VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JEWELLERY INDUSTRY JULY 2021
THE TRAITS HIGH-PERFORMING
STAFF ALL HAVE IN COMMON
Age of innovation
NEW TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT THAT ARE
SHAPING TODAY’S JEWELLERY INDUSTRY
EXPLORING THE DEVELOPMENT OF
PERSONALISED JEWELLERY TRENDS
It all comes together at
MONTH TO GO
J E W ELLERY & WATCH FAIR
AUGUST 28 – 30, 2021
ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour
Helping you shine
L L O Y S
P R O M
I S E
I C E
B E A T
G U A R A N T E E
E email@example.com W samsgroup.com.au P 02 9290 2199
BY PINK KIMBERLEY
Bespoke, once-in-a-lifetime personalised jewellery that tantalises the imagination and awakens the
senses. Crafted with stunning Argyle pink diamonds in premium 18ct rose and white gold, every piece
is an unforgettable vision of pure luxury, ethically sourced and crafted with innovation.
The Natural Color Diamond Association is a not-for-profit organization
with a mission to promote fair and informed trading by providing up-todate
resources and advocating transparency, all while celebrating the beauty
and ethos of colored diamonds.
11 Editor’s Desk
24 Product Spotlight
32 Jewellers Showcase
10 YEARS AGO
Time Machine: July 2011
Hamilton & Inches
LEARN ABOUT GEMS
34 PERSONALISED JEWELLERY FEATURE
4Today’s personalised jewellery trends may seem
transient – but each one has a rich and fascinating
history, writes ARABELLA RODEN.
PERSONALISED JEWELLERY FEATURE
Up close and personal
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT FEATURE
40 TOOLS & EQUIPMENT FEATURE
Better Your Business
RYAN ESTIS reveals the key traits to look for in the best employees.
discovers the tool and
that are improving
efficiency and creativity
for jewellers and
Ask the tough questions to close the sale, advises GREG GLADMAN.
JOSH STRUTT explains why staff training is crucial in today’s retail environment.
MARKETING & PR
‘Lost’ customers are a missed opportunity, writes BARRY URQUHART.
SIMON DELL explains the ins and outs of Instagram Shops in the first of two articles.
31 LEARN ABOUT
4Often confused for other
gemstones – including Paraìba
tourmaline – mysterious apatite
continues to intrigue.
FRONT COVER Part of the Pallion
group of companies, Palloys offers
the full spectrum of jewellery
manufacturing services, from CAD to
casting, refining, fabricated metals,
diamonds and more. It all comes
together at Palloys.
July 2021 | 9
Life, death, and resurrection:
Baselworld survives an execution
ARABELLA RODEN explores the reasons for Baselworld’s unexpected return
– and why it wasn’t so unexpected after all.
A little over a year since its cancellation,
the most venerable of luxury trade shows,
Baselworld, is back from the ‘dead’.
As chronicled by Jeweller, the iconic fair
had been in decline for several years before
COVID-19 seemingly hammered the final nail
into the coffin.
Costs rose, visitor numbers waned,
exhibitors complained – and all were met
with a perceived indifference from upper
management and organiser MCH Group.
A turning point came in 2018 when major
exhibitor Swatch Group withdrew all its
brands from the show. A spate of senior
executives resigned that same year,
including MCH Group CEO René Kamm and
Baselworld managing director Sylvie Ritter.
Then, at perhaps the worst time – while new
management scrambled to rework the show
– a global pandemic broke.
The inevitable cancellation of the 2020 show
followed, before confusion over refunds led
to a further exodus of support. Even anchor
brands Rolex and Patek Philippe voted with
their feet, and it seemed all was lost.
MCH Group decided that new, drastic
measures were required to turn the tide;
in mid-2020, it changed the name of the
100-year-old show and rebranded it as
HourUniverse, along with promises of a new
digital platform and pricing structure.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic still
raging in the early months of 2021, the first
HourUniverse never had a chance. It was
cancelled before it could even make its mark.
Still, the winds of change had not finished
blowing. In a surprising move, on June 23,
the show’s managing director Michel Loris-
Melikoff wrote three words few expected to
read: “Baselworld is back.”
But before we pop the champagne corks or
crack open the kirsch, we should evaluate
what the reversed rebranding means for the
show, and the watch and jewellery industry.
Out with the new?
At second glance, the news that Baselworld
will return – first as an August-September
pop-up, and then in 2022 as a full physical
show – is less surprising than it first appears.
Speaking to Jeweller, Loris-Melikoff
explained the decision: “Our initial thinking
was to rebrand the show and create
something totally new.
“During the pandemic, we intensified
our communications with the brands
and stakeholders to identify their wishes
and needs, and were both delighted and
surprised with the confirmation of the strong
attachment to the Baselworld brand.”
As it turns out, 104 years of history is actually
It took decades to establish the show, and
even its most fervent critics would agree that
the Baselworld name remains synonymous
with luxury. So, why rebrand it in the first
place, especially to the less memorable
The chorus of disappointment during
Baselworld’s fall from grace was so
deafening that it was easy to forget what
made the show special.
For Baselworld, its most priceless assets
were the show’s atmosphere and the
business connections made; both of which
were eroded by dissatisfaction with costs and
Many of the most important deals and
relationships in the watch and jewellery
industry were forged in the restaurants and
cafés of that modest Swiss city.
Ironically, ‘time’ is the ultimate measure of
a brand. A brand deemed valuable by its
customers will become an institution over
time, yet even the likes of Chanel, Louis
Vuitton and Bulgari must transform to
resonate with an ever-changing audience.
Baselworld’s mistake was to jettison an
institution rather than adapt and transform it.
Not only did MCH Group come to realise that
discarding a name does not make a problem
go away; instead, it discovered the problem
was never the name in the first place!
In the watch, jewellery, and gemstone
It took time to
realise that the
true needs of
were not to
sever the ties
of the past...
but to return
to the values
that made the
days so glorious
industries, memories tend to be longer than
most; heritage, tradition, and legacy are an
integral part of many businesses, and count
for more than they do in, say, the tech sector.
While jewellery lasts forever, the latest
digital device is lucky to last 12 months.
It took time to realise that the true needs
of Baselworld’s exhibitors and visitors were
not to completely sever the ties of the past,
and bury the show for good, but to return to
the values that made the former glory days
so glorious – while adapting the show for
today’s business environment.
Saving the best
The challenge for businesses, particularly
in times of crisis, is identifying which
qualities consumers and clients genuinely
value about a product or service. Then, one
must invest resources into improving and
promoting those qualities.
And like finding a new customer, building a
brand from scratch is far more resourceintensive
than retaining an existing one.
With its ignominious ‘end’, the flaws in the
Baselworld model were made abundantly
clear – and all-too-publicly articulated.
But the COVID-19 pandemic, as Loris-
Melikoff attested, also shone a light on
what exhibitors valued most about it and
emphasised the strong connection they
felt after years of attending the show, while
clarifying what any new iteration needed to
offer from a business perspective.
History is the greatest teacher, if its
lessons are heeded and applied; and in an
encouraging sign, Baselworld management
appears to be focused on rebuilding the
convivial atmosphere, reducing costs,
fostering business relationships, and
investing in the neglected jewellery sector.
Still, the question remains: can Baselworld
– even a revitalised, renewed, and refocused
one – truly be brought back from the dead?
Time will tell.
July 2021 | 11
#Instagram hashtags to follow
Weird, wacky and wonderful
jewellery news from around the world
4US heiress Barbara Hutton – nicknamed
‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ due to her lavish
yet tragic life – boasted an extensive
jewellery collection. Amongst her pieces
was a necklace which became the
most expensive jadeite jewellery ever
auctioned when it was sold by Sotheby’s
in 2014 for HKD214 million ($AU36.3
million). Gifted to her by her father upon
her first marriage, to Alexis Mdivani, it is
now owned by the Cartier Collection and
crafted from 27 extraordinarily large jadeite
beads, with a clasp of 18-carat gold set with rubies
4Bulgari has released the star-studded
campaign for its latest watch and
jewellery collection, Bulgari Magnifica,
inspired by one of the Italian jewellery
house’s 1980s campaigns. The famous
faces modelling the collection include
actress Zendaya (above), singer Lalisa
Manoban from K-pop group Blackpink,
Italian model Vittoria Ceretti, and US
model Lily Aldridge.
4A recent report published in
UK newspaper The Sunday Times
noted a recent surge in sales of
empty designer jewellery and
watch boxes, which was attributed
to social media. Analysis of eBay
sales data indicated Rolex boxes
were the most expensive with
an average list price of £160
($AU293), followed by TAG Heuer,
Breitling and Omega, while a
Money.co.uk study found Tiffany
& Co.’s blue boxes had an average
list price of £51 ($AU93).
4A pet parrot has been
hospitalised in Thailand after
swallowing 21 diamonds, which
it had plucked from a necklace
in its owner’s jewellery box. The
parakeet, Frosty, required a twohour
operation to remove the
stones from its stomach. “This
kind of bird is attracted to things
that glitter,” said vet Dr Kuntita
Paveenasakorn, adding that Frosty
is likely to make a full recovery.
This year Shopify
made Shop Pay
4Ecommerce giant Shopify is expanding
its Payment Platform to allow third-party
development, giving sellers the ability to
offer flexible payment options to customers,
beyond existing services like its own Shop
Pay instalment system, PayPal, or Stripe.
Kaz Nejatian, vice-president of product
and merchant services at Shopify, said,
“We care more about giving our merchants
access to the critical tools they need than
we do about competition.”
4Originally created in 1973, the
Baume & Mercier Riviera has been
given a new lease on life in 2021. The
latest model features a vibrant green
face, inspired by the Mediterranean
coast, with a new interchangeability
system and an assortment of colour
straps. Distributed by Duraflex
4A freediver has revealed how he
recovered a lost engagement ring
from the UK’s largest lake. Angus
Hosking received an urgent call
from a hotel on the shore of Lake
Windermere, informing him that a
newly-engaged guest’s diamond ring
had slipped off her finger while sitting
on a jetty. “Fortunately we had a rough
idea of where it was,” Hosking, who
swam with a metal detector, said. “If
it had been in the middle of the lake it
wouldn’t have been like a needle in a
haystack, but a needle in the world!”
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News In Brief
Glen Pocklington joins
4 Glen Pocklington has been appointed
general manager of the Nationwide
Jewellers buying group. “With Glen on board
we will have the capacity to assist even more
members with retail business analysis,
advice, and recommended strategies,”
Nationwide said in a statement. Pocklington
holds a commerce degree and has extensive
prior experience. He will be at the IJWF in
Sydney to meet members.
accepted for diamond
4 Auction house Sotheby’s has accepted
Bitcoin and Ethereum bids in its auction
of a 101.38-carat diamond. Named
‘The Key 10138’, the stone is the “first
important diamond in the world to be
auctioned with cryptocurrency as an
accepted method of payment,” according
to Sotheby’s.Its name represents “the
unlocking of a new era in commerce and
Australian jewellery retailer joins
COVID-19 class action lawsuit
Damien Cody, director of Cody Opal Australia, had
a business interruption insurance claim denied by
Lloyds. Image credit: ABC News/Kyle Harley
A number of Australian small business owners
who have been denied insurance payouts for
losses sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic
have joined class-action lawsuits against several
industry giants, including Australian insurance
company QBE and London-based Lloyds.
The National Opal Collection (NOC) – the retail
arm of Cody Opal Australia – had taken out a
business interruption policy underwritten by AXA
and Lloyds prior to the pandemic. It has now
joined the Lloyds class action.
As previously reported by Jeweller, the NOC’s
business interruption policy included a clause
providing coverage in the event of an “outbreak
of a notifiable human infectious or contagious
disease occurring within a 20 kilometre radius of
However, a claim against the policy was rejected
in May 2020, with the insurer asserting that
the business’ losses – which Cody estimates
total more than $3 million – would need to
have occurred as a consequence of COVID-19
cases within 20km of the premises, rather than
“overarching factors resulting from the COVID-19
pandemic as a whole”.
The ABC reports that the QBE and Lloyds class
actions are the first in Australia regarding
pandemic insurance payouts.
Damien Cody, director Cody Opal Australia,
told the ABC, “We’re determined to take them
on. Maybe the insurers were not expecting a
worldwide pandemic. But nonetheless we’ve
been paying a lot of money for many years
taking out business interruption insurance and
the pandemic did hit.
“It’s been horribly exhausting. We’ve had 20 staff
we had to stand down.”
An estimated 25,000 policyholders are eligible to
join the QBE suit, approximately 100 businesses
in Australia are believed to be covered by Lloyds’
Leading Edge welcomes
4 As part of its new consolidation
strategy, Leading Edge Group has
appointed Debbie Hudson to the role
of Jewellery Category Manager. Hudson
has 30 years of retail experience in
Australia and New Zealand, including
previous roles with Goldmark, Angus
& Coote, and Pandora, and joins Claire
Packett, Head of Cateogry – Jewellery, at
the buying group.
Swiss watch brand to enter Australian
market with new supplier
Delma, told Jeweller, “Delma targets ladies and
gentlemen with an active lifestyle who value
great craftsmanship and are willing to pay for
outstanding quality. They seek out a watch as a
companion on their adventures.”
The decision to expand into the Australian market
was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which
led the business to consider new possibilities.
Opal supplier awarded
Order of Australia
4 Karen Lindley, a semi-retired
gemmologist and opal and diamond
supplier based in Sydney, was awarded
the Order of Australia in the 2021
Queen’s Birthday Honours List for
‘significant service to social welfare
initiatives, and to the jewellery industry’.
Lindley has spent more than two decades
volunteering with survivors of sexual
assault and child abuse, as well as
fundraising for multiple charities.
The Delma Blue Shark III Azores, one of the brand’s
latest performance dive watches.
Swiss watch manufacturer Delma has inked a
distribution deal with Australian supplier Keda as it
prepares to enter the local market.
The independent, family-owned brand is bestknown
for its specialist dive and sports watches,
with a focus on high-quality performance and
Andreas Leibundgut, head of marketing,
“Despite the difficult times, we have seen strong
demand and interest in Delma’s performance
timepieces has risen steadily across markets,”
In terms of marketing support, Mark Watson,
managing director Keda, said the focus would
be on increasing consumer awareness of the
brand through campaigns with retailers, with
a mix of social media and digital marketing,
as well as traditional media, including an
upcoming radio campaign.
As an introductory offer to retailers, Keda is
offering Delma at a competitive entry point
with 50 per cent margin.
16 | July 2021
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Court rules against
Popular Spanish jewellery brand to enter
Australian market with new distributor
It was previously only available to Australian
consumers via its online store.
Caroline Roper-Kelly, operations manager,
Heart & Grace, said, “Effortless elegance
and timeless designs create the PDPaola
universe, with unique trend-setting jewellery
and an aspirational brand identity.
“With 1.6 million social media followers,
PDPaola continues to grow.”
A US court has found in favour of Fenix Diamonds in an
ongoing legal battle over lab-grown diamond patents.
A New York court has ruled in favour of lab-created
diamond supplier Fenix Diamonds and manufacturer
Nouveau Diamonds, rejecting a competitor’s claim
that the companies infringed patented diamond
Fenix and Nouveau were part of a larger suit filed
last year by WD Lab Grown Diamonds and the
Carnegie Institution of Washington, which alleged six
competitors had infringed two of Carnegie’s patents.
The first patent covers the microwave-plasma
chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond-growing
process, and the second relates to the high-pressure,
high-temperature (HPHT) process – also called
annealing – that improves a lab-grown diamond’s
colour and clarity.
PDPaola’s jewellery collections include on-trend
zodiac-themed designs set with colour gemstones.
Watch supplier Heart & Grace has expanded
into jewellery, commencing distribution of
Spanish brand PDPaola.
Founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 2014 by
siblings Paola and Humbert Sasplugas, the
brand has built up a strong online following
and an extensive retailer network throughout
Europe, the US, and Asia.
Heart & Grace made the decision to distribute
PDPaola due to its “unique and on-trend
designs, and the general essence of the
brand,” Roper-Kelly explained.
She added, “The brand features on-trend
designs such as zodiac [symbols] and
personalisation of letters, but with a unique
twist of natural and semi-precious stones and
cubic zirconia, at affordable prices.”
Given the strength of the brand’s striking
marketing photography, Heart & Grace will
assist retailers in promoting PDPaola with
“a wealth of beautiful visuals and display
materials to showcase the gorgeous jewellery
designs,” Roper-Kelly said.
Supplier introduces European jewellery collection
MORE BREAKING NEWS
WD and Carnegie dropped the claim against ALTR
and its parent company RA Riam and settled with
Pure Grown Diamonds and IIa Technologies last year,
leaving Fenix – which supplies lab-created diamonds
to Michael Hill International – and Nouveau as the
last remaining defendants in the case.
On 16 June 2021, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the US
District Court for the Southern District of New York
upheld Fenix’s motion for a summary judgment,
noting “readily apparent” differences between
Nouveau’s diamond manufacturing and the first
Carnegie patent, including the temperatures used.
WD and Carnegie withdrew the second infringement
claim, with Fenix filing a counterclaim to have the
patent invalidated. Rakoff’s judgment permitted the
counterclaim to proceed to trial.
Fenix said in a statement that its “success in the
lawsuit reflects our devotion to the market, to
our products, and, especially, to our customers.
Their support over the past 18 months has been
WD had, at the time of publication, declined to
comment on the ruling.
RJ Scanlan & Co. has expanded its
fine jewellery offering, introducing the
full range of The Lux Collection to the
Manufactured in Germany, The Lux
Collection is crafted with gold, diamonds,
colour gemstones, and pearls, with each
piece made-to-order and an emphasis on
Chris Scanlan, director RJ Scanlan &
Co., told Jeweller, “RJ Scanlan & Co.
has distributed this line of jewellery on
a small scale for 20 years, and when the
manufacturer wanted a distributor to
present the entire collection, we accepted.
“Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions,
the Australian jewellery market has
been deprived of opportunities to see
international collections of this quality.”
RJ Scanlan & Co. quietly introduced The
Lux Collection to a limited number of
retailers in late 2020, with Scanlan noting
that the range had seen a very positive
response so far.
“The Lux Collection is very diverse – this
season’s range has 750 pieces with
a wide range of price points – so the
target market covers all budgets with an
emphasis on European style and quality,”
He added that the manufacturer has been
operating for more than 70 years and is
a member of the Responsible Jewellery
Council, a standards and certification
body based in the UK that audits
members against a Code of Practices for
responsible supply chains.
“We are seeing a shift in consumer buying
habits – people are turning away from
mass-produced products and want to
know where their products are being
made, and the origins of the materials.
Sustainability and responsibility are
becoming requirements,” Scanlan said.
The Lux Collection is made to order, with
a four-to-five week lead time.
18 | July 2021
Positive trend for jewellery industry
Jewellery sales in dollars continued to rise in June, driven by strong demand for
diamond-set pieces, data from Retail Edge Consultants show.
The “exciting” jewellery sales data
released in a new report could auger
well for the upcoming International
Jewellery & Watch Fair in Sydney.
Retail Edge Consultants has issued its
June report, revealing “another very
“The report noted that the results
were driven by an increase in the
average inventory sale price – that
is, sales excluding repairs – of 17 per
cent compared with June 2020”
A comparison of overall sales dollars
recorded a significant increase – 15
per cent – over June 2020. More
importantly, it was a 17 per cent rise
compared with June 2019, pre-COVID.
The report noted that the results were
driven by an increase in the average
inventory sale price – that is, sales
excluding repairs – of 17 per cent
compared with June 2020, though the
number of units sold fell.
Michael Dyer, sales manager at
Retail Edge, posited that this could
reflect a wider consumer trend
toward purchasing more ‘lasting’
products due to the pandemic –
preferring something enduring, and
therefore better value, over cheaper,
Further analysis of the ‘sales dollar’
data compared to June 2020 revealed:
• Diamond-set precious metal
jewellery increased by 35 per cent
• Colour gemstone-set precious
metal jewellery increased by
24 per cent
• Precious metal jewellery without
gemstones or diamonds increased
22 per cent
• Silver and alternative metal
jewellery also rose 22 per cent
In addition, “special orders” (custommade
jewellery) was on the increase
with more new orders than completed
orders. “That means some positive
cashflow in the month ahead, as well
as customer visitations to collect the
orders,” Dyer explained.
He added some advice for retailers:
“The start of a new financial year is an
ideal time to generate a Comparative
Department report to see if there is
a shift in the type of product category
that customers see as your business’s
“Retailers who don’t familiarise
themselves with that, and adjust their
buying and marketing, could risk
drifting away from the main growth
path. Retailers should ask, is there
too much capital tied up in a product
category that is losing consumer
The latest June data reflects a positive
trend as show in the April and March
data. Sales in dollars for April 2021
increased 252 per cent compared
with last year and 40 per cent when
compared with April 2019; while the
March 2021 results were 63 per cent
higher than the same month in 2020
and 37 per cent higher than 2019.
A spokesperson for Pandora
had no comment when approached
communities, largely in developing
- Est. 1974 -
companies generate approximately
$US16 billion annually for local
Diamond Producers Association,
the top-seven diamond producing
Custom-made fine jewellery
According to a 2019 report
commissioned by the NDC’s
predecessor organisation, the
The New York Times reports that
natural diamonds were set in
approximately 50,000 – or a fraction
of 1 per cent – of the 85 million
pieces produced by Pandora in 2020.
can have unintended but substantial
consequences on communities in
diamonds, particularly given the
inconsequential amount of diamonds
Pandora features in its collections,
ethical and the impetus behind
Pandora’s move to lab-grown
announcement implying the natural
diamond industry is both less
They asserted, “The misleading
narrative created by the Pandora
In response, the NDC, CIBJO, WDC,
IJC, and IDMA pointed out that
Pandora’s product range has not
traditionally used diamonds.
diamonds are “expected to be made
using 100 per cent renewable energy”
by 2022 and confirmed it would no
longer use natural mined diamonds
across any of its product lines.
Pandora noted that the lab-created
deposition method and powered by 60
per cent renewable energy sources,
with the remaining 40 per cent
subject to carbon-offsetting.
manufactured by a third-party
supplier using the chemical vapour
Pandora Brilliance products are
set with lab-created diamonds
as they are of enduring beauty
and stand as a testament to
[Pandora’s] ongoing and ambitious
Proudly 100% Australian owned &
operated family business
- CAD design
- CAM printing
- Stone sourcing
In the announcement, Alexander
Lacik, CEO Pandora, said that labcreated
diamonds are “as much
a symbol of innovation and progress
In a joint statement, the Natural
Diamond Council (NDC), CIBJO,
the World Diamond Council (WDC),
the Responsible Jewellery Council
(IJC), and the International Diamond
Manufacturers Association (IDMA)
objected to the messaging in
Pandora’s announcement of its
new lab-created diamond range,
The groups claim it promotes the
“false and misleading narrative”
that lab-created diamonds are “an
ethical choice” when compared with
Several diamond and jewellery
industry associations have demanded
Pandora Jewelry retract elements of
a recent statement regarding
its decision to stop stocking
A statement announcing the new Pandora Brilliance lab-created diamond range has
been criticised as “misleading” by a range of diamond and jewellery associations.
Image credit: Pandora
CALL: 1300 101 735
The Dymocks Building
Level 1 Suite 10
428 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Natural diamond organisations
protest Pandora statement
Baselworld resurrected, HourUniverse
defunct; new dates confirmed
Following its relaunch as HourUniverse, organisers have confirmed Baselworld will
revert to its former name and return with a pop-up event in Geneva later this year.
Organiser MCH Group has
confirmed its watch, jewellery and
gemstone show has reverted to
the Baselworld name, following
its rebranding and relaunch as
HourUniverse last year.
Once one of the world’s premier
luxury trade fairs, Baselworld
had a well-publicised decline in
recent years, with both exhibitors
and visitor numbers falling
precipitously amid management
mishaps and rising costs.
With the 2020 event cancelled due to
the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers
made the decision to close and
relaunch the show as HourUniverse,
adding a year-round digital platform
to the annual physical event.
However, the inaugural
HourUniverse show was postponed
in early 2021 as the virus continued
to impact global travel. On 23
June 2021, Michel Loris-Melikoff,
managing director HourUniverse,
announced via LinkedIn, “Baselworld
is back,” confirming new dates:
• Baselworld Pop-Up in Geneva:
30 August–4 September 2021,
coinciding with Geneva Watch
• Baselworld physical show: 31
March–4 April 2022, coinciding
with Watches & Wonders
Geneva (30 March–5 April 2022)
Speaking to Jeweller, Loris-Melikoff
explained, “During the pandemic
we intensified our communications
with the brands and stakeholders to
identify their wishes and needs, and
were both delighted and surprised
with the confirmation of the strong
attachment to the Baselworld brand.
“With this knowledge, the new
management reviewed the
situation and decided instead to
capitalise on the unique heritage
of the show and create a new
Baselworld,” he explained.
A statement on the revamped
Baselworld website – to which the
defunct HourUniverse.com website
now directs – describes the new
iteration of Baselworld as “very
different”, prioritising its functionality
as a “B2B platform in the midrange
luxury segment” focused
on “smaller watches and jewellery
manufacturers and gemstone
In addition to physical events, a
Baselworld digital platform – a key
component from the HourUniverse
relaunch – will be introduced in the
Northern Hemisphere autumn.
“Everyone will meet on our platform.
The brands, the manufacturers, the
retailers, the fans and the media,”
Loris-Melikoff told Jeweller, adding,
“We will offer attractive conditions
and prices for all brands that want to
benefit from this unique platform.”
At the time of publication, no further
details on Baselworld exhibitors
New chairman for Michael Hill
International, Emma Hill stands aside
According to an MHI announcement to the
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Fyfe – an
MHI board member for more than seven years
– is credited with driving an historic turnaround
at Air New Zealand. He has also been the CEO
and subsequently chair of Icebreaker, an apparel
business, and is currently a director of Air Canada.
Emma Hill, daughter of Sir Michael Hill, is stepping
down as chair of the company’s board.
The chair of Michael Hill International (MHI)’s board
of directors, Emma Hill, is set to step down today
handing the reins to Rob Fyfe, former CEO of Air
Hill will remain as non-executive director, along
with her father Sir Michael Hill. In addition, Daniel
Bracken, the company’s CEO, is to join the MHI
board as managing director effective 28 June 2021.
“Rob is an outstanding strategic and transformative
leader with a track record of maximising
shareholder value. The time is right for this
transition. The company has never been in a
healthier position,” Emma Hill said.
“Our CEO Daniel is delivering exceptional results
across our transformation program. He has
elevated customer experience and continues to
strengthen our market position. I’m pleased Daniel
will join the board as managing director,” she added.
The board reshuffle follows MHI’s April
announcement that same-store sales for the third
quarter of FY21 had increased by 16.4 per cent. Net
profit for the December half-year of $38.9 million
represented an 82 per cent increase.
Alex and Ani troubles continue: company
files for bankruptcy
Alexi and Ani, the high-profile US jewellery brand,
has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The company, which has been plagued by
controversy for many years, hopes to be able to sell
most of its assets.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US is roughly
equivalent to voluntary administration in Australia,
and gives a company relief from its obligations so it
can continue to operate while it restructures.
Alex and Ani had a short stint in Australia,
launching in December 2015 under the Karin
Adcock-owned House of Brands (HOB) and gaining
around 120 stockists as well as opening a ‘concept’
store in Melbourne.
However, by October 2017, HOB declared that
Australian distribution would cease, which
occurred the following year.
In August 2019 Alex and Ani became embroiled in
a legal stoush with Bank of America, claiming the
lender misclassified a payment in order to push
the company to default on a $US170 million loan.
Jeweller reported at the time, “Alex and Ani’s cash
flow has been severely disrupted; it has lost access
to its credit line and has close to $US16 million
($AU23 million) in outstanding payments on its
books. It was also unable to purchase seasonal
inventory, which, it has alleged, lead to a steep
decline in sales.”
A new debt structure was soon finalised,
which called for founder and CEO Carolyn
Rafaelian to step down and divest her controlling
interest in the business.
Alex and Ani’s majority stakeholder, investment
firm Lion Capital, installed the business’ chief
restructuring officer Bob Trabucco –a former
Signet Jewelers executive – as the new CEO.
According to its bankruptcy filing, Alex and
Ani’s wholesale business has fallen from 59 per
cent of revenue to only 19 per cent. Its website is
now its biggest traffic driver, accounting for 45 per
cent of revenue.
The filing listed assets and liabilities of
$US100 million to $US500 million each; Trabucco
said the company is currently saddled with
$US127.4 million in debt obligations, as well as
$29.1 million in unsecured trade debts, many to
shopping centre owners.
News In Brief
‘Fool’s gold’ found to
contain real gold
4 Pyrite – often called ‘fool’s gold’
due to its ability to deceive inexperienced
prospectors – has been found to
contain traces of real gold. An
Australian-Chinese research team found
that gold ‘nanoparticles’ can be caught
up in the crystal lattice of pyrite. Gold
and pyrite form under similar conditions
and pyrite is often used as an indicator for
Diamond group re-signs
4 Actress Ana de Armas will return
as the celebrity ‘face’ of the Natural
Diamond Council for a second year.
The star, who is set to appear in the
next James Bond film No Time To Die
in October 2021, has shot a marketing
campaign modelling an 11-piece
collection from jewellery designer
Malyia McNaughton, which will be made
available to US retailers.
market heats up
4 The pre-owned watch market has
seen continued consolidation and
expansion in recent months. Germanbased
Watchmaster has acquired
France’s Montres Modernes et de
Collection, while Switzerland’s
Chronext is reportedly planning an
initial public offering in the Northern
Hemisphere autumn, with a projected
valuation of €1 billion.
New survey reveals
4 A comprehensive consumer study
conducted by US-based jewellery,
diamond and watch supplier group The
Plumb Club, in conjunction with Paola
Deluca, The Futurist and Qualtrics, has
released its findings on the drivers
of jewellery purchasing. One-third of
the survey’s 1,049 participants named
retailer websites as the top influence,
with family and friends a close second
and social media advertising third.
India introduces mandatory jewellery
hallmarking; implications for Australia
Legislation to make hallmarking of jewellery
compulsory in India came into effect on 16 June 2021.
After years of delays, the Indian government has
introduced mandatory gold and silver jewellery
hallmarking across more than 250 districts,
including major cities such as Mumbai.
Overseen by the Bureau of Indian Standards
(BIS) – a governmental agency that is part of
the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public
Distribution – the hallmarking policy applies to
jewellers and jewellery retailers with an annual
turnover of INR4 million ($AU71,480).
Jewellery intended for international or domestic
‘business-to-business’ exhibitions is exempt.
Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and
Industry and Minister of Consumer Affairs, said,
“Continuing our government’s endeavour for
better protection and satisfaction of customers,
mandatory hallmarking in 256 districts will be
implemented... This will help develop India as a
leading global gold market centre.”
India is the world’s largest consumer of gold, and
its demand for gold jewellery rose to 102.5 tonnes
in the first quarter of 2021, according to figures
from the World Gold Council.
The BIS first introduced hallmarking standards
in 2000, with the country’s Cabinet endorsing
compulsory hallmarking in 2012, however
implementation of the legislation was
A 2015 report published by the World Gold
Council estimated that Indian gold exports
could increase five-fold if the nation’s
hallmarking policy was strengthened.
Five marks are required: the BIS logo, the
metal fineness, the mark of the AHC at which
the metal was tested, the jeweller’s individual
maker’s mark, and a letter symbol denoting the
year the piece was made.
Consumers can have jewellery tested at any
of India’s more than 900 Assay & Hallmarking
Centres; jewellers may have their BIS licence
cancelled or suspended if the purity is found to be
invalid – known as ‘under-carating’ – and may be
required to compensate the consumer.
The Indian policy bears many similarities to the
UK’s hallmarking system, which has been in place
in some form for more than 600 years.
The current UK system is regulated by the
Hallmarking Act 1973, which makes it compulsory
for one of four Assay Offices – overseen by the UK
government’s British Hallmarking Council – to
mark any item sold in the UK, whether locally
manufactured or imported, that is made from
gold, silver, platinum or palladium.
Notably, Australia does not have a governmentregulated
hallmarking system. Chris Sherwin,
president of the Gold & Silversmith Guild
of Australia (GSGA), told Jeweller this has
implications for consumer protection.
“In Australia, we are self-regulating – we stamp
our own work – unlike in the UK where the four
Assay Offices hold all the marks. We do not have
Assay Offices here,” he explained.
In an attempt to instill consumer confidence, the
GSGA was independently established by members
of the jewellery industry in 1988 and is affiliated
with the Goldsmiths Company, which operates the
London Assay Office.
Consequently, GSGA members – who number
approximately 200 – are required to use four
marks, as in the UK system: a maker’s mark,
fineness mark, the kangaroo’s head mark of the
GSGA, and a letter date mark, which matches that
of the London Assay Office.
Rather than routine testing, as in an Assay Office,
the GSGA operates on a complaints basis; GSGA
members found to have misapplied marks are
expelled from the Guild and can face penalties
under Australian Consumer Law.
However, the vast majority of Australian jewellers
and jewellery retailers are not Guild members.
Sherwin called India’s introduction of compulsory
marking “a wake-up call for manufacturers in
Australia”. “India is clearly looking to not only
protect their own consumers, but probably
increase exports to the world. It was 33 years ago
that the founders of the Guild were trying to do the
same thing in Australia,” Sherwin observed.
“Dare I say it, but I think Australian jewellers,
generally speaking, are not seeing the bigger
picture. Australia has an unregulated jewellery
industry, and without a government mandate or
official recognition and support... it does leave us
vulnerable to the flooding of imports.”
In the absence of Assay Offices and legislation,
Sherwin recommended Australian jewellers
consider GSGA membership, calling it “a great
system – one that is the first step towards any
attempt that might mandate change.”
22 | July 2021
Two times lucky: 1,000-carat diamonds discovered
Lynette Armstrong, managing director Debswana,
offered some background about the 1,098-carat
discovery: “With the recent introduction of a
modern, state-of-the-art large diamond pilot plant,
I have every hope that we will be able to recover
more large diamonds.
“This, by all standards, is a great metallurgical
achievement; to recover a diamond of this size
intact through our conventional ore processing
Mined by Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers Group and the Botswanan government, this 1,098-carat
stone is one of two massive stones unearthed in Botswana in recent weeks. Image credit: Debswana
The international diamond industry is abuzz
following the discovery of two large stones weighing
more than 1,000 carats, only weeks apart.
A high-quality diamond weighing 1,098.30-carats
was unearthed in early June at the Jwaneng Mine in
Botswana, which is owned by Debswana – a mining
joint venture between the Botswanan government
and De Beers Group.
A week later, Lucara Diamond then went ‘one
better’ by unearthing a 1,174.76-carat rough at
its Karowe Mine, also in Botswana. Lucara is a
Canadian company with mining and exploration
licenses in the African nation.
The Karowe site – which is 100 per cent owned by
Lucara – is said to be one of the world’s foremost
producers of Type IIA diamonds over 10 carats.
Eira Thomas, president and CEO Lucara, said,
“Lucara is delighted to be reporting another historic
diamond recovery and its third diamond over 1,000
carats – a world record for Karowe.”
Diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in
1967. According to Armstrong, the 1,098-carat
diamond – which measures in at 73 mm long, 52
mm wide and 27 mm thick – is the largest gemquality
diamond found in Debswana’s mines in the
company’s more-than-50-year history.
On the other hand, the Lucara diamond measures
77 mm long, 55 mm wide and 33 mm thick. It is a
lower-quality rough that needs to be split before
being processed further, similar to the 1,758-carat
Sewelô diamond Lucara unearthed in 2019.
The Debswana diamond could be Africa’s
third-largest gem-quality diamond, behind the
3,106-carat Cullinan and 1,109-carat Lesedi La
Rona, which was unearthed by Lucara in 2015.
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10 Years Ago
Time Machine: July 2011
A snapshot of the industry events making headlines this time 10 years ago in Jeweller.
4 JAA seeks action on import tax, leases
4 Seiko’s surprise deal with French brand
4 Skagen readies for stacking rings range
4 Queensland supplier to relaunch Tendence
4 Fashion models enlisted for Sydney Fair
Silver jewellery price
Jewellery manufacturers have begun to take
action in the face of spiralling silver prices,
conceding that volatile metal prices mean retail
price adjustments are unavoidable.
Doron Berger, co-owner of sterling silver jewellery
manufacturer Blue Turtles, was forced to issue a
price rise notification to all his stockists in May.
He explained, “If you’ve been keeping up with
the financial news lately, you’ll be aware that the
price of precious metals has risen sharply and
consistently over the past few months. Silver has
been particularly active, with the price rising as
much as 50 per cent.”
Pandora managing director Karin Adcock said it
was the company’s first silver price increase in two
years, while Stones & Silver founder Alex Bonnett
said even the strong dollar would not be able to
keep up with the increase in silver prices.
Almost all suppliers were unanimous in their
summation that high silber prices were raising the
metal’s profile in consumer’s minds.
Branded jewellery biggest
Local branded jewellery and watch suppliers have
hit back at findings that suggest retailers who
stock branded product could lose out in the battle
against online retailers – with one even offering to
partially subsidise a loss in margin if stockists are
forced to discount to win sales.
Key findings in a research paper from the Australia
Institute suggest that bricks-and-mortar retailers
who sell branded products are most likely to suffer
in the face of the boom in online retail, using the
example of a Seiko watch listed for less than a third
of its Australian recommended retail price by two
overseas retailers selling via eBay stores.
ON THE COVER Thomas Sabo
4Debits and credits: “For every debit,
there’s a credit. Of course, it’s the
same concept as ‘for every negative
there’s a positive’.
Just when we get used to the new
norm after change, there’s a new
negative that requires a new positive.
I believe it’s the speed at which one
recognises and adapts to the positive
that sets the successful apart from the
4Caught in the Net: “What has really
become unfathomable is when a
wooden ring with a hunk of plastic
stuck to the top can retail at $635
while the local jeweller struggles to
sell a sterling silver, handmade pair of
earrings for $80.
Few traditional jewellers have
amended their marketing strategies in
accordance with the new technological
climate. No wonder market trends
have shifted toward fashion-based
brands that utilise these platforms.”
– Ciara Fulcher, founder, Pod People
Designs and media strategy consultant
STILL RELEVANT 10 YEARS ON
Secrets of Branding Success:
For most suppliers, their business
strategy was as simple as ‘we make the
suff, you buy it’ – but retail buyers began
to demand more. Savvy retailers began to
ask for a consumer strategy and pushed
more responsibility onto the supplier to
not only provide branded product, but
market it too.
Spike in ‘fake’ gold jewellery
An upsurge in ‘fake’ gold jewellery has been
discovered in Melbourne, where gold-coated
bracelets and chains stamped as gold looked
so genuine that retailers are being warned they
wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
National Council of Jewellery Valuers (NCJV)
Melbourne president RIkki McAndrew, who
operates a gold traiding business, discovered
the ‘fake’ gold pieces when his customers
unwittingly tried to sell them to him.
“Most of them were blocks of tungsten and
silver coated quite thickly in gold,” McAndrew
explained. He said gold-plated tungsten pieces
are particularly hard to detect because tungsten
is a heavy metal and similar in weight to gold.
More fractures in
New Zealand’s fragmented jewellery industry
could be back to square one after an attempt ot
unify the trade through a forum of the country’s
main jewellery trade organisations resulted in
further confusion and infighting.
The industyr took an encouraging first step
towards a unifiied approach in February,
with a forum including all three main trade
organisations – the Jewellers Association of New
Zealand (JANZ), Jewellers and Watchmakers
of New Zealand (JWNZ) and Jewellers
Manufacturers Federation (JWF).
However, JANZ has since withdrawn its support
for a ‘one party’ approach.
READ ALL HEADLINES IN FULL ON
26 | July 2021
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Hamilton & Inches
EDINBURGH, UK with Victoria Houghton, CEO • SPACE COMPLETED April 2021
4Who is the target market and how did they
influence the store design?
The customer experience has been at the forefront
of the project to renovate our Edinburgh flagship
store – a five-storey Georgian townhouse – since
its inception. We incorporated residential elements
into a retail environment to achieve an inviting and
warm atmosphere, while creating a memorable
experience for all to enjoy.
We wanted to create a space that was luxurious
but not intimidating; a retail environment where
everyone felt comfortable to browse our handcrafted
jewellery, silver and watches.
We have a huge range of products and truly believe
there is something for everyone.
4With consumer purchasing in mind,
which features encourage sales?
Our new ‘lifestyle’ area, which includes stylish
service desks throughout, offers customers a space
where they can drop in to shop, or stay for a cup of
coffee or a glass of champagne.
Customers also have access to a more intimate
and discreet shopping experience with the private
VIP consultation rooms, where we create a tailored
experience that suits their needs.
We wanted to reflect the quality and design
excellence of our products throughout the
showroom design and construction.
4What is the store design’s wow factor?
That ‘wow factor’ for me is the transformation.
It has kept and enhanced the building’s historic
accents and celebrates the essence of Hamilton
& Inches, which was founded in 1866.
We’ve created a retail experience that honours
heritage while innovating with contemporary design.
Hamilton & Inches carefully selected local
tradespeople for the renovation project,
choosing each for their skills, expertise, and
By championing local suppliers and using
traditional materials, the organisations have
created a trustworthy assurance of quality,
ensuring that the showroom delights our new
and returning customers.
28 | July 2021
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Behind every gemstone,
there is a fascinating story
waiting to delight clients
around the world. Studying
with GAA brings the
expertise, networking and
confidence to build a solid
career in a multimilliondollar
one of the most supportive
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ADELAIDE BRISBANE HOBART MELBOURNE PERTH SYDNEY
Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts
and consumers about gemstones
Apatite: A touch of mystery
L to R: Kat Florence ring; OGI necklace; Nikos Koulis earrings
Below: Meghna Jewels ring; Ena Iro ring
Apatite derives its name from the Greek
word apate, meaning to deceive – referring
to how this gemstone is often confused
with other minerals, including the striking
Apatite is a lesser-known gemstone in the
world of jewellery. Although the mineral
is the most common phosphate material
found on Earth, transparent gem-quality
apatite is rare. Its chemical composition is
quite variable, with most gem apatite being
The most common colours of gemstonequality
apatite are green or yellowishbrown,
earning it the nickname
Other colours of apatite include a range
of beautiful blues, purples, pinks, yellows,
and even blue-greens, in a captivating
neon colour resembling the exceptional
Given the significant price difference
between Paraíba tourmaline and neon bluegreen
apatite, these vibrant hues are the
most sought after, and the rarest.
A commonly seen phenomenon in apatite
is cat’s eye – a type of chatoyancy – caused
by fine needle-like inclusions. This effect in
stones with a deep blue body colour is the
rarest and most desired type.
Cat’s eye apatite gemstones are cut en
cabochon to highlight the sheen.
With a hardness of 5 on Mohs’ scale, apatite
is prone to scratching.
This quality, in addition to its somewhat
brittle nature, makes it best suited to
necklaces and earrings, rather than pieces
of jewellery more exposed to wear.
It is advised to avoid ultrasonic and steam
cleaning and instead opt for warm soapy
water and a soft toothbrush. As with any
softer stone, clean gently.
A combination of three factors – softness,
brittleness, and thermal-induced cleaving –
make apatite a challenging stone to cut.
Different varieties and colours of apatite are
found in different geographical locations,
due to varying geochemistry.
World sources include Myanmar (Burma)
for blue, blue-green, colourless, and green
cat’s eye, Mexico for yellow-greens, and
Canada for browns and the bright green
variety known as trilliumite.
Brazil is a source for green, blue, and green
cat’s eye, Madagascar for light blues, Sri
Lanka for blue, green, and yellow cat’s eye,
and Tanzania for yellow cat’s eye.
Although incredibly rare, asterism in
apatite (known as star apatite) has also
Depending on the body colour of the
stone, apatite can display some wonderful
fluorescence under ultra-violet light,
including lilac-pinks, pale mauves and
A particularly helpful identification feature
in the blue and yellow-green varieties is
what’s known as the didymium spectrum of
From the Greek apate,
meaning “to deceive”
Colour: Blue, purple,
pink, yellow, green,
brown, and ‘neon’
Found in: Myanmar
Mohs Hardness: 5
Lustre: Vitreous to
multiple fine absorption lines in the yellow
and green, observed with a spectroscope.
Synthetic apatite has been produced,
though it is very rare and not commercially
available. The first piece submitted to GIA
for identification was a colour-change
specimen in 2001.
Apatite can be an interesting stone for those
who love the microscopic world as it often
exhibits a range of interesting inclusions of
other mineral species, including haematite
Often, gemstones may have known
imitants designed to resemble them and
even deceive buyers – but as suggested
in the etymology of apatite, it is often the
It is not at all uncommon for these
gemstones to be confused with a range of
With its array of gorgeous and vibrant
colours, apatite offers a touch of mystery
to a special necklace or set of earrings.
Looked after carefully, it can be a budgetconscious
option, particularly as an
alternative to vivid tourmaline.
Mikaelah Egan FGAA Dip DT
began her career in 2015 with an
independent manufacturing jeweller.
She now balances her role as a
gemmologist and design consultant at
Vault Valuations in Brisbane with studying
geology at the University of Queensland.
July 2021 | 31
Spiked Pearl Baby
T Bar Neacklace
& Ear Wires
Serpent Emerald Earrings
Metal: 9-carat white gold
Gemstones: Blue topaz
Australia and New Zealand are not only home to some of the
rarest gemstones in the world, but also the most talented jewellers.
Jeweller showcases a tapestry of local masterpieces that have been
meticulously crafted with great artisanship, right here on home soil
Metal: Yellow gold
Gemstones: Sapphire, blue
topaz (left); green sapphire,
green tourmaline, peridot (right)
Metals: Palladium silver,
Gemstones: Ruby, sapphire,
blue and white diamond
32 | July 2021
Metals: Silver, brass
From the Heavens Ring
Metal: 18-carat white and
Metal: 9-carat gold
Gemstones: Malachite with
Twin Peaks Cuff
Metals: Sterling Silver
Huon Valley, TAS
ERIN TIMONY BESPOKE
Custom Sapphire and
Metal: Yellow and white gold
sapphire, pink tourmaline
July 2021 | 33
ARABELLA RODEN explores the deep and varied history of personalised
jewellery, from birthstones to signet rings and beyond.
FOUNDRAE 2020 CAMPAIGN
PERSONALISED JEWELLERY | Up Close and Personal
L to R: Catherine Zoraida, Karen Walker, Foundrae, Tiffany & Co., Dolce & Gabbana, Ashley Zhang
entral to the wearing of jewellery is the
element of personalisation: the ability of
precious gemstones and metal adornments
to signify the unique attributes of the wearer.
Before recorded history, humans wore jewellery to express
elements of their identity, from cultural affiliation to social
status, occupation, and interpersonal bonds.
Today, jewellery serves the same purpose – and perhaps
nowhere is this more apparent than in the personalised
Current personalised jewellery trends – from birthstone and
zodiac jewellery to initial pendants and signet rings – have
deep historical roots, yet remain relevant to consumers by
appealing to the innate desire to express oneself.
Birthstones and zodiac jewellery
Some scholars trace birthstone jewellery – like astrology
– back to ancient Hindu traditions, which associated
gemstones with nine ‘celestial forces’.
In Western culture, the 1st Century historian Josephus
is often credited with connecting the 12 zodiac signs –
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio,
Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces – with the
12 gemstones said to have been embedded in Aaron’s
breastplate in the Bible.
However, the trend of wearing gemstones correlated with
one’s own birth month likely dates to 16th Century Europe.
By the Victorian era, from 1837–1901, birthstones
were “considered the favourite stone of choice” for
engagements, writes gemmologist C. Jeanenne Bell in
Collecting Victorian Jewelry – and remained so, until they
were superseded by diamonds in the mid-20th Century.
However, there was no consensus on the ‘official’ list
of birthstones until 1912, when the US-based National
Association of Jewelers formalised American birthstones
for commercial and promotional purposes.
This list was modified in 1952 by the Jewelry Industry
Council of America, with several stones added.
Further updates occurred in 2002 and 2016 as new
gemstones became widely available and in demand
Like birthstones, zodiac symbols are closely linked
with personal identity – and share an ancient past.
The Western zodiac is largely derived from the Greek
philosopher Ptolemy’s 2nd Century work Tetrabiblos.
The trend of wearing gemstones
correlated with one’s own
birth month likely dates to 16th
Century Europe. By the Victorian
era, from 1837–1901, birthstones
were considered the [gemstone]
of choice for engagements”
The Chinese zodiac dates back even further, potentially
to the Zhan Guo period in the 5th Century BCE, and was
formalised during the time of the Han Dynasty (between
206 BCE and 9 CE).
Zodiac jewellery first rose to mainstream popularity in
the 1930s and again in the ’70s – the so-called ‘Age of
Aquarius’, when the trend was embraced by Parisian
jewellery houses – according to jewellery historian
Recently, the trend has become popular once again
– in particular, pendants engraved or gem-set with
Western zodiac symbols and/or their corresponding
Searches for the term ‘zodiac necklace’ steadily
increased over the past four years, both in Australia
and worldwide, according to Google Trends data.
“Zodiac jewellery peaked in popularity during the 1930s,
July 2021 | 35
Up Close and Personal | PERSONALISED JEWELLERY
the 1970s and today: all eras of great uncertainty,” Fasel
recently told fashion magazine Porter.
“People look to the stars and want their jewelry to act
as and a talisman during difficult, uncertain times.”
Celebrity endorsement has also played a role; models
Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are among the stars
who have worn the trend, donning zodiac pendants
crafted by US designer Mercii.
Initialled jewelled pendants and
monogrammed jewels were largely
for rulers, royals, and the most
powerful members of a court,
until the 19th Century”
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, frequently
wears Taurus and Virgo zodiac pendants – the star signs
of her son Archie and husband Prince Harry – created by
Canadian jewellery brand Suetables.
Indeed, Markle has a well-documented love of
personalised jewellery of all kinds; her custom-made
Lorraine Schwartz eternity ring is set with a hidden
peridot, sapphire, and emerald – the birthstones of
herself, her husband, and son – and she has also donned
Ecksand stacking rings with her family’s birthstones.
Additionally, Markle has given royal approval to another
trend: the initial pendant.
Initial pendants and signet rings
Markle famously donned a necklace featuring the
letters ‘M’ and ‘H’, prior to her official engagement to
Prince Harry. In 2019, Markle donned an ‘A’ necklace at
Wimbledon in tribute to her then-newborn son, causing
the website of its designer – Australia’s Verse Fine
Jewellery – to crash.
Intriguingly, her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of
Wales, donned a sterling silver ‘D’ choker in her youth –
First formalised by the
US National Association
of Jewelers in 1912, the
‘official’ birthstone list has
been altered and updated
for different markets.
later upgrading to a large gold version when she rose to
Historically, King Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn is
perhaps the most famous royal wearer of initial jewellery,
with her portrait – which hangs in London’s National
Portrait Gallery – featuring a pearl ‘B’ necklace.
“Initialled jewelled pendants and monogrammed
jewels were largely for rulers, royals, and the most
powerful members of a court until the 19th Century,”
Rebecca Selva, a jewellery expert and chief creative
officer of jewellery brand Fred Leighton, told Town &
“As the 19th Century progressed and an emerging
industrial and middle class grew, jewellery manufacturing
grew to meet the demands of the burgeoning merchant
and middle class.
“With the popularity of sentimental jewellery in the 19th
Century, initial and monogrammed jewels were in great
demand,” Selva added, noting that “the popularity of
charms and charm bracelets in the 1920s and 1940s again
allowed for the creation of a most individualised jewel,
which of course included initial charms and pendants.”
Today, alongside Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bella
Hadid are some of the more high-profile celebrity wearers
of initial pendants, donning designs by Foundrae and
Similar to initial pendants, signet rings were once
reserved for the aristocracy; specimens have been found
dating to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Nubia, and a
Persian king is noted as wearing a signet ring in the Bible.
Used in place of a signature, the rings were
generally crafted in solid gold and engraved
or set with carved gemstones or intaglios,
which could be dipped in wax and
pressed on documents.
A ring’s ‘identifying marks’
would generally be a coat
of arms, monogram, family
L to R: Monica Vinader; Karen Walker; Pacharee
36 | July 2021
Up Close and Personal | PERSONALISED JEWELLERY
L to R: W. Rosado; Simone Rocha; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Gwyneth Paltrow; Cara Delevingne. Top: Shay Fine Jewelry
seal, or the wearer’s initials; indeed, the term ‘signet’
derives from the Latin term signum, meaning ‘sign’.
Beyond antiquity, signet rings saw a resurgence of popularity
in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, according to historian
Emily Stoehrer, of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
By the late 19th Century, signet rings had largely moved
beyond practical use and evolved into a “status symbol”,
says jewellery historian Lori Ettlinger Gross.
“The tops of the rings had decoration or engraving [and]
often were gem-set, or if they were metal intensive, they
bore initials done in shallow-yet-decorative engraving.
Once reserved for men in the
upper echelons of society, today
the signet ring is enjoying more
“You could probably say that it was in the 19th Century
that signet rings became more of a personal statement,”
While once reserved for men in the upper echelons of
society, today the signet ring is enjoying more widespread
appeal, with jewellery designers creating streamlined
versions for unisex wear.
The signature flat face offers a variety of options for
personalisation, beyond the classic coat-of-arms or initials,
yet retains the traditional signet ring’s sense of power and
authority – increasingly appealing to the modern woman.
Consumers have also moved beyond wearing the signet
ring on the pinky, instead incorporating it as a stacking
piece with jewellery on other fingers.
Recent years have seen the rise of what consultancy firm
Deloitte terms “mass personalisation”.
In the 11th edition of its Consumer Review report, Made
38 | July 2021
QUICK RE V IE W
can trace its origins back
to the ancient past, yet
relevant to today’s
of the elite
Once reserved for
the most powerful
members of society,
is today available to the
Central to today’s
trend is the reflection
of an individual’s
unique identity and
sense of self
There are personalised
jewellery options to
suit all styles, from
delicate and feminine
pendants to bold,
unisex signet rings
To Order: The Rise of Mass Personalisation, Deloitte
analysts write, “Empowered by social networks and their
digital devices, consumers are increasingly dictating what
they want, when and where they want it.
Deloitte research indicated that
in some categories, more than 50
per cent of consumers expressed
interest in purchasing personalised
products or services, with a
majority willing to pay more”
“As society becomes more affluent, the demand for
personalised products and services will continue to
increase as manufacturers seek to satisfy consumers.”
Deloitte research indicated that in some categories,
more than 50 per cent of consumers expressed interest
in purchasing personalised products or services, with a
majority willing to pay more – “particularly in the more
expensive or fashion-related categories.”
In jewellery, birthstones, initials, and zodiac symbols
immediately give pieces a deeply personal quality to which
consumers respond; there is a throughline between the
simple initial necklace or birthstone ring back to the
traditions of the past.
At the same time, jewellers can offer
an affordable personalisation service by
adding custom elements inspired by these
trends, such as engraving a zodiac symbol
or embedding a tiny birthstone.
Beyond beauty, personalised jewellery
affirms identity; and with consumers ever
more drawn to the personal, custom, and
unique, as well as open self-expression,
personalised jewellery neatly dovetails with
both modern tastes and ancient history.
Jessie V E
and left inset:
A lesser-known personalised trend that appears to be enjoying
a resurgence is acrostic jewellery – also called ‘hidden message’
Credited to the 18th Century Parisian jeweller Jean-Baptiste Mellerio, acrostic
jewellery featured messages spelled out with the ‘language of gemstones’.
Each gemstone corresponded with a letter of the alphabet – D for diamond,
R for ruby, and so on (see modern version, below) – and would be set in rings
or pendants to spell out words, such as ‘souvenir’ (French for memory or
remember), ‘regard’, ‘love’, and ‘dearest’.
French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly commissioned several
acrostic pieces for family members, and numerous antique examples from
the Victorian and Georgian eras are available today.
Modern versions of acrostic jewellery have been crafted by Cartier, Chaumet,
and Verdure, among many others.
A Amethyst, aquamarine,
alexandrite, amber, ametrine, apatite
B Black opal, boulder opal, beryl P Pearl, peridot
C Citrine, carnelian, chrysoprase,
R Ruby, rose quartz,
D Diamond, demantoid garnet,
diaspore S Spinel, sapphire, sunstone,
South Sea pearl, smoky quartz
T Tourmaline, tanzanite, topaz,
H Hessonite garnet, haematite
(bloodstone), heliodor (yellow beryl)
Umbalite (Tanzanian garnet)
Verdelite (green tourmaline)
I Indicolite (blue tourmaline), iolite W Watermelon tourmaline
J Jasper, jade, jet X (none)
K Kyanite, kunzite Y Yellow beryl
Lapis lazuli, labradorite
Z Zircon, zoisite, Zultanite
2021 EQUIPMENT INNOVATIONS
As the jewellery trade continues to evolve, so too do the tools and
equipment used by its workforce, writes ARABELLA RODEN.
As the saying goes, a workman is only as good
as their tools. Like most industries, over the
years jewellery creation has evolved from
largely hand-based, physically-taxing equipment
towards more efficient technological solutions –
allowing for ever more precision, design creativity,
speed, and fewer injuries on the bench.
Manufacturers – and even jewellers themselves – have taken
inspiration from other industries such as car manufacturing
and welding to develop new, or refine existing, tools.
Selwyn Brandt, director Australian Jewellers Supplies, tells
Jeweller, “Minor innovations happen all the time. People try
and improve on basic hand tools – the hand skills that are
required of a jeweller still make use of traditional tools, such
as pliers, hammers, files, so on.
“Many improvements to these occur because a given jeweller,
somewhere around the world, determines that the tools that
are available just aren’t enough so they then design their own
and many of these tools often end up being available to the
wider jewellery community.”
He points to aluminium saw frames – which are more
balanced than older models, helping to prevent repetitive
stress injuries – and precision hammers for setting work as
examples of such equipment.
Brandt adds, “Other pieces of equipment are taken from other
fields and modified so that they are usable in the jewellery
industry – usually ‘toned down’ and miniaturised.”
In watchmaking, Catherine Craner, managing director The
Battery Man, says the focus is on innovations and refinements
from established brands with a reputation for quality and
“For the essentials, watchmakers turn to manufacturers like
Bergeon, which was founded in Switzerland more than 200
years ago, Beco Technic from Germany, and Seiko in Japan,
which all have a reputation for very high quality. Any new
innovations from these manufacturers can be trusted.”
Meanwhile, the technology sector continues to provide
innovative tools for jewellery businesses, from e-commerce to
billing and workflow management.
Best of the bench
When it comes to jewellery manufacturing, two forms of microwelding
have been rapidly embraced: laser and pulse-arc.
Pulse-arc welding joins metals through the fusion process.
“Pulse-arc welding creates a very instantaneous and low-heat
spark between two bits of metal which creates a fusion,”
“This can also be used for unrelated metals, precious metal or
non-precious metal and there is a version that is used for very
hard metals in the dental industry.”
He adds, “Fusion is an interesting concept because it’s lowheat,
non-destructive, and there are many delicate articles
40 | July 2021
EQUIPMENT INNOVATIONS | Innovation Information
Facing page (L to R): Elma Noise Protection Enclosure
Box and Ultrasonic Cleaner, courtesy Techspan
Australia; Orion 150s Welding System, courtesy
Australian Jewellers Supplies (AJS); Formlabs Castable
Wax 40 Resin and Form 3 Printer, courtesy LST Group;
Left: Designing with 3Design CAD software, courtesy
we can weld with this technology that we couldn’t do before.
Previously, all welding was done using open flame torches.”
Meanwhile, laser welding – used for many years in the broader
manufacturing industry – has been redeveloped for use in
jewellery, with machines producing a fine, concentrated,
heated beam that is ideal for working with metals such as
steel, aluminium, and titanium.
At Jewellery Services in New Zealand, director Richard Mayo
tells Jeweller, “We have just purchased our fourth laser
welder unit. They are amazing for speed; we use them for
most chain repairs and any claw work.
“We also use them for platinum sizing and will be purchasing a
camera/screen system for one of them for training purposes.”
Laser technology is also used for engraving, with Mayo adding,
“We have started using a new laser engraver, which is great
added-value for the retail stores we support.”
Alongside laser engravers, pneumatic engraving and stonesetting
machines, such as those produced by GRS, remain
popular among jewellers.
“The Graversmith system is 30 or 40 years old, but the
manufacturer, GRS, is a very progressive company and they
continuously introduce innovations and subtle improvements
to each of their models over time,” says Brandt.
Notably, Brandt points to the use of microscopes as a more
recent innovation in engraving and micro-setting.
“Using the microscope, together with the necessary amount
of light, has made a big difference to the ability to create
accuracy in delicate and very intricate work,” he explains.
“The microscope is very important, from that point of view, to
give the jeweller that vision and ability to work on small, delicate
things, which you cannot really do with the naked eye.”
Jewellery Services currently has two microscopes used for
setting work, and plans to purchase a third.
Microscopes are also now frequently used in laser and pulsearc
welding, as jeweller’s microscopes have a built-in weldinggrade
lens that filters light to protect the eyes – a common
concern on the bench.
Polishing and finishing has seen more innovation: “There
is some equipment now that uses a modification on what
When it comes to
watch repair, these
tools should be in
• Compass and
• Eye loupe
• Set of
• Case opener
• Battery tester
• Silicon greaser
• Set of gaskets and
spring bar pins
Above: Bergeon JAXA
Case Opener; Seiko S880
jewellers know to be ‘tumbling’, using electrolysis to polish
and finish pieces of jewellery.
“That has been borrowed and miniaturised from other fields,
such as the motor industry,” says Brandt.
The dental industry has also made its mark on jewellery with
the introduction of micro-motors, which Brandt says have
“almost entirely” superseded flexible-drive motors for drilling.
Often overlooked, yet essential to any jewellery business, is
“We have supplied a vast array of equipment to almost every
industry in Australia, and the jewellery sector will almost
always specify Elma ultrasonic cleaners and supplies,” says
Tim Fastnedge, managing director, Techspan Australia.
“The brand is very well known and respected around the
planet for their effectiveness and reliability.”
However, noise is a common complaint when it comes to
ultrasonic cleaning. To address this issue, Elma has recently
introduced a range of sound enclosures.
“Depending on its frequency, ultrasound activity can generate
an array of different noise levels within the cleaning liquid,”
“Elma has developed noise protection boxes for a number of
ultrasonic cleaner device sizes, which can significantly reduce
the noise level. There are three models – two that cover most
of the small-to-medium-sized ultrasonic cleaners, and an
In terms of cleaning for watchmakers, Craner says Elma
ultrasonic cleaners are also “very highly regarded”.
“We’ve also heard very positive feedback on the Heli cleaning
products from Beco Technic, which can be used on both
stainless steel and leather,” says Craner.
“The quality of the cleaning is fantastic, and there are no harsh
chemicals in the formula, which is innovative.”
Craner also observes that “a good-quality compass and
demagnetiser” are other often-overlooked pieces of
equipment on the watchmaker’s bench.
“Magnetic devices are everywhere – smartphones, tablets,
July 2021 | 41
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42 | April 2021
The Battery Man
“Fusion [used in pulsearc
welding] is an
because it’s low-heat,
there are many delicate
articles we can weld with
this technology that we
couldn’t do before.”
“The new Seiko S880
is a step up from the
previous S860 model...
It’s due to arrive in
Australia towards the
end of the year and we
will be accepting preorders
at the Sydney
“With CAD, the
technology to create
and sell online will
become more seamless
and offer more
directly on the website
– interactive 3D models
in a web browser...
and even phone holders for the car which use magnetic
docking to keep the phone in place.
“People often don’t realise how magnetism can impact
a watch – that should be the first thing that’s checked
in a repair, before moving on to the battery or the
mechanics,” she explains.
“So, the compass and demagnetiser are essential.
Also, non-steel tweezers – you should never use steel
tweezers with a watch battery!”
When it comes to innovations, Craner points to “case
openers that can cater to the larger watch sizes that are
becoming increasingly popular”.
“With the fashion for larger watches, the tools need
to be adapted; the Bergeon JAXA case opener, for
example, works for cases up to 62mm,” she says.
Craner also notes the new Seiko S880 Digital Multi-
Tester, which she calls “a step up from the previous
S860 model, which has been discontinued”.
“It’s due to arrive in Australia towards the end of
the year and we will be accepting pre-orders at the
Sydney trade fair [International Jewellery & Watch
Fair],” she adds.
Beyond the bench, Brandt says no discussion of
jewellery equipment innovation would be complete
without mentioning 3D printing and computer-aided
“The big innovation in casting has been, of course,
3D printing, and with that we can create so many
more options for jewellery,” Brandt explains, adding,
“Jewellers used to literally hand-sculpt the models
and they now do this using CAD and 3D print very
When it comes
two forms of
have been rapidly
Facing page (L to R): Orion
LZR100 Laser Welder; Leica
A60 Microscope; Dado Laser
Welder, all courtesy AJS.
This page (L to R): Lampert
Puk 5.1 Precision Welder;
FlashForge 3D Printer, both
MADE IN GERMANY
Chris Hill, director LST Group, says, “[3D jewellery
software developer] 3Design has released version
10, which has 50 new features and 20 new tools;
CAD makes it easier for jewellers to quickly turn
their ideas into reality.”
Hill believes CAD and 3D printing offer a
“significant advantage” to jewellers: “Not only can
you significantly reduce production costs, but you
can control the workflow, communicate concepts
with customers, prototype ideas and deliver a
better product in a shorter time.”
He adds, “With CAD, the technology to create and
sell online will become more seamless and offer
more customer interaction directly on the website–
interactive 3D models in a web browser that
can be adjusted for metal colour, stone size and
shape, updated instantly with a price ready for the
customer to order.
“The tools are already available, it will just take a
few innovative brands to get their online shopping
experience up to date,” Hill explains.
On the supplier side, Palloys, AGS, PJW, Regentco
and A&E Metals – all part of the Pallion group of
companies – launched an all-in-one platform in
2020 for customised 3D printing orders.
The platform, which took two years to design and
implement, allows jewellers to upload a CAD file
and receive an instant quote for a finished piece,
including everything from print to mould, casting
“The instant quoting for CAD files, casting from
their own mould library, fabricated metals and
diamonds allows jewellers to enjoy accurate and
instant quotes they can pass onto their customers,
giving the jewellers an instant competitive
advantage,” Alison Habbal, assistant operations
manager – jewellery at Palloys, told Jeweller last
As a result, online orders for the group’s jewellery
division more than doubled in 2021.
At Jewellery Services, Mayo tells Jeweller work
has already begun on a “customer portal” “where
stores can login and see their job information,
images, billing, order stock, etcetera.
“We will have this live for Christmas,” he adds.
Digital innovation has also occurred in other areas
of Jewellery Services’ business.
“We have recently updated all our computer
systems to be cloud-first, using Microsoft
Dynamics as our core system,” says Mayo.
“With this, we have been able to develop a way
for our jewellers to use tablets to manage their
workflow; they take a picture of the item with the
tablet, fill in the necessary information, and it goes
straight to billing.”
Knowledge is power
For retail jewellers looking to embrace
technological solutions, Hill emphasises the
importance of education. “Many jewellers have
been left behind with CAD, although it’s never too
late to learn a new skill,” he observes.
Mayo notes that Jewellery Services’ new
microscope and laser welder will be fitted with
screens and cameras for training purposes.
The critical importance of training is recognised
by Katherine Kovacs, federal chair of the
Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA).
Beco Technic PolyWatch
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are only as useful
as the jeweller
education on how
to use any piece of
L to R: Jake Newell custom handengraved
stainless steel with gold
and copper inlay; GRS GraverMax
G8; Orion Nano 20 Watt LZR Laser
Engraver, both courtesy AJS
“Ultimately, tools are only as useful as the jeweller holding them;
the education on how to use any piece of equipment – no matter
how basic or advanced – is essential,” she tells Jeweller.
The GAA’s courses offer comprehensive guidance on how to
use the latest gemmological equipment and how to interpret
results – particularly when it comes to correctly identifying
gemstones and detecting treatments, which may not have
Whether manufacturing or retail
jeweller, it is critical to maintain not
only up-to-date equipment that meets
the needs of your business, but also
education in how best to utilise the
tools at your disposal
In June, a spotlight was shone on lab-created diamond detection
when the International Gemological Institute (IGI) exposed
an 6.18-carat diamond as lab-created, despite being laserinscribed
with a natural diamond’s grading report serial number.
“Identification is crucial for both natural and lab-grown
diamonds, as both markets are prospering and important
to consumers, and at IGI, we saw that firsthand when we
uncovered the largest misrepresented diamond, weighing
in at 6.18-carats,” IGI CEO Roland Lorie told Jeweller.
IGI anticipates that the number of lab-created diamonds cut
and polished to mimic the characteristics of specific natural
diamonds, with grading reports, will continue to increase,
which reinforces the importance of secondary verification
and proper grading and screening.
“As an industry, we must work together to ensure that we are
providing shoppers with accurate identification,” said Lorie.
He added, “The Institute understands the choice consumers
have when buying either natural or lab-grown diamonds, and
we must communicate with the utmost certainty that their
selections are aligned with what is reported on the certificate.”
44 | July 2021
Saw Frame: The
frame is ultra
rigid; it was
Knew Concepts, a
by the late Lee
inventor of small
Jay Whaley, the
the jeweller to
metal; a punch is
the head of the
up and down and
ensuring head and
punch are aligned
at all times
For retail jewellers, there have also been recent innovations
in desktop and handheld diamond detection devices – also
known as diamond verification instruments.
Yehuda Diamond Company recently released its Sherlock
Holmes 3.0 diamond detector, which retains the previous
model’s 100 per cent detection rate of CVD and HPHT stones,
as assessed by the Natural Diamond Council’s ASSURE
Diamond Verification testing process, previously known as
At the same time, several improvements have been made,
including a significantly lower false-positive rate, more
accessible design, and a new eight-times magnification view.
Meanwhile, OGI Systems’ Diatrue CS is one of the most recent
additions to the ASSURE Diamond Verification directory,
having been tested in early 2021. According to OGI Systems,
it was ranked highest for a novice operator, testing for labcreated
diamonds larger than 2mm.
The Diatrue CS includes a diamond reference database, autodetection
of both chemical vapour deposition and
high-pressure, high-temperature lab-created diamonds,
and improved software from previous models.
Notably, the total number of detectors in the ASSURE
directory had risen to 33 at the time of publication –
however many require the operator to either
fully or partially interpret the results,
once again emphasising
the importance of
retail jeweller, it is
critical to maintain not
only up-to-date equipment
that meets the needs of your
business, but also education
in how best to utilise the many
innovative tools at your disposal.
L to R: Whaley Sliding Hammer;
Knew Concepts Aluminium Saw
Frame, both courtesy AJS
EQUIPMENT INNOVATIONS | Innovation Information
Jewellery engraving has a long history, yet its appeal persists into
the modern day – particularly as consumers become ever-more
oriented toward personalisation and customisation.
Beginning with traditional hand tools and physical force, the art
developed over time in order to reduce the stress on the jeweller or
craftsman’s body, as well as increase precision and the variety of
Pneumatic tools, such as those developed by US company GRS, were
a significant breakthrough and continue to be used widely across the
jewellery industry today – both for their affordability and versatility.
Such equipment is frequently upgraded with new settings and
attachments, and are ideally suited to intricate work. As the technology
has evolved from traditional hand tools, many can also be used for
Laser engraving developed separately, reaching the jewellery industry
after the technology had matured.
Using light to alter the surface of the metal based on digital inputs, laser
engraving is ideal for replicating fingerprints and photographs, engraving
all types of metals, and enhancing the contrast in a jewellery design.
However, advanced laser machinery can be expensive – with some
models priced in the tens of thousands of dollars – putting them out
of reach of many jewellers. Instead, they turn to jewellery services
suppliers to create custom laser-engraved designs.
Above: Hand-engraving with
pneumatic tools, courtesy GRS.
Left: laser-engraved rings,
courtesy Peter W Beck
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Identifying the 10 key traits
of a teammate employee
RYAN ESTIS discusses the most important characteristics in valuable
employees who contribute the most to a business’ success.
When I decided to start my business more
than 10 years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure
where it would take me – but I knew who
I wanted to join me on the journey.
My first employee was also my first friend
in my first job after graduating from
university. While our careers had taken
different paths, our friendship had
persevered – and to this day, her skills
and contributions are reflected in my
business’ bottom line.
That is the value of teamwork, and it’s
never been more important.
According to research, the time spent by
managers and employees in collaborative
activities has ballooned by more than 50 per
cent in recent years.
The proportion hovers around 80 per cent
at many companies, and this trend is likely
to continue. Teamwork, indeed, makes the
The most worthwhile things I have ever
achieved haven’t been solo ventures – I was
part of a very good team, and I find that the
shared experiences are more meaningful
So, what makes a good ‘teammate’
employee? Here are the 10 key traits
Displays emotional stability
Great teammates tend to be optimistic
and full of positive energy. They are deeply
invested in their organisation’s vision of the
future and their own their part in making
that future happen.
Having a good sense of emotional
intelligence in the workplace also ensures
a comfortable and productive environment
When someone can regulate their
emotional state and show empathy towards
their teammates, they report higher job
satisfaction and perform better.
Who wouldn’t want to work with someone
who is aware of both their own needs and
the needs of the team?
Understands their role
Great teammates are competent in their
roles, and they take full ‘ownership’ of
their area of responsibility – that is, they
completely understand the purpose of their
ways to make
always want to
role within the structure of the business and
are proactive in completing their duties.
This makes collaboration easier for
everyone else; it also fuels the success
of the business and benefits the rest
of the team.
In a 2015 study on behaviour in the
workplace, researchers found that when
individuals have ownership over their work,
they’re significantly more generous with
their time and resources.
Prioritises customer experience
In a competitive environment, how you
interact with customers and meet their
needs can be the deciding factor between
them choosing your business over another.
In fact, 86 per cent of shoppers say they will
pay more for better customer service.
Personalisation, customisation, a sense of
urgency and trust is what consumers want,
and a great teammate knows when to go
above and beyond.
Great teammates set the tone for everyone’s
behaviour and standard of service; their
dedication is contagious.
46 | July 2021
Has a drive to win
The drive to win customers and outperform
the competition is essential to the success
of any sales team.
Competition is also one of the primary
driving factors of a productive work
environment, with 67 per cent of workers
saying that it’s a strong motivator for them
to give it their all and win.
If you want to win, you are hungry for the
challenge of competition – and that brings
out the best performance.
As a business owner, you need to surround
yourself with others who feel the same way
and can match that intensity.
Shares in success
Good teammates don’t care who gets
credit – they want the best for the team,
and they are genuinely happy for other
Recognising and celebrating team
members’ accomplishments improves
the whole team’s productivity, and in a
report published by employee engagement
platform TinyPulse, the majority of
participants said that having the respect
of their peers was the number-one reason
they went the ‘extra mile’ at work.
The past year has demonstrated how
important it is to have creative problemsolvers
in your business.
Organisations across the globe have had
to overhaul the way they provide services,
collaborate, and expand.
In an environment like that, business
owners need teammates who are curious
and open to innovative ideas.
Great teammates are committed to
learning continuously. They are willing to
test, experiment and improve in every facet
of their role. They recognise problems
quickly and solve them in creative and
Problem-solvers set up the businesses
and organisations in which they work
for resilience during times of uncertainty
One of the most valuable traits in a
teammate is trust. According to David
Horsager, founder of management
consultancy firm Trust Edge Leadership
Institute, “A lack of trust is the biggest
expense in organisations.”
Horsager describes trust as the core that
holds together a company’s day-to-day
operations, and when things start to break
down – no matter the department or the
type of issue – a lack of trust is always the
However, trust isn’t just about reliability –
though of course everyone wants to work
with people who ‘have their back’.
Trust also means displaying integrity and
being willing to weigh in, challenge the
status quo and offer constructive feedback.
When trustworthy teammates call it
like they see it, business owners – and
colleagues – know that feedback will push
the business to reach its potential.
Open to coaching
The best teammates want to be challenged
and coached. To be ‘coachable’ is to have
the mental mindset to receive constructive
feedback and turn it into an opportunity
A great teammate listens to feedback
and finds ways to make meaningful
improvements because they always want to
get better. When the feedback is negative,
they are highly self-aware and don’t take
Yet not all feedback is equal or effective;
in fact, only 14.5 per cent of managers
strongly agreed that they were effective in
providing feedback, according to a 2018
survey by US analytics firm Gallup.
The most effective teammates not only sort
through the feedback they receive to make
high-impact changes to their behaviour and
performance, but they also provide effective
feedback to their colleagues.
Knows when to disagree
The best teammates aren’t afraid of a little
healthy conflict and tend to be forthcoming
about their opinions.
Created by Creative Mania
from the Noun Project
Look for people
who bring out
the best in
and aren’t afraid
to work for it – or
suggest ways to
staff are the gold
When you encounter challenges and tough
decisions, it’s always great when someone
brings thoughtful arguments and alternative
perspectives to the table.
As a business owner, you won’t always
agree with your teammates, and sometimes
you can encounter a problem with no
In those cases where the business owner
must make a tough choice, a great
teammate always commits to the final
decision – even if it’s not the route they
would have chosen.
Commitment to the team’s direction helps
keep everyone on track and ensures that
the team remains unified when faced with
Has a sense of fun
My motto is, “Work hard and have a blast
It may seem trivial, but morale is crucial
to performance in any business. When
someone is a team player on every front,
they make working together fun and
engaging every step of the way.
They bring out the best in their colleagues
and help motivate them, keeping their
mindset focused and positive; they uplift
If you want to be successful, surround
yourself with people who exemplify these
10 traits – and more importantly, strive to
be that kind of person. Most organisations
need more good teammates, especially
as the world becomes more connected,
collaborative and competitive.
As a team member at any level, I invite you
to consider this formative question: how do
I want to be remembered by the people I
The answer is important, so reflect on it and
write it down. Let this be your guide for how
you show up and what kind of contribution
you intend to make.
RYAN ESTIS helps companies to
embrace change, attack opportunity and
achieve breakthrough performance.
July 2021 | 47
How to close the sale by asking
the tough questions
GREG GLADMAN provides a script to help retail staff successfully navigate the situation
when they are confronted with customers’ well-known sales roadblocks.
Retail can be challenging – and the
higher the price of the item, higher
the probability the customer will talk
themselves out of the purchase.
Every salesperson has heard a customer
say, “I need to think it over” and watched
them leave the store empty-handed, never
to return. So, how can they overcome this
Customers buy based on emotion and
justify the purchase with logic.
For example, if there is a 50 per cent-off
sale and they love the piece of jewellery,
the emotional part of their brain convinces
the logical part to make the purchase
because of how much money they
will ‘save’ if they buy it now, while
In jewellery retail, the emotional
connection to the product is particularly
high – and yet the customer still frequently
walks out of the store without the item
One of the most common excuses for
a lack of purchase, as told to jewellery
sales staff, is that the customer needs to
think it over.
Other variations of this include that they
need to get their partner’s permission
to buy the item, that it costs more than
they budgeted to spend, or that it’s not
exactly what they are looking for and they
will return to buy it once they have looked
around other stores.
Sometimes these excuses are the truth
and other times fiction; the key is to find out
if the customer can be convinced to make
the purchase today, or if they are likely to
make the purchase when followed up.
Put simply, is the excuse genuine, or is it
simply a way to end the sales conversation
A good start
The sales process starts with a greeting
when the customer first enters the store,
Taking a questioning approach can be an effective sales technique.
when the salesperson begins to build
rapport and trust. This influences their
ability to ask tough questions later.
Once trust and rapport have been
established, it becomes natural to ask the
customer about their budget and to get a
feel for why they want a specific item.
Next, the salesperson needs to understand
the customer’s buying criteria – that is, the
most important factor needed for them to
actually make a purchase.
The salesperson must build tension
or emotion around the purchase – for
example, the fear of missing out or the
pleasure of having an item they have
always wanted – and find a piece of
jewellery that fits their criteria.
At this point, the customer may say, “I need
to think it over,” which puts the salesperson
in a good position to respond by asking the
To know, just ask
The salesperson should start by
acknowledging the customer’s statement,
saying, “I understand that when you are
looking to purchase an amazing piece like
this, there is a tendency to think it over.”
Then, they should ask the first tough
question: “To help me understand, what
specifically do you need to think over that
has stopped you from buying today?”
are the truth
the key is to
find out if the
to make the
Let’s say the response is, “It is just a
little bit more that I have to spend,” the
salesperson can counter with the next
question: “If this was under your budget,
is there anything else that would stop you
from making this purchase today?”
Usually, a customer will say that there is
no other reason .
The salesperson can then respond with
the third question: “What is your budget
that you can commit to spending today?”
allowing the customer time to respond
with a numeric figure.
They can then follow up with the final
question: “If we could find a way to help you
come under that budget, could you make
the purchase today?”
This type of ‘presumptive close’ takes
away any other objections, and provided
that the salesperson can either make the
sale at the slightly lower price or provide a
financing option, the sale can be closed.
Alternatively, if the customer is still not
prepared to make the purchase, the
salesperson can try one last tactic –
gaining a commitment to follow up later
that day or the next day, via phone or email.
Many high-performing jewellery
salespeople have mastered this technique
of ‘re-engagement’ – giving themselves
another opportunity to close the sale.
However, if the customer won’t make this
commitment, the salesperson is then free
to focus their energy on other customers.
As a retailer, it’s important to equip your
sales team with the knowledge and ability
to overcome the “think it over” barrier by
asking the tough questions.
GREG GLADMAN is CEO of Objective
Assessment and founder of Sales &
Leadership Performance, an Australian
sales development organisation
focused on customised transformation
programs. Visit: saleslp.com
48 | July 2021
Why staff training matters most in
the changing retail environment
While the retail industry has remained resilient in the face of the COVID-19 upheaval,
the past 12 months have illustrated the importance of staff training, writes JOSH STRUTT.
The Australian retail industry has faced
a high degree of instability as a result of
the COVID-19 pandemic, from closing and
re-opening over and over, to navigating
government payments and disruptions to
supply chains and stock availability.
Despite these challenges, retail remains
the country’s second-largest employing
industry, according to the Australian
Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and recent
retail turnover reports have shown
At the heart of all this change is retail’s
most important asset – people.
As Brian Walker, CEO Retail Doctor Group,
explains, “Retail is and always will be a
predominantly ‘people’ business. Think
about the top 10 bricks-and-mortar
retailers globally, and it becomes very
apparent – they all have the ‘people’ edge.”
Indeed, as the retail industry navigates its
way to the other side of the pandemic and
beyond, businesses are looking to new
ways of working and re-building a smarter
and more efficient workforce.
For example, Woolworths announced
a significant investment of $50 million
to prepare its workforce for the retail
industry of the future; as Brad Banducci,
CEO Woolworths Group, said, “Around the
globe, retail is changing at the fastest pace
we’ve seen in many decades.”
With this in mind, retail businesses of all
sizes must change the way they manage
the workforce, viewing training and
development as a necessity rather than a
Employees in any business want to feel
valued, motivated and developed; in return,
they contribute more, achieve their goals
and strive for brilliance at every turn.
The question is, how seriously do retail
business owners really invest in their staff,
from senior leadership to the sales floor?
David Rumbens, a partner at Deloitte
Access Economics, says, “While
Online modules are a cost-effective way to train multiple staff across stores.
technology is driving change in the way
we work, and the work we do, it’s ultimately
not a substitute for people,” warning that
there is a large skills shortage across
Some may say the answer is in hiring new
staff. However, it is estimated that the
average replacement cost of a salaried
employee is the equivalent of six to nine
months of their salary.
Thus, it makes financial sense for
businesses to focus on improving the skills
of their existing employees.
So, how should a retail business maximise
their investment in the right type of training
for their workforce?
The number-one requirement when it
comes to training staff is attitude; if the
employee isn’t interested in being coached,
save your time and money! Attitude
will determine the training return-oninvestment
The second necessity is goal setting
and measuring the outcomes that the
training should deliver, as training without
measurable improvement is like pouring
money into a black hole.
Finally, blended learning that engages the
employee’s senses is the most potent form
all sizes must
change the way
as a necessity
rather than a
of training and particularly necessary for
senior staff. It involves combining online
modules with classroom-style training,
one-on-one coaching for further retention
and follow-ups with the trainee.
However, blended learning it is often
Take it online
Fortunately, when blended learning isn’t
feasible, online modules can be a simple
and cost-effective way to train staff. Here
are some of the benefits:
Allows for efficiency – Trainers can
condense hours of material into a
20–30-minute module that learners can
access any time from any device.
Caters to all learning styles – Online
learning combines visual and auditory
components, with voice-overs, videos,
activities and other interactive techniques
to keep learners engaged.
Makes tracking progress simple – Realtime
reporting and notifications mean
trainers can easily track learners’ success,
while learners can see their progress
which also keeps them engaged.
Improves knowledge retention – Learners
can review the content as many times
as they like. At the same time, content
is broken down into digestible ‘bites’ of
information, making it easier to retain.
Keeps training consistent – Online
modules allow trainers to deliver the same
message across multiple channels and
locations, reaching more employees and
ensuring they are trained consistently.
Modules can also be altered quickly and
easily, giving trainers flexibility.
Whichever strategy business owners
employ to train staff – so long as staff have
the right attitude and measurable goals –
the results far outweigh the cost.
JOSH STRUTT is Retail Doctor Group’s
strategy analyst. His background is in
maximising operational efficiency to drive
growth. Visit: retaildoctor.com.au
July 2021 | 49
Marketing & PR
Looking for – and finding – a business’
While many businesses focus on new customer acquisition, BARRY URQUHART extolls
the benefits of re-engaging past shoppers who may have been forgotten.
Intentionally or, as is more often the
case, unintentionally, a considerable
percentage of a every retail business’
customers are ‘burned’ – left unregistered,
unacknowledged, and ultimately forgotten.
This is an expensive reality, as the
revenue and potential referral value
of these ‘lost’ customers needs to be
replaced with new ones – and fast, if
cashflow is to be maintained.
Interestingly, few business owners and
managers have formulated, documented
and implemented strategies and tactics
to address lost customers.
Speaking generally, many businesses
have forecast a ‘churn-rate’ – the rate of
customer attrition – of around 20 per cent
per annum, though the actual figures do
vary depending on the sector, geographic
locality, and the size and nature of the
However, a doubling of traditionally
accepted rates has not been uncommon
during the pandemic.
As a result, some businesses have
turned their focus to customer “farming”
– attempting to “win” new customers
through enticement, canvassing and
Yet, at the turn of the Millennium and the
release of my two books, Serves You Right!
and Service Please!, detailed research had
already established that it was some six
times easier, cheaper and faster to retain
customers than it was to attract new ones.
The vagaries of the coronavirus and the
innate transactional nature of online
purchasing has since elevated that ratio to
10 times or more.
Estimates of lifetime value and duration of
the customer relationship have changed
significantly, with low expectations of
loyalty, referral and repeat business.
Notwithstanding the high velocity and
An untapped market of previous purchasers may be lost in your database.
volume of customer attrition, it is evident
from consumer feedback, behaviour,
perceptions and expressions that many
service providers lack disciplined,
structured and supported follow-up and
Put simply, many business leaders
readily accept the loss of customers as
an unavoidable reality; few conduct ‘exit
interviews’ to identify key causal factors
of customer attrition and opportunities to
recover lost customers.
In this case, ignorance is not a virtue – it is
expensive and unnecessary.
To ameliorate customer attrition, initiating
personal contact is a sound first step; a
concerted effort to reacquaint with past
customers who have been ‘lost’ to the
business during the past 12, 24 or 36
months can be fulfilling, rewarding and
Many businesses find in them a rich pool of
‘new’ demand, revenue and profits as many
past customers have, in the intervening
years or months, been exposed to lessthan-satisfactory
As an aside, it is important for businesses
to regularly update records, as people
frequently change their address, mobile
number, and life circumstances; within
nine months, active customer databases
can be reduced by as much as 60 per cent.
accept the loss
of customers as
to recover lost
Additionally, like past customers, a
significant percentage of market research
respondents are flattered to be asked
about their opinions, values, beliefs,
perceptions and intentions.
These are emotional responses and
foster a belief of personal importance
and relevance, which can acts as a pure
subliminal force to encourage positive
affect and engagement with a business.
Regularly talking to, and interacting with,
existing, past, and prospective customers
is powerful – marketing is, after all,
founded on opportunism, communication
and satisfying needs!
Using the data
Strategies, tactics and actions that seek to
redress customer attrition rates need to
be planned, monitored, analysed, refined,
extended and supported.
Moreover, they should – like all strategic
marketing plans – be scheduled,
reviewed and measured for efficiency and
effectiveness. These initiatives can’t afford
to be random, casual ‘time-fillers’.
Ultimately, ‘churn-rates’ represent
scope for broadening and extending the
customer base; indeed, lost customers
can reasonably be deemed to be an
attractive target market, as noted
earlier in this article.
History and countless case studies have
established that retrieved customers can
typically and readily be converted to be
strong advocates and ‘ambassadors’ for
In the sporting arena, coaches are inclined
to recite the adage, “The game is not lost
until the final siren is sounded.”
So, when it comes to lost customers,
BARRY URQUHART is managing
director of Marketing Focus. He has
been a consultant to the retail industry
around the world since 1980. Visit:
50 | July 2021
How to use Instagram Shopping to
increase your e-commerce sales: Part I
Retailers who are aiming to increase their e-commerce sales should consider
using the social media tool Instagram Shopping, writes SIMON DELL in this two-part series.
In the digital marketplace, businesses are
looking for any advantage they can get
over their competitors – and one of those
advantages is using Instagram Shopping.
Part one of this guide to Instagram Shopping
details the purpose of this tool and how it
can enrich a business’ Instagram account.
It’s estimated that Instagram has over
1 billion active users each month worldwide;
in Australia alone, there are close to 10
million active users, which equates to
approximately 40 per cent of the population.
Businesses without an active Instagram
presence are missing out on a large
Meanwhile, retailers must use every tool at
their disposal to put their products in front of
potential customers, and Instagram Shops
offers another avenue to do so.
What is an Instagram Shopping?
An Instagram Shopping allows e-commerce
or omnichannel businesses to promote their
products directly on Instagram.
Most importantly, it lets Instagram users
browse the business’ entire catalogue
without leaving the app.
This is significant because if people are
browsing through Instagram, they generally
want to stay there rather than be directed to
an external website.
With an Instagram Shop, sellers can also
tag products in their business account’s
posts and Instagram Stories, which lets
users discover key product information with
Essentially, an Instagram Shop has almost
all of the functions of an e-commerce store.
The platform is even starting to integrate
transactions through its Checkout function
– making it even easier for shoppers to
While Checkout is currently only available
to eligible US business accounts, however
Instagram plans to roll out worldwide
access in the near future.
Make the most of Instagram’s e-commerce functionality with Shopping.
There are several reasons a retail
business should consider adding an
Instagram Shop to their account.
Firstly, it’s another channel through which
to sell products – but more importantly,
it’s a large channel. If a business owner
has worked hard to gain followers on
Instagram, they should be monetising that
effort in any way they can.
Being able to sell directly to followers who
are already interested in the business is
an efficient way to improve the bottom line
• Makes it easier for customers to buy –
Instagram Shopping removes many
of the barriers that previously existed
within Instagram for retailers.
For starters, the platform doesn’t allow
business owners to post links in posts, and
it only allows one link in the account’s bio.
When users are happily browsing
Instagram, it’s difficult and cumbersome
to direct them to check the account’s bio
for a link, and then take another step to
follow that link to the business’ website.
With an Instagram Shop, the user can view
product information and pricing, as well
as browse the business’ catalogue, then
The addition of Checkout means users
right in front of
are most likely
to buy them
can buy directly on Instagram, and once
they have made a single purchase on either
Instagram or Facebook – which owns
Instagram – their details are already saved.
• Saves time – One of the keys to effective
marketing is to meet customers where they
already are, rather than trying to entice them
to another location.
Since there are a large number of people
browsing Instagram every day already,
it makes sense to take the online store
to them by integrating it with Instagram.
From a ‘customer experience’ point of
view, an Instagram Shop ticks all the boxes
because the user has all the information they
need clearly displayed in front of them in a
familiar and accessible way.
• Puts products in the spotlight – With
Instagram Shopping, the business owner
can simply tag products in posts.
When they do so, users can click on a
little shopping bag icon to see the product
Even better, once a product is tagged in
a post, it automatically gets displayed on
Instagram’s ‘Shopping Explore’ tab. This
allows even more Instagram users to see the
product – even those who are not following
the specific business’ account.
Additionally, if users are browsing the
Shopping Explore tab, it usually indicates
they have a strong intention to buy
something. Therefore, by tagging products
using Instagram Shopping, business owners
place these items right in front of customers
who are most likely to buy them.
Now that the purpose, mechanism, and
benefits of having Instagram Shopping have
been explained, part two –to be published
next month – will explore how to set up and
make the most of an Instagram Shop.
SIMON DELL is co-founder and CEO
of Cemoh, a Brisbane-based firm that
provides marketing staff on demand.
He specialises in digital marketing and
brand management. Visit: cemoh.com
July 2021 | 51
Rohan Jewellers, Perth WA
Age 72 • Years in Trade 55 • Training Milton Technical College Apprenticeship • First job C R Roberts Jewellers Other Qualifications Apprentice of the Year 1968
FINALIST, DIAMOND GUILD AUSTRALIA
JEWELLERY AWARDS 2018
This beautiful platinum and rose gold, pear-shaped pink and
white diamond ring, named ‘Autumn’, was created for Rohan
Jewellers. The pink diamond is set in rose gold, with the
surrounding white, pear and marquise-cut diamonds claw-set
in platinum. The design includes contrasting, grain-set split
shoulders on one side and flowing, ‘rubbed in’ diamonds on the
opposite side. A finely pierced-out design features inside the top
of the ring. It is an amazing looking ring!
4FAVOURITE GEMSTONE The beauty of natural
diamonds has always intrigued me and in recent
years, I have been fortunate to work on some
extraordinary stones – including amazing pink,
blue, champagne and white diamonds. The range
of colours allows the maker to create a stunning,
custom work of fine jewellery art.
4FAVOURITE METAL I make most pieces in
platinum and rose or yellow gold, depending on the
diamond colour. Platinum is a great metal to work
with and the finished pieces stand the test of time.
4FAVOURITE TOOL Laser welding and engraving
machines have provided the greatest leap in
technology during my life in the jewellery trade.
Lasers have sped up the manufacturing time and
help with the perfect placement of hand-made parts.
I use the laser often to push things along.
4BEST NEW TOOL DISCOVERY A new addition to my
bench is the Pulse Graver. For setting and engraving,
it is hard to beat. It takes up very little room and is a
growing favourite in the workshop.
4BEST PART OF THE JOB Seeing the customer’s
happy, emotional reaction when they receive their
special piece of jewellery! It makes it all worthwhile.
4WORST PART OF THE JOB I think a lot of jewellers
would agree that finding enough time in each day to
get everything done is sometimes impossible.
4BEST TIP FROM A JEWELLER Think beyond the
usual designs of jewellery and the ways to make
them, whether it is the precious metals or the tools
we use to create them.
4BEST TIP TO A JEWELLER Be satisfied at the end
of the job that you have done the best work you can –
and aim to do it every day.
4BIGGEST HEALTH CONCERN ON THE BENCH The
polishing dust and acid fumes we have all inhaled at
one time or another is a major health concern. I wear
a mask regularly.
4LOVE JEWELLERY BECAUSE I have gained so
much from the jewellery trade, including a terrific
number of jeweller mates over the years. There is
also the satisfaction of having a lot of happy people
wearing something I created and knowing they and
their family and friends will come back for more.
52 | July 2021
The tribulations of light
JOHN CHAPMAN explores how light impacts our perception of a diamond and
the common mistakes and misconceptions jewellers may unwittingly harbour.
Light – I have always liked it. It transmits,
reflects, refracts, diffracts, and gives
gemstones their dazzling life.
The absorption of light across visible
wavelengths gives a gemstone – and most
objects, for that matter – colour. Absorption
of green light renders a diamond pink, while
absorption of blue makes them yellow.
Since most ‘white’ diamonds have a slight
yellow tinge, then injecting a bit of blue
into them should make them more white
looking, hence the blue tissue inside
common brifkas – the envelopes or packets
used to hold diamonds.
Jewellers also rely on light to show off
their product, but most of them do it badly
– though if it is any consolation, museums
do it worse!
The lighting ‘experts’ come along, decide
darkness is trendy and assume that the
stones will stand out like beacons.
I’ve seen walls and ceilings painted black.
The lighting technician points a few
spotlights at the jewellery and thinks,
“Job done”. But look at any diamond in
such surroundings and they look like
It is such a pity when a customer can’t see
the difference between a D and M-colour
stone in a cabinet, and a tragedy when
visitors to the Smithsonian see the Hope
Diamond not as a vivid blue marvel that
it is, but more as faceted black glass with
periodic flashes of blue as it rotates.
I should know, I’ve seen it in person – and
indeed, overheard a saddened visitor say,
“It’s very disappointing,” as I tried to explain
the problem to a curator.
Diamonds need to be thought of as a
collection of mirrors; if the surroundings
are dark, a mirror will look dark.
Besides absorption, diamonds can emit light
– commonly called fluorescence – which I
think is their most maligned property.
When stuck for conversation, I often
ask jewellers, “What do you think of
fluorescence?” and all too often they reply,
“I always buy ‘none’ fluorescence,” with
mutterings of “oily look”.
That provides me with an opportunity to
launch a discussion about the reality of
Having helped HRD Antwerp – one of the
world’s leading authorities on diamond
grading and education – conduct an
extensive consumer study on the topic a few
years ago, I have learnt a thing or two about
Several decades ago, fluorescence was
actually considered desirable and stones
exhibiting the phenomenon attracted a
premium. Sometime between now and then
such stones became persona non grata and
were discounted heavily.
“This stone would be worth $60,000 more
if it wasn’t graded strong fluorescence,”
lamented one diamond dealer in Hong
Kong, showing me a 10-carat F-colour.
Rumour has it that fluorescence got a bad
name when a new mine came on-stream
that was outside De Beers’ control; it just
so happened that the diamonds from that
deposit tended to be quite fluorescent.
So, to dissuade dealers from buying the
renegade mine’s stones, consumers were
told that fluorescence was a bad quality
and the label stuck. That’s just one of the
legends, but I’m open to other theories!
If a diamond’s fluorescence is graded as
‘none’ then most people reasonably expect
to see black when observing it under
ultraviolet light, but invariably there is a
glow. Almost all diamonds fluoresce, it is
just a matter of degree; the glow must be
I’ve seen walls
points a few
But look at any
diamond in such
below a certain master reference to be
The difficulty laboratories had – and
probably still have – is that their customers,
in their quest for ‘none’, grumble when they
receive a grading of ‘faint’.
So, to keep the loyal customers happy,
I reckon the ‘none’ threshold has crept up
over the years. My theory is supported by
the evidence that in 1997 the proportion
of diamonds graded ‘none’ by GIA was 65
per cent and analysing the recent offerings
online, I note the figure is now 80 per cent.
I’m sure the fluorescence profile of mines
hasn’t changed that much over time!
Going back to the HRD Antwerp study,
numerous people were shown diamonds
of D-J colour having different fluorescent
intensities. It was found that the apparent
colour in daylight could be elevated by
several colour grades thanks to the
fluorescence; a strongly fluorescent J
colour could look D!
So, there you have it – nowadays you
can buy a diamond discounted for its
fluorescence and then it looks like a stone
of better colour and hence of higher price.
In some extreme instances a diamond can
look milky or oily, but a GIA study found that
only 0.2 per cent of fluorescing diamonds
fell into that category.
And one more thing – for the fluorescence
to manifest itself, ultraviolet light needs
to strike it. Artificial lighting is free of
ultraviolet – isn’t it indoors when diamonds
are almost exclusively seen and admired?
Name: John Chapman
Business: Delta Diamond
Location: Perth, WA
Years in the industry: 35
54 | July 2021
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