyster a template to lay nacre over, which increases the chances of harvesting a perfectly round pearl. 

*South Sea pearls take about two years to acquire their thick nacre layers. Nacre depth is usually between 2.0-4.0 mm thick. 

White South Sea pearls display a beautiful array of unique forms; as with all other pearl types, perfectly round pearls are the most valued. Also popular are the symmetrical drop, the button shape and free-form baroque pearls which can exhibit many beautiful variations in texture, luster and coloration.


*Perfectly round White South Sea pearls account for a small percentage of each harvest and are more valued than any other shape. 
*It often takes months or even years to create a perfectly matched round White South Sea pearl necklace, which accounts for part of their high value.  
*Near-round pearls account for approximately 20% of each yearly harvest; this incredibly high percentage is due to the skill and diligence of the Australian grafters. 


* Semi-baroque shapes such as tear-drops, smooth ovals and button-shapes account for about 50% of each yearly harvest. Symmetrical shapes always have a higher value. 

*The smooth tear-drop pearl will always have a romantic appeal for many pearl lovers. The graceful shape makes for desirable pendant and earring sets that will never fail to sell well.  

*Button-shapes are an excellent option to add into necklaces to maintain a lower retail cost. They appear round to the eye from a distance of 6-inches or more, but are priced as baroques. Luster and color concentration is often superb due to the irregular crystalline formation of the nacre.


*Circles can best be described as natural perpendicular rings or ridges encircling the body of the pearl.  A pearl can be described as ‘circled’ if over 30% of its surface displays these rings. 

*There is no official explanation for as to why a pearl will display circles. One theory is that they form because the pearl is spinning on its axis while inside the mollusk during its formation. Another holds that small imperfections in the pearl sac or the use of lower-quality nuclei are responsible. 

*Circled White South Sea pearls are not highly sought after, but they are beautiful pearls in their own right. Often their irregular crystalline formation enhances luster and orient, allowing customers to indulge in intensely lustrous pearls without the luxury price tag associated with rounds or even symmetrical semi-baroque shapes. 


White South Sea pearls have an overwhelmingly a bright white or silvery white primary body colour; the secondary colours called ‘overtones’ are pale, transparent tinges of colour that can be observed by placing the pearl on a plain white background and observing the round spot of colour floating over the pearl’s centre. 

Overtones are very similar to that of the saltwater akoya pearl: rose, silver and cream. However, the White South Sea pearl displays some hybrid combinations and colour saturations that are unique to the South Sea pearl type.  



*Rose is the most rare and valued overtone for White South Sea pearls. It can range from a very faint hint of pink to slightly more saturated levels, however it is always subtle and could never be mistaken for a ‘pink’ pearl. 

*White South Sea pearls are traditionally paired with white gold clasps and findings however, the use of yellow gold can often enhance the subtle rose hue, intensifying the pearl warmth and sparkle. 


* Approximately 90% of all White South Sea pearls will display a bright white or silvery-white colour.  

* Silver is created with undertones of blue or green, which give the pearls a ‘cool’ tone. White gold clasps and mountings are recommended to amplify this effect.  

*The silver overtone also helps pearls appear larger and brighter than they really are; when worn by women with darker tan or olive complexions, the contrasting effect can be quite stunning. 




*One of the most sought after overtones, White South Sea pearls displaying a silver-rose hybrid have premium pricing. 

*An optimal combination of subtle blue and pink undertones can be seen over the bright white body colour of the pearl. This combination can create dazzling flashes of magenta and lavender colours under the proper lighting conditions. 



* The silver-blue color is unique to the White South Sea pearl type. 

* The body colour of a silver-blue pearl will appear as a pale dove gray colour, with heavy blue, silver gray overtones. 

* The silver-blue pearls are not considered highly valuable per-se; however this unusual and beautiful colour attracts many buyers looking to acquire pearls that are truly unique.  



* Cream is the least prevalent and least valuable of all White South Sea pearl overtones. However, the interest in cream overtones has risen over the years due to the lower price points. 


*Champagne overtones are a sub-set of cream. Rare and lovely, this colour combination is very flattering for women with reddish or pink undertones in their complexions, or that cannot tolerate many of the cooler hues White South Sea pearls usually display. 

*The best champagne overtones will appear to have violet flashes of colour in the proper lighting. 

Combinations of ephemeral blue and delicate pink hues are what create this effect over a pale cream body. 

The largest of all pearl types, South Sea pearls range from 8.0 mm to 20.0 mm and rarely, larger. They average between 11.0 mm to 14.0 mm

 *White South Sea pearls are measured in 1.0 mm increments for pendants, earrings and rings. 

*The majority of White South Sea pearl necklaces will be graduated within 2.0 to 3.0 mm. The larger range of pearls to choose from helps sorters to match whole necklaces more quickly, and helps keep the pearl necklaces overall costs down. 

*Non-graduated pearl necklaces (necklaces that are graduated within 1.0 mm), are much more expensive, as the sorters have a smaller pool to work with when matching pearls for colour, overtone, luster and size. Some non-graduated White South Sea pearl necklaces can often take years to create. 
*The most popular and versatile sizes for earrings, pendants and rings are 9.0-10.0 mm, 10.0-11.0 mm and 11.0-12.0 mm. 
*The largest pearls ranging from 16.0 mm and up are cultivated in older Pinctada maxima oysters, usually on their third nucleation and harvest. This is because oysters that have cultivated progressively larger pearls have already existing pearl sacs that can accommodate the larger bead nucleus. However, the older oysters may be less able to create the compact crystalline structure required of intense luster and orient. 

*As with all pearl types, pricing begins to increase exponentially with each pearl size range. 


White South Sea pearls are famous for their luxurious, ‘satiny’ luster. Luster is less intense than the Japanese akoya, but with a greater sense of depth and complexity due to their much thicker crystalline layers.

* White South Sea pearls with ‘Excellent’ luster are nearly equivalent to that of the saltwater akoya pearl, but won’t be as intense. While you may be able to see yourself reflected in the surface of the pearl, you won’t be able to recognize some of the smaller details. Reflected light sources will be sharp and clearly defined with very little blurring around the edges.   
*Smaller-sized pearls often display ‘Excellent’ luster at a higher percentage than larger pearls. Pearls in the 8.0-9.0 mm, 9.0-10.0 mm and 10.0-11.0 mm size ranges have tighter, denser nacre layers composed of condensed crystalline aragonite platelets; this creates a hard, compact surface for light to strike and penetrate. 

*White South Sea pearls displaying ‘Very Good’ luster will reflect light at a very high rate, making the pearls appear very bright. You will observe softly blurred edges of reflected light sources, and you will not be able to discern specific features reflected in the pearls’ surfaces. 

 *White South Sea pearls graded with ‘Good’ or ‘Fair’ luster also reflect a good amount of light, however reflected light sources visible on the surface of the pearls will be distinctly blurry around the edges, and you will not be able to distinguish recognizable objects in reflections. 
*Many semi-baroque, baroque and circled South Sea pearls will exhibit higher degrees of luster and orient than traditionally round pearls. This is due to the uneven formation of nacre layers, which causes light reflections and refractions to occur at more intense levels. 

White South Sea pearls exhibit many easily recognizable blemishes and features that you can use to verify that the pearls are genuine cultured pearls. Pearls are ‘organic gems’, which means that they belong to a very small group of gemstones that have their origin in living organisms. 

Because pearls are cultivated in a living mollusk, they will display inclusions, fingerprints and other markings left over from their development. No two pearls are ever exactly the same; while they may appear to be so with the naked eye, microscopic examination will reveal completely unique characteristics and tiny inclusions that will mark the pearl as an individual. Pearl inclusions that are too small for the naked eye to see are why pearls are never graded as ‘Flawless’ per FTC Guidelines. 

 *Pin-pricks are the most customary blemish seen on White South Sea pearls. Very small and white, most pin prick inclusions will not mar the overall beauty or value of the pearl.

*Pin-pricks that are clustered together in larger groups will affect value as they’re much more noticeable and can often result in the pearl’s surface having a ‘chewed’ or ‘bitten’ appearance. 

*Plating or mottling is the result of very thick nacre built up in a specific area of the pearl’s surface. The result is a somewhat bumpy surface texture which many consumers find mars the pearl’s appearance. However, mottling is not counted in surface grading as the phenomenon is not technically an inclusion. 
*Knobbed ends or tips on the ends of the pearls can take on many different features. They may appear like small bubbles, or be elongated and pointed. 
*When dealing with baroque pearls, keep in mind that these unique features and shapes are what give the pearls their charm. Extolled as playful, artistic aspects of a pearl or a necklace as a one-of-a-kind creation, they can come to be the defining attribute that sells one strand over another. 

White South Seas pearls are graded using the A-D grading scale at their farms, with ‘A’ representing the very best pearls and ‘D’ being the lowest grade. The A-D scale can easily be translated to correspond with the A- AAA grading scale to explain South Sea pearl grades to customers. 

Currently, there is no universally recognized grading system for any cultured pearl type, which can make it difficult for buyers to equate a pearl’s beauty with its value. For an easy to understand visual guide on White South Sea pearl grading, visit the South Sea Pearl Grading Guide


White South Sea pearls are considered the ‘Queen’ of cultured pearls; their softly glowing luster and stunningly cool hues will always draw the eye. The high-end price ranges of the traditional round pearl necklaces shouldn’t stop you from adding other options to your shelves! Pendants, earrings and matched sets add that special touch of luxury to your offerings, while maintaining prices that are within reach of the average shopper. Baroque and circled pearl necklaces will also provide a never-ending selection of unique and beautiful choices that are sure to move quickly!

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The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) and the online giant eBay announced an agreement allowing IDE members to sell direct to the consumer on eBay's popular sales site. Members wishing to expand their online sales via eBay need to provide proper documentation to prove their membership status and will receive training in eBay marketing and rules. This move will open new markets for IDE members and support eBay’s efforts to bring in larger, more stable vendors.


IDE President Schnitzer commented:

"We are experiencing an international revolution in all that is concerned with market, not just in the diamond sector. Today, it is possible to market diamonds directly from our offices via the Internet. The eBay company has 150 million consumers.”


The IDE is entering a market with a problematic reputation. Poor grading, wrong identifications, overstated descriptions, doctored photos and other significant miss-representations are endemic in the jewellery, gem, and diamond categories on eBay. Their rules for sellers are stringent but they can be very confusing and are often inconsistently enforced. The playing field as it exists today is far from level.


The IDE dealers are in a position to be brutally price competitive with current online diamond sales platforms like Blue Nile and can leverage the stringent IDE vetting and reputation as highly trusted vendors. They will be on their own playing field with uniform grading standards and consistent, predictable pricing.

One of the few first cooperation between diamond industry and the eCommerce pioneer


For the first time the public will have direct access to diamonds at the manufacturer level; bypassing the traditional supply chain and taking dealers, wholesalers, brokers, and retailers out of the picture. Consumers can buy diamonds from trusted sources at rock bottom prices. Current eBay diamond sellers, often home based family businesses, will not only face downward price pressure but will be considered suspect without the power of being an IDE member This could be the final blow for many of the smaller eBay diamond vendors.


On a broader view this is a step toward the commoditization of commercial grade diamonds at the consumer level. With fewer steps between the manufacturer and the final consumer, there is less chance of grading inconsistency or price manipulation. Similar to gold, diamonds will be sold at daily market prices.


Brick and mortar jewellery retailers may see already dwindling margins shrink to less than nothing. Selling centre stones in a bridal set could be a loss-leader service to close a sale of the settings. Profitable diamonds will need to come from the secondary markets of estates and liquidations.


This partnership of eBay and the IDE by itself is certainly not the end of the world and will ultimately be good for the consumer. But this is only the first of many. There are bound to be similar deals between online vendors and other diamond bourses. This is just the first ripple of the inevitable flood of direct-to-the-consumer supply streams.



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