VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JEWELLERY INDUSTRY
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LOOKING TO THE POST-PANDEMIC
FUTURE OF WATCH FAIRS
IMPACT AND CHANGES COVID
CAUSED ON THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY
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Australia is enriched with amazing treasures. Sapphire Dreams pays tribute to the beauty of
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11 Editor’s Desk
10 YEARS AGO
Time Machine: November 2011
NOW & THEN
34 DIAMOND INDUSTRY UPDATE
Diamond Pipeline Review
24 Product Spotlight
52 Jewellers Showcase
LEARN ABOUT GEMS
4Diamond industry analysts PRANAY
NARVEKAR and CHAIM EVEN ZOHAR
share their insights into the‘pipeline’ from
mine to market over 2020 and 2021.
DIAMOND INDUSTRY UPDATE
Mine to market: pipeline review
Secrets of the super-deep diamonds
New world emerging from isolation
GEM QUARTER: ORANGE & YELLOW GEMSTONES
Flashes of sunset magic
Better Your Business
54 WATCH FEATURE
A brave new world
4MARTIN FOSTER explores the return
to face-to-face fairs amid a distorted postpandemic
DOUGH STEPHENS answers existential questions to help revive your business.
BRI WILLIAMS uncovers selling strategies for different personality types.
There are three keys to successfully recover from COVID, writes DAVID WAKEMAN.
MARKETING & PR
BRIDGET BROWN reveals the blueprint for building the ark before the next flood.
DONNA ST JEAN CONTI provides steps on how to harness your website's FAQ page.
61 GEM QUARTER
4From sunshine lemons
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November 2021 | 9
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DeBeers, it was always going to happen
De Beers recently announced that it will now sell loose lab-created diamonds direct to consumers.
ANGELA HAN explores further challenges that lie ahead for both retailers and suppliers.
It was more than two years ago, on
29 May 2018, when De Beers Group
stunned the jewellery industry with its
announcement that it was entering the
lab-created diamond market with a range
they described as “high-quality, fashion
jewellery designs at lower prices than
existing lab-grown diamond offerings."
The jewellery was to be manufactured and
marketed by a new, stand-alone company
called Lightbox Jewelry, with sales of earrings
and necklaces beginning on 27 September
that year. Naturally, all diamonds for the
Lightbox collection would be sourced from De
Beers’ own Element Six manufacturing facility.
As if the unexpected move wasn’t enough,
the announcement was made just prior to
the opening of the JCK Las Vegas Show, in
what many said was a well-timed attack on
The pricing model of the Lightbox diamonds
flew in the face of all accepted pricing
‘standards’ and ‘models’ for both natural
and other lab-created diamonds.
De Beers used Lightbox to create a
‘transparent’ and ‘affordable’ linear pricing
model at US$800 (AU$1,350) per carat
regardless of whether the piece of jewellery
consisted of a one-carat diamond or two half
carats, or even four-quarter carat stones.
Recently, it introduced loose diamonds
under the same linear model, but now with
a 2-carat stone being priced at US$1,600
While De Beers’ unorthodox pricing was said
to be another attack on competitors as a
way to create upheaval in diamond pricing,
its logic was more rational – all stones
are manufactured under state-of-the art
conditions so they are all identical, therefore
the pricing is identical.
Sally Morrison, chief marketing officer,
Lightbox Jewelry told Jeweller in December
2018: “Our reasoning is simple: this is a
manufactured product and we firmly believe
lab-grown stones should be priced based on
cost of manufacture, not as a discount from
natural diamond pricing, which is defined by
Following the Lightbox announcement, a
2018 Bain & Co report commissioned by the
Antwerp World Diamond Centre, revealed
that a the manufacturing cost for a onecarat
CVD-created diamond was US$300 to
US$500 per carat, compared with US$4,000
per carat in 2008.
Unlike other lab-created diamond suppliers
offering loose stones, the Lightbox branded
diamonds were only available in set jewellery.
But even blind Freddy could see what was
And so it was last month, almost two years
later, the announcement was made for “the
launch of Lightbox Loose Stones, a new
purchase format that gives consumers the
ability to buy individual high-quality Lightbox
lab-grown diamonds at its industry-leading
price of $800 per carat.”
Surprise? Not really!
You see, De Beers entering the lab-created
market was no surprise to Jeweller. In fact, in
2018 when Lightbox was launched, we asked:
“Why did it take so long?”
Indeed, 13 years earlier in 2005, Jeweller's
editorial stated: “De Beers should begin
manufacturing synthetic diamonds… Rather
than fighting the inevitable, perhaps the
company would be best to embrace it.”
After all, the diamond behemoth had an
enormous income stream to protect, so it
wasn’t a matter of if but when it would begin
selling lab-created diamonds. The reasoning
was simple: you can’t win a game you’re not
playing – have you ever seen a game won by
De Beers’ latest announcement to offer
lab-created diamonds directly to consumers
simply follows an inevitable path towards an
evolving business model.
If we accept this logic, then we are left with
another question: was all this a strategic
move to ensure that other lab-created
diamond innovators didn’t become a blanket
disruption to the natural diamond market,
or was it because De Beers finally realised
that lab-created diamonds are not a serious
threat after all?
Jeweller first raised this question in 2018
in our Great Diamond Debate – Natural Vs
Synthetic where we concluded that it might
be both, or perhaps it didn't matter at all!
The debate then quickly moved on; cool
heads prevailed and the lab-created diamond
manufacturers learned to live with competition
De Beers’ latest
from the De Beers-backed Lightbox just as
De Beers had come to realise lab-created
diamonds were here to stay.
The next debate became Fact vs Fiction
as both sides fought a marketing
jargon battle. Sure, the winners were
the consumers who now had more
choice. However, could they really make
an informed decision in the midst of
a marketing barrage about the pros
and cons of natural versus lab-created
Away from the battlefields of marketing
and jargon, both retailers and suppliers
are now faced with other dilemmas.
Mass-manufacturing facilities can’t stop
manufacturing. In order to keep the
business operating and doors open, it must
keep producing, at which point supply will
outstrip demand; thus prices drop.
With such a volatile model, retailers may
be less likely to keep stock of lab-created
diamonds in the same way they do with
their natural counterparts.
Increasingly, with the price of lab-created
diamonds falling and suppliers selling loose
stones direct to the public becoming the
preferred model, this could further impact
retailer diamond sales. When prices are
driven so low to a point where no one in
the supply chain makes a profit, something
somewhere along the way has got to give.
De Beers executive vice president Stephen
Lussier told JCK in March that the
wholesale price of lab-created diamonds
was still declining and, “They are probably
down some 20 per cent in the fourth quarter
of 2020 alone.”
A diminishing margin could further propel
lab-created manufacturers to stray from
traditional supply channels and go direct to
the consumer. For retailers, whose natural
diamond sales have been challenged by
online platforms, lab-created diamonds
could also prove to further undercut their
overall diamond sales.
The dust has yet to settle in this battle, but
one thing is for sure: the market for gemquality
lab-created diamonds is there and
continues to grow – but the supply channel
still has a way to go.
November 2021 | 11
#Instagram hashtags to follow
The ERP program
is an extension
of the existing
4Mined in Colombia in the 16th or
17th Centuries, the rough that would
become the Hooker Emerald was sent
to Europe by Spanish Conquistadors,
where it was cut and polished before
being sold to the ruling family of the
9.1 MILLION POSTS
Sultan Abdul Hamid II wore it as a belt buckle before it was smuggled to
Paris in 1908 with other Ottoman crown jewels. Tiffany & Co. purchased
the emerald via auction in 1911, initially set in a tiara before being crafted
into its current form, a diamond and platinum brooch. Heiress Janet
Annenberg Hooker purchased the brooch from Tiffany & Co. in 1955, and
gifted it to the Smithsonian museum in 1977, where it remains on display
to this day.
4E-commerce platform Shopify has
launched a new global enterprise resource
planning (ERP) program, which will give
retailers access to a suite of new apps.
Shaun Broughton, managing director
of Shopify Asia-Pacific, said, “Shopify’s
integration with leading ERP providers
gives merchants – especially those running
multiple stores across different geographies,
sub-brands and audiences – the power to
manage their business operations directly in
their Shopify stores.”
4One of the trends to emerge from the
catwalks of 'Fashion Month' – the New
York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion
Weeks – was armbands. A revival of the
'90s-2000s trend, the modern version
sits on the bicep. Whether embellished,
oversized, or sleek (as seen at the Tory
Burch show, above), armbands are the
perfect jewellery accessory for summer's
sleeveless clothes and swimwear.
Image credit: GoRunway
Image credit: Charles Melling/David Yurman
4US jewellery brand David Yurman
has unveiled its latest campaign for the
Northern Hemisphere autumn. Named
'The Power of Cable', the campaign
features Yurman's signature rope-like
jewellery from the Sculpted Cable, Stax,
Lexington, Elements, and Pyramid
collections, photographed in the streets
of New York City.
Weird, wacky and wonderful
jewellery news from around the world
4A burglar in the city of
Dewas, India has left a cheeky
note for a homeowner after
breaking into their property. The
note questioned why the resident
had left their house unlocked if
there was no money or valuables
inside! The thief did not leave
empty-handed, however; Indian
media report that they took some
cash and silver jewellery, which
was discovered by the homeowner –
a public official – when he visited the
property two weeks later.
Cold as ice
4Scientists at the Gemological
Institute of America (GIA)
have discovered a diamond that
changes colour when chilled
to hundreds of degrees below
zero. The stone is grey at room
temperature but shifts to yellow
when cooled to -320 o C – the same
temperature as liquid nitrogen.
It has been dubbed the 'cryogenic
diamond', though the mechanism
of the colour change is unknown.
4Sydney Water has launched
a new advertising campaign
to prevent the city's residents
from blocking their toilets with
'unflushable' objects. Over the
past three months, Sydney Water
crews have had to fix more than
7,000 pipe blockages caused by
– among other things – flushed
watches and jewellery! The
organisation estimates it spends
$8 million every year removing
500 tonnes of refuse from the
VOICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JEWELLERY INDUSTRY
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Chow Tai Fook embraces
4The world's largest jewellery retailer
by store count, Chow Tai Fook (CTF), has
quietly launched a lab-created diamond
brand named Cama on e-commerce platform
Tmall. Kent Wong, managing director CTF,
previously said the company "fully supports
the natural diamond industry" and in May
2021, CTF signed an agreement with the
Natural Diamond Council to promote mined
diamonds in the Chinese market.
Fight continues over pandemic Insurance
De Beers searches for
diamonds in Greenland
4 Diamond mining giant De Beers has
conducted an eight-day survey of the
ocean floor off Greenland's west coast to
determine whether it could hold deposits
of marine diamonds. The survey spanned
approximately 800km of the seabed near
the town of Maniitsoq, according to a
spokesperson for the Geological Survey
of Denmark and Greenland. The results
will take several months to analyse.
Fabergé creates bag
4Historic jewellery and accessories
manufacturer Fabergé has unveiled a
gemstone-encrusted bag, the Majesty
clutch, made in conjunction with coloured
gemstone supplier Gemfields. Priced
at $US400,000, it features Gemfields'
Mozambican rubies and Zambian
emeralds, diamonds, pearls, yellow and
pink sapphires, and tsavorites, and is
Fabergé's first bag since 1917.
Al Capone's jewellery and
4A collection of property belonging to
infamous gangster Al Capone have gone
under the hammer in California, fetching
$US3 million. His platinum-anddiamond
Patek Philippe pocket watch
far exceeded its $US25,000–50,000
estimate, selling for $US229,900, while
a 14-carat white gold and diamond 'AC'
pendant sold for $US82,280, well above
its $US2,500 –5,000 estimate. Capone's
granddaughters sold the pieces.
Business interruption insurance has emerged as a controversial topic during the pandemic, with
insurance giants claiming policies were never intended to cover pandemics.
The Federal Court of Australia has dealt
a blow to a number of small businesses,
including retailers, who have made been
denied insurance payouts for losses
sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court decision on a crucial test
case overwhelmingly found in favour of
insurance companies meaning that they
may potentially avoid paying out billions,
ABC has reported.
Business interruption insurance has
emerged as a controversial topic during
the pandemic, with insurance giants
claiming policies were never intended to
Justice Jayne Jagot found that the majority
of nine business interruption policies put
before the Federal Court for assessment
would avoid payouts to the insured
According to the ABC report, “the test case
looked at under what terms a business
could claim for downturn in trade during
the pandemic, including if a government
lockdown order was sufficient or whether
a business needed an actual case of the
virus in its proximity to claim.”
A number of class-action lawsuits have
been launched including one that involves
Damien Cody, director Cody Gemtec
Retail, which trades as The National Opal
Collection. He has publicly challenged the
insurance companies for refusing to offer
compensation to small businesses with
Cody told Jeweller: “These test cases were
hand-selected by the Insurers to be tested
in court. They do not necessarily reflect
the broad range of wordings and claims
that have been denied. Our claim on the
Lloyds policy was put forward by AFCA as
a potential test case however Lloyds did
not want it to be tested.
“Some of the findings might have
implications for some of the arguments
in our matter but not the most important
John Berrill, the Lawyer representing
Cody, confirmed that the Court’s ruling
might not affect his client.
“The way a policy works is that there are
things called deeming clauses. Their
policy states that they have to prove
there was an outbreak but if there was
an outbreak, it is deemed to have caused
damage to the business.
They [the insured] still need to prove they
suffered a loss because of the outbreak,
but their [Cody’s] policy does not have all
the problems or potential problems that
Justice Jagot identified in her decision,”
14 | November 2021
New jewellery insurance regulations in wake of Royal Commission
Reforms to add-on insurance are impacting the
jewellery industry, with consumers bearing the
risk of having uninsured pieces.
Jewellery insurance providers are adapting to
fresh regulations, introduced following Kenneth
Hayne QC's Royal Commission into Misconduct
in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial
The restrictions form part of the Financial Sector
Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Bill,
passed by Federal Parliament in December 2020,
and which came into effect on 5 October 2021.
They are designed to prevent the ‘hawking’ of
financial products, such as insurance, to retail
clients for whom they were not designed.
The reforms include the introduction of a
‘deferred sales model’ for add-on insurance –
defined as insurance products offered or sold in
connection with the purchase of a principal good
or service – in order to strengthen consumer
confidence and prevent ‘pressure selling’.
In practice, this means that when jewellers refer
a customer to an insurer, the customer “must
wait four days before being able to take out the
insurance,” Lachlan Renshaw, managing director
of Centrestone Jewellery Insurance, told Jeweller.
“The intention by regulators was to protect
consumers from being forced into insurance
policies they didn’t need.
"Specifically, they named wheel-rim insurance
and mobile phone insurance as products which
provided little to no value to the consumer."
Renshaw added, “In reality, for the jewellery
industry, what this means is that if a customer
comes into a jewellery store to pick up their new
jewellery, they cannot insure it for four days and
the risk falls onto the customer.”
In order to address this risk, Centrestone
Jewellery Insurance has introduced a
complementary four-day policy for customers
referred by jewellers “so there is no break in cover
and the customer is insured from the moment
they activate their cover with us,” Renshaw said.
The comprehensive four day policy offers all the
same policy features as Centrestone Jewellery
Insurance standard policy for jewellery items
up to $50,000, with like-for-like replacement
provided by the referring jeweller.
This offer is fully compliant with the new
regulations and means that customer do not
need to wait four days until obtaining cover.
Celebrating 35 Years
Highest Quality Personalised Service
1300 984 751
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Michael Hill to stock Seiko watches,
De Beers diamonds
Seiko watches are now available through Michael Hill Australia and New Zealand. The
retailer has also unveiled premium rings set with De Beers Code of Origin diamonds.
Jewellery chain Michael Hill International has introduced Seiko watches
across selected Australian and New Zealand stores and on its e-commerce
website. The range includes 53 “premium level” models for men and
women from Seiko’s Prospex, Presage, Armstrong, Coutura, and Le Grand
Sport Collections, and will retail from $650–$3,750.
It is the only watch brand stocked by Michael Hill, apart from its in-house
Michael Hill range; Michael Hill previously stocked Seiko watches some
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Yukiaki Suganuma, managing director of Seiko Australia, said “Seiko is
excited to be partnering with Michael Hill. Daniel Bracken, CEO Michael
Hill International, added, “We are delighted to reignite our relationship
with Seiko and introduce a range of Seiko watches to our Michael Hill
customers in Australia and New Zealand.
Customers purchasing Seiko watches through Michael Hill will receive an
'e-guarantee', and repairs and services follow the usual Michael Hill terms
and will be carried out by Seiko.
Excluding Michael Hill, Seiko has 286 stockists in Australia and New Zealand
according to its website, including large chains Wallace Bishop, Bevilles, and
Shiels, and smaller chains Salera's, Regency Jewellers, and Hoskings.
Meanwhile, Michael Hill has also announced it will stock a range of
engagement rings set with diamonds from the De Beers Code of Origin
Trusted Source Program. The range will be part of the premium The
Solitaire By Michael Hill Collection and manufactured in Australia, set in
platinum and 18-carat gold.
A statement from Michael Hill International said, "Diamonds from the
De Beers Code of Origin Trusted Source Program reflect De Beers’ deep
commitment to social and environmental responsibility, giving the wearer
additional peace of mind and a diamond that they can be especially proud
to own and wear."
Code of Origin diamonds are guaranteed to be natural and unearthed by
De Beers in Canada, Botswana, Namibia or South Africa, conflict-free and
meeting De Beers' ethical standards, which the company describes as
De Beers claims Code of Origin diamonds also "helped protect the planet
through wildlife conservation and De Beers’ commitment to be carbon
neutral by 2030".
The collection is available online and in selected stores across Michael Hill
International's store network in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
apdx.com.au 1800 344 008
De Beers-owned Lightbox Jewelry now offers loose pink, blue, and white lab-created
diamonds to its US customers.
Lightbox launches loose lab-created
fancy colour diamonds for consumers
Lightbox Jewelry, the De Beers-owned lab-created diamond jewellery
business, has launched new product category Lightbox Loose Stones,
which enables consumers to purchase individual Lightbox white, pink, or
blue lab-grown diamonds at its standardised price of $US800 per carat.
Lightbox introduced loose stone sales following an increase in
consumer demand for custom design – particularly from the female
The loose lab-grown diamonds are showcased on the website
alongside one-of-a-kind finished pieces – which are designed to act
as an 'inspiration board' – and a list of jewellers specialising in custom
Steve Coe, CEO Lightbox Jewelry, said, “From the beginning, we have
had enquiries from consumers who see our lab-grown diamonds –
with their unbeatable price, great quality, and range of colour – as an
opportunity to explore their creativity, making something that is
unique to them."
He added, “We are thrilled to launch this exciting new concept that
offers a simple and accessible way to create fun and affordable,
custom-designed lab-grown diamond fashion jewellery using our
colorful array of stones.
Lightbox Loose will open up a world of possibilities for a broad range
of consumers to experiment with customisation, personalisation and
The stones are available in sizes up to 2 carats, round brilliant or
princess cut, via the Lightbox website. However, they are currently
only available to US customers – unlike the broader Lightbox range,
which ships internationally, including to Australia.
The announcement explained that the “concept evolved as the
company saw a growing demand from customers, particularly
women self-purchasers, looking for bespoke design options.
"To make the process simple and approachable, Lightbox developed
a seamless online purchase and referral experience. Shoppers can
easily select and buy individual Lightbox lab-grown diamonds, peruse
original custom designs, and browse a vetted list of established
jewelers known for their custom design work.”
Diamond organisation expands
lab-grown testing program
The Natural Diamond Council has announced a second laboratory and updated samples will be added to its
diamond detection initiative, the Assure Program.
Wholesaler of Precious and Semi-Precious
Gemstones based in the Heart of the Sydney CBD
Phone 02 9262 9608
Mobile 0410 911 637
Address Suite 410, Level 4,
250 Pitt St, Sydney CBD,
NSW, 2000, Australia
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) –
formerly the Diamond Producers Association
– has expanded its diamond detection
initiative, the Assure Program, which
was first launched in 2019.
The Assure Program is designed to “protect
consumers and safeguard the integrity of the
natural diamond supply chain” by providing
third-party testing of what the NDC terms
“diamond verification instruments” – that
is, detectors of lab-grown diamonds and
diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia.
Detectors are evaluated against stringent
criteria by an independent testing laboratory
– UL, a “global safety certification” business
headquartered in the US – allowing jewellery
retailers to accurately compare devices with
different manufacturers and price ranges.
The NDC claimed that in just over a year, the
program had tested approximately 80 per
cent of the “commercially available and viable
diamond verification instruments”, with a
“positive welcome by the industry”.
In order to broaden the scope of the program
and double testing capacity, the NDC has
engaged a second laboratory, located at the
University of Antwerp in Belgium.
Both testing facilities will use identical
samples and procedures, and “work
simultaneously to enhance the long-term
sustainability of the Assure Program”.
Notably, diamond-set jewellery will also now
be included in testing. The testing samples
have also been updated to “reflect goods
currently circulating in the market, as well as
individual stones that anticipate future trends
and pose some of the greatest challenges to
diamond verification instruments.”
Raluca Anghel, head of external affairs
and industry relations at the NDC, said,
“By enhancing and improving the Assure
Program we are taking even greater strides in
protecting consumer confidence.
“Everyone is responsible for correctly
disclosing the nature of the product they are
selling, but to facilitate this we need robust
diamond verification instruments that are
"With this latest iteration of the Assure
Program, manufacturers will be presented
with vital information to continue improving
their devices and consumers can be assured
of the vigorous steps taken to ensure their
Yoram Dvash, president of the World
Federation of Diamond Bourses, praised the
Assure Program for “its important role in
protecting consumers and enabling them to
feel confident in their diamond purchases."
The testing program is particularly relevant to
the Indian market, where new customs export
codes for lab-created and natural diamonds
will come into effect on 1 January 2022.
Manufacturers of detectors can now
submit both new instruments and existing
instruments that have already been tested
– but whose AssureTested Certification is
approaching the two-year expiry date – to be
re-tested with the updated sample.
Modi family member named in controversial ‘Pandora Papers’
Purvi Modi, the sister of disgraced diamond and jewellery
mogul Nirav Modi, has been named in the 'Pandora
Papers' financial leak.
The sister of disgraced former diamond and
jewellery mogul Nirav Modi has been implicated
in the recent ‘Pandora Papers’ document leak,
which has brought to light the international
financial dealings of wealthy individuals.
Called the “largest investigation in journalism
history”, the Pandora Papers comprise of
approximately 12 million documents detailing
complex company structures and off-shore
banking. The documents were analysed by 150
media organisations worldwide.
Among them was The Indian Express, which
subsequently published a report into the actions
of Purvi Modi, also known as Purvi Mehta.
Nirav Modi has spent more than two years in
custody in the UK, facing extradition to India in
relation to the $US1.8 billion ($AU2.3 billion)
Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.
The Indian Express reports that in December 2017
– one month before Modi fled India – his sister set
up Brookton Management Ltd, a firm registered
in the British Virgin Islands, which would act as a
protector for The Deposit Trust, which she formed
through a company in Singapore.
The British Virgin Islands has long been
considered a 'tax haven'. According to The
Indian Express, Purvi Modi declared the monies
contained in the trust were earned from her role
as creative director of her brother’s company
Firestar Diamonds, which was implicated in the
Records analysed by The Indian Express also
reportedly show Purvi Modi and another brother
owned three other businesses registered in the
British Virgin Islands, which India’s economic
intelligence and law enforcement agency, the
Enforcement Directorate (ED), claims were used
by Nirav Modi to launder money, with Dubai-based
subsidiaries alleged to have been used to divert
$US265 million to Purvi Modi.
In a statement to The Indian Express, Manavendra
Mishra, a legal representative for Purvi Modi,
denied wrongdoing in relation to the Pandora
Earlier this year, Purvi Modi and her husband
Maiank Mehta – who are Belgian and British
citizens, respectively – agreed to cooperate with
the PNB fraud investigation against her brother in
exchange for pardons.
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Luxury jewellery brands join new
sustainability initiative, set targets for 2030
Jewellery brand Cartier – part of the
Richemont group – and luxury conglomerate
Kering, the parent company of Boucheron,
Pomellato, Qeelin, Ulysse Nardin and
Girard-Perregaux, have launched a new
sustainability project in conjunction with the
Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
The Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030
invites watch and jewellery businesses "with
a national and international footprint" to
"begin a collective journey towards a lowcarbon
future" by committing to a range of
Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the
RJC, explained, "Business can be a force for
positive change and impact by supporting
a global economy that protects people, the
planet and the natural systems that sustain
us. Business as usual is no longer an option."
Based on the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals, the initiative will focus
on achieving "science-based climate targets,
biodiversity protection and materials and
business model innovation" to protect
employees across the supply chain.
Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of
Cartier, said, “As the watch and jewellery
sector relies on the Earth’s precious
resources and people’s know-how around
the world within its value chains, the
imperative to act together in creating a more
positive impact has become ever clearer.
"We are thrilled to join efforts towards a more
sustainable industry... and to invite other
industry actors to join this initiative."
Jean-François Palus, group managing
director of Kering , added, “We believe
that luxury is inseparable from the highest
environmental and social standards, and
that it is our responsibility, as leading luxury
players, to initiate the changes that are
needed to protect our planet... Only collective
action can make the difference to transform
our industry for the better."
The initiative will produce regular reports and
comply with government regulations.
IIJS announces dates and venue for 2022 show
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20 | October 2021
One of the world’s leading jewellery fairs,
the India International Jewellery Show
(IIJS), is moving location. The first event to
take place at the new JIO World Convention
Centre in Mumbai will be IIJS Signature.
Organised by the Gem & Jewellery Export
Promotion Council (GJEPC), IIJS has
two the editions each year; Signature is
traditionally held at the beginning of the
year while the larger event, Premier, is
usually held around August–September.
With state-of-the-art facilities and located
in the heart of the city, across the street
from the Bharat Diamond Bourse, the
JWCC will offer a new experience for
exhibitors and visitors.
JIO World Convention Centre (JWCC) is a
new world-class centre situated adjacent to
Mumbai’s famous 20-acre Bharat Diamond
Bourse complex which houses 26 towers of
nine floors each.
Apart from hosting international exhibitions
and conventions JWCC will also feature a
shopping centre, office space, hotels, and
a theatre. Among the convention centre’s
amenities are a 5,000 car parking facility,
in-house food and beverage facility, and
fibre-enabled data services.
IIJS Signature will run from 6–9 January
2022 and according to the GJEPC will
feature 1400 stalls, across two pillarless
halls over two floors - Jasmine Hall and the
Pavilion Hall spanning 10,000 and 15,000
square metres respectively.
The GJEPC’s national exhibition convener,
Shailesh Sangani, said, “We are happy to
announce the 14th edition of IIJS Signature
to be held at JIO World Convention Centre.
This is the best exhibition space in the
entire country, and we’re thrilled that IIJS
Signature will go down in history as a debut
event of JWCC, a future landmark of the
financial capital of India, Mumbai”.
“GJEPC will follow all governmentmandated
Covid-19 protocols to ensure the
safety of all concerned. All attendees will
be mandated to comply with covid safety
protocols as per the State government
norms,” the media release explained.
“Entry is open only for visitors with at least
one vaccine dose along with a negative
RT-PCR report done at least 48 hours prior
to their first entry at the show. Double
vaccinated attendees are not required to
submit an RT-PCR report.”
Recovery in diamond market as Alrosa, De Beers record positive results
Alrosa’s annual diamond investment market report
states that the diamond market has "fully recovered
from the pandemic".
Two of the world’s leading miners have
reported increased demand for rough
De Beers has reported its rough diamond
production increased by 28 per cent to 9.2
million carats. The company issued its latest
results saying: “Demand for rough diamonds
continued to be robust, with positive midstream
sentiment reflecting strong demand for
polished diamond jewellery, particularly in the
key markets of the US and China.”
Meanwhile, Alrosa’s annual diamond
investment market report states that the
diamond market has "fully recovered from the
pandemic", with jewellery sales increasing
sharply. The report stated that jewellery sales
are forecast to exceed $US90 billion in 2021 –
a 23 per cent year-on-year increase.
Demand from Alrosa’s two largest jewellery
markets, US and China, increased by 50 per
cent and 10 per cent respectively, compared
with the 2019 pre-covid pandemic levels.
Proceeds from De Beer’s eighth sale of the
year — including the September sight — rose
5 per cent year-on-year to $US490 million,
up from $US467 million in the equivalent
period of 2020.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “As the
diamond sector prepares for the key holiday
season and US consumer demand for diamond
jewellery continues to perform strongly, we saw
further robust demand for rough diamonds in
the eighth sales cycle of the year.”
Production from most De Beers mines was
positive with Botswana’s production increasing
by 33 per cent to 6.4 million carats while
Namibia result was a 65 per cent increase to
0.4 million carats. South Africa production
increased by 34 per cent to 1.6 million carats
however, Canada’s results was a decrease by
13 per cent to 0.8 million carats, due to lower
grade ore being processed.
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Tissot launches new hybrid watch; new era for Swatch Group?
Swiss watch manufacturer Tissot – part of the
Swatch Group – has launched a new hybrid sports
watch, the T-Touch Connect Solar, which is an
upgraded version of the original T-Touch Solar
released in 2014.
Scott Jungwirth, general manager of Tissot
Australia and New Zealand, said, "The T-Touch
Connect Solar comes at a time where interest in
fitness-related functions is growing, while still
paying homage to Tissot’s roots in luxury fashion.
"With a contemporary and sporty design the
watch has impressive presence on the wrist and
provides the perfect accessory for lovers of sport,
leisure and style," he added.
Hybrid watches combine many of the functions
of smartwatches – including step counters,
navigation, and weather – with the design of a
traditional mechanical watch.
According to data from Mordor Intelligence, the
hybrid watch market is predicted to increase by
14.5 per cent between 2020 and 2025, equal
Swatch Group's history with the smartwatch/
hybrid category is somewhat chequered; CEO
Nicolas Hayek once described the Apple Watch as
"an interesting toy, but not a revolution".
The group announced it was working on a
proprietary operating system – then known as
'Swiss OS' – in 2017 and the first hybrids bearing
this system were expected to launch in 2018.
However, the project was delayed indefinitely.
According to a Tissot statement, Swatch Group
invested CHF30 million to develop the operating
system, now named swALPS, which is present in
the T-Touch Connect Solar. Notably, swALPS does
not rely on software from Google or Apple, though
it is compatible with both iPhone and Android.
A Tissot statement emphasised the privacy
advantage: "Its exclusive, proprietary operating
system means that your data is securely stored
on servers that ensure your privacy. The watch, its
applications, and any paired smartphones cannot
send data to third parties."
Tissot is stocked at Angus & Coote stores and
independent chains Salera's, Mazzucchelli's, and
Gregory Jewellers, among others.
AFL player Marcus Bontempelli is one of three athletes
in Tissot's campaign for the T-Touch Connect Solar,
alongside rugby league's Ryan Papenhuyzen and
basketball star-turned-commentator Corey Williams.
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LVMH watches and jewellery division
profits buoyed by Tiffany & Co.
€2.14 billion ($A3.3 billion), according to the
company's most recent financial report.
Sales rose 90 per cent when compared with
the same period in 2019; pre-pandemic;
however, this figure does not include sales
from Tiffany, & Co. which was acquired in
January this year.
Excluding Tiffany’ & Co., sales increased by 1
per cent when compared with 2019.
Tiffany & Co.'s "remarkable performance" has
lifted the LVMH watch and jewellery division. Image
credit: Mason Poole/Tiffany & Co.
The watches and jewellery division of French
luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët
Hennessy (LVMH) saw sales surge in the third
quarter of 2021, driven by strong results from
newly-acquired Tiffany & Co.
In the three months to 30 September 2021,
revenues for the division – which includes
jewellery brands Bulgari, Chaumet, and
Fred, and watch manufacturers TAG Heuer,
Zenith, and Hublot, in addition to Tiffany &
Co. – increased by 125 per cent, reaching
For the first nine months of the year, jewellery
and watch revenue rose 172 per cent and
sales increased 89 per cent compared with
2019. Excluding Tiffany & Co., that figure was
4 per cent.
While LVMH does not reveal individual
financial results for its businesses, the
company did note in a statement, "Driven by
the growing success of its iconic products,
Tiffany enjoyed a remarkable performance,
particularly in its major market, the US."
Since taking control of Tiffany & Co., LVMH
has pursued several high-profile marketing
initiatives, including launching an international
campaign with A-list performers Beyoncé and
Jay-Z in September.
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Swiss watch exports exceed expectations
Recent statistics released by the
Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry
(FH) shows that watch exports continued
to increase in September reaching CHF1.9
billion ($AU2.7 billion). According to FH,
this result followed “a steady month in
August” and “exceeded the result achieved
in September 2019 by 3.1 per cent.”
The US and China were the major markets
contributing to the rise with the former
achieving a 28.5 per cent increase over the
2019 figure while China accounted for an
increase of 45 per cent.
A number of markets experienced large
declines such as Hong Kong (-20 per cent)
Japan (-21 per cent).
The Swiss trade association, which is
headquartered in Bienne, emphasised that
the industry was still suffering from the
global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The third quarter was again marked
by an unusual base effect, insofar as
the corresponding period in 2020 was
still affected by the consequences of the
pandemic, against which exports fell by
13.1 per cent. A comparison with prepandemic
levels is therefore still justified,”
the report stated.
Interestingly, exports for cheaper watch
models – less than CHF 500 export price –
saw a dramatic decline, both in value and
by number of items, falling 24 per cent.
However, timepieces ranging between
increased by more than seven per cent
and models above CHF3,000 rose by six
The reports stated: “Growth was driven
by precious metal and steel watches,
and by the ‘other metals’ category, while
bimetallic (two-tone) watches declined.
The number of items fell by almost
300,000 units compared with September
2019, influenced mainly by the steel and
‘other metals’ categories.
Overall, total exports for the first nine
months of the year tracked to those for
the same period of 2019, up 1 per cent to
CHF16.08 billion ($AU233 billion).
On The Market
1 2 3
Jeweller’s monthly compiled
snapshot of the latest and greatest
products to hit the market.
1 NAVNEET GEMS & MINERALS Beautiful sapphires are in the spotlight. With a fascinating combination of serene blues and mysterious greens, they make for perfect gemstones for the creative jeweller.
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style. 3 CHIARA FERRAGNI | West End Collection Chiara Ferragni's rose crystal gold watch, from its Everyday collection, features a pink rose crystal bezel with a 34mm champagne dial with an all gold PVD
metal bracelet. 4 PATERSON FINE JEWELLERY Available in all letters of the alphabet, these 9-carat gold Initial diamond-set pendants are 10mm in diameter. 5 EFVA ATTLING STOCKHOLM | Nordic Fusion
Available at Nordic Fusion in solid 18-carat yellow or white gold, these Bend Over Rings are set with emerald cut gemstones with diamonds ‘bent over’ the top facet. 6 ROSEFIELD | Designa Accessories
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into 9-carat yellow gold.
Available at Pandora Concept Stores, Participating Stockists and Pandora.net
10 Years Ago
Time Machine: November 2011
A snapshot of the industry events making headlines this time 10 years ago in Jeweller.
4 New security system for Angus & Coote
4 Record-breaking blue diamond sold
4 Sydney jeweller wins international award
4 New website for the Young Jewellers Group
4 Leading Edge gives members online presence
New laws to affect jewellers
The proposed commencement date for the new
Personal Property Security (PPS) legislation –
which replace the existing Retention of Title (ROT)
laws – has been delayed until 1 February 2012.
As previously reported by Jeweller, existing ROT
laws concern the protection of unpaid-for stock
sent to stores on consignment. Many suppliers
have ROT clauses built into credit agreements and
invoices, allowing them to retain the title on goods
not yet paid for.
Once implemented, the new laws will force
jewellery suppliers to register security interest on
the PPS website if they wish to preserve title over
stock supplied on consignment.
This is the second time the revised legislation has
been postponed, with its start date slated for 1 May
and then 31 October this year.
New suppliers enter market
The difficult economic climate has not stopped
suppliers entering the Australian and New
Zealand watch and jewellery markets.
Two new entrants include Amakris Jewellery
and Lion Brands. New Zealand-based Amakris
Jewellery recently launched its first range of Holly
Yashi jewellery at this year's Sydney fair and the
company believes the niobium-crafted pieces will
perform well in Australia.
Meanwhile, Luminox Watches, previously
distributed by the now-defunct Swiss Patience,
is to be relaunched in Australia by newly-formed
Managing director Graeme Goldman was formerly
the managing director of The Swatch Group. He
and business partner Anthony Hoffman will also
distribute Glycine and Edox watches.
ON THE COVER Guess Watches
4Make A (Jewellery )Pilgrimage:“Just as
the international jewellery industry has
evolved, so too have the international
trade fairs, adapting to the shifting
needs of jewellery buyers.
"While the Italian fairs are clearly in the
doldrums, the same cannot be said of
the Swiss' Baselworld, which continues
to go from strength to strength. Indeed,
the organiser is undertaking a massive
renovation of the venue to ensure
Baselworld remains #1."
4The Future of a Traditional
Apprenticeship: “As apprentice
numbers drop, there isn't much
motivation for young people to
undertake a jewellery apprenticeship.
The low award rate is not incentive
enough, which means that young
people can be deterred from pursuing
a career in jewellery.
"Any apprentice-based training
program needs to keep up with
technological advances and the
demands of the modern jeweller."
– Ewen Ryley, jeweller,
Stephen Dibb Jewellery
STILL RELEVANT 10 YEARS ON
It's All White Now:
For a long time now, Australian jewellers
have noticed a growing demand for
white metals – stainless steel, silver,
white gold, platinum and increasingly,
titanium and palladium. White metals are
seen as modern, clean, easy to work and
more avant-garde than traditional yellow
gold, especially among younger buyers.
Economics are also shifting in favour of
Retailers pressure landlords
A number of large retailers are urging shopping
centre landlords to reduce rent.
Following the announcement in September of a
fall in profits, Premier Investments – the retail
powerhouse behind fashion clothing brands
including Just Jeans and Jay Jays – threatened
to close as many as 50 stores if shopping
centre landlords don't come to the party on
Some mid-sizes jewellery chains have already
acted and Wallace Bishop chief financial officer
Ian Winterburn believes that the tables have
already turned for some jewellers.
Innovative new promotion
for engagement rings
Jewellery retailers and their engagement ring
customers can participate in an innovative
new promotion, which calls for customers to
describe their most romantic proposal via the
Graham Chapman, director of Eighth Avenue
Marketing, has secured the assistance of
the JAA and Tahiti Tourism, with the couple
crowned as having the most romantic proposal
winning a holiday to Tahiti valued at $20,000.
To enter, JAA member jewellers must apply on
the website and agree to certain payments and
conditions. Participating jewellers can then
select a winner from their store's customer
submissions, with the overall winner selected
from this pool.
READ ALL HEADLINES IN FULL ON
26 | November 2021
Now & Then
Celebrating 142 Years • MILDURA, VIC • A moment with Ryan Hammerton, director
L to R: The Hammerton's Jewellers store on Eight Street, Mildura, circa 1925; an historic photo of founder
John Hammerton, taken in 1884, which won a photography prize in London in 1885.
Our retail business first commenced in
1879 at 173 Little Ryrie Street, Geelong,
opened by my great-great grandfather,
John and his son Horace were highlyregarded
silversmiths, jewellers, and
engravers, with many of their pieces now
housed in museum collections in Melbourne.
The two most prominent items are the
Geelong Mayoral Chain and a solid 15-carat
gold paperweight that was presented to
Dame Nellie Melba in 1922.
The piece was considered to have enormous
significance and was purchased by
Museums Victoria, with the assistance of
the Sunshine Foundation and the Australian
Government’s National Cultural Heritage
Account, for a staggering $130,000.
The relocation from Geelong to Mildura in
1916 is the most substantial change our
business has undertaken in its history.
Horace’s son, Horace Geoffrey ‘Geoff’
Hammerton, took the helm in 1933, and
trained in bench jewellery, engraving,
watchmaking and also as an optician.
Geoff was deployed during World War II
and spent six years away from the store,
helping to develop anti-aircraft equipment.
His wife Florence took over management
during the war and continued working in the
business for decades to come.
Ian, Geoff’s second-eldest son, joined
the business in 1968 as an apprentice
watchmaker. The tiny Eighth Street store
was a beehive of activity, with up to 10 staff!
I joined the business after a few years
pursuing a career with Hewlett Packard, but
ultimately chose to return to our regional
town. My wife Clare and I purchased the
business from my parents in 2007 and set
about refurbishing the store.
Despite our successes, we haven’t pursued
much in the way of expansion outside of
the region. The township is geographically
isolated – 400km from the next-largest
town/city – which doesn’t allow for easy
expansion into other areas.
We purchased one of our competitors’
stores, Etheringtons The Jewellers – which
was established in 1932 – as an opportunity
to differentiate our retail offer in the region.
The depth of range in jewellery in the
modern era was too much for our original
50sqm store and rather than increase the
store size, the ability to present two store
options proved to be a better outcome.
Five years ago, we were also fortunate
enough to acquire a substantial 500sqm
double-storey building next to our Langtree
Mall business, which was built by the former
retailer Thomas Jewellers.
The building design was intended for a
‘cash-and-carry’ approach with over 200sqm
of storage; we have slowly modified it to
better suit our requirements and these areas
will be repurposed as we look to expand our
range of services.
Although I’ve only been involved in the
business for around 20 years, we’ve already
seen a ridiculous number of financial crises,
huge spikes in material costs, aggressive
alternate sales channels, and competitors
entering the market.
In an era where the global pandemic has
opens jewellery store
Hammerton & Son
on Little Ryrie Street,
John’s son, Horace
Hammerton, opens a
second store named
on Eighth Street, Mildura,
Horace’s son, Horace
Hammerton, joins the
business and trains in
Geoff is deployed to fight
in World War II; Florence,
Geoff’s wife, runs the
business for six years
Geoff’s son Ian joins the
business as an apprentice
Ian opens a second
location on Lime Avenue,
The second Mildura
store is migrated to the
Ian’s son Ryan joins
Ryan and his wife Clare
purchase the business
Ryan closes the original
1916 site and extensively
renovates the Langtree
Jewellers, located on
Deakin Avenue, Mildura
Jewellers store is
migrated into the newlyacquired
Jewellers site on Langtree
Above: Horace and Lillian Hammerton, the
second generation to take over the business.
rocked everyone’s businesses, being
custodian to a 142-year-old business
gives you some clarity over the challenges
that predecessors endured in the past.
Remaining somewhat conservative in your
approach to growth, adhering to better
quality, and maintaining your relationships
with customers and suppliers are critical
aspects to ensure consistency.
It’s an interesting thing to manage a
business that has operated through
Each generation has been very different
to the next; we’ve slowly moved from very
traditional bench jewellery through to
focusing on more modern manufacturing
techniques with global capabilities.
It does have the feeling of a family legacy
that’s inescapable – for me, earning
degrees in computer science and
business, and a fledgling career in the
world of IT, wasn’t enough to escape the
pull of something very familiar!
With a rapidly changing landscape I don’t
have an expectation that my children will
follow me into the business.
Like many family business owners, I think
I’ll be averse to relinquishing control,
which will provide them with the freedom
to look into other career paths!
Whether they can secure something as
enjoyable as our industry – or return with
a view to taking over the stores – will
determine the longevity of our business.
Read the full length interview
28 | November 2021
Supplying Australia Since 1974
MELBOURNE, VIC with Taiba Ash, owner • SPACE COMPLETED 2018
4Who is the target market and how did they
influence the store design?
FinerRings' target market extends to a wide range
of women aged in their early teens all the way to
the older crowd. Our mantra is creating quality,
affordable jewellery for women of any age.
While our store originally started as a temporary
lease, we are still here three years later! It is
a place for people to come shopping, get to
know our brand and understand what FinerRings
is all about.
Our fresh and fun store space is inspired by
the on-trend and timeless, stylish jewellery we
create. This enticing space is appealing to all our
customers – they are greeted with a smile and a
world of design possibilities.
4With the relationship between store
ambience and consumer purchasing in mind,
which features in the store encourage sales?
The warm and bright interior is a relaxing and fun
space for our customers to shop.
The open store design allows customers to peruse
our pieces or get involved in our design process.
Our pieces are customisable, allowing customers
to select exactly what they want in their jewellery.
We pride ourselves on creating quality jewellery
and our customers can enjoy the interactive
experience right before their eyes. Our staff
handmake beautiful pieces, tailored to the
requests of our customers, and this aspect of
FinerRings sets our brand apart from others.
4What is the store design’s ‘wow factor’?
Our store is a bright and welcoming space; the
jewellery is displayed on crisp pieces of marble
that hang on our floor-to-ceiling shelves.
The gorgeous arch windows let in an abundance
of afternoon sunlight, creating a warm and
inviting space for customers.
Our friendly staff will assist our customers on
style tips and adding that special touch in every
piece of jewellery, made with love and care.
30 | November 2021
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ADELAIDE BRISBANE HOBART MELBOURNE PERTH SYDNEY
Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts
and consumers about gemstones
Unusual Opals Part III: Ethiopian Opal
L to R: Kimberly McDonald earrings;
Boucheron necklace; Chaumet
bracelet Below: Cartier necklace;
Ornella Ianuzzi ring
While Australia remains the world's
premier supplier of opal – accounting for
approximately 90 per cent of the opal on
the market – significant opal deposits were
discovered in Ethiopia in 1994, 2008 and 2013.
The first discovery was in the Menz Gishe
District of Shewa Province.
Opal from this area occurs in a wide range
of body colours, including brown, red,
orange, yellow, and white. Often marketed
as 'Shewa opal' or 'Mezezo opal', these
opals form in stratified igneous rocks such
as rhyolite, tuff, and ignimbrite.
However, perhaps the most important
Ethiopian opal discovery occurred in 2008,
with a deposit of hydrophane material
located near the town of Wegel Tena in
The find consisted of a single seam of
opal, less than 1m thick, sitting within
a rocky cliff overlooking a canyon – an
example of the terrain miners must
navigate to retrieve these gemstones. To
make things even trickier, mining is often
carried out with simple hand tools and
limited safety considerations.
This opal is often known as 'Welo opal'
or simply 'Ethiopian opal'. This region
produces hydrophane opal that is usually
opaque to translucent in white, brown,
orange, and colourless body-colours.
Specimens are also known to display strong
play-of-colour in some specimens and be
similar looking to non-hydrophane material
from Brazil and Australia.
A notable feature of these Ethiopian opals
is the digit pattern – a captivating pattern
across the gem of rounded columns said to
The pattern is so well known, it is thought
of as an identifying, though inconclusive,
feature of Ethiopian material. Other
hydrophane producing areas include
Indonesia and the Virgin Valley opal
field in the US.
Like all opal, hydrophane opal is hydrated
silica – but with a unique characteristic, a
level of porosity allowing water and other
liquids to seep in and change the colour and
even the weight of the gemstone.
The absorption by hydrophane opal is
considerable and must be accounted for
when handling and storing.
Common sense would tell us that
material capable of absorbing liquid and
changing so easily should be treated with
caution. The issue here is the fact that
hydrophane is often not disclosed at the
time of transaction.
Given the tendency to change appearance
when immersed, avoid ultrasonic and
steam cleaning of this opal variety – wipe
over with a soft cloth instead.
Other precautions include avoiding
perfumes, hairspray, oils, cleaning agents,
and any other liquids. Much like pearls, the
best rule of thumb is to put hydrophane opal
jewellery on last and take it off first.
To test the presence of this feature in an
opal, bring the opal in contact with a single
From the country in
which it is found
Found in: Ethiopia
Mohs Hardness: 5–6.5
Formula: SiO 2
drop of water while observing it with a hand
lens. Watch how the water interacts with
the gemstone, before testing the refractive
index of the area.
Be patient with the test; you may need
to wait four to five minutes or so to see
the result. This characteristic absorption
property makes them susceptible to being
treated with dyes to change the body colour.
Gemmologists and buyers should be
cautious of treatment in hydrophane opal,
particularly in gemstones with naturallooking
body-colours other than white.
Treated gemstones have been documented
in all kinds of colours, including purple.
A primitive and effective form of treatment
documented is smoke treatment,
commonly applied to hydrophane
specimens in more recent times.
By wrapping gemstones in material such as
newspaper or bark, followed by aluminium
foil, and placing them into a burning fire,
the material is carbonised and produces
a dark body-colour throughout the stone,
resembling valuable black opal.
Mikaelah Egan FGAA Dip DT
began her career in the industry at
Diamonds of Distinction in 2015. She now
balances her role as a gemmologist at
Vault Valuations in Brisbane with studying
geology at the University of Queensland.
For more information on gems and
gemmology ,go to www.gem.org.au
November 2021 | 33
Diamond Industry Update
Blessing in disguise
for the industry?
Diamond industry analysts PRANAY NARVEKAR and
CHAIM EVEN ZOHAR share their insights into the ‘pipeline’
from mine to market over 2020 and 2021.
FEATURE | Diamond Industry Update
Twenty-twenty always had a nice ring to it,
and in the runup to it, many entities, both
companies and international bodies drew up
their vision statements. However, 2020 turned out to
be quite the contrary and will be remembered for a
long time for all the wrong reasons.
by PRANAY NARVEKAR &
CHAIM EVEN ZOHAR
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting actions taken to
tackle the same had an indelible impact on the way we live
and work, while proving to be a shock to the entire global
financial and economic system.
The world economy as well as the diamond pipeline faced a
sudden stop around March 2020, as the COVID-19 infections
spread, and governments-imposed lockdowns of various
types. However, the recovery seemed to be equally quick
at least for the industry, though not simultaneously in all
In most retail markets, sales seemed to match those of the
previous year within about four to six months, and in some
cases continued to grow from strength to strength. In the
mining areas, COVID challenges impacted production and
distribution, causing additional pipeline incongruities.
It is instructive to take a quick look at how the US retail sales
for the industry rebounded. The US accounts for half of the
industry sales and the retail market bounced back quickly
and continued its stellar performance even into 2021.
The one thing that didn’t bounce in the US were the 169
million stimulus checks, totalling $US395 billion, which
the Internal Revenue Service has sent out to US taxpayers
whether they needed it or not.
The new Biden Administration passed already the American
Rescue Plan Act of 2021, providing $US1.9 trillion in funding,
program changes and tax policies to help mitigate the
effects of the pandemic, which means that the bonanza in
the US retail markets will solidly continue throughout the
current year, irrespective of any COVID-variant.
While most analysis looks at this from a year-on-year
percentage perspective, it is instructive to view these sales
from a longer-term view, as given the low base in 2020, some
of the year-on-year percentages might look extremely high.
K E Y STATS
sales, in US Dollars,
increase in midstream
sales, in dollar terms,
for 2021 compared to
in dollar terms,
De Beers and Alrosa
The US Bureau of Economic Affairs provides seasonally
adjusted consumption expenditures for jewellery and
indexing the same to December 2017 illustrates just how
massive this jump in consumption is for the industry (see
Chart A over page).
This kind of jump in retail demand is quite frankly
unprecedented! It pains to admit that COVID-19 turned
out to be a blessing in disguise for the diamond business
because nothing is worth the human suffering that the
pandemic has brought.
We are also careful not to talk, as is very popular at the
moment, about the ‘new normal’. Nothing is normal at the
moment – and analysts are making fortunes conjecturing
how the world’s economy and businesses will evolve.
We are also careful not to talk, as is
very popular at the moment, about
the ‘new normal’. Nothing is normal
at the moment – and analysts are
making fortunes conjecturing
how the world’s economy and
businesses will evolve. ”
We are not joining these prophets. We know that in a
normal year an increase in high single digits is sufficient
to energise the entire industry.
To put this in perspective, the last time we saw a rapid
increase in percentage terms was in early 2011. During
that period, this same US index would have shown an
increase of 12 per cent over a four-to-six-month period, a
far cry from the 40-50 per cent increases.
It should be noted that the 2011 surge was also driven by
a serious rise in jewellery consumption in the rest of the
world and especially China.
Over the last many years, the authors have repeatedly
highlighted the fact that the industry was losing its share
of wallet. Consumers seemed to have lost interest in the
category as the pace of innovation seemed to be slow,
November 2021 | 35
Diamond Industry Update | FEATURE
CHART A: SEASONALLY ADJUSTED CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURE – JEWELLERY ($US BILLION)
Source: Bureau of Economic
Analysis, US Department of
compared to other areas like electronics
The meagre marketing efforts of the industry
through various bodies looked like trying to
slow the decline, rather than aggressively
increase the market.
The last six months have suddenly dispelled
the gloom and the future for the entire industry
suddenly looks much brighter!
This has an immediate impact on the entire
pipeline. As the retail pull-through increases and
more jewellery gets sold, jewellers start to place
replacement orders, which ripple through the
entire pipeline, leading to better prices in polished,
a financially healthier mid-stream, as well as
finally showing up in the rough demand.
The current scenario for the industry seems like
a blessing to everyone, something which was
unimaginable 12 months ago, when we were in
the depths of the pandemic, with widespread
lockdowns across the globe.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether this
is just another flash in the pan or whether the
industry has found its ‘mojo’ again. What we know
for sure is that COVID-19 has not lost its mojo – it’s
fighting the vaccines and developing more lethal
On a governmental level the stimulus injections
have triggered global governmental debts to some
$US281 trillion by the end of 2020 – and climbing.
Out of fear of a loss of faith in currencies, the
International Monetary Fund and other global
financial institutions consider this debt to be
‘sustainable’ and there is room for continued growth.
But how long can one live in a land of fools?
Diamonds may again, and maybe with more
conviction than ever, become not just an inflation
hedge but rather a sure (and rare) source of
sustainable wealth. The pandemic can lead the
world still into very unexplored paths.
Retail in 2020
Let’s stick to the known facts; 2020 was projected
to be a year of revival for the industry, which
went through a tough period in 2018-2019, when
demand reduced and retail destocking added to the
Good sales during the 2019 season provided the
tailwinds to the industry and 2020 began at a brisk
pace, until the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis
started creeping in.
As the main markets across the world started
introducing lockdowns to curb the health crisis,
retail sales started dropping, with the Chinese
market facing the first wave followed by all the
The US, which had a relatively mild lockdown,
saw retail sales dropping to half in April, while
markets like China, India and the EU probably had
Surprisingly, retail markets rebounded quickly as the
lockdowns were removed. The US, which accounts
for half of the retail diamond sales, saw year-on-year
sales crossing that of the previous year by June. This
meant that the impact on sales were mainly felt in
the first and second quarters only.
The Chinese market also showed a sparkling
recovery especially in the Mainland China region,
although it is still dealing with the loss of business
in the Hong Kong market, due to travel restrictions
as well as the political climate. The Indian market
too rebounded, but a little more slowly, as the
lockdowns were longer with gold jewellery getting
a bigger boost.
As stores shut down, there were serious liquidity
concerns faced by the retail stores. This was
especially true of stores which had leased their
premises, as this contributed to a significant
In the US, the prompt government aid package did
help businesses to keep afloat by getting access to
loans to finance their operations as well as other
subsidies. Other countries also rolled out business
Businesses were also able to renegotiate some
of their lease payments with the landlords while
also reducing some of their other operating costs,
which helped them get through the crisis. This was
evident in the fact that there was no undue spike in
bankruptcies and store closures.
During the peak of the lockdowns, there were
delays in payments to suppliers, but the quick
rebound in sales meant that the businesses were
able to generate liquidity fairly quickly by running
down some of their inventories and catching up on
The surge in retail sales during the latter
part of the year, coupled with the operational
improvements, also means that retail businesses
are seeing some of their best operational
performance in years.
This trend has been further reinforced in the
current year and most retail businesses currently
are enjoying healthy balance sheets, as compared
to previous years.
Overall the global retail sales were down about
14.5 per cent and clocked in at about $US65 billion,
close to the most optimistic estimates for the year!
Midstream crisis and renewal
At the beginning of 2020, the mid-stream was on
course to meet the higher demand predicted for
The mid-stream had tightened their businesses
and had de-stocked by October of 2019 and from
then on, the restocking cycle had started. The
first two-to-three months of 2020 reinforced this
restocking cycle, until the pandemic hit the midstream
in late March.
The mid-stream suffered on multiple fronts from
the pandemic. The near sudden stop to retail sales
meant that the polished diamond orders and sales
dried up almost immediately.
36 | November 2021
FEATURE | Diamond Industry Update
CHART B: NET AND CUMULATIVE MONTHLY MOVEMENT OF STOCK
NET POLISHED STOCK ADDITION IN $US MILLION
CUMULATIVE EXCESS STOCK IN $US MILLION
Source: Bureau of Economic
Analysis, US Department of
With retail stores under lockdown and
delayed payments, cash flows also
started to become major issues.
The situation was compounded by
the strict lockdowns imposed in India
to fight COVID-19.
Mid-stream sales were also dependent
on buyers travelling to trading centres
to inspect and buy the required polished
With global travel bans, this meant that
a large part of the buying activity came to
a standstill, at least until buyers worked
out arrangements with the sellers.
The Indian polishers have always come
together in difficult times, and 2020 was
no different. They decided to go in for
a voluntary moratorium on buying of
rough, which was largely in effect from
April to July.
During this period India as a whole
imported only about 15 per cent of rough
which it would have otherwise imported.
The Indian industry’s hand was, in a
manner of speaking, forced because
factories were either shut down, or were
operating at low levels due to distancing
norms as well a large chunk of the
labour force having moved back to the
villages during the lockdowns.
Hence, even if companies wanted to
produce diamonds, their capacities
were severely limited. Coupled with the
liquidity pressures from the banks, it
made prudent sense to go easy on the
This move was opposed by the large
rough producers, who called for the
industry to “work together” through
the crisis, as this step meant that
they registered almost no sales in the
Incidentally, in later sponsored industry
reports this was glossed over.
Producers were praised as to how their
“response at the start of the COVID-19
crisis helped mid-stream players
weather the worst of the storm”w by
cancelling sales and allowing clients
to postpone rough purchases.
Talk about making a virtue out of a
However, in retrospect, it does look like
it helped the industry get on its feet
It is illuminating to see how the
estimated rough stocks in India as a
whole moved over the past two years.
As mentioned, October 2019 was the
end of the destocking cycle, and we can
consider that to be the ‘zero line’ and
look at the stocks (see Chart B).
As can be seen, by March 2020, stocks
had nearly risen to their 2019 peak, in
anticipation of the 2020 sales, before
dropping during the moratorium period.
These again started climbing, and seem
to have reached the peak levels again.
The health of the mid-stream is
determined by the polishing profitability
and, more critically, diamond prices.
Typical polishing margins in the
businesses are in the low single digits
and hence a 10 per cent drop in stock
price can wipe out years of business
The rough moratorium helped the
mid-stream ensure that the liquidity
pressures were limited, as there was
no rough, and no stock, to be financed.
This, in turn, reduced the pressure on
companies to have to sell at any cost
– ensuring that the price of polished
carats of diamond
produced by De
Beers in 2020
carats of diamond
Alrosa in 2020
number of months
sales, in US
[goods] did not crash when the market
was illiquid, preventing a serious balance
sheet crisis for the mid-stream.
As the retail sales grew from strength to
strength, replenishment orders started
The Indian mid-stream had destocked
sufficiently by August and started buying
rough to ramp up their production to meet
the ongoing sales demand.
With large rough producers following a
price-versus-volume strategy, the offtake
started a little slower, before picking up
The mid-stream managed to sell about
$US14.2 billion of polished, or about
20.7 per cent below 2019 sales, despite
2019 itself being considered a lousy year
As mentioned, stock prices can make
or break the balance sheet of the midstream,
and the actions by the mid-stream
ensured that the price drop remained
within an acceptable level.
The retail surge also meant that by the
end of the year, overall diamond prices
were almost at par with those at the end
of 2019, if not higher – a remarkable
achievement, considering the chaos of the
As with retail, the mid-stream too
brought in additional efficiencies into
their operations, including pruning of the
workforce as well as reducing travel and
This was certainly helped by the fact
that industry shows and events could
simply not be held due to the COVID-19
restrictions in place.
November 2021 | 37
Diamond Industry Update | FEATURE
CHART C: SEASONALLY ADJUSTED CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURE BY CATEGORY ($US BILLION)
Source: Bureau of Economic
Analysis, US Department of
Jewellery and watches
Financial Services, Insurance & Non-profits
Personal consumption expenditures
Housing, Utilities, Healthcare & Other Services
Food, Accommodation & Personal Care Services
Transportation, Recreation & Personal Care Services
The pickup of polished demand also allowed the
mid-stream to destock. During the destocking
process, as inventories are liquidated, bank
lines are repaid, leading companies to reduce
Our estimates show that the industry was able
to reduce its borrowing by nearly 20 per cent
during the course of the year, driven by a neverbefore-seen
combination of destocking and better
profitability – in the second half – with almost no
stock loss being booked!
We believe that the industry leverage is probably at
the lowest level – even better than what it was at
the end of 2011, which was the standout year for
the industry in recent memory.
As a result of the destocking, rough sales by
miners dropped by about 36.7 per cent and
clocked in at about $US9.37 billion for the year.
Rough producers – saved by the bell?
Producers had weathered a rough 2019, as the
mid-stream deleveraged and rough purchases
dropped to the lowest level in a decade.
With good sales recorded in the 2019 season, rough
diamond sales were looking up and rough producers
were looking to make up lost ground, until the
pandemic struck them hard by mid-March.
As mid-stream ground to a standstill, and the Indian
moratorium kicked in, almost no rough was sold
for about two to three months. For a few producers
who were already facing serious headwinds and
profitability issues in 2019, as well as those with a
high leverage, this proved to be the final straw.
They had to go in for temporary mine closures as
well and also rework their financing agreements.
This forced these mines to stop production for an
extended time during the year, at least until they
were able to do the necessary restructuring.
In a way, this forced reduction of supply eased the
pressure on the two leading players to
Among the larger producers, generally most of
the mines were able to operate, except for short
periods if COVID-19 cases were detected in a
While they continued to operate at slightly lower
production levels, the impact of lower production
was mainly limited to Q2.
The mid-stream actions in Q2, lifting of lockdowns
and the sustained consumer demand in the second
half of the year significantly revived the diamond
markets, and secondary market box premiums by
end of 2020 – and continuing into 2021 – provided
testament to the enhanced rough demand.
Interestingly, the two leading producers seem to
have taken a contrasting view on their production
strategies during the year.
De Beers produced about 25 million carats, while
selling about 20 million carats during the year,
and stockpiling the remaining production. A major
chunk of this stockpile has been sold down during
the first quarter of 2021.
Alrosa, on the other hand, came into 2020 with
a sizeable stockpile from 2019 and for 2020
produced only about 30 million carats while
selling about 32 million carats, meaning that
they actually were able to reduce their stockpile
during a year of rough sales!
It shows that Alrosa was quicker on the gun,
and decided to prioritise sales in the latter half
of 2020. Alrosa was able to get within breathing
distance of De Beers’ rough sales for 2020, with
the last four months of 2020 accounting for about
55 per cent of the sales for the year!
A look at projected production shows that Alrosa
is forecasting production to be lower than De
Beers, which seems inexplicable, especially given
that Alrosa rough sells at a lower price and that
they generally produce about 30 per cent more
than De Beers.
The lower projected production has the potential
to destabilise rough prices in certain categories
of rough in 2021, but we believe that Alrosa will
significantly increase their production target for
the year, as they do have the spare capacity for
Lab-grown story – growing into its own market
Lab-grown diamonds are an integral element of
the diamond pipeline, at least at the retail level.
While there might be some overlap between
the polishing as well as polished and jewellery
wholesale areas, these are still distinguishable.
At the retail side, while there might be a few
exclusive outlets or websites, generally lab-grown
diamonds are starting to find a foothold in a larger
chunk of the jewellery stores, at least in the US,
where the category is the most mature.
The lab-grown retail market is still very much in
its teenage growth years, with many brands trying
to establish themselves. Competition is still about
market penetration and spreading the distribution
across the markets, along with filling the pipeline.
It is to be seen how many survive over the next five
years. While the retail growth shows promise, it still
is very much a stocking demand.
Overall, lab-grown diamonds grew in market share
during the year, simply because their demand is
primarily dependent on the US and did not drop as
much as that for natural diamonds.
The technology is showing signs of maturing,
with quality differences in the products
narrowing. At the current stage, the ‘patent wars’
in the lab-grown industry are being fought, with
all parties trying to get a competitive advantage
over their competitors.
De Beers had a mixed victory over IIA
Technologies in Singapore early last year, while
recently WD Lab-Grown Diamonds lost a lawsuit
against Fenix in the US.
The bulk of the rough lab-grown diamond
production continues to come from the
HPHT [high-pressure, high-temperature]
38 | November 2021
FEATURE | Diamond Industry Update
TACY’S 2020 - 2021
DIAMOND PIPELINE | IN $US BILLION
FEATURE FIRST PUBLISHED
BY IDEX ONLINE
CHART D: PREPARED BY PHAROS BEAM CONSULTING
© 2020 COPYRIGHTS BY TACY LTD. AND
PHAROS BEAM CONSULTING LLP STRICTLY RESERVED.
REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION FROM IDEX
November 2021 | 39
Diamond Industry Update | FEATURE
process, dominated by the Chinese
The bulk of the value comes in from
the CVD [chemical vapour deposition]
production, which gives better and larger
stones, and that production is more
widespread, with capacities being set up
in India at a fast clip.
Industry performance sustainable?
There is no doubt that the industry has
performed spectacularly at a retail
level over the past six months and is
witnessing one of the best periods for
the industry. In June, many traders were
reporting that they had never been as
busy as they currently were.
Our current favourite indicator for midstream
activity and health is undoubtedly
the backlog at the grading laboratories.
A longer delay signifies increased activity
levels in the mid-stream, and even on
that count, the industry seems to be
However, there is a difference of opinion
in the industry. On one hand there is
unbridled optimism with claims of the
industry outperforming others and that it
has been able to better engage with the
customers and even attract Millennials
during the crisis.
On the other side, we have other industry
leaders and media saying that this is a
flash in the pan and the market will slow
down going forward.
Even the leading retailers in the US have
struck a cautious tone about future sales,
despite record-setting numbers in the
first half of 2021.
To understand whether we, as an
industry, have truly outperformed, we can
once again look at the US market data
from the US Bureau of Economic Affairs
(see Chart C).
In analysing any data, the inherent
seasonality of any demand proves to be a
challenge, as the annual pattern of each
industry varies. However, the seasonallyadjusted
consumption expenditures data
does this for us and is a useful gauge
of how the personal consumption has
changed over the period.
What we would specifically like to do
is to compare the jewellery industry
performance with that of other goods
and services. We have grouped together
some services for it to better reflect the
comparison and impact of the pandemic.
The data has been presented at a
quarterly level so as to damp out any
monthly fluctuations, and focus on the
There are some interesting observations
which can be made on the trends:
• The pandemic and the resultant
lockdowns to contain it affected
overall movement and activity in the
economy, which is visible in the dip
in the second quarter.
Currently the personal consumption
index is about 10 per cent above
that of the 2019 Q1 baseline.
• As we all know, the service
industries were most affected by the
lockdowns and travel restrictions,
and these include transportation,
recreation, personal care, food, and
• Housing, utilities, healthcare and
other services have held steady
during this period. These are the
basic requirements and would be
expected to do so.
IN SUMM ARY
are focusing on
sales, with lower
picking up once
strongly at the
and lack of
likely to return
to a baseline
in two to three
This block accounts for 40 per cent
of the overall personal consumption
expenditure in the economy.
• While non-durable goods have shown
a good increase, durable goods have by
far outperformed other categories of
US consumers seem to have a newfound
love for acquiring physically
While the jewellery category does stand out
as the best performer in this chart, it is to be
noted that the industry’s performance is in line
with that of other durable goods.
If you dig down deeper into the data, you will
find categories like motor vehicles – a much
larger industry – have outperformed jewellery.
Even other industries of comparable size – be
it sporting equipment, guns and ammunition
or sports and recreational vehicles – have
performed better than our industry.
Clearly, while the industry is among the better
performers, it is simply part of the ‘gold rush’
of consumers as they spend on acquiring
It can be argued that consumers, who had
saved from not spending on the services
mentioned above – as well as buoyed by
the handouts provided by the government –
channelled a large chunk of their excess funds
into buying the physical durable which they
had longed for but had not been able to buy.
Additionally, the wealth effect of the stock
market boom, fuelled by government stimulus
and ultra-loose monetary policy, also helped
loosen the consumer purse strings.
This also makes sense because durable goods
are generally more expensive, last much longer,
and have a utility value over their lifetime.
There is no doubt that diamonds and
40 | November 2021
D I A M O N D S
l o S t r i v e r d i A m o n d S i S A n A u S t r A l i A n o W n e d b u S i n e S S S u p p ly i n g
C o l o u r e d d i A m o n d S t o l o C A l j e W e l l e r S f o r o v e r 3 0 y e A r S .
S u p p l i e r o f :
A r g y l e C e r t i f i e d p i n k d i A m o n d S | r i o C e r t i f i e d C h A m pA g n e d i A m o n d S | r i o C e r t i f i e d W h i t e d i A m o n d S
n At u r A l C o l o u r e d d i A m o n d S - y e l l o W , o r A n g e , g r e e n | W h i t e m e l e e | u n i q u e C o l o u r e d d i A m o n d j e W e l l e r y
3 / 1 0 5 S t g e o r g e S t C e , p e rt h WA 6 0 0 0 | 0 8 9 4 8 1 0 5 2 6 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.lostriverdiamonds.com
Recent history has taught
us that the best prediction
for the end of a boom cycle
is clearly a sharp increase in
prices and euphoria in the
rough market – though we are
not there yet! In our industry,
a good year always sets the
stage for the next year’s
07 3003 1788
jewellery have more of an emotional element in
their purchase decision. During a crisis, and the
pandemic is no different, humans do look for
emotional connection and jewellery is simply a
beautiful way to express it.
It is natural that couples who have been stuck at
home during the last year have bought jewellery to
express their love!
The return to normalcy is not going to be a
sudden one, unlike the onset of the pandemic.
As vaccinations across the globe are slowly rolled
out, businesses will gradually revert back to the
previous behaviour over the course of the next
two to three years.
As disposable income reduces with travel and
other areas becoming prominent again, and the
experiential luxury market gradually increases,
the share of the wallet will again shift out of the
jewellery category – something which the industry
should not give up without a fight.
A similar trajectory is playing out in other major
markets like China and India as well as other
Consumers are spending their excess disposable
income on these categories and it would take two to
three years for the market to reach the ‘new normal’.
The authors had, in the 2019 pipeline article,
mentioned that 2021 would be a very good year
for the industry, with rough and polished sales
expected to between the 2018 and 2019 levels.
The sustained retail boom in the first half
has meant that the performance is likely to
be even better, barring any sudden crash of
We expect that the polished sales for the industry
would clock in at about $US20–21 billion, while the
rough sales should come in around $US17 billion,
with De Beers and Alrosa accounting for about
It is likely that the current market euphoria will
continue into Q4, before quieting down by the end
of the year.
While this much is clear, prices on the other
hand, are a representation of the demand-supply
mismatch. With a healthy demand and an absence
of supply, prices would, per force, rise.
In the initial phase of every upcycle, prices remain
stable, as producers run down their stockpiles to
We are currently in the latter phase of the cycle,
wherein most producers would have exhausted
their built-up supplies, and the increased demand
would directly reflect in the prices.
Recent history has taught us that the best
prediction for the end of a boom cycle is clearly a
sharp increase in prices and euphoria in the rough
market – though we are not there yet!
In our industry, a good year always sets the stage
for the next year’s underperformance.
Traditional wisdom has it that when the going is
good, strap in and get ready to ride the rollercoaster,
because 2022 will be a different story!
In a market where producers still can manipulate
the supply and demand fundamentals, the
pandemic remains fully out of control – in spite of
governmental assurances stating otherwise.
This is an edited version of an article that was first
published by IDEX Online in August 2021, and is reproduced
with permission. Visit idexonline.com.
CHAIM EVEN-ZOHAR is a retired consultant
to the diamond industry and the former editor
of the Israel Diamond Exchange’s Diamond
Intelligence Briefs. PRANAY NARVEKAR is
director of Pharos Beam Consulting, a firm
providing analysis and insights into the supply,
financing, and structure of the diamond industry.
Uncovering secrets of the
New research from Curtin University has revealed clues about Earth’s ancient
history – all locked within ultra-rare diamonds, writes DR LUC DOUCET.
Diamonds are said to be forever, and it seems
the secrets they contain about the history of
the Earth are also endless.
However, not all diamonds are alike; there are three main
types – lithospheric, oceanic, and super-deep continental.
Most diamonds formed in the most ancient continental
lithosphere – the outermost, rigid layer of Earth – between
150–300km from the surface.
These are known as lithospheric diamonds, and they form in
relatively stable environments, harvesting ambient carbon.
But not all diamonds form in this way. A relatively tiny portion
of all mined diamonds – approximately 1 per cent – originate
from the deep mantle of the Earth, located down to 1,000km
below the surface.
Recent research conducted by the Earth Dynamics Research
Group at Curtin University in Western Australia, published
by the journal Nature, discovered that diamonds found in
oceanic rocks and super-deep continental diamonds share
a common origin.
They are made of organic carbon – that is, former living
organisms that have effectively been ‘recycled’ – deep within
the Earth’s mantle.
Bringing new meaning to the old ‘trash-to-treasure’ adage,
this research discovered that the Earth’s ‘engine’ turns
organic carbon into diamonds many hundreds of kilometres
below the surface.
The Great Star of Africa
DI A MOND FIGURES
depth at which
carat weight of
Super-deep diamond formation is linked to the plate tectonic
processes that make our planet unique in the Solar System.
The term ‘plate tectonics’ may be familiar to some from high
school science classes; essentially, the lithosphere is made
up of moving plates that shift and collide against each other.
Because of the tremendous force of mantle convection,
oceanic tectonic plates sink back into Earth’s mantle
underneath another plate in what we call the ‘subduction
zone’. When a plate is subducted, it carries with it all the
material needed to form diamonds.
This includes carbon from the rocks and from formerly living
things – the organic matter. At around 400km below the
surface, the subducted tectonic plate will enter the Earth’s
mantle’s ‘transition zone’.
In this place, pressure and temperature conditions allow
the formation of metallic melt, from which the super-deep
diamonds will form.
It is also a mystery as to why diamonds formed in the
transition zone utilise only recycled organic carbon – this
may be linked to the physical and chemical environment.
So, how do we discover them?
Both super-deep diamonds and lithospheric diamonds
are brought up to the surface during small but very
Ballooning hot rocks, known as mantle plumes, rise from
deep in the mantle, transporting the diamonds to the surface
48 | November 2021
CHART A: DIAMOND
Approximately 99 per cent
of the world's diamonds are
lithospheric, while less than
1 per cent are super-deep
and 0.1 per cent are oceanic.
Lithospheric – 99%
Super-Deep – 0.90%
Oceanic – 0.10%
Oceanic – 0.10%
Super-Deep – 0.90%
Lithospheric – 99%
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Scientific terminology in diamond formation
CARBON CYCLE – The shifting of the element carbon
between different ‘reservoirs’ on Earth – rocks, soil, ocean,
and atmosphere, plants – through chemical reactions and
KIMBERLITIC ERUPTION – Catastrophic explosions
in the Earth's mantle which transport super-deep and
lithospheric diamonds to the surface
LITHOSPHERIC DIAMONDS – Diamonds that form in the
continental lithosphere – the outermost, rigid layer of Earth
– between 150–300km from the surface, from ambient
carbon; they are by far the most abundant diamonds
MANTLE PLUME – The ballooning heated rocks in the
mantle that create kimberlitic eruptions
METALLIC MELT – Pockets of molten metallic liquid –
comprised of iron and nickel, among other elements – that
occur deep in the Earth’s mantle, in which large, Cullinanlike
OCEANIC DIAMONDS – Diamonds that form as a result of
plate tectonics, subducting the ocean floor and its carbon
and other minerals into the mantle
SUBDUCTION – The process whereby Earth’s tectonic
plates collide and sink back into the mantle underneath
SUPER-DEEP DIAMONDS – Diamonds that form
very deep in the Earth’s mantle, around 400km below
the surface; less than 1 per cent of diamonds are superdeep
TRANSITION ZONE – The area deep within Earth’s
mantle in which pressure and temperature conditions allow
the formation of metallic melt, from which the super-deep
in catastrophic explosions known as kimberlitic eruptions.
Those familiar with diamond formation will recognise the term
‘kimberlite’, which refers to the diamond-rich channels made by
Intriguingly, the rarest and largest diamonds are believed to be
of super-deep origin.
These diamonds are often described as ‘Cullinan-like’, named
after the largest diamond ever discovered – the Cullinan diamond,
which weighed 3,106 carats. It was discovered by Thomas Evan
Powell on 26 January 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa.
Cullinan-like diamonds have metallic inclusions with
compositions that support the processes involved in the
formation of super-deep diamonds.
So far, mines containing super-deep diamonds have been
identified as the most productive globally, with South Africa
and Brazil the main producers of super-deep diamonds.
Other locations might bear super-deep diamonds, but they
have not been discovered yet.
Unlocking Earth’s secrets
An even rarer type of diamonds is the oceanic type. These
diamonds share similarities with super-deep diamonds and
formed when the oceanic crust crashed into the continental
The comparative study of both super-deep and oceanic diamonds
indicates that carbon from dead organisms seems to be the
primary source of carbon, suggesting that the deep carbon
cycles are closely linked to the surface carbon cycles.
The super-deep and oceanic diamonds are the sole samples we
have from deep within the Earth and give us invaluable information
on what is happening hundreds to thousands of kilometres below
our feet. So far, studies on these diamonds demonstrate that
Earth’s interior is wetter than expected and that surface material,
including organic matter, has been recycled deep in the mantle.
The fundamental question that remains to be answered is, when
does it start? This question will keep scientists busy for the years
While recycling is becoming a modern-day necessity for our
sustainable survival, we were particularly surprised to learn,
through this research, that Mother Nature has been showing
us how to recycle with style for billions of years.
This research helps us to understand Earth’s carbon cycle and
could provide the key to even more secrets of the Earth’s history;
by mapping the distribution of continental and oceanic diamonds,
we can potentially identify the past locations of mantle plumes and
The Curtin University Earth Dynamics Research Group's study
of super-deep diamonds, 'Oceanic and super-deep continental
diamonds share a transition zone origin and mantle plume
transportation', was published in the journal Nature Scientific
Report in August 2021. Visit: geodynamics.curtin.edu.au/research/
18ct Diamond & Precious Coloured Gemstone Jewellery
DR LUC DOUCET is a research fellow at the Earth Dynamics
Research Group of Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. He
and his team reconstruct the geodynamic processes that made the
Earth the way it is today. Visit: geodynamics.curtin.edu.au
Daniel Jacuk - 0412 071 103
SCIENTIFIC REPORT | Super-Deep Diamonds
CHART B: SUBDUCTION DIAGRAM
The diagram below indicates how the subduction process occurs,
dragging tectonic plates back into the mantle. Metallic melt forms in the
transition zone, while super-deep diamonds form in the lower mantle.
Diagram provided by Dr. Luc Doucet
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Watch Industry Review
LOCKED-DOWN WORLD OF
EMERGES FROM ISOLATION
MARTIN FOSTER details the return to face-to-face fairs
amid a distorted post-COVID watch-buying environment.
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FEATURE | Watch Industry Review
BY THE DIGITS
Watch the Numbers
by MARTIN FOSTER
e have followed the ups and downs
of Australia’s COVID-19 politics as
we watched the rest of the world
twist and turn under the insidious influences
of the Delta strain during the pandemic.
It seems that hospitality and entertainment have been
the big losers as they rely on customers coming in and
sitting down for lunch or dinner or attending live events
and trade exhibitions.
As we know, it is this very form of business that logically
suffers from lockdowns, which prevent in-person
attendance and reduce retail ‘foot-traffic’.
In contrast, the extraordinary performance of the watch
industry shows another side to the lockdown coin.
Sales figures indicate that consumers at the top of the
market were largely unaffected by the rules and
restrictions – they simply had to find a different way
to dispense their buying power.
There are many examples to illustrate this point.
Industry media has reported Rolex and Tudor sales in
the UK and Ireland generated sales of £468 million
($AU867.7 million), up from £415 million ($AU769.4
million), an increase of 13 per cent even during the
As an example of unbridled insanity and excess funds
was the auction of a newly-released Patek Philippe
model – a factory-sealed olive-green Nautilus – which
was sold in April by Antiquorum in Monaco.
The nominated retail price of $AU48,000 was utterly
dwarfed by the auction sale, which was a staggering
$AU650,000 including buyer’s premium.
Bidders online and in the saleroom refused to back
down until the price nudged half a million US dollars.
That was just one example! Research, conducted by
retail analytics firm GfK, also reveals other distortions
in the watch market.
Total watch sales value in the UK in August for models
Rolex and Tudor
sales in the UK
and Ireland, 2021
– an increase of
13 per cent
in London in
Kong Watch & Clock
members of the
realised for Patek
April 2021 – more
than seven times its
increase in average
prices of watches
purchased in the UK
2020 and August 2021
priced at £500–1,000 ($AU925 –1,851) fell by 7 per cent
– but increased by 31 per cent for models priced at
£5,000–10,000 ($AU9,257–18,515), and saw a stunning
rise of 19 per cent for timepieces priced at more than
Overall, average prices rose by more than 61 per cent for
the 12-month period from September 2020 to August 2021
as customers actively sought more expensive watches.
GfK’s research reported that for July 2021 alone, the total
value of watch sales in Great Britain was 34 per cent
higher than in the same month in 2019.
We may safely observe that
there is unrestrained wealth at
the top of the market burning
holes in the pockets of buyers
who suffer no budgetary cares –
and the watch industry is happily
celebrating the bonus”
Swatch Group – which includes brands such as
Omega, Tissot, Breguet, and Longines, among others
– went against the trend with a 39 per cent revenue
decline in 2020.
However, this was of its own doing and partly a result
of the unsettled restructuring of its UK operations.
The Swatch result is an exception, and we may safely
observe that there is unrestrained wealth at the top of the
market burning holes in the pockets of buyers who suffer
no budgetary cares – and the watch industry is happily
celebrating the bonus.
Return of the fairs
In the meantime, the physical fairs are starting to reemerge
as the online promotional meetings of the last
year achieved an unenviable result – the highest-ever
November 2021 | 55
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2022: CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Above: Exhibitors and visitors at EPHJ 2021
DATE EVENT LOCATION
11 – 14 February 2022 Inhorgenta Munich Messe München, Munich, Germany
30 March – 5 April 2022 Watches & Wonders Geneva Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland
31 March – 4 April 2022 Baselworld Messe Basel, Basel, Switzerland
8 –11 June 2022 EPHJ - EPMT - SMT Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland
6 –10 September 2022 Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair HKCEC, Hong Kong
Contrary to some industry declarations, digitalonly
presentations are not “the way ahead” at
all, and the sooner that physical fairs reestablish
their presence, the better the quality
of the review material for the press, agents and
Rob Corder, co-founder and editor of the
UK industry publication WatchPro, has
been a staunch advocate for events
where watch lovers can indulge their
passion in the company of the world’s
most exceptional watchmakers.
He wrote earlier this year, “Zoom and webinars
are a necessary but appalling substitute for live
events like Baselworld, Watches & Wonders,
and boutique shows in the most important
markets like the UK, US, and Germany.”
In support of his own stated views, WatchPro
has scheduled its own Salon event from 12–13
November at the five-star Londoner Hotel on
Japan’s Grand Seiko and more than 20 smallyet-established
quality brands in attendance.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Watch and Clock
Fair (HKW&CF) – a joint exposition of the Watch
& Clock Fair and Salon de TE, by far the largest
of the fairs in normal times – opened on 12
The five-day physical event attracted
approximately 4,900 industry buyers and
more than 23,600 public visitors to shop
The last COVID-free year for which foot traffic
information is available was 2018, when
attendance totalled 21,000 buyers for 830
exhibitors from 25 countries and regions.
The fair’s organiser, the Hong Kong Trade
Development Council, has good reason to be
pleased with this slightly increased attendance
in this difficult year.
More than 12,000 people
attended EPHJ during
the four days of the show,
where 530 exhibitors
were showcased from 13
Boosting this attendance was the decision to,
for the first time, open the HKW&CF to the
public for the full period of the fair.
An online version of the HKW&CF was also
launched for the first time this year and ran
until 19 September.
Benjamin Chau, deputy executive director of
the HKTDC, said, “The Watch & Clock Fair and
Salon de TE returned as special editions this
year to help generate business opportunities
for industry players.
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Above L to R: Baselworld 2021; Watches & Wonders 2021; Jaquet Droz watch
“Opening the five-day fairs to the public for the first
time also provided an excellent opportunity for watch
and clock traders to reach out to retail customers
and boost the industry’s retail businesses.”
He added, “According to our on-site survey, public
visitors who were interviewed spent an average of
$HK1,059 [$AU183] per person at the fairs.”
Precision watchmaking equipment show, EPHJ in
Geneva, returned with its first live exhibition since
2019 as the pandemic receded in Europe and brands
and buyers returned to in-person events.
More than 12,000 people attended EPHJ during
the four days of the show, where 530 exhibitors
were showcased from 13 countries, representing
watchmaking and microtechnology.
This figure was, understandably, down from 20,000
attendees and 800 exhibitors in 2019.
Jeweller previously reported the successful Watches
& Wonders (W&W) Geneva online edition in April
2021 – its second online-only event in as many years
– as well as its physical W&W Shanghai show, held
W&W Geneva is now confirmed to take place in
2022 in both physical and digital formats, via the
watchandwonders.com platform and at the Palexpo
exhibition centre from 30 March–5 April.
And speaking of Swiss fairs, one cannot ignore
Geneva Watch Days.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse
of Baselworld, Geneva Watch Days was founded in
2020 as an independent fair, spearheaded by the
QUICK RE V IE W
High-end of the market
shows robust results
Sales throughout the pandemic
have favoured the luxury
market, with increases for
higher-priced watches and
eye-watering auction results
Live events return to
form amid digital fatigue
Physical trade shows have
cemented their role in the
industry, with digital events
taking a complementary role
– rather than centre-stage
Geneva establishes itself
as centre of trade fairs
Three salons occurred
in the Swiss city in 2021,
establishing its reputation
as the heart of watchmaking
Challenges ahead for
the revived Baselworld
Logistics and marketing
are key issues for Baselworld
as organisers plot its April
like-minded Bulgari, H. Moser & Cie., Breitling, Ulysse
Nardin, Urwerk, Gerald Genta, MB&F and Girard-
This year it was presented from 30 August–3
September in a 'phygital' format – a mix of in-person
and virtual presentations – to address the visitor
restrictions created by the global pandemic.
This was five days filled with innovations, new
designs, concepts, limited editions, affordable –
and untouchably expensive – watches released by
some of the world’s renowned manufacturers.
Baselworld – a brand seeking redemption
Only a few years ago, Baselworld was the leading
go-to fair, but it spectacularly fell from grace for
reasons widely canvassed in Jeweller and elsewhere.
Baselworld is now doing everything it can to recover
its credibility with watch brands and is adopting a
‘gently, gently’ approach to achieve this. But it will be
hard work for a couple of very pertinent reasons.
Firstly, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel, and
Chopard were fiercely loyal to Baselworld but left as a
bloc in April 2020, with just a hint in the air that MCH
Group – the Baselworld organiser – had been careless
with its reciprocal loyalty.
Undoing this damage is not, and cannot, be an easy
task as the issues accumulated over some years.
But Baselworld can only really feel at ease if, or when,
the industry pillars of Patek Philippe and Rolex return
to the Messe Basel exhibition centre.
In the meantime, the next problem facing Baselworld is
58 | November 2021
that the centre of horological gravity has shifted from
Basel to Geneva; Baselworld’s defecting ‘big names’
established their new salon in Geneva, in conjunction
with the ‘opposition’ Watches & Wonders.
Therefore, Baselworld has a logistical problem in that
Basel and Geneva are at opposite ends of Switzerland.
Expecting good coverage of Baselworld exhibitors
when buyers and media are all down in Geneva may
be a forlorn hope.
To re-establish its presence, the ‘new’ Baselworld
was launched with a big step outside its traditional
premises to reconnect with the industry and
One cannot ignore Geneva
Watch Days... This was five
days filled with innovations,
new designs, concepts, limited
editions, affordable – and
untouchably expensive – watches
released by some of the world’s
It was presented via a new pop-up event in Geneva,
which ran from August 30, simultaneously with the
Geneva Watch Days.
This event was marketed as “presenting the
new Baselworld spirit, with 10 independent
brands and a program that favours openness,
conviviality and networking.”
While on a far smaller scale to the traditional
Baselworld event, it was the first step in the
build-up to the return of the larger physical show,
Baselworld 2022, which will take place from
31 March 31–4 April next year.
Meanwhile, the annual highly regarded Only Watch
auction is the next event of the industry – and both
the watches themselves and the charitable proceeds
will make for an interesting saga to observe.
There is no shortage of promotional material in the
horological ether, as brands try to compensate for
the lack of fairs this year.
Manufacturers, buyers, agents, and the media are all
looking forward to a 2022 resumption of the affairs of
the industry, unhindered by virus-driven politics.
In the meantime, the new releases and recordbreakers
of this year act as tempters, reminding us
of the exquisite pieces we have all been missing –
and deserve to see, in the flesh, once again.
MARTIN FOSTER is a freelance journalist and
Jeweller’s resident watch ‘guru’. Based in Sydney,
Martin attends major international exhibitions
covering the watch and timepieces categories.
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A QUARTERLY SPOTLIGHT ON COLOURED GEMSTONES NOVEMBER 2021
70 RED CARPET
Who stole the
show with this
Turn to page
70 to find out.
COLOUR INVESTIGATION FEATURE
Sunlight & flames
Jeweller explores the captivating hues of orange and yellow
gemstones, from the rich gold of topaz to mandarin garnet,
fresh citrine, and smouldering fire opal.
Dive into gem trivia
COLOUR INVESTIGATION FEATURE
RED CARPET COLLECTION
This month’s colours dazzle
Sanskrit tapaz, meaning fire
Heat, irradiation, coatings
Yellow and golden orange (among
Named after Spessart, Germany
Light orange to reddish orange-brown
Heliodor (Yellow Beryl)
Ancient Greek helios, meaning sun,
and doron meaning gift
1.57 – 1.58
Yellow, yellow-green, golden-yellow
Persian zargun, meaning gold-hued
Yellow to orangey-red (among others)
Old French citrin, meaning
Yellow to deep orange-red
• Yellow & Orange
• Yellow & Orange
• Yellow & Orange
Golden South Sea Pearls
From its flame-like appearance
6 – 6.5
Yellow to orange-red
Named for their colour and Pacific origin
2.5 – 4
Pale to rich gold
Likely Arabic anbar, meaning fragrant
2 – 2.5
Heat, wax, dye, coatings
Yellow to orange-brown (among others)
LEARN ABOUT THESE GEMSTONES IN DEPTH: JEWELLERMAGAZINE.COM
ORANGE & YELLOW
TOP 5 ORANGE AND YELLOW GEMSTONE PRODUCING COUNTRIES
Yellow & Orange
• Spessartite garnet
• Yellow beryl (Heliodor)
• Spessartite garnet
• Yellow beryl (Heliodor)
• Yellow zircon
• Yellow & orange sapphire
• Spessartite Garnet
• Yellow Beryl (Heliodor)
• Yellow & orange sapphire
• Spessartitie garnet
• Golden South Sea Pearls
Golden South Sea pearls
Yellow & Orange
Garbo and Joan
famous fans of
In the 17th
set dagger handles
with citrine and
the gemstone later
Scottish kilt pins
105 tonnes – estimated amount of
amber produced by Palaeogene forests
of Northern Europe
There is a sun, a light that for
want of another word I can
only call yellow, pale sulphur
yellow, pale golden citron.
How lovely yellow is!"
VINCENT VAN GOGH
WEIGHT OF THE
GEMSTONE IN THE
The year fire opal deposits were
found in Queretaro, Mexico
The word 'electricity' comes from the Ancient Greek
word for amber, elektron, for its ability to produce
static electricity when rubbed
believed carnelian was
the blood of the goddess
Isis, and would place
carnelian amulets upon
the throats of dead bodies
Citrine was known as "the
money stone" or "the merchant's
stone" in the Middle Ages, as
it was believed it would bring
wealth to whoever wore it
Carnelian, garnet, yellow
zircon, and citrine are
all believed to have been
embedded in the breastplate
of the Biblical figure Aaron
Many orange and yellow gemstones,
including topaz and heliodor, were once
believed to harness the power of the sun
natural citrine is
remarkably rare; most
specimens are in fact
62 | November 2021
ORANGE & YELLOW
Brilliant transparent gemstones in warm tropical tones
of pale lemon, rich gold, delicate apricot or vivid saffron
can be challenging to identify. What could they be?
First in affordability and popularity is the quartz family
– from the delicate pastel tones of ‘lemon quartz’ to
the vibrant, vivid orange hues of citrine and all shades
UNDERSTANDING GEMSTONE COLOUR
Orange & yellow gemstones
For centuries, orange and yellow gemstones have enraptured jewellers and jewellery-lovers,
with mystical properties attributed to their warm, sun-like glow, Jeweller discovers.
Citrine is commonly confused with a similarly-coloured
but more expensive topaz.
Natural citrine is the most valuable form of quartz, and
extremely rare. It occurs when amethyst formations are
close to natural heat sources in the Earth's crust.
It ranges in colour from a shade of light gold through to a
fiery reddened-yellow and owes its hue to traces of ferric iron.
The majority of citrine on the market, however, is actually
heat-treated purple amethyst.
This heat treatment – involving temperatures up to 560
degrees – helps replicate the yellow, gold and amber
shades of natural citrine and is clearly recognisable to a
trained professional by the subtle stripes that the process
leaves on the gem.stone
Heat-treated citrine is readily available, very affordable
and extremely durable.
The best specimens of natural citrine come from Brazil,
mined in Rio Grande do Sul. Other deposits include
Madagascar, the US, Spain and Africa.
Traditionally the darker shades have held more value but
recently consumer preference leans towards brighter
Indeed, the name citrine is derived from the French word
Legend says it acts as an energising stone against
issues of willpower, optimism, confidence and self-
weight of amber
in the Paleogene
year the term
citrine was first
used to describe
weight of the El
citrin, meaning lemon-coloured. In this shade, citrine is
often confused with orange topaz.
There are few references in history to citrine, perhaps
because of the stone's rarity.
The first occurrences seem to be the use of citrine by
Romans for intaglio and cabochon in the centuries
immediately following the birth of Christ.
Citrine saw increased use as a gemstone in jewellery
during the Romantic Age (1837-1860).
Today, citrine is widely used in many jewellery styles.
The sunny gemstone’s beautiful colours can brighten
almost any jewellery style, although it goes particularly
well with yellow gold.
An inexpensive gem, citrine is the perfect stone for
popular free-form fancy cuts for unique and custommade
Like all crystal quartzes, citrine has a hardness of 7 on
Mohs’ scale and is largely insensitive to scratches. It
will also withstand a few knocks, too, since its cleavage
properties are non-existent.
The gemstone’s durability makes it a suitable keepsake.
Indeed, citrine is the modern birthstone for November
and also the stone for the 13th year of marriage.
Like citrine, topaz is the birthstone of November. Yellow
topaz is often confused with citrine due to its similar colour.
Topaz is allochromatic, meaning it derives colour from
impurities and defects in its crystal structure; this
November 2021 | 63
Colour Investigation | ORANGE & YELLOW GEMSTONES
ORANGE & YELLOW GEMSTONES
GOLDEN SOUTH SEA PEARLS
Officially the worlds oldest gem, pearls have
been surrounded in history, legend and
mysticism since before written history, with
discoveries such as pearl jewellery found in
a royal sarcophagus dating back to 420BCE.
Pearls were also often presented as gifts
to Chinese royalty as early as 2300BCE,
while in ancient Rome they were considered
to be a status symbol and laws were
passed allowing pearls to be worn only
by the ruling classes.
The only way of sourcing pearls was by
collecting wild oysters.
It could take up to a tonne of wild oysters
to find just three or four quality pearls.
The increasing demand for natural pearls
by the 19th Century meant oyster supplies
began to decline.
In the late 1800s, the concept of culturing
pearls was developed, with Kokichi
Mikimoto becoming perhaps the most
famous for commercialising and marketing
Pearls can be cultured in various species of
oyster, in both fresh and saltwater, producing
different finished pearls with different
attributes – and thus value.
Saltwater pearls take up to four years to
produce a pearl, with each oyster generally
producing just one pearl for each cycle.
They are highly sensitive to their
environment and subtle changes in their
surroundings can directly affect the
oyster's health. Therefore, saltwater pearl
farms generally are located in pristine
Golden South Sea pearls are cultured from
the gold-lipped Pinctada maxima along
the Philippine, Indonesian, and Australian
coastlines and are valued for their size and
their unique lustre,
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explains the vast array of topaz hues.
However, sherry topaz – named after the variety of wine – is
perhaps the best-known and most traditional topaz colour,
ranging from yellowish brown to orange.
Often, specimens that fall within this colour range are called
'precious topaz' to distinguish them from less-expensive citrine.
Topaz has been known as a gemstone for at least 2,000 years
and is believed to take its name from the island the Ancient
Greeks knew as Topazios – modern day Zabargad.
The sunny gemstone’s beautiful
colours can brighten almost any
jewellery style, although it goes
particularly well with yellow gold. An
inexpensive gem, citrine is the perfect
stone for popular free-form fancy cuts
for unique and custom-made pieces”
Scholars also trace its name back to the Sanskrit word tapaz,
Brazil is the principal source of gem-quality topaz, with the
region Minas Gerais producing large yellow to orange crystals.
Sapphire and garnet
Next comes sapphire, from the corundum family. Like topaz, it
On the yellow to orange spectrum, colours range from stronglysaturated
golden yellows typical in Australia to soft pastel
tones seen in Ceylon sapphires.
Other treatments must be disclosed if they significantly alter a
gemstone’s appearance and value.
Beryllium surface or sub-surface lattice diffusion has been
used since the early 2000s. This treatment transforms lowquality
off-colour corundum into beautiful, vibrant yellow or
orange using heat treatment in combination with beryllium.
Meanwhile, some of the most vibrant yellow and orange
gemstones are from the beloved garnet family.
In its finest quality, spessartite garnet is Fanta-orange, malaya
garnet is orange to reddish-orange and hessonite garnet
ranges from orange to brownish-yellow to brownish-red.
Spessartite – also known as spessartine – is named for the
German region of Spessart, Bavaria, where the mineral was
Today, most spessartite garnet originates from Africa, with
deposits of high-quality material found Namibia and Nigeria in
In recent times, spessartite deposits are active in Mozambique
and Madagascar, though supply is relatively limited.
Spessartite is a manganese aluminum silicate; the element
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Colour Investigation | ORANGE & YELLOW GEMSTONES
manganese gives it its distinctive orange colour.
A mixture of spessartite and iron-rich almandine
garnet produces a reddish-orange effect.
Yellow and orange zircon
Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth and Australia
boasts the oldest deposits dating back more than
4.4 billion years.
The most famous source of Australian zircon is the Mud
Tank Zircon Field, found in an area known as the Harts
Range, which is situated 1,220 km south to southeast of
Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.
This field, first explored in the 1940s, is well-known
amongst fossickers for producing top-quality
zircon and includes two areas called Zircon Hill and
The zircons found here display beautiful earthy tones
of cinnamon, sherry, cognac, pinks, plums, oranges,
yellow and even parti-coloured and colourless.
Gemstones may occur as small, doubly-terminated
crystals or chips, and larger specimens may show
well-developed crystal faces. Waterworn zircon crystals
occur in the low-lying areas between the two hills.
Zircon is found intermixed with sapphire in deposits
associated with tertiary volcanic deposits from
Tasmania to Northern Queensland.
This is particularly true on the gemfields of Northern
NSW and Central Queensland where they range in
colour from colourless through to champagne and
Sometimes Australian zircons are heated to lighten
them or make them colourless. Most zircon deposits
originate from Maynamr (Burma) Burma but other
world sources include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Brazil,
Africa, Madagascar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Zircon is prized for its diamond-like lustre, intense
fire, brilliance and strong double refraction and
it’s these qualities that separate it from its many
imitators. Golden brown zircon can appear similar to
topaz or citrine.
Zircon sometimes contains traces of uranium,
irradiating itself and changing its properties. For this
reason, zircon is classified into three types – high,
intermediate and low.
Amber and pearl
As natural gemstones – that is, formed through
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organic processes – amber and golden South Sea pearls reflect
the warm, rich hues found in nature.
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Golden South Sea pearls are among the largest and most
valuable pearls, grown in the gold-lipped variety of Pinctada
maxima oysters over a period of two to four years – far longer
than freshwater or Akoya pearl varieties.
Unlike white South Sea pearls, which are primarily farmed in
Australia, golden South Sea pearls are predominantly grown
in the Philippines and Indonesia, with a minority sourced from
Australia and occasionally Myanmar (Burma).
Their natural colour requires no enhancement and is the
primary determinant of their value; the richer the golden tone,
the more highly prized the pearl.
The deepest golden tone is often referred to as '24 carat'.
Amber, meanwhile, is one of the more well-known organic
gems is fossilised tree resin prized for its rich golden hues.
When plant or animal fragments are suspended within the
material, they can offer a fascinating peek into our planet’s
It ranges in colour, but the best-known specimens are yellow
[Golden South Sea pearls'] natural
colour requires no enhancement
and is the primary determinant of
their value; the richer the golden
tone, the more highly prized the pearl.
The deepest golden tone is often
referred to as '24 carat'”
Chemically, amber is a hydrocarbon – a compound of carbon,
oxygen and hydrogen – although the chemical constituents vary
between sources worldwide.
Unearthed predominantly in the Baltic Sea region of Europe,
it is also found in the Dominican Republic, Myanmar (Burma),
Mexico and some other European localities.
Not all tree resin is destined to become amber. Much like all
fossils, there are specific environmental conditions of heat,
pressure and biology that are required for the fossilisation to
The two-part process of transformation from tree resin to
amber is called ‘amberisation’.
Over the course of 2–10 million years, the resin begins to harden
through a process of molecular polymerisation. Here, the resin
must be in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) condition under layers of
overlying sediment, where pressure and heat can transform the
soft resin into harder and more stable ‘copal’ resin.
From here, sustained heat and pressure can further evaporate
terpenes (organic compounds within the resin) to form a hard,
solid natural plastic – amber.
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Colour Investigation | ORANGE & YELLOW GEMSTONES
'Zircon' has a complex
etymology; it comes from
the German zirkon, a
translation of the term
jargoon which was
applied by gem traders to
jargoon is a corruption of
the Persian word zargun,
Zircon is the oldest mineral
on Earth, and Australia
boasts the oldest deposits,
dated to 4.4 billion years ago
Due to its wide range of
colours, zircon was known
by many names, including
'jacinth' – mentioned in the
Bible – and hyacinth
Evidence suggests that Baltic and Dominican amber were created
in a very specific anaerobic environment – extended immersion
While amber may be transparent through to opaque, transparent
material is typically the most sought after. The darker, reddish
material is more valuable, but inclusions play a huge part in the
Carnelian is a translucent stone available in varying shades that
range from flesh pink to burnt orange, red and brown.
It was argued that carnelian's colour was reminiscent of bloodied
human flesh and this explains the derivation of its name: carne
being Latin for flesh or meat.
Although the gemstone is comprised primarily of silicon dioxide,
it owes its warm tones to the iron oxide impurities it contains.
Deposits of carnelian are found close to the Earth's surface where
conditions are cooler and less pressurised.
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Carnelian is a member of the chalcedony family. As
microcrystalline forms of quartz, chalcedony gems are among the
most abundant on Earth. Consequently, carnelian can be found in
numerous countries all over the world.
Uruguay and Japan are among the most popular locations, however
the main source of carnelian is Campo de Maia in South America.
Many of the specimens derived from here are colour treated with
ferrous nitrate to enhance their hue.
Of all the places carnelian is found, India is regarded by the jewellery
industry as the place where the best-quality examples are found.
Numerous pieces of jewellery containing carnelian were uncovered
in ancient Egyptian tombs. So strong was the Egyptian peoples'
faith in carnelian that, along with turquoise and lapis lazuli, it was
the most used stone in ancient Egyptian jewellery.
In the Middle East, many feared the superstitious power of the 'evil
eye', an amulet comprised of various gems, including turquoise.
Carnelian was carved into pendants and inscribed with prayers that
were believed to ward off evil glances.
Modern-day uses see carnelian cut as cabochons and used in all
types of jewellery, particularly beads and cameo brooches.
Opal is famous for the incredible array of colours displayed, from
vibrant reds – the most prized – to velvety purples and everything
With such incredible opal specimens here in our backyard,
international varieties are often lesser known and less available.
Fire opal is the transparent to translucent variety of opal with
a yellow, orange, or even ruby red body-colour, also known as
‘Mexican opal’ – derived from the hue and the most well-known
locality of this material.
Fire opal rarely displays play-of-colour, yet it attracts collectors
based on the body-colour alone – a primary distinction from the
better-known types of opal.
Opals with play-of-colour are termed precious opal, whereas those
without are called common opal. Although fire opal may be either,
the presence of play-of-colour commands a higher price.
The regions of Querétaro and Jalisco in Mexico are major producers
of fire opal, though other regions include Michoacán, as well
as Bemia in Madagascar, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ethiopia, Java in
Indonesia, and the US state of Oregon.
The opal localities of Mexico were discovered accidentally by
labourers around 1835.
Organised mining efforts commenced circa 1870, although it is
believed these deposits may have been known to the Mayan and
Aztec people who used fire opal in art and ritualistic ceremonies,
significantly extending the history of these gemstones.
The vibrant hues are owed to the presence of particularly minute
inclusions, coloured by iron.
Given that play-of-colour is less prevalent, and these fire opals are
admired for their body-colour, they are often faceted rather than
just fashioned into the cabochon or freeform shapes commonly
seen in other types of opal.
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ORANGE & YELLOW
Red Carpet Collection
STARS SHINE IN COLOUR
Gemstones in the Spotlight
The A-list have given their seal of approval to statement gems – be inspired by these colourful jewellery pieces worn on the red carpet.
4 Inspired by Plumeria
flowers, these earrings by
Nadine Jewellery takes
centre stage. Composed
of oval cognac-coloured
beryls and accentuated
by bright white diamonds,
it symbolises rebirth,
and is part of a suite of
CITRINE – Megan Fox, Met Gala 2021
YELLOW BERYL – Alessandra Ambrosio,
Cannes Film Festival in 2018
SOUTH SEA PEARL – Diane Kruger, Met
ORANGE AND YELLOW SAPPHIRE –
Julianne Moore, CMet Gala 2017
ORANGE SAPPHIRE – Camila Mendes,
Vanity Fair Oscar party 2019
TOPAZ – Maria Borges,
Cannes Film Festival 2019
4 Matching 12.4mm golden
south sea pearls steal the
show in Chanel's San Marco
earrings. Set in yellow gold
with 2-carats of brilliant-cut
white diamonds, 1.90-carats
of yellow sapphires and
embellished with 12 cultured
Japanese pearls, it has
matching necklace and ring
YELLOW SAPPHIRE AND SOUTH SEA PEARL –
Margot Robbie, SAG Awards 2019
ORANGE AND YELLOW DIAMOND –
Winnie Harlow, Met Gala 2019
3The legenday cushioncut
Tiffany Yellow Diamond
weighs 128.54-carats and
was found in the South African
Kimberley diamond mines in
1877. It is suspended from a
necklace of white diamonds
weighing over 100 total carats,
and has only been worn by
Audrey Hepburn, Lady Gaga
Tiffany & Co.
YELLOW DIAMOND – Lady Gaga, Academy
4 Fred Leighton
is home to this
Trabert & Hoeffer
cuff bracelet featuring
emerald cut citrine
of amethyst and
4-carats of white
diamond set in green
and rose gold.
Fred Leighton and Kwiat
CITRINE AND YELLOW DIAMOND – Iman,
Met Gala 2021
3 Set into bezels of
18-carat yellow gold
with white diamond
accents, this classic
Tiffany & Co's imperial
topaz necklace with
feature in the 2019 Blue
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Topaz – Kendall Jenner, Met Gala 2019
Stars shine in colour | GEMSTONES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Red Carpet ‘Gemstones in the Spotlight’ continued...
4 These timeless drop
earrings by De Beers'
10.43-carats of radiantcut
vivid yellow diamond.
Set in platinum and
18-carat white gold, it is
worth over US$1 million.
CARNELIAN – Olivia Wilde, Golden Globes
YELLOW DIAMOND – Amanda Seyfried,
Golden Globes 2021
CITRINE – Kirsten Dunst, Venice File
ORANGE DIAMOND – Heidi Klum, Golden
SOUTH SEA PEARL – Sarah Hyland,
Golden Globes 2011
YELLOW BERYL – Dita Von Teese, Elton
John Oscars Viewing Party 2016
4 These knockout
chandelier earrings by
Amwaj feature giant
emerald-cut citrines set
in 18-carat white gold
and heavily accented with
pear shaped diamonds.
CARNELIAN – Gwyneth Paltrow, Met Gala
CITRINE – Poppy Delevingne, Emmy
YELLOW DIAMOND – Sharon Stone,
Cannes Film Festival 2021
YELLOW BERYL – Jodie Turner Smith,
Cannes Film Festival 2021
5 From Gucci's recent Hortus
Deliciarum high jewellery
collection, this 18-carat yellow
gold necklace features 131.10
carats of yellow beryls paired
with white diamonds.
YELLOW DIAMOND AND SOUTH SEA
PEARL – Julianne Moore, Gotham
independent film awards 2012
YELLOW DIAMOND – Zendaya, Academy
The existential question
facing every retailer today
Amid growing competition and pressure in the retail environment, innovation and
creativity offer a path to continued relevance and viability, writes DOUG STEPHENS.
Bad retailers will never run out of
customers; history suggests that there
is always a segment of the consumer
population willing to ‘trade down’ if they
believe they can save a dollar or two.
Some retailers, like long-beleaguered US
department store JC Penney, have spent
decades proving this thesis.
However, such retailers will eventually run
out of brands to stock, and the reason for
that comes down to simple maths.
At its core, retail has always been a value
exchange between brands – that is, the
businesses that manufacture branded
product lines – consumers, and retailers,
with retailers occupying the precarious
middle part of the equation.
For the relationship to hold, each party
must contribute value to the others. But
in a post-industrial, increasingly postdigital,
and post-pandemic world, the
retailer’s place in that equation has become
The value equation
Only a decade or two ago, delivering value
as a retailer was relatively simple.
Brands brought product design, quality, and
name recognition, while consumers brought
demand and dollars.
And retailers, in most cases, needed only
to provide physical points of distribution for
products, coupled with a willingness to relay
product information on behalf of the brand
Everyone was satisfied.
The problem today is that while the value
contributed by brands and consumers
has remained more-or-less constant, the
contribution traditionally made by retailers
is now all but worthless.
Consumers, with the internet at their
fingertips, no longer require retailers to act
as porters of product information.
Likewise, brands, with unmitigated
digital access to hundreds of millions of
consumers, no longer need to rely on
a third-party retailer’s physical assets
for customer acquisition or product
In other words, consumers and brands
have all the tools they need to carry on quite
capably without retailers.
It has all driven
us to a rather
moment in retail
history; a point
value they bring
to their part of
Hence, brands like Nike are ramping up
their direct-to-consumer strategies.
It has all driven us to a rather dramatic
moment in retail history; a point where
retailers across all categories have to
completely re-think the value they bring to
their part of the equation.
They must once and for all retire easy
scapegoats like Amazon, e-commerce
and Millennials because the real enemy is
none of these external forces, but rather
their own failures to beat back irrelevance,
a condition for which there is only one cure
– reinvention and the contribution of new
radical value, not only for consumers but for
Defining ‘radical value’
This notion of radical value is important.
Take, for example, Amazon. Love it or not,
brands are drawn by the tens of thousands
to sell on Amazon because Amazon
radically redefined our sense of selection
and convenience and in the process, formed
a global tribe of Prime Members nearly 200
Similarly, China’s Alibaba has executed a
74 | November 2021
radical level of integration into the lives of
its customers, offering brands access to the
world’s largest single market of shoppers.
In order to survive, all retailers must create
similarly radical levels of value.
It starts with creating radical value for
customers. Retailers can and must create
radical value in one or more of four areas:
• Cultural value – Outdoor clothing
retailer Patagonia creates radical cultural
value through its single-minded focus on
environmental stewardship, placing this
imperative at the core of everything the
business does including its financial model.
This makes Patagonia as much a social
movement as a retailer; the commitment to
the environment acts as a lightning rod for
like-minded customers and staff.
All organisational objectives,
communications and initiatives ‘ladder’
back up to environmental protection,
making Patagonia a ‘tribal ‘outpost for
customers who share its values.
• Entertainment value – Retailers can also
create customer value with entertainment;
UK department store Selfridges creates
radical entertainment value through an
intense focus on experience.
From streetwear departments with skate
bowls to creative pop-ups and unique food
and beverage installations, the experience
at Selfridges has, to a great extent, become
the product itself.
The years leading up to the pandemic saw
the retailer make huge investments in what
managing director Andrew Keith recently
called “all the magic that goes on in the
• Expertise value – New York’s Allure Store,
a partnership between Allure magazine
publisher Condé Nast and retail platform
Stour, delivers radical expertise value in
its category – beauty products – through
authority. This authority is established via
The Allure beauty store – to which I am an
advisor – does not hire retail workers but
instead beauty influencers.
The result is a dynamic team of influential
beauty experts, all of whom speak with
authority from personal and professional
experience. They do so both in-store and
through social media content shared to the
retailer’s growing legion of followers.
• Product/channel value – Finally, there are
retailers that bring radical levels of product
design, channel control or consolidation to
Luxottica, for example, is estimated to
control 40–60 percent of the global eyewear
market, making it almost impossible to do
business in the optical category without
doing business with Luxottica.
Retailers that so thoroughly control access
and distribution within a category carry
obvious value to consumers as a go-to
Other retailers create products that become
so dominant in their categories that they
become a magnet for associated products.
Apple is an obvious example; if you
manufacture iPhone cases or any other
tech accessory, chances are you’d clamour
to obtain space in an Apple store because
Apple contributes radical levels of design to
both its products and its stores.
Value creation for retailers
What’s particularly interesting is that, in
most cases, the same retailers that create
radical value for consumers also tend to
create equally radical levels of value for the
brands they stock.
In becoming a cultural flagbearer for
the environment, Patagonia brings to
its ‘brand partners’ an army of loyal and
highly-engaged customers to whom they
otherwise wouldn’t have such easy access.
Another example is the US retailer Camp,
which sells children’s toys, activity sets,
books, and more.
Camp creates in-store theatre and events
for parents and children, marketing itself as
a ‘family experience company’.
In doing so, the business provides handson
and contextual opportunities for
children to engage with brands’ products;
opportunities that simply can’t be delivered
online or in other more conventional toy
It is imperative
role in the 'value
new ways of
to make the
most of branded
The retail technology start-up B8TA is
another intriguing example. Not only
does the business attract a particularly
passionate segment of the market, but
its model is based on in-store product
demonstrations and presentations.
Manufacturers pay to rent out space for
their product to be displayed inside B8TA’s
retail locations, along with a tablet that each
brand customises with software.
This model offers the manufacturers
access to robust data, providing them with
consumer intelligence and insights they
wouldn’t otherwise access.
Similarly, the Allure Store, mentioned
previously, also acts as a marketing ‘flywheel’
for brands, producing compelling
product content and in-store activations,
all of which would carry significant cost if
brands were to produce it themselves.
The common thread here is that these
retailers are fundamentally changing the
conversation they’re having with brands.
For too long, we’ve assumed the
retailer-brand relationship to be
transactional – purely based on volume,
margin, and incentives.
But brands today are asking for more; they
want market intelligence, they want – at the
very least – ‘co-ownership’ of the customer
relationship where loyalty is shared, they
want their unique ‘brand story’ articulated
and animated with excellence, and they want
their prices treated with integrity.
Retailers that appreciate this shift and
deliver radical value back to brands will
perform better in the long-term than those
retailers who do nothing but extract value
from the relationship.
Because, in the end, retailers that do not
become a source of radical value for brands
will awaken one day to find their sales floors
empty of branded goods.
DOUG STEPHENS is founder and CEO
of Retail Prophet and the author of three
books on the future of retail, including
the recently released ‘Resurrecting
Retail: The Future of Business in a Post-
Pandemic World.’ Visit: retailprophet.com
November 2021 | 75
Crucial strategies for selling to
different personality types
BRI WILLIAMS reveals how to tailor your sales message to the two
types of consumers – promotion-focused and prevention-focused.
There’s a wealth of research on how best
to frame your sales message to appeal to
For example, advertisements that are
framed positively work best for people
who are promotion-focused – in other
words, people who seek to maximise the
probability of obtaining a positive outcome.
For these promotion-focused people you
can talk about the benefits they’ll enjoy
and what they’ll gain.
It’s a little more nuanced for the other
type of consumers, who are prevention
focused. These people prefer to avoid
negative outcomes rather than seek
If the product is hedonic – that is,
pleasurable, such as a massage or holiday
–they respond more favourably if the ad is
negative, probably because it assuages any
guilt they may feel for ‘indulging’!
Meanwhile, for utilitarian products – such
as a calculator or car wax – positive
advertising works best.
In separate research, prevention-focused
consumers tend to prefer products with
utilitarian-related attributes; they would
choose a laptop with a long battery life,
while promotion-focused people would
prefer products with hedonic attributes,
such as a laptop with appealing design.
This is all very well, but the question is,
how do you know what type of person you
are dealing with in the first place?
Promotion or prevention?
If you are sending an email, having a
meeting, or conversing with a customer,
how can you determine whether to talk
the benefits up, or focus on avoiding the
Here are some characteristics to help you
identify someone’s type.
• Work and make decisions quickly
• Consider a lot of alternatives
Are your customers prevention-focused or promotion-focused ?
• Are open to new opportunities
• Have a rosy, optimistic outlook
• Plan for the best-case scenario
• Seek positive feedback and lose ‘steam’
• Feel dejected when things go wrong,
and happy when they go right
Meanwhile, prevention-focused people:
• Work and make decisions slowly and
• Tend to be accurate
• Are stressed by short deadlines
• Stick to known ways of doing things
• Prepare for the worst
• Are uncomfortable with praise or
• Feel worried or anxious when things go
wrong, and relieved when things go right
During your interactions with a customer,
you can often pick up on clues during the
course of the conversation.
Applying the knowledge
Once you get an idea of whether a person
is promotion or prevention-focused, you
can address them in a way that maximises
their sense of compatibility.
be sure to
them, as they
to praise. Use
phrases, such as
They’ll be more likely to be persuaded by
your message if it ‘fits’ with their style.
When communicating with promotionfocused
people, be sure to compliment
them, as they respond well to praise.
Use optimistic terms and phrases, such
as ‘growth’, ‘gain’, ‘opportunity’, ‘benefits’,
‘chance’, and ‘innovation’. Prime them
to think in a promotion-focused way by
getting them to reflect or express their
hopes and aspirations.
When communicating with preventionfocused
people, remember that they can
be motivated by a gentle critique – though
nothing too personal.
Use terms and phrases related to security,
such as ‘protection’, ‘secure’, ‘avoid’, ‘risk’,
‘thorough’, ‘careful’, ‘planned’, ‘accurate’.
Prime them to think in a preventionfocused
way by getting them to reflect or
express their duties and obligations.
You can likewise adapt messages about
your product according to whether your
target market is prevention- or promotionoriented.
For example, if framing a luxury car in a
promotion-focused way, the seller might
discuss its performance and design.
Whereas, framing it in a preventionfocused
way, the seller might focus on its
fuel economy and safety standards.
Playing the odds
If all else fails, and in situations where you
can’t pre-determine what the focus of your
target audience is, I suggest playing the
odds and leading with the positive rather
A positive message will give you ‘coverage’
across all promotion-focused people and
some prevention-focused types.
BRI WILLIAMS is founder of People
Patterns, a specialist consultancy
that applies behavioural science to
everyday business issues.
76 | November 2021
Three critical keys to a successful strategy
to recover from COVID-19
In the current uncertain environment, DAVE WAKEMAN advises how
business owners can assess and adapt their management strategy.
Like most folks, I’m still unsure of what
stage of the pandemic we are in.
Are we hitting the end of this? Are we in
the rough middle stages?
Is there some big twist that will push us
back to the beginning?
I’m not sure.
What I do know is that this period of time
definitely fits the definition of what many
strategists term a ‘VUCA environment’
– volatile, uncertain, complex, and
Assisting business owners to think
through dealing with this time has kept
my mind off where we are in the stages
of recovery, or dealing with the pandemic
– for the better, I hope.
All of this thinking over the last few
months has enabled me to put together
a few ideas on managing your business
strategy through this particular
Don’t be afraid of choice
Now, more than ever, we should all be
willing to embrace the choices that are
available to us.
We keep hearing about ‘the Great
Resignation’ of employees, particularly
in the US.
That is a reflection of people making a
choice about their lives, their careers,
and what is important to them.
What the research shows us is that
people’s feelings on value have changed;
what they want has changed, and what
they are willing to invest their time,
money, and attention in, has changed.
It is important that you think about this
in the context of yourself, your business,
and your staff.
Expecting that the things that were
certain before the pandemic started will
remain the same is a dangerous bet.
This means that you must embrace
choice and be willing to have the courage
Decision-making can be challenging when times are uncertain.
to make new decisions, adjusting your
strategy if that is what the world around
you – the market, your staff, your
customers – demands.
Know your position
There are only two positioning choices
you can make as a business – a choice
related to your competition, and a choice
related to the nature of your business.
For example, if you decide to use
service as your selling point, you
could say to customers, “Our service
is great,” or alternatively, “You don’t
have to deal with bad service when
you choose us.”
The first one is about your business, the
second is about your competition.
The problem is that too many business
owners attempt to do both and as
a result, get stuck in the middle
of nowhere and end up seeing no
improvement in sales.
As we enter a stage of recovery where
the idea of ‘normal’ or ‘new normal’ is
thrown around – with no context and,
often, no basis in reality – it is important
to understand why people will choose
to work with you, or shop with you, over
As French marketing expert Louis
Even in the
best of times,
things you are
for life. The
reality is that
Grenier says, “Not standing out is the
All of us need to understand why folks
are going to pick us and what that says
about how we position ourselves in the
Know this and deal with it.
Even in the best of times, strategic
decisions shouldn’t be things you are
shackled to for life.
The reality is that all strategies
eventually stop working.
As a business owner, it is your job
to understand that you are going to
need to consistently update your
strategy based on new research, new
market conditions and challenges, or
new concepts of value creation.
In a VUCA environment, these ‘inflection
points’ happen much more quickly,
consistently, and radically.
This means that all of us need to
recognise that we must monitor our
environment for signs of change, new
ideas and opportunities, and new
possibilities, more frequently than we
One of the key ideas that I try to teach
in my strategy work is that the best
approach to being flexible isn’t to make
your decision-making process ‘all or
Rather, it is about recognising the
possibilities so that you can embrace
the one that will give you the best
likelihood of success.
That’s smart in normal times – and,
I’d argue, even smarter now.
DAVE WAKEMAN is a consultant,
writer, and teacher who believes in
profits, not promises. His firm advises
businesses on creating focused
strategies that lead to profitable growth.
November 2021 | 77
Marketing & PR
Why marketing and promotion matters:
Building the ark before it rains
BRIDGET BROWN analyses the difference between sales and marketing and
explains why small businesses should invest in a strong marketing strategy.
There is a healthy competition between
the two disciplines, but are sales more
important than marketing?
It’s a question small business owners
must consider because they frequently
wear both hats, being responsible for
increasing sales and developing the
Sales is a clear path
Most small business owners focus on
sales, and this makes sense; after all,
if sales aren’t going well, you don’t make
The problem is, if you don’t have a steady
influx of new customers – or repeat
customers – even the best sales processes
and techniques can’t help you.
There is another reason small businesses
tend to focus on sales strategy, and it can
That reason is that sales is simple – it
offers a clear path forward.
It is essentially only one thing, and it is easy
to measure and track success.
Plus, if you own a small business, you know
sales are vital, so you push forward with
an emphasis on improving your processes
Marketing, on the other hand, is less
Marketing is about knowing your target
audience and what they want, and shaping
your business to provide that.
This takes a lot of forms, including:
• Branding – Many marketers think of this
as the identity you create for your business
and the personality behind your words; I
consider those tools to shape your brand.
Brand itself is actually the level of
credibility you have in your market, and
what your reputation says about you
• Generating demand – Cultivating and
growing the existing interest in your offer,
as well as looking for new audiences
Stay afloat amid the shifting tides of retail with a solid marketing strategy.
• Lead generation – Attracting people
who are interested in your offer, and
cultivating a relationship with them
• Competitive intelligence – Market
research and assessing your competitors
• Pricing – Determining the value of your
offer, and what your audience is willing
• Channel strategy – Determining where,
when, and how you sell your offer
Naturally, marketing takes a lot of
effort. Of course, sales also takes
effort, but marketing does not show the
immediate, tangible reward of cash in
hand that sales does.
For that reason, many business owners
try to pretend marketing is optional, rather
To me, both marketing and sales are
important, but marketing should
Marketing as foundation
Marketing requires a clear message,
carefully chosen tactics, and a strategic
plan. That’s a big lift for a small business.
It seems expensive, and maybe even
optional. I prefer to think of it in another
way – as an investment that will increase in
value over time.
My parents worked in banking and
up that savings
which can keep
the lesson they taught us kids was the
importance of saving.
I got my first job at 14 and was obligated to
save a third of my paycheque. It seemed
draconian at the time – I wanted to spend it
all on concert tickets and black lipstick!
While I haven’t always been able to keep my
savings to this level, I have done a good job
of squirrelling some of my income away,
and it has saved me time and again.
There is nothing more freeing than being
able to walk away from a bad job because
you have enough money in the bank to pay
your bills until you find something better.
Think of marketing the same way – as a
hedge against the tough times.
Robust marketing is like building up
that savings account; you are constantly
generating leads which can keep your
business afloat during lean times.
By having a steady stream of incoming
business, you won’t need to worry about
making payroll or keeping the lights on.
You can concentrate on the day-to-day
challenges of serving your customers
because you know you have a plan for
As the saying goes, the time to build
the ark is before it rains. Creating a
sustainable marketing system is a hedge
against lean or difficult times ahead.
If business slows down, you have the
means to return to profitability – so long as
your marketing plan is running efficiently.
During boom times, building a quality
customer base is a way to capitalise on
your current success and store it away for
BRIDGET BROWN is founder of
Create That Copy & Marketing, a
Canadian marketing firm focused on
generating leads and increasing sales
and revenue for small businesses. Visit:
78 | November 2021
The hidden power of your website’s FAQ page
The ‘frequently asked questions’ page is often an afterthought when designing a website, but it can provide
opportunities to both promote your business and increase sales, writes DONNA ST JEAN CONTI.
Public relations (PR) practitioners have a
variety of tools at their disposal, with the
press release possibly the most used – but
anothe, the question-and-answer (Q&A)
is used less often, yet it can be highly
effective and useful.
As the playwright Eugène Ionesco wrote,
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but
The Q&A is valued by editors, reporters,
and customers alike, as it provides
straightforward information about
a business, its products, and/or
When crafted well, they lead a reader
through and to the exact message the
communicator wants to deliver.
Addressing common enquiries
When customers or potential customers
want to learn more about you and your
business, an effective way to help them
with this is through a type of Q&A – the
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on
But what are these pages for, exactly?
According to Kelli Matthews, a PR
executive and academic, these pages
are essentially edited transcripts of
an interview that “includes both the
interviewer’s direct questions and the
interviewee’s response in written format.”
In an article published by the firm
Allen Hall Public Relations, Matthews
further explains that this format is often
preferable to that of a narrative story,
as it is simplistic and written in a “to-thepoint
Matthews identifies several important
steps in how to put together an effective
FAQ page, following this interviewstyle
The most important point is that you
should think about the final product
and desired message before conducting
First, type out the entire transcript before
editing. Then, arrange the questions in an
Answering your customers' questions can help you improve sales and SEO.
order that makes sense, and revisit the
page after you have written it.
Thinking of open-ended questions will
allow for more in-depth responses, and
editing a full transcript is easier than a
Also, having questions arranged in
a meaningful way leads to efficient
Revisiting the page after its completion
allows you to approach it in its entirety,
with a refreshed perspective – similar to
the way a customer, potential customer,
or journalist looking to write about your
Evolving the FAQ
The development of technologies such
as voice search, mobile search, and
personal/home assistants and speakers
has led to the resurgence of the Q&A.
In an article published on Search Engine
Journal – a website dedicated to search
engine optimisation (SEO) and digital
marketing news – Lee Wilson, head of
services for UK digital marketing agency
Vertical Leap, explored the role of the
“FAQ pages can bring in new visitors
to your website via organic search and
drive them to related pages – most
typically deeper blog pages and service
will allow for
arranged in a
leads to efficient
pages closely related to the questions
being resolved,” Wilson wrote.
This is because all of these innovations
“rely on pre-results and can be targeted
specifically with FAQ pages.”
An effective FAQ page “reflects your
audience’s needs, covers a broad range
of intent, is frequently update with new
data, drives viewers to important pages
on the site, and showcases expertise and
authority within your niche,” he added.
Putting it all together
So, what goes into an effective Q&A?
Based on my own experience, and after
reviewing both Matthews’ and Wilson’s
articles, there are several answers:
• Approach your FAQ page with a bigpicture
perspective and create questions
for an interview that are open-ended
• Address the common needs of your
• Use the opportunity to lead the audience
to the message you want to convey. As part
of this, ensure that your questions and the
edited responses are to the point
When done correctly, FAQ pages instil a
sense of trust in your audience, removing
barriers to purchase by directing
customers – and potential customers
– to the information they need before
making a purchase.
They also showcase expertise and
authority in your category and improve
your SEO ranking.
DONNA ST JEAN CONTI is president
of St. Conti Communications, an
award-winning full-service marketing
communications agency specialising
in public relations, social media,
and writing support. Visit:
November 2021 | 79
Troy O’Brien Jewellery, Sydney NSW
Age 46 Years in Trade 31 • Training Apprenticeship through TAFE Ultimo; I apprenticed at Distell International with Albert and Peter Grech and with my uncle Peter Quinn
First job Distell International, 1990 • Other Qualifications 31 years of on-the-bench training, laser welding, and member of the Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia
I don’t have one signature piece – many pieces I have made over
the years have become favourites! I do enjoy creating a range of
jewellery based on animals, creatures, and marine life, and that
has become a ‘bespoke’ style for the store. I hope that every piece
I create for my customers becomes a ‘signature’ piece for them
and an heirloom of the future.
4FAVOURITE GEMSTONE Tourmaline, because
of the diverse range of colours! Tourmaline is a
gemstone of such high quality and diversity, from the
exceptionally rare Paraìba tourmaline to the uniquely
beautiful bi-colour tourmalines.
Each gemstone holds its own unique beauty and
rarity, which makes them highly valued by discerning
collectors. I love sourcing tourmalines and genuinely
get excited by their divine colour and beauty.
4FAVOURITE METAL Platinum – the only reason
people don’t use it is usually because of the higher
cost but, for me, this is far outweighed by the benefits
of its high lustre and longevity.
It has a nice weighty feel, giving a true sense of luxury
and quality that, for me, makes it second to none.
4FAVOURITE TOOL My laser. It makes all sorts of
repairs, assembly of intricate parts, welding platinum,
and repairing porosity easier and is a well-valued
investment in my workshop.
4BEST NEW TOOL DISCOVERY My steamer. It’s not
exactly a new tool, but I went without one for many
years – and now I could not live without it!
4BEST PART OF THE JOB This is an obvious answer,
but it is honestly my customers’ joy in seeing a piece
of jewellery I have created just for them. It never gets
old for me.
4WORST PART OF THE JOB Dealing with manky
earrings, licked rings, and gross watches!
4BEST TIP FROM A JEWELLER My old boss and
good friend Albert Grech always taught me to expect
4BEST TIP TO A JEWELLER Keep the stress behind
the scenes! Be patient, smile, always work hard and
keep honing your skills.
4BIGGEST HEALTH CONCERN ON THE BENCH Being
aware of your posture and your eyes; always take
breaks and stretch your back as well as your eyes.
Be careful of what you are breathing in, too. We work
with many chemicals, abrasives, and polish dust, so
try to protect yourself from these as best as possible.
4LOVE JEWELLERY BECAUSE It is different every
day. The ability we have to turn raw materials into
beautiful, loved pieces that become part of someone’s
life memories is a wonderful feeling.
80 | November 2021
Anticipating – and exceeding – your
VIRGINIA MOODY explains the importance of providing first-class customer service,
both online and in-store, in an increasingly competitive retail environment.
We are living in an age where competition
for jewellery customers is high; the
online market is always evolving and
expanding and differentiating your
business can be a challenging endeavour.
What will distinguish you in the eyes of
your customer is how you treat them, what
you record and remember about them, and
their before-and-after-sales experiences
with your business.
Choosing to exceed expectations is the key
to building your reputation, your company
and developing trust with the people that
matter – your customers.
Customer service is about anticipating
customers’ needs, building a strong
relationship with them, and ensuring that
they feel valued and appreciated.
Good word of mouth can never be
underestimated, and in ensuring your
customers leave satisfied, you are primed
for repeat business.
Integral to setting your business up for
success is ensuring that both you and
your employees follow best practices; you
want to ensure that your responses to
customers are cohesive and reflect your
values as a seller.
Part of this involves designing a customer
service model based on what you know
about your customers and what you think
they expect from your business. Find out
who your customers are, and importantly,
how they wish to be communicated with.
It is also helpful to consider the many
points of contact you have, with the aim
of refining every interaction with your
business to be positive.
Actions like timely responses to questions
on your website or through social media
channels, dealing with customer enquiries
about warranty issues, exchanges and
returns – including issues relating to
freight and addressing complaints – are
included in this.
You want customers to walk away from
their interactions with your business on a
positive note, so it cannot be emphasised
enough that you deal with every customer
in a professional manner.
Ensuring you actively listen to them
and making certain you have a detailed
knowledge of your products and policies
is vital. It is far too easy to lose your
customer to the myriad of other jewellery
stores out there, and you want to do
everything in your power to retain them for
their next purchase.
Just one bad experience is all it takes to
negate the hard work you put into attaining
your customer, so be mindful that it is the
readiness to listen and to address any
concerns in a timely, ‘can-do’ manner, that
they appreciate and remember most.
While a shift to online purchasing in the
wake of COVID-19 was expected, the
pandemic has in fact generated a dramatic
migration to digital sales and services,
with the ‘Millennial mind-set’ towards
technology now rapidly being adopted
across all generations.
A massive transformation in the way
people buy is fertile ground for new habit
formation, and has prompted many
businesses to search for new, more
efficient systems to address customer
We use the Shopify e-commerce platform
which allows us to collate basic customer
contact details, conversion information,
and purchase history through our website’s
back-end. In turn, this enables us to create
personas of what our customers are like
and what they are looking for.
Ultimately, knowing who your customers
want the whole
encounter is a
them and their
are is the key to providing the products
and service that they would expect from
When a customer deals with your
company you want the whole experience
to be seamless. Every element of difficulty
that customers’ encounter is a barrier
between them and their purchase, so you
need to ensure your contact details are
accessible and your policies are clear.
Customers today are increasingly techsavvy,
with many expecting omnichannel
options; some prefer digital enquiries and
self-service pathways, while others prefer
to make more traditional contact via
phone and email.
Ensuring that the customer can contact
you using the method they want and find
easiest is an asset in ensuring a great
experience with your business.
It is by providing outstanding customer
service that our customers want to return
to us time and again; after all, customer
satisfaction is a fundamental element to
the building of a loyal customer base, and,
ultimately, the success of our businesses.
Without open lines of communication and
active engagement with our customers,
we may not know that they are dissatisfied
until they have moved on to another
business, or let the world know online.
Remember, building a successful brand
depends on your customers’ experiences.
The key is in making their experience a
success as well.
Name: Virginia Moody
Business: Harper & Rowe
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Years in the industry: 11
82 | November 2021
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