JEWELLERY EDITORIAL

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2015/07/07

Weak economy and changing priorities are forcing Japanese people to sell their ‘old fashioned diamonds’ and surprisingly they find big number of buyers in India. Even when Japan does not have any diamond mine and was the second largest diamond-importer less than a decade ago, exports of the used diamonds are up by 77% this year, Japanese governmental data shows.
 

Dwindling yen is also making Japanese diamonds and jewellery more attractive to foreign customers visiting the country from overseas. The currency has weakened by 18% against the dollar in the past 12 months. Japan's diamond exports in the first four months of 2015 have gone up by 77% to 38,032 carats from the same period during the previous year, the highest since 2007, and the value more than doubled to a record 3.01 billion yen, the government data going back to 1988 show. The data indicates that India and Hong Kong were the top buyers in terms of volume, each accounting for about one-third of the total.

 

Flourishing demand of second-hand diamonds in India

Flourishing demand of second-hand diamonds in India

 

Apart from Japan, China and the United States also sell their second-hand diamonds and studded jewellery. While gold, silver and platinum are recycled for jewellery making again, the diamonds and gemstones of such articles are exported to India. Market sources say that value of the second hand diamonds is 35% less than the fresh ones of same colour, clarity, size and carat weight. Indian diamond traders import second hand diamonds at cheaper value and after redesign and processing, sell them again in the global jewellery market.
 

According to data provided by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, market for the used goods has grown by about 10% annually since 2009, reaching 1.5 trillion yen ($12.1 billion).
 

Japanese consumers bought diamonds from around the world during the country's swift economic expansion in 1980s. The large, clear stones that Japanese consumers snapped up are quite popular in foreign countries these days. Sources say that diamond rings and necklaces are sold to pawnbrokers in Japan and shipped out.
 

Data provided by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) indicates that India imported diamonds worth $7 billion in 2014-15 as compared to $6.5 billion in 2013-14. Most of the diamonds imported were treated as secondhand diamonds. We need not mention here that the imported polished diamonds attract 2% import duty in India. The diamond barons here don’t mind paying the import duty when they know that they would earn huge profit by redesigning the second hand diamonds.
 

A source from GJEPC says, "India is the ultimate destination for diamonds, be it rough or secondhand polished ones. The diamonds lose their value once they are out of the jewellery, thus they are brought back to India, redesigned and sold in the global market."
 

The President of Surat Diamond Association (SDA) Mr. Dinesh Navadia says,

"Sale of the secondhand diamonds has become the best way to do business for many industry traders facing trouble here. They procure top quality diamonds at cheaper rates, add value and sell them in the international market. It is believed that the profit margins that they make are huge."


So it seems, economic conditions of both the countries are mutually helping each other in the diamond trade. What is ‘unwanted in Japan is now wanted in India!’

 

 


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2015/07/03

Bloomberg and the CME Group recently teamed up to bring together some of the sharpest minds in precious metals at a conference in London, and one of the strongest jewellery trends that emerged from this Precious Metals Forum was that China will be the superconsumer of luxury jewels over the next five years.
 

Luxury jewellery sales are forecast by Bloomberg to increase 4.3% between 2015 and 2019, and make up 13% of total global jewellery sales. While consumers in China account for just 4.4% of luxury jewellery sales, ranking the country in sixth place behind global leader the US and its 27% share, its growth forecasts far out strip other countries.

 

Bruce Cleever of De Beers, which made this blue diamond ring, spoke at Bloomberg’s Precious Metals Forum in London.

Bruce Cleever of De Beers, which made this blue diamond ring, spoke at Bloomberg’s Precious Metals Forum in London.

 

A craftsman from Shanghai Kimberlite sets a large diamond that will be the central stone of its Moon Goddess necklace.

A craftsman from Shanghai Kimberlite sets a large diamond that will be the central stone of its Moon Goddess necklace. 

 

While the US market is expected to deliver annual growth of 3.3% in total precious jewellery sales over the five-year period, China has been pegged to achieve an 8.6% annual rise. And luxury jewellery sales in China are expected to bust the overall global market figures by achieving an uplift of 13% for men’s jewellery and 12% for women’s jewels.

 

A necklace crafted from Tahitian pearls, diamonds and green tourmaline by Hong Kong-based Tayma Fine Jewellery.

A necklace crafted from Tahitian pearls, diamonds and green tourmaline by Tayma Fine Jewellery.

 

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Deborah Aitken believes that the expected sharp rise in jewellery demand in China could be attributed to a parallel slowing of luxury watch sales in the region.

She said:

“China's superior growth rates can be partially explained by slowing demand from luxury watches [a 6% growth rate] migrating to jewellery. Watch demand has slowed due to Chinese government austerity measures on luxury goods purchases. High-end name-brand watches are more recognisable as signs of luxury than jewellery pieces.”

 

A pair of luxury rings from the Diamond Tree collection crafted by Hong Kong-born Wendy Yue.

A pair of luxury rings from the Diamond Tree collection
crafted by  Wendy Yue.

 

A pair of pearl, white gold and diamond earrings made by Hong Kong-based Continental Jewellery.

A pair of pearl, white gold and diamond earrings made by Continental Jewellery.

 

Tanzanite, diamond and white gold feather-inspired earrings by Fei Liu, who is originally from China’s Chong Qin.

Tanzanite, diamond and white gold feather-inspired earrings by Fei Liu, who is originally from China’s Chong Qin.

 

 


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2015/07/03

The Art Deco period in design and architecture, including jewellery, roughly ended in 1935. But there are certainly examples in jewellery design well into the 1950s and even beyond. In fact, even though it is considered a period movement, meaning that it’s now considered part of history, the decorative arts style continues to influence contemporary jewellery design. Because of this the Art Deco era is unlike any other antique or period design period in jewellery. Its concepts are not used in nostalgic ways. Instead, they remain vibrant and modern.
 

There were many examples of Art Deco jewellery at the recently held trade fairs, Baselworld in Switzerland and The Couture Show in Las Vegas, as there are every year.
 

Art Deco is known for its bright colours, bold geometric patterns and lavish ornamentations, making it one of the most iconic visual arts design styles in history. Taking its cue from the “Machine Age,” it appeared on everything from buildings and cars to appliances and interiors.
 

Fine jewellery during this time was staunchly symmetrical. Platinum was the metal of choice paired primarily with diamonds in pavé or big, bold, even unusual architectural shapes. However, a variety of bright-coloured gems that ranged from rubies, sapphires and emeralds to black onyx were also used. Art Deco emphasizes sharp geometric forms, such as spheres, polygons, rectangles, trapezoids, zigzags, chevrons and sunburst motifs. Elements are often arranged in symmetrical patterns.
 

Jewellery during this period also benefitted from advancements in gem cutting techniques, including the modern round brilliant cut style, which added brilliance to a diamond.
 

At the trade shows this year, a range of companies were producing pieces using Art Deco themes, even if they weren’t saying it. For example, jewellery designer Coomi used staggered square shapes for necklaces and bracelets. Chandelier earrings by gemstone jewellery designer, Goshwara, are made with faceted sapphires in a structured honeycomb pattern on 18k white gold.
 

Ruby necklace by Coomi Sapphire honeycomb chandelier earrings by Goshwara
Ruby necklace by Coomi Sapphire honeycomb chandelier earrings
by Goshwara

 

Meanwhile, a pair of long, angular emerald and diamond earrings by Sutra Jewels was uncompromisingly Art Deco. A large, spiky gold necklace by Amrapali was also a bold Art Deco statement.
 

Emerald and diamond earrings by Sutra A spiky necklace by Amrapali
Emerald and diamond earrings by Sutra A spiky necklace by Amrapali

 

Art Deco has always been a major motif in Ivanka Trump Jewelry, and this year was no different. The brand’s Liberté collection features geometric silhouettes from the art deco era incorporated in a cage-like design that resembles buildings in Paris, most notably, the Eiffel Tower.
 

Ivanka Trump Jewelry Liberté bracelet

Ivanka Trump Jewelry Liberté bracelet

 

Two companies use of the style was much more subtle and a bit unusual. Yoko London specializes in pearl jewellery, something not normally associated with Art Deco pieces. However, they had several pieces that took its inspiration from the style, including highly-structured white pearl, white gold and white diamond earrings. Finally, US-based fashion jeweller Marli, created white gold and diamond pieces in subtle geometric shapes.
 

White pearl, white diamonds and white gold earrings by Yoko London Marli Avenues white gold and diamond Mode ring
White pearl, white diamonds and
white gold earrings by Yoko London
Marli Avenues white gold and
diamond Mode ring

 

 


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2015/07/01

Let’s face it…Millennials have shown little interest in buying diamonds. A big part of the blame can be placed on how diamonds are marketed. There is no excitement, no romance; nothing to capture the attention of this important demographic. Online databases brag about ease of searching, mobile capability and low prices but they have been missing the mark. DeBeers, through its Forevermark brand, is bringing back the highly successful “A diamond is forever” campaign. But that has little chance of capturing the hearts of Millennials. It belongs to their grandparent’s generation and they won’t fall for that old, hackneyed slogan.

 

  

 

But there is hope. Finally, someone gets it and has an idea of what Millennials want. They want a story, they want personalisation, and most of all they want to share their experience with their friends. Jacques Voorhees, founder of Polygon and CEO of Verichannel had his eyes opened in a conversation with his 23 year old son Alex while showing him how diamonds are sold on various online databases:

“Dad, this is boring. Is this really how diamonds are being sold? A long ugly list like this? Really?”

“Yes, that is how diamonds are sold. What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s not visually exciting. It’s like having to do homework or something. Does anyone find that fun, looking through lists of alpha-numeric characters on hundreds of diamonds? Seriously?”

“Well, I’m not sure it needs to be fun. It’s how people find the best price.”

“I’m not sure that should be the goal, finding the best price. I think the goal should be to make it fun.”


His son recognized that on a database all the diamonds appear to be the same but that in reality they are as different as snowflakes. And the reasons for buying one are different as well. Each one has its own history and each purchase has its own story.
 

We need to let that story out. What’s being emphasized are things like VS1 and VS2. We need to emphasize the story, the emotions. That’s more important, and far more interesting, than the gemmological stuff.”
 

That conversation led to the creation of the Museum of Named Diamonds, a place where consumers can register a name for their own diamond and share a story and artwork of the meaning behind their diamond. The chairman of the Museum’s Board of Governors and past president of GIA, Bill Boyajian states:

“Consumers have for far too long focused on grading reports and commodity-like pricing when it comes to diamonds. It’s time to move the conversation back to diamonds as a unique symbol of love, to connect the diamond to the precious relationship it represents. This is the goal of the Museum of Named Diamonds.”


The program is open to consumers and retailers through Nymify, a commercial entity that helps create the name, the artwork, and the story.
 

It’s fun, it’s personal, it can be shared online. And most of all…it’s not just a boring list of technical specifications; it is romance. This may be the right concept to get Millennials interested in diamonds.

 

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2015/07/01

Bonhams recently heralded 2015 as “the year of coloured gemstones”, and said that out of the glittering kaleidoscope that constantly stream through the auction house, rubies are the most sought after. And with Gemfields poised to launch a major campaign starring the red gemstone, it could in fact be that 2015 is the year of the ruby.

This cuff from Amrapali uses a rough-cut ruby, which is a key trend in ruby jewellery design.

This cuff from Amrapali uses a rough-cut ruby, which is a key trend in ruby jewellery design.


Not only are people actively seeking rubies out, they are willing to pay top prices for them. Rubies achieve the highest prices per carat of any coloured gemstones, according to Bonhams.
 

Fine jewellery houses are now setting rubies as the central stone in cocktail rings, as seen here at Van Cleef & Arpels.

Fine jewellery houses are now setting rubies as the central stone in cocktail rings, as seen here at Van Cleef & Arpels.


Last year the auction house sold a pair of 1930s Cartier Art Deco-style ruby and diamond brooches for $717,600, smashing the top pre-sale estimate of $180,000, while a Van Cleef & Arpels ring set with a 13.34ct sugarloaf cabochon Burmese ruby sold for $521,400 to a Hong Kong buyer, which at $44,000 per carat was the most expensive ruby to sell in London last year.

 

Burmese rubies are difficult to get and extraordinarily expensive but Burmese ruby beads, as used in this Garrard necklace, are more accessibly priced.

Burmese rubies are difficult to get and extraordinarily expensive but Burmese ruby beads, as used in this Garrard necklace, are more accessibly priced.


Top jewellery houses are taking rubies seriously this year, with many new collections dedicated to the gem unveiled at BaselWorld. Chopard added a pair of ruby and diamond earrings to its Haute Joallerie collection, setting 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies against 9ct of brilliant round and pear-shaped white diamonds, while deGrisogono unveiled a ruby version of its Grappoli watch that has 70 briolette-cut rubies jostling round the bezel, a further 256 snow-set rubies on the dial and 598 brilliant-cut round rubies on the case.

Chopard has created a new pair of earrings within its high jewellery collection that have been set with 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies.

Chopard has created a new pair of earrings within its high jewellery collection that have been set with 46.5ct of pear-shaped rubies.

 

The Grappoli jewellery watch by deGrisogono is now available in ruby with a total of 924 rubies adorning the dial and bezel.

The Grappoli jewellery watch by deGrisogono is now available in ruby with a total of 924 rubies adorning the dial and bezel.


“Rubies are once again becoming sought after as many jewellery designers and retailers want colour in their stores again,” says London-based jewellery designer David Marshall, who has a store opposite the city’s famous Claridges Hotel.
 

Most popular at David Marshall have been oval and cushion-cut rubies, and Marshall says that demand is on the rise from his clients. “I have been making many different pieces, from simple rings through to very large intricate necklaces, bracelets and earrings,” he says.
 

That growing demand could be set for a fresh spike this year thanks to ethical gemstone miner Gemfields’ plans to raise the profile of rubies amongst consumers. If this new campaign is anything as successful as the one that Gemfields dedicated to emeralds a few years ago, we could all be seeing a bit more red this year.

Gemfields owns 75% of a ruby mine in Mozambique that is currently in the process of expanding its production.

Gemfields owns 75% of a ruby mine in Mozambique that is currently in the process of expanding its production.


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