Jeweller - March 2020

• Fancy Colour Diamonds Feature • Engagement Rings Feature • Buying Groups Feature

• Fancy Colour Diamonds Feature
• Engagement Rings Feature
• Buying Groups Feature

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Better together<br />



Primary colours<br />



Ring the changes<br />



Experience a<br />

sense of wonder<br />

Experience a sense of wonder as you immerse yourself in a wonderland of spectacular jewellery and timepieces at the<br />

<strong>2020</strong> International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y & Watch Fair. Be inspired by the excellence and passion in workmanship with all the latest global trends<br />

on display across three days of buying and selling. Identify new business opportunities while gaining knowledge and hands-on<br />

skill sets from industry leaders during education sessions, all under the one roof. For more information visit www.jewelleryfair.com.au<br />



FAIR<br />

September 12 – 14, <strong>2020</strong><br />

ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour<br />


Organised by

Y O U R L E A D I N G S U P P L I E R O F P I N K A R G Y L E & W H I T E D I A M O N D S<br />

W O R L D S H I N E R<br />

I N S P I R E D P E R F O R M A N C E<br />

Y E A R A F T E R Y E A R<br />

W W W . W O R L D S H I N E R . C O M<br />

NEW SOUTH WALES Suite 301, Level 3, 70 Castlereagh Street, Sydney 2000, P: 02 9232 3557, E: sydney@worldshiner.com<br />

VICTORIA Suite 502, Wales Corner, 227 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000, P: 03 9654 6369, E: melbourne@worldshiner.com<br />

QUEENSLAND Unit 17, Level 11, 138 Albert Street, Brisbane 4000, P: 07 3210 1237 E: brisbane@worldshiner.com<br />

NEW ZEALAND Suite 4K, 47 High Street, Auckland P: 09 358 3443 E: nz@worldshiner.com<br />

A U S T R A L I A • G E R M A N Y • I N D I A • I T A L Y • J A P A N • N Z • U K • U S A

MARCH <strong>2020</strong><br />

Contents<br />

This Month<br />

Industry Facets<br />


Fancy that!<br />

4ARABELLA RODEN explores the<br />

appeal of colour diamonds and the<br />

rainbow of opportunities for jewellers.<br />

7 Editor’s Desk<br />

8 Upfront<br />

12 News<br />

16 New Products<br />

Features<br />

18<br />

19<br />

21<br />

52<br />

54<br />

10 YEARS AGO<br />

Time Machine: <strong>March</strong> 2010<br />

MY STORE<br />

Sarah & Sebastian<br />


Chrysoprase<br />

MY BENCH<br />

Zoë Pook<br />


Louise McManus<br />

22<br />

29<br />


Flight of fancy<br />


Otherwise engaged<br />


With this ring<br />

4ARABELLA RODEN discovers how<br />

the engagement ring category is evolving<br />

alongside changing consumer behaviour.<br />

34<br />

<strong>2020</strong> BUYING GROUPS REPORT<br />

Strength in numbers<br />

Better Your Business<br />

46<br />


RICH KIZER and GEORGANNE BENDER reveal how to learn from your competition.<br />

34 <strong>2020</strong> BUYING GROUPS REPORT<br />

All together now<br />

4COLEBY NICHOLSON reports on the<br />

services and support offered by the four<br />

retail jewellery buying groups.<br />

48<br />

49<br />

50<br />


Your top sales staff have a lot to teach others, says JEANNIE WALTERS.<br />


DAVID BROWN reveals the three areas of your business where taking a risk pays off.<br />


Marketing and PR amplify each others’ benefits, writes WILLIAM J COMCOWICH.<br />

51<br />


MANDY EDWARDS explains why your social media marketing may be ineffective.<br />

52 MY BENCH<br />

4 Discover which jeweller made this piece.<br />


Kunming Diamonds<br />

Kunming Diamonds offers an<br />

extensive selection of premium<br />

natural fancy colour diamonds<br />

in a variety of sizes, shapes,<br />

and intensities.<br />

kunmingdiamonds.com<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 5

Looking for new product ideas? Maybe you have an unusual request for a diamond or gemstone or perhaps<br />

you need a new supplier for your bread and butter items? Or you are looking for a new watch brand?<br />

The <strong>2020</strong> Suppliers Directory – the “Bible” of the Australian and<br />

New Zealand jewellery industries – has all the answers.<br />

STILL<br />

THE #1<br />


280+<br />

Product<br />

Categories<br />

4<br />

Distinct Category<br />

Sections<br />

Individual<br />

Industry<br />

580 Suppliers<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y &<br />

520+ Watch Brands<br />

Suppliers - Are you and your products listed? Retailers – Have you got your copy?<br />

Email info@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Not only is the Supplier Directory the largest and most comprehensive<br />

industry database, you can access it online through any device 24/7.<br />


Editor’s Desk<br />

Is the world ending?<br />

Before heading off in search of supplies to survive in an underground bunker,<br />

ANGELA HAN quickly revisited history for some perspective.<br />

Sometimes it feels as though the world is<br />

burning, and no-one can escape the heat.<br />

With the recent spate of disasters – from<br />

Australia’s ravenous bushfires to the<br />

ongoing trade wars and global spread of the<br />

coronavirus – you’d be forgiven for<br />

hopping onto the apocalyptic bandwagon.<br />

Traditional retailers are at the front line,<br />

feeling the pinch with empty high-streets and<br />

shopping centres. At the same time, surgical<br />

masks and toilet paper fly off shelves while the<br />

stock market bungee-jumps. You can’t help<br />

but ask: is the world ending?<br />

Fear is our first response because we perceive<br />

that anything ‘viral’ is simply out of our control.<br />

And in <strong>2020</strong>, viruses aren’t only transmitted<br />

through particles, people and planes, but<br />

also through cables and code. It’s not just our<br />

immune system that’s under attack now, but<br />

also our sovereignty and personal security.<br />

Online or offline, everyone is vulnerable – so<br />

it’s no wonder people sometimes appear<br />

hysterical.<br />

But this isn’t new. We’ve been here before.<br />

Remember the Global Financial Crisis – and<br />

the multiple recessions before that? Or SARS<br />

and swine flu?<br />

While we’ve confronted pandemics in history,<br />

the difference is that today, human societies<br />

have become more inextricably intertwined as<br />

one single network through globalised trade,<br />

technology and transport - a perfect recipe<br />

to fuel mass-hysteria and spread dangerous<br />

illnesses faster than any other time in history.<br />

To put things into perspective, COVID-19 has<br />

taken three months to infect 110,000 people<br />

across 103 countries, while it took 14 years<br />

for the Black Plague to even reach Europe<br />

from East Asia along the Silk Road.<br />

A more interconnected world with open trade<br />

has also meant that any downturns become<br />

a shared global problem. Indeed, it’s the first<br />

pandemic in a social media-driven world,<br />

which has created further concern.<br />

However, in these times it is critical to<br />

remember that in precisely the same way<br />

these problems spread virally, so too do<br />

solutions. This is both the strength and<br />

weakness of our global network; we can see<br />

the hurricane form when a butterfly flaps<br />

its wings.<br />

Some are quick to condemn globalisation<br />

and highlight its vulnerabilities as we<br />

close borders, and censure technology for<br />

perpetuating miscommunication, but we<br />

mustn’t forget that this is the same network<br />

that we are using to solve the problem; these<br />

same systems will deliver the solutions.<br />

The same flight paths that flew the infection<br />

from city to city will be engaged to deliver<br />

medication and vaccines, and the same<br />

networks used to spread panic will spread<br />

reassurance and safety advice.<br />

Retailers have experienced this double-edged<br />

sword before: the same technology that was<br />

deemed a threat to traditional retail has also<br />

enabled them to offer 24/7 opening hours<br />

with better client communication at lower<br />

overheads.<br />

Just as we are hard-wired as humans to fear<br />

the unknown and the uncontrollable, we have<br />

evolved to tackle tough challenges.<br />

Today, the Black Plague is treatable with<br />

antibiotics which have reduced the mortality<br />

rate from 90 per cent to 10 per cent. In<br />

contrast, coronavirus has a mortality rate of<br />

3.48 per cent. Of the 110,000 current cases,<br />

a third have mild symptoms that don’t require<br />

hospital treatment, while more than half have<br />

recovered enough to be discharged.<br />

As you read this, doctors worldwide are<br />

working around the clock to treat infected<br />

patients, communicating and co-ordinating<br />

their research in real-time with other experts.<br />

We can now develop treatments in record time,<br />

thanks to technology.<br />

The human race has recovered from grave<br />

catastrophes in the past without access to<br />

any of the data we have available today. There<br />

are more tools and sources of information<br />

than ever at our fingertips to create, measure,<br />

record and share ideas.<br />

Outliers lead the charge when the world feels<br />

like it’s falling apart, much like the way white<br />

blood cells get to work healing our bodies<br />

when our immunity is compromised. Similar<br />

observations can be applied for our troubled<br />

economy - when there’s a downturn, there’s<br />

Just as we are<br />

hard-wired<br />

as humans<br />

to fear the<br />

unknown and<br />

uncontrollable,<br />

we have evolved<br />

to tackle tough<br />

challenges.<br />

always a new innovation. When times<br />

get tough, the tough get going!<br />

A self-correcting organism<br />

Hearts broke around the world for the<br />

lives lost in the fires of our recent ‘Black<br />

Summer’; 34 people died, 5,900 buildings<br />

were destroyed and it’s reported that<br />

1 billion animals were killed.<br />

The smoke affected our neighbours across<br />

the Pacific Ocean as 306 million tonnes of<br />

CO 2<br />

was emitted. Immediately affected were<br />

both large-scale chain retailers and family<br />

businesses that lost customers and closed<br />

doors for good.<br />

While Australia was in mourning through<br />

the heavy smoke, a downpour of rain fell over<br />

the land, extinguishing fires and alleviating<br />

drought. Through the blanket of ashes on<br />

the charred forest floors, bright green shoots<br />

have begun to unfurl everywhere, and locals<br />

have shared images of these hopeful scenes.<br />

Just when it felt like the world was ending,<br />

tiny tendrils reached out from the scorched<br />

destruction, signalling that life will flourish,<br />

once again.<br />

While this might not feel like much, it is<br />

as much hope as we need.<br />

An underground bunker might seem<br />

perfectly reasonable given the recent<br />

sequence of events, but it’s helpful to<br />

revisit history and keep things in perspective.<br />

Modern catastrophes have reached new<br />

heights, but so too have our capabilities<br />

to solve them.<br />

While the good days might feel like an age<br />

away, it’s never been more important as a<br />

business owner to be patient, persevere and<br />

keep events in perspective. It’s time to work<br />

together, increase communication and keep<br />

a level-head to survive. We have the choice<br />

to be the ashes or the phoenix.<br />

My humble advice in these difficult times:<br />

if you want to prepare yourself against the<br />

horsemen of the apocalypse, don’t build<br />

a bunker – learn to ride a horse.<br />

Angela Han<br />

Publisher<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 7

Upfront<br />

Upcoming Trade Shows<br />

3 - 5<br />

APR<br />

9 - 12<br />

APR<br />

25 - 29<br />

APR<br />

30 - 5<br />

APR - MAY<br />

19 - 22<br />

JUNE<br />


Bloodstone<br />

4Alongside aquamarine, bloodstone – a type of quartz –<br />

is the birthstone for <strong>March</strong>. Its name comes from its deep<br />

red hematite inclusions, which look like drops of blood. Its<br />

alternate name, heliotrope, means ‘to turn the sun’ in Greek,<br />

as it was believed that if the gem were submerged in water,<br />

the sun would turn red.<br />

The RBA is<br />

likely to<br />

recommend<br />

banks implement<br />

standard ‘leastcost<br />

routing’<br />

for retailers,<br />

particularly SMEs.<br />

Gem & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y India International Fair<br />


China International Jewelry Fair<br />


CANCELLED Watches & Wonders Geneva<br />


CANCELLED Baselworld<br />


NEW DATES Oroarezzo Jewelry Exhibition<br />


Digital Brainwave<br />

4The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)<br />

is investigating the merchant fees<br />

associated with ‘tap and go’ payments and<br />

smartphone-based services like ApplePay<br />

and Google Pay. Frequently, payments<br />

made through these mechanisms are<br />

routed through international card<br />

schemes run by Mastercard and Visa,<br />

rather than the cheaper EFTPOS.<br />

The Fairer Merchant Fees Alliance –<br />

which includes the Australian Retailers<br />

Association – estimates the extra fees<br />

cost retailers $350–550 million per year.<br />

Trendspotting<br />

4Linear earrings were all over the<br />

red carpet during awards season.<br />

Saoirse Ronan’s (above) standout pair,<br />

from Gucci High <strong>Jeweller</strong>y’s Hortus<br />

Deliciarum collection, stole the show<br />

at the BAFTAs.<br />

Top Product<br />

4The Baume & Mercier Clifton<br />

Baumatic 10468 offers an urban design<br />

for the ambitious professional. This<br />

men’s chronometer watch features a<br />

striking gradient blue dial with a satinfinished<br />

stainless steel bracelet and<br />

matching steel case.<br />

Distributed by Duraflex Group Australia<br />

Getty Images<br />

Stranger Things<br />

Weird, wacky and wonderful<br />

jewellery news from around the world<br />

A pizza the action<br />

4A UK fast-food chain has<br />

given away a pair of pizzathemed<br />

cufflinks, crafted in<br />

18-carat gold and decorated<br />

with ruby and tsavorite garnet<br />

– and a tiny fragment of dough!<br />

Made by London’s DJ <strong>Jeweller</strong>s,<br />

the ‘crust-links’ were offered as<br />

part of a Leap Day engagement<br />

promotion. Leap Day, February<br />

29, is traditionally the day when<br />

women can propose to men.<br />

Quality time<br />

4A former US Air Force<br />

veteran fainted on a<br />

recent episode of TV series<br />

Antiques Roadshow after<br />

being told his Rolex watch was<br />

worth $US400,000. The man<br />

had initially purchased the<br />

Oyster Cosmograph as a dive<br />

watch while stationed in<br />

Thailand in the 1970s, paying<br />

$US345.97. He had kept it<br />

in a safety deposit box for<br />

four decades before having it<br />

appraised on the show.<br />

Rock and relax<br />

4An exclusive spa in<br />

Singapore is now offering a<br />

gemstone massage treatment<br />

using oils ‘infused’ with stones<br />

like garnet, amethyst and rose<br />

quartz. The gems are believed<br />

to impart spiritual and physical<br />

benefits like lowering stress<br />

and improving circulation. Spa<br />

guests are also offered a glass<br />

of ‘gemstone-infused’ water<br />

when they arrive!<br />


Published by Befindan Media Pty Ltd<br />

Locked Bag 26, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 AUSTRALIA | ABN 66 638 077 648 | Phone: +61 3 9696 7200 | info@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Publisher & Managing Editor Angela Han angela.han@jewellermagazine.com • Assistant Editor Arabella Roden arabella.roden@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Advertising Toli Podolak toli.podolak@jewellermagazine.com • Accounts Paul Blewitt finance@befindanmedia.com • Subscriptions info@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Copyright All material appearing in <strong>Jeweller</strong> is subject to copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly forbidden without prior written consent of the publisher. Befindan Media Pty Ltd<br />

strives to report accurately and fairly and it is our policy to correct significant errors of fact and misleading statements in the next available issue. All statements made, although based on information<br />

believed to be reliable and accurate at the time, cannot be guaranteed and no fault or liability can be accepted for error or omission. Any comment relating to subjective opinions should be addressed<br />

to the editor. Advertising The publisher reserves the right to omit or alter any advertisement to comply with Australian law and the advertiser agrees to indemnify the publisher for all damages or<br />

liabilities arising from the published material.

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News<br />

Prestigious diamond<br />

jewellery awards return<br />

for <strong>2020</strong><br />

Australian retailers brace for coronavirus impact<br />

Australia. For now, it seems people’s fears<br />

are premature, but are having a big impact.<br />

“I just implore people to keep a sense of<br />

perspective and to be realistic: right now,<br />

the risk from coronavirus in Australia is<br />

minimal, and I urge Australians not to turn<br />

their backs on businesses that have already<br />

faced significant headwinds this summer.”<br />



Registrations are now open for the <strong>2020</strong><br />

Diamond Guild Australia <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Awards.<br />

Registrations are now open for Diamond<br />

Guild Australia’s biennial <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Awards, with winners to be announced<br />

at a gala event in Sydney in October.<br />

This year’s Awards – the eighth edition of<br />

the competition – will select a finalist and<br />

winning entry from across six categories,<br />

as well as an overall Supreme Winner.<br />

The categories are: Solitaire Diamond,<br />

Diamonds For Men, Diamonds For<br />

Everyday, Emerging Talent, Argyle<br />

Australian Fancy Coloured Diamond,<br />

and Red Carpet.<br />

Melissa James, executive officer<br />

Diamond Guild Australia, told <strong>Jeweller</strong>,<br />

“The Diamond Guild Australia <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Awards provides an important platform<br />

for retail jewellers to showcase the<br />

individuality and artisanship of designer<br />

jewellery to the public.<br />

“In a marketplace crowded with mass<br />

produced designs, it is a great way to<br />

illustrate the possibility of jewellery<br />

design and to showcase the amazing<br />

local talent of the Australian jewellery<br />

industry,” she added.<br />

Winners in each category will receive<br />

a trophy and certificate.<br />

“In addition, the Guild will be showcasing<br />

the finalists and winners in our chosen<br />

media partner – to be announced<br />

in <strong>March</strong> – providing an unrivalled<br />

opportunity for the winners to leverage<br />

their success in the media and to the<br />

jewellery consumer,” James said.<br />

Finalists and winners will be chosen by<br />

a panel of judges from different fields of<br />

design, with a Diamond Guild member<br />

appointed to provide technical feedback.<br />

The <strong>2020</strong> judging panel will be<br />

announced next month, alongside<br />

major sponsors.<br />

2018 Solitaire<br />

Award<br />

‘Brilliant’ ring,<br />

Ben Preston-Black<br />

and Rowan Hurrell,<br />

Creations <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

2018 Fancy Colour<br />

Diamond Award<br />

‘Fanciful’ ring,<br />

Ben Preston-Black<br />

and Wisan Sarji,<br />

Creations <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

2018 Red Carpet<br />

Award and<br />

Supreme Winner<br />

‘Aella’ earrings,<br />

Olivar Musson,<br />

Musson <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

More than 85,000 people have tested positive for<br />

the coronavirus known as covid-19<br />

The impact of the novel coronavirus,<br />

known as COVID-19, is being felt across<br />

the Australian economy, with the retail<br />

industry expected to be hit particularly<br />

hard as consumers stay away from<br />

crowded shopping centres and precincts.<br />

At the time of publication, more than<br />

85,000 people had tested positive for the<br />

virus worldwide, with at least 2,500 deaths,<br />

including one Australian.<br />

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA)<br />

noted drastically decreased footfall as<br />

concerned shoppers avoid public areas.<br />

Russell Zimmerman, president ARA, said,<br />

“We’re as concerned as anybody about<br />

coronavirus becoming a real problem in<br />

Quarantine and containment efforts on<br />

the Chinese mainland have also led to<br />

manufacturing supply chain problems<br />

across many Australian industries.<br />

Chinese factory activity reportedly contracted<br />

at its fastest pace ever in February, and<br />

facilities are unlikely to return to normal<br />

operations until April.<br />

Adding to the challenges for the retail sector,<br />

travel restrictions from China have seen<br />

tourism numbers fall and left more than<br />

100,000 international students unable to<br />

return to Australian universities.<br />

However, there is a silver lining for Australian<br />

retailers. A recent poll by Utting Research,<br />

published in the Australian Financial Review,<br />

found that 35 per cent of Australians are<br />

changing their overseas travel plans, which<br />

will make local spending more likely.<br />

Michael Hill International records positive<br />

results in half-yearly financial report<br />

Michael Hill International’s revenue increased<br />

4.4 per cent in the six months to 26 December<br />

2019, to $329.5 million; profits increased<br />

19.6 per cent compared with the same<br />

period in FY19.<br />

Same-store sales rose 3.3 per cent in<br />

Australia, 5.1 per cent in Canada, and 6.6<br />

per cent in New Zealand. Australia remains<br />

Michael Hill’s largest market, accounting for<br />

approximately 55 per cent of total revenue.<br />

The retailer opened one new store in Canada<br />

and closed three under-performing locations<br />

in Australia, leaving it operating 304 stores<br />

in total. While e-commerce sales increased<br />

by 44.3 per cent, they represented just 3 per<br />

cent of total revenue.<br />

Daniel Bracken, CEO Michael Hill<br />

International, attributed the results to<br />

“disciplined cost management, nil net<br />

debt, lower inventory levels and improving<br />

stock turn”.<br />

The second half of 2019 saw the launch of<br />

several key initiatives for the retailer, including<br />

its e-commerce loyalty program Brilliance –<br />

which will be introduced in-store this year – a<br />

customer feedback program called Sparkle,<br />

and lab-created diamond engagement rings,<br />

previously reported by <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

The company also conducted a promotional<br />

campaign for the 40th anniversary of the<br />

business, alongside Black Friday sales.<br />

Bracken noted that the impact of “local and<br />

global environmental factors” – such as the<br />

Australian bushfires – had been limited.<br />

In an interview with the Australian<br />

Financial Review, Bracken said Michael Hill<br />

International was less exposed to supply<br />

chain disruption due to the coronavirus<br />

epidemic, as only 5 per cent of its products<br />

are manufactured in China.<br />

He added, “[<strong>Jeweller</strong>y retailing] is a category<br />

that has not evolved in four to five decades.<br />

Our opportunity is really there to reinvent<br />

the way we present our products and the<br />

way we communicate with our customers –<br />

with constant ‘newness’.”<br />

The company has placed an increased<br />

emphasis on new collections, as well as<br />

branded jewellery.<br />

12 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Baselworld and Watches & Wonders<br />

Geneva cancelled amid virus fears<br />

Baselworld followed several other international events in cancelling its <strong>2020</strong> edition.<br />

Following the Swiss government’s<br />

decision to ban large-scale<br />

events due to the spread of<br />

coronavirus, Baselworld <strong>2020</strong><br />

has been cancelled.<br />

The next edition of the luxury<br />

trade fair will take place from 28<br />

January–2 February 2021, earlier<br />

than its traditional <strong>March</strong> dates<br />

and in line with the product launch<br />

schedules of major watch brands.<br />

As recently as late February,<br />

organisers were insisting the<br />

show would proceed as planned,<br />

from 30 April–5 May – even when<br />

coronavirus concerns forced the<br />

cancellation of the other ‘Swiss<br />

show’, Watches & Wonders Geneva.<br />

That event – formerly known as<br />

SIHH – had been scheduled to<br />

take place immediately before<br />

Baselworld. However, the Swiss<br />

Federal Council issued a total ban<br />

on gatherings of more than 1,000<br />

people on 28 February, effective<br />

until 15 <strong>March</strong>.<br />

As a result, Baselworld and its<br />

parent company, MCH Group,<br />

made the unprecedented decision<br />

to cancel the event – just days<br />

before construction was due to<br />

begin on exhibitor stands.<br />

Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing<br />

director Baselworld, said, “We<br />

deeply regret having had to<br />

postpone the event as planned<br />

due to the coronavirus, in full<br />

consideration of the needs of the<br />

watch and jewellery industry to be<br />

able to benefit from the platform<br />

to develop their business.”<br />

He said the decision to hold<br />

the next Baselworld in January<br />

2021 would enable “the industry<br />

and all our customers to... reset<br />

their calendars for the beginning<br />

of the year, a period that is<br />

conducive to the presentation of<br />

their new products, new trends<br />

and order taking”.<br />

Several watch manufacturers<br />

including Bulgari, Breitling, Girard-<br />

Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin have<br />

since announced a product launch<br />

event, called Geneva Watch Days, for<br />

‘primarily’ European retailers and<br />

media. At the time of publication,<br />

it was scheduled for 26–29 April.<br />

Coronavirus concerns have<br />

recently forced the cancellation<br />

or postponement of a number of<br />

other watch and jewellery industry<br />

events, including:<br />

4Hong Kong International<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Show and Gem & Pearl<br />

Show: scheduled 2-8 <strong>March</strong>,<br />

postponed to 18-21 May<br />

4Swatch Group ‘Time To Move’<br />

product launch event: scheduled<br />

28 February-6 <strong>March</strong>, cancelled<br />

4Seiko ‘Grand Seiko Summit’:<br />

scheduled 4-6 <strong>March</strong>, cancelled<br />

4Movado Group ‘Movado Group<br />

Summit’: scheduled late <strong>March</strong>,<br />

cancelled<br />

4Watches & Wonders Geneva:<br />

scheduled 25-29 April, cancelled<br />

4ICA Congress <strong>2020</strong>: scheduled<br />

20-23 September, cancelled and<br />

rescheduled for <strong>March</strong> 2021.<br />

Proudly distributed by<br />

02 9417 0177 | www.dgau.com.au

News<br />

In Brief<br />

All-sapphire watch<br />

4Fashion house Chanel has unveiled<br />

the limited-edition X-Ray model of<br />

its J12 watch, which is celebrating<br />

its 20th anniversary this year.<br />

The X-Ray has a transparent sapphire<br />

case, movement, and link bracelet<br />

with a pave-set diamond bezel.<br />

Only a dozen J12 X-Rays will be<br />

made, retailing at $US626,000<br />

($AU958,765) each.<br />

Inhorgenta well attended<br />

4Messe München, the organiser<br />

of the Inhorgenta Münich<br />

trade show, reported increased<br />

visitor attendance for the <strong>2020</strong><br />

edition, which took place 14-17<br />

February. The event recorded<br />

26,000 visitors from more than 80<br />

countries, surpassing expectations.<br />

It hosts watch, jewellery and<br />

gemstone exhibitors with a<br />

European focus.<br />

Swatch Group bonds<br />

with 007<br />

4Swatch Group will provide two<br />

watches for characters in the<br />

latest James Bond film No Time<br />

To Die. Bond will wear an Omega<br />

Seamaster, while gadget officer<br />

Q will wear a Swatch. Consumers<br />

can also purchase seven special<br />

edition Swatch watches inspired<br />

by classic Bond film posters in the<br />

lead up to the new film’s release.<br />

Perth Mint trials<br />

gold blockchain<br />

4The Perth Mint is undertaking<br />

a blockchain project called<br />

TrueGold with Australian technology<br />

company Security Matters to create<br />

‘mine-to-marketplace ethical gold<br />

supply chain assurance’. Perth<br />

Mint CEO Richard Hayes said, “This<br />

complete transparency will instil<br />

even greater trust in a commodity<br />

which already provides the ultimate<br />

refuge during times of economic<br />

and geopolitical turmoil.”<br />

We are<br />

pleased<br />

with the<br />

momentum<br />

of the store<br />

rollout during<br />

the period<br />

Shane Fallscheer<br />

Wallace<br />

Bishop<br />

CEO Stuart<br />

Bishop was<br />

confident<br />

the business<br />

could<br />

overcome the<br />

challenges<br />

Lovisa defies retail downturn, plans new stores<br />

as Colette By Colette Hayman collapses<br />

Lovisa is pursuing further international expansion.<br />

Australian fashion jewellery retailer Lovisa<br />

has recorded strong results in its latest<br />

financial report, with revenue increasing 22.2<br />

per cent, to $162.8 million, in the six months<br />

to 31 December 2019.<br />

The results were attributed to an aggressive<br />

international expansion strategy, with 42 new<br />

stores opened overseas including four in the<br />

UK, 10 in France and 21 in the US.<br />

Lovisa’s largest market remains Australia<br />

and New Zealand, which accounts for more<br />

than 50 per cent of revenue. According to its<br />

FY19 annual report, it operates 154 stores in<br />

Australia and 22 in New Zealand.<br />

Shane Fallscheer, managing director Lovisa,<br />

said, “We are pleased with the momentum<br />

of the store rollout during the period which<br />

has again delivered us strong top line sales<br />

growth, and despite the investment required<br />

to deliver this growth we have also managed<br />

to deliver solid growth in profit.”<br />

Fallscheer added that the business would<br />

continue to focus on bricks-and-mortar<br />

trading – particularly in the US and France<br />

– alongside online shopping.<br />

Lovisa has continued to defy what some<br />

industry commentators have termed<br />

Australia’s ‘retail apocalypse’, which saw<br />

jewellery and accessories retailer Colette By<br />

Colette Hayman (CBCH) placed into voluntary<br />

administration at the end of January.<br />

Administrators Deloitte Restructuring<br />

Services recently confirmed 33 CBCH stores<br />

will close, leaving 105 locations remaining<br />

across Australia and New Zealand. It is<br />

currently seeking a buyer for the business.<br />

Colette Hayman founded CBCH in 2010,<br />

three years after selling fashion jewellery<br />

chain Diva to BB Retail Capital, owned by<br />

entrepreneur Brett Blundy. That same year,<br />

Blundy and Fallscheer founded Lovisa.<br />

Within five years, Diva had reportedly been<br />

placed into liquidation, with stores either<br />

closed or converted to Lovisa locations.<br />

Iconic Australian jewellery chain plans<br />

turnaround following audit woes<br />

Wallace Bishop has recorded $15 million losses.<br />

Wallace Bishop <strong>Jeweller</strong>s is facing ‘material<br />

uncertainty’ over its future after recording<br />

losses of more than $15 million over the past<br />

two years.<br />

An audit report by Brisbane-based accounting<br />

firm Merrotts recommended that the<br />

103-year-old business increase sales, reduce<br />

overheads and receive financial support from<br />

its parent company, Athena Pty Ltd, in order<br />

to continue as a going concern.<br />

However, Wallace Bishop CEO Stuart Bishop<br />

– the great-grandson of founder Wallace<br />

Bishop – was confident the business could<br />

overcome the challenges and had met its<br />

sales targets for the critical Christmas period.<br />

He told The Courier-Mail, “Wallace Bishop<br />

continually reviews its store footprint as<br />

demographics and retail trends change”.<br />

Bishop stated that new store designs<br />

and a greater investment in e-commerce<br />

were key priorities for the business, and a<br />

“considerable increase” in online sales had<br />

already occurred.<br />

Wallace Bishop operates 50 stores throughout<br />

NSW and Queensland. It was recently forced<br />

to close its Toombul location – which had<br />

operated for more than 50 years – following<br />

a devastating ram-raid.<br />

More than 500 jobs could be at risk if the<br />

chain were to collapse.<br />

14 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Baume & Mercier pursues expansion<br />

in Australian market<br />



Access one of the largest ranges of<br />

Argyle pink diamond in Australia<br />

All of our pink Diamonds are cut<br />

& polished by Argyle With Argyle<br />

<br />

Daniel Braillard, chief operating officer Baume & Mercier, recently visited Australia.<br />

Swiss watch brand Baume &<br />

Mercier is expanding its presence in<br />

Australia, nine months after signing<br />

a distribution deal with Duraflex<br />

Group Australia (DGA).<br />

The company – which is part of<br />

luxury conglomerate Richemont –<br />

has manufactured timepieces in<br />

the Swiss Jura region for 190 years.<br />

Daniel Braillard, chief operating<br />

officer Baume & Mercier, recently<br />

flew to Australia to introduce its<br />

latest model, the Clifton Baumatic<br />

10468, to the market.<br />

“We have just started a new<br />

partnership with Duraflex to<br />

really reinforce our distribution in<br />

Australia. They certainly know the<br />

market better, and the culture of<br />

the country, and for us it’s a great<br />

opportunity to develop thanks to<br />

this new collaboration,” Braillard<br />

told <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

Phil Edwards, managing director<br />

DGA, said, “The addition of Baume<br />

& Mercier to our stable of brands<br />

has proved an exciting development,<br />

and also a learning curve in a<br />

positive respect.<br />

“It has been an opportunity to<br />

build relationships with new retail<br />

partners in the luxury market,<br />

expanding our customer base.”<br />

watches of the highest quality’, but<br />

it is more than a motto – I would<br />

call it a philosophy. Everything we<br />

do within the brand is linked with<br />

quality and durability,” he explained.<br />

The Clifton Baumatic 10468 is<br />

inspired by vintage Baume<br />

& Mercier dress watches from<br />

the 1950s, though it contains an<br />

innovative new movement that was<br />

developed in-house at Baume<br />

& Mercier over a five-year period.<br />

According to Braillard, it has four<br />

primary benefits which retailers<br />

can use as selling points.<br />

These include: a five-day power<br />

reserve, high-precision movement<br />

certified by the prestigious Contrôle<br />

Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres<br />

(COSC), resistance to magnetic<br />

fields, and advanced lubrication<br />

for improved durability – nearly<br />

doubling the time between services.<br />

Meanwhile, Edwards told <strong>Jeweller</strong><br />

that DGA would be supporting<br />

Baume & Mercier retailers with a<br />

comprehensive marketing strategy,<br />

including “targeted social media<br />

campaigns”, and “influential<br />

editorials and watch reviews to<br />

drive brand awareness”.<br />





Braillard emphasised Baume<br />

& Mercier’s long history and<br />

commitment to Swiss-made<br />

quality and precision.<br />

“Our motto is, ‘Accept only<br />

perfection, only manufacture<br />

Edwards added, “To further build<br />

on this, we are also aligning with<br />

selected celebrities such as [TV<br />

presenter] Neale Whitaker and<br />

[actor] Daniel MacPherson who<br />

have a passion for the brand.”<br />

E pink@samsgroup.com.au W samsgroup.com.au P 02 9290 2199

New Products<br />

1 2 3<br />

4<br />

MARCH<br />

Monthly<br />

Showcase<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>’s compiled snapshot<br />

of the latest products to hit<br />

the market.<br />

5<br />

6 7<br />

8<br />

1 Stuller This accented cabochon split-shank ring features an 8x6mm pink coral gem, surrounded by white diamonds and set in 14-carat yellow gold. 2 Pink Kimberley | SAMS Group Australia<br />

The Rose de Sucre chain pendant features fancy pink diamonds from Argyle, adorned with brilliant white diamonds set in 18-carat rose and white gold. 3 Coeur de Lion | Timesupply A new<br />

take on Coeur de Lion’s colourful collection for autumn/winter <strong>2020</strong>, this set features vibrant multi-colour crystals sparkling in a rose-gold plated drop circle. 4 Hot Diamonds | Hot Diamonds<br />

Australia Introducing Forget Me Not by Hot Diamonds. These floral earrings measure 12mm and are delicately crafted in sterling silver and rose gold, adorned with two diamonds.<br />

5 Pierre Lannier | Heart & Grace The Capital Chronograph watch features a black stainless steel case and silver link strap. Designed and made in France. 6 Cudworth | Cudworth Enterprises<br />

Gold-plated stainless steel meets carbon fibre and woven black leather in this stylish men’s cuff bracelet. 7 Maserati | West End Collection The Maserati Potenza Auto watch series is inspired<br />

by the exquisite engineering, bold attitude and peerless design of Maserati sports cars. Featuring a 42mm jet-black case, yellow gold dial and black leather strap. 8 Amber Sceats Exude<br />

elegance in the Kora earrings. Crafted with 24-carat gold-plated coins and irregular freshwater pearls for a unique look.

10 Years Ago<br />

Time Machine: <strong>March</strong> 2010<br />

A snapshot of the industry events making headlines this time 10 years ago in <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

Historic Headlines<br />

4 Submissions open for 2010 JAA Awards<br />

4 Nationwide members visit Pandora factory<br />

4 Bauer gem lab in laser first<br />

4 De Beers discusses “new normal”<br />

4 Watson v Swatch case adjourned<br />

Industry emerges from GFC<br />

relatively unscathed<br />

With the worst of the global financial crisis<br />

seemingly over, many Australian retailers and<br />

suppliers have breathed a sigh of relief upon<br />

realising the impact was not as bad as they had<br />

first anticipated at the beginning of 2009.<br />

Leading Australian jewellery chain Michael Hill<br />

International was one of them. According to CEO<br />

Mike Parsell, Michael Hill International ended the<br />

year with strong same store sales in all countries,<br />

exceeding his expectations.<br />

Meanwhile, to continue its industry reign in 2009,<br />

supplier Pandora finished the year with a 76 per<br />

cent sales increase on 2008.<br />

Economists predict a return to Australia’s longterm<br />

growth rate of 3–4 per cent in 2010.<br />

New retail show for NZ<br />

Expertise Events, organiser of the International<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair Sydney, is launching a new<br />

industry event, The NZ Retail Show.<br />

It will offer products and services designed to<br />

increase efficiencies, while providing advice on<br />

retailing, according to Expertise Events managing<br />

director Gary Fitz-Roy.<br />

“The NZ Retail Show allows retailers to see and<br />

hear about everything they need in one place,”<br />

Fitz-Roy added.<br />

The event will be held at the ASB Showgrounds,<br />

Auckland, and is supported by peak body the<br />

New Zealand Retailers Association (NZRA).<br />

<strong>March</strong> 2010<br />

ON THE COVER Pandora<br />

Editors’ Desk<br />

4Two Types, or Three?: “It’s a “cute”<br />

line, I know, but I really do think that<br />

people are divided into those who<br />

always see the positive, and those<br />

who don’t.<br />

For the record, and because it’s more<br />

fun to name things, I have called my<br />

two types of people ‘Type One’ and<br />

‘Type Too’. Unfortunately, everything<br />

is ‘too hard’ for Type Too.”<br />

Soapbox<br />

4Get Your Marketing Right:<br />

“<strong>Jeweller</strong>y’s core elements are<br />

design and beauty...<br />

As a wholesaler of contemporary<br />

silver jewellery, my company has<br />

created a niche in its market by<br />

continually focusing on the design<br />

of the jewellery it offers.<br />

Yes, jewellery is a commodity, but it<br />

should be treated as a commodity<br />

into which much passion and<br />

creativity is imparted.”<br />

– Jo Tory, director Najo<br />


Mum’s the Word: “You really want<br />

to give customers the maximum<br />

time to afford a more expensive<br />

[Mother’s Day] gift, whether it be<br />

to finance it or build-up payment<br />

through lay-by... Remind people of<br />

the occasion early on<br />

Leading Edge assumes JAA<br />

membership offer<br />

An influx of Leading Edge buying group<br />

members has recently joined the JAA. Utilising<br />

the association’s special offer to attract bulk<br />

buying group membership, 83 Leading Edge<br />

jewellers became JAA members in January.<br />

According to Leading Edge managing director<br />

Josh Zarb, JAA’s special rate for buying<br />

group members acted as a catalyst for the<br />

large take-up.<br />

“Our buying group is rapidly gaining<br />

momentum. This only strengthens our offer by<br />

giving us a voice in the industry,” Zarb said.<br />

K-Swiss watches trademark<br />

banned in Australia<br />

US company K-Swiss has been legally<br />

prevented from registering its business name<br />

to sell its timepieces in Australia following<br />

action from the FH (Federation of the Swiss<br />

Watch Industry).<br />

Amid concerns that the name ‘K-Swiss’<br />

would lead consumers to believe the watches<br />

originated in Switzerland, the Australian<br />

Trademarks Office ruled that K-Swiss could<br />

not sell watches in Australia under this name.<br />

According to the K-Swiss website, the brand<br />

derives its name from its founders, brothers<br />

Art and Ernie Brunner, who were born in<br />

Switzerland and moved to California.<br />



18 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

INSIDE<br />

My Store<br />

Sarah & Sebastian<br />

SYDNEY, NSW with Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, managing director • SPACE COMPLETED Early September 2019<br />

4Who is the target market?<br />

We knew the client base of our Mosman store would<br />

be diverse, so we wanted to create a space that<br />

was intriguing, without being intimidating. Whilst<br />

our target demographic can vary significantly, the<br />

appreciation for innovative design and clever details<br />

remains consistent, so it was important for the<br />

store design to speak to that.<br />

To form a harmonious balance, we explored light<br />

and dark, floating and solid, and lightweight and<br />

heavy elements within the design, which was<br />

realised by architects Landini Associates.<br />

This involved using materials such as concrete,<br />

walnut, blackened steel, mirrors and frosted glass.<br />

4Which features encourage sales?<br />

Our intention with the design was to establish the<br />

feeling of being in a gallery, so much emphasis was<br />

placed on atmospheric, shadowy lighting.<br />

The interior utilises refined, lightweight fixtures<br />

aimed at exhibiting the intricacies of each jewellery<br />

piece on display.<br />

Then we created a strategic lighting design to bring<br />

the precious metals and stones to life.<br />

4What is the store design’s ‘wow factor’?<br />

The challenge of traditional retail is what<br />

galvanised our approach to our second store:<br />

engaging our customers through immersive<br />

experiences, tactile installations and intimate<br />

communication with our staff.<br />

The ‘wow’ factor of our Mosman store is the<br />

overall museum atmosphere of the expansive<br />

space, and the industrial finish.<br />

These elements represent the juxtaposition of<br />

the Sarah & Sebastian brand: refined, yet raw<br />

and handcrafted.<br />

Photography: Ross Honeysett<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 19

Behind every gemstone,<br />

there is a fascinating story<br />

waiting to delight clients<br />

around the world. Studying<br />

with GAA brings the<br />

expertise, networking and<br />

confidence to build a solid<br />

career in a multimilliondollar<br />

industry. Joining<br />

one of the most supportive<br />

and passionate professional<br />

communities of gemmologists<br />

in Australia was one of the<br />

best decision I ever made.<br />

Gina Barreto FGAA DipDT<br />

Gemmologist and Diamond Technologist<br />

Diamond<br />

Courses<br />

Practical Diamond Grading<br />

Advanced Practical Diamond Grading<br />

Diploma in Diamond Technology<br />

Enrolments now open<br />

For more information<br />

1300 436 338<br />

learn@gem.org.au<br />

www.gem.org.au<br />

Be<br />

Confident<br />

Gem-Ed Australia<br />


Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts<br />

and consumers about gemstones


Gems<br />

Chrysoprase<br />

Chrysoprase is the green variant, and<br />

most valuable form, of chalcedony.<br />

Its name comes to us from the Greek<br />

language, with chrysos being the word<br />

for gold and prasinon for green.<br />

In the world of gemmology, gems are often<br />

described as belonging to a ‘family’.<br />

One of the largest and most diverse<br />

gem families is that of the quartz group;<br />

amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz and rose<br />

quartz all belong to it.<br />

Gemmologists describe these gems as<br />

being crystalline, in that they have large<br />

crystals usually visible to the eye.<br />

But there is another branch in the<br />

quartz family, the cryptocrystalline<br />

gems. Jasper, agate and chalcedony are<br />

all cryptocrystalline. These gems are<br />

comprised of bundles of minute quartz<br />

fibres that require magnification to be seen.<br />

A dense sub-microscopic structure gives<br />

cryptocrystalline gems their distinctive<br />

‘waxy’ or ‘silky’ appearance when fashioned<br />

and polished.<br />

Coloured by nickel, chrysoprase has a range<br />

of shades of green – from pale, soft green to<br />

darker, less bright shades. Vivid apple green<br />

is the most highly prized.<br />

The gem’s transparency can range from<br />

semi translucent to opaque. The more<br />

translucent and bright in colour, the more<br />

appealing and valuable it is. High quality<br />

chrysoprase is described as casting a<br />

soft green ‘glow’.<br />

It was this optical quality, along with<br />

many metaphysical properties, that made<br />

chrysoprase valued by the ancient Greeks,<br />

Romans and Egyptians. The gem was<br />

believed to ensure the wearer had good<br />

health and happiness in relationships, and<br />

prosperity in life.<br />

For centuries and across many cultures,<br />

chrysoprase has been valued for<br />

adornment. Polished and fashioned into<br />

cabochons, beads and other shapes, it<br />

has been worn in all manner of jewellery<br />

including cameos and intaglios.<br />

Until the late 19th Century, the gem was<br />

popularly used for decorative items such as<br />

statues and urns, and as a luxurious feature<br />

on walls and columns in grand buildings,<br />

such as churches and palaces.<br />

Chrysoprase is found in many countries.<br />

Significant sources are Australia<br />

(Marlborough, Queensland), Brazil,<br />

Tanzania, the US, Germany, Madagascar,<br />

Zimbabwe and India.<br />

Sometimes called ‘Australian jade’,<br />

chrysoprase from Marlborough is highly<br />

valued in Asian markets. The gem’s<br />

similarity to quality jade with its vitreous<br />

lustre, translucency and rich, consistent<br />

colour makes it appealing.<br />

Chrysoprase<br />

From Greek chrysos,<br />

meaning ‘gold’ and<br />

prasinon meaning<br />

‘green’<br />

Colour: Green<br />

Found in: Australia,<br />

Europe, North<br />

America, South<br />

America, Asia<br />

Mohs Hardness: 7<br />

Class: Chalcedony<br />

Lustre: Vitreous, Waxy<br />

Formula: SiO 2<br />

Quality chrysoprase is increasing in value,<br />

with mines in many parts of the world being<br />

exhausted. Australia is one of the leading<br />

producers of high-quality chrysoprase.<br />

Chrysoprase can be confused with jadeite,<br />

nephrite and prehnite – gems that have a<br />

similar translucency and colour.<br />

There are imitants on the market, namely<br />

green glass and dyed green agate. Bubbles<br />

in the glass and irregular absorption of the<br />

dye are two indicators of imitant material.<br />

Chrysoprase should be stored with care as<br />

its colour may fade with direct, prolonged<br />

exposure to sunlight and heat.<br />

Although quite a durable gem – its hardness<br />

of 6.5–7 on Mohs’ scale makes it suitable<br />

for use in a wide range of jewellery –<br />

chrysoprase can be scratched by harder<br />

gems and damaged through regular wear.<br />

To retain the gem’s beauty against the<br />

rigours of daily life, wipe gently with a<br />

clean cloth, rinse in warm water and<br />

leave to dry.<br />

Susan Hartwig FGAA combines her love<br />

for writing with a passion for gems and<br />

jewellery through her gemmology blog,<br />

ellysiagems.com. For more information<br />

on gemmology courses and gemstones,<br />

visit gem.org.au<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 21


Colour Diamonds<br />



The fancy colour diamond category is as dynamic and varied as the stones themselves.<br />

ARABELLA RODEN explores new trends and opportunities for retail jewellers.<br />




Price per carat<br />

2009 - 2019<br />

Pink Diamond<br />

increased<br />

116 per cent<br />

Graff<br />

There is little argument when it comes to<br />

the demand for fancy colour diamonds.<br />

A recent analysis, undertaken by the<br />

Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF) found<br />

prices for pink diamonds had more than doubled<br />

over the past 10 years; the figure was 81 per cent<br />

for blue diamonds, and 21 per cent for yellows.<br />

As economic principles tell us, this phenomenon is driven<br />

by the law of supply and demand; when demand outstrips<br />

supply, prices rise.<br />

In the case of natural fancy colour diamonds, demand has<br />

risen precipitously over the past 15 years – illustrated by<br />

record-breaking auction prices, such as the $US50 million<br />

($AU75.5 million) paid for the Pink Legacy diamond in 2018<br />

or feverish bidding at the annual Argyle Tender.<br />

Natella Aminov, director Vital Diamonds, tells <strong>Jeweller</strong> that<br />

colour diamonds have become one of the strongest categories<br />

for the business alongside colourless (white) diamonds. Vital<br />

Diamonds is now one of the largest suppliers of yellow and<br />

brown diamonds in Australia.<br />

Demand has also come in the form of ‘diamond investors’ –<br />

those who purchase fancy colour diamonds as an asset class.<br />

“Usually, people would like to buy a pink diamond for<br />

investment,” says Maulin Shah, director, World Shiner.<br />

“We get inquiries for pink diamonds according to the<br />

different customers’ budget – what they want to ‘invest’ –<br />

rather than a particular size.”<br />

International diamond supplier Kunming Diamonds began<br />

specialising in fancy colours of all sizes, shapes, and hues<br />

in 2002 and began stocking Argyle stones in 2011.<br />

After recently touring Australian cities with Kunming’s<br />

extensive selection of stones, director Harsh Maheshwari<br />

says local jewellers are embracing the category, often<br />

choosing yellow and brown diamonds as an affordable<br />

“entry point”.<br />

“It’s a big misconception, when it comes to colour diamonds,<br />

that they are all extremely expensive,” he explains. “Of course,<br />

the main component is colour, so if jewellers focus on that<br />

more than size and clarity, they will be able to find something<br />

within their range. It may be smaller, but it will be beautiful.”<br />

He advises jewellers to be open to a range of different<br />

diamonds, as very specific requests can be difficult –<br />

and expensive – to fulfil.<br />

Steve Der Bedrossian, CEO SAMS Group Australia, says<br />

jewellers should choose a supplier who can offer a range<br />

of options to suit their budget.<br />

“SAMS Group can design plans and packages to suit our<br />

clients’ requirements, both in terms of budget and window<br />

Data: The Fancy Color<br />

Research Foundation (FCRF)<br />

Images: Leibish & Co | Graff<br />

Calleija<br />

Blue Diamond<br />

increased<br />

81 per cent<br />

Yellow Diamond<br />

increased<br />

21 per cent<br />

Pink Kimberley,<br />

SAMS Group Australia<br />

DeBeers Couture<br />

display. We also offer branded pink diamonds – Pink<br />

Kimberley and Blush Pink,” he explains.<br />

Consumer appeal<br />

Different demographics of consumers are captivated by fancy<br />

colour diamonds, but the stones are particularly appealing to<br />

educated and passionate jewellery lovers, says Maheshwari.<br />

“A mature consumer – someone who already owns a<br />

colourless diamond or gemstone – may be looking to buy<br />

something different, with more intrinsic value. Colour<br />

diamonds have a story that differs to a colourless diamond.<br />

“For someone who’s ready to spend money, when you give<br />

them the story behind the coloured diamonds – why they<br />

are different, why they are so rare – it really attracts them.”<br />

Meanwhile, Katherine Kovacs, director K&K Export<br />

Import, argues that fancy colour diamonds also appeal<br />

to younger consumers.<br />

“Millennials are more likely than previous generations<br />

to seek out gemstones with a point of difference, that<br />

are unique and non-traditional.<br />

“Colour diamonds are a way of providing a non-traditional<br />

option with fantastic durability and brilliance,” she explains.<br />

The desire for a ‘point of difference’ has translated into the<br />

trend for salt-and-pepper diamonds among Millennials.<br />

The stones get their distinctive celestial appearance from<br />

a variety of inclusions, and have developed a niche as<br />

statement jewellery and alternative engagement rings.<br />

“Salt-and-pepper diamonds provide the perfect solution<br />

for jewellers wanting to create high-end jewellery with a<br />

hint of that ‘natural’ aesthetic,” explains Brendan McCreesh,<br />

managing director O’Neils Affiliated, which stocks saltand-peppers<br />

alongside colour gemstones.<br />

“They break away from the tradition of ‘clean and flawless’<br />

gems yet maintain a highly fashionable style which can be<br />

applied to many different manufacturing techniques. The<br />

material we source is perfect for Australian designers who<br />

work to a price point or a particular look,” he adds.<br />

Indeed, it is that one-of-a-kind quality that makes fancy<br />

colour diamonds of all kinds so compelling to consumers<br />

– and advantageous for retail jewellers. The unique hues<br />

allow for creative pieces that are both eye-catching in the<br />

window and impossible to buy from competitors.<br />

“Fancy colour diamonds – like colour gems – tell a story,”<br />

says Brett Bolton, director Bolton Gems. “The stone is not<br />

just a ‘G Si1 Ex Ex Ex, no BGM [brown, green, milky], no<br />

fluorescence,’ where the only difference between one and<br />

the next 50 is the position of the inclusion. Each stone is<br />

unique in colour, secondary colour, cutting, fire.”<br />

Shah adds, “Each and every fancy colour diamond is unique,<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 23

Colour Diamonds Feature | FLIGHT OF FANCY<br />

L to R: Graff | Calleija | Calleija | Leibish & Co.<br />

so it’s a great opportunity for jewellers to make some extra<br />

margin on their product.”<br />

Yet while demand is evidently growing, supplies have become<br />

more limited.<br />

The end of an era<br />

The supply-demand dynamic will become more extreme in<br />

the future, as the world’s premier source of pink diamonds,<br />

Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Western Australia, is scheduled to<br />

close at the end of <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Argyle opened in the mid-1980s and currently accounts for<br />

90–95 per cent of the global pink diamond supply. It also<br />

produces blues, yellows and browns, often sold as ‘cognac’,<br />

‘champagne’, and ‘chocolate’ diamonds.<br />

“Since summer last year, more and more jewellers are<br />

reaching out requesting Argyle pinks, trying to get the last<br />

piece of the pie,” says Maheshwari.<br />

Leibish Polnauer, director of international fancy colour<br />

diamond supplier Leibish & Co., notes: “Rio Tinto closing<br />

the Argyle mine will lead to a massive decrease in pink<br />

diamonds, meaning that prices will continue to inflate. I<br />

don’t advise jewellers to stock up on all colour diamonds,<br />

however if they are looking to invest in one, I would<br />

recommend stocking up on Argyle [pink] diamonds as<br />

these are the most sought after [by consumers].”<br />

Bolton agrees. “As we approach the conclusion of the<br />

Argyle Mine – and the reality of this sinks in for consumers<br />

– Argyle pinks and Argyle products in general become<br />

increasingly rare, valuable, and desirable,” he says.<br />

Der Bedrossian – whose brands exclusively feature Argyle<br />

diamonds – says origin is now “as important as the other<br />

4 Cs” for the local market.<br />

“The certificate of Argyle origin is essential – especially<br />

for Australian consumers. Many feel patriotic buying an<br />

Australian product,” he explains.<br />

Indeed, Argyle has been the lynch pin of the Australian<br />

diamond industry for decades and is currently the country’s<br />

only active diamond mine.<br />

Camilah<br />

Graff<br />

Calleija<br />

The Merlin Diamond Mine in the Northern Territory, which<br />

had previously produced brown and blue stones, is currently<br />

dormant after the Federal Court appointed liquidators to its<br />

parent company, Merlin Diamonds Ltd, in 2019.<br />

Meanwhile, the Ellendale Mine in Western Australia, which<br />

once produced half the world’s yellow diamonds, was closed<br />

in 2015 when its previous operator, Kimberley Diamond<br />

Company, went into liquidation.<br />

It may return to productivity in the coming years;<br />

Australian mining company Gibb River Diamonds recently<br />

took over the lease after a rejuvenation project by the West<br />

Australian government.<br />

However, it is not known when the site will become fully<br />

operational. In order to satisfy consumer demand for fancy<br />

colour diamonds, jewellers will need to look further afield.<br />

New diamond sources<br />

Russian mining conglomerate Alrosa – the world’s largest<br />

diamond producer by volume – has indicated it intends to<br />

become the world’s premier source of fancy colour stones.<br />

Pavel Vinikhin, director cutting and polishing division,<br />

Alrosa, recently told the Russian news service TASS:<br />

“[Following] the closure of the Argyle Mine in Australia,<br />

we will become the world’s largest producer of coloured<br />

diamonds and can therefore go after leadership in the<br />

coloured diamond market.”<br />

Indeed, Alrosa has unearthed several notable colour stones<br />

in recent years, including the 14.83-carat fancy vivid purple<br />

pink it named ‘Spirit Of The Rose’. It holds the high-profile<br />

True Colors Auction each September, with the diamonds<br />

available to view at the Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair.<br />

Colour diamonds currently account for less than 0.1 per cent<br />

of Alrosa’s total output and most originate from the remote<br />

Yakutia region in Siberia.<br />

In February, New York-based fancy colour diamond supplier<br />

LJ West Diamonds purchased a 6.21-carat intense purplepink<br />

Yakutia stone.<br />

In what could be interpreted as a ‘sign of the times’, it was<br />


WHAT<br />

ABOUT<br />


COLOUR<br />


Leibish Polnauer<br />

Leibish & Co.<br />

Founder<br />

“I don’t believe that lab-grown<br />

diamonds have any impact on<br />

real colour diamond sales, as<br />

synthetic will never replace one’s<br />

desire to own something unique,<br />

natural and one-of-a-kind, like a<br />

fancy colour diamond.”<br />

Martin Schiechtl<br />

Swarovski Created Diamonds<br />

Senior Vice-President Global Marketing<br />

“We believe that natural and manmade<br />

diamonds can co-exist and<br />

thrive. In nature, fancy colours are<br />

extremely rare as the conditions for<br />

the formation are very seldom met.<br />

This rarity of course reflects in the<br />

price. Our aim is to make colour<br />

lab-created diamonds accessible<br />

to a broader group of customers.”<br />

Brett Bolton<br />

Bolton Gems<br />

Director<br />

“Retail stores who choose<br />

to stock both natural and<br />

lab-created diamonds are<br />

appealing to a broader range<br />

of consumers, which inevitably<br />

leads to increased sales and<br />

consistent customers.”<br />

24 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

PinkKimberley.com.au<br />

E pink@samsgroup.com.au W samsgroup.com.au P 02 9290 2199<br />



Colour Diamonds Feature | FLIGHT OF FANCY<br />

Steve Der Bedrossian<br />

SAMS Group Australia<br />

CEO<br />

Scarselli Diamonds ‘Aurora Green’ ring | Natural rough: Pink (Graff) | Blue and yellow (Langerman)<br />

“The certificate of<br />

Argyle Mine origin is<br />

essential – especially<br />

for Australian<br />

consumers. Many feel<br />

patriotic, buying an<br />

Australian product. I<br />

would say that origin<br />

is now as important<br />

as the ‘4 Cs’ when<br />

buying a diamond.”<br />

the first time the business had sourced a<br />

diamond from Alrosa in its 40-year history.<br />

Scott West, executive vice-president LJ<br />

West Diamonds, told JCK Online, “Siberia<br />

has a lower quantity [than Argyle] but is still<br />

a somewhat consistent production… [And]<br />

because Siberia is so big, there is<br />

the potential to find new mines.”<br />

Following the LJ West sale, Alrosa<br />

announced a 17.44-carat yellow diamond<br />

had been found in Yakutia.<br />

Botswana may also prove to be<br />

a source of colour diamonds<br />

in the future; mining company<br />

Lucara unearthed a 9.74-carat<br />

blue and a 4.13-carat pink at its<br />

Karowe Mine last year. Karowe<br />

previously yielded two other<br />

notable blue stones.<br />

Eira Thomas, CEO Lucara, said<br />

at the time, “Lucara is extremely pleased<br />

with the recovery of these rare, sizeable,<br />

fancy coloured diamonds, which have the<br />

potential to contribute meaningful value to<br />

our regular production of large, high-value<br />

type IIa diamonds.”<br />

However, no mine has produced colour<br />

diamonds as consistently as Argyle.<br />

With pink diamonds alone priced at<br />

between $30,000 to more than $1 million<br />

per carat, jewellers and consumers have<br />

searched for an alternative.<br />

Enter lab-created colour diamonds.<br />

Swarovski – best known for its cut<br />

LJ West 6.2-carat<br />

intense purple pink<br />

diamond from Alrosa<br />

crystal and gemstone jewellery – recently<br />

entered the category in the US and Europe<br />

with the Swarovski Created Diamonds<br />

Color Collection.<br />

The Color Collection – which includes<br />

16 hues – is available as loose stones<br />

for Swarovski B2B customers, and to<br />

consumers as Atelier Swarovski jewellery.<br />

Martin Schiechtl, senior vice-president<br />

global marketing, Swarovski Created<br />

Diamonds, says, “When Daniel Swarovski<br />

founded this company in 1895,<br />

his vision was to make luxury<br />

accessible.<br />

“Our aim is to make colour labcreated<br />

diamonds accessible to a<br />

broader group of customers, and<br />

our coloured lab-created diamonds<br />

open up new creative possibilities<br />

for our customers.”<br />

The diamonds are manufactured and cut<br />

by Swarovski and its supplier factories.<br />

“Every supplier is audited and has to<br />

fulfill our strict quality criteria as well<br />

as environmental, safety and labour<br />

standards.<br />

“It provides assurance to our stakeholders<br />

that responsible business practices<br />

are being followed in all sections of our<br />

operations,” Schiechtl says.<br />

In Australia, Bolton Gems stocks labcreated<br />

colour diamonds under its Biron<br />

Lab Grown brand. Director Brett Bolton<br />

says the affordability of lab-grown colour<br />

diamonds is a win for retailers.<br />

Maulin Shah<br />

World Shiner<br />

Director<br />

“We don’t have<br />

difficulty providing<br />

champagne and<br />

cognac diamonds to<br />

jewellers – they are<br />

still easily available<br />

compared with pink,<br />

blue and green<br />

diamonds, which are<br />

extremely difficult to<br />

source.”<br />

Brendan McCreesh<br />

O’Neils Affiliated<br />

Managing Director<br />

“[Salt-and-pepper<br />

diamonds] break away<br />

from the tradition of<br />

‘clean and flawless’<br />

gems yet maintain<br />

a highly fashionable<br />

style... The material<br />

we source is perfect<br />

for designers who<br />

work to a price point<br />

or a particular look.”<br />

“Retail stores who chose to stock both natural<br />

and lab-created diamonds are appealing<br />

to a broader range of consumers, which<br />

inevitably leads to increased sales and<br />

consistent customers,” he explains, predicting<br />

a “very large shift towards lab-grown [colour]<br />

diamonds” in the next 12 months.<br />

Trends in colour<br />

While much has been made of the demand for<br />

pink diamonds, other colours are also finding<br />

enthusiastic support from consumers.<br />

“Colour diamonds across the board are<br />

performing well,” confirms Kovacs. “We’re<br />

selling a lot of bright, intense colour diamonds<br />

– yellows, oranges, and greenish-yellow –<br />

in sizes under half a carat.<br />

“Champagne continues to be slightly more<br />

popular than darker shades, while demand<br />

for salt-and-pepper continues to be strong.”<br />

McCreesh says O’Neils began stocking a small<br />

range of salt-and-pepper diamonds and the<br />

category has grown “significantly” over the<br />

years due to customer demand.<br />

“As coloured gemstone merchants, we would<br />

not ordinarily stock diamonds. However,<br />

salt-and-pepper diamonds complement our<br />

gemstone range beautifully,” he explains.<br />

McCreesh says local jewellers prefer “good,<br />

bright crystal with an aesthetically pleasing<br />

scattering of carbon inclusions” and a “wellbalanced”<br />

look.<br />

“Heavily included material is inherently dark<br />

and far less desirable, resulting in material...<br />

not suitable for the local market,” he says.<br />


LAB GROWN +<br />


WHAT<br />

GIVES<br />

YOU<br />

THAT<br />

HUE?<br />

Images: Leibish & Co.<br />

Pink & Red<br />

The rarest of all natural<br />

diamonds are reds and pinks. The<br />

colour comes from structural<br />

irregularities in the crystal lattice.<br />

Man-made pink and red diamonds<br />

get their colour from irradiation<br />

and annealing<br />

Orange<br />

Crystal lattice irregularities,<br />

combined with other chemical<br />

factors, make a stone appear either<br />

reddish-, yellowish-, or brownishorange.<br />

Lab-created orange<br />

diamonds are exposed to nitrogen,<br />

irradiation, annealing, and solvents<br />

Brown<br />

Natural yellow diamonds appear<br />

brown when more nitrogen is<br />

present in the crystal lattice.<br />

Lab-grown diamond manufacturers<br />

can control the nitrogen content to<br />

ensure the finished stone appears<br />

either yellow or brown<br />

Yellow<br />

A yellow tint is produced when<br />

nitrogen atoms disperse<br />

throughout the crystal lattice<br />

of a diamond. This process is<br />

the same in both natural and<br />

lab-grown diamonds<br />

26 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

FLIGHT OF FANCY | Colour Diamonds Feature<br />

Natella Aminov<br />

Vital Diamonds<br />

Director<br />

Graff<br />

“Browns –<br />

champagne<br />

and cognac diamonds<br />

– they are the<br />

strongest [category].<br />

We have a really<br />

exceptional collection<br />

of these goods in<br />

traditional round<br />

cut and rare fancy<br />

shapes.”<br />

Pink Kimberley, SAMS Group Australia<br />

Aminov says brown diamonds, across the<br />

spectrum of hues from light to saturated,<br />

are the leading fancy colour category at Vital<br />

Diamonds. “Browns – champagne and cognac<br />

diamonds – they are the strongest [category].<br />

We have a really exceptional collection of these<br />

goods in traditional round cut and rare fancy<br />

shapes,” she says.<br />

Yellow diamonds have<br />

also been in demand<br />

at Vital, although<br />

Aminov notes it is not<br />

as consistent as the<br />

demand for cognacs<br />

and champagnes.<br />

Salt-and-pepper diamond,<br />

O’Neils Affiliated<br />

At World Shiner, Shah<br />

notes pink diamonds in all sizes are still<br />

the most popular fancy stones due to their<br />

‘investment’ appeal.<br />

However, he has observed different colour<br />

trends too.<br />

“Other colours are getting more popular, like<br />

yellow, champagne, and cognac. We don’t<br />

have difficulty providing champagne and<br />

cognac diamonds to jewellers – they are still<br />

easily available compared with pink, blue and<br />

green diamonds, which are extremely difficult<br />

to source,” Shah explains.<br />

Meanwhile, Bolton has noticed the expense of<br />

pink diamonds encourages consumers to seek<br />

alternative hues, explaining,“Most consumers<br />

are infatuated with the concept of an Argyle pink<br />

diamond. However, when they see the current<br />

prices and realise what they can afford, we find<br />

a lot of people then also look at other colours.”<br />

Harsh Maheshwari<br />

Kunming Diamonds<br />

Director<br />

“It’s a big<br />

misconception<br />

that [fancy colour<br />

diamonds] are all<br />

extremely expensive.<br />

Of course, the main<br />

component is colour,<br />

so if jewellers focus<br />

on that more than size<br />

and clarity, they will be<br />

able to find something<br />

within their range.”<br />

Eira Thomas<br />

Lucara<br />

CEO<br />

“Lucara is extremely<br />

pleased with the<br />

recovery of these<br />

rare, sizeable, fancy<br />

coloured diamonds,<br />

which have the<br />

potential to contribute<br />

meaningful value to<br />

our regular production<br />

of large, high-value<br />

type IIa diamonds.”<br />

Australian Chocolate Diamonds – deep,<br />

rich brown diamonds from the Argyle<br />

Mine – have fulfilled some of the demand<br />

for an Argyle stone due to stable and<br />

affordable pricing.<br />

“We have seen many inquiries in 3-5 carat<br />

sizes as publicity around the mine closing<br />

increases and savvy investors are looking<br />

to broaden their options,” Bolton adds.<br />

Internationally, Polnauer notes: “In<br />

larger sizes, yellow diamonds are in<br />

high demand. However, Argyle diamonds<br />

are without doubt the most soughtafter<br />

stones worldwide,<br />

especially in Australia.<br />

These beauties all<br />

want to return home!<br />

“Unlike colorless<br />

diamonds, we have<br />

no Rapaport list to<br />

follow, so it is often<br />

challenging knowing<br />

what is in demand,”<br />

he adds.<br />

Swarovski<br />

Created<br />

Diamonds<br />

Color Collection<br />

Meanwhile, Kunming Diamonds<br />

customers are interested in pinks – in<br />

particular those from Argyle – as well<br />

as blues and colours that have modifiers,<br />

according to Maheshwari.<br />

“Orangey-pinks, brownish-pinks,<br />

greenish-blues – these modifiers give<br />

the stone added character and personality,<br />

and are also not as expensive as a pure<br />

colour,” he explains.<br />

“The intrinsic value of a colour diamond<br />

is in the eye of the beholder – some<br />

appreciate the colour more than the rarity<br />

factor, which can make it more popular in<br />

the market, while others appreciate the<br />

elitism and collect for the exceptionality<br />

[of a particular colour].”<br />

In the lab-created category, Schiechtl<br />

says the “classic colours” of pink, yellow<br />

and blue have received positive feedback<br />

for Swarovski since the Color Collection<br />

launched at Paris Couture Fashion Week<br />

in January.<br />

He adds,“People were also very excited<br />

about colours beyond the classical<br />

tones, like Neo Expressionist<br />

Pistachio (light green), Gothic<br />

Cognac (fancy deep yellow)<br />

and Heavy Metal Cherry<br />

(intense red).”<br />

The Biron Lab Grown range<br />

includes blue, yellow and pink<br />

diamonds, with demand concentrated<br />

on “true pink, without orange overtones”,<br />

according to Bolton.<br />

“A lot of consumers looking for pink<br />

diamonds expect them to be bright,<br />

saturated pink. That’s the colour most<br />

consumers are looking for and they are<br />

also very affordable,” he explains.<br />

Ultimately, fancy colour diamonds –<br />

whether natural or lab-grown – offer retail<br />

jewellers the opportunity to cater to a wide<br />

variety of customers, create beautiful and<br />

unique pieces, and improve margins on<br />

diamond sales.<br />

Green<br />

Purple<br />

Blue<br />

Grey<br />

Black<br />

When natural radiation displaces<br />

carbon atoms as a diamond is<br />

forming, it will appear green.<br />

Lab-grown green diamonds are<br />

also exposed to radiation but do not<br />

have the same radiation ‘stains’ on<br />

their surface as natural greens<br />

Purple diamonds form naturally<br />

due to a combination of crystal<br />

lattice deformation and a high<br />

hydrogen content. Lab-grown<br />

purple diamonds are formed<br />

using irradiation and annealing<br />

The element boron makes<br />

diamonds appear blue both in<br />

nature and when manufactured.<br />

Interestingly, lab-grown blue<br />

diamonds form more quickly<br />

than whites<br />

Hydrogen atoms give grey<br />

diamonds their colour. The<br />

chemical vapour deposition (CVD)<br />

method for lab-grown diamonds<br />

usually produces grey or brown<br />

diamonds, which are then heat<br />

treated to make them white<br />

Many very dark inclusions<br />

make a diamond appear black;<br />

however, most natural black<br />

diamonds on the market are<br />

treated with radiation to make<br />

the black colour uniform<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 27

Specialists in Australian Pink Argyle Diamonds


Engagement <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />




The engagement ring category continues to evolve, with jewellers rising to the challenge of reinventing<br />

the classics – and creating unique designs – for the modern consumer. ARABELLA RODEN reports.<br />

Engagement rings are the bread and butter<br />

of the retail jewellery industry. Month after<br />

month, year after year, excited couples have<br />

marked one of the most significant moments in their<br />

lives with the gift of a sparkling diamond ring.<br />

However, many parts of that traditional love story<br />

are now changing.<br />

The couple are just as likely to be well over 30 than they are to<br />

be under 25, may already have children, almost certainly live<br />

together, and are choosing a ring to celebrate their relationship<br />

as it is, rather than formalise an engagement.<br />

Yet the core element of the gift remains the same: a piece of<br />

jewellery that lasts forever, reflecting the wearer’s unique style,<br />

personality, and relationship.<br />

It is no longer enough to reassure customers that each natural<br />

diamond is unique; instead, many retailers have evolved their<br />

businesses to offer a fully personalised experience with greater<br />

control over the design process.<br />

Justin Linney, creative director Linneys <strong>Jeweller</strong>y in Perth, tells<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>, “One customer’s perfect ring is another customer’s<br />

nightmare, so the number-one priority is finding a design that<br />

suits their individual style.”<br />

Steve Der Bedrossian, CEO SAMS Group Australia, which supplies<br />

engagement rings through its Blush Pink and Pink Kimberley<br />

brands, adds, “There has been far more demand for individuality<br />

– unique designs – in engagement rings over the past 12 months.<br />

We’ve definitely seen a shift.”<br />

The prevalence of social media – particularly apps such as<br />

QUICK<br />


70%+<br />

Engagement<br />

rings with<br />

a white<br />

diamond<br />

4.7m<br />

Instagram<br />

posts tagged<br />

#engagementring<br />

92%<br />

Proposals shared<br />

on social media<br />

Source: The Knot<br />

Hero Images (L to R):<br />

SAMS Group Australia |<br />

Eva Fehren | Graff<br />

Instagram and Pinterest – as a source of inspiration means<br />

consumers now have more choice than ever when it comes<br />

to engagement ring design.<br />

Some of the most popular Pinterest Boards for engagement<br />

ring ideas have more than 4,000 images and the app publishes<br />

an annual report analysing ring trends on its platform.<br />

The most recent edition, released in October 2019, revealed<br />

marquise shapes, elongated cushion cuts, turquoise hues,<br />

lavender sapphires, and seamless halo settings had the most<br />

significant increases in user searches.<br />

Meanwhile, engagement rings are now almost guaranteed to<br />

appear on any number of social media channels. A 2019 survey<br />

of 21,000 engaged and newlywed US couples, conducted by US<br />

wedding planning service The Knot, found 92 per cent had<br />

shared their engagement news on social media.<br />

At the time of publication, there were 4.7 million Instagram posts<br />

tagged #engagementring, and 4 million tagged #shesaidyes. As<br />

a result, consumers are choosing rings that look larger and stand<br />

out in photos.<br />

The Knot survey found the average cost of an engagement ring<br />

was $US5,900, with the style and setting the most important<br />

consideration, followed by price.<br />

Both suppliers and retailers have noted the rising popularity<br />

of oval-cut diamonds over the traditional round. Ovals appear<br />

significantly larger than rounds of the same carat weight,<br />

while making the wearer’s fingers seem slimmer. They are<br />

also less expensive, per carat, than round diamonds.<br />

Linney has also observed a trend toward thinner bands, which<br />

make the centre stone appear larger.<br />

Rising demand for colour gemstones – particularly sapphires,<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 29

Tiffany & Co.<br />

Larsen <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Ruth Tomlinson<br />

colour diamonds, and pearls – also speaks<br />

to consumers’ preference for unique and<br />

photogenic jewellery.<br />

by<br />

Ikecho Australia<br />

SAMS Group Australia<br />

Tomasz Donocik<br />

Linneys <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Megan Thorne<br />

“We have seen more demand for Argyle pink<br />

diamond centre stones and accent stones due<br />

to the upcoming closure of the mine,” says Der<br />

Bedrossian, adding, “Using a ruby or an opal<br />

as the centre stone while adding pink diamond<br />

accents gives the ring a larger appearance and<br />

a unique look, while taking into account the<br />

customer’s budget.”<br />

The surge in popularity for unusual rings may<br />

also be inspired by celebrities like Emma Stone<br />

and Michelle Williams, who both received pearl<br />

engagement rings in 2019. Meanwhile, actress<br />

Scarlett Johansson’s Art Deco-inspired black<br />

ceramic enagement ring is adorned with an<br />

11-carat champagne diamond.<br />

Alex Graham, bridal director Stuller, says,<br />

“From a gemstone standpoint, we are seeing<br />

a lot of unique centre stones. Each bride wants<br />

something that speaks just to her.<br />

“Eternity and anniversary bands are also<br />

becoming more and more popular, sometimes<br />

being used as the actual engagement ring<br />

instead of a traditional ring with the primary<br />

centre stone.”<br />

Classic white diamond rings, too, are being<br />

embellished with unconventional and personal<br />

touches – whether through unusual shapes,<br />

creative settings, or accent stones.<br />

“We are still seeing a high percentage of our<br />

clients opting for white diamonds, although they<br />

are often open to different designs other than<br />

the classic solitaire,” says Linney.<br />

At Worth & Douglas – which manufactures its<br />

own engagement collection, custom designs,<br />

and Karen Walker Atelier engagement rings –<br />

the desire for a personal ring has been reflected<br />

in increasing requests for custom makes.<br />

“Customers are looking to find something truly<br />

special or custom that reflects their tastes and<br />

suits their own styles, so we’re seeing a lot of<br />

unique CAD designs come through,” confirms<br />

Chris Worth, business development manager.<br />

Indeed, the definition of the ‘perfect’<br />

engagement ring – once considered to be the<br />

largest, most flawless diamond solitaire a<br />

Proudly distributed by<br />

02 9417 0177 | www.dgau.com.au<br />

Linneys <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Artëmer<br />


Harry Winston<br />

Rachel Boston<br />

Paul Bram<br />



hopeful fiancé could afford – now appears to be<br />

too narrow for most consumers.<br />

Instead, the ‘4 Cs’ have been replaced by a<br />

new mindset that emphasises individual taste,<br />

creative design, and personal touches that tell<br />

a story and make the ring stand out.<br />

Colour and creativity<br />

The Art Deco period, which began in 1920, marks<br />

its centenary this year. As a result, there has<br />

been a resurgence in Art Deco-inspired patterns,<br />

shapes and motifs in jewellery.<br />

This distinctive era of design is characterised by<br />

use of colour, geometric shapes, and filigree –<br />

all trends becoming more prevalent in<br />

engagement rings. Notably, Princess Beatrice of<br />

York received an Art Deco-inspired engagement<br />

ring in September 2019, which featured round<br />

and baguette diamonds in a platinum setting.<br />

“I have seen Art Deco coming back into the<br />

spotlight recently,” Stuller’s Graham says, adding<br />

that “designs that play with scattered accents or<br />

halos” have also become more popular.<br />

At Worth & Douglas, the Karen Walker Atelier<br />

engagement collection includes three-ring sets<br />

with colour gemstone centres, which interlock<br />

in Art Deco-style square and hexagonal patterns.<br />

Demand for colour gemstone and fancy diamond<br />

engagement rings has been steadily rising over<br />

the past few years, and they are now firmly in<br />

the mainstream.<br />

“Certainly, there has been a big surge in demand<br />

for coloured gemstones,” confirms Worth.<br />

The Karen Walker Atelier range includes rings<br />

set with morganite, onyx, rutilated quartz, and<br />

even peach moonstone, accented with white,<br />

black, or champagne diamonds.<br />

At Linneys <strong>Jeweller</strong>y, customers “often request<br />

gems that would be considered unusual,” says<br />

Linney. “More recently, we have seen customers<br />

choose pearls, black diamonds, grey diamonds<br />

and green sapphires.”<br />

Melbourne jeweller Simon West points to the<br />

popularity of sapphires “of Australian origin in<br />

particular”, alongside champagne diamonds<br />

from Western Australia’s Argyle Mine.<br />

At Stuller, the most sought-after gemstone is<br />

Linneys <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Victoria Buckley<br />

Tiffany & Co<br />

Diamonds By DGA<br />

Cerrone<br />

Precious Gemstone & Diamond Set <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Sapphire, Paraiba & Emerald with Argyle Pink Diamonds<br />

A delicious range of natural precious gemstone jewellery set with<br />

sparkling white diamonds, available in every colour of the rainbow!<br />

Beautifully crafted in 18ct gold.<br />

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Engagement Feature | OTHERWISE ENGAGED<br />


In the past, the process of buying an engagement ring followed<br />

a traditional path: a man would visit a jewellery store, purchase<br />

the white diamond ring recommended to him by the staff, and<br />

present it to his partner as a surprise.<br />

One of the strongest indications of change in the engagement<br />

category is the success of US jewellery business Ring<br />

Concierge, which offers several key lessons for retail jewellers<br />

wanting to improve their engagement sales.<br />

Ring Concierge was founded by Nicole Wegman in 2013 based<br />

on a female-focused, e-commerce approach to engagement.<br />

“At our core, Ring Concierge is a brand for women, by women,”<br />

Wegman tells <strong>Jeweller</strong>, adding that the business aims to<br />

“empower women to be involved” in the design process: “We<br />

work with couples to design their dream custom ring, from the<br />

diamond they select to the details of the handmade setting.”<br />

The business was also established to challenge the<br />

“traditionally opaque” diamond industry, with Wegman<br />

explaining, “We set ourselves apart by cultivating genuine<br />

relationships through transparency and integrity.”<br />

She calls social media “instrumental” to Ring Concierge’s<br />

success. Its Instagram account has more than 290,000<br />

followers, with Wegman revealing, “Over 90 per cent of our<br />

new clientele find us through Instagram.”<br />

Indeed, visual social media apps such as Instagram and<br />

Pinterest are a key source of inspiration for women when<br />

choosing their ‘dream ring’. “When a celebrity debuts a cool<br />

new engagement ring style [on social media], we instantly<br />

see requests for it. For example, we made a very unique triplerow<br />

micro-pavé setting for [Victoria’s Secret model] Devon<br />

Windsor and it became so popular we’ve since named it The<br />

Devon,” Wegman explains.<br />

Ring Concierge has developed its own criteria – beyond GIA<br />

certification – to assess a stone’s “overall beauty and liveliness”<br />

called the ‘RC Diamond Make’: “This is why all of the diamonds<br />

on our Instagram look so beautiful,” says Wegman.<br />

In 2019, Ring Concierge’s most ‘liked’ engagement ring<br />

belonged to US The Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher. “She<br />

has our signature Whisper Thin band with a hidden halo –<br />

it’s a gorgeous ring,” says Wegman.<br />

Putting female customers at the centre of the purchasing<br />

process, utilising social media effectively, and paying attention<br />

to trends – particularly those of celebrities – are important<br />

strategies in the new engagement ring environment.<br />

32 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong><br />




#engaged 13.1m<br />

#ido 4.9m<br />

#engagementring 4.7m<br />

#shesaidyes 4m<br />

#gettingmarried 2.8m<br />

#isaidyes 2.4m<br />

#diamondring 2.3m<br />

#justengaged 758k<br />

#engagedlife 715k<br />

#heputaringonit 389k<br />

#howheasked 360k<br />

#gettinghitched 304k<br />

#imengaged<br />

291k<br />

#tyingtheknot 240k<br />

#weregettingmarried 233k<br />

#hesaidyes<br />

122k<br />

Jennifer Lopez<br />

16-carat emerald cut<br />

diamond set in white metal<br />

Emma Stone<br />

Pearl with diamond halo<br />

set in ‘beige’ gold<br />

Devon Windsor<br />

Oval diamond with triplerow<br />

micro-pavé setting<br />

Bindi Irwin<br />

2-carat oval solitaire<br />

diamond set in rose gold<br />

Scarlett Johansson<br />

11-carat pear champagne<br />

diamond on ceramic band<br />

Hailey Bieber<br />

6-carat oval diamond<br />

set in gold<br />

Michelle Williams<br />

Pearl set in white gold<br />

also sapphire – mostly for its ability to fulfil customers’ desire<br />

for a range of colours, Graham explains.<br />

She notes that teal, purple, peachy pink and ‘earthy green’<br />

sapphires have been most in-demand in recent months.<br />

Tourmaline, spinel, and garnet across the same palette are also<br />

frequently requested. “We also have a lot of brides asking for<br />

bi- and tri-colour sapphire and tourmaline, which is lovely as<br />

you really don’t get more one of a kind!”she adds.<br />

Fresh twist on the classic<br />

While a significant proportion of customers are now opting<br />

for alternative gems – including fancy colour diamonds – the<br />

traditional white diamond remains the top choice for many.<br />

West says 70 per cent of his engagement ring customers still<br />

select the classic stone, with a preference for Argyle origin.<br />

Duraflex Group Australia launched an affordable finished<br />

jewellery collection, Diamonds By DGA, in September 2019.<br />

Its engagement ring range features white diamonds of varying<br />

sizes in clarity I1, colour H-I, set in either 9- or 18-carat<br />

white or yellow gold.<br />

Duraflex managing director Phil Edwards says “the classics –<br />

single stone solitaires” have proven most popular to date.<br />

“The feedback has been excellent and we are hence planning<br />

to grow this offering from DGA,” Edwards adds. “A range of<br />

new styles and rose gold settings will be available in <strong>2020</strong>.”<br />

Indeed, Worth confirms “there are still many who are partial<br />

to the classic solitaire”, while Graham calls it “ever-popular”.<br />

Alongside ovals, unusual shapes including pear and marquise<br />

have also been in demand as centre stones. Indeed, there are a<br />

significant number of brides-to-be willing to branch out in order<br />

to enhance the impact of their diamond.<br />

Different settings, as well as using unusually-shaped accent<br />

stones, can enhance visual appeal or give an heirloom diamond<br />

a fresh and modern look.<br />

“There is a shift towards asymmetrical designs that look more<br />

fluid and interesting to the eye,” says Graham. “This isn’t to<br />

say that we aren’t still seeing demand for classic solitaires –<br />

simplicity is a trend on its own that I’ve seen coming back into<br />

play – but brides are pairing that solitaire more and more with<br />

a fancy shape contour over a simple matched band.”<br />

Meanwhile, Der Bedrossian has noticed increased demand<br />

for halo designs in the past 12 months – in particular, those<br />

featuring pink diamonds from the Argyle Mine.<br />

Consumers have shown a desire for the classic engagement<br />

ring metals of white gold and platinum, which complement<br />

and enhance the sparkle of white diamonds. Meanwhile,<br />

traditional yellow gold and feminine rose gold still attract<br />

a significant proportion of shoppers.<br />

At Stuller, Graham observes that wedding and engagement<br />

band designs appear to have been influenced by fashion<br />

jewellery trends such as ‘stacking’ rings and a ‘pop’ of colour.<br />

At the same time, Worth notes that the traditional matching<br />

engagement and wedding ring set “remains the most popular”,<br />

though custom two- and three-piece sets, with bands made to<br />

fit around an unusual centre stone, have also garnered interest.<br />

Consumers’ desire for both ‘traditional with a twist’ and unique,<br />

custom makes ensures the engagement ring category offers<br />

jewellers both sales opportunities and creative challenges.

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Buying Groups Report<br />



Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much – so goes the old adage, and in the current business climate<br />

that could not be more true. COLEBY NICHOLSON explores the benefits of joining a buying group.<br />

It feels as if it’s every second day that we read about<br />

another retailer closing its doors. Economic and<br />

financial causes aren’t the only issues at play;<br />

Australia has also had to contend with drought, floods,<br />

fires and now the coronavirus, all of which have taken<br />

their toll on the already fragile retail industry.<br />

Colin Pocklington, managing director Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s –<br />

Australia and New Zealand’s largest buying group – says, “The<br />

conservative spending of consumers continues to adversely affect<br />

the industry. Until we see real growth in incomes and an easing<br />

in cost of living, we are unlikely to see growth of sales.”<br />

He sees tenancy costs as a significant and ongoing issue for the<br />

industry, with many of his members “seeking rent reductions to<br />

bring their occupancy costs back in-line with industry benchmarks.”<br />

Carson Webb, general manager Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, provides<br />

a good insight into the mismatch between store revenue and retail<br />

tenancy costs: “When a jeweller signed a $75,000 lease, say, five<br />

years ago, that lease has now risen to around $91,000.<br />

“Have the jeweller’s sales increased proportionally over that period?<br />

The statistics will tell you that they haven’t. And what about the<br />

legislated wage increases that they have no control over?”<br />

According to Charlie Davey, general manager of members and<br />

category management at Leading Edge Group <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, there is<br />

another problem facing retailers in large shopping centres. While<br />

some landlords may not be increasing rents (though they are not<br />

dropping them either), already high tenancy costs have forced<br />

many anchor tenants to leave centres.<br />

QUICK<br />


36%<br />

Of all buying<br />

group member<br />

stores are<br />

located in<br />

NSW<br />

108<br />

Number of<br />

member<br />

stores in New<br />

Zealand<br />

4%<br />

Of all buying<br />

group<br />

members are<br />

located in<br />

Tasmania<br />

“Rising rents and increases in basic business costs continue to<br />

challenge some retailers who must deal with a decrease in foot<br />

traffic, due to some of the bigger players such as Big W pulling<br />

out of regional centres,” Davey explains.<br />

It’s a valid point because the number of shoppers who visit the<br />

centre in part determines the value of a lease.<br />

If ‘foot traffic’ is declining, while at the same time tenancy costs<br />

are rising, it’s a recipe for disaster.<br />

That is one of the reasons large retail chains are closing stores –<br />

or worse, being placed into liquidation – sometimes as part of a<br />

restructure plan in order to renegotiate existing long-term leases<br />

with landlords.<br />

Pocklington points to the number of store closures to illustrate<br />

the seriousness of the situation. “More than 300 Australian jewellery<br />

stores – representing 10 per cent of all retailers – have closed in<br />

the last four years, with the main factor being falling sales.<br />

“Without doubt, the biggest challenge has been the significant drop<br />

in jewellery industry sales over the last three to four years.”<br />

He monitors the industry closely, regularly visiting cities and towns<br />

and noting stores that have closed or opened, so his finger is firmly<br />

on the pulse.<br />

However it’s important to acknowledge that not all the challenges<br />

faced by jewellers are economic or financial.<br />

Changes in consumer behaviour<br />

The world has changed largely because of the internet and, along<br />

with it, consumer habits.“Over the past two years, I think the<br />

changing face of our consumers and their purchasing habits is<br />

34 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

something that remains challenging<br />

for many independent jewellers,” says<br />

Josh Zarb, CEO of Australia’s newest<br />

buying group, Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective (IJC).<br />

“Everyone in retail today needs to really<br />

look at their marketing to ensure it aligns<br />

with the image of the in-store shopping<br />

experience and product offering.<br />

“I am seeing a disconnect, sometimes,<br />

between social media content and web<br />

content versus the physical store. This<br />

confuses the consumer and can lead to<br />

lost sales.”<br />

Davey agrees: “Bricks-and-mortar retailers<br />

are suffering due to the online shopping<br />

experience. With each store closure in<br />

regional Australia comes a loss of brands<br />

and items someone once purchased.<br />

“This drives consumers online to<br />

replenish those items – encouraging<br />

online shopping in people who have<br />

traditionally shopped locally.<br />

“Customers are also disillusioned with<br />

the overall retail experience that they<br />

are receiving, as customer service seems<br />

to be almost non-existent – especially in<br />

chain and department stores.”<br />

While there are many challenges facing<br />

the local and international jewellery<br />

industry, Webb is quick to address the<br />

‘glass half-empty mentality’ that can<br />

permeate any industry during tough times.<br />

“Aside from all the difficulties, the real<br />

danger I see is the danger from ourselves,<br />

as the retailer, getting stuck in the<br />

negative talk and becoming irrelevant to<br />

the consumer. The consumer doesn’t need<br />

to put up with mediocrity anymore,” Webb<br />

explains.<br />

“If you can’t do it, or whinge about it,<br />

someone else will do it. You cannot afford<br />

to get bogged down in the negative ‘speak’<br />

that floats around our industry about<br />

products, brands and even each other.<br />

“A good example is lab-grown diamonds<br />

– it’s a massive opportunity for many<br />

retailers who are ready to embrace them.”<br />

Webb doesn’t see the current retail<br />

environment as an ‘us versus them’<br />

fight: “It’s about transparency and giving<br />

consumers a choice [with lab-created<br />

diamonds]. Let’s get on with it and stop<br />

trying to pull each other down!<br />

“Our amazing industry needs better<br />

cohesion and a few more smiles and high<br />

fives, not constant beat ups. We have an<br />

amazing industry that offers consumers<br />

emotional engagement like no other can.<br />

Make it count!”<br />

Colin Pocklington<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“We recognised the<br />

start of these difficult<br />

trading conditions<br />

back in mid-2016 and<br />

started developing<br />

strategies, training<br />

and marketing<br />

initiatives to assist<br />

members.”<br />

Charlie Davey<br />

Leading Edge Group<br />

“Rising rents and<br />

increases in basic<br />

business costs<br />

continue to challenge<br />

some retailers who<br />

must deal with a<br />

decrease in foot<br />

traffic, due to some of<br />

the bigger players...<br />

pulling out of regional<br />

centres.”<br />

Carson Webb<br />

Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“Aside from all the<br />

difficulties, the<br />

real danger I see<br />

is the danger from<br />

ourselves, as the<br />

retailer, getting<br />

stuck in the negative<br />

talk and becoming<br />

irrelevant.”<br />

Josh Zarb<br />

Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective<br />

“Everyone in retail<br />

today needs to<br />

really look at their<br />

marketing to ensure<br />

it aligns with the<br />

image of the in-store<br />

shopping experience<br />

and product offering.”<br />



MEMBERS 322 138 89 549<br />

STORES 371 184 124 679<br />



MEMBERS 76 19 2 97<br />

STORES 85 19 4 108<br />


TYPE<br />


FIJI<br />

This is perhaps where the benefits of safety<br />

in numbers becomes vital; membership to<br />

a buying group offers a range of support<br />

not readily available to individual stores.<br />

Searching for solutions<br />



MEMBERS 1 1 2<br />

STORES 5 1 6<br />

Zarb explains that there is no simple<br />

answer to solve the challenges retailers<br />

currently face.<br />

“Unfortunately, there is no one ‘magic<br />

bullet’ that will be the single solution to<br />

thrive in today’s retail climate,” he says.<br />

However, that doesn’t mean there is<br />

nothing retailers can do to improve:“If<br />

I had to get specific, I would suggest that<br />

retailers really focus on identifying who<br />

their customer is and start to ensure their<br />

marketing targets them.<br />

“I would recommend that, if they are<br />

struggling, they reach out for assistance.<br />

All the groups offer numerous support<br />

services to assist their members.”<br />

Pocklington says, “We recognised the<br />

start of these difficult trading conditions<br />

back in mid-2016 and started developing<br />

strategies, training and marketing<br />

initiatives to assist members in maintaining<br />

profitability in a declining market.<br />

“We have provided the information and<br />

resources for members to implement the<br />

seven strategies for retail jewellers that<br />

we identified.”<br />

In the new digital world, where consumers<br />

are spoilt for choice of product and, more<br />

importantly these days, choice of service<br />

and customer experience, Pocklington<br />

believes retailers should undertake more<br />

marketing activity each month, across<br />

TOTAL<br />

Members and stores outside of Australia and New Zealand<br />


793 648<br />

STORES<br />


more channels and platforms.<br />

They should also look to offer different<br />

merchandise with different price points<br />

than their competitors, especially<br />

chain stores.<br />

He advises Nationwide members that<br />

better inventory management can also<br />

substantially improve profitability.<br />

“Increasing the stock turn by 0.2 can add<br />

$250,000 in cash to the average jewellery<br />

shop over five years,” Pocklington says.<br />

Webb has similar advice. “To deal with<br />

the current retail environment we advise<br />

two things. First, work your stock levels<br />

smarter. Customers are wanting ‘the same,<br />

but different’. Adjust now, or you’ll drown<br />

in stock. The average store is sitting at 38<br />

per cent of stock value over two years old.<br />

“Secondly, a really pertinent question<br />

to ask is, ‘Why me?’ Why should the<br />

customer in your area, town, city or even<br />

online, shop with you? Why are you any<br />

different or special?<br />

“If you can answer that honestly, and your<br />

customer agrees with you, then you’re on<br />

the right track indeed.”<br />

Webb says many Showcase members who<br />

focus on custom design and manufacture,<br />

and specialise in fine jewellery, are<br />

performing very well.<br />

“Our retail numbers are 7 per cent up on<br />

last year’s results for the last six months,<br />

with diamond business now making up<br />

more than 36 per cent of total sales.<br />

I remember some eight years ago it was<br />

only around 20 per cent. While keeping<br />

it simple is the answer, simple isn’t<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 35

Industry Feature | BUYING GROUPS REPORT<br />



<strong>2020</strong> - MEMBERS 114 67 66 25 27 11 9 3 322<br />

2018 - MEMBERS 108 77 67 30 33 10 8 2 335<br />

Variance 6 -10 -1 -5 -6 1 1 1 -13<br />

<strong>2020</strong> - STORES 134 81 76 26 29 12 10 3 371<br />

2018 - STORES 127 94 82 32 34 10 12 2 393<br />

Variance 7 -13 -6 -6 -5 2 -2 1 -22<br />

Excludes 76 members and 85 stores in NZ and 1 member with 5 stores in Fiji<br />

necessarily easy to do!” he says.<br />

Davey says it’s vital for jewellers to<br />

concentrate on great customer service<br />

and creating unique environments –<br />

shopping experiences that can’t be<br />

matched by online competitors.<br />

“Focus on providing a seamless customer<br />

shopping experience, from the presentation<br />

of your store, website and mobile<br />

interaction. Continue to review your cost<br />

of doing business and review the options<br />

available for payments, utilities and rent,<br />

and where needed, get help from your<br />

network,” he advises.<br />

Choosing a buying group<br />

If consumer confidence is low, retail<br />

spending down, and shopping behaviour<br />

has dramatically changed, what can<br />

independent jewellers do to stem the tide?<br />

There’s no doubt that one answer is the<br />

concept of unity, and Australian retailers<br />

have long had three distinct buying groups<br />

from which to chose, all offering different<br />

business models.<br />

However, with the announcement in<br />

January this year of Zarb’s new group,<br />

Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Collective, there’s<br />

now a fourth option.<br />

“IJC is perfect for proactive retailers that<br />

want to grow their business and share in<br />

a tight network of like-minded retailers.<br />

We offer a very simple and inexpensive<br />

business model that offers maximum<br />

hands-on support in all the areas that<br />

they would need help.<br />

“We have a very experienced management<br />


team that specialises in assistance for<br />

independent jewellery retail, and we also<br />

have some unique third-party partnerships<br />

that we offer in our IJC Vault of services to<br />

ensure they have access to specialists in<br />

every area of their business,” Zarb says.<br />

While the other three groups have<br />

established membership bases – all of<br />

which have been affected by store closures<br />

and retirements – Zarb still believes there’s<br />

a niche for IJC.<br />

“We have now completed a tour of the<br />

country launching IJC officially across five<br />

states, with other meetings planned for<br />

retailers who had submitted an expression<br />

of interest that were not able to make one<br />

of the sessions.<br />

“We always had a plan to go to market<br />

with 40-plus stores. I am pleased to<br />

say that we received more than that<br />

number of expressions of interest within<br />

the first day of our launch announcement<br />

being released.<br />

“We have subsequently presented to even<br />

more stores during the state meetings,”<br />

Zarb explains.<br />

He notes that while it is still early days,<br />

he has been overwhelmed with the positive<br />

feedback from retailers.<br />

“We are receiving application forms daily<br />

as a result and are now confident that we<br />

will meet our minimum store number for<br />

launch – and we may even exceed it, based<br />

on discussions to date. IJC aims to partner<br />

with a smaller number of proactive retailers<br />

and grow accordingly as our model is very<br />

much about tailored one-on-one support.”<br />


<strong>2020</strong> - MEMBERS 39 15 12 5 12 2 1 3 89<br />

2018 - MEMBERS 54 23 26 9 17 3 1 2 135<br />

Variance -15 -8 -14 -4 -5 -1 0 1 -46<br />

<strong>2020</strong> - STORES 46 36 16 7 13 2 1 3 124<br />

2018 - STORES 70 52 29 10 19 3 2 10 195<br />

Variance -24 -16 -13 -3 -6 -1 -1 -7 -71<br />

Excludes 2 members and 4 stores in NZ<br />

ABOUT<br />


“We limit the number<br />

of preferred suppliers<br />

in each category,<br />

to ensure that their<br />

involvement with the<br />

group will help them<br />

improve their market<br />

share.”<br />

Colin Pocklington<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“Where we see<br />

potential in a new<br />

product or supplier<br />

we present a business<br />

case to our members<br />

to assist their<br />

decision making.”<br />

Charlie Davey<br />

Leading Edge Group<br />

“We also don’t need<br />

more of the same<br />

product, for new<br />

suppliers there<br />

must be a point of<br />

difference.”<br />

Carson Webb<br />

Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“When looking for<br />

new suppliers, we<br />

look for product<br />

that has a point of<br />

difference from our<br />

existing suppliers.”<br />

Josh Zarb<br />

Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective<br />

Like all other industries, the original<br />

reason for joining a buying group was to<br />

take advantage of the trade discounts from<br />

suppliers – however, Pocklington says that<br />

is a very outdated model.<br />

“In the past ten years the main reason for<br />

joining has been the need for expert industry<br />

support. Our team of highly experienced,<br />

jewellery specific professionals cover<br />

all disciplines including marketing,<br />

merchandise, human resources, and<br />

training, as well as business planning<br />

and advice.<br />

“Nationwide can provide a wide range of<br />

essential support for independent retailers.<br />

Having these resources available is always<br />

important, but even more so in a difficult<br />

economy,” Pocklington adds.<br />

The backing of a buying group when<br />

negotiating leases or lease renewals can<br />

pay for itself many times over, given the<br />

potential savings.<br />

Davey says the main reasons for<br />

independent stores to consider<br />

membership of a buying group are “to grow<br />

and drive sales into their stores, through<br />

traditional means and online strategies,<br />

for support with marketing, training and<br />

development, and for access to central<br />

billing with more than 140 suppliers.”<br />

Leading Edge members also receive free<br />

membership to the Australian Retailers<br />

Association, which Davey says ensures<br />

there is a wealth of knowledge and support<br />

behind every member.<br />

“Our members receive the best discounts<br />

the industry has to offer in terms of<br />

payment platforms, EFT rates, shipping<br />

costs and exchange rates. In addition,<br />

our MMC and Aurora Diamonds ranges<br />

offer exclusive jewellery to our members<br />

at prices not available to other retailers,”<br />

he explains.<br />

Webb agrees that in today’s business<br />

climate joining a buying group is not about<br />

trade discounts.<br />

“The Showcase model means that<br />

members are the owners and shareholders<br />

of Showcase, we aren’t privately owned like<br />

others. Joining our group should not be just<br />

for discounts or finance.<br />

“While they are elements that fit into the<br />

bigger picture, I believe that if you join any<br />

group for only those reasons, then you’ll<br />

be doing the wrong thing for the long-term<br />

viability of your business,” he explains.<br />

“<strong>Jeweller</strong>s join to be part of a network of<br />

support and training, with focus groups,<br />

product assistance, access to exclusive<br />

opportunities that they would not get by<br />

themselves, marketing resources that are<br />

customised to suit them, a centralised<br />

account, and amazing travel opportunities<br />

36 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>



<strong>2020</strong> - MEMBERS 53 30 38 5 4 7 0 1 138<br />

2018 - MEMBERS 61 30 40 7 5 8 0 1 152<br />

Variance -8 0 -2 -2 -1 -1 0 0 -14<br />

<strong>2020</strong> - STORES 65 42 57 7 4 8 0 1 184<br />

2018 - STORES 76 47 63 10 5 10 0 1 212<br />

Variance -11 -5 -6 -3 -1 -2 0 0 -28<br />





Excludes 19 members and 19 stores in NZ and 1 member with 1 store in Vanautu<br />

such as visiting factories and meeting large<br />

retailers around the world.<br />

“Having a large resource of knowledge and<br />

support that also cares about you like a family<br />

member, and will fight for you, push you, support<br />

you, and guide you almost 24/7, is priceless,”<br />

Webb adds.<br />

Showcase members also receive free membership<br />

to the Australian Retailers Association and its Kiwi<br />

members receive membership to the equivalent<br />

New Zealand body.<br />

Equipped for the future<br />

As the business climate has changed, and as<br />

traditional retailing has come to grips with digital<br />

competition, training and education have become<br />

the cornerstones of all the buying groups.<br />

Pocklington explains the importance of being able<br />

to benchmark your store against other, similar<br />

stores is vital: “In the past two years, we have<br />

created a 12-month trading budget for more<br />

than 150 of our members, and in the process<br />

benchmarked their business and provided<br />

them with the precise actions needed to improve<br />

their profitability.”<br />

He adds, “Our one-day Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business<br />

Management Course, valued at $5,000 but<br />

free for members, is now in its third year and<br />

more than 100 members have completed it in<br />

Australia and New Zealand.<br />

“The course introduces several important aspects<br />

of retail science and shows members how to<br />

implement the seven strategies for retail success.”<br />

Before launching IJC, Zarb conducted a review of<br />

the marketplace in order to find the new buying<br />

group’s niche.<br />

He tells <strong>Jeweller</strong>, “Everything we offer at IJC aims<br />

at specific one-on-one support for our retailer<br />

partners – and our business model also ensures<br />

that our stores are always accruing funds to make<br />

use of our IJC Vault of services.<br />

“Upon joining the Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective, partners will receive a free Business<br />

Health Check, covering staffing levels, stock<br />

holding, merchandising, marketing and overall<br />

business performance and profitability – delivered<br />

in a ‘real world’ solution package.<br />

“This is at the heart of our offer and<br />

recommendations will be provided on which levers<br />

to pull, and when, to create the biggest impact on<br />

our member’s bottom line,” Zarb adds.<br />

While retail buying groups do not offer the elusive<br />

panacea – and may not be the right choice for<br />

every independent jeweller – as the business<br />

world becomes increasingly competitive and<br />

complicated, they do offer a safe harbour within<br />

which like-minded business owners can seek<br />

protection and assistance in order to flourish.<br />

Better still, jewellers now have a choice of four<br />

groups – all with different business models and<br />

advantages – to suit their specific needs.<br />

Are discounts the most important factor in joining a buying group?<br />

“While discounts play a<br />

role, other areas of the<br />

membership offer are<br />

more important. These<br />

include experience driving<br />

sales into store to increase<br />

turnover, and experience<br />

developing store-specific<br />

clearance strategies that<br />

will not undermine gross<br />

profit. Gross profit and net<br />

profit are benchmarks to<br />

determine the health of<br />

a business, so any area<br />

affecting these benchmarks<br />

is vitally important.”<br />

Charlie Davey<br />

Leading Edge Group<br />

“Our vision is unchanged:<br />

we believe that members<br />

always come first, so<br />

we not only provide the<br />

largest discount back to<br />

the retailer, but any profits<br />

made throughout the year<br />

are also passed back to our<br />

members. Would you prefer<br />

an extra 5 or 10 per cent<br />

from your supplier, or let<br />

the group take that discount<br />

and provide you with free<br />

marketing, business<br />

support, and everything<br />

else?”<br />

Carson Webb<br />

Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“Discounts are still<br />

important, which is why we<br />

give a written guarantee<br />

that any jeweller joining<br />

Nationwide will be<br />

financially better off with our<br />

trade discounts, member<br />

rewards and no-fees-orcharges<br />

structure. A recent<br />

reconciliation for several<br />

new members showed that,<br />

depending on the mix of<br />

their purchases, they were 2<br />

to 5 per cent better off with<br />

Nationwide.”<br />

Colin Pocklington<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

“Discounts are definitely<br />

important. However, the<br />

reality is that all buying<br />

groups offer very similar<br />

net discounts after<br />

everything is factored in.<br />

The real choice is then<br />

down to what level of<br />

support you would like.<br />

IJC falls into the boutique<br />

service category, with<br />

high-quality, one-on-one<br />

service and a smaller<br />

number of retailers.”<br />

Josh Zarb<br />

Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective<br />


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Buying Groups Report<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

with Colin Pocklington, Managing Director<br />

Est. 1991 | 1 BOARD MEMBER<br />


Strength in<br />

Numbers<br />

Total<br />

Members<br />

399 322<br />

76<br />

1<br />

Australia<br />

NZ<br />

Fiji<br />

Total<br />

Stores<br />

461<br />

371<br />

85<br />

5<br />

Australia<br />

NZ<br />

Fiji<br />

What are the prerequisites for joining?<br />

We consider applications from any jewellery<br />

store, including those that specialise in<br />

design and manufacture, providing they<br />

are not too close to an existing member.<br />

Nationwide’s team of industry experts,<br />

extensive resources and technology systems<br />

allows us to effectively deliver our range of<br />

benefits and services to retailers, including<br />

the 450-plus stores in our group.<br />

What are the benefits of joining?<br />

For nearly 30 years, our team has been<br />

providing members with the resources<br />

and information to achieve best practice in<br />

the jewellery industry. We guarantee that<br />

members will be financially better off with<br />

our trade discounts and no-fees structure.<br />

In retail, it is essential to promote your<br />

strengths, which is why all of our marketing<br />

resources are aimed at supporting and<br />

reinforcing the independence of our<br />

members, as well as custom design<br />

and manufacture.<br />

We also provide a huge range of resources<br />

covering merchandise, product knowledge,<br />

human resources, training, business<br />

planning and more. Most are available<br />

through our business college and website.<br />

At Nationwide, we work hard to help our<br />

members in all aspects of their business,<br />

and we welcome the opportunity to show<br />

what we can do. We add significant value to<br />

an independent jeweller’s business, at no<br />

cost, and without risk.<br />

What unique benefits are offered?<br />

Our comprehensive Antwerp marketing plan<br />

and resources have delivered millions in<br />

additional diamond sales for our members,<br />

including two members who made pre-trip<br />

diamond sales of more than $200,000.<br />

Over the past 20 years our members have,<br />

collectively, made in excess of a thousand<br />

trips to Antwerp.<br />

More than 100 Nationwide members have<br />

attended our one-day Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Business Management Course. The ten<br />

modules cover key aspects of retail that are<br />

essential for increasing market share and<br />

profitability in difficult trading conditions.<br />

The course is valued at $5,000 but is free<br />

for members.<br />

Our trademarked Custom Design <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

program also helps generate additional<br />

business through custom makes and<br />

remodelling.<br />

What are your major achievements<br />

over the past two years?<br />

Our new digital platform, launched in<br />

late 2019, provides websites that can<br />

be personalised to suit each member’s<br />

business. Members can feature and sell<br />

their own stock and can create their own<br />

e-marketing material for use in social<br />

media and on their website, as well as<br />

build supporting e-catalogues.<br />

In addition, our upcoming diamond directory<br />

will make buying and selling diamonds a lot<br />

easier. Members will have more than 20,000<br />

diamonds to choose from and show to their<br />

customers via the retail-focused front end.<br />

Has your traditional marketing<br />

changed in the past two years?<br />

There has been a much stronger focus on<br />

digital marketing, including social media<br />

and websites. Our national campaigns on<br />

the YouTube platform have also been highly<br />

successful in promoting Antwerp diamonds<br />

and custom design for members.<br />

How have you improved your B2C and<br />

social media marketing strategy?<br />

At our June conference we will be<br />

demonstrating the functionality of our new<br />

digital platform that allows members to<br />

create their own marketing. The keynote<br />

speaker at our conference will be Crystal<br />

Vilkaitis from Crystal Media, one of the<br />

world’s foremost experts in social media<br />

marketing for independent retailers. Crystal<br />

will also be running an advanced workshop<br />

on Facebook advertising.<br />

Our in-house graphic artists are also<br />

continually expanding our library of social<br />

media material – a free service which is<br />

available to all members.<br />


Top 3<br />

Advantages<br />

• Exceptional<br />

educational<br />

resources for<br />

improving<br />

market share,<br />

cashflow<br />

and product<br />

knowledge<br />

• Fully<br />

integrated<br />

digital<br />

platform for<br />

e-commerce<br />

and marketing<br />

• Antwerp<br />

diamond trips<br />

and overseas<br />

conferences<br />

How have you improved your B2B<br />

and internal technology?<br />

With the assistance of our preferred<br />

suppliers, we have been populating our<br />

new e-warehouse with product and images.<br />

Members will soon be able to use it to<br />

extract the images for their websites,<br />

social media and e-marketing. They will<br />

also be able to use this B2B channel to<br />

order products directly from suppliers.<br />

What other promotional support<br />

do you offer members?<br />

Alongside our marketing team, our two<br />

in-house graphic designers are available to<br />

help members build marketing support for<br />

campaigns, displays, and sales, and fulfil<br />

any other design need that a member might<br />

have. There are also numerous promotions<br />

downloadable at any time from our website.<br />

How do you support local jewellery<br />

manufacturers?<br />

Manufacturers can promote their products<br />

directly to members via our online portal.<br />

They can also promote their products<br />

in our e-warehouse and, soon, in our<br />

diamond directory. Additionally, our annual<br />

conferences attract around 200 members,<br />

ensuring a highly successful buying event<br />

for local manufacturers.<br />

What is the cost of membership?<br />

There are no joining fees, administration<br />

fees, agency fees, or technology fees, and<br />

no security deposits. We do not charge fees<br />

of any kind. A membership with Nationwide<br />

is entirely free.<br />

How have you improved your training<br />

and education over the past two years?<br />

Apart from our one-day business<br />

management course, we also run seminars<br />

and workshops at our annual conference,<br />

and at the International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y &<br />

Watch Fair in Sydney. We also provide<br />

education for members and their staff to<br />

improve their sales skills and jewelleryspecific<br />

knowledge, with diamond grading<br />

workshops and access to Gemological<br />

Institute of America (GIA) courses.<br />

38 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

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Buying Groups Report<br />

Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

with Carson Webb, General Manager<br />

Est. 1981 | 5 BOARD MEMBERS<br />

02 8566 1800 • SHOWCASEJEWELLERS.COM.AU<br />

Strength in<br />

Total<br />

158 138 Australia<br />

Total<br />

Numbers 204 184<br />

Members<br />

19 NZ<br />

Stores<br />

19<br />

1 Vanuatu<br />

1<br />

Australia<br />

NZ<br />

Vanuatu<br />

What are the prerequisites for joining?<br />

We look for integrity as an important quality<br />

in a new member. Additionally, operating a<br />

jewellery business with high standards in<br />

presentation and excellent customer service<br />

is always preferred.<br />

What are the benefits of joining?<br />

There are no management fees and no setup<br />

fee or security deposit of any kind – you<br />

simply join Showcase, a member-owned<br />

organisation, while retaining your own<br />

name and brand.<br />

Supplier discounts are returned directly to<br />

our members and not kept by the group to<br />

fund other ‘free’ benefits.<br />

Showcase offers unbeatable insurance and<br />

EFTPOS rates and free Australian Retailers<br />

Association (ARA) membership, and the<br />

equivalent resource for our New Zealand<br />

members.<br />

Another major benefit is access to diamond<br />

brands, including exclusive rights to certified<br />

Argyle white diamonds and Swarovski labgrown<br />

diamonds.<br />

Showcase also offers free website<br />

development using a customisable,<br />

mobile ready e-commerce platform.<br />

There is also free integration with the<br />

Retail Edge POS system.<br />

Other benefits include in-house product<br />

photography, videos and free image<br />

libraries, and world-class e-learning<br />

complete with videos, certified human<br />

resources courses and templates, and an<br />

on-line toolbox for all your marketing and<br />

promotional needs.<br />

Finally, we are the only buying group to<br />

offer fully franked dividends and returns<br />

on trading loans for our members.<br />

What unique benefits are offered?<br />

JIMACO [Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s] is a<br />

member-owned buying group that operates<br />

exclusively for independent jewellery<br />

retailers. All profits go back to our members<br />

– we exist purely for them to thrive.<br />

What are your major achievements over<br />

the past two years?<br />

Showcase is the first group to create an<br />

Australian diamond program through an<br />

exclusive partnership with Rio Tinto, which<br />

operates the Argyle Mine.<br />

Our Dreamtime brand, which features<br />

Argyle diamonds, is a wonderful success<br />

and continues to grow. We also continue<br />

to enjoy success with our diamond brand<br />

Passion8 and have negotiated exclusive<br />

rights to Swarovski Created Diamonds,<br />

including a creative license.<br />

We had some of our best financial results<br />

over the 2019 financial year, and members<br />

received a fully franked dividend as a result.<br />

The ongoing rollout of our B2B portals and<br />

member websites has had fabulous results,<br />

and we are launching a fully customisable<br />

catalogue facility.<br />

Additionally, our Journeys of the Heart<br />

catalogue campaign provided $500,000<br />

worth of stock and an amazing top-quality<br />

catalogue to the jeweller for a two-week<br />

period, free, which had incredible results<br />

for retailers.<br />

Has your traditional marketing changed<br />

in the past two years?<br />

Traditional media – while a small portion of<br />

our offering – still plays an important role,<br />

especially in regional areas. We also present<br />

every campaign in a full digital package,<br />

making it easy to apply across most<br />

channels. Everything we do is also mobile<br />

device friendly.<br />

How have you improved your B2C and<br />

social media marketing strategy?<br />

As a group, we have moved away from<br />

B2C. Instead, we are concentrating on our<br />

members integrating Retail Edge with their<br />

own POS as it covers all the bases for them.<br />

How have you improved your B2B and<br />

internal technology?<br />

We are well equipped in e-commerce, with<br />

an internationally linked B2B portal. Our<br />

platform covers everything from access<br />


Top 3<br />

Advantages<br />

• Memberowned<br />

and<br />

operated<br />

buying group<br />

paying fully<br />

franked<br />

dividends<br />

• Exclusive<br />

diamond<br />

brands<br />

including<br />

Argyle<br />

Dreamtime<br />

and Swarovski<br />

Created<br />

• Integration<br />

with Retail<br />

Edge POS<br />

to diamonds and exclusive overseas<br />

product as well as training and product<br />

information. We also provide policy manuals<br />

and staff induction material, customised<br />

to suit individual retailers. We have a large<br />

Facebook Group that is very active and can<br />

offer all types of advice.<br />

What other promotional support do you<br />

offer members?<br />

Showcase has an exclusive member offer<br />

of free local and overseas island holidays<br />

for their customers, instead of a discount.<br />

The cost is negligible, with no tricks or<br />

conditions. This strategy is game changer<br />

for many members.<br />

How do you support local jewellery<br />

manufacturers?<br />

Our manufacturing partners are very<br />

important; we removed our internal stock<br />

supply and shifted to local manufacturers<br />

and suppliers instead. The results speak<br />

for themselves, with 15 of our top 20<br />

suppliers increasing sales over the<br />

previous year’s result. In <strong>2020</strong> we are<br />

launching our ‘Limited Edition’ competition,<br />

where the winning jeweller can have his or<br />

her design manufactured in small volumes.<br />

What is the cost of membership?<br />

Depending on how you want to structure<br />

your business, it can be as low as 1.5 per<br />

cent of your purchases, with maximum<br />

supplier discounts going to our members.<br />

There is no start-up fee. At Showcase you<br />

become far more than just a member;<br />

you have part-ownership of the group.<br />

Ask yourself, where do the profits go in<br />

other groups? Our members receive those<br />

benefits directly.<br />

How have you improved training and<br />

education over the past two years?<br />

Showcase has one of the best online training<br />

and product knowledge resources available.<br />

We have an agreement with the international<br />

diamond trading platform RapNet to utilise<br />

its courses, and offer members the training<br />

resources of the ARA. We also have great<br />

relations with highly experienced US<br />

training partners.<br />

40 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>


We’ll Help You Thrive<br />

Here at Showcase <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, we are ALL about our members.<br />

We’re a member owned organisation, and it’s been that way for over 38 years.<br />

We have a long established, comprehensive management structure in place with<br />

some of the most experienced heads in the industry, all working together as a<br />

support office to help you thrive.<br />

We are proud to provide the support and tools<br />

necessary to help you navigate through:<br />

Retail<br />

Sales<br />

Marketing & Digital Marketing<br />

Policies<br />

Operations<br />

Product Knowledge<br />

Contact us today to find out more about how<br />

we can help your business thrive in <strong>2020</strong><br />

E: enquiries@showcasejewellers.com.au | P: (02) 8566 1800 | www.showcasejewellers.com.au


Buying Groups Report<br />

Leading Edge <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

with Charlie Davey, General Manager – Members<br />

& Category Management<br />

Est. 1986 | 5 BOARD MEMBERS<br />

02 9497 4000 • LEADINGEDGEGROUP.COM.AU<br />

Strength in<br />

Numbers<br />

Total<br />

Members<br />

91<br />

89<br />

2<br />

Australia<br />

NZ<br />

Total<br />

Stores<br />

128<br />

124<br />

4<br />

Australia<br />

NZ<br />

What are the prerequisites for joining?<br />

Our application process remains quite<br />

simple and consists of standard trade<br />

checks and proof of assets.<br />

We look to partner with retailers who are<br />

dedicated to building a successful fine<br />

jewellery business and eager to be part<br />

of a like-minded community.<br />

As supporters of family-driven values,<br />

honest and ethical trading have always<br />

been fundamental requirements.<br />

What are the benefits of joining?<br />

As part of Australia’s largest buying group,<br />

with more than 720 independent retailers<br />

across eight industries, our members are<br />

part of a community of retail specialists.<br />

Membership benefits include supplier<br />

discounts with attractive, cost-effective<br />

agreements, and central billing and<br />

credit featuring simple online invoicing.<br />

We also offer opt-in digital and print<br />

marketing programs focused on delivering<br />

sales, and access to a market-leading<br />

e-commerce website platform.<br />

Non-trade benefits such as saving<br />

thousands of dollars annually on insurance,<br />

freight, EFTPOS merchant rates and more<br />

are major benefits that our members enjoy.<br />

Members also have access to our jewellery<br />

retail coaching, inclusive of stock ranging<br />

and management, merchandising, profitand-loss<br />

analysis and financial planning,<br />

management and staff training, as well<br />

as the all-important store design.<br />

What unique benefits are offered?<br />

Our advantage lies in the practical<br />

application of our extensive retail and<br />

marketing knowledge. By providing expert<br />

coaching and retail services, we enable our<br />

family of members to grow in a challenging<br />

environment, ensuring stores are designed<br />

and merchandised for optimum return.<br />

We offer a digital presence that increases<br />

both online and in-store sales, along with<br />

marketing programs that provide tangible<br />

sales results. Our group’s size allows our<br />

members to cross-promote into other<br />

supported merchandise categories as well<br />

as participate in company-wide promotions<br />

rather than just their dedicated category,<br />

such as jewellery.<br />

What are your major achievements over<br />

the past two years?<br />

We have continued to invest heavily in our<br />

digital technology and platform and are<br />

proud to offer members the industry’s<br />

most comprehensive digital and traditional<br />

marketing support package, including<br />

individualised web marketing via their<br />

store’s personalised website.<br />

Has your traditional marketing changed<br />

in the past two years?<br />

Yes. Traditionally our marketing programs<br />

focused on print campaigns and while<br />

we still provide traditional catalogues<br />

opportunities for members, we also<br />

offer many digital promotions and socialmedia<br />

assets.<br />

How have you improved your B2C and<br />

social media marketing strategy?<br />

We now offer our members opt-in<br />

opportunities each month focusing on a<br />

themed jewellery collection. In addition, we<br />

support a significant number of members<br />

in the design, content management and<br />

construction of personalised websites for<br />

their individual stores.<br />

How have you improved your B2B and<br />

internal technology?<br />

Our B2B website is the cornerstone of our<br />

campaign distribution. We are currently<br />

developing and investing heavily in a<br />

ground-breaking digital platform which is<br />

scheduled for release this financial year.<br />

What other promotional support do you<br />

offer members?<br />

In a fast-moving marketplace, our members<br />

value currency and expertise very highly.<br />

That’s why it’s important to offer our<br />


Top 3<br />

Advantages<br />

• Independent<br />

retailer<br />

community<br />

that goes<br />

beyond<br />

jewellery –<br />

720 members<br />

across eight<br />

categories<br />

• Expert<br />

coaching and<br />

retail services<br />

• Comprehensive<br />

digital and<br />

traditional<br />

marketing<br />

support<br />

package<br />

members personalised marketing services,<br />

including but not limited to, social media<br />

advertising and collateral for special events.<br />

We also create bespoke designs for our<br />

exclusive brands. More importantly, we<br />

are currently bringing on board experts<br />

dedicated to marketing research and<br />

social media.<br />

How do you support local jewellery<br />

manufacturers?<br />

Our mandate is all about supporting familyoriented<br />

businesses and their communities.<br />

We employ a ‘hands on’ approach with our<br />

supply partners by tailoring offers specific<br />

to our members.<br />

Supplier partners have the opportunity to<br />

partake in digital marketing campaigns<br />

which we market to our members. We<br />

use our conferences to work with industry<br />

professionals and share new opportunities.<br />

We also sponsor and promote many<br />

industry awards and events.<br />

What is the cost of membership?<br />

To be part of one of Australia’s premier retail<br />

buying groups, it’s as simple as this: an $89<br />

per month membership fee with no joining<br />

fees, no exit fees, and no lock-in contracts.<br />

How have you improved your training and<br />

education in the past two years?<br />

The Friedman Group – a leading retail<br />

consulting and sales training firm – is an<br />

ongoing part of our dedicated offering to<br />

support our members, helping their teams<br />

to strive for sales goals and outstanding<br />

customer service.<br />

We also offer educational webinars twice<br />

a month that focus on business needs and<br />

information to help our members put plans<br />

into action.<br />

Our conferences are also designed with<br />

training and education in mind, with our<br />

guest speakers and trainers being the<br />

best in the field of their expertise – from<br />

understanding how to drive social media<br />

and marketing campaigns to business<br />

growth and analysis.<br />

42 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Leading Edge<br />

Group is Australia’s<br />

largest body of<br />

independent retail<br />

stores across<br />

multiple markets<br />

Brilliant<br />

Together<br />

Leading Edge Group <strong>Jeweller</strong>s is here to help your<br />

business grow, prosper and conquer. We are experts<br />

that know the market, the customer and can offer<br />

insights, strategy suggestions, solutions and support<br />

to help you and your company thrive.<br />

There is also the added bonus of our exclusive<br />

member benefi ts including:<br />

✓ Centralised credit that increases fl exibility and<br />

convenience with one account for all payments<br />

✓ Access to exclusive products, offers and prices<br />

✓ Non-trade savings on fi nance, insurance, car rentals,<br />

travel, accommodation, shop fi ttings and more<br />

✓ Membership to the Australian Retailers Association<br />

for invaluable information and services<br />

✓ Management and operational training provided<br />

by reputable market experts<br />

✓ Personalised assistance and guidance from<br />

a team of highly respected marketing and<br />

industry professionals<br />

EST. 1985<br />

To find out more, contact:<br />

Hannes Coetsee - Category Manager<br />

P (02) 8732 9583 E coetseeh@leadingedgegroup.com.au<br />

Level 2, 72 Archer Street, Chatswood NSW 2067<br />



Buying Groups Report<br />

Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Collective<br />

with Joshua Zarb, Chief Executive Officer<br />

Est. <strong>2020</strong> | 4 BOARD MEMBERS<br />


Founded<br />

January <strong>2020</strong><br />

Objective<br />

40+ Members in first year<br />

What are the prerequisites for joining?<br />

The Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Collective (IJC)<br />

is currently partnering with Australia’s<br />

finest proactive jewellers. With no sign-up<br />

fees or lock-in contracts, we are welcoming<br />

partners with the highest ethical standards<br />

and professional integrity Australia wide.<br />

All applicants are required to satisfy<br />

a standard credit application, and provide<br />

store imagery and a high-resolution<br />

business logo.<br />

them on creative and strategic marketing<br />

plans. We aim to help our partners identify<br />

who their target customer really is, and<br />

guide them in refining their marketing<br />

message and product mix to ensure<br />

they’re in business for decades to come.<br />

We will refocus our partners on their<br />

point of difference, and strategically<br />

elevate their brand.<br />

What will be the basis of your B2B and<br />

internal technology?<br />

expertise of our supplier partners.<br />

Everyone needs sell-through, and between<br />

our own B2B offering and our hands-on<br />

approach to member support, we aim to<br />

provide as much education to both our<br />

retail and supplier partners to drive sales.<br />

This is the best support we can offer the<br />

industry as a whole.<br />

How will your buying group focus on<br />

training and education?<br />

What are the benefits of joining?<br />

We empower independent retailers to<br />

engage with their customers in unique and<br />

innovative ways, partnering with specialists<br />

in different fields to bring them the most<br />

up-to-date expertise and assistance.<br />

We also offer a hands-on approach – all<br />

IJC partners receive structured annual<br />

visits from our management team to assist<br />

them with key areas of modern retailing, as<br />

well as ongoing training and development<br />

throughout the year. Retailers can refer<br />

to our website for a full list of benefits.<br />

What unique benefits are offered?<br />

We have a simple business model that<br />

rewards our partners every time they utilise<br />

our network of preferred suppliers, to use<br />

on our exclusive IJC Vault of retail services.<br />

IJC partners also gain access to our<br />

bespoke communications dashboard and<br />

Ezi-Billing portal that links directly with<br />

MYOB and Xero. We offer tailored marketing<br />

solutions specific to each partner’s<br />

demographic and store fit out.<br />

Our partners have access to extensive<br />

hands-on staff and management training<br />

as well as an online training portal not<br />

offered elsewhere within the industry. Our<br />

IJC directors all have extensive experience<br />

in member service organisations.<br />

What will your B2C marketing<br />

plans involve?<br />

Nobody knows their customer better than<br />

our partners, so we will work together with<br />

The IJC management team has years of<br />

experience in developing and administering<br />

all aspects of digital strategy and marketing<br />

best practices. We have an added advantage<br />

in that our chief technology officer is a<br />

first-class programmer, so we can integrate<br />

our offering with third-party platforms and<br />

develop our own infrastructure in-house<br />

as well.<br />

We have custom built our Ezi-Billing<br />

Platform, which has an integrated B2B<br />

Dashboard for all internal communications<br />

and resources. It also includes a B2B Order<br />

Platform for our supplier partners which<br />

has the ability to suggest open-to-buys by<br />

category, to plan spending effectively. We<br />

are very strong in technology at IJC.<br />

What other kind of promotional support<br />

will you offer members?<br />

We want to help our partners attract the<br />

right customers with simple, consistent,<br />

modern styling and messaging that truly<br />

connects with their target customer.<br />

We will be moving away from the old<br />

fashioned one-size-fits-all approach of<br />

a standardised printed posters, banners<br />

and tickets package, and will be polishing<br />

the look of stores by introducing modern<br />

signage and merchandising systems.<br />

How will you support local jewellery<br />

manufacturers?<br />

IJC will work alongside many local jewellery<br />

manufacturers and supplier partners and<br />

will not purchase and hold any items of<br />

stock. Instead, we will exclusively rely on the<br />

IJC<br />

Top 3<br />

Advantages<br />

• One-onone<br />

advice,<br />

education<br />

and support,<br />

including<br />

business<br />

assessments<br />

• Custom-built<br />

integrated<br />

billing facility<br />

and support<br />

platform<br />

• Passionate<br />

management<br />

team with<br />

extensive<br />

industry<br />

experience<br />

Training and education is at the core of IJC.<br />

Our model ensures that all partners are<br />

creating reserves to use specifically<br />

on training or services to better their<br />

business overall.<br />

All IJC partners will receive a<br />

comprehensive Business Performance<br />

Checklist that will offer them scores<br />

and feedback on every key performance<br />

indicator. As part of their membership, they<br />

will also receive a subscription to a complete<br />

sales, management and personal wellbeing<br />

package from one of our IJC Vault partners.<br />

We will host several training events<br />

throughout the year, including state-based<br />

training, to allow key staff and managers to<br />

attend sessions in a cost-effective manner.<br />

Our training plan will also include<br />

international education and networking<br />

trips. We believe our smaller group size,<br />

strong training and development focus,<br />

and one-on-one assistance are some of<br />

the biggest drawcards for IJC.<br />

What is the cost of membership?<br />

Our membership fee is only $79 per month.<br />

This fee contributes to our extensive<br />

marketing and operational support.<br />

We give back to our partners by providing<br />

them rebates to utilise on our extensive<br />

menu of business services, typically<br />

providing them several thousands of dollars<br />

annually to directly assist them to grow<br />

sales or reduce costs.<br />

44 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

The start of something brilliant.<br />

We are the independent jewellery retail specialists.<br />

A collective of Australia’s finest jewellery retailers<br />

and supply partners, and we do things differently.<br />

We support your business with innovation, technology,<br />

strategic marketing and more. Empowering retailers<br />

to engage in the most unique and innovative ways,<br />

partnering with our team of industry specialists to bring<br />

them the expertise and assistance where it counts.<br />

Our vision is to create an unparalleled level of one<br />

on one support, a true partnership. Ensuring our<br />

partners stay relevant to upcoming<br />

generations of jewellery buyer.<br />

We do this by re-educating,<br />

rejuvenating, and elevating our<br />

jewellers and leading supply<br />

partners on a new journey of<br />

modern retailing.<br />

Your team of experts are<br />

passionate, driven and at<br />

your service.<br />

Let’s grow together.<br />

For more information on<br />

becoming an IJC partner,<br />

please contact:<br />

Josh Zarb - CEO<br />

0448 416 070<br />

josh@jewellerscollective.com<br />



Retail Strategy<br />



Don’t be afraid of, or dismiss, your competitors, write RICH KIZER and GEORGANNE BENDER.<br />

Instead, ask yourself what you can learn from your retail rivals.<br />

As a guide, more than 10 per cent of<br />

your business changes in a variety of<br />

ways every year. This is an important<br />

statistic because in today’s retail<br />

environment, if you don’t reinvent your<br />

store by at least 10 per cent each year,<br />

in just three years’ time you could be<br />

30 per cent behind your competitors.<br />

Change is a major stop on the road to<br />

survival. Remember Blockbuster Video?<br />

Everyone went to Blockbuster until Netflix<br />

showed up and offered videos for one low<br />

monthly fee – with no late fees – without<br />

requiring its customers to leave the house.<br />

Netflix flourished and Blockbuster closed<br />

its doors because it didn’t keep up with<br />

the times. Borders Books stumbled and<br />

lost when Amazon’s low prices and Kindle<br />

device came on the scene.<br />

That’s the 10 per cent change factor at<br />

work. If your store is to stay relevant you<br />

have to keep up with your competition, your<br />

customers, and the times. You need to<br />

know how your store stacks up when<br />

compared to your competition – because<br />

your customers are constantly comparing<br />

you to your competitors.<br />

You probably know the old joke that’s<br />

relevant to retail competition: two hikers are<br />

out enjoying the day, when suddenly a large<br />

bear jumps from behind a bush and starts<br />

to chase them.<br />

They’re both running for their lives when<br />

suddenly one man sits down to put on his<br />

running shoes.<br />

His friend says, “Are you crazy? You can’t<br />

outrun that bear!” And the other hiker says,<br />

”I don’t have to outrun the bear; I just have<br />

to outrun you!”<br />

Here’s the thing: complacency kills.<br />

How often do you mystery shop your<br />

competition – in person, online and on<br />

social mediums?<br />

Monthly? Yearly? Never?<br />

You may not be shopping your competitors<br />

but you can bet that your hungry<br />

competition is shopping you.<br />

You can’t think your store is different and<br />

that it’s on target to withstand the test<br />

of time. Too many retailers think their<br />

business is immune to change. It’s not. No<br />

store is invincible.<br />

Too many<br />

retailers<br />

think their<br />

business<br />

is immune<br />

to change.<br />

It’s not.<br />

No store is<br />

invincible<br />

Keep your enemies close<br />

Shopping your competition is an exercise<br />

that needs to happen at least once a<br />

quarter, more often during holidays and<br />

other peak retail seasons.<br />

Here are a few tips to assist in investigating<br />

your competitors:<br />

• Make a list of everything you need to<br />

know about each store: When we mystery<br />

shop we carefully examine the operational<br />

categories in the store, and then rate each<br />

one on a scale of one to 10.<br />

It is subjective, an opinion, but it’s a good<br />

one. Yours will be too.<br />

• Determine where you stand in your<br />

marketplace: Send someone you trust to<br />

a public place in your neighbourhood to<br />

ask people if they can recommend a good<br />

jewellery store.<br />

If yours is mentioned first, you have built<br />

‘Top of the Mind Awareness’ – good job!<br />

If you are not mentioned first, or worse,<br />

not at all, you have some work to do. You<br />

can also ask a friend to mystery shop your<br />

store. Your perception of how you are doing<br />

46 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

Retail Strategy<br />

could be tremendously different from the<br />

customers’ perception.<br />

We undertook this exercise with a retailer<br />

who thought his store was the ‘best’, so<br />

we took him to visit a new competitor’s<br />

store, and then came back to do the same<br />

exercise in his store. It was an eye opener;<br />

he realised how much work he had to do to<br />

bring his store up to speed.<br />

You don’t have to do it all by yourself. If you<br />

are uncomfortable or may be recognised,<br />

send a friend or family member. You could<br />

even ask one of your loyal customers to visit<br />

the competitor for an appraisal.<br />

However, some good advice is for you to<br />

occasionally visit the store just to say<br />

hello, and casually look around while<br />

you are there.<br />

Another strategy is what we call the ‘How<br />

Did It Feel‘ exercise. Assign your staff to visit<br />

your various competitors posing as typical<br />

customers. Have them go through all of the<br />

steps outlined in this article.<br />

When the staff member returns, ask them<br />

to document their visits, breaking down<br />

everything they experienced in each area of<br />

the store.<br />

After each comment ask, “How did it feel?”<br />

You’ll learn what those competitors did well<br />

and where they fell down. Compare those<br />

findings with your own store.<br />

Note your first impression: is the<br />

competitor’s store interesting from the<br />

minute you approach it? Are the displays<br />

and store windows compelling? Shoppers<br />

view your window displays in eight seconds<br />

or less, so they can’t be too elaborate.<br />

The average shopper makes a value<br />

judgment about a store – positive or negative<br />

– in 10 seconds or less. Ask yourself, what<br />

vibe does your store present to potential<br />

customers? What happens just beyond the<br />

decompression zone – that is, the first 2–4<br />

metres inside the front door?<br />

Rate the in-store experience. Is it a fun place<br />

to shop or merely a place to ‘buy stuff’?<br />

• Analyse the customer flow: Does<br />

the store layout create and control how<br />

customer traffic flows through the floor?<br />

A retail study found that 50 per cent of<br />

shoppers never see the entire sales floor.<br />

Do customers linger in the store or get in<br />

and out?<br />

Stop and watch shoppers; try to see the<br />

merchandising and customer service<br />

through their eyes.<br />

Observe how shoppers enter the store,<br />

which way they go and why, plus what they<br />

look at, and how long they linger in specific<br />

areas, along with what they buy and return.<br />

• Rate the overall appearance of the sales<br />

floor: Does it motivate shoppers to buy?<br />

What do your competitors do to highlight<br />

important product? Is the merchandise<br />

fresh or dated? Is the sales floor neat and<br />

clean? Are displays well maintained and<br />

dust free? Are they unique?<br />

Where are the important basics and hot<br />

sellers located? Are displays merchandised<br />

as a destination product – think milk and<br />

eggs in a grocery store – or as impulse<br />

purchases? Are the displays clearly<br />

signed and is the merchandise clearly and<br />

competitively priced?<br />

How does your competitor differentiate<br />

between full price and markdown<br />

merchandise?<br />

Note where it is and how’s reduced. How<br />

is clearance product merchandised – is it<br />

in its regular department or in a special<br />

clearance area?<br />

Does the store have signage and is it<br />

effective? Does it reinforce the overall<br />

feeling of the store’s brand?<br />

Are signs well placed and legible and<br />

is there a standard format or are they<br />

handwritten and taped to fixtures?<br />

You should also assess the perception of<br />

the store’s pricing compared to yours. Is the<br />

retailer trying to convey an upscale, quality<br />

service combined with a unique experience,<br />

or as a discount merchant?<br />

Are the staff attentive to shoppers’ needs?<br />

Are there trained staff members available to<br />

help with difficult customer questions?<br />

Put the store staff through their paces to<br />

find out if they possess specialised skills<br />

and strong product knowledge.<br />

Online exploration<br />

You’re not finished yet. It’s critical to visit<br />

your competition online, too. Check out<br />

Review<br />

your goals<br />

1 Make a list<br />

of everything<br />

you need to<br />

know about<br />

each rival store<br />

2 Determine<br />

where you<br />

stand in your<br />

marketplace<br />

3 Analyse the<br />

customer flow<br />

of competitor<br />

stores<br />

4 Rate<br />

the overall<br />

appearance<br />

of your<br />

competition’s<br />

sales floor<br />

5 Explore their<br />

online presence<br />

and customer<br />

reviews<br />

each competitor’s Yelp business page and<br />

Google reviews on a weekly basis. Review<br />

yours, too.<br />

Don’t have a Yelp or Google My Business<br />

page? You may have one even if you didn’t<br />

set it up because if a customer decides to<br />

review your store, that becomes your page.<br />

Claim it, and see what is being said.<br />

When setting up the page, complete all the<br />

information fields, add high-quality photos,<br />

and respond to comments – good and bad.<br />

Monitor it weekly – or daily, if you are getting<br />

lots of reviews. And don’t worry about cost;<br />

Yelp and Google My Business are free.<br />

Monitor the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ – a<br />

term that describes the moment when a<br />

consumer researches a product or store<br />

online prior to purchase, or prior to visiting<br />

the location in person.<br />

You should consider establishing an<br />

account with Mention.com and TalkWalker.<br />

com to learn what’s being said about your<br />

store online.<br />

Both sites will email you a link each time<br />

you are mentioned, plus a link to take you<br />

to the comment. We have alerts set up for<br />

ourselves, our company, and everything<br />

else we want to monitor.<br />

Meanwhile, Facebook Pages to Watch<br />

– found on your Facebook Page Insights –<br />

allows you to do an anonymous, automatic<br />

daily comparison with your competition’s<br />

Facebook pages. Your competitor will<br />

receive notice that someone is ‘watching’<br />

their page, but they won’t know that it’s you.<br />

Utilising these techniques will give you<br />

an accurate picture of where you stand in<br />

relation to your competition. It will allow<br />

you to see your store through your<br />

customers’ eyes and identify your strengths<br />

as well as weaknesses.<br />

With that knowledge, you can develop<br />

new strategies to improve your existing<br />

customers’ experience at your store, as<br />

well as encourage new customers to shop<br />

with you instead of your competitors.<br />


are retail strategists, authors and<br />

consultants. kizerandbender.com<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 47


Selling<br />

Are you making the most of your<br />

customer service superstars?<br />

For some employees, providing outstanding customer service comes naturally –<br />

and their talents can be used to enhance your whole team, writes JEANNIE WALTERS.<br />

Ask any group of customers what<br />

they liked about a recent customer<br />

experience, and they typically mention<br />

the same thing – although, they aren’t<br />

‘things’: it’s always about the people.<br />

Senior executives across different servicebased<br />

industries have noted that, when<br />

leaving feedback, customer comments<br />

often included a specific name.<br />

Instead of saying, “The flight attendant<br />

was great,” they would say, “Kelly is really<br />

extraordinary!”<br />

These extraordinary people in your<br />

organisation should be not only rewarded<br />

for their behaviour, but also observed and<br />

invited to participate in creating the best<br />

practices for your business.<br />

The tricky thing about humans is that we<br />

have trouble observing ourselves. So it’s<br />

up to business managers to identify the<br />

customer service ‘superstars’ and discern<br />

how they create better customer service.<br />

If you aren’t paying attention to you staff<br />

‘superstars’ then others won’t feel the<br />

need to follow their exemplary lead.<br />

Here are some of the ways customer<br />

service superstars stand out, gathered<br />

from years of observing different<br />

businesses and organisations.<br />

Listening and responding beyond the data<br />

One customer service representative<br />

working for a national business call centre<br />

noticed customers would contact her<br />

requiring the same instructions again<br />

and again.<br />

Many of their questions weren’t available<br />

as choices in the business’ customer<br />

service system. The call centre employee<br />

recorded the questions in her notebook,<br />

created a set of resolution instructions,<br />

and presented her work to the call centre<br />

manager.<br />

However, the manager refused to add<br />

the questions and answers to the system<br />

because the numbers on file didn’t reflect<br />

a large caller demand for that information.<br />

Identifying and rewarding your best customer service employees is critical.<br />

Not to be discouraged, the employee<br />

simply provided her instructions to her<br />

fellow customer service representatives<br />

and, as a result, transnational customer<br />

satisfaction rates increased.<br />

In this case, the call centre manager’s<br />

decision simply reflected the data-driven<br />

culture of the company.<br />

However, the superstar saw a truly<br />

customer-centric solution and made it<br />

happen in a low-tech way.<br />

This staff member helped the rest of her<br />

team learn how to really listen for the root<br />

cause of reasons for inbound customer<br />

requests.<br />

Empathetic and engaging behaviour<br />

At a world-class art museum, some of the<br />

visitors were reporting an unfriendly and<br />

uptight environment.<br />

Staff working in customer-facing roles<br />

were trained in ‘soft’ skills – yet still the<br />

comments kept coming.<br />

Obervation of individual gallery experiences<br />

revealed the unexpected cause; security<br />

guards stationed to protect each individual<br />

gallery in the museum, were often abrupt<br />

and unfriendly to visitors.<br />

They were doing the job for which they had<br />

been employed, however sometimes they<br />

were perceived as rude. For an example,<br />

It is easy not to<br />

pay attention to<br />

the individual<br />

staff member<br />

who excels at<br />

his or her job;<br />

often, they do<br />

not seek glory<br />

or recognition<br />

an adult exclaiming, “Don’t touch that!” is<br />

startling to a young child.<br />

One guard, however, had a unique<br />

approach, especially with children. He<br />

crouched down to speak to them at eye<br />

level and used phrases of engagement<br />

such as, “Do you like that sculpture? I do,<br />

too! It’s one of my favourites. That’s why we<br />

have to be so careful.”<br />

His warm tone and engaged behaviour<br />

should have become the standard across<br />

the museum’s security team, but that<br />

could only happen if leadership was<br />

paying attention.<br />

Getting out of their silo<br />

A small university discovered its<br />

superstars when its academic advisers<br />

began asking students about their<br />

experiences outside study.<br />

Students trusted the advisers for academic<br />

counsel, but as the relationships grew<br />

they shared more than just feelings<br />

about their classes.<br />

Superstars were all over the campus:<br />

dining hall attendants, health centre<br />

nurses and registrar clerks were all<br />

mentioned in glowing terms by the<br />

students. As more student responses<br />

were analysed, it was found that each<br />

of these groups had at least one staff<br />

member who could help the rest of their<br />

team better serve students.<br />

It is easy not to pay attention to the<br />

individual staff member who excels at his<br />

or her job; often, they do not seek glory or<br />

recognition – they simply do their job in the<br />

only way they know how.<br />

By actively identifying your superstars, your<br />

customers’ experience can improve thanks<br />

to their intuitive skills.<br />

So… do you have superstars and do you<br />

recognise them?<br />

Jeannie Walters is founder and CEO of<br />

Experience Investigators By 360Connext.<br />

experienceinvestigators.com<br />

48 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>


Management<br />

Why taking risks is critically important<br />

When it comes to taking your business to the next level, there are several key areas<br />

where a calculated risk makes all the difference, writes DAVID BROWN.<br />

Taking a risk is subjective; what one<br />

person considers risky another might not<br />

give a second thought.<br />

As we age, we certainly become more risk<br />

averse, sinking back towards the ‘tried and<br />

true’ rather than the ‘new and exciting’.<br />

This can be part of our in-built wiring – we<br />

get better at making risk judgments as<br />

we age, since we now have a history from<br />

which to refer.<br />

You only have to ask yourself whether<br />

you’d repeat some of the things you did<br />

when you were 20!<br />

From a financial perspective, some of<br />

this decision-making process is due to<br />

having more at stake – financially, we are<br />

generally wealthier in our fifties than we<br />

were in our twenties, and have more to<br />

lose if things go wrong.<br />

This risk aversion sometimes stems from<br />

having previously been financially harmed.<br />

We instinctively shy away from previous<br />

bad experiences.<br />

With too many bad memories returning,<br />

we start to believe that the same thing<br />

can happen again. Yet in many cases,<br />

these previous bad experiences were<br />

circumstantial and not directly related to<br />

the actions that we took.<br />

I see this time and time again with<br />

jewellery storeowners who stick to the<br />

same path of action over and over again<br />

even though the market has moved on.<br />

As it turns out, avoiding change can be the<br />

greatest risk of all.<br />

Failing to take a chance can be more risky<br />

than taking a few calculated gambles –<br />

that is, ensuring the risk factor is managed<br />

as effectively as possible.<br />

So, in what areas of a business should you<br />

take risk?<br />

Inventory – Product is one area that should<br />

be managed by the numbers and I’m a firm<br />

believer in continuing to reorder and resell,<br />

until it sells no more.<br />

However a certain percentage of your<br />

The benefits of taking a risk frequently outweigh the drawbacks.<br />

buying needs to be focused on testing new<br />

products that may become winners.<br />

You are losing out on the potential for<br />

greater revenue if you continue to solely<br />

stock the items you’ve always stocked.<br />

When it comes to widening your product<br />

offering, take a strategic approach and<br />

look for the gaps that could be easily<br />

filled with an item that will delight your<br />

loyal customers, or bring new customers<br />

into your store.<br />

Marketing – The digital world has made it<br />

easier than ever to measure the impact of<br />

your marketing strategy.<br />

Split testing – also known as A/B testing<br />

– is the automated process of showing<br />

different marketing material to two<br />

different audiences and seeing which one<br />

gets the best response.<br />

For example, you could see which of your<br />

two Instagram ads – one with a flat-lay<br />

product image, or one with a product<br />

on a model – gets the most customer<br />

click-throughs.<br />

It’s a great way to quickly refine and evolve<br />

your strategy to its optimal level.<br />

By constantly reshaping and trying new<br />

marketing headlines and offers, you can<br />

easily determine which works best with a<br />

minimum of risk.<br />

The important<br />

question when<br />

considering<br />

a risk is to<br />

determine what<br />

the worstcase<br />

scenario<br />

will be... In<br />

most cases,<br />

this downside<br />

is actually<br />

minimal<br />

Price – Do you really know how much that<br />

item can sell for? Could your mark-up be<br />

higher than you currently charge?<br />

Testing the market for price can offer<br />

considerable returns for very little risk.<br />

All of these areas have one thing in<br />

common – they can be calculated risks<br />

with a limited downside that can be<br />

easily reversed.<br />

None have the power, on their own, to<br />

cause permanent damage to your<br />

business; all of them offer an upside that<br />

faroutweighs their downside.<br />

Calculated risk taking is part of<br />

entrepreneurship – after all, being a<br />

business owner is a risk in itself.<br />

The important question when considering<br />

a risk is to determine what the worst-case<br />

scenario will be if things don’t go according<br />

to plan. In most cases, this downside is<br />

actually minimal.<br />

I recommend having a ‘risk budget’ as<br />

part of your annual plan.<br />

This isn’t an expense account line item,<br />

but rather a portion of your funds, in<br />

several different areas, that you are<br />

prepared to risk in order to move your<br />

business forward.<br />

In every case, you need to decide if the<br />

upside offers a multiplier several times<br />

higher than the downside, and whether the<br />

downside can be capped at a certain point<br />

to minimise that risk.<br />

If you explore these options you will<br />

find,that there are many opportunities in<br />

your business to take controlled risks that<br />

can offer significant upsides – and some of<br />

these risks could potentially catapult the<br />

business to another level.<br />

When you assess these risks on that basis,<br />

you will find the risk really isn’t that big a<br />

risk after all.<br />

David Brown is co-founder and business<br />

mentor of Retail Edge Consultants..<br />

retailedgeconsultants.com<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 49


Marketing & PR<br />

Why PR and marketing go hand-in-hand<br />

In many businesses, public relations and marketing often operate as separate departments or teams. That structure can<br />

lead to a lack of co-ordination and missed opportunities, writes WILLIAM J COMCOWICH.<br />

PR and marketing teams perform better<br />

when they work together. Co-ordination<br />

helps each accomplish what they cannot<br />

do separately, and improves the bottom<br />

line for the entire organisation.<br />

The most successful businesses have<br />

cohesive marketing and PR strategies<br />

working side-by-side to promote the<br />

business.<br />

Jessica Tiller, co-founder of Weiss PR, says,<br />

“Think of marketing and PR like peanut<br />

butter and jelly or milk and cookies —<br />

they just go together.”<br />

Tiller explains that integrating the two<br />

brings credibility, consistency and greater<br />

visibility to a business’ messaging – that is,<br />

the information it communicates to potential<br />

customers about its products and services.<br />

Disappearing differences<br />

Traditionally, PR focused on media relations<br />

and building relationships with key groups<br />

such as investors and employees, as well<br />

as journalists.<br />

Meanwhile, the marketing department<br />

oversaw advertising, promotional materials<br />

and gathering customer information through<br />

surveys and focus groups.<br />

In other words, while PR representatives<br />

safeguarded the brand’s reputation,<br />

marketing officers concentrated on<br />

boosting sales.<br />

Today, PR and marketing objectives collide,<br />

overlap and intertwine. For example, both<br />

PR and marketing teams may control a<br />

business’ social media channels or manage<br />

the company’s blog blog.<br />

Communications professionals agree that<br />

PR and marketing are merging, with 90<br />

per cent of PR agency professionals and<br />

82 per cent of in-house PR representatives<br />

predict PR will become more integrated with<br />

marketing over the next five years, according<br />

to the 2018 Global Communications Report<br />

from the University of Southern California.<br />

As a result of increasing integration, the<br />

percentage of in-house communications<br />

teams reporting to the marketing<br />

Co-ordinate your PR and marketing strategies to amplify results.<br />

department has increased significantly in<br />

recent years.<br />

Strategies for effective co-operation<br />

Here are some ways PR and marketing<br />

staff can work better together:<br />

• Cooperate early and often – PR and<br />

marketing teams or staff members can<br />

develop effective campaigns by engaging<br />

with each other frequently and starting the<br />

collaboration early in the process. Attending<br />

meetings of the other department helps<br />

ensure that different sections know about<br />

the projects, goals and campaigns of other<br />

groups. Have at least one member of each<br />

group attend meetings of the other team.<br />

• Share goals – determine common<br />

objectives for PR and marketing as well<br />

as other functions like social media.<br />

Without results-focused objectives that<br />

match business goals, PR representatives<br />

can produce ineffective content without a<br />

strategic purpose. Sharing goals can help<br />

PR focus on activities that improve sales.<br />

• Focus on dual-purpose activities –<br />

analyse how marketing assets can help gain<br />

media coverage. At the same time, research<br />

how PR can assist in meeting marketing<br />

goals. For example, social media is not only<br />

important in discovering how customers and<br />

potential customers perceive the brand – it<br />

is also useful in discovering opportunities<br />

for sales.<br />

It’s important<br />

that PR officers<br />

work with the<br />

marketing team<br />

before, during<br />

and after an<br />

announcement<br />

or campaign<br />

launch<br />

• Develop integrated campaigns – PR can<br />

support lead generation and paid campaigns.<br />

For example, PR officers can use data from<br />

an industry or consumer survey to secure<br />

media coverage, and later repurpose the data<br />

for content marketing such as blog posts, or<br />

email campaigns .<br />

• Comprehensive monitoring and<br />

measurement – marketing officers typically<br />

gather and analyse data related to sales and<br />

leads, but they may not always include earned<br />

media in their analysis. Yet, leads and sales<br />

might abruptly increase during a broad PR<br />

campaign or even after a single high-profile<br />

media mention. Aligning a co-ordinated<br />

marketing campaign with PR successes can<br />

increase sales even more.<br />

Meanwhile, it’s important that PR officers<br />

work with the marketing team before, during<br />

and after an announcement or campaign<br />

launch as both can benefit from monitoring<br />

reach, engagement and impact.<br />

Data from news and social media offer a<br />

potential goldmine of information about<br />

a brand’s customers, potential customers,<br />

product development possibilities<br />

and competitors. It also can provide<br />

insights about reactions to marketing<br />

and advertising campaigns.<br />

• Share information – because customers<br />

often research products online before<br />

purchases, PR content creators have become<br />

‘pre-salesmen’. Marketing data can inform<br />

PR officers about the types of content and<br />

delivery channels that best drive customers<br />

to purchase.<br />

The bottom line is that PR and marketing<br />

professionals can improve performance<br />

of both of their departments by working<br />

together closely.<br />

With greater co-operation between the two,<br />

a business is more likely to meet financial<br />

goals as well as improve its reputation within<br />

the category.<br />

William J Comcowich is founder and<br />

acting CEO of Glean.info by CyberAlert.<br />

glean.info<br />

50 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>


Logged On<br />

Why some people fail in social media marketing<br />

There are many reasons why business owners struggle to manage – and get results –<br />

from their social media marketing, writes MANDY EDWARDS.<br />

Social media – and ‘digital marketers’ –<br />

are a dime a dozen. They’re everywhere<br />

and many people think they can aptly<br />

manage a business’ social media<br />

accounts with no prior marketing<br />

experience whatsoever.<br />

About 75 per cent of the social media<br />

marketers I met when I started my<br />

business nine years ago are no longer<br />

practising social media or digital<br />

marketing. Some were given other<br />

opportunities, and many just couldn’t<br />

cut it.<br />

I hate to see businesses fail and<br />

people give up. I know how much time,<br />

energy, love and money goes into<br />

running a business.<br />

However, there are some who just are<br />

not cut out to be business owners.<br />

Harsh, but true. On that note, let’s return<br />

to social media marketing.<br />

This is an area of marketing that a great<br />

deal of your time; you have to dedicate<br />

time to staying up-to-date with the<br />

latest changes – and there are tonnes<br />

each and every year.<br />

Additionally, you have to constantly review<br />

which platforms people are using, and<br />

ways to integrate marketing activities into<br />

your overall business plan.<br />

Some people excel at these things, and<br />

many are just trying to keep their head<br />

above water.<br />

So, why is that?<br />

Here are four reasons business owners<br />

do not succeed at being social media<br />

marketers – hopefully, we can use them<br />

to show us how to succeed.<br />

• They do not take the time to educate<br />

themselves and fall behind – Social<br />

media is constantly changing and if you<br />

are not dedicated to understanding the<br />

latest trends, terms of service changes<br />

and new features on each app, you can<br />

bet your competitors are – and they will<br />

take advantage of that.<br />

If your social media marketing is ineffective, you may be the problem.<br />

If you follow any ‘big name’ businesses on<br />

social media, you will see how they keep<br />

up with everything.<br />

To simplify the process, I consult<br />

resources such as The Grow Blog, Sprout<br />

Social Insights, and Social Media Today<br />

to stay up to date.<br />

• They have no marketing or sales<br />

experience – I know I’ll take some heat<br />

with that statement, but not everyone is<br />

a born marketer.<br />

Of course there are successful people<br />

in this industry with no marketing<br />

experience, but I’m referring to people<br />

who have no idea what to do in a sales<br />

call, and who don’t know that social<br />

media marketing is more than just<br />

posting to social accounts.<br />

I know people who have decided to start<br />

handling social media for their business<br />

because they love to post on their<br />

personal Facebook or Instagram account.<br />

Their graphics and captions are full of<br />

misspellings and grammatical errors.<br />

Next thing you know, they hit the ground<br />

running with no idea what they are doing,<br />

If you are not<br />

dedicated to<br />

understanding<br />

the latest trends,<br />

terms of service<br />

changes and<br />

new features on<br />

each app, you<br />

can bet your<br />

competitors are<br />

or any sense of what marketing really<br />

is. The goal of social media marketing,<br />

like all forms of marketing, is increasing<br />

sales, so having experience in this area<br />

is valuable.<br />

• They can’t establish who their target<br />

market is – This is something a lot of<br />

business owners struggle with.<br />

Do you want to serve everyone, or one<br />

particular niche?<br />

Many just float along, with no structure<br />

to their social media marketing, until<br />

they get fed up with the lack of success.<br />

That is why you need to have a social<br />

media strategy and define your ‘why’<br />

and ‘how’.<br />

Doing just those two simple things will<br />

set you on the track to success.<br />

• Poor management skills – Many<br />

business owners turn to marketing<br />

companies or consultants to manage<br />

their social media strategy, rather than<br />

doing it themselves.<br />

Unfortunately, I have seen first-hand<br />

how this can still lead to poor results.<br />

Communication skills are very important<br />

in this field, so it is important to choose<br />

a social media marketing expert who<br />

stays in constant contact with you.<br />

They should be asking you what they<br />

could be doing better, and seeking<br />

continual feedback in order to<br />

strengthen the relationship and provide<br />

you with the best service.<br />

In conclusion, there are many reasons<br />

and circumstances that keep someone<br />

from being an effective social media<br />

marketer – and those listed above can<br />

also be applied to more than just the<br />

social media marketing industry.<br />

Mandy Edwards is founder of ME<br />

Marketing Services, a social media<br />

and management consultancy.<br />

memarketingservices.com<br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong> | 51

My Bench<br />

Zoë Pook<br />

Zoë Pook <strong>Jeweller</strong>y, Sydney NSW<br />

Age 46 • Years in Trade 15 • Training Higher National Certificate in Silversmithing & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y from university in London, plus learning the tricks of the trade<br />

from two London jewellers • First job Ben Day <strong>Jeweller</strong>y • Other Qualifications Expert at talking to myself when I work and thus confusing all my staff<br />




Named after the Hindu goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil forces and liberator<br />

of souls, this ring is handcrafted in 18-carat Fairtrade white gold with Sri Lankan<br />

sapphire and Australian diamond.<br />

4FAVOURITE GEMSTONE Spinel, because it<br />

is hard, beautiful, comes in unusual colours, is<br />

underrated, not crazy expensive, and – for those<br />

gem nerds – singly refractive. My absolute favourite<br />

is grey spinel, I have way too many!<br />

4FAVOURITE METAL To work with, it’s yellow gold<br />

– so easy. To look at, rose gold – but what a pain in<br />

the a*se to work with!<br />

4FAVOURITE TOOL Safety back needle file. I love<br />

the sharp edges, and it has an ergonomic feel.<br />

Failing that, a ‘whacker’ – a bent, old, drill bit that<br />

spreads the metal to cover porosity, create a nice<br />

texture and smooth out bumps.<br />

4BEST NEW TOOL DISCOVERY Mini clamps by<br />

Tyler Brothers, Habras discs – I was skeptical at<br />

first but one of my jewellers put me onto them –<br />

Tappa Tools mini graphite ingots, or a laser welder.<br />

4BEST PART OF THE JOB Tea break, and sitting at<br />

the bench chatting with everyone, weighing in on<br />

problems and finding solutions! I also quite like the<br />

peace and quiet of early evening in the studio, with<br />

the music on, working on a piece by myself.<br />

4WORST PART OF THE JOB Polishing, and<br />

managing clients’ expectations.<br />

4BEST TIP FROM A JEWELLER When stuck for<br />

design inspiration, make something you yourself<br />

would wear. Oh, and don’t under-quote!<br />

4BEST TIP TO A JEWELLER Set boundaries with<br />

clients and learn when and how to say no.<br />


Dust and polishing compounds in your lungs. We<br />

have recently got some new fancy masks, which I<br />

now just need to remember to put on!<br />

4LOVE JEWELLERY BECAUSE It’s one of the oldest<br />

ways for us humans to adorn ourselves, to show<br />

our individuality or tribe, to be creative. It’s worn by<br />

everyone, old or young, from any culture.<br />

52 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

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Soapbox<br />

For the love of natural diamonds<br />

Your customers may already financially benefit from diamond mining before they even make a<br />

purchase, writes LOUISE McMANUS, who extols the many virtues of natural stones.<br />

I’m often asked a pertinent question<br />

in the industry: “Why don’t you stock<br />

synthetic diamonds?” I usually reply<br />

that true love, or at least the kind that’s<br />

synonymous with engagement rings,<br />

deserves the true gemstone, not a<br />

copy – Mother Nature’s wonderful gift<br />

of beauty, which does not age, nor<br />

wither and die.<br />

A diamond is forever. It is linked to<br />

wonderful stories of legendary love<br />

affairs, kingdoms, and world trade,<br />

along with both true and fictional<br />

tales of great heists.<br />

Moguls, kings, queens, and movie stars<br />

have worn their diamonds as symbols of<br />

power, wealth and love.<br />

Romance is what we sell, along with<br />

beautiful diamonds.<br />

Diamonds have been used to write graffiti<br />

in panes of glass in castles and grand<br />

historical houses – declarations of love<br />

and poems of great devotion.<br />

Queen Elizabeth I, whilst imprisoned in<br />

the lodge at Woodstock, is alleged to have<br />

scratched into a pane of glass using a<br />

diamond: ‘Much suspected by me, nothing<br />

proved can be, quoth Elizabeth prisoner.’<br />

Young customers entering a jewellery<br />

store today, in many cases, have not<br />

had the pleasure to be served by a<br />

knowledgeable salesperson.<br />

This can be quite a daunting prospect,<br />

but what we need to sell is what is<br />

advantageous about the purchase of a<br />

natural diamond.<br />

Diamond, the king of all gems, gives us<br />

a multi-faceted glimpse into thriving<br />

economies as they speak the language of<br />

prosperity and opulence. Diamonds were<br />

traded along the Silk Road with all the<br />

luxury goods sought and lusted for at<br />

that time.<br />

The East India Company took diamonds<br />

and made the diamond trade a global<br />

one. This global trade in diamonds brings<br />

great wealth to poor countries.<br />

Botswana, which was formerly one of<br />

the poorest countries in Africa, had the<br />

fortune to discover diamonds in the early<br />

1970s. This has given Botswana one of the<br />

fastest growing economies in the world.<br />

Diamonds have brought a relatively high<br />

standard of living to its people – one of<br />

the highest in Africa. Botswana’s diamond<br />

production is second to only Russia’s.<br />

Here in Australia, customers of all ages<br />

have superannuation and stock portfolios,<br />

many of which invest in mining companies<br />

around the world.<br />

Among them are Rio Tinto, one of the<br />

world’s largest mining companies and<br />

the owner of Australia’s own Argyle<br />

Mine, and Alrosa, a Russian mining<br />

conglomerate that leads the world in<br />

diamond production by volume.<br />

The money from these mines not only<br />

brings wealth to Australia as a collective<br />

nation, but also the individuals who have<br />

diverse investments.<br />

When your customers ask you, “Why<br />

should I buy a natural diamond?” you<br />

can confirm with their superannuation<br />

provider that they may already be<br />

shareholders in diamond mines.<br />

Their purchase indirectly financially<br />

rewards them, and many others, around<br />

the world.<br />

There will<br />

be no great<br />

blockbuster<br />

movies made,<br />

nor bestselling<br />

books written<br />

about the<br />

great jewellery<br />

heist at the<br />

synthetic<br />

diamond<br />

factory<br />

Luxury goods and the companies that<br />

produce them have always made the<br />

effort to distance themselves from copies,<br />

fakes, frauds, scams and other assorted<br />

con-artistry, going so far as to launch<br />

large-scale legal proceedings to protect<br />

their names and trademarks.<br />

The prestigious luxury jewellery<br />

companies have made it crystal clear:<br />

synthetic diamonds are copies, fit only<br />

for the purposes of ‘trendy’ jewellery.<br />

The synthetic diamonds have a limitless<br />

production and thus lack the economic<br />

value that comes with scarcity.<br />

This factor is the difference between<br />

paper money and gold.<br />

Diamonds truly are the gold standard in<br />

jewellery and their synthetic counterparts<br />

are propagated entirely by the volatile<br />

fashion market, making them a poor<br />

long-term investment.<br />

Families will not be fighting over who gets<br />

mum’s synthetic diamonds at the reading<br />

of the will.<br />

There will be no great blockbuster movies<br />

made, nor bestselling books written about<br />

the great jewellery heist at the synthetic<br />

diamond factory.<br />

We sell the real thing. Diamonds are<br />

forever and I can assure you, Marilyn<br />

Monroe never sang, “Synthetic diamonds<br />

are a girl’s best friend.”<br />

Name: : Louise McManus FGAA DipDT<br />

Company: Akshmi Diamonds<br />

Position: Manager<br />

Location: Adelaide, South Australia<br />

Years in Industry: 35<br />

54 | <strong>March</strong> <strong>2020</strong>

When 2 shows<br />

are better than 1<br />



FAIR<br />

September 12 – 14, <strong>2020</strong><br />

September 12 – 15, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Announcing your opportunity to benefit from two shows in one<br />

premium location. For the very first time, the Sydney September Gift Fair,<br />

now called Spring Gift & Lifestyle, will run next door to the<br />

International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y & Watch Fair in <strong>2020</strong>. This development will<br />

ensure greater time efficiencies for retailers as it will allow them to<br />

maximise their time away from the store and is sure to open your<br />

business to some new possibilities!<br />

ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour<br />


Organised by



Access one of the largest inventories of Argyle Pink Diamonds in Australia<br />

All SGA Argyle pink diamonds are cut & polished by Argyle with Argyle Certificares & Lot Numbers.<br />

Whether you are after a tender stone for investment, a few melee to complete<br />

a custom design or just a single pink diamond, we can make it happen.<br />


T: 02 9290 2199 F: 02 9262 1630 E: Pink@samsgroup.com.au W: Samsgroup.com.au

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