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Thursday, May 30, 2013

More Activity During Second Day of Las Vegas Jewelry Week

29-Carat Vivid Yellow Beryl Ring by Miiori

There was a lot more activity during the second day of the JCK Luxury jewelry tradeshow Wednesday as more buyers and exhibitors are making their way to Las Vegas for the start of several other jewelry shows.

Two bracelets by Amrapali. The top one is covered in light-colored opals and the the lower piece features slices of light-blue sapphires.

Exhibitors are very positive about the overall economy and the jewelry industry outlook saying that consumers are coming back and are buying, although some say that consumers still looking for value.

The Serendipity Collection by Yael Designs features sliced rose-cut emeralds.

“I think people are much more positive than they were two years ago and they have the dollars to back it up,” said Brian Watkins, president of Ritani, a jewelry manufacturer that is developing a consumer e-Commerce website with independent retailers.

The "Pop of Color" engagement jewelry line by Danhov. At the far right end is the Tubetto men's wedding band.

Among the highlights of the second day were:

* Bridal jewelry designer Danhov introduced color its engagement rings with its “Pop Of Color” collection based on birthstones.

* Yael Designs unveiled an emerald jewelry collection centered high-quality sliced emeralds with a rose cut finish.

* Jewelry designer Miiori presented several new pieces using high-quality gems and diamonds in a number of creative ways.

* Indian jewelry designer Amrapali introduced several big colorful lines using a variety of gemstones.

Thursday (today), the Couture Show, which features some of the world’s best known luxury jewelry brands, opens at the Wynn Resort.


Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Las Vegas Jewelry Week Begins with JCK Luxury

The view inside JCK Luxury

The first of the major jewelry shows in Las Vegas opened Tuesday with JCK Luxury. This is the first of five shows that I will be attending during a seven-day period. The event begins following two weeks worth of good news for the U.S. jewelry industry as independent jewelers and several large chains have reported strong sales growth for the first quarter of 2013 along with several reports showing marked improvement in the U.S. economy. It’s the largest streak of positive news I’ve seen in the industry since at least 2008.

Rio Tinto has been marketing its diamonds throughout the jewelry industry supply chain and finally to consumers. This display being shown at JCK Luxury and JCK Las Vegas represents that effort.

This is the time of year where U.S. jewelry retailers buy for the all-important Christmas season. The invitation-only event for luxury retailers kicks off the week. The floors appeared calm and quiet but it is deceiving since all of the invited luxury retailers have appointments. It’s too early to tell whether the positive reports has resulted in stronger business. However, there were interesting things to see. Among them:

The 14k white gold and diamond Anneliese Engagement set starts at $2,750 (not including center stone).

* Bridal jewelry company Jeff Cooper Designs presented a number of rings with the geometric shapes and ornamentation that defines the Art Deco style. It was timed to take advantage of the push toward designs of that period through the movie, The Great Gatsby. The elaborate grill-like design of the Anneliese engagement set (pictured) is finished with touches of round diamonds.


* Chandelier diamond earrings from Supreme Jewelry (pictured above).


* Coast Diamond introduced a number of jewelry pieces using a variety of statement colored gemstones, including this group of rings pictured above.


* Jewelry designer Sethi Couture unveiled several new collections of colorful designs using a variety of materials. Pictured below is one of the company's newest pieces, the "Grace" earrings.




* Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy colored diamonds, introduced a collection of 18k gold jewelry utilizing its inventory of the precious gems (pictured above).


* Big, bold Indonesian Jewelry by Robert Manse, handcrafted in Bali (pictured above).


* Berlin Gothic-Style jewelry by Jessica Kagan Cushman created with oxidized silver and 18k gold (pictured above).

A selection of colored jewelry created with diamonds from Rio Tinto's Argyle mine in Australia.

* Mining giant Rio Tinto is trying to create excitement throughout the diamond supply chain with manufacturers and retailers for its diamonds by commissioning designers to create pieces from its Argyle and Diavik mines that are manufactured by Rio Tinto's select diamantaires. Pictured above and below highlight some of the pieces being shown in the exhibit.

The “Canoe” diamond necklace created by jewelry designer Reena Ahluwalia made with diamonds from the Diavik mine.

Diamonds in their natural state from the Diavik mine in Northwest Canada are paired with 18k gold that take on the same shapes as the gold. The pieces are by Casa Gi of Belgium.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tiffany Reports Strong Sales Growth in All Regions


Tiffany &Co. said Tuesday that worldwide net sales increased 9% year-over-year to $895 million for the first quarter of 2013. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, which excludes foreign currency fluctuations, worldwide net sales increased 13% and comparable store sales rose 8%. 

Sales growth was seen in all regions for the international luxury retailer and would have been even stronger if it was not for the unusually weak Japanese yen. 

Net earnings increased 3% to $84 million, or $0.65 per diluted share. Expenses of $9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, were recorded in the quarter for recent staff and occupancy reductions; excluding those costs, net earnings increased 10% to $89 million, or $0.70 per diluted share. 

In addition, the company maintained its fiscal 2013 forecast of net earnings in a range of $3.43-$3.53 per diluted share. The New York-based company expects that worldwide net sales will increase by a mid-single-digit percentage in U.S dollars and a high-single-digit percentage increase on a constant-exchange-rate basis. 

"First quarter sales exceeded our expectations, enabling us to improve our sales leverage on fixed expenses and achieve earnings growth, said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and CEO. “In addition, we celebrated Tiffany's 175th anniversary with our very successful Blue Book event and promotional activities surrounding the debut of the film The Great Gatsby, for which we designed the jewelry." 

Kowalski added, "We are maintaining our earnings forecast for the full year, mindful of continuing soft sales results in the Americas and the negative translation effect of a weaker yen…. Tiffany's global store base is growing this year with a planned net addition of 14 stores, and we will be launching our redesigned website later this year." 

Net sales by region are as follows: 

* In the Americas, total sales rose 6% to $408 million. Comparable store sales rose 3% with relatively stronger growth in the New York flagship store. Sales in New York was aided from purchases by customers who attended the Blue Book event. 

* In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales increased 15% to $223 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 14%, due to sales growth in Greater China and most other countries. Comparable store sales rose 9%. 

* Sales in Japan increased 2% to $145 million despite a negative translation effect from a weakening yen. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 20% and comparable store sales rose 21% due to particularly strong growth in Tiffany's engagement and higher-end jewelry categories.

* In Europe, total sales increased 6% to $93 million due to sales growth across continental Europe. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales rose 8% and 6% respectively.

*Other sales tripled to $27 million from $9 million in the prior year, primarily reflecting the conversion in July 2012 of five Tiffany stores in the United Arab Emirates from independently-operated to company-operated. 

In the first quarter, Tiffany opened one store, in Xi'an, China and closed one in Taichung, Taiwan. The Company currently operates approximately 275 stores (115 in the Americas, 66 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 34 in Europe and five in the U.A.E.), compared with 251 stores (105 in the Americas, 59 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 32 in Europe) a year ago. 

Tiffany said it plans to add a net of 14 company-operated stores (opening six in the Americas, seven in Asia-Pacific and three in Europe, and closing one each in Japan and Taiwan), as well as refurbishing a number of existing locations around the world. 

Gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of net sales) was 56.2% versus last year's 57.3%. The company said this was expected as it reflects a shift in sales mix toward higher-priced, lower gross margin products. 

Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) increased 8% in the quarter due to  $9 million of expenses tied to cost reduction initiatives related to staffing reductions, as well as subleasing of office space at a loss, the company said. Excluding those costs, SG&A expenses would have increased 6% due to new store-related costs and higher marketing spending for the Blue Book event. 

Net inventories were $2.3 billion at April 30, 2013, or 4% higher than a year ago, the company said. A 12% increase in finished goods inventories to support new store openings and expanded product assortments was partly offset by a 5% decline in combined raw material and work-in-process inventories. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, net inventories were 7% higher than a year ago.

 Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair to Unveil New Attractions and Exhibitors

A new pavilion is among the highlights of the 26th edition of the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair to be held June 20 to 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. More than 1,780 international exhibitors will be displaying products and services in more than 64,000 square meters of exhibition space.

A new Turkish Pavilion will debut its creations, bringing the number of international exhibitors to 15, including Brazil, mainland China, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

Twelve theme pavilions also add to the lineup at the show, including the Diamond Pavilion in Halls 3F, 3G & 5F, which this year features 412 exhibitors. The pavilion houses companies exhibiting under the banner of the Antwerp World Diamond Council, the Israel Diamond Institute, India, the United States, as well as diamond exhibitors from the rest of the world. Other pavilions, feature jewelry, gemstones and pearls, and other raw jewelry materials.

Other highlights include the following:

* Fine Design Pavilion and Fine Gem Pavilion, which will showcase high-quality loose diamonds, pearls, and gemstones as well as jewelry masterpieces, invaluable antiques and vintage jewelry from a select group of 82 jewelry exhibitors from around the world.

* Hong Kong Premier Pavilion is the signature podium for 35 of the city’s top jewelry companies.

* JewelleryNetAsia.com will host a morning briefing on “Success of Jewellery eCommerce” on 21 June in meeting room S226 of HKCEC.

* Fukui Shell Nucleus Factory will host a seminar titled “Imparting a Unique Identity to Each Pearl” on 21 June morning in meeting room S224 of HKCEC.

The Gemmological Association of Hong Kong will host a seminar called “Project Burma” on 22 June afternoon in meeting rooms S226 – S227 of HKCEC.

* The 7th Gerdau Auction Pearl Auction June 17 -19.*

* The 58th Robert Wan Tahiti Perles Auction, June 20 -21


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Stephen S. Palmer Patek Philippe Grand Complication May Fetch $1.5 Million


Christie’s New York said it will offer the earliest and most significant example of a Patek Philippe grand complication as the highlight of its New York Important Watches auction on June 11. It is estimated to fetch $1 to $1.5 million.

The Stephen S. Palmer Patek Philippe Grand Complication No. 97912 is a minute repeating perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph clockwatch with grande and petite sonnerie and moon phases, manufactured in 1898. It has never before seen in public, and it is the first time ever on the auction block.



Until the appearance of the Palmer watch, it was broadly accepted that Patek Philippe did not make its first Grand Complication until 1910 and that the second ever made was reserved before World War I for James W. Packard in 1916, Christie’s explained.

Purchased on Oct. 3, 1900, for 6,500 Swiss francs by Stephen S. Palmer, the discovery of this watch serves as a “spectacular addition to scholarship surrounding Patek Philippe and Grand Complications in general,” Christie’s said in a statement. “Adding to its rarity, it is the only example known to have been cased in pink gold whereas all following pieces were cased in yellow gold according to the style of the early 20th century.”


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U.S. and E-Commerce Businesses Fuel 10.4% Jump in Signet’s Q1 Sales


Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and the U.K., said first quarter sales increased 10.4% year-over-year to $993.6 million. Same store sales increased 6.4% compared to a rise of 1.2% for the same period in the previous year. E-Commerce sales rose 40.7% to $31.1 million.

Operating income increased 10.4% to $142.8 million and diluted earnings per share rose 17% to $1.13 for the company that owns the Kay, Jared and Ultra jewelry retail chains in the U.S. and the H.Samuel and Ernest Jones jewelry retail chains in the U.K.

The U.S. division, which accounts for approximately 86 percent of total company sales, again was the driver in the strong performance. Total U.S. sales increased 14.3% to $858.6 million. Same store sales increased 8.1% compared to an increase of 1.2% for the period. The increases were driven by broad based strength across all merchandise categories in their Kay and Jared jewelry chains, as well as its recent acquisition of the Ultra jewelry store chain. E-Commerce sales increased 48% to $25.6 million.

“We were very pleased with our results throughout the quarter, including Valentine’s Day and the run up to Mother’s Day,” said Mike Barnes, Signet CEO.

The UK division, which accounts for approximately 14 percent of total company sales, reported weak results. Total sales fell 9.1% to $135. Same store sales fell 2.3% compared to an increase of 1.2% in the first quarter Fiscal 2013. The company said the sales decline was due to a same store sales decrease of $3.1 million primarily in H.Samuel, the impact of closed stores of $4.8 million, and currency fluctuation of $5.6 million. In Ernest Jones, the number of transactions increased and there was strength in the bridal business and watches (excluding Rolex, which is being offered in fewer stores in the UK). In H.Samuel, the number of transactions declined, resulting in lower sales across most merchandise categories. E-Commerce was a bright spot, increasing 14.5% to $5.5 million.

In its guidance, Signet says it expects the shift of Mother’s Day sales this year partly into the first quarter to impact second quarter sales and earnings performance. In addition, integration costs and the seasonality of the company’s newly acquired Ultra Stores are expected to dilute profits. The company expects Ultra to be a positive contributor to the company’s bottom line by the fourth quarter.

The company also said it plans to open 70 to 80 Kay and Jared stores by the end of the fiscal year.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From Adversary to Partner, Terry Burman Named Chairman of Zale Corp.

Terry Burman
Zale Corp.on Wednesday made a surprise announcement that Terry Burman was named board chairman of the Dallas-based jeweler, whose retail brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet and Gordon's Jewelers. Burman was the highly successful chief executive officer of Signet Jewelers Ltd. from 2000 till 2011, Zale Corp.’s main rival.

Burman replaces John B. Lowe, Jr., who has served as chairman for the past five years. Lowe will remain on the board, the company said. The announcement overshadowed its third quarter earnings report.

Burman, a 30-year veteran of the jewelry industry, joined Signet in 1995 as the chairman and CEO of Sterling Jewelers, Inc., the U.S. division of Signet and Zale Corp.’s main rival. Sterling is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the United States with more than 1,300 stores located in 50 states, including national chains Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. Signet also is the largest retail jeweler in the United Kingdom.

Under Burman’s leadership Sterling and then Signet experienced robust growth during the high-growth economy of the 1990s and the early 2000s and even through the economic recession and sluggish economy since 2008. Meanwhile, Zale Corp., suffered during the economic downturn under several leadership and ownership changes closing more than 100 underperforming stores.

Before joining Signet, Burman held executive positions, including president and CEO of Barry’s Jewelers, Inc., which now does business as Samuels Jewelers. He serves on the boards of Yankee Candle Company, Inc. and Tuesday Morning Corp. He also serves on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Board of Governors. He has received numerous jewelry industry awards, including the American Gem Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and is the former chairman of Jewelers of America.

“Terry’s track record and industry knowledge make him uniquely qualified to contribute to Zale as we execute our plans for long term growth and shareholder value,” said Theo Killion, Zale Corp. CEO.

“I am delighted to assume the role of chairman of the board at Zale at such an important point in their turnaround program,” Burman said. “I am looking forward to working with Zale’s management and board to refine the company’s strategy and priorities to drive profitable growth and create shareholder value.”

Zale Corp. is a leading specialty retailer of diamond and other jewelry products in North America, operating approximately 1,710 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corp.'s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda. Zale also operates online at www.zales.com, www.zalesoutlet.com, www.gordonsjewelers.com, www.peoplesjewellers.com and www.pagoda.com. 


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hong Kong Jewelry and Gem Fair Goes Mobile

Buyers and vendors at the 2012 September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

UBM Asia has launched a mobile application for its Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fairs, which are held annually in June and September. Powered by the show’s online media portal, JewelleryNetAsia, the Mobile Buyer Guide will be available to visitors and exhibitors of June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair in Hong Kong (20-23 June, 2013) and subsequently for the September edition as well.

The Mobile Buyer Guide is available as an application for download to smartphones and tablets of leading brands and can also be accessed online with any mobile device. It features regularly updated exhibitors and product directories, interactive floorplans, show schedules and other useful information for visitors.

“What’s really special is that you download the Mobile Buyer Guide only once and we keep providing updates regularly,” said Jerome Hainz, Manager eBusiness UBM Asia. “During show periods it features supplier’s booth numbers. And between shows it is a handy reference with thousands of contacts. A message function will let you know the latest news and show information.”

The Mobile Buyer Guide is sponsored by Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the organizer of the Antwerp Diamond Pavilions at the June and September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fairs.

JewelleryNetAsia has created a dedicated page for easy downloading of the Mobile Buyer Guide.

For further information contact UBM Asia limited at marketing@jewellerynetasia.com or call +852 2827 6211.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

View the Chopard Jewelry Thieves Tried To Steal at Cannes

Cara Delevigne wears a diamond necklace and earrings from
Chopard's 2013 Red Carpet Collection during the 66th Annual Cannes
Film Festival opening ceremony and "The Great Gatsby" Premiere.

Chopard downplayed the theft of some of its valuable jewels from a hotel room during the Cannes Film Festival. In a statement, the luxury jeweler and watchmaker said police reports estimating the value of upwards of $1.4 million was an exaggeration and the jewels were not from its 2013 Red Carpet Collection unveiled at Cannes and destined to be worn by celebrities at the many of the glamorous festival events.

However, company officials refuse to say what was stolen and the value, citing the ongoing investigation. A festival official reportedly said the Palme d'Or, the trophy designed by Chopard and awarded to the best director winner at the festival.

Prior to the theft, the company unveiled its Red Carpet Collection of jewels and watches during the opening night ceremony of the 66th annual festival and 'The Great Gatsby' Premiere with celebrities including Julianne Moore, Cindy Crawford and Lana Del Rey wearing pieces from the collection. Designed by Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director of the House of Chopard, the collection features big diamond pieces along with delicate colored gem stones works set in 18k gold.

You don’t have to be a thief to view the collection. Below is an overview of the 66 pieces in the collection along with some of the celebrities who wore the pieces on the Cannes red carpet.

Diamond and 18k white gold necklace set with a 5-carat pear-cut diamond and 284 rose-cut diamond totaling almost 183 carats.

Julianne Moore wears a Chopard diamond necklace. Photo credit: Venturelli/WireImage


This Poppy Ring combines diamonds with more than 700 rubies, 640 tsavorites and 168 emeralds with 18k white and yellow gold. 

Cindy Crawford in Chopard earrings.

18k white gold set with two oval-shaped blue tanzanites (17cts), multicoloured spinels (15cts), tourmalines, amethysts and diamonds.

Indian actress and model Freida Pinto. Photo credit: Michael Buckner/WireImage 


Pear-shaped 65-carat kunzite mounted on 18k white gold paved with diamonds.

American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey.
Photo credit: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

15-carat heart-shaped Paraiba Tourmaline mounted on an 18k white gold ring set with more than 1,000 diamonds.

Solange Knowles in Chopard 2013 Red Carpet Collection earrings.

18k white gold ring set with a 15-carat pear-shaped spinel and finished in diamond pave. 

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Graff Luxury Watches At Basel

Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon

Graff Diamonds doesn’t sell wholesale or deal with the watch and jewelry trade. So there was no reason for the brand founded by Laurence Graff to have a presence at Baselworld 2013. However, company representatives did come to Basel during the fair to show its newest collection of luxury timepieces to press members in a nearby hotel suite.

As one would expect from the London-based jeweler—known for purchasing some of the most valuable diamonds and gems in the world—the watches on display were big and bold with plenty of diamonds and gems. Gold and DLC were used for bezels shaped in a notable faceted motif that has the appearance of a single diamond, with lugs serving as prongs that would hold the “diamond” in place. These are more than just show pieces, however, as the majority of these watches contain branded calibers and high-end complications.

Even when adding the bling factor, there’s also a refinement to the pieces, a notable design trait of Graff products.


MasterGraff Minute Repeater Tourbillon
This 47mm mechanical timepiece showcases two horological complications. The dial is made of mother of pearl dial in a radial-carved motif. In addition to navy blue, the dial is available in black and white. The minute repeater element is triggered by an upward push on a slide positioned on the side of the case. Two hammers striking two gongs sound the hours, quarter hours and minutes. A flying tourbillon is revealed at 6 o’clock encircled by a small seconds disc. It’s limited to 100 pieces.


Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon (top photo)
The mechanical movement of this 45mm watch has complications that include a tourbillion displayed at 9 o’clock. But really, this timepiece is about Graff’s diamond expertise. A total of 634 diamonds in 20 shapes weighing 47 carats were used to cover the watch. The dial features a radiating pattern of baguette cut diamonds, with the 120 hour power reserve displayed in emerald, yellow sapphire and ruby. Emeralds circle the dial, acting as hour markers. The case and strap are covered with more diamonds in Graff’s patented mosaic design, framed by diamond set lugs and baguette links. It’s limited to 30 pieces.


GraffStar Grand Date
The Graff Caliber 1 mechanical movement, made in Switzerland for Graff, powers this watch. Along with hours and minutes, the movement provides the date– shown in large numerals at 12 o’clock, the seconds on a sub-dial at 9 and a 50-hour power reserve indicator at 6. The DLC case (also available in white and rose gold) is faceted to appear as a single diamond with the lugs serving as prongs. The dial is in black guilloché with a multi-level design and gold indicators. It is limited to 100 pieces.

 

GraffStar Slim
The black dial set with a triangular emerald at 12 o’clock has gold hour markers set in gold. Inside the 43mm white gold case is the mechanical Graff Calibre 3 Swiss movement. The faceted case has a thickness of 6.35mm. It is also available in rose and with a white dial.


ChronoGraff 45mm
The black dial has a guilloché pattern that contrasts against gold disks that move to reveal each chronograph indicator and the 60 second dial. At 12 o’clock is a triangular emerald marker. It’s housed in Graff’s signature faceted case, available in various combinations of yellow gold, white gold and DLC. The dial also is available in white. It’s limited to 300 pieces.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Friday, May 17, 2013

$1M of Chopard Red Carpet Jewelry Stolen at Cannes Film Festival

Julianne Moore in Chopard jewelry during Cannes Film Festival

Approximately $1 million worth of Chopard jewelry was stolen from a hotel suite Thursday during the second day of the Cannes Film Festival, according to CNN and other reports.

The jewelry stolen was meant to worn by celebrities during festival events. Which pieces were stolen and who was scheduled to wear them is unknown at this time. The jewels were taken from a safe inside a suite in a Novotel hotel on Boulevard Carnot in Cannes, according to the report. The thieves unscrewed the safe from inside the hotel room and carried it out sometime between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m., while the person guarding them was out at dinner.

The luxury jeweler and watchmaker has been closely associated with the world’s most famous international film festival for the past 15 years. Chopard’s designs the Palme d’Or, the prize awarded to the best director, and presents the Trophée Chopard to the “Best Young Actor and Actress of the Year.”

Each year the brand also unveils its Red Carpet Collection of luxury jewelry and watches at the film festival, worn by the biggest celebrities at this event, known internationally for its glitz and glamour. The stolen items are believed to be from this collection.
  
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

U.S. Sees First Increase in Gold Jewelry Demand in 7 Years

Gold jewelry making a comeback.

Gold jewelry demand in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2013 grew by more than 5% year-over-year to reach a value of $986 million. This is the first increase in demand since the third quarter of 2005, the World Gold Council said Thursday.

The lower-end of the U.S. jewelry market rebounded considerably, the WGC in its quarterly Gold Demand Trends report, adding that it’s “a further positive sign of recovery in the U.S. economy, coinciding with a correction in the gold price over the course of the quarter.”

Meanwhile, the amount of gold used for the fabrication of jewelry worldwide increased by 12% year-over-year to 551 metric tons for the first quarter of 2013, worth a record value of $28.9 billion, according to the report.

The dramatic decline in the value of gold has led to an increase in demand, the WGC said in the report. However, that demand is largely limited to India and China, who continue to distance themselves from the rest of the world in their passion for gold jewelry. The two countries combined now account for 62% of gold jewelry demand, according to the report. The U.S. for the first time in more seven years saw a year-over-year increase in gold jewelry demand.

Other highlights of the report include:

* Gold jewelry demand surged by 19% in China to a record level, led by Chinese New Year gifting in January and a rebound in consumer sentiment, WGC said. This is despite new in leadership in China calling for less conspicuous consumption. Demand saw the largest increase in 24k gold jewelry, although demand for 18k gold jewelry also increased.

* In India, year-over-year demand grew by 15% and came just short of beating the fourth quarter 2012 record. However, that gain was compared a very soft first quarter of 2012.

* Meanwhile, gold jewelry demand in Italy and the U.K. fell dramatically, 12% and 7%, respectively, as difficult economic continues continue to lead consumers to purchase lower-karat gold and silver jewelry.


 Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Harry Winston and Swatch Group Pay $26.7 Million for 101-Ct. ‘Perfect Diamond’


The Swatch Group and HarryWinston are celebrating their new partnership with the purchase of a pear-shaped, D color, flawless diamond of 101.73 carats for more than $26.7 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale Wednesday.

Billed by the auction house as the “perfect diamond,” the price paid set a world auction record for a colorless diamond. The diamond (which sold for $254,400 per carat) has been renamed “The Winston Legacy.”

“The acquisition of ‘Winston's Legacy’ underscores the brand’s continued commitment to perfection and quality at the highest level. A stone of this caliber and rarity is the perfect continuation of Mr. Winston’s legacy as the King of Diamonds,” said Nayla Hayek, the new CEO of Harry Winston.

Rahul Kadakia, head of Jewelry, Christie's Switzerland and Americas, added: “Harry Winston acquired the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction, ‘Winston Legacy,’ continuing the tradition of buying and selling only the very best, a trait of the founder Mr. Winston himself.”

The diamond was the top lot in a sale that fetched a record-breaking $102.1 million, selling 86% by lot and 93% by value, the highest result ever for a various-owner jewelry auction at Christie’s. It included several world records for diamonds, pearls and sapphires. A total of 20 lots sold above $1 million with 147 buyers coming from 31 countries across five continents, Christie’s said.

Among the other notable purchases at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale, are:

* 19.88-carat cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire, named “The Star of Kashmir” sold for more than $3.4 million, or $175,202 per carat, breaking the world auction record for a per-carat sale of a sapphire.

* Single strand of natural pearls measuring from 13.7 to 10.4mm sold for more $8.4 million, setting a world auction record for a single-strand natural pearl necklace.

Drop-shaped natural pearl ear pendants of 261.66 and 216.37 grains sold for more than $2.4 million, setting a world auction record for a pair of pearl ear pendants.

* 1.92-carat fancy red diamond sold for $3.2 million, setting a world auction price for a red diamond.

 Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

E-Commerce Jewelry Business Seminar at June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

The jewelry trade platform, JewelleryNetAsia, will host a free seminar, “Successes in Jewelry eCommerce” during the June Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair 2013 (June 20 – 23). The workshops will take place June 21 at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center from 9:15 till 10.30 a.m., before the show opens. This will provide exhibitors and visitors an opportunity to enhance their skills in selling jewelry online.

Elle Hill of the jewelry retail website, Plukka—last year’s winner of the JNA Innovation Awards—will focus on gaining and retaining online customers. Hill’s experience is focused around the European and American markets. Wayne Wang of the online brand, Zbird, will highlight the ins and outs of winning over the Chinese consumers online. The sessions will be moderated by Jérôme Hainz, manager of eBusiness at UBM Asia.

“E-commerce is one of the hottest topics for both jewelry manufacturers and retailers. This is why we are extremely proud to host two industry experts who can talk about the challenges and opportunities with running jewelry e-commerce sites,” said Hainz, who oversees UBM Asia’s portfolio of trade websites, including AsiaFJA.com and JewelleryNetAsia.com.

The seminar will take place in Room S226 of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center. The workshop will run from 9:15 am to 10.30.Registration is free but seating is limited. To register online, follow the link and to the online pre-registration form or go through the JewelryNetAsia website.  


For further information contact marketing@jewellerynetasia.com or call +852 2827 6211

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The Best of the Rest at Baselworld 2013

Ernst Benz Officer ChronoLunar

My roundup of products that I saw at Baselworld 2013 comes to an end with these products from various brand manufacturers and retailers. All are boldly masculine and nearly all have a sports angle and chronometer functions. These are pieces that are meant to express a lifestyle.

Ernst Benz Officer ChronoLunar (top photo)  
This 47mm watch is inspired by historical officer timepieces. The automatic Valjoux 7751 movement provides date, month, 24-hour display and moonphases. The chronograph provides hours, minutes and central seconds. It is available with a black or white dial.


Jeanrichard Aeroscope
The inspiration for this watch is the technical look of flight panel instruments. One important aspect of this watch is legibility, with large numerals and luminescent indexes in orange, white or black with a gray contrasting background. The dials come in rhodium-treated black or grey, vertical satin finishing and sunken counters with circular satin finishing, or in matt white. The cushion-shaped case in titanium is both light and robust. The movement is a self-winding JR66.

Accompanying the launch of the watch at Baselworld was Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who is best-known for ditching the Airbus A320 he was piloting in the Hudson River in New York City, January 15, 2009, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.


Charriol Gran Celtica Chrono
The 46mm size watch is powered by an ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement. It is available in stainless steel, black PVD, silver and plum; or in stainless steel, black and racing-car red. The second-hand bears the Charriol ‘C’ insignia and the passing of the seconds is marked with a rotating turbine wheel. The watch is inspired by the engine of a Corvette racing car.

The dial displays Arabic numerals at 12, 4 and 8 o’clock, paired with a tachymeter around the case. Date and day appear at 3 o’clock. The dial is housed under a curved glass case that, depending on the angle of light, appears convex or concave.


Korloff Paris Voyager
The Voyager is for the discerning global traveler. The dual faced case and dual material strap has a vintage sporty side with a stainless steel case, natural black rubber strap, and three timezones. Its opposite side features an elegant dial with two timezones, high polished bezel, and a black alligator strap. The movements are an ETA Quartz 901.101 x 2 and ETA Quartz 980.106 x 3


Cuervo y Sobrinos
Its race-timing functions are combined with a design inspired by the brand's colors, with its signature touch of red. The chronograph has a 60 seconds counter and 60 minutes counter in the center; 12 hours counter at 6 o'clock (hours and minutes), small seconds at 3 o'clock, 24 hours at 9 o'clock, and date at 4:30. The dial has a honeycomb finish. It is powered by a Dubois Dépraz 2075 automatic movement. 


ContaTempo Scuderia CT-012
Designed by Enrico Margaritelli, this brand unveiled its first vintage sports racing collection at Baselworld 2013. These are quartz movement watches with chronograph functions and enamel dials that is inspired by and meant to operate like a stopwatch. The interchangeable perforated leather strap is the same leather utilized in luxury sports cars; handmade in Switzerland. The caseback pays a tribute to the Italian Flag with enamel colors.

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