VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JEWELLERY INDUSTRY
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THE TRENDS SHAKING UP
ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL JEWELLERY
THE LATEST AND GREATEST WATCH
MODELS FOR THE NEW SEASON
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A CLOSER LOOK AT THE
WHITE DIAMOND CATEGORY
VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JEWELLERY INDUSTRY
THE TRENDS SHAKING UP
ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL JEWELLERY
THE LATEST AND GREATEST WATCH
MODELS FOR THE NEW SEASON
FEATURES REGULARS BUSINESS
17/ WITH THIS RING
How to get the best out of the
engagement and bridal category
as it continues to evolve.
25/ ICE AGE
Are diamonds really in the rough?
Jeweller takes a look at the many
facets of this competitive sector.
29/ TIMED RELEASE
Post-Baselworld, the leading watch
brands debut exciting models for the
15/ New Products
Organic Gems Part IV: ammolite
41/ My Store
42/ 10 Years Ago
44/ My Bench
Dennis Coleman levels criticism
at watch brands for their attitude
to repairs and spare parts.
35/ Business feature
Should you use SEO or SEM?
Laura Dawson reviews the
pros and cons.
Gretchen Gordon explores a very
common trap for sales leaders.
Part one of Doug Fleener’s guide to
achieving goals and beating stress.
Companies should put customer
service first, writes Barry Urquhart.
40/ Logged On
Graham Jones explains why short
beats long in content marketing.
Front cover description:
Engagements and weddings are
the entry point into a lifetime
of memories and moments
celebrated with jewellery.
July 2019 Jeweller 5
With a pool of $20,000 and crowning rights to the winner of
each category, who and what piece do you think will win?
The 2019 Jewellery Design Awards has more than $20,000 in cash and prizes on offer with every category being
enthusiastically sponsored by the industry. As anticipation grows, industry suppliers have thrown their support
behind the Awards with a common theme of celebrating creativity, passion, and skill.
• 1st & 2nd Year Apprentice/Student Award SPONSORED BY BRINKS
• 3rd & 4th Year Apprentice/Student Award SPONSORED BY BRINKS • Australian Opal Award SPONSORED BY OPALS AUSTRALIA
• Bridal Award SPONSORED BY REINE JEWELS • CAD/CAM/Cast Award SPONSORED BY CHEMGOLD
• Coloured Gemstone Award SPONSORED BY MARK McASKILL • Diamond Award SPONSORED BY SAMS GROUP AUSTRALIA
• Innovative Timepiece Award SPONSORED BY ADINA • Men’s Accessories & Jewellery SPONSORED BY TBA
• Pearl Award SPONSORED BY IKECHO • Precious Metal Award SPONSORED BY PALLION
J E W ELLERY & WATCH FAIR
AUGUST 24 > 26, 2019
ICC Sydney I Exhibition Centre I Darling Harbour
For further information regarding the awards, including full terms and
conditions, please visit www.jewelleryfair.com.au or give our
team a call on 02 9452 7513
PANDORA – THE CHARM BEFORE THE STORM?
Pandora has announced another round of
sackings, and this time the job losses will be at
its Australian distribution centre.
It’s probably no surprise given that only two
months ago, Pandora International’s chief
financial officer, Anders Boyer, said: “The first
quarter was characterised by continued weak
like-for-like [figures], further burdened by our
deliberate commercial reset.”
At the time, he announced that 1,200 Pandora
staff at its Thai manufacturing facility would
lose their jobs – and that came after 700
workers were dismissed in February.
Pandora’s “reset” (otherwise known as costcutting)
includes closing 50 ‘concept stores’
over the next year and, perhaps as a sign of
Pandora’s woes, only eight concept stores
were opened in the first quarter of 2019 –
compared to 39 during that period in 2018.
Hence the announcement from Phil
McNutt – Pandora Australia’s new CEO – on
17 June that the Sydney distribution centre
would be closed in favour of handing over
the company’s important customer service
department to an external operation.
McNutt, who joined Pandora in January, said
the decision came after a six-month review.
He advised independent stockists via email
that the services performed by the in-house
Pandora distribution centre “will be transferred
to alternate suppliers in a phased approach
from now until January next year.”
Pandora International has been undergoing
a massive restructure after a long period of
disappointing financial results. In mid-May
Boyer warned, “I see very significant costsaving
opportunities. If revenues continue to
decline, then you have to revisit the situation.”
At the time Pandora reported worrying results;
global sales fell by six per cent and net profit
fell 31 per cent – from DKK1.15 billion to only
It was only a year ago, in June 2018, when
McNutt’s predecessor at the Australian
operation, Mikael Kruse Jensen, announced
the closure of 100 retail accounts. The
company sent emails to the affected stockists
and then immediately attempted to allay the
fears of remaining stockists.
That episode caused a public relations
nightmare, with many retailers telling me that
they were making plans to ‘dump the brand
before they got dumped’.
Kruse Jensen’s email attempted to explain
the reasoning, advising the spared stores: “It
is important to note that this announcement
does not change the nature of our relation
and will have no impact on your account.”
The problem for Pandora was that no-one
believed a word of it!
Now, more than 12 months on, I know
many stores are continuing to move away
from Pandora and their fears will only be
heightened with McNutt’s latest staff sackings.
REFERRED TO THE
TO LOSE THEIR
JOBS AS “FAMILY
I have written in the past that there are
two words that I hear consistently used in
conjunction with Pandora: arrogant and
conceited. Sadly, McNutt’s handling of the
recent “review” of the Australian operation is
not likely to change that opinion.
In an insensitive display of ‘corporate speak’,
McNutt referred to the staff about to lose
their jobs as “family members”; but that didn’t
matter, they would be sacked anyway!
Worse, he said, “The Pandora distribution
centre and its staff have been a critical
and extremely successful member of the
Pandora family and value chain, and we
will be disappointed to see them and their
contribution leave the business.”
I am not sure I have seen a better example
of ‘corporate speak’ and nonsensical jargon
– words and phrases used to avoid being
forthright, or said to make someone believe
something that is not true. Firstly, the staff
are not “leaving” – they are being sacked.
And if they are “critical and extremely
successful” and are part of your “family”,
then why is the centre being closed?
It’s corporate speak gone mad – apparently,
your critical and extremely successful staff
should be sacked! If this is how “family
members” are treated, then one wonders
what Pandora has planned for its remaining
July 2019 Jeweller 7
n COSTLY PURCHASE
Recently announced sales figures
from Costco have revealed that one
customer purchased a $400,000
engagement ring from the discountbulk
retailer! The sparkler, purchased
online and picked up at a secure
Costco store locker, is believed to be
a platinum solitaire featuring a round
brilliant 10.3-carat diamond.
n FINE TOON
In other ring news, a Japanese retailer
is now offering Pokémon-themed
engagement and wedding rings! Two
matching sets are available, with each
design based on a different loveable
critter – either Pikachu or Mew. There’s
also a limited edition Pokéball case
available. What better way for fans to
say, ‘I choose you’?
n WATCH OUT!
A pre-owned watch dealer has
revealed what is believed to be the
most convincing fake Rolex of all
time. Watchfinder & Co examined a
replica Rolex Daytona, valued at £1,000
(AU$1,830), which had a steel case
and bracelet, ceramic bezel, locking
mechanism and – crucially – a calibre
seemingly identical to the real thing.
DID YOU KNOW?
Large rubies are more precious and valuable
than diamonds, so it’s no wonder they were
known as ratnaraj – “the king of jewels” –
in Sanskrit. Prized by royalty throughout
history, their deep red colour naturally
symbolises fire, passion, courage and
energy. In the past, rubies were thought to
increase vitality and wealth, as well as bring
success in love and battle.
“In the last 20 years there has
been far more effort put into
the economic, social and
associated with our business.”
Turn to page 25 to find out. >
As of July 1, Google has announced that mobile-first
indexing will be the default for all new web domains.
This means that when you register a new website,
Google’s bots will scan the page for mobile-friendly
content. Even more important for business owners is
that Google will use mobile-friendly content to index
pages, understand the data on the page, and show snippets of content in users’ search
results. Put simply, the more mobile-friendly content you have, the better your ranking
will be on Google. This change has come about because the majority of Google users
search on their mobile devices. There are plenty of online tools to check if a site is
mobile-friendly – and there’s never been a better time than now to make sure!
The Bohemia Chain Drop Mini Hoops from
Ania Haie feature delicate draping chains
embellished with cubic zirconia. These
earrings are the perfect addition to any
bohemian-inspired wardrobe. Available in
925 sterling silver with rhodium plating or
925 sterling silver with 14-carat gold plating.
Distributed by Duraflex Group Australia.
VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN
Publisher & Editor
& Graphic Design
Jo De Bono
Jeweller is published by:
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all damages or liabilities arising from
the published material.
8 Jeweller July 2019
Football star wins $70K from Bensimon
A business associated with Ron Bensimon,
also known as Ronnie Ben-Simon, is facing
legal complications over a missing diamond
belonging to AFL player Joel Selwood.
Bensimon Online, trading as Bensimon
Bespoke Diamond Atelier, has been ordered
to pay Selwood, the captain of the Geelong
Cats, more than $69,000 after the business
lost his fiancée’s engagement ring.
The company is owned by Ron Bensimon’s
wife, Kate, but promotes him as leading its
diamond sourcing operations.
Selwood, 31, purchased a custom-designed
3.21-carat round brilliant diamond ring,
valued at $66,000, from the company in July
2018. It was sent back for resizing in October
but was never returned, according to legal
documents. In addition, the promised GIA
Certificate for the centre stone was not
delivered to Selwood.
In a statement, the company claimed the
footballer was fully refunded in February this
year – a claim repeated by Ron Bensimon to
The Age last month.
However, Selwood countered that he had
only received $6,000.
Representatives for Bensimon Online did
not attend the hearing at the Magistrates’
Court of Victoria and a default judgment was
More job losses at Pandora
Following a six-month review, Pandora
Australia has confirmed it will close its inhouse
distribution early next year.
The news came after Pandora International
decided to overhaul its Pacific region
infrastructure, in the wake of the company’s
restructuring following disappointing
In an email dated 17 June to Pandora
stockists, Phil McNutt, managing director
Pandora Australia and New Zealand, said,
“The services performed by the PDC
[Pandora distribution centre] will be
transferred to alternate suppliers in a phased
approach from now until January next year.”
“The PDC and its staff have been a critical
JOEL SELWOOD, HIS FIANCEE AND THE MISSING RING
entered against it, upholding an earlier order
for Selwood to be repaid the value of the ring
plus interest and legal costs.
Selwood’s counsel Sarah Galbally, of LOD
Legal, told The Age, “The money owed to
Joel Selwood has not been refunded by
Kate Bensimon or the company. We are still
awaiting Kate Bensimon or her company to
make the payment to meet the orders made
by the court, by way of a judgment debt. The
next step is for enforcement proceedings.”
As reported in Jeweller, Ron Bensimon’s
previous business, Bensimon Retail Group
– which included Bensimon Diamonds
within the Crown complex in Melbourne
– was placed into liquidation in 2016
owing $7 million.
Ron and Kate Bensimon later relocated to
Sydney, where she established the onlineonly
and extremely successful member of
the Pandora family and value chain, and
we will be disappointed to see them and
their contribution leave the business,”
“The PDC staff are currently working through
the proposed changes with HR over the next
Jeweller attempted to clarify with McNutt
the exact number of job losses and whether
the decision would mean that, in the future,
Pandora stockists would have to deal
directly with the outsourced distribution
company on returns, faults and repairs.
At the time of publication he had not
CLOSING ITS LOCAL
Organisers Expertise Events have
announced the prize list for this year’s
Jewellery Design Awards (JDA), which
will take place on August 25 as part of
the International Jewellery and Watch
Fair (IJWF) in Sydney.
Winners will share in more than $20,000
in prize money and category-specific
prizes, with each award sponsored by
Joshua Zarb, general manager Expertise
Events, said, “We are so grateful for
the generosity from our sponsors to
give something back to designers to
recognise all the hard work that they
have put into their submissions.”
This year sees the Supreme and Fair
Visitor Choice categories replaced by the
Innovative Timepiece Award.
“This is an area that is still a large part
of the overall jewellery industry and we
are looking forward to seeing advances
in both design and technology in this
space,” Zarb explained.
Categories and sponsors:
• 1st & 2nd year Apprentice/Student
Sponsored by Brinks
• 3rd & 4th year Apprentice/Student
Sponsored by Brinks
• Australian Opal Award
Sponsored by Opals Australia
• Bridal Award
Sponsored by Reine Jewels
• CAD/CAM/Cast Award
Sponsored by Chemgold
• Coloured Gemstone Award
Sponsored by Mark McAskill
• Diamond Award
Sponsored by SAMS Group Australia
• Men’s Accessories & Jewellery
Sponsored by Peter W Beck
• Pearl Award
Sponsored by Ikecho
• Precious Metal Award
Sponsored by Pallion
• Innovative Timepiece Award
Sponsored by Adina
10 Jeweller July 2019
A new celebrity face for Thomas Sabo
Duraflex Group Australia (DGA) has
announced that British pop star Rita Ora
will be the new face of Thomas Sabo
jewellery and watches.
The singer – who is also an actress, model
and TV presenter – follows in the footsteps
of previous brand ambassadors Katy
Perry, Poppy Delevingne and Georgia
“Rita is the perfect face and association for
the brand with a broad target audience
that completely aligns with Thomas Sabo,”
Phil Edwards, managing director DGA, said.
“Rita will be pictured in all upcoming
marketing material and, in particular, all
in-store signage options,” he added.
The two-year partnership officially began
on July 1, with Ora making her debut as
the face of Thomas Sabo in the autumn/
winter 2019 collection.
As part of the marketing package, Ora
has begun promoting Thomas Sabo
through social media with the hashtag
#RITAORAxTS. Ora – who has 15 million
Instagram followers – first announced the
partnership by thanking the company for
providing her with custom-made jewellery
at the end of May.
So far, Ora has worn the Thomas Sabo
Black Cat ring from the Rebel At Heart
collection, star-themed earrings inspired
by the Kingdom of Dreams collection, and
a selection of silver chains.
“In addition to the social media
communication that will involve Rita,
it will be exciting to launch the new
season product with a fresh new face and
approach at the store level – in particular
with direct visuals to connect with
consumers,” Edwards said.
Opalised dinosaurs thrill scientists
A group of more than 60 fossils from
the Sheepyard opal field near Lightning
Ridge have been found to belong to a
new species of dinosaur. Among them is
also the world’s most complete opalised
The fossils – which are mostly made up of
grey potch opal – were unearthed in the
1980s by miner Bob Foster, but have only
recently undergone a full examination by
palaeontologists after being donated to the
Australian Opal Centre.
Dr Phil Bell, lead researcher from the
University of New England, Armidale,
said, “We initially assumed it was a single
skeleton, but when I started looking at
some of the bones, I realised that we had
four scapulae [shoulder blades] all from
different sized animals.”
It’s believed the dinosaurs belonged to
a herd or family group. The species has
been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal,
referencing Foster and the words for ‘sheep’
RITA ORA IS NOW REPRESENTING THOMAS SABO
ONE OF THE OPALISED FOSSILS. PHOTO: ROBERT A.
SMITH, COURTESY AUSTRALIAN OPAL CENTRE
and ‘yard’ in the local Yuwaalaraay and
It’s the second new dinosaur species to
be discovered in Lightning Ridge in eight
months. An opalised jawbone fossil from
the dog-sized Weewarrasaurus pobeni was
discovered in December last year.
Lightning Ridge is the only known
place where dinosaur bones routinely
turn to opal.
+ MORE BREAKING NEWS
NEW MINERAL DISCOVERED
The International Mineralogical
Association has recognised carmeltazite
as a new mineral. An Israeli mining
company first discovered it earlier this
year near Mount Carmel. Its chemical
composition is similar to corundum,
and includes titanium, aluminium and
zirconium. It can appear dark brown to
dark green and is suitable for jewellery.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre
celebrated the 100th anniversary of the
brilliant cut last month, marking a century
since local engineer Marcel Tolkowsky
developed it aged just 19. Tolkowsky
discovered how to maximise the amount
of light being refracted through the table
and crown of a diamond by cutting 57
precisely placed facets.
POE’S WATCH SOLD
An 18-carat gold key-wound pocket
watch once belonging to writer Edgar
Allan Poe has been sold at auction
for US$250,000. The piece – which is
engraved with his name – was sold as
part of the Christie’s Fine Printed Books
& Manuscripts Including Americana
Auction in New York last month.
$3 MILLION DIAMOND THEFT
An employee of Russian diamond
producer Alrosa has been detained by
authorities after being caught trying
to steal a batch of diamonds valued
at AU$340,000 from a sorting and
grading facility last month. A raid of
the employee’s home and that of two
accomplices turned up more than
AU$3 million in stolen diamonds.
MARCOS JEWELLERY AUCTIONED
The Philippines government has
authorised an auction of jewellery once
belonging to the family and friends of
dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The collection
– which was valued at US$19 million
(AU$27.8 million) in 2015 – includes a
25-carat diamond and a tiara belonging
to former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
July 2019 Jeweller 11
Swarovski embraces natural diamonds
New GIA certificate
As part of its push to improve traceability, the
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has
begun issuing country of origin reports for
natural fancy-colour diamonds.
Previously, Diamond Origin Reports were only
available for colourless diamonds. However,
the organisation has now approved processes
for identifying when a polished stone
matches a rough on file, thereby creating a
record of that diamond’s origin.
“In recent years, there has been a growing
demand for transparency and traceability in
the diamond industry. Consumers want to
know the origin of products and their socioeconomic
and environmental impact,” Susan
Jacques, GIA president and CEO, said.
Three years after launching its synthetic
diamond business, Swarovski has announced
that it will expand into natural diamonds
within the next 12 months.
The announcement was made during the
JCK Las Vegas trade show during a panel
discussion on sustainability.
Nadja Swarovski, head of corporate
communications and design services, said,
“We believe in the natural diamond story and
we want to tell the story of a product that
makes a positive contribution.”
The Austrian company, which was founded
in 1895, is still best known for its signature
glass crystals. It also sells natural gems,
synthetic stones, finished jewellery and
The company has recently been promoting
its Atelier Swarovski fine jewellery collection
with Oscar-winning actress Penélope Cruz,
which is made entirely from synthetic
diamonds – which it markets as ‘Swarovski
During the trade show panel, Nadja Swarovski
reiterated the business’ commitment to being
environmentally and socially conscious,
confirming the natural diamonds would be
“sustainably sourced” and manufactured
rough to polished in Austria. Polished stones
from third-party suppliers will also be used in
“The GIA Diamond Origin Report fits
perfectly with GIA’s mission of educating and
protecting the public, and ensuring their trust
in gems and jewellery.”
The process involves analysing, testing and
recording the characteristics of each rough
stone submitted for grading, and then
assigning an identification number.
When a polished stone is returned to the GIA
for grading, the laboratory will see if it has
an identification number matching a rough
stone on file.
If a match is found, the natural fancy-colour
diamond is then put through the same tests
and analysis as the rough was to confirm it’s
the same stone.
“If the data from the polished diamond and
the rough match, GIA will confirm the country
of origin provided by the mining company,
and include that information on the Diamond
Origin Report,” Tom Moses, GIA executive vice
president and chief laboratory and research
Duraflex lands Baume & Mercier
Swiss watch brand Baume & Mercier is now
exclusively distributed by Duraflex Group
Australia (DGA), it has been confirmed.
The partnership came into effect on 1 June.
Phil Edwards, managing director DGA, said:
“The addition of the Baume & Mercier brand
is another important development for the
planned growth of our business.
“The expansion into luxury watches adds
a new tier to our portfolio and we are
excited to be working with a brand of
such high calibre.”
DGA also distributes Swiss brands Luminox
and Mondaine, as well as TW Steel, Jag, Limit,
Police and the Thomas Sabo watch range.
“We are excited to partner with Duraflex
Group,” Romain Lambert, managing director
Baume & Mercier South-East Asia and
Oceania said. “It is clear that there is an
DGA NOW DISTRIBUTES THE SWISS WATCH BRAND
untapped opportunity to develop a stronger
retail network in order to service current and
potential Baume & Mercier customers.”
12 Jeweller July 2019
POLICY AND POLITICS MUST WORK TO HELP RETAILERS
As the retail industry faces economic
headwinds, the Australian Retailers
Association (ARA) believes decisions
from the Fair Work Commission and the
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will have
far-ranging implications for the sector.
Recently the Commission ruled to increase
the national minimum wage by 3 per cent,
to $19.49 per hour, starting from 1 July.
It also increased Modern Awards by 3 per
cent including the General Retail Industry
Award, which will rise to $21.41 per hour for
full- and part-time employees, and $26.76
per hour for casuals.
While the rise was in line with expectations,
retailers had hoped for a more modest
increase of 1.8 per cent, which would
have struck a balance between tough
conditions in the sector and the need for
employees to have their wages increase in
line with prices.
As it stands, the increase is more than
double the rate of inflation and also
outpaces GDP growth, which was at 2.3
per cent for the year to December 2018.
However, while the decision will make
it more expensive – and therefore more
difficult – for small businesses to hire extra
staff, it could also boost consumer spending
by putting more money in the pockets of
Also easing the squeeze is the RBA’s
decision to cut interest rates by 25 basis
points. This policy will aid struggling
retailers – who are experiencing the
lowest retail sales growth in 50 years – by
increasing consumers’ disposable income,
thereby stimulating spending.
Trade figures for April showed an
unexpected deterioration from the March
numbers, leading to widespread conjecture
about the overall health of the $320 billion
In addition to the RBA’s decision,
stimulatory changes – including the
Morrison Government’s proposed tax cuts
– may well filter through in the coming
months, giving the industry a reprieve from
the challenging market conditions.
A TIME FOR ACTION
Indeed, Australia’s soft GDP figures,
released in June, have only added to calls
for government intervention to boost
Business leaders have chorused their
support for more infrastructure spending
and regulatory reform in order to continue
the country’s unmatched 27-year run of
Following the reforms of the Hawke,
Keating and Howard Governments,
Australia saw major dividends – but the
last 10 years have seen a disappointing
lack of vision and action from both the
The politicisation of tax changes and
the Canberra “blame game” have lead to
the country resting on its laurels instead
of adapting and evolving to meet the
challenges of today and tomorrow.
Even worse, Australia’s economic
reputation and prospects have been
Rather than accepting slowing global
conditions, it’s now time for state and
federal governments of all political stripes
to pro-actively identify and execute a
The ARA supports a cut to the company
tax rate to 25 per cent, which would make
businesses more competitive, as well as
re-examining tax compliance structures
GST and PAYE are also overdue for review,
with states needing to align taxation to
give certainty and foster efficiency for
While company tax cuts have been painted
as “handouts to billionaires”, the reality
is that lowering and simplifying taxes,
streamlining regulation and cutting red
tape for businesses – as well as undertaking
major infrastructure projects – would
generate much-needed jobs and boost
RUSSELL ZIMMERMAN is
is the executive director
of the Australian Retailers
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the largest association representing the country’s
$310 billion retail sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. Providing expert advice
across multiple disciplines including leasing and wage rates, the ARA’s mission is to ensure
retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for members.
14 Jeweller July 2019
HERE, JEWELLER HAS COMPILED A SNAPSHOT OF THE LATEST PRODUCTS TO HIT THE MARKET.
From the brand new Couture Kingdom collection
inspired by The Lion King, in cinemas this month,
come the Simba hoop earrings. The future king
of the Pridelands, as drawn by Rafiki in the film,
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July 2019 Jeweller 15
ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL
NEW TRENDS ARE SHAKING
UP THE ENGAGEMENT-RING
SECTOR. ARABELLA RODEN
DISCOVERS HOW JEWELLERS
ARE ADAPTING TO THE
CHANGING TASTES AND
BUDGETS OF CONSUMERS
diamond is forever is one of the most-effective
marketing campaigns of all time. Seven decades
since De Beers launched its 1948 sales pitch, more
than 70 per cent of engagement rings still feature a
classic white diamond.
The trend seems to be turning, however, as more couples opt
for fancy-colour diamonds, unusual gems and fancy shapes in
order to tell their unique love story.
“The bridal market is changing and the bridal consumer is
changing,” Stephen Lussier, chairman of consumer products at
De Beers, recently told JCK.
SAMS Group CEO Steve der Bedrossian, whose company
distributes Pink Kimberley and Blush Pink Diamonds, agrees:
“Couples are looking at different options to style up their
engagement rings,” he says. “Due to social media, clients are
shown far more styles than what they would in a jewellery
store, which influences every detail in a design.”
At the same time, retail jewellers are evolving their design
processes and sales techniques in order to accommodate the
changing desires, expectations and budgets of this category’s
July 2019 Jeweller 17
ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL
information – from design to ring size. That way they both get to enjoy the right
ring and the surprise element. Win-win!”
THE COLOUR OF LOVE
When it comes to selecting a standout stone, Der Bedrossian believes nothing is
more unique than pink.
largest group of current and future shoppers: Millennials and Gen Z. These
consumers combine their desire for unique retail experiences with strong demand
for unique, personalised pieces that both attract attention and tell a story.
Jewellers are turning to unusual engagement rings to satisfy these needs
and capitalise on this critical category, which can be the first chance to form
relationships with customers that can last years; buying an engagement ring is
often the first step in the life journey of a customer, who will go on to purchase
wedding jewellery, anniversary gifts, push presents and more.
The way consumers think about and purchase engagement rings has changed
in recent years. Younger generations take a less-traditional view of marriage but
there’s still a strong connection between love and rings, whether promise rings,
commitment rings or engagement rings.
“Millennials are really looking for uniqueness,” explains Yseult de Crombrugghe,
project manager Langerman Diamonds, which exclusively deals in fancy-colour
diamonds. “They want a symbol of their love that reflects their story. Future
brides are looking for rings that come off the beaten path whilst having the same
sentimental value as traditional rings.”
Kelly Safarewicz, retail leader at Pieces of Eight gallery in Melbourne, agrees:
“For many, an emotional connection to a piece is enough to win them over
and I find more people are searching for a unique stone that reflects their
Marriages are also taking place later. The median age of marriage has been steadily
increasing since 1950 and is now 32 for men and 30 for women, according to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics. The nature of proposing has changed and so has
the ring-buying process.
Justin Linney, creative director at Linneys jewellers in Perth, says the engagement
ring is now more likely to be a “combined decision”. “Culturally, roles are evolving.
More couples are designing the ring together these days,” he says, adding that this
is a trend popular in same-sex marriages.
“For our same-sex couples, it is a mix of making a ring for the proposal or having
the couple come in together and make matching rings or different designs to suit
their individual styles.”
That said, traditional proposals aren’t finished yet: “The surprise proposal is alive
and well so there are still some romantics out there,” Linney says.
Jacqueline Fowler, jewellery consultant, Holdsworth Bros in Victoria, says, “Many
times couples will come in together to get an idea of what they like and we make
notes. When the time is right, the partner will come back and we have all the
“Pink diamonds are extremely rare so they add a touch of class,” he says. “Blush Pink
jewellery takes the lighter hues of the Argyle pink diamond and arranges them
in a design to maximise their colour and radiance – most are pave or cluster-style
designs. Pink Kimberley jewellery, on the other hand, uses larger, darker Argyle
pink diamonds to achieve a boutique-style masterpiece.”
De Crombrugghe says the demand for fancy-colour diamonds has “exploded over
the last couple of years”, which she puts down to celebrity engagement rings,
scene-stealing red-carpet jewellery and record-breaking auctions. She also notes
that fancy-colour diamonds are harder than other coloured gems, making them
ideal for everyday wear.
“Uniqueness and custom-makes are very important for couples today and colour
is a great way to personalise a ring,” de Crombrugghe says, adding, “One of our
customers asked for a diamond matching the eye colour of her life partner. We
found the perfect match with a beautiful fancy greenish-brown diamond.”
Linney says custom-makes with yellow, champagne and black diamonds are
popular for clients wanting something “different to what their friends might have”,
adding that pink diamonds are also highly sought after: “We enjoy using pink
diamonds either as side stones, centre stones or as halos to frame a stunning
Fowler has also noticed a demand for Argyle pinks and chocolate diamonds, as
well as yellow-diamond halo rings.
“Sapphires are a very popular choice at the moment; however, we also have
couples that choose aquamarines and rubies,” she says, adding, “Tanzanites have
also become popular in recent times.”
The demand for sapphire engagement rings in particular has seen an uptick after
receiving royal approval. Princess Eugenie of York made headlines around the
world in 2018 when her fiancé proposed with an oval-cut Padparadscha sapphire
from Sri Lanka, estimated to be 3 carats.
Sasha Gammampila is founder of Deliqa Gems, which deals exclusively in
sapphires of all colours. She says the demand has been “consistent” and the royal
ring “certainly sparked a trend in sapphires”.
Katherine Kovacs, director K&K Export Import, agrees:
“In the last year or two, we have noticed a significant
spike in calls requesting colour gemstones for use in
“Top of the list for us is sapphire; Sri Lankan (Ceylon)
sapphire dominates but demand for Australian
sapphire is growing – particularly in blue, green and
teal colours – often with clients specifically requesting
that the stone is Australian.”
Kovacs says that sapphire and ruby are both from the
corundum family and have the suitable hardness and
toughness for everyday wear.
“Spinel is also great choice for wearability,” she adds.
SAMS GROUP AUSTRALIA
18 Jeweller July 2019
ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL
Linneys has also had requests for pearl engagement rings, though the jeweller
advises customers that pearl engagement rings will wear differently to a diamond
engagement ring due to the fragility and softness of pearls.
Similarly, gems such as amethyst, emerald and aquamarine do not share the
same hardness as diamonds, sapphires or rubies. These gems have become more
popular in the revival of the birthstone engagement ring, which was the tradition
before white diamonds.
LANGERMAN NATURAL COLOR DIAMONDS
Another growing trend is the ‘salt-and-pepper’ or ‘galaxy’ diamond – white
diamonds filled with dark inclusions that give the stone the appearance of the
night sky or stormy seas.
Safarewicz says Pieces of Eight clients are “drawn to their [galaxy diamonds]
individuality and distinct look. There is certainly a trend of young couples in their
twenties and thirties looking at these stones to feature in their engagement rings.”
Heavily-included and tinted diamonds can also appeal to price-sensitive
consumers, according to Safarewicz, who says they “allow clients with a more
modest budget to purchase a diamond while still appealing to their desire for a
Pearls, too, are becoming more popular in engagement rings – so much so
that West Australian pearl jewellery company Kailis has launched a bespoke
engagement-ring design service.
“We have seen great demand from Kailis customers who wanted a bespoke
engagement ring,” Julian Power, Kailis head of design, says. “Australian South
Sea pearls are the rarest in the world; it comes down to couples and individuals
wanting to express their individuality and have a beautiful ring that is customised
to their taste.”
Birthstones have a bold look and add a beautiful sentimental element to the
ring – some couples choose a combination of their own birthstones or even the
birthstones of their children. Yet the softness of some birthstones means they are
only suited to use as small accent stones or channel-set into the band to minimise
the risk of chips and scratches.
SHAPE REMAINS SOLID
Coloured gemstones may be giving engagement rings a modern look but where
shape is concerned, Fowler says it’s all about tradition.
“Couples are still looking for the classic round-brilliant in a claw setting,” she reveals.
“Halos are really popular at the moment combined with fancy shapes like pear,
oval and marquise centres.”
De Crombrugghe agrees, saying, “Round diamonds are still the most popular but
they are not always the best choice for fancy-colour diamonds as the roundbrilliant
cut has been designed to enhance the whiteness of a colourless diamond.”
Linney says oval-cut diamonds have been trending over the past 12 months,
adding, “We have also noticed more requests for 18-carat yellow gold.”
Meanwhile, Der Bedrossian notes that pave-style clusters in pink are proving
popular, as are pink-diamond halos around a white diamond centre stone.
“White gold is still the king of all metals for engagement rings,” he adds.
The most-popular searches on apps like Instagram and Pinterest reflect these
trends, where oval stones, petal-effect halos and half-halos, sunbursts – a marquise
Selling the dream
– retailers talk engagement sales
“We have many families who have been
shopping with us for generations and are
more like friends than customers – they love
the attention to detail that they receive with
us; they trust us and we are always honest with
our customers. More often, clients want to
know all about diamond quality and they are
definitely expecting the best service.”
– Jacqueline Fowler, jewellery consultant,
“Engagement ring buyers are doing a lot of
research online before buying now, which
can have some positive and some negative
effects, given not all the information they
read is correct. From a design perspective,
customers are flooded with different design
options online and I think they feel pressured
to know what they want before they visit our
showroom. Once they actually try rings on
their hand or view our designs in reality, they
quickly realise what they like and don’t like.”
– Justin Linney, creative director, Linneys
“We encourage a dialogue with our clients
about their jewellery: what their expectations
are and what styles and materials will be
most suitable. We want the client to feel
confident in their purchase but we also
respect that purchasing or creating a
special piece of jewellery can often carry
a lot of emotion with it.”
- Kelly Safarewicz, retail leader,
Pieces of Eight Gallery
20 Jeweller July 2019
or pear-cut diamond with a round-diamond
halo – and gold bands have topped consumers’
EYES ON THE PRICE
PIECES OF EIGHT
According to the New York Times, a broad survey of US adults listed
the median payment for an engagement ring at about US$2,000, with
just seven per cent spending over US$10,000. Another US poll found
that 68 per cent of Millennials expected to pay US$2,500 or less for an
In contrast, the average price of engagement rings in Australia
is $5,000, according to the 2018 Australian Wedding Industry
Report (AWIR), a survey of more than 4,000 couples conducted by
This gap presents a marked challenge for jewellers but, as with any
jewellery purchase, a thorough understanding of one’s customer and
the value of the product is the key to successful sales.
An engagement ring is a deeply-personal purchase. With more and
more young couples now living together and saving for their home
deposit or paying off a mortgage, splashing cash on a huge diamond
is no longer feasible.
“Clients are telling us that the type of consumer that requests a
coloured-gemstone engagement ring likes to have something unique
but is often driven by price – you can usually get a bigger ring for
fewer dollars with a colour gemstone than you can with a diamond,”
Even at the higher end of the market, Linney says price is still a
factor. The key is to find the perfect ring for the customer’s budget:
“About $10,000 seems to be a common figure that guys and girls are
prepared to spend on an engagement ring,” he explains. “Purchasing
an engagement ring is one of the most important financial decisions
couples will ever make so it is important that they are well-informed
and make the right choice.”
For this reason, couples are often shopping for their engagement rings
together, discussing exactly what they want and what they can afford.
“Often couples come in just knowing their budget,” Fowler confirms.
“Others come in with a design including the exact diamond size and
quality they would like.”
Social media has enhanced the proposal, making
it more public. As a result, the story of choosing
the ring, the significance of the personal
design elements and the unique, photogenic
appearance of the finished product are all
major selling points.
“Deciding what to spend on
an engagement ring is a very
personal decision,” Fowler says.
“What our clients end up spending
is based on a combination of
many different things. But
ultimately the significance of
continued page 23
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ENGAGEMENT AND BRIDAL
After “Yes” comes “I do”, which is another opportunity for jewellers to create the memory
of a lifetime by selling the wedding ring, the bridal jewellery and the wedding-party jewellery
Wedding rings are priced lower than engagement rings and don’t have
the same fanfare, but there’s no reason this jewellery purchase should be
“The appeal of wedding rings is because of tradition and ceremony – a wedding
ring is something worn by a wide range of people with a wide range of budgets,”
Olivia Baird, marketing co-ordinator at Peter W Beck, says. “A basic lightweight,
9-carat, yellow-gold wedding ring can be purchased at retail for as low as $150 but
those people with a higher budget will spend many thousands of dollars on their
These rings are another chance for a couple to commemorate their love with
personal or matching pieces that show off their flair for design. “Over the last
12 months we have seen continued popularity of our zirconium range in men’s
wedding rings,” Baird says. “The striking black offers a modern twist on our classic
styles, while our zirconium-and-gold styles make for a sophisticated combination
of materials in a wedding ring.”
Chris Scanlan is manager at RJ Scanlan & Co, which distributes Dora wedding rings
for men. He agrees that black has been a trend, especially contrasted with yellow
gold or even rose gold, and that carbon fibre also has a strong following.
Chris Worth, of Worth & Douglas, has observed the same trend, noting, “Twotone
with a textured finish is still a popular choice for men’s rings. While we’re still
finding the choices to be more on the conservative side, men are stepping away
from the traditional look and we’ve seen this particularly with the black ‘ZiRO’ rings.”
Scanlan says the average price for a wedding ring has dropped considerably,
maybe by as much as 25 per cent in five years, but adds, “There is still a large
market out there that does want to wear something of quality and of value on
Similarly, in the women’s market, Baird says platinum has been growing in
popularity due to a recent price fall, while designs have been trending towards
“very dainty widths of 2–3mm”.
Worth confirms that “diamond-set rings in white gold or platinum” are still
very popular for ladies’ rings, while there are growing trends for claw-set
wedding rings and a shift back to yellow gold for both men and women.
One trend across both engagement and everyday jewellery
is stacking rings. Otherwise known as ‘the Triple’, the
engagement ring is worn between the wedding ring and
an eternity ring that is often given either on a wedding
anniversary or on the birth of the couple’s first child.
We offer a wide range of unique engagement-ring
designs and always ensure they can be perfectly
coupled with a specially-designed wedding ring as a
set,” Worth says.
Meanwhile Baird confirms, “We are seeing a resurgence
in the popularity of wedding rings designed with a curve
to fit perfectly against the engagement ring.”
For retailers, stocking a variety of men and women’s styles is also essential.
“In Germany and Scandinavia, nearly all couples will go in and buy matching hisand-hers
wedding bands,” Scanlan explains. “This doesn’t really happen in Australia.
More often, you’ll have a woman buying a wedding band to suit her engagement
ring, while her fiancé will buy a wedding band to suit his style.”
Baird says couples still purchase wedding bands together, despite a preference for
“Couples will often choose wedding bands where one element of the set is
matching – the material, finish or profile perhaps. Matching one of these elements
means the rings fit together but still give the couple the opportunity to highlight
their personal style,” she explains.
Scanlan also points out that many men and women are not able to wear a
wedding ring at work for safety reasons. In this case, the ring could come with a
chain so it can be worn under clothes or alternatively come in a secure display box
so it can be kept safe when not worn.
HERE COMES THE BRIDE – AND BRIDESMAIDS
Wedding jewellery doesn’t stop with the rings; brides also consider earrings,
necklaces, bracelets and decorative pieces for their hair or veil. The Australian
Wedding Industry Report (AWIR) found that the average couple has seven to
10 people in their wedding party, providing ample opportunity for jewellers to
suggest matching jewellery for bridesmaids and cufflinks for groomsmen.
A classic choice of adornment for many brides and their bridal parties is pearls,
which traditionally symbolise femininity, purity and loyalty.
“We create modern pearl jewellery at affordable prices for the bride and
bridesmaids that look classic and on trend,” Ikecho founder and director Erica Miller
says. “Brides like to feel special with some extra bling, while they tend to choose a
more classic style for their bridesmaids.”
The soft lustre of pearls and their range of colours, including black, pink, cream,
gold and pure white, complement all skin tones as well as different metals.
“Pearls are timeless and elegant, which is often their appeal brides and mothersof-the-bride.
They complement almost every outfit, including the white tones
in a wedding gown,” Kailis head of design Julian Power explains. “Kailis offers
many different ranges to appeal to different tastes, including the Classics and
Contemporary collections, an Art Deco-inspired range called the Charlston and
the Kailis silver collection, which offers perfect gifts for the bridal party.”
When it comes to selecting bridal jewellery, Power reveals that Kailis’ new flagship
boutique in Perth – opening in August – will have a fitting room for brides to try
on jewellery with their wedding gowns. Ikecho also offers marketing support
to retailers, specifically-oriented towards helping brides select the perfect pearl
jewellery for their big day.
22 Jeweller July 2019
continued from page 21
the ring and enjoyment from wearing it
and showing it off continues long after the
purchase price is forgotten.”
Safarewicz agrees, saying, “Clients can
often be swayed to go beyond their initial
price range by a spectacular stone or to
buy something bigger than what they had
planned; however, there is almost always a
budget and it remains an important factor
“We never push people to a pricier option; we
always look to find a beautiful stone that is
within the budget,” she says.
Consumer research recently conducted by
the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
found that 69 per cent of US bridal customers
‘prefer a diamond with an origin story’. This
is one area where natural diamonds and
other gems have an edge over materials like
synthetic moissanite and cubic zirconia.
While fancy-colour diamonds have a
reputation as being more expensive than
other diamonds and gems, de Crombrugghe
stresses, “A natural, fancy-colour diamond
doesn’t need to be big to be stunning. Also,
pure colours are more expensive so why not
offer a colour diamond with a secondary hue?
This will often be even more charming and
hypnotic than a straight colour. Subtle fancy
light colours are also far less pricey than fancy
intense or fancy vivid colours.”
She adds, “Nobody will ever notice very small
inclusions without magnification.
What really matters is the energy and the
beauty that will be there every single day on
the finger of their life partner. The lucky owner
of this fabulous stone will be the only one to
know that all these small grading deviations
are nature’s signature of that
Der Bedrossian notes
halos and accent
rings, as large
are too expensive for
Another way around
the difficult price
question is to offer
financing. Online retailers
have embraced the practice and
Blue Nile and James Allen both tout interestfree
financing either through a payment plan
or an ‘in-store’ credit card.
Buy now-pay later services like Afterpay
and ZipPay have also been adopted by
parts of the jewellery industry, though they
are not always suited to smaller retailers or
Another rising trend is the ‘placeholder ring’ or
‘loaner ring’. Generally priced at $500 or less,
they suit a groom-to-be who hasn’t settled
on a design, can’t afford the dream ring yet
or does not want to risk travelling to the
proposal location with the real thing.
The placeholder ring can be inscribed with
a unique proposal message and kept as a
sentimental token of love, or act as a deposit
and be swapped at a later date when
the couple is ready to choose the bride’s
In the US, Helzberg Diamonds conducted
market research and found that 60 per
cent of men listed ‘selecting the ring’ as the
hardest part of proposing. A similar number
felt it important to involve their partners in
choosing the ring.
“I’d have to say that buying an engagement
ring is one of the scariest – and most
rewarding – experiences for most men. You
want to be excited with them and share the
special experience,” Fowler says.
The placeholder means the romantic
proposal tradition can continue – without
the stress – and it gives the jeweller the
opportunity to create another beautiful
memory for the couple when they come in to
design their dream ring together.
Above all, the engagement ring signals the
start of something, in both the literal and
emotional sense. Combining modernity and
tradition, this piece of jewellery is a symbol of
love, hope and happy memories – one of the
most meaningful purchase decisions people
will ever conduct. It’s the jeweller’s privilege
to help make the moment unforgettable. i
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THE BACKBONE OF THE
JEWELLERY INDUSTRY IS THE
DIAMOND. ARABELLA RODEN
DISCOVERS HOW THE CATEGORY
IS ADAPTING TO NEW TRENDS
AND OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
here’s no question the diamond industry is facing challenges. The world’s
largest producers have seen sales of both rough and polished stones
slump in recent months – De Beers reported its worst sales results in two
years in May, while Alrosa confirmed an 8 per cent year-on-year decline.
At major buying fairs across the globe, the sentiment has been mixed and slow
trade recorded. “The diamond market is still suffering and most categories are not
doing well globally,” Yehuda Diamond Company president Dror Yehuda says.
The problem is not oversupply but weakening consumer demand, both for the
diamond category and across the retail industry in general. In recent years, a large
number of jewellery retailers have closed their doors, struggling to cope with a
downturn in consumer spending and the changing nature of shopping itself.
Even at the luxury end, publicly-listed retailers Tiffany & Co and Signet have posted
losses for the first quarter of 2019.
At the recent JCK Las Vegas trade show, buyer numbers were estimated to be
down by as much as 25 per cent. While some blamed the downturn on moving
the show from weekend to mid-week, panels still focused on how to turn the tide.
“Demand has become very narrow and very specific in terms of what people
are looking for,” Rapaport senior analyst and news editor Avi Krawitz said at one
seminar, adding that some parts of the industry have been slow to adapt to the
“tremendous change” that has occurred over the past few years.
July 2019 Jeweller 25
Like other luxury goods, diamond prices are highly elastic, which means any changes
in price have a direct impact on demand. Vipul Sutariya, director Dharmanandan
Diamonds, explains, “White diamonds are always in demand because of their rarity
and beauty but the micro and macro economy play a vital role in the price point of
jewellery. During a particularly challenging time, the lower colour grades will attract
more consumers who are looking for something affordable.”
Sutariya says 0.5 to 2 carats are “moving decently” – an observation echoed by Royal
Gem Australia’s David Karakai. “The smaller sizes, up to 1 carat, are very competitive,”
he says. “However, we specialise in larger sizes so we are seeing a lot of demand
in the 2 to 3-carat range as well as 5 carats. Clients are always price sensitive
and looking for the best deal.”
Meanwhile Yehuda lists various colours and clarities in 1 to 2 carats as performing
better, noting a “big shortage” in G-I colour VS1-VS2 diamonds over 2 carats.
In terms of cut, he says ovals have done well over the past year, particularly in the US.
Pear and emerald cuts are also in demand.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, consumer spending has been
on a downward trend since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 with consumers
reluctant to spend on discretionary luxuries like jewellery. Spiralling debt,
LEFT AND RIGHT: THE SIRIUS STAR CUT FROM DHARMANANDAN DIAMONDS
a softening property market and stagnant wages have all given many
The effect on the retail industry has been stark and National Australia Bank
economists declared the sector “clearly in recession” following the May edition
of the bank’s Monthly Business Survey.
For the diamond category, the answer has been to re-orient the product
to include women’s self-purchase jewellery and not just once-in-a-lifetime
“The women’s self-purchase market has been the growth engine of the sector
over the past few years,” Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers
Association (DPA), says. “In the US, about one-third of diamond jewellery sales are
women purchasing for themselves and the price points have grown to be similar
to those for gifts, at between $US1,000 and $US1,500 for the median price.”
Jonathan Kendall, president, De Beers Group global industry services, confirms:
“The self-purchase sector has been growing over the past 20-plus years and
today it represents up to 40 per cent of purchases in some markets. So yes, it’s
important and slowly trending upwards.”
Lieberherr explains that the change has come about due to a cultural shift.
“Historically, many women have not seen diamond jewellery as a self-purchase
option as the idea of a diamond as a gift of love or symbol of commitment has
dominated,” he says.
“At the same time, the branded-accessory market has been growing,
with women as the primary purchasers, pointing to a lost opportunity for
Today, Lieberherr says women are looking to purchase diamond jewellery for
themselves “to celebrate important milestones, reward themselves or simply
because they can and it makes them proud,” which means retailers need to
market and sell directly to women. He points to the DPA’s ‘For Me, From Me’
campaign, which gives retailers the resources both in-store and online to
capitalise on this market.
Diamonds also appeal as gifts to mark various milestones.
“We see diamond gifting at christenings and other religious ceremonies,
graduations and 21st birthdays, as well as silver and gold wedding anniversaries,”
Kendall explains. “As populations age, we are also seeing a trend for eternity rings
as partners show their love and appreciation, and brooches and necklaces are
popular gifts for the older generation.”
Lieberherr calls the process “diversifying purchase motivations”. Rather than
pivoting away from engagement and bridal, which still represent about 30 per
cent of diamond sales, the trade is adding occasions to celebrate with
SYNTHETIC VERSUS AUTHENTIC
Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are attracted to authentic and ecofriendly
businesses and are willing to pay more for these attributes,
according to consumer research company Nielsen.
“More consumers are looking for sustainable products,” Sutariya says.
“They are concerned about how and where their jewellery comes from
– is it responsibly sourced?”
S E CUR E
E A RRI NG B ACK S
P r o u dly d e sig n e d a n d
m a n u fac t u r e d in the U K
Producers of lab-grown diamonds have touted their alleged
sustainable and ethical credentials, striking a chord with younger
consumers; however, these claims have been criticised as capitalising
on consumer ignorance of how synthetic diamonds are manufactured,
as well as the lack of knowledge about the true environmental and
social impact of diamond mining.
“There is nothing sustainable about lab-grown diamonds. They require
heating up reactors at [extreme] temperatures, which require millions
of gallons of water to cool off,” Lieberherr says, adding, “None of today’s
lab-grown diamond producers make use of renewable energy, despite
what some claim, and most of the volume comes from regions of the
world where electricity is produced with coal and fossil fuels.”
For natural diamonds, the challenge is emphasising the industry’s
long-term commitment to transparency, traceability and energy
S A F E
S ECU R E
H YPO-A LLERGE NIC
C OMFOR T ABLE
Both De Beers and Alrosa have recently announced their own
traceability initiatives. Tracr, an end-to-end blockchain platform
developed by De Beers in collaboration with the diamond industry,
will launch its beta version in the next few months and aims to build
consumer confidence while making industry practices more efficient.
Signet and China’s Chow Tai Fook have already pledged their support
for the initiative.
Alrosa, meanwhile, has announced ‘electronic passports’ for each of
its diamonds, including details on each stone’s age, origin and date of
extraction. The passports will also note the time and place where the
diamond was cut and the cutter’s name and background.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has also begun issuing
Diamond Origin Reports.
In terms of environmental impact, the DPA has recently released
the results of an independent investigation into diamond mining
conducted by third-party evaluator Trucost.
It found that natural diamonds emit three times less carbon dioxide
per polished carat than synthetics; however, mining still has a
significant environmental cost.
“The report points to the undeniable, negative environmental impact
of diamond mining – carbon emissions account for the bulk of that
impact, as diamond mines have a limited physical footprint and make
limited use of chemicals,” Lieberherr notes. “It is important for the
sector to look at ways to reduce its carbon footprint through energy
conservation, greater access to renewable sources and ambitious
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Kendall believes the industry has come a
long way – further than outdated consumer
stereotypes might suggest.
“The real diamond industry has a broad
sustainability approach,” he says. “In the last
20 years there has been far more effort put
into the economic, social and environmental
impacts associated with our business.
Sustainability is paramount to any business
success and our industry is progressing well
in this regard. Operating responsibly, creating
healthy workplaces, supporting employees,
their families and local communities, and
protecting the environment are all a real focus
in the modern diamond industry.”
He references De Beers’ Project Minerva,
which supports groundbreaking research
into carbon-neutral mining as well as the
group’s partnership with UN Women and its
strict environmental measures and ambitious
carbon-reduction targets. Kendall says De
Beers “has reduced its carbon footprint
significantly in the last five years with
excellent initiatives such as the first solarpowered
grading lab in Surat, India”.
In terms of social benefits, Trucost determined
that large-scale diamond mining generates
US$16 billion in net benefits every year,
of which more than 80 per cent flow to
local communities around mines. These
benefits include employment, services,
taxes and royalties, as well as infrastructure
Still, Rapaport Group chairman Martin
Rapaport recently delivered a stern warning
to the industry at JCK Las Vegas: “The
diamond trade is not profitable enough to
support a sustainable supply chain,” he said.
“If the trade does not change its business
practices and adapt to new realities, the
diamond industry will suffer extreme financial
and regulatory disruption.”
Lieberherr predicts a backlash against
synthetic diamonds, claiming consumers will
realise their lack of inherent or resale value –
but Yehuda says retailers should cater to the
current demand for synthetics.
“If you really wish to stand out and have
the courage to do it, go into lab-grown
diamonds. This category is doing extremely
well in the US,” he says. “Despite all the
controversy around the lab-grown diamond
sector, it’s a product that can help your
bottom line. You just need to be honest and
passionate about the product you are selling.”
Still, Lieberherr urges caution, saying the
synthetics category jeopardises diamond
retailers’ premium positioning.
Sutariya believes the best solution for retailers
is to add value to natural diamonds through
technology. “At present, certification is very
common; the same certificate with the same
colour and clarity is available at a cheaper
price at an online store,” he explains. To help
retailers stand out, Dharmanandan exclusively
offers Sirius Star diamonds in its Love Facets
Collection, which are uniquely cut to optimise
Billed as the ‘brightest diamonds in the world’,
Sutariya claims stocking the collection “makes
competition irrelevant” because there’s no
way other retailers can mimic the effect and
undercut the price.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
There’s no way to predict the challenges the
diamond industry could face in the future but
it’s certain that, like all industries, evolution
will be necessary.
In the meantime, better marketing,
technological innovation, catering to
consumer trends and streamlining supply
chains are some tools that can help the
diamond industry keep shining. i
NEW SEASON WATCHES
ICE-WATCH 015604 ICE LO MALIBU
WHILE MANY COMPANIES HAVE WITHDRAWN
FROM BASELWORLD, THE SWISS TRADE SHOW
STILL MARKS THE START OF THE NEW WATCH-
BUYING SEASON. ARABELLA RODEN DISCOVERS
THE LATEST MODELS FROM LEADING BRANDS
ust a few short years ago Baselworld was king of the watch industry.
The luxury trade fair once attracted more than 2,000 exhibitors and
Held in March, at the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter, it was
a time of excitement, renewal, and growth – the ideal place to launch new
watches and timepieces ahead of the summer shopping season. Some industry
commentators even likened it to an awe-inspiring ‘pilgrimage’.
Unfortunately, the once-great show fell into a slow pattern of decline.
Predatory local businesses charged higher and higher prices for meals and
accommodation, leading to lower visitor numbers. Booth prices soared, making
exhibiting prohibitively expensive for many brands; at the same time, a redesign
of the main Hall 1 venue in 2013 softened numbers due to reduced floor space.
Meanwhile, falling Swiss watch exports in 2015 – the end of the so-called
‘China watch boom’ – saw further contraction. By 2017, the show had shed 600
exhibitors and was in dire financial straits, reporting losses of CHF110 million.
As a result, long-term managing director Sylvie Ritter, director of sales Martin
Fergusson and marketing and communications director Loraine Stantzos left the
show’s parent company MCH Group.
Yet Baselworld had still not hit rock bottom; that came a year later with the
departure of industry juggernaut Swatch Group, parent of Breguet, Longines,
Tissot, Omega, Hamilton and Rado, among many others.
Its CEO Nicolas Hayek Jr publicly criticised MCH’s management, claiming they’d
ignored complaints and refused to adapt the format to attract more buyers,
before abruptly pulling out of the show.
René Kamm, who had been CEO of MCH Group for 15 years, resigned shortly
after – but the decision could not prevent a further exodus of high-profile
manufacturers, some of which had supported the show for more than 60 years.
Maurice Lacroix, Corum and Raymond Weil quickly announced their decision to
stop exhibiting at Baselworld.
Yet there were glimmers of hope following the 2019 edition, under the fresh
leadership of MCH Group’s new managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff.
Industry commentators acknowledged that while exhibitor numbers were still
hovering at the 600 mark and attendees around 80,000, there was a willingness
to embrace change and at least some vision of what the future would hold.
With new MCH Group CEO Bernd Stadlwieser also coming in to breathe new life
into the venerable trade show – which marked its 102nd anniversary in 2019 –
there’s a sense that, with the right strategy and enough time to implement it, the
challenges can be met.
While Baselworld is not what it once was in terms of exhibitors, visitors and
industry support, it still marks the natural time for brands and suppliers to debut
current and upcoming releases, as well as get retailers informed and enthused
about the latest products.
Its timing makes it the focal point of the buying year, and even in its present form,
there is no other watch industry trade fair of its calibre in terms of reputation,
recognition and reach.
Whether participating at Baselworld or debuting fresh stock on their own terms,
here’s what leading brands and suppliers have in store for retailers.
July 2019 Jeweller 29
NEW SEASON WATCHES
TWA0342 CODE TS
Seiko’s Prospex Collection is an adventure
series of watches purposely built for land,
sea and sky. The two new additions are
from the Sea series, and are 200m water
resistant with rotating bezels and stainless
steel cases. Meanwhile, the latest models
from the Presage Collection display the finest
mechanical watchmaking from Japan.
Duraflex Group Australia
Thomas Sabo’s Code TS watch is characterised by the brand’s
distinctive aesthetic, mixing modern and traditional influences.
At Mondaine, MS1.32110.LD is the latest addition to the
sustainable Essence collection. Meanwhile, the rugged Luminox
XL.1201 is part of the ICE-SAR Arctic 1200 Series, designed for
Icelandic search and rescue teams.
Heart & Grace
Aravis is the first Cluse collection for men. These
sophisticated and stylish watches are leading
Cluse to a whole new audience. Meanwhile, the
latest models from Pierre Lannier continue the
company’s 40-year legacy of elegant, quality
watches at affordable prices, designed and
made in France.
30 Jeweller July 2019
Pierre Cardin’s new releases feature
beautiful design and function. The
masculine, multifunction Ryan comes
with a sturdy stainless steel band, while
the Mila and Charlotte have mop dials
and floating crystals for an elegant
finish. Perfect for daily wear and
special occasions alike.
MAD & Associates
The MeisterSinger Bronze Line No 3
features a brushed bronze case with
striking galvanic blue dial. A single
hand indicates time, doing away
with redundant minutes and
seconds. Meanwhile, the Zürichdesigned
– the third instalment in the White
Series – features a Corian case, a unique
and non-traditional material.
BRONZE LINE NO 3
NEW SEASON WATCHES
The Promaster series releases new models
designed for travel and adventure across
mountains, oceans and time zones, with water
resistance, accuracy and rugged construction
at their heart. At Bulova, the world’s first curved
chronograph movement makes its debut.
This season sees the relaunch of the Glycine Airman, which
dates back to 1953 and was famously worn by US Air Force
pilots and NASA astronauts. Another watch brand with
US military pedigree, Traser, debuts a new model: the OdP
Evolution, which features the brand’s self-powered illumination
technology. And finally, Jowissa offers the chic J5.545.L Facet
Watch, ‘a piece of jewellery that tells the time’.
From the classic design of Bering and Paul
Hewitt to the cool and colourful Ice-Watch,
the new releases are all about playing to
each watch’s strengths. The most recent
edition to West End’s distribution portfolio,
Claude Bernard, brings Swiss-made quality
to designs for both men and women.
32 Jeweller July 2019
DUO CHIC CALIFORNIA
ORGANIC GEMS PART IV: AMMOLITE
desired and collectable form of these
The vivid iridescent sheen of ammolite is
caused by an interference effect, when white
light is refracted and reflected back from the
layered aragonite platelets within the gem’s
structure. The thicker these layers, the more
red and green hues are seen; when layers are
thinner, violet and blue hues dominate.
The pattern, intensity and range of colour
all contribute to the overall value of an
ammolite gem. Green and red are the most
common colours, with blue and violet being
rarer, and therefore more valuable.
Ammolite may be described as either
fractured or sheet. Sheet ammolite is
unbroken, with a continuous movement of
colour across its surface. Fractured ammolite
may have various different patterns and
some have been described with terms such
as ‘dragon skin’, ‘cobblestone’, ‘moonglow’ and
Hundreds of millions of years ago, the
Earth was very different. Little did the
creatures of our planet know, they
would not only be a stepping-stone in
the evolution of life, but also provide
the humans of the future with fabulous
jewellery gems in the form of ammolite.
The process begins with ammonites, marine
invertebrate animals that are now extinct.
They thrived in tropical seas during the
Devonian geological period, beginning
about 400 million years ago, to the close of
the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago.
Ammolite forms when the fossilised shell
of the ammonite is preserved and the
cavities that originally held its soft body
are filled with aragonite – the same mineral
that is responsible for the nacre of pearl
The resulting organic gem – which
resembles an opal in some ways – is
beautifully coloured, with a wonderful
The ammonites that form ammolite
specifically inhabited a prehistoric inland
subtropical sea that bordered the Rocky
Mountains of northwest America.
As the sea receded, layers of sediment
preserved the shells.
Ammonite shells comprise a number of
minerals including small aragonite platelets,
and depending on the conditions of
deposition, these are often replaced by
pyrite or calcite.
The result is a pseudomorph of the original
shell shape, which may contain beautiful
cavities of crystalline material throughout
the shell‘s structure. Thus ammonites
themselves can make beautiful and
interesting pieces of jewellery.
But it is the ammolite that is the most
RANGE OF COLOUR
TO THE OVERALL
VALUE OF AN
RED ARE THE
BLUE AND VIOLET
BEING RARER, AND
Because the ammolite layer of the shell is
usually mere fractions of a millimetre in
thickness, most ammolite gems are in fact
composite stones, generally in the form of a
doublet or triplet. The ammolite is adhered
to a dark backing material, usually its matrix
or mother rock.
As the ammolite is thin and fragile, a second
layer, generally a polymer, is added to protect
and stabilise the stone. To enhance the optical
display, a piece of synthetic spinel, quartz or
glass-type material may be placed on top.
Ammolite is a magnificent gemstone with an
incredible history of creation over millions of
years. It is one of the most rare and beautiful
organic minerals for use in jewellery. i
STACEY LIM FGAA BA Design, is a qualified
gemmologist and gemmology teacher/assistant.
She is a jewellery designer, marketing manager
and passionate communicator on gemmology.
For information on gemstones, visit: gem.org.au
July 2019 Jeweller 33
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there is a fascinating story
waiting to delight clients
around the world. Studying
with GAA brings the
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one of the most supportive
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in Australia was one of the
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Gemmologist and Diamond Technologist
Practical Diamond Grading &
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Enrolments now open
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Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts
and consumers about gemstones
SEO OR SEM: WHICH IS BETTER FOR BUSINESS?
Every business knows the power of
appearing on the first page of Google
search results. LAURA DAWSON explores
which method is best for improving
page rank and converting sales.
When looking to grow, businesses will
almost always invest money into some
kind of online marketing. This often
involves improving a business’ position in
Google searches, which can be done with
either SEO or SEM.
Search-engine optimisation (SEO) is a
process to improve a page’s rank on
Google’s search results by tweaking the
SEO may include improving a page’s
loading speed, enhancing the content,
working with images and ensuring it is
optimised for mobile browsing.
SEO is not a paid service per se but,
depending on the competitiveness of
one’s market, a professional company
may be enlisted to get the best results.
This approach is often referred to as
Search-engine marketing (SEM), is a form
of advertising and also known as pay per
click marketing, or ‘PPC’. SEM is usually
conducted through Google AdWords and
is the number-one way to immediately
rank first on Google.
SEM requires a strong strategy and ongoing
attention to achieve success without
wasting one’s advertising budget.
Which is better? Well, as with so many
things, it depends. By learning the key
differences between the two, businesses
can make up their own minds and allocate
THE BENEFITS OF SEO
Increases website traffic – Think about the
way people conduct online searches ; when
they see a business on the front page, they
probably click on it, right? If one navigates
to the third or fourth page of results, for
example, they might not feel as confident
about the quality of the businesses there.
The point is that when businesses rank
higher on Google, they get more trust from
RANK HIGHER ON
GET MORE TRUST
– A LONG-TERM
IS GOING TO
DO A LOT MORE
visitors. This increases business credibility.
A long-term SEO strategy is going to do
a lot more than provide leads; it’ll also
improve a business’ reputation.
Improves your website – When using an
SEO strategy, a business is attempting to
make a website the best it possibly can be
so that when Google’s automated search
bots crawl the site and the backlinks, they
find the content to be genuine and useful
If all of the content on a page is keywordrich,
which involves including terms that
people are likely to use when searching,
then Google will rank a page higher in
Great ROI – when an SEO campaign is
successful and a business occupies that
hallowed first, second or third position
on Google’s search results, there’s no
requirement to pay extra money (advertise)
to maintain that rank. That business will
need to keep up SEO efforts and content
creation but won’t have to pay for every
click to the website.
July 2019 Jeweller 35
Broad reach – All the customer research in
the world still won’t predict all of the things
that users will type into a search engine
to find a business or product. Google
gets more than six billion searches a day
and SEO helps pages to rank higher for a
broader range of topics.
Less expensive – A focused SEO strategy is
an ongoing monthly investment but the
costs are far cheaper than an ongoing SEM
strategy. Not to say that SEM doesn’t have
a place in an online strategy as well, but
SEO is cheaper in the long run and provides
THE DRAWBACKS OF SEO
Slow to see results – While it would be
lovely if SEO were effective overnight,
the fact is that it takes time – and effort.
Businesses need to improve their websites,
write content, create valuable backlinks
and develop the kind of web pages that
really perform. Then they have to wait for
Google to recognise this, which can take
weeks or even months.
Very competitive space – Depending on
the industry, there may be many other
companies that are looking for higher page
rankings. Businesses need to be aware
of this and make sure they are adjusting
keywords and maintaining their websites,
or at least employing professionals to
assess their SEO strengths and weaknesses.
Needs a content strategy – One of the
largest elements of successful SEO is
content. Publish regularly and ensure
content is well-written and targeted to a
particular topic. This can be challenging for
smaller businesses but it is not impossible.
Needs regular backlinks – It used to be
possible to go and backlink any old page
to get better SEO results. Google got wise
to that and now requires pages to have
trusted backlinks. Quality is everything.
THE POSITIVES OF SEM
Top Google instantly – The great thing
about paid ads is that they sit above the
organic search results. SEM ads appear
right at the top of the page, and this is
achievable simply by bidding in the PPC
auctions for chosen keywords. When users
search for these keywords, they’ll see the
winning business first.
Next is a map from Google called a
‘Local Pack’. This is an unpaid section and
businesses can appear here if they are
strong in SEO.
Lots of control – SEM means businesses
must create their own ads, which then
go on to appear in Google’s search results.
This gives them a chance to test, tweak and
adjust every detail to get the best results
Businesses can also easily adjust the total
amount they want to spend on Google
AdWords and set budgets and limits for
daily spends. They can then cancel at
Show off your goods – Appearing
organically on page one of Google’s
search results is an advantage but the
listing is still restricted to just text and a
page link. An SEM listing allows businesses
to use Google’s visual product-listing ads
to show off products and services. People
are drawn to colours and imagery, which
means SEM may lead to better results and
Increase your visibility online – New
businesses and those trying to compete in
an established market with new products
or services will need to build awareness
quickly. While an SEO strategy will
broadcast your message over time, SEM
can ensure that people see a business right
now. SEM brings results much faster.
Target like never before – Businesses that
have done their research and, for example,
analysed that their target market is online
mostly between the hours of 7.30pm and
9pm, based in Townsville and searching in
French, on mobile phones, are in luck.
SEM allows marketers to target many
elements via AdWords, including the
location, time, language and demographic
of a preferred audience. Any business
with marketing that is relevant to a
particular time or location will love this
element of SEM.
Split testing for the best ROI – Businesses
can monitor and manage every element of
a campaign with split testing to quickly and
easily find out which ad is more successful.
A PPC campaign will give great results
within a matter of weeks using this testing.
IN SEM IS A
IT CAN FEEL
– THAT’S WHY
Low-cost leads – The cost of leads always
depends on a range of factors but SEM
provides high quality and low cost leads
to businesses that have organised their
campaigns and honed their messages.
THE CASE AGAINST SEM
Can be very expensive – Businesses that
are not investing sufficient effort into ads
may find that, over time, their AdWords
spend creeps up and up. Also, if they’re
not prudent with keywords – and negative
keywords – costs can escalate with very
little to show for it.
Ongoing investment required – SEM
requires businesses to keep feeding the
beast. Sure, investing in SEM is a no-brainer
when getting good results but sometimes
it can feel like non-stop expenditure. That’s
why campaign management is vital.
Competition can review your campaign
– A final downside of SEM is that any
competitor at any time can reproduce
or steal ad copy from a business, reaping
the benefits of that hard work.
It won’t take much for any cunning
competitor to work out what a business is
doing to fill its sales funnel, especially when
ads are so publicly displayed online.
WHEN BOTH ARE BEST
The simple answer to the question of
whether SEO or SEM is best, is that any
successful online marketing strategy should
use both. However, if there is only budget
for one, then SEM can be a great choice to
begin a campaign – with a view to investing
in SEO after a business has grown some
SEM is great for giving businesses quick
results and leads. SEO, on the other
hand, is great for building long-term
credibility and for sustaining a business
in the online landscape.
Perhaps the best way to consider these
two important strategies is to think of
SEO as a marathon and SEM as a sprint. i
LAURA DAWSON is
a content specialist at
Kymodo Digital Marketing.
36 Jeweller July 2019
THE MARSHMALLOW OR THE MEANIE PANTS?
SALES MANAGERS OFTEN FALL INTO ONE OF TWO ROLES: MARSHMALLOW OR MEANIE PANTS. GRETCHEN GORDON REVEALS
HOW TO AVOID THIS TRAP BY NEVER LOSING SIGHT OF THE MAIN GOAL – GETTING THE ABSOLUTE BEST OUT OF EMPLOYEES.
There is one over-arching thought any leader
of a sales team should keep in mind: it is
your responsibility to push your staff to
greater heights than they would achieve
on their own. If you can’t do this, you are
When it comes to driving employees to
a higher level of performance, too many
times sales leaders are extreme; they either
want to be their salespeople’s friend – the
‘marshmallow’ – or they feel like they have to
be drill sergeants – the ‘meanie pants’.
I recently conducted a webinar for a group
of both new and experienced sales leaders
on this topic. The focus was on accountability
and, as is true with most everything, it taught
that balance is the key; however, I recognise
that it can be difficult to achieve that balance
when it comes to managing people.
There are two ways sales leaders can maintain
balance and avoid being marshmallows
or meanie pants. Firstly, they can set
expectations and secondly, they can become
HOW TO SET EXPECTATIONS
If everyone knows explicitly what is expected
of them then there won’t be any frustration or
misunderstanding when those expectations
aren’t met. It’s crucial that sales leaders set
expectations about behaviours and activities
early and communicate these effectively,
instead of just focusing on outcomes.
Too often there is a laser focus on outcomes
– that is, the sales numbers generated by
employees – instead of setting in place a plan
of activity that will produce those outcomes.
Set expectations for everything and it will
make your job a lot easier.
This doesn’t mean you have to bark at your
sales reps and dictate every little thing – this
would turn you into a meanie pants. Sales
leaders will have a far greater impact if they
provide guidance about the actions that
employees themselves indicate they are
going to do.
IF EVERYONE KNOWS
IS EXPECTED OF
THEM THEN THERE
WON’T BE ANY
BEING TOO TOUGH DEMORALISES WORKERS
If you have a completely predictable process
and you know what the exact metrics are,
then you can certainly indicate the required
activity to produce the expected result.
If you don’t know for sure what those metrics
are, or should be, then it can be
a collaborative thing.
However, don’t fall into the marshmallow
mentality. If the level of activity isn’t
measurable and precise, or seems too low
or too high, then it is your obligation to veto
it and ask the employee to go back to the
Rather than being the all-knowing dictator,
position yourself as a loving but fair uncle or
aunt. This way, you will hold your employees
to their plans and goals and you will inspire
them to be better than they would be
If you refer back to the first key above –
setting expectations – tell employees that
this is your role. Even if they are seasoned
professionals, it is still your job to push them.
If you have done a good job of setting
expectations with regard to outcomes,
behaviours and activities then you will have
your roadmap for being an accountability
partner. Simply hold their feet to the fire to
ensure they deliver on what they said they
Remember the old adage: what gets
inspected gets respected. Keep it simple and
focus on the items that will impact outcomes.
The key traits of a leader, as it pertains to
accountability, are simple: your beliefs must
support accountability; you mustn’t seek or
need approval from your employees; you
must be willing to ask questions; and you
shouldn’t accept mediocrity.
Taking responsibility and managing both the
pipeline and behaviour are important but less
significant than the above traits.
OVERSIGHT IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
Seasoned staff both want and need oversight.
While you may have total confidence in
them and may default to just letting them do
whatever they choose, recall the mantra that
it is your responsibility to push your sales staff
to greater heights than they would achieve
on their own.
Think about how weird it would be if you
weren’t having regular accountability
meetings with a high-performing salesperson
and then they stumbled. Suddenly they
aren’t producing per usual and you have no
idea why. Wouldn’t it be awkward to start
providing oversight when you hadn’t before?
In reality, not providing oversight and
assuming they’ll “snap out of it” is being a
marshmallow. Consistency and balance on
this point, as well as the others, is key.
You’ll avoid falling into the marshmallowmeanie
pants trap and not only boost
your business but get the most out of your
employees, pushing them beyond their
own expectations. i
owns Braveheart Sales
Performance, a company
helping clients to improve sales.
July 2019 Jeweller 37
HAPPIER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE LEADERSHIP
SCALING UP A BUSINESS CAN TAKE ITS TOLL ON ONE’S WELLBEING. IN PART ONE OF THIS TWO-PART SERIES, DOUG FLEENER
DETAILS HOW TO CHANGE MINDSET AND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO BEAT STRESS AND IMPROVE OUTCOMES.
Over the years, I’ve worked with various
stressed-out owners and managers. Usually
they are smart and dedicated people who
couldn’t work any harder if they tried but
they always feel like they’re getting less
done and falling further behind.
Does this sound familiar?
Chances are there was a time you felt you
had everything under control. It almost
seemed as if your store or company was on
autopilot. For some people, this may not
have been too long ago – while for others
it may be a distant memory.
Everything was all good... and then
something changed. You added more
lines, more stores, more employees or
perhaps fewer employees; your socialmedia
exploded; your foot traffic fell away
or increased and so on.
Change is the one constant in business.
Change is rarely the result of a single
event; it’s instead an evolution driven
by alterations in technology, buying
behaviour, competition and countless
other external and internal forces.
So, are all of these changes the reason
things no longer feel in control?
Not really. It’s not the evolution of your
business that causes you to feel stressed
and overwhelmed; it’s the lack of evolution
in the way you work.
You can’t run a four-store chain the way
you ran a single store
You can’t manage a business that has an
revenue of $2.5 million in the same way
you ran a store with only $500,000 revenue.
Also, you can’t run your business like you
did three years ago.
Too much has changed and if you’re feeling
overwhelmed then there’s a good chance
that you haven’t changed with it. The
good news is that you can jumpstart that
evolution right now.
FOUR WAYS TO CHANGE
Let’s look at four key areas that can
help you be a more productive and
Accept that your work will rarely be
done – Let’s agree that it is nearly
impossible to get everything done in
this always-on, always-wired, 24/7 world.
I always joke that I became more successful
when I started keeping a ‘to-don’t’ list
instead of a ‘to-do’ list.
At the end of the day, we just have to
accept that some things will have to carry
over to be done at another time or maybe
they’ll never get done at all.
Time management is neither the problem
nor the solution – Unless you’ve got a
time machine in your office, just take time
management off the table.
Of course, if you do have a time
machine, please let me know because
I have a few things that happened in
my twenties that I’d like to go back and
change... but I digress.
There can be no blaming a lack of time for
being overwhelmed. We all have the same
number of hours in a day.
What you have to manage is not time,
but priorities – It’s about making the right
choices regarding where you focus your
energy and effort. Managers can make two
mistakes when it comes to this.
The first is doing what they want to do,
not what they need to do. It’s human
nature to gravitate to the things we like
or do well and sometimes these are
aligned with our priorities, but sometimes
The second is letting employees and
outside forces dictate priorities.
This happens more than people realise.
Leaders have to manage priorities like a
full-back holds on to a football.
MANAGING PRIORITIES IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MANAGING TIME
IT IS NEARLY
24/7 WORLD –
JOKE THAT I
WHEN I STARTED
KEEPING A ‘TO-
It doesn’t mean you’re not available when
needed but you should be the one who
decides when something else should take
precedence over your priorities.
Delegating isn’t enough – Although most
managers and owners could increase
delegation to their staff, this is not the
cure-all that most people think it is.
I can’t tell you how many times an owner
or manager has told me he or she needs
to delegate more, which always makes me
think, ‘So do it!’
I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to distribute
some of the tasks you’re doing that are
keeping you from your priorities but the
biggest reason to delegate is to have
more engaged staff.
It really isn’t going to have much impact on
your own levels of stress.
There’s a fifth critical element I’ll explore
next month. In the meantime, think about
the actions you can take now that will result
in a more productive and happier you. i
DOUG FLEENER is
president and managing
partner of Sixth Star
38 Jeweller July 2019
MARKETING & PR
WHEN CUSTOMER SERVICE IS UNSHACKLED
IT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR A BUSINESS TO OFFER CUSTOMER SERVICE – IT SHOULD BE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC FROM THE TOP DOWN.
BARRY URQUHART EXPLORES HOW CORPORATE CULTURE MUST EVOLVE TO PUT CUSTOMER-SERVICE SKILLS FIRST.
Customer service skills are easy to master
but they are impeded and compromised in
many instances by inadequate, superficial and
narrowly-focused corporate cultures.
Delegating authority improves morale,
contributes to staff loyalty, stabilises team
compositions and reassures customers that
they are dealing with people who have the
Well-scripted mission statements and brand
philosophies on office walls are insufficient
and often misleading. This is because they
seldom articulate the underlying driving force
that makes things happen in a business.
capacity to resolve issues to their satisfaction.
The manner and speed in which product
returns take place, and in which quality
issues and service deficiencies are addressed,
are key indicators of the degree to which a
Considerable resources and funds are
channelled into processes that reduce costs
and enhance internal efficiency – at the
expense of customer and client satisfaction.
IN RETAIL, CUSTOMER SERVICE COMES FIRST
service-oriented corporate culture prevails.
For some, following up with customers is
time-consuming and does not necessarily
generate additional revenue.
Under-utilised customer skills often remain
unrecognised; employees go unsupported
and improvements are not implemented.
Frequently, the importance of customer
service may be appreciated on a superficial
level – but it often remains unrealised, to the
dismay of front-line service providers.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Customer and client satisfaction is determined
by, and measured against, expectations, as
well as first impressions.
Automated telephone systems remain a
source of frustration and dissatisfaction,
mostly because there’s no way to bypass prerecorded
messages and get access to actual
By the time a customer reaches a person, it
can be difficult for staff to recover from the
anxiety and frustration that customer feels.
The ability of staff to neutralise such emotions
is important but this falls a long way short
of creating customer satisfaction – let
alone delight. A case in point is the recent
declaration by Centrelink that telephone waittimes
have been significantly reduced... to ‘just’
Against the benchmark of service excellence
– when incoming calls are answered within
three rings – it is little wonder that customers
are reluctant to call.
LITTLE IF THEY ARE
CAN’T READILY BE
FOUND ON THE
SERVICE BEGETS PERFORMANCE
Even if staff have excellent service skills,
an inadequate corporate culture will
compromise customer-service standards.
Department stores throughout Australia are
reporting losses in sales, profits and market
share. The response from senior management
has been to declare a commitment to
customer-focused endeavours, including
increased training in customer service.
Such utterances again fall well short, as
do the number of available and accessible
The consumer perception of the Australian
department-store sector is that it is difficult
to find staff when visiting stores. Having
highly-trained, qualified team members who
possess great product knowledge counts for
little if they are insufficient in numbers and
can’t readily be found on the shop floor.
There is a universal need for all seniorexecutive
and non-executive ranks to
champion customer service delivery.
ONE TOUCH ONLY
A need for staff to refer matters to another
person or department mars the customer
experience and diminishes the chances of
them becoming a long-term advocate of
Moreover, businesses are frequently reluctant
to expose themselves to expressions of
dissatisfaction from customers – but some
things are better to know first-hand. Thirdparty
complaints are difficult to manage and
impossible to contain.
It remains true that open, two-way
communication is a key characteristic for
sustaining client satisfaction and loyalty.
DON’T COMPROMISE COMMITMENT
With service excellence there is no place
to hide. Training should involve senior
management and board members, and
active participation is essential.
At the very least, participants should be
able to present considered action plans to
senior executives and non-executives at the
conclusion of the training programme. They
will feel rewarded and be reassured that they
have been heard.
In the new retail environment, customerservice
initiatives are particularly relevant and
businesses should ensure all endeavours are
universally embraced and applied. i
is managing director of
Marketing Focus and an
international keynote speaker.
July 2019 Jeweller 39
BIGGER ISN’T BETTER IN CONTENT MARKETING
WRITING FOR THE WEB IS ALL ABOUT USING ACCESSIBLE LANGUAGE. GRAHAM JONES WARNS RETAILERS NOT TO GET BOGGED
DOWN IN BUSINESS SPEAK WHEN CREATING THEIR DIGITAL CONTENT, EVEN IF THEY THINK IT SOUNDS IMPRESSIVE TO READERS.
If Little Red Riding Hood were reading
much of the material on the web these
days, she’d say, “My goodness Grandma,
what big words you’re using!”
Wherever you look, the internet contains
massive words. Why? Business writing
makes up the bulk of content marketing
and the language of corporations is formal,
stuffy and full of long words.
There exists a belief that corporate writing
appears more professional and that
anything else could make a business seem
low-key and less important.
and straightforward, it is easier to follow.
That’s the same with writing.
Evidence shows that short sentences are
easier to grasp than long sentences. Short
paragraphs make a piece flow better and
short words are easier to understand than
However, businesses still believe that being
formal is an important brand value as it
shows how serious they are. In fact, it has
the opposite effect; it can cause people to
abandon what they are reading, sometimes
because they find the author showy.
USING APPROACHABLE LANGUAGE HELPS CONNECT WITH READERS
The problem is that readers slow down
when they see big words. This can lead to
misunderstanding or failure to absorb the
content and messages – even if readers
make it through to the end of the article.
Mostly, people just give up when they
see long words; they can’t be bothered to
waste their time.
It’s not just big words that dominate the
internet but long sentences too. Again,
businesses seem to think that long
sentences with plenty of sub-clauses will
make them appear more professional. This
is also true of poor writers.
Inevitably, the opposite perception is
formed whereby readers might think that
people who use long words are distant and
not very clever – just trying to impress.
A study completed more than ten years
ago at Princeton University showed us that
the unnecessary use of long words created
more problems than it solved.
The researchers found that readers
believed a writer was smarter if the writing
was simple than when the words were
unnecessarily long and complicated.
KISS YOUR READERS
‘Keep it simple, stupid’ (KISS) is one of
the most popular acronyms in marketing. It
is the idea that if something is simple
Here are five things you can do to make sure
your content grabs readers and keeps them
believing in your business:
Write as you speak – Forget those clunky
rules about grammar. When we talk, we tend
to use simpler words, shorter sentences and
we regularly break grammar rules.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore correct
grammar but it means you can bend the
rules without worrying too much. If you use
a service like Grammarly, be sure to set the
style to ‘informal’ and the domain to ‘casual’.
This helps you connect with your readers.
Read your content out loud – When you’ve
finished writing your content, reading it
aloud will help you to concentrate and spot
mistakes more easily. If you struggle to read
it aloud or stumble, then it’s clear that the
writing is too complicated. Change it!
Check the reading age of your content – Use
your computer’s grammar-checking tool to
calculate the reading score of your writing.
Alternatively, go to the Readability Test Tool
online and paste in your text. Look for the
figure shown as the Flesch-Kincaid score.
Add five to that score – this is the age at
which a child can read what you have
written. Aim for a Flesch-Kincaid score of
between five and seven, which means your
writing is suitable for readers aged 10 to 12
THAN WHEN THE
Research shows this is the score most
suitable for quick reading, which everyone
does on online. You are not dumbing it down
– you’re making your writing more accessible.
Just go with it – Set aside the notion that
verbose writing is more professional. Use
short words and engage more readers. You’ll
communicate your messages more clearly
and encourage more interaction, such as
extra sharing on social media. Eventually,
you’ll realise that you are achieving more by
being ‘less professional’ in your writing.
Read more – Read the most popular blogs in
your sector, then read the online version of a
popular newspaper. These top publications
all use simple language. If you read them
regularly, you’ll start to write like them.
The best content on the web uses simple,
approachable language consisting of short
words and sentences. If you insist that you
must use ‘business speak’, you risk making
your content inaccessible and also risk readers
switching off, which is the exact opposite of
what we’re trying to do online. i
GRAHAM JONES studies
online behaviour and
consumer psychology to help
businesses improve website
40 Jeweller July 2019
LOCATION: London, UK
NAME: Rachel Richards
When was the space completed? Three
years ago, in May 2016.
Who is the target market and how did
they influence the store design? My
customers tend to be those that really
value independent design, so I wanted
to create quite a minimal space and let
the jewellery do the talking – although
my limited budget had a lot to do with
that choice too! I went for a very pared
back look, using clean plywood tabletops
and copper piping details. Jewellery is
displayed on raw, cut marble blocks. It
has quite a youthful appeal and the fitout
makes it a welcoming space where
customers don’t feel too nervous to
browse. Although some items are under
glass, we leave a lot of our jewellery where
it can be picked up and tried on. This made
me feel anxious at first but it’s the easiest
way to start a conversation and ultimately
With the relationship between store
ambience and consumer purchasing
in mind, which features in the store
encourage sales? Because of the tiny
size of the store, the ambience is really
driven between the staff member and
customer. There is always only one of us
in at a time. Any more, and we wouldn’t
fit the customers in too! The key thing is,
we’re all jewellery addicts and can talk
enthusiastically about each if the designers
in the shop. I curated the selection myself
and it’s important to me to have personal
relationships with each of the designers
we work with. Karina and Sarah, who work
with me in the store, are designer-makers
and we stock their designs. It really helps
our customer fall in love with the product
when you have that level of understanding
of the creative process behind each piece.
What is the store design’s ‘wow factor’?
The ‘wow’ factor is being discovered! The
store is so teeny and we’re tucked away
down a side street. Often a new customer
will stumble across us by chance. It’s that
palpable expression of delight that I love;
their excitement at finding this little gem of
a jewellery box! i
July 2019 Jeweller 41
10 YEARS AGO
WHAT WAS MAKING NEWS 10 YEARS AGO?
A SNAPSHOT OF THE INDUSTRY EVENTS THAT MADE NEWS HEADLINES IN THE JULY 2009 ISSUE OF JEWELLER.
JWNZ says money “intact”
The story: The Jewellers and Watchmakers of New
Zealand (JWNZ) has confirmed that nearly $20,000
raised eight months ago to assist local apprentices will
remain in a term deposit and will not be distributed
because of the global financial crisis.
In a letter received in response to last month’s
story; ‘Kiwis say, “Show me the money”,’ JWNZ
executive secretary Craig Anderson wrote, “Due
to the present economic climate and interest rates,
the JWNZ National Council was unanimous in its
decision to keep the funds raised intact. Placed on
term deposit last October the principal and interest
Pandora HQ buys
stake in Aussie arm
The story: Danish company Pandora
Holdings A/S will acquire a 60 per cent stake
in Australian distributor Pandora Jewelry after
nearly five years of incredible growth.
Karin Adcock – who established the Australian
agency for Pandora Jewelry in Australia
alongside her husband Brook in 2004 –
stressed that day-to-day operations would not
change as a result of the sale.
“The existing management teams will actually
be empowered with additional benefits,”
received has since
rumours of misuse
but confirmed the money had not been placed in a
Trust. JWNZ is yet to clarify if or when the funds will
be spent, nor addressed the assertion that it hadn’t
submitted its 2008 statutory annual return.
When Jeweller contacted JWNZ President Susi
Chinnery-Brown for further clarification, she
challenged Jeweller’s right to report on the matter, and
hung up the phone.
SWATCH ANGER CONTINUES
The story: Swatch has responded to a
chorus of criticism from retail jewellers
over its “arrogance”, lack of service and
The controversy was sparked when
Dennis Coleman from Balwyn Jewellers
in Melbourne went public about
his dissatisfaction with Swatch in a
previous issue of Jeweller.
Shain Forth, of Leon Baker Jewellers in
Geraldton, WA, has since revealed he is
ceasing to sell Tissot due to problems
with repairs, while Scott Godfrey from
House of Fraser in Castle Hill, NSW,
added: “Their customer service is
appalling and the communication is
Megan Parker, managing director
Swatch Australia, defended the
organisation, telling Jeweller, “I was
disappointed to read the letters
published so far... We certainly
want to offer exceptional customer
service whether it relates to the
way that we sell watches through
jewellers, or in particular related to
the after sale service.”
She added, “I would like to say that
I hope that moving forward we look
after every customer in the best
Ascot Four (Zamel’s) appeal dismissed
The story: The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal
made by Ascot Four, the former owners of the Zamel’s
jewellery chain, against 11 charges brought by the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
(ACCC) in December 2006. According to a release from
the ACCC, the Full Court unanimously dismissed the
appeal on May 26, 2009 and ordered Ascot Four to pay
the ACCC’s costs.
Ascot Four was found to have falsely represented that
the purchase of 11 items advertised in the Zamel’s
Christmas 2005 catalogue would have resulted in a
saving of the difference between the sale price and the
strike-through price. This breached section 75AZC(1)(g)
of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which prohibits false or
misleading representations being made in relation to
the price of goods.
42 Jeweller July 2019
JEWELLERY AND WATCH CALENDAR
A GUIDE TO THE LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL JEWELLERY AND WATCH EVENTS SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE IN THE YEAR AHEAD.
WINTON OPAL TRADESHOW
July 12 – 13
September 1 – 3
HONG KONG JEWELLERY
& GEM FAIR
Hong Kong, China
September 16 – 29
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Learn more: vietnamjewelryfair.com/en
LIGHTNING RIDGE OPAL
& GEM FESTIVAL
Lightning Ridge, Australia
July 24 – 27
HONG KONG WATCH
& CLOCK FAIR
Hong Kong, China
September 3 – 7
SHANGHAI WORLD JEWELRY
October 10 – 13
Learn more: newayfairs.com/EN
Learn more: newayfairs.com/EN
Gold Coast, QLD
August 1 – 2
August 9 – 12
August 24 – 26
JAPAN JEWELLERY FAIR
September 6 – 9
September 7 – 11
September 7 – 11
& JEWELRY FAIR
September 10 – 12
BHARAT DIAMOND WEEK
October 14 – 16
October 23 – 25
JEWELLERY & WATCH
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Learn more: jws.ae
Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
November 15 – 18
Learn more: mij.com.my
GOLD, JEWELLERY & GEM
November 28 – December 1
August 28 – 30
September 12 – 16
July 2019 Jeweller 43
WORKS AT: London
YEARS IN TRADE: 40
apprenticeship, 1st, 2nd, and
3rd year Trade Certificate.
FIRST JOB: Max Wilson
Jewellers in Palmerston North,
Favourite gemstone: I have
no real favourite, but I like a
top-quality Tanzanite because
of the rarity and colour depth.
Plus you can get them in a
large size. They’re a setter’s
nightmare, but worth it!
Favourite metal: Platinum,
because even thought it is the
most difficult metal to handmake
with, it pre-polishes
brilliantly. You can use hard
platinum solder throughout
Favourite tool: The PUK
welding machine. It allows
you to set up, move and re-set
up pieces knowing they won’t
move when soldering.
Best part of job: The final
polishing after many hours
Worst part of job: It really
depends; melting the metal,
rolling, soldering, filling,
shaping, emering and
polishing all have their
Best tip to a jeweller: Just
because you haven’t been
shown how to do something,
it doesn’t mean you can’t do
it. I’m self-taught in a lot of
things, and I’m always asking
questions to improve my skills.
Biggest health concern on
the bench: Eyes. I increase the
focus by having many visor
Love jewellery because: The
satisfaction I get when I make
a close to perfect piece of
jewellery. It makes the client
happy knowing they will have
something that will be passed
down through their family. i
ACCESSING SPARE PARTS IS THE WORST
PART OF THE WATCH INDUSTRY
The big brands want us watchmakers
to repair their watches, but they make
getting the necessary spare parts
maddeningly difficult, prohibitively
expensive, or completely impossible.
I’ve been repairing watches since I was 15,
and in those days you could repair virtually
any watch that came in the shop, because
there were multiple spare parts retailers with
a full range, and everyone was happy to sell
Today, the likes of Omega and Rolex won’t
sell parts to anyone who’s not a stockist. Even
Swatch has this policy. For example, if my
customer wants a replacement watchband,
Swatch won’t even sell me a plastic one
because I’m not a stockist!
There’s a reason policies like this were
introduced. Rolex was one of the first to insist
that in order to get spare parts, you had to
exchange the old ones. That was there to
show them you weren’t repairing fake Rolexes.
Omega kept on changing the ground rules;
first you couldn’t go in and buy spare parts
over the counter, then you had to fax your
order in, then they said parts couldn’t be
picked up and had to be posted out to you.
Then they brought in a minimum charge
of $25 for every spare parts order – it didn’t
matter if it was a dollar, $10 or $10,000. Now,
they won’t sell anything.
Again, I can see why they’ve made these
changes – they can see that there are only
a handful of watchmakers left, and they’re
worried that amateurs will get access to
Other brands make the prices so high that it’s
not worth it for independent watchmakers
to do the repair. Even when the parts are
available, they are only for the newer models.
In reality, big brands want the watches sent
back to them for repair. But that too is a
problem; Omega has the option to send your
watch overseas – sometimes to Switzerland,
sometimes to Hong Kong – for repair. Often,
the customer doesn’t know that.
When a watch is sent in, the big
manufacturers have a policy that if the
luminosity on the hands is a bit off-colour, the
hands need to be changed; every time you
open the watch, the back seal needs to be
changed; every time you service the watch
you need to change the crown or the seal.
They’d argue that the work is needed to bring
the watch back to new standard, but the
customers that come into my store with their
vintage watches don’t want these changes!
On the more common models, the big brands
will rip the inside out and put a whole new
movement inside, so in reality the customer
doesn’t really get their own watch back.
The consumer loses out on price, too. I’ve
seen people come in with a repairs quote
from Omega for $2,000. Even a basic service
can be $1,000, whereas an independent
watchmaker might charge $300 or $400
and the customer can decide exactly what
needs to be fixed or changed. The customer
deserves the option of paying a less ridiculous
price, especially if the work isn’t needed.
There are other unintended consequences
too – one of which is the grey market online.
I HAVE TO FIND
IN REALITY IT
THIS DIFFICULT FOR
TO ACCESS THESE
Admiring luxury watches is a huge hobby
these days, and there are collectors who will
buy spare parts on eBay and try to do the
Recently, a customer came in to have his Seiko
repaired; I contacted Seiko and they were
unable to supply the parts, as the model had
been discontinued. I gave my customer the
calibre number and he came in a week later
with the part. He’d bought it online from a
London seller for £20.
I’m often forced to order parts from overseas
myself; I have to find sources in Switzerland
or America, when in reality it shouldn’t be
this difficult for an experienced, qualified
watchmaker to access these spare parts.
Meanwhile, there are local authorised stockists
who on-sell parts to suppliers through the
back door, at a premium – then the suppliers
on-sell to watchmakers for double that price.
For the non-luxury and micro watch brands,
they don’t keep any spare parts at all and
there’s no support from the distributor. That
was a big problem with Lion Brands, who
have now closed. And don’t get me started on
watches that aren’t available in Australia!
Getting parts is a constant battle. Many
jewellers now don’t even take watch repairs,
and this is one of the big reasons: they just
don’t want the headache. Sadly, it stops
people wanting to become watchmakers. i
Name: Dennis Coleman
Business: Balwyn Jewellers
Position: Owner and watchmaker
Location: Balwyn, VIC
Years in the industry: 51 years
46 Jeweller July 2019
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