Author: Steven Joseph

Steven aims to be first to bring the news on industry updates, while his finance background informs his insights on how broader economic trends affect the jewelry trade

Pomellato, owned by Kering, has acquired Valenza Setting Lab (VSL) to enhance its manufacturing capabilities in diamond and precious stone settings.  Both companies are Italian-based, with Pomellato headquartered in Milan and VSL in Valenza. Background of Valenza Setting Lab Valenza Setting Lab was established by Marcello Monti and Gilberto Dentelli. The lab employs 24 skilled setters, who previously operated under MG Incassatura, a long-time collaborator of Pomellato. This acquisition continues a strong partnership and steps up Pomellato’s in-house capabilities. Kering’s Continued Investment in Pomellato Kering’s 2013 majority stake acquisition in Pomellato started strategic investments to expand Pomellato’s capabilities. This move…

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Platinum Guild International (PGI USA) has published its latest trend report on platinum engagement rings, detailing six trending styles expected to dominate the holiday proposal season and extend into 2025. Trending Engagement Ring Styles The report identifies six key trends for platinum engagement rings: Designer Contributions The report is illustrated with imagery from a diverse group of designers, including established names in bridal jewelry such as Tacori, Kirk Kara, Stuller, and Rahaminov. It also features contemporary designers like Jade Ruzzo, Sorellina, Harwell Godfrey, and Jade Trau, highlighting a wide array of design talent. Industry Embrace of Platinum “We are excited…

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In an unprecedented shift within the diamond industry, Russia has surpassed Botswana as the leader in rough-diamond production value for the first time in 2023. Despite facing stringent sanctions and a challenging market, Russia’s rough-diamond production achieved a significant milestone, according to the latest Kimberley Process (KP) statistics released this week. Key Production Figures Russia produced 37.3 million carats of rough diamonds in 2023, valued at $3.61 billion. This represents an average price of $97 per carat, marking a notable increase from the previous year’s output of 41.9 million carats, valued at $3.55 billion with an average price of $85…

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Fabergé has again collaborated with Gemfields to create the unique Fabergé x Gemfields Malaika Egg.  This $1.2 million egg, unveiled in July 2024, features Mozambique’s finest rubies, complemented by diamonds, sapphires, and amethysts. $100,000 from the sale will be donated to the Gemfields Foundation to support community projects in Mozambique. A Celebration of Mozambican Rubies The Malaika Egg, named after the Swahili word for “angel,” features 308 rubies sourced from the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique, which is majority-owned by Gemfields. These rubies are set alongside 4,312 round brilliant-cut white diamonds, 252 round brilliant-cut brown diamonds, 421 round pink sapphires,…

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The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) has released its 2024 Annual Report, entitled “The Artisans of Change: Crafting Our Future Together.” The report highlights the council’s significant growth and outlines new standards and initiatives aimed at promoting responsible practices across the global jewelry and watchmaking industry. Key Growth and Leadership Changes Since its inception in 2005, the RJC has expanded from 14 founding members to 1,828 members worldwide by the end of 2023, spanning 71 countries. This growth underscores the increasing commitment within the industry to uphold ethical standards and sustainable practices. Melanie Grant, who began her tenure as executive director…

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The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) has commenced the first public consultation on its proposed Laboratory Grown Materials Standard (LGMS). The consultation period, open from 26 June to 25 August 2024, invites industry stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft standard, marking a significant step towards establishing best practices for lab-grown materials in the jewelry sector. Development and Consultation Process The decision to develop the LGMS was taken by the RJC in 2021. The process includes at least two rounds of public consultations and involves input from the RJC’s multi-stakeholder Standards Committee. This approach ensures the standard reflects a broad range…

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In the first quarter of 2024, Botswana’s economy contracted by 5.3%, largely due to the significant decline in global diamond demand. This marks a sharp reversal from the 5.3% growth recorded in the same period last year. Decline in Diamond Sector Diamonds are vital to Botswana’s economy, contributing approximately 80% of the country’s export revenue. The latest figures from Statistics Botswana reveal a steep 27.3% drop in diamond production during the first quarter. This has had a profound impact on the real value added by diamond traders, which plummeted by 46.8%, a stark contrast to the 3.7% growth observed in…

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A recent study by Retail Systems Research (RSR), sponsored by Jumpmind, Inc., reveals that nearly 75% of consumers believe their shopping habits have changed significantly, but retail technology is not keeping pace.  The report, titled “Why the Retail Store Won’t Survive as a ‘Tech-Free Zone’,” surveyed over 100 U.S.-based retailers and more than 1,100 U.S. shoppers, highlighting the growing divide between consumer expectations and current retail capabilities. Consumer Expectations The survey found that 69% of consumers enjoy browsing in stores, yet almost three-quarters acknowledge a significant shift in their shopping methods over the past three years. Notably, 87% of shoppers…

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A new report commissioned by De Beers Group and conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) sheds light on both the immediate and long-term prospects for the natural diamond industry. The report provides key insights for jewellers and industry stakeholders amidst a rapidly evolving global landscape. Short-Term Challenges In 2023, the natural diamond industry encountered several obstacles. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions led to a “bridal catch-up” effect, reducing the immediate demand for diamonds. Additionally, economic headwinds and a growing preference for lab-grown diamonds (LGDs), particularly in the United States, further impacted demand. Changes in stock levels throughout the midstream…

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De Beers has announced a decline in rough diamond sales, citing economic difficulties in key markets and seasonal industry trends.  The company’s fifth sales cycle of the year generated $315 million, a significant decrease from the previous year’s figures and the preceding months of this year. Sales Figures and Market Conditions The June sales cycle saw a 31% decrease compared to the same period in 2023. This figure is also 18% lower than the $383 million reported in May and 29% lower than April’s total. Despite efforts to stabilize sales by reducing prices for smaller rough diamonds in the previous…

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The Gübelin Gem Lab with its three lab locations in Hong Kong, Switzerland and New York has launched its new Gem Passport service, aimed at providing essential information for emeralds, rubies, and blue sapphires up to 3 carats. This service is designed to offer a reliable, cost-effective solution for gemstone verification. Service Details The Gem Passport includes critical identification features such as species and variety, country of origin, and a simplified treatment disclosure. Utilizing Gemtelligence, an AI-powered tool, the service streamlines the testing process, particularly the labor-intensive microscopic assessment, thus reducing costs. Each Gem Passport is priced at CHF 200…

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The European Union (EU) has announced significant changes to its sanctions on Russian diamonds, extending the transition period and introducing key exemptions that will affect importers and the wider jewelry industry. Extension of the Sunrise Period The EU has extended the “sunrise period” for its traceability requirements on Russian diamonds by six months. This means the mandatory traceability program for rough and polished natural diamonds will now commence on March 1, 2025, instead of the previously set date of September 1, 2024. This extension follows calls by major industry players, including De Beers, for more time to comply with the…

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Gemfields has launched a new book, titled No Stone Unturned: The Hunt for African Gems, authored by Richa Goyal Sikri.  This publication explores the journey of gemstone discoveries across Africa over the past six decades, capturing the essence of the coloured gemstone industry. A Collection of Real-Life Adventures The book, No Stone Unturned, comprises 24 true stories that depict the dynamic and often perilous world of the gemstone trade. Sikri’s narrative takes readers through the process of gemstone discovery, from the mines to the markets, providing insights into significant historical moments linked to Africa’s gem deposits. Voices from the Industry…

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Signet Jewelers has identified fashion jewelry as the primary avenue for growth in the synthetic-diamond segment, according to CEO Gina Drosos. During an investor call following the release of Signet’s fiscal first-quarter earnings, Drosos highlighted that revenue from fashion jewelry featuring synthetic diamonds surged by 14% year on year. This growth occurred as the company expanded its offerings in this category. In contrast, total sales of fashion jewelry saw a 6% decline, totalling $552 million. Cost Efficiency and Consumer Appeal The production of synthetic diamonds has become more efficient over the past five years, significantly reducing costs. This efficiency has…

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JCK 2024 has concluded successfully, drawing approximately 30,000 industry professionals to The Venetian and The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas. Running from May 31 to June 3, with pre-show sessions starting on May 29, JCK featured over 1,900 exhibitors and 17,300 attendees, with various pavilions and educational tracks enhancing the experience. Educational Programs The JCK Talks education program, which commenced a day before the main show, included new tracks such as Your Development, Business Management, and Sales. The “Social Stage” returned, focusing on content creation, data utilisation, and practical implementation. Notable keynotes featured Kyle Scheele, Henry Winkler, and Sugar Ray…

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Diamonds Do Good (DDG) recently honoured key figures in the jewelry industry at their 2024 awards ceremony, held during the JCK show in Las Vegas from May 31 to June 3.  Recipients were acknowledged for their significant contributions to the industry, particularly in demonstrating the interplay between business success and social responsibility. Award Recipients and Their Contributions Shiona Turini, Beyoncé’s stylist, received the Diamond Influence Award for her role in integrating diamonds into contemporary fashion. Turini’s influence in fashion has brought diamonds to the forefront of modern style, highlighting their relevance across different audiences. Other honourees included the Gemological Institute…

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Sotheby’s has announced key leadership changes within its Watch Division, with Sam Hines and Geoff Hess appointed to new roles to guide the division’s future growth. Sam Hines Returns as Chairman Sam Hines is rejoining Sotheby’s as the chairman of the Watch Division. Hines, who began his career at Sotheby’s in 1997, has previously held positions at Phillips and Christie’s, and most recently served as managing director at Loupe This, an online watch auctioneer. His track record includes notable watch sales over the past 15 years, such as the sale of a stainless steel Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 for $11…

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De Beers Group has announced its support for the G7 sanctions on Russian diamonds, emphasizing the need for practical, industry-wide, and enforceable measures.  The company has provided a detailed response to the requests from G7 governments, highlighting key areas for consideration. Timing and Adaptation Period The proposed import restrictions on Russian diamonds, specifically those of 0.5 carats and above, are set to be implemented on 1 September 2024. However, De Beers advocates for a 12-month extension of the ‘sunrise period’ to September 2025. This extension is intended to give the diamond industry adequate time to adapt to the new certification…

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Pandora has announced the launch of its lab-grown diamonds collection in Denmark on June 6th, marking the first EU market to offer Pandora’s lab-grown diamonds after successful debuts in the Americas, Australia, and the UK.  This launch aligns with the opening of Pandora’s first flagship store in Copenhagen. Commitment to Sustainability The company’s lab-grown diamonds are produced using 100% renewable energy, with a claimed carbon footprint approximately five percent of that of mined diamonds, with 100% recycled silver and gold settings. “Our lab-grown diamonds represent the future of luxury. They combine beauty and responsibility, and we are excited to bring…

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Signet Jewelers Ltd. faced a challenging first fiscal quarter, reflecting ongoing market conditions in the US. Despite this, the company remains resilient, with plans for future growth and strategic adjustments.  The company, which owns major brands including Zales, Jared, and Kay Jewelers, released detailed financial results and future expectations in its recent press announcements. First Quarter Financial Results For the 13 weeks ending May 4, Signet reported a 9% year-on-year decrease in revenue, totalling $1.51 billion. Same-store sales, measuring performance at locations open for at least a year, also fell by 9%. Net profit for the quarter dropped significantly by…

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The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has unveiled its latest campaign, “Real. Rare. Responsible,” featuring Emmy-nominated actress Lily James as the global ambassador, aiming to highlight sustainable practices within the natural diamond industry.  The campaign is set to launch in late summer and will include a series of films, videos, and images showcasing the journey of natural diamonds. “Formed deep within the Earth billions of years ago, it was important that we capture natural diamonds in their natural element for our new campaign,” said David Kellie, NDC’s CEO. “Canada plays an integral role within the natural diamond industry. While people tend…

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De Beers has announced it will stop producing synthetic diamonds for its Lightbox consumer brand as part of a strategic reorientation.  Instead, the company will focus on manufacturing and selling natural polished diamonds. “We believe the value of lab-grown diamonds lies in technology rather than in jewelry,” stated Al Cook, De Beers CEO, during the company’s JCK Las Vegas breakfast event on Friday. Element Six Reorganisation The company’s Element Six division will consolidate its three chemical vapour deposition (CVD) plants into a single $94 million facility in Portland, Oregon. This facility will become a technology hub dedicated to producing diamonds…

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Indian Lab Grown specialist Ethereal Green Diamond LLP  has announced the display of two significant lab-grown diamonds at the upcoming JCK Show in Las Vegas. The “Celebration of India,” a 75.33 carat square-emerald cut diamond, and the “Infinity Ring,” a unique 30.69 carat ring-shaped diamond, are both certified by the International Gemological Institute (IGI). Largest Lab-Grown Diamond to Date The “Celebration of India” diamond, weighing 75.33 carats, has been identified as the world’s largest lab-grown diamond to date. The IGI graded the diamond as type IIa, noting its excellent polish and symmetry. The diamond’s creation process involved approximately 270 days…

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The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has announced a strategic partnership with Aurostar, a globally recognised diamond manufacturer.  This collaboration is part of NDC’s Industry Partnership Program (IPP), which aims to promote responsible sourcing and community empowerment within the diamond industry. About Aurostar Aurostar, founded in 1966 and led by third-generation diamantaires, operates in multiple global locations including Dubai, Botswana, the USA, and Hong Kong. The company aims to integrate high social, ethical, and environmental standards into its operations to ensure the responsible sourcing of diamonds, including implementing initiatives in Botswana to support local talent and entrepreneurs, ensuring that the benefits…

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The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has issued a statement supporting the G7’s decision to ban Russian diamonds from entering the G7 and EU markets.  In line with this, AWDC is advocating for a robust and traceable verification system to ensure ethical standards in the diamond industry. However, the organisation emphasises the need for additional verification points outside the G7 to ensure the smooth trade of non-sanctioned goods. Advocacy for African Producers AWDC is actively participating in discussions with G7 and EU representatives to implement these measures. They propose the establishment of one or more rough diamond verification points outside…

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A new trade body aimed at promoting lab-grown diamonds has been launched: The Grown Diamond Trade Organization (GDTO). With a purview of supporting and transforming the lab-grown diamond sector, GTFO aims to address key industry concerns and offer new resources for stakeholders. “It’s time for lab-grown diamonds to have its own ecosystem,” stated Marty Hurwitz, GDTO’s executive director. “The consumer’s voice is loud and clear; we must organize to meet the growing demand and proudly differentiate from the traditional mined diamond institutions.” Addressing Certification Costs The GDTO is responding to industry-wide concerns about the high costs associated with traditional diamond…

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Signet Jewelers and De Beers Group have announced a strategic collaboration aimed at introducing natural diamonds to a new generation of U.S. and Canadian couples. The partnership targets the emerging “Zillennials” demographic, capitalising on a projected 25% increase in engagements over the next three years. The initiative includes a comprehensive campaign set to launch in the third quarter, featuring online content, in-store experiences, and targeted marketing. Research-Driven Strategy Signet’s research indicates a significant rise in engagements among U.S. Zillennials in the coming years, spurred by the aftermath of the pandemic. This growth is expected to include a diverse array of…

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According to a report from Reuters, The United States is currently re-evaluating the stringent aspects of a Group of Seven (G7) ban on Russian diamonds, following significant resistance from African countries, Indian gem polishers, and jewelers in New York. This reconsideration comes after the December sanctions package aimed at reducing a revenue stream for Russia amidst its ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Background and Industry Impact Since March, diamond importers to G7 countries have been required to self-certify that their diamonds do not originate from Russia, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds. Direct imports of Russian gems were banned earlier…

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Richemont has announced the appointment of Nicolas Bos as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 June 2024.  Mr Bos, who is currently the CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, will assume a re-established role, reporting to Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont.  In his new position, Mr Bos will oversee all Maisons, functions, and regions within the group, including key areas such as Jewelry Maisons, Finance, and Human Resources. Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, commented on the appointment: “I am truly delighted that Nicolas has accepted to assume the re-established role of Chief Executive Officer of Richemont. His vision and…

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The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting the natural diamond market in China.  This agreement follows meetings held during the WFDB Presidents’ Meeting in Shanghai in March, where WFDB leaders and Chinese government officials discussed initiatives to invigorate the Chinese diamond market Objectives of the MoU The MoU aims to enhance collaboration through joint events, marketing campaigns, and bilateral visits. The WFDB will open a representative office within the China Diamond Center, while the SDE will work on advancing the local diamond industry. WFDB…

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