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MID BLOG

WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM IN THE WORLD’S SPOTLIGHT, THE JEWELRY TRADE TO GATHER AT IJL 2019 IN LONDON

One of the key jewelry markets to watch over the coming months is that of the United Kingdom. With an estimated annual value of £3.3bn at the end of 2018, it nonetheless is being rocked by incidents not of its making, with the most prominent being Brexit. No wonder then that the country’s most important jewelry show, International Jewellery London (IJL), is one of the industry’s most keenly anticipated events. This year, it will be held September 1 to 3.

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ALROSA MAKING A PLAY TO BECOME WORLD’S LARGEST FANCY COLORED DIAMOND SUPPLIER

Alrosa, the Russian state-controlled mining company that for most the past decade has been the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, is positioning itself to also be the leading supplier of fancy colored stones, aiming to capture the position held since the mid-1990s by Argyle, the Western Australian producer that earlier this year announced that it would be ending mining operations.

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WHILE ROUGH DIAMOND PURCHASES PLUMMET, PRODUCERS AND MARKET REMAIN CALM AND COLLECTED

Alrosa announced an almost 50 percent fall in the sales of rough stone in July. Its moves mirrored that De Beers, which at the end of the July reported that its sixth sales cycle was down 53 percent from the amount sold during the sixth cycle in 2018. But despite the dramatic slowdown in the volume of new supply entering the pipeline, there is not an air of panic, neither in the market or among rough diamond producers.

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DIAMONDS AND JEWELRY BECOMING COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN U.S.-CHINA TRADE WAR

Members of the American jewelry trade who had believed they had dodged a bullet in the escalating trade war between the United States and China seem to have had their hopes dashed with the most recent decision by President Donald Trump to impose a 10 percent levy on those products imported by China that weren’t covered in earlier three rounds of tariffs.

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COUNTRY OF ORIGIN REPORTS GAINING IN POPULARITY IN THE DIAMOND TRADE

In the colored gemstone trade, the provenance of the article has long been of critical importance. While Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma) and Madagascar frequently produce top quality sapphires, if a stone was mined in the remote the Zanskar range of the Himalaya Mountains, allowing it to be referred as a Kashmir sapphire, it will almost undoubtedly fetch a high premium.

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COULD FINLAND BE THE SITE OF THE NEXT DIAMOND MOTHERLODE?

Picture a diamond mine, and one most likely conjures up image of a giant pit or underground shaft set against the backdrop of the sweltering African savannah. Who would think then that, in 2018, 42 percent of rough diamonds in terms of value and almost 45 percent in terms of volume mined in the frigid cold of Arctic region, in Russian or in Canada?

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RESPONSIBLE JEWELLERY COUNCILS LOOKS TO RAISE PROFILE IN CONSUMER MARKETS

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), which in 2020 will celebrate the 15th year since its establishment, is planning a program that it intends will to raise the profile of the organization’s code of ethical business practices among jewelry consumers. The program will not only emphasize that an item of jewelry and each of its components sold by an RJC member has been sourced responsibly, but also that they contribute to the fulfillment of the United Nation’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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A LUXURY INDUSTRY PAYS FORWARD

“Pay It Forward,” an American romantic move released in 2000, tells the story of child who conceives of a plan to build a better world, by which the recipient of a favor does in turn do a favor for three others, rather than paying the original favor back. It is a concept that is being translated into reality in the luxury product industries, which over the years have acquired much of their raw materials from developing countries, where few people would be able to purchase the products they sell. The idea is that they initiate capacity building projects in projects that not only provide direct revenues, but also build capacity so that sustainable economic opportunities are created.

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DIAMONDS FROM THE SEA

A good deal of fuss was made earlier this year when an article in a scientific journal defended the hypothesis that a large percentage of the natural diamonds that have been discovered on earth were created from organic materials on the seabed that, millions of years ago, were drawn deep into the red-hot mantle of the planet through the movement of tectonic plates. Diamonds, the article suggested, are essentially the remains of sea creatures and marine vegetation that had been transformed through a combination of high pressures and temperatures into crystalline carbon – or in other words, diamonds.

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QUESTION OF WHAT CONSTITUTE ‘CONFLICT DIAMOND’ STILL DOMINATES DEBATE IN KIMBERLEY PROCESS

Members of government, the diamond and jewelry industry and human rights groups gathered in the Indian city of Mumbai, June 17-21, for the first of two Kimberley Process (KP) meetings that will be hosted in the country this year. India is the current chair of the KP, which is the multinational coalition established in 2000 to prevent the infiltration of conflict diamonds into the legitimate diamond pipeline.

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TRACKING THE DIAMOND FROM MINE TO MARKET

Traceability, or the ability to track a diamond from the mine all the way to the point at which it is sold at retail, set in jewelry, was a very hot topic at the 2019 JCK Show in Las Vegas in June, with both of the two world’s largest diamond companies discussing or demonstrating systems that they are developing to the do the job.

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WITH A WHIMPER RATHER THAN WITH A BANG, DE BEERS ENDS RECYCLED DIAMONDS PROJECT

Quietly, without very little fanfare, the De Beers Group has shut down the International Institute for Diamond Valuation (IIDV), which was established 2014 as a polished diamond buy-back service that would give players on the secondary market a fair price for their goods. Simultaneously, the company’s website has been taken down, and its social media accounts have gone off-line.

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THE BIG BANG VERSUS THE SLOW GRIND

Where and how do diamonds originate in nature? The answer is relatively well known, and that is millions of years ago deep below the earth’s surface, where the temperatures and pressures are high enough that carbon matter would crystalize into the form we recognize as a diamond.

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LIVING IN INTERESTING TIMES

The apocryphal Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” rings particularly true during this unusual period in our collective history. It is an age where long-time conventional wisdom and sometimes common sense is seemingly brushed aside, with no apparent set of rules or conventions to take their place. And in a business which takes for granted that a diamond is forever, even that type of sensibility can appear tenuous.

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