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

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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Anglo American, the UK-based mining giant, has outlined plans to divest significant parts of its business, including business De Beers and its platinum arm, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).  This decision follows the rejection of a £34 billion takeover bid from BHP and aims to streamline the company’s operations to focus on core assets such as copper, iron ore, and crop nutrients. Comprehensive Breakdown of the Divestiture Plan The restructuring plan includes the divestiture of De Beers and Amplats, alongside Anglo American’s steelmaking coal assets. These sales are part of a broader strategy to concentrate on commodities with strong growth prospects…

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The Kimberley Process (KP) Intersessional meeting has commenced in Dubai, UAE, gathering global representatives from the diamond industry, civil society, and governments to address critical issues in the diamond trade. Focus on Consensus and Action The UAE, operating under the theme “Year of Delivery,” aims to drive progress in the diamond trade’s regulation by overcoming political impasses and implementing concrete actions. This includes establishing a permanent secretariat in Botswana, completing the KP review and reform cycle, and advancing the digitalisation of the KP. Calls to Address Ongoing Conflicts The KP is facing renewed calls to act over the ongoing wars…

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De Beers’ Lightbox lab-grown jewelry brand has announced a reduction in the retail prices of its lab-grown diamonds by up to 40%.  This adjustment sees the cost of colorless DEF stones now set at $900 per carat, reduced from $1,500, IJ color stones have decreased in price from $800 to $500 per carat, and GH color stones are now priced at $600 per carat. This new pricing reflects reductions in manufacturing and wholesale costs and aligns with Lightbox’s competitive pricing strategy. Enhanced Verification Process In addition to adjusting prices, Lightbox is implementing an independent verification process for its diamonds through…

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Diamond marketplace Nivoda has successfully secured $30 million USD in a Series B funding round, led by Avenir Growth Capital with participation from existing investors Headline and Abstract Ventures, and new investor Canaan Ventures.  This funding marks an important step in Nivoda’s strategic plan to expand their influence and operational capacity within the global jewelry market. Investor Insights Taylor Brandt, Principal at Headline, reflected on the company’s journey since their initial investment in Series A, acknowledging Nivoda’s significant growth and impact on the jewelry supply chain. Brandt noted, “We were lucky to partner with the Nivoda team since the series…

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Watches of Switzerland Group has completed the acquisition of the Italian jewelry brand Roberto Coin for £104 million (approximately $130 million).  This transaction bolsters Watches of Switzerland’s presence in the luxury branded jewelry market, particularly in North America. Strategic Expansion and Financial Details The acquisition, which includes exclusive distribution rights and ownership of Roberto Coin’s business in the U.S., Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean, is financed by a £92.2 million ($115 million) term loan facility. The acquisition not only expands Watches of Switzerland’s portfolio but also capitalizes on its existing network of 222 retail outlets in the U.K., U.S.,…

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Richemont has announced its acquisition of the Italian jeweller Vhernier S.p.A., adding the company to its substantial portfolio of luxury brands. The acquisition, encompassing a full 100% stake, aligns with Richemont’s strategy to enhance its luxury jewelry segment. Pending customary regulatory approvals, the transaction is not expected to have a material financial impact on Richemont’s consolidated net assets or operating results for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2025. Strategic Expansion in the Luxury Sector Richemont’s acquisition introduces Vhernier as the 29th brand within its portfolio, aligning it with other prestigious brands under the Jewelry Maisons business unit including Cartier,…

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The latest pricing information from Rappaport showed that April 2024 saw a downturn in the diamond market, influenced by seasonal trends and reduced demand from the US and China. Prices for diamonds with a clarity rating of Very Slightly Included (VS) and above declined, while those for Slightly Included (SI) categories saw minor increases, continuing a pattern seen since the year’s start. BHP’s Acquisition Moves and Impacts on De Beers Amidst these market fluctuations, BHP’s substantial $38.9 billion offer for Anglo American has sparked speculation regarding the future of De Beers. Anglo American’s potential sale of De Beers is underway,…

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The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has introduced a new grading report for round brilliant cut diamonds, the Light Performance Grading Report.  This report focuses on the optical performance of diamonds, providing detailed insights into their visual properties. Grading System and Metrics The IGI Light Performance grading system employs a methodology that assigns an overall Light Performance score to each diamond. This primary score is supplemented by additional metrics assessing Brightness, Fire, and Contrast. These parameters are essential for assessing how diamonds interact with light, which affects their visual appeal and potentially their market value. The system employs advanced ray-tracing software…

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Tiffany & Co. has announced the launch of the Tiffany Titan by Pharrell Williams collection, which draws inspiration from the mythological trident of Poseidon. According to Tiffany, the collection aims to embody a blend of energy, power, and individuality, using a motif that contrasts sharply pointed elements with softer, curved links. The design approach seeks to challenge conventional aesthetics and engage those who appreciate a distinctive, bold style. We are excited to unveil Pharrell’s inaugural collection for Tiffany. The Tiffany Titan by Pharrell Williams collection defies the conventions of fine jewelry design. It represents a balance of Pharrell’s creative vision…

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Russian diamond giant Alrosa is set to sell its 41% stake in the Catoca diamond mine in Angola, a move driven by operational challenges and intensified by global sanctions.  Sanctions and Operational Challenges Alrosa’s position as a key stakeholder in the Catoca mine has become problematic due to sanctions and the reluctance of Western companies to engage with entities connected to Russian businesses. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev detailed the issues and progress of the negotiations, “The Angolans believe that the presence of Alrosa as a key shareholder is preventing them from developing their business. In general, they have…

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Pandora A/S has recently updated its revenue forecasts, indicating a strong first quarter driven primarily by its lab-grown diamond sales. The company has revised its expected organic sales growth to 8-10% for this year, up from the earlier estimate of 6-9%. Financial Performance and Market Reaction The announcement of the updated guidance and strong quarterly results led to a notable surge in Pandora’s share price. The stock saw its largest intraday rise since November last year, climbing as much as 6.6% in Copenhagen. Over the past year, shares have escalated by over 80%, reflecting investor confidence in the brand’s strategic…

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The World Gold Council’s ‘Gold Demand Trends Q1 2024 report presents a complex landscape for gold demand. When including over-the-counter (OTC) transactions, total demand saw a year-on-year increase of 3% to 1,238 tonnes, bolstered by significant purchases by central banks and OTC investments. This was against a backdrop of a 5% drop in demand excluding OTC transactions, which fell to 1,102 tonnes due to continued outflows from exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Central Bank and OTC Influences Central banks significantly increased their gold holdings, with a net addition of 290 tonnes, although not all additions are currently shown in International Monetary Fund…

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Anglo American has turned down a significant $38.8 billion takeover proposal from mining rival BHP.  This decision marks a pivotal moment in the mining sector, reflecting both the strategic independence of Anglo American and broader industry implications. The offer from BHP was intended to merge two of the industry’s giants, with a particular focus on enhancing copper resources critical for future technologies. Nevertheless, Anglo American’s chairman, Stuart Chambers, responded to the offer by stating it was “opportunistic” and did not fully value the company’s potential for growth. This rejection suggests Anglo American’s confidence in its own growth prospects and strategic…

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Gemfields has announced its updated ‘G-Factor for Natural Resources’ figures as of 31 December 2023. The G-Factor is a metric initially introduced in July 2021, designed to enhance transparency in how natural resource wealth is distributed between companies and the governments of the countries where they operate and spans a variety of sectors, including mining, oil, gas, timber, and fishing. Details of the 2023 Update The recent update by Gemfields underscores the company’s ongoing effort to promote the G-Factor as a standard for transparency and accountability in natural resource management. The company continues to encourage governance bodies, industry peers, and…

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De Beers Group has officially announced the relocation of its Auctions business headquarters from Singapore to Gaborone, Botswana. This strategic decision aims to streamline operations and enhance the efficiency of its activities, marking another step in the company’s long-standing relationship with the Botswana diamond sector. Background and Business Rationale The move builds on the success of De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, which relocated from the United Kingdom to Botswana in 2013. The transition of the Auctions headquarters is expected to foster stronger partnerships, drive cost efficiencies, and contribute to the development of essential industry skills within Botswana. De Beers’ consolidation…

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Tim Schlick has taken the helm as Chief Executive Officer of Platinum Guild International (PGI), succeeding Huw Daniel who retired on April 4, 2024. Mr. Schlick’s tenure at PGI began in 2015, and he has since progressed through key positions including Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Background and Expertise Prior to his new role, Mr. Schlick was recognized for his strategic and marketing prowess, having consulted for over 30 Fortune 500 companies. His career also includes significant roles at DDB China Group, McCann Erickson, and Andersen Consulting. With a comprehensive background in both the European and Asian markets,…

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Buccellati has launched a retrospective exhibition titled “The Prince of Goldsmiths, Rediscovering the Classics” in Venice. Set in Oficine 800 on Giudecca Island from April 18 to June 18, 2024, the exhibition is crafted by Balich Wonder Studio with Alba Cappellieri overseeing the jewelry and silverware displays. It aims to highlight Buccellati’s historical development and craftsmanship since its inception in 1919. Andrea Buccellati, creative director and honorary president of the Maison, remarked: “The classics offer the pleasure of rediscovery, evoking timeless worlds of elegance, art and nature. “Reinterpreting them means reinterpreting millennial traditions and forms with an always up-to-date look.…

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Instappraise has launched a new trifold appraisal format which aims to streamline the creation of appraisal documents for small businesses by allowing professional-standard reports to be printed easily on various types of paper using standard office printers. Features of the Trifold Format The trifold design is specifically structured to provide a compact and efficient means of detailing appraisals, which can include high-resolution images and comprehensive descriptions of items. It supports double-sided printing and offers users the choice between different paper finishes, such as glossy or matte. The format includes essential elements such as model specifications, grading scales for diamonds and…

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The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has announced the availability of printed versions of the AGS Ideal Reports, designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of diamond quality by measuring key aspects of light performance: brightness, fire, and contrast. Features of the AGS Ideal Report The AGS Ideal Report is now available in conjunction with several GIA reports such as the Diamond Grading Report, Diamond Dossier, Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report, Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report Dossier, eReport, and Diamond Focus Report. This addition aims to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a diamond’s characteristics. Promotional Pricing For a limited period from April 15 to…

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March saw a significant decrease in Swiss watch exports, which fell by 16% to CHF 2 billion ($2.2 billion), according to data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.  This downturn is attributed primarily to a reduced demand in key Asian markets, particularly China and Hong Kong. Export Analysis Breakdown Decline in Asia China and Hong Kong experienced pronounced declines, with exports to China dropping 42% to CHF 150.2 million ($165.2 million), and Hong Kong by 44% to CHF 148.1 million ($162.9 million). These reductions have brought exports to levels lower than those observed at the peak of the…

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A group of 11 organisations within the gold and jewelry sector has issued an open letter requesting more precise definitions of “recycled” gold. This initiative, aimed at regulatory bodies such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), seeks to prevent potential greenwashing by aligning the term with actual sustainability efforts. Concerns Over Definitions The letter points out the current ambiguity surrounding the term “recycled” gold, which can be exploited in marketing and potentially confuse consumers. Organisations such as the Alliance for Responsible Mining,…

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Petra Diamonds latest tender report shows varied performance for rough diamond prices, with notable challenges for smaller goods.  The report outlines the financial and operational outcomes from their fifth trading session of the fiscal year, which took place in April, offering insights into current industry trends. Tender Performance and Financial Highlights The April tender generated $49 million from the sale of 362,132 carats. This included the sale of a 14.76-carat blue diamond from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which contributed $8.2 million. The session observed a modest decrease in like-for-like prices of 1% compared to the previous session in…

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In a recent unanimous decision at the U.N. General Assembly, member nations reaffirmed their commitment to the Kimberley Process. This resolution underscores the international community’s ongoing effort to ensure that diamond trade supports sustainable development rather than contributing to armed conflict. While the Kimberley Process has been successful in many respects, it faces unprecedented challenges due to geopolitical tensions and evolving conflict dynamics. The recent General Assembly highlighted the need for continuous support and adaptation of the process, ensuring it remains effective in a changing global landscape. Calls for Reform and Modernisation Significant discussions around reforming the Kimberley Process focus…

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Brilliant Earth Group, Inc. has announced a partnership with Dr. Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to coincide with Dr. Goodall’s 90th birthday. The collaboration aims to support JGI’s conservation work and advance ethical practices within the fine jewelry industry. Funding and Initiatives The collaboration was initiated with a $100,000 contribution from the Brilliant Earth Foundation to Dr. Goodall’s birthday fundraising campaign, aimed at funding the conservation efforts of JGI. This initiative is part of a broader push to enhance transparency and responsible sourcing in the jewelry sector, focusing particularly on diamonds and precious metals. An exclusive jewelry…

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In a recent development that has stirred conversations across the jewelry industry, Skydiamond, a British diamond manufacturer known for its lab-grown diamonds, has found itself in regulatory hot water. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that the company’s advertising campaigns have misled consumers by failing to clearly communicate that its diamonds are lab-grown. This decision comes following complaints from the Natural Diamond Council, leading to an in-depth investigation into Skydiamond’s marketing practices. ASA’s Findings and Implications The crux of the ASA’s decision lies in Skydiamond’s use of terms like “diamonds”, “diamonds made entirely from the sky”, and “real diamonds”…

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Ari Epstein has announced his resignation as CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) after a tenure of 13 years, marking a significant leadership shift at one of the central bodies in the global diamond trade.  His departure occurs against a backdrop of substantial regulatory changes and market disruptions, notably the imposition of sanctions on Russian diamonds by the Group of Seven (G7) and corresponding EU regulations. “This marks the end of an era of visionary leadership and significant contributions to not only our company but the industry at large,” AWDC president Isidore Mörsel expressed in a statement. “Under…

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Botswana Diamonds plc, recently announced plans to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its operations. The firm intends to apply AI techniques to its extensive exploration database in Botswana, aiming to enhance the search for new diamond deposits and possibly other minerals. Extensive Data Resources Botswana Diamonds holds the second largest diamond exploration database in the country, encompassing approximately 95,000 square kilometres of data. This database includes about 375,000 kilometres of airborne geophysical data, 606 ground geophysical surveys, around 228,000 soil sample results, and roughly 32,000 drill hole logs. In total, the database comprises 380 gigabytes of data and 260,000 files.…

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