Jeweller - May 2022

A new era: The pearl industry has been strengthened by adversity Responsibly sourced: Retailers want to provide it, but what does it really mean? Crystal ball: In order to predict trends, we learn from the past

A new era: The pearl industry has been strengthened by adversity
Responsibly sourced: Retailers want to provide it, but what does it really mean?
Crystal ball: In order to predict trends, we learn from the past


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MAY <strong>2022</strong><br />

A new era<br />



Responsibly sourced<br />



Crystal ball<br />



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MAY <strong>2022</strong><br />

Contents<br />

This Month<br />

Industry Facets<br />

11 Editorial<br />

12 Upfront<br />

14 News<br />

38 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Showcase<br />

24<br />

37<br />

52<br />

54<br />

10 YEARS AGO<br />

Time Machine: <strong>May</strong> 2012<br />


South Sea and Tahitian pearls<br />

MY BENCH<br />

Muhammad Taqi Shakoor<br />


Lachlan Renshaw<br />


Ethical dilemma<br />

4Consumers are increasingly interested in<br />

products deemed responsibly sourced and<br />

retailers are eager to meet those needs.<br />

HUGH BROWN explores the complexities of<br />

these measures and the impact it has on the<br />

world's poorest people.<br />

Features<br />

29<br />

40<br />


Exploring the international pearl industry<br />


Responisible sourcing isn't black and white<br />

Better Your Business<br />


A new world<br />

4The COVID pandemic has forced<br />

change within many businesses and the<br />

pearl industry is no exception. <strong>Jeweller</strong><br />

examines three key markets - Australia,<br />

Japan and China - and how they've<br />

rebounded into a new era.<br />

46<br />

48<br />

49<br />

50<br />

51<br />


2021 was a year to learn from. BRYAN PEARSON looks back to predict what's ahead.<br />


GRAHAM JONES explains the importance of routine maintenance in a digital landscape.<br />


TOM MARTIN simplifies the psychology behind strong sales.<br />


NANCY GEORGES highlights the hidden value of community shopping events.<br />


Use of data can make or break a business. MICHAEL HINSHAW breaks it down.<br />


South Sea pearls<br />

4South Sea and Tahitian<br />

pearls are the most highly<br />

sought after pearls of all.<br />

Learn what it is that makes<br />

these gems so very popular.<br />

FRONT COVER Gerrim International proudly<br />

brings timeless elegance with their exquisite<br />

designs. Pride in ownership with Gerrim,<br />

their precious gem collections are created<br />

with passion, designed by women for women.<br />

Sophistication everyday with Gerrim, a leading<br />

Australian supplier for over 25 years.<br />

To learn more visit: gerrim.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 7

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Earrings Gold Filigree<br />

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Earrings<br />

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$1595 34. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Filigree Coin Ring<br />

$1595<br />

ct Rose Gold<br />

ee Coin Ring<br />

5<br />

Pride in Ownership<br />

29. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Diamond Set Studs<br />

$1695<br />

35. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Signet Ring $1195<br />

33. 9ct 35. Rose 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Gold Filigree Signet Ring $1195<br />

Teardrop<br />

Earrings<br />

$1095<br />

34. 9ct Ro<br />

Filigree Co<br />

$1595<br />

se Gold<br />

rrings $795<br />

30. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Diamond Round<br />

Signet<br />

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Ring<br />

9ct<br />

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Rose Gold<br />

Diamond Round<br />

Signet Ring $1485<br />

32. 9ct Belt<br />

Ring $1275<br />

32. 9ct Belt<br />

Ring $1275<br />

36. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Huggie Earrings $795<br />

36. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Huggie 35. 9ct Rose Earrings Gold $795<br />

Signet Ring $1195<br />

Art Deco<br />

ated Emerald<br />

namel Pendant<br />

5<br />

31. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Diamond 31. 9ct Oval Rose Gold<br />

Signet Diamond Ring $1495 Oval<br />

Signet Ring $1495<br />

38. S/Silver Art<br />

Deco<br />

38.<br />

Enamel<br />

S/Silver<br />

&<br />

Art<br />

Deco Enamel &<br />

CZ Ring $195<br />

CZ Ring $195<br />

30. 37. 9ct 9ct Rose Rose Gold Gold<br />

Diamond Ornate Round<br />

Signet 37.<br />

Bracelet<br />

Ring 9ct $1485 Rose Gold<br />

$3445<br />

Ornate Bracelet<br />

$3445<br />

31. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

Diamond Oval<br />

Signet Ring $1495<br />

41. Art Deco<br />

Created<br />

41. Art Deco<br />

Created<br />

Emerald &<br />

38. S/Silver Emerald Art &<br />

Enamel Ring<br />

Deco Enamel & Ring<br />

CZ $225 Ring<br />

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37. 9ct Rose Gold<br />

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Ring $1275<br />

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Please note that we supply our collections exclusively to retailers.<br />

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41. Art Deco<br />

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42. Art Deco<br />

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& Created Enamel Emerald Pendant<br />

$195<br />

& Enamel Pendant<br />

$195<br />

36. 9ct Rose Go<br />

Huggie Earring<br />

42. Art D<br />

Created<br />

& Ename<br />

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hange.<br />

39. S/Silver PO<br />

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Deco<br />

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CZ Earrings Stud Earrings<br />

Enamel & CZ Stud Earrings<br />

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$195<br />


43. 43. Art Art Deco Deco Created Created<br />

Emerald Emerald and and Enamel Enamel<br />

Earrings Earrings $195 $195<br />

43. Art Deco Created<br />

Emerald and Enamel<br />

Earrings $195<br />

40. S/Silver 40. S/Silver Art Deco Art Deco<br />

Enamel Enamel & CZ & Pendant CZ Pendant<br />

$195 $195<br />

40. S/Silver Art Deco<br />

Enamel & CZ Pendant<br />

$195<br />

Simply Sterlig...<br />

Simply Sterlig...<br />

Items may be enlarged to show detail. Selected pieces available in rose, yellow and white gold. Prices subject to chang<br />

Reproduction of any part of catalogue not permitted without consent of printer.<br />

Items Items may be may enlarged be enlarged to show to show detail. detail. Selected Selected pieces pieces available available in rose, in rose, yellow yellow and and white white gold. gold. Prices Prices subject to to change.<br />

Reproduction of any of any part part of catalogue of catalogue not not permitted without without consent of of printer.

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Editor’s Desk<br />

Veritas odit moras – truth hates delay<br />

‘Corporate transparency’ – world-changing initiative or another buzzword being bandied around?<br />

ANGELA HAN digs a little deeper into what these words really mean.<br />

In theory, ‘corporate transparency’ is<br />

about the degree to which an<br />

organisation’s decision-making,<br />

operations and actions are observable<br />

by external parties, which – most<br />

importantly – includes the general public.<br />

In light of this, it’s no secret that the<br />

Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council (RJC), an<br />

organisation dedicated entirely to advocating<br />

corporate transparency, has faced a tidal<br />

wave of scrutiny in recent weeks.<br />

The uproar emanated from the RJC’s<br />

perceived lack of action on Alrosa, one<br />

of its high-profile members and which<br />

is 33 per cent owned by the Russian<br />

government. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine<br />

began on 24 February, and on 3 March<br />

the RJC announced that the Alrosa<br />

representative had voluntarily resigned<br />

as vice-chair of the board.<br />

However, many members and the wider<br />

jewellery industry thought more action was<br />

required. Some viewed it as inappropriate<br />

for Alrosa to remain an RJC member.<br />

While there may have been steps taken<br />

in private, prolonged silence on the issue<br />

was likened to inaction and more criticism<br />

followed, with the organisation labelled as<br />

hypocritical after repeatedly preaching to the<br />

wider industry on the value of transparency.<br />

If the RJC staff and board refuse to<br />

publicly communicate on simple and<br />

fundamental matters, it’s only fair to ask:<br />

Is the Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council<br />

really responsible?<br />

Today, the RJC finds itself searching for<br />

a new executive director.<br />

If a prospective leader thinks that the<br />

Alrosa membership is the biggest problem<br />

to resolve upon their appointment, then<br />

they need to get out their finest-toothed<br />

comb for a closer look at the organisation.<br />

The RJC’s lack of transparency over the<br />

handling of Alrosa was just the tip of the<br />

iceberg. Unless the organisation changes<br />

its communication and governance, it’ll only<br />

bury itself further into its hole of hypocrisy.<br />

Third-party playing the field<br />

London-based Gemfields Group claims to<br />

be “a world-leading supplier of responsibly<br />

sourced African emeralds, rubies and<br />

sapphires”, and enjoyed growth in revenue<br />

in 2021 to the tune of US$258 million.<br />

The words ‘responsibly sourced’ feature<br />

throughout its website, and are highlighted<br />

and promoted in the company’s annual<br />

reports and other media.<br />

It must be noted that Gemfields is not a<br />

member of the Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Council. There is, of course, no obligation<br />

for it to be so!<br />

Rewind to 2013 – Gemfields acquired<br />

Fabergé, an iconic brand best known for<br />

its gemstone-encrusted eggs. Fabergé<br />

joined the RJC in April 2018 and is<br />

currently certified until February 2024.<br />

Its website states: “2013 - Gemfields,<br />

a world-leading supplier of responsibly<br />

sourced coloured gemstones, acquires<br />

Fabergé with the aim to create a globally<br />

recognised coloured gemstone champion,<br />

building on Fabergé’s status as a global<br />

brand with an exceptional heritage”.<br />

The term ‘responsibly-sourced’ forms a<br />

pivotal part of the company’s marketing.<br />

It’s important to reiterate that the<br />

Gemfields Group isn't an RJC member.<br />

For the RJC, this should raise some big<br />

questions. Perhaps most importantly:<br />

Is it appropriate for one RJC member<br />

company – which has been successful in<br />

gaining responsible sourcing Certification<br />

– to promote another (non-member)<br />

company’s claims of responsible sourcing?<br />

Clearly not so transparent<br />

Mozambique’s Montepuez ruby mine<br />

has been the subject of international<br />

controversy for many years.<br />

Under the heading on Fabergé’s website,<br />

‘Gemfields gemstones are mined with<br />

transparency, legitimacy and integrity’<br />

the page explains that the Gemfields’<br />

mining operation at “Montepuez mine in<br />

Mozambique covers 33,600 hectares and<br />

is one of the most significant ruby<br />

deposits in the world”.<br />

There have been news reports with<br />

allegations of torture, beatings and the<br />

murder of local villagers and miners<br />

working within the vicinity of the<br />

Montepuez operation as recent as 2020.<br />

Rather than apply to join the RJC, in<br />

April 2020, and only two months after<br />

the February report on violence flaring<br />

at its Montepuez mine, Gemfields joined<br />

the Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI), a<br />

global body that claims to be "dedicated<br />

If the RJC staff<br />

and board refuse<br />

to publicly<br />

communicate<br />

on simple and<br />

fundamental<br />

matters, it’s only<br />

fair to ask: Is<br />

the Responsible<br />

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

Council really<br />

responsible?<br />

to sharing best practices”, alongside other<br />

members such as ExxonMobil, Anglo<br />

American and Shell.<br />

It is unclear how many company members<br />

the VPI had in 2020, however, at the time<br />

of publication its website lists only 33,<br />

compared to the RJC’s stable of more<br />

than 1,450 members.<br />

In 2018, Reuters reported that Fabergé<br />

owner, Gemfields was taken to court by<br />

a UK legal firm, Leigh Day, over alleged<br />

human rights abuses in Mozambique.<br />

In an out-of-court settlement, Gemfields<br />

paid out £5.8 million ($US7.8 million).<br />

This has led industry commentators to<br />

question: how can a company that has<br />

been involved in a highly controversial<br />

mining project, and which has agreed<br />

to pay $US7.8 million in compensation<br />

to the local people, can claim to offer<br />

'responsibly-sourced' gemstones?<br />

<strong>May</strong>be it’s all smoke and mirrors<br />

Is it appropriate for Fabergé to campaign<br />

under the banner of ‘responsible’ when<br />

its parent company Gemfields, has been<br />

embroiled in this kind of controversy, in<br />

recent years?<br />

It could be argued that Gemfields is<br />

attempting to benefit from the imprimatur<br />

and/or warrant of the RJC Certification<br />

held by its subsidiary, Fabergé.<br />

How is it acceptable for one company<br />

to trade-off, and benefit from, another<br />

company’s certification for responsibly<br />

sourced gemstones? And if the RJC is not<br />

aware of the actions and activities of its<br />

member, Fabergé, then one must ask – why?<br />

At the time of publication, the RJC has not<br />

acknowledged <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s emails.<br />

Perhaps the biggest question of all is why is<br />

the RJC so unapproachable when it comes to<br />

the search for clarification on these issues?<br />

Is this an example of the corporate<br />

transparency the wider jewellery industry is<br />

supposed to emulate?<br />

No public statements have been made since<br />

1 April. The RJC’s silence is deafening.<br />

Silence, as we often find, is the voice of<br />

complicity.<br />

Angela Han<br />

Publisher<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 11

Upfront<br />

#Instagram hashtags to follow<br />

#toietmoi<br />

149,304 POSTS<br />

#recycledsilver<br />

118,416 POSTS<br />

#watchaddict<br />

5,057,086 POSTS<br />

#etsyearrings<br />

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#artdecojewelry<br />

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Alpha Order<br />

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#mothersdaycollection<br />

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#shopsmallaustralia<br />

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#horology<br />


The Patiala Necklace<br />

4The Patiala Necklace was created by Cartier<br />

in 1928. It was commissioned for Bhupinder<br />

Singh of Patiala, who was the Maharaja of the<br />

princely state of Patiala.<br />

The necklace featured five chains and included<br />

a neck collar. 2,900 diamonds appeared in the<br />

piece, including what was then the world's<br />

seventh largest diamond, the De Beers.<br />

In 1948 the Patiala Necklace was reported<br />

as missing. In 1998, part of the necklace was<br />

discovered in a second-hand jewellery store in<br />

London by a Cartier associate. A number of the<br />

diamonds and rubies were missing.<br />

Cartier purchased the necklace and pursued<br />

a restoration featuring replicas of the original<br />

gemstones, which took four years to complete.<br />

3,763,938 POSTS<br />

#giftideasforher<br />

761,040 POSTS<br />

Trend Spotting<br />

4Green engagement rings have come<br />

roaring into the spotlight following<br />

the engagement of Ben Affleck and<br />

Jennifer Lopez. Affleck presented<br />

the singer with an 8.5-carat natural<br />

green diamond centre stone, flanked by<br />

shaped white diamonds. Actress Megan<br />

Fox also recently began sporting an<br />

emerald engagement ring, comprised<br />

of two bands magnetically linked.<br />

Image credit: Instagram @meganfox<br />

Image credit: Louis Vuitton<br />

Stranger Things<br />

Weird, wacky and wonderful<br />

jewellery news from around the world<br />

Bangle made of skin<br />

4English actress and television<br />

presenter Cat Deeley has<br />

commissioned some unusual<br />

jewellery in honour of her<br />

children. Deeley recently revealed<br />

that she's having a bracelet<br />

made from the skin of her sons,<br />

Milo and James. She is also<br />

having their baby teeth dipped<br />

in gold and fashioned into<br />

wearable jewellery. Deeley has<br />

commissioned London-based<br />

artist Conor Joseph to create<br />

the jewellery.<br />

Fit for a Queen<br />

4Bulgari has revealed a tiara<br />

designed for the Queen of<br />

England's upcoming platinum<br />

jubilee celebrations. A team of five<br />

master goldsmiths spearheaded<br />

the project, which took more than<br />

1,500 hours to complete. The piece<br />

features eight Zambian emeralds<br />

(18-carats), as well as round<br />

brilliant-cut diamonds, pave-set<br />

diamonds on the case and snowset<br />

diamonds on the dial.<br />

A new look for<br />

Twitter for retailers<br />

Digital Brainwave<br />

4Social media juggernaut Twitter may<br />

soon be a different landscape for businesses<br />

following a dramatic change in ownership.<br />

Elon Musk, the world's richest man, has<br />

purchased Twitter for $US44 billion ($AU61.4<br />

billion). In a letter to Bret Taylor, Twitter’s<br />

chair, Musk said the site was not thriving<br />

as a business or as a vessel for freedom of<br />

speech, and “needs to be transformed as a<br />

private company”. Twitter is smaller than rival<br />

Facebook, with approximately 200 million<br />

users. It remains a popular outlet for public<br />

messaging for world leaders, businesses,<br />

celebrities and journalists.<br />

Campaign Watch<br />

4French jeweller Louis Vuitton has<br />

faced a wave of surprise criticism<br />

after launching the brand's new LV Volt<br />

fine jewellery campaign. The luxury<br />

jewellery house promoted its new<br />

campaign on social media, which pays<br />

tribute to the founder with a design<br />

inspired by his initials. Criticism quickly<br />

flooded in online with irate commenters<br />

likening the design to Russia's pro-war<br />

'Z' symbol, seen in footage from the<br />

Ukraine conflict.<br />

Television history<br />

4The wedding ring and necklace<br />

of Betty White, worn on The Mary<br />

Tyler Moore Show, will be up for<br />

auction in September. The auction<br />

will take place in California, with more<br />

than 1,500 items once belonging to<br />

the actress available. White died<br />

on 31 December aged 99 and was<br />

just weeks away from her 100th<br />

birthday. White was a television<br />

performer in a career spanning<br />

eight decades.<br />


Published by Befindan Media Pty Ltd<br />

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

Publisher Angela Han angela.han@jewellermagazine.com • Journalists Samuel Ord samuel.ord@jewellermagazine.com | Richard Chiu editorial@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Production Coordinator Lauren McKinnon art@befindanmedia.com<br />

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

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

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

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

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

arising from the published material.

Quality Findings<br />

Discover the ultimate collection of<br />

world-famous, high-quality findings.<br />

1300 886 108 | AUSTRALIA WIDE | palloys.com

News<br />

Russia causes turmoil and upheavel at Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council<br />

Russian diamond mining juggernaut Alrosa has withdrawn its membership from the Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council.<br />

It’s been a tumultuous month for the Responsible<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council, losing an executive director and<br />

suffering the withdrawal of a number of major<br />

members.<br />

The RJC was thrown into chaos in late March with<br />

the loss of two major members, with Richemont<br />

and the Pandora Group announcing an end to their<br />

association with the Council due to a lack of action<br />

over Russia’s role in the Ukrainian conflict.<br />

While the RJC boasts of a membership count<br />

exceeding 1,400, the loss of the Pandora Group<br />

($AU2.95 billion in annual revenue) and Richemont<br />

($AU20.82 billion in annual revenue) marked major<br />

losses in status for the Council.<br />

The drama continued on 29 March with the<br />

resignation of executive director Iris Van der Veken.<br />

Van der Veken, took on the role of executive<br />

director in 2019.<br />

It was awkward timing to say the least, with the<br />

RJC making a public post on social media website<br />

Linkedin congratulating the then executive director<br />

on her three-year anniversary with the organisation<br />

in the days leading up to her resignation.<br />

The core issue dividing the RJC – which was<br />

founded in 2005 - has been what action in response<br />

to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in late February.<br />

Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond mining<br />

company, is one-third owned by the Russian<br />

government.<br />

Alrosa provides approximately one third of the<br />

world’s rough diamond supply and, was directly<br />

sanctioned by the UK government as a punitive<br />

measure in response to the Ukrainian conflict.<br />

Alrosa voluntarily stepped down from the position<br />

of vice chair of the RJC in early March, however the<br />

move was marked as temporary and since then,<br />

the RJC has not commented on the matter publicly.<br />

In public statements following the resignation, both<br />

Richemont and Pandora Group representatives<br />

lamented the RJC’s lack of response to the<br />

Ukrainian invasion.,<br />

According to Reuters, Richemont CFO Burkhart<br />

Grund addressed the issue in Geneva, saying<br />

"We're trying to uphold the very high standards<br />

we've been shaping over the last 15 years."<br />

Exodus continues<br />

The pain continued for the RJC with luxury<br />

watchmaker Watches of Switzerland and diamond<br />

mining company Alrosa exiting the organisation<br />

shortly after the resignation of Van der Veken.<br />

Watches of Switzerland released a statement<br />

expressing dismay over the RJC’s inaction following<br />

the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.<br />

“The Watches of Switzerland Group is shocked and<br />

appalled by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” the<br />

statement read.<br />

“We stand with Ukraine and its brave people at this<br />

devastating time.<br />

“The Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council’s approach<br />

goes against the common values we expect<br />

from our industry in response to the situation<br />

and we have therefore decided to withdraw our<br />

membership from the RJC.”<br />

The following day, the RJC confirmed that Russian<br />

diamond mining juggernaut Alrosa had suspended<br />

its membership.<br />

“Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the<br />

current geopolitical crisis,” RJC chair David<br />

Bouffard said.<br />

“These have been challenging times and the Board<br />

of the RJC has been pursuing a thorough review of<br />

the situation and, as it is committed to do with each<br />

of its more than 1,500 members, ensuring due<br />

process was followed.<br />

“The Board of the RJC understands and respects<br />

Alrosa’s decision to suspend its membership and<br />

thanks them for their commitment over the last<br />

five years.”<br />

Kering, the French-based multinational with<br />

luxury brands Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci,<br />

Boucheron, Pomellato, Qeelin and Yves Saint<br />

Laurent has also quit the RJC.<br />

Above: Iris Van der Veken; John Hall<br />

Hall takes over<br />

On 7 April, the RJC announced the appointment of<br />

John Hall as interim executive director.<br />

Prior to the resignation of Van der Veken, Hall was<br />

serving as vice chairman for the RJC.<br />

He previously worked with mining company Rio<br />

Tinto in London as general manager of external<br />

affairs.<br />

Hall was a founding member of the RJC in 2005.<br />

According to Rapaport News, the RJC distributed<br />

a letter to members, within which chairman David<br />

Bouffard announced the appointment of Hall and<br />

defended recent criticism of the organisation for<br />

failing to suspend the membership of Russian<br />

mining company Alrosa.<br />

“John (Hall) is a highly experienced executive with<br />

deep expertise in reputational strategy and ethical<br />

supply chains in both the jewellery and mining<br />

industries,” the letter read.<br />

14 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

News<br />

Positive indicators continue in March for Australian jewellery retailers<br />

<strong>2022</strong> is off to a strong start for Australian jewellery retailers,<br />

with data collected from more than 400 businesses by Retail<br />

Edge revealing plenty of positive outcomes.<br />

The first quarter of <strong>2022</strong> is in the books and<br />

heading through April, the latest Retail Edge report<br />

indicates that it continues to be a positive year from<br />

a market perspective, particularly when it comes to<br />

inventory average sale figures.<br />

Data collected from 1 March through 31 March<br />

shows that comparative overall sales dollars<br />

increased by 1.5 per cent compared with the same<br />

period last year, and while there was a huge 56 per<br />

cent increase compared with March in 2020.<br />

The comparative units sold show a decrease of 6<br />

percent compared with March 2021 but a strong 31<br />

per cent increase compared with March 2020.<br />

According to Retail Edge sales manager Michael<br />

Dyer, one potential explanation for this drop in units<br />

sold could be widespread weather conditions on the<br />

east coast of Australia.<br />

The comparative inventory average sale continues<br />

to climb and was 11 per cent higher compared with<br />

March 2021, rising from $209 to $233. Compared<br />

with March of 2020, that was an increase of 24 per<br />

cent.<br />

Product categories show positive signs<br />

There was notable increases across many of the<br />

product categories. Diamond set precious metal<br />

jewellery was up 2.5 per cent compared with March<br />

last year and a remarkable 76 per cent on the same<br />

period in 2020.<br />

Colour stone set precious metal jewellery sales<br />

dollars increased 30 per cent compared with March<br />

2021 and showed an even larger increase of 66 per<br />

cent on the two-year comparison with March 2020.<br />

Non-stone precious metal jewellery sales dollars<br />

increased strongly again, to be 18 per cent<br />

higher compared with March 2021 and it was an<br />

exceptional result of 21 per cent growth on the twoyear<br />

difference with March 2020.<br />

Silver and alternative metals jewellery sales dollars<br />

increased 17 per cent compared with March 2021<br />

and were 53 per cent higher on the two-year<br />

comparison with March 2020.<br />

Dyer believes that the above trends continues to<br />

suggest a strong positive consumer mindset and<br />

that gathering higher quality data was crucial.<br />

“I believe it is so important for getting the best<br />

picture of what is happening,” Dyer said said.<br />

“[Retailers] need to make sure that their custom<br />

makes, diamond set or coloured stone set, are<br />

getting allocated stock numbers and being<br />

recorded as sales in a product category so that the<br />

value of the information can be easily seen, rather<br />

than being lost in your repairs.<br />

“I can't emphasise this enough. The quality of<br />

the data has a strong influence on the visibility of<br />

patterns.”<br />

The pattern with layby purchases showed an<br />

increase of 13.6 per cent in dollars between<br />

new items and pick-ups or cancellations. This<br />

demonstrates good cashflow pattern in the<br />

pipeline.<br />

Interestingly, the pattern in services and repairs is<br />

the reverse outcome with a decrease of more than<br />

12 per cent witnessed between incoming orders<br />

and pick-ups or cancellations.<br />

“That's not bad news,” advised Dyer.<br />

“It just means that the repairs are being completed<br />

and collected. The special order numbers show<br />

a similar pattern with a decrease of 10.3 per<br />

cent between incoming orders and pickups or<br />

cancellations. Again that's not bad news.”<br />

Retail Edge’s data is gathered from its POS<br />

software located more than 400 Australian<br />

independent retail jewellery stores. It is intended<br />

to present a representative sample of the wider<br />

Australian jewellery industry.<br />

Plans start to take shape for Sydney’s International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair<br />

Preparations are well and truly underway for the<br />

upcoming International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair (IJF) in<br />

Sydney following a highly successful Australian<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair in March.<br />

This year’s IJF is scheduled to take place from 27-30<br />

August at the International Convention Centre in<br />

Darling Harbour, Sydney.<br />

The event will come hot on the heels of the highly<br />

successful Australian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair which sold out<br />

four weeks prior to opening.<br />

The IJF will have something for everyone, with<br />

the trade-only fair offering international and local<br />

buyers and sellers the chance to gather under one<br />

roof and network.<br />

The chance to examine new ranges and source<br />

new products, as well as learn skills in work<br />

shops and listen to industry experts speak as<br />

special presentations.<br />

One of this year’s special guests will be Debra<br />

Templar from the Templar Group, who will be<br />

providing special education sessions as a part of the<br />

‘Shop Talk’ program.<br />

The sessions will cover an extensive range of<br />

topics, including but not limited to managing<br />

without staff, visual merchandising, improving<br />

customer service, new emerging technology and<br />

of course, increasing sales.<br />

Templar has more than 25 years experience working<br />

with small business owners and retailers.<br />

Expertise Events managing director, Gary Fitz-Roy<br />

said the chance to work closely and face-to-face<br />

with, and learn from, other members of the industry<br />

can’t be substituted.<br />

”There have been some big lessons over the<br />

last two years and one is never take anything for<br />

granted,” he said.<br />

“Being able to connect with knowledgeable people<br />

who are willing to share is gold to ensuring your<br />

business is ready for what comes along or creates<br />

opportunities.<br />

“We are invested in the industry’s return and believe<br />

education sharing is invaluable.”<br />

Fitz-Roy added that the the three buyings groups<br />

- Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, Independent <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Collective and Leading Edge <strong>Jeweller</strong>s – are all<br />

throwing their full support behind the August fair, as<br />

they did in March.<br />



<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 15

News<br />

Boulder opal jewellery awards to<br />

showcase successful designers<br />

Australia’s homegrown boulder opal – one of the world’s rarest and most<br />

valuable gemstones – will be showcased during the <strong>2022</strong> Queen of Gems<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Awards in July.<br />

Organised by the Queensland Boulder Opal Association (QBOA), the event<br />

– now ninth year of the competition – will be held at The Waltzing Matilda<br />

Museum in Winton and open to Australian opal designers and jewellers.<br />

Featuring the delicate pink tone<br />

of Argyle pink diamonds<br />

The awards will showcase opal creations by “some of Australia’s most<br />

successful designers submit extraordinary concepts before a panel of<br />

experienced judges against a backdrop of the achingly beautiful landscape<br />

around Winton in Outback Queensland”, the organisers noted.<br />

“Distance is no barrier when it comes to an urge to challenge design.<br />

Professional jewellers go out of their way to get their designs to Winton and<br />

express real creativity in showcasing boulder opal.”<br />

Australia is the world leader in opal production and and as such, opal is<br />

regarded as Australia’s national gemstone.<br />

The gem is mined in Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs, New South<br />

Wales; Mintabie, Coober Pedy; Andamooka, South Australia; and in<br />

several areas in Queensland such as the Quilpie district, Yowah district<br />

and the Winton district.<br />

The mineral composition of opal differs depending on the geological<br />

environment from which they originate.<br />

Opal is set apart from other gemstones because of its array of vibrant<br />

colours, which change and flash as it is turned. The gemstone is classified<br />

on the basis of its body tone – the relative darkness or lightness of the opal<br />

and the type of colour pattern or play of colour.<br />

Red Cross Diamond hoped to fetch<br />

$10.7 million at auction<br />

The 205-carat fancy yellow diamond dubbed the “Red Cross Diamond” will<br />

be auctioned this month, and is expected to fetch around $US10.7 million<br />

($AUD14.41 million).<br />

The sellers say a “significant” part of the proceeds will be donated to the<br />

International Red Cross.<br />

The stone – a fancy yellow cushion-shaped diamond – is considered one of<br />

the largest in the world, was mined in 1901 by DeBeers in South Africa and<br />

originally weighed around 375-carats.<br />

Red Cross diamond is designed as a distinctive pavilion forming a Maltese<br />

cross and will be auctioned for the third time since it was unearthed around<br />

100 years ago.<br />

François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe, told Forbes supporting the<br />

Red Cross is “even more poignant in the midst of current events” citing the<br />

ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.<br />

“Part of the proceeds of the sale will benefit the International Committee<br />

of the Red Cross, for a cause that is even more poignant in the midst of<br />

current events,” he said.<br />

The diamond received its name after it was first auctioned in 1918 for the<br />

benefit of the British Red Cross Society and the order of St. John which uses<br />

the symbol of the Maltese Cross.<br />

It was first sold for £GBP 10,000 ($AUD17,583) to London jeweller SJ<br />

Phillips and auctioned for the second time in 1973 for CHF1.8 million<br />

($AUD2.57 million) in Geneva.<br />

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

News<br />

Istanbul Show draws record crowds<br />

More than 36,000 people visited the March Istanbul Jewelry Show.<br />

More than 36,000 people took part in the <strong>2022</strong> March edition of the<br />

Istanbul <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Show, with the successful four-day affair taking<br />

place in Turkey’s largest city.<br />

This year’s event was the 51st edition of the Istanbul <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Show<br />

and marked a promising rebound after two years of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic impacting international travel.<br />

With visitors attending from more than 140 countries, the exhibition<br />

began on 24 March and concluded on 27 March.<br />

In total more than 1200 companies were represented and 30 per<br />

cent of the visitors were overseas buyers. The International Buyer<br />

Delegation Program was also successful, introducing more than<br />

1000 representatives from leading brands and companies to the fair.<br />

UBM Rotaforte founding partner Sermin Cengiz said organisers took<br />

great pride in the fair.<br />

“It’s an honour for us that March organisation of Istanbul <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Show which we’ve been organising since 1986, reached the highest<br />

number of visitors among all other March exhibitions ever,” he said.<br />

“Growing parallel to the growth of the sector, our exhibition has been<br />

ranked among the top five jewellery exhibitions of the world.<br />

“We believe that it will continue to be a preferred event for the<br />

global jewellery industry and mainly for Turkey and that the trend of<br />

increase in number of visitors will continue."<br />

Cengiz believes exhibitions are critical marketing activtities, saying<br />

"Making new business deals, getting new orders and meeting new<br />

professionals of the sector in order to enter new markets is only<br />

possible at the exhibitions.<br />

Exquisite beauty unearthed by Argyle,<br />

Exceptional designs by Pink Kimberley<br />

PinkKimberley.com.au<br />

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

“All meetings made at our March <strong>2022</strong> exhibition will bring<br />

momentum to the global jewellery industry and especially to Turkish<br />

jewellery industry.”<br />

The Istanbul <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Show returns in October with a four-day show<br />

beginning on 6 October.<br />

The Istanbul <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Show has run since 1986, and is organised<br />

by UBM Rotaforte and Informa Markets, the latter of which also<br />

presents a collection of other international jewellery fairs, including<br />

the Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y & Gem Fair.

News<br />

US imposes crippling sanctions on Alrosa; congress addresses loopholes<br />

In what could be a significant blow to Russia, the US<br />

has designated state-run mining company Alrosa<br />

in its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) roster,<br />

which increases sanctions that carry substantial<br />

economic impacts on Russian companies.<br />

The order, issued by the Department of Treasury’s<br />

Office for Assets Control, came on top of prevailing<br />

sanctions prohibiting US companies from dealing<br />

with the mining company, freezing all of Alrosa’s US<br />

assets and restricting US companies from dealing<br />

with the mining giant.<br />

The new sanctions directive also covers companies<br />

owned by international conglomerates directly<br />

importing rough and polished diamonds from Russia<br />

that were previously not explicitly covered by the<br />

sanctions by the US issued in March.<br />

According to Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the<br />

Department of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial<br />

Intelligence, “These sanctions will continue to apply<br />

pressure to key identities that enable and fund<br />

Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine.”<br />

He also noted that the actions “reflect our continued<br />

effort to restrict the Kremlin’s access to assets,<br />

resources, and sectors of the economy that are<br />

essential to supplying and financing Putin’s brutality”.<br />

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US<br />

government has named Alrosa as one of the<br />

companies facing “expansive economic measures”<br />

to disrupt the worldwide supply and trading of<br />

diamonds.<br />

The initial sanctions order prohibited US-based<br />

companies from pursuing all new financial activities<br />

and transactions with companies identified in the<br />

directive.<br />

The order also implicated Russian elites and families<br />

believed to be closely associated with Russian<br />

President Vladimir Putin, which targeted Alrosa<br />

CEO Sergei S. Ivanov, whose father Sergei B. Ivanov<br />

has also been identified as an official of the Russian<br />

government.<br />

Alrosa is one of the largest international mining<br />

companies and is headquartered in Russia. It<br />

accounts for around 30 per cent per cent of<br />

diamonds extracted worldwide.<br />

Congress members want loopholes closed<br />

A bipartisan group of US Congress members have<br />

written to the Biden administration calling for the<br />

examination and closure of loopholes which allow<br />

Russia mining company Alrosa to continue trading<br />

outside of economic sanctions.<br />

The group features 11 members of the US<br />

Congress and is led by Democrat Gerry Connolly<br />

and Republican Austin Scott.<br />

A letter was written to Secretary of State Antony<br />

Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen<br />

asking the Biden administration to examine the<br />

'origin' loophole which allows diamonds mined in<br />

Russia but polished in locations such as India to still<br />

be imported and sold in the US.<br />

The group has also written to the State and Treasury<br />

Departments to extend guidance to Customs and<br />

Border Protection and the Department of Homeland<br />

Security to ensure they prevent Russian diamonds<br />

from reaching the US market.<br />

“We are concerned that the two tranches of sanctions<br />

issued by the Treasury Department to target Russia’s<br />

diamond industry will have a minimal impact on<br />

Alrosa and [CEO] Sergey Ivanov’s ability to freely<br />

operate on the world market,” the letter states.<br />

The Biden administration banned the importation<br />

of diamonds from Russia on 11 March via executive<br />


News<br />

Diamonds and jewellery to benefit from new India trading agreement<br />

Under CECA, India’s gem and jewellery exports to<br />

Australia which are currently estimated at $US300 million<br />

($AU400 million) are expected to double in value in the next<br />

three years.<br />

A billion-dollar bilateral trade agreement has<br />

been reached between India and Australia<br />

which is expected to boost the trade of gems<br />

and jewellery between the two countries.<br />

The Gem and <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Export Promotion<br />

Council (GJEPC) has announced the launch of<br />

the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic<br />

Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which grants<br />

India’s gems and jewellery products preferential<br />

access to Australia and vice versa.<br />

The CECA trade agreement followed the<br />

Comprehensive Economic Partnership<br />

Agreement (CEPA) entered into by India earlier<br />

with the United Arab Emirates, both of which<br />

provide India with a competitive edge over<br />

other suppliers or producers trading in both<br />

countries.<br />

The agreement is aimed at increasing the<br />

bilateral trading value to $US1.5 billion ($AU2<br />

billion) from the current gems and jewellery<br />

commodities trading value of $US950 million<br />

($AU1.26 billion).<br />

Under CECA, India’s gem and jewellery exports<br />

to Australia which are currently estimated at<br />

$US300 million ($AU400 million) are expected<br />

to double in value in the next three years.<br />

According to Colin Shah, chairman, GJEPC,<br />

“The historic India-Australia trade agreement<br />

is expected to unlock millions of dollars of<br />

additional trade due to the preferential access<br />

accorded towards India’s gem and jewellery<br />

exports to the island nation.”<br />

“We expect Australia to benefit from access to<br />

areas where India is a world leader, such as<br />

diamonds,” he said.<br />

Australia imports polished diamonds and<br />

gold jewellery from India, while India imports<br />

precious metals such as gold and silver bars<br />

from Australia.<br />

Shah noted that “Australia is one of our large<br />

suppliers of gold and silver bullion, and until<br />

recently, it was also a key supplier of diamonds.”<br />

“By providing preferential access for Indian gems<br />

and jewellery exports, the deal also makes it<br />

cheaper for Australian retailers to procure worldclass<br />

jewellery crafted with finesse from Indian<br />

manufacturers,” he added.<br />



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News<br />

Rough diamond prices dropping<br />

Rough diamond prices have reportedly fallen after months of frenzied<br />

purchasing. The diamond industry was considered a surprise winner<br />

as the global economy rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic and in<br />

2021, rough diamond prices rose by more than 20 per cent after copping<br />

significant hits in 2019 and 2020.<br />

Rough diamond sales rose by more than 60 per cent in 2021 specifically,<br />

pushing inventory to a historically low level of approximately 29 million<br />

carats.<br />

Russian diamond mining company Alrosa received strong demand for<br />

rough during the fourth quarter of 2021 in particular and increased an<br />

overall increase in diamond production of four per cent.<br />

De Beers meanwhile pushed through one of the most aggressive<br />

diamond price hikes in recent memory in January, taking advantage of the<br />

purchasing frenzy by raising prices by more than five per cent. The largest<br />

increases were for smaller stones.<br />

In late February, the Russian invasion of Ukraine took place and since then,<br />

economic sanctions imposed by the EU and US has made doing business<br />

in Russia complicated.<br />

Fast forwarding to to the current climate and the above, paired with<br />

private companies weighing in on the conflict – Signet <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, Tiffany<br />

and Brilliant Earth have all moved away from purchasing Russian rough<br />

product in differing ways – has led to purchasers exhibiting new levels of<br />

cautiousness when it comes to rough diamonds.<br />

According to a report published by Rapaport News, buyers previously had<br />

stocked up on inventory in anticipation of further price increases in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

“Prices on the secondary market have slipped by around 10 per cent for<br />

2-carat goods and larger in recent weeks, with rough up to 0.75 carats<br />

declining by more than 20 per cent. Prices of the smallest melee items<br />

have slid approximately 40 per cent. Tenders have also seen price dips of<br />

more than 10 per cent,” the article states.<br />

It goes on to explain that pursuit of rough has fractured into two markets:<br />

“Tenders and auctions have seen rocketing prices as the midstream<br />

pushed for product amid shortages, while Alrosa and De Beers have<br />

implemented more modest increases at contract sales.”<br />

Alrosa’s sale took place last week beginning Monday and ending Thursday.<br />

De Beers’ next sight is scheduled to start on Monday. According to<br />

Rapaport News, this division of the market continued at these sales, with<br />

Alrosa keeping prices steady.<br />

The key causes for this dip in pricing for rough remains open to<br />

investigation. It may indicate a steady flow of non-Russian product being<br />

made available to the market as economic sanctions are placed on Alrosa<br />

from European and US sources. The cause may also be far simpler, a<br />

decrease in consumer demand after a strong 2021.<br />

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News<br />

Luxury jeweller reports strong sales<br />

despite on-going Ukrainian conflict<br />

French luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH)<br />

has reported a strong <strong>2022</strong> first quarter performance marking a<br />

strong rebound from the COVID-19 slump and challenges wrought by<br />

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.<br />

Despite its withdrawal from operating in Russia, the group posted<br />

total revenues of €18 billion ($AUD26.38 billion) marking a 29 per<br />

cent increase compared with the same period in 2021, while organic<br />

revenue increased by 23 per cent.<br />

The watches and jewellery business increased by 24 per cent at €2.34<br />

billion ($AUD3.43 billion) for Q1 when compared against the same<br />

period in 2021 at €1.88 billion ($AUD2.76 billion).<br />

“LVMH had a good start to the year against a backdrop of continued<br />

disruption from the health crisis and marked by the dramatic events in<br />

Ukraine,” a company statement announced.<br />

Double-digit revenues were recorded across all business groups,<br />

especially in the US and Europe except for wine and spirits which was<br />

hounded by challenges in the supply chain.<br />

Surprisingly, the Asian market experienced an increase in sales<br />

despite China’s reimposed health restrictions in March.<br />

1/2 PG V<br />


“The LVMH Group is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine<br />

and the region,” noting the group’s foremost priority is the safety<br />

of employees in Ukraine and “provide them with all the necessary<br />

financial and operational assistance.”<br />

The LVMH Group - which owns Bulgari, Chaumet, and Fred, TAG<br />

Heuer, Zenith, and Hublot – has ceased store operations in Russia<br />

together with Richemont, Hermes, Chanel and Kering Group in light of<br />

the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.<br />

The decisions followed Swatch Group - which owns Omega, Longines,<br />

Tissot, and Breguet, among others – which announced it has<br />

suspended exports and trading operations after economic sanction<br />

measures were imposed on Russia.<br />

Colour diamonds shine at Christie’s<br />

Colour diamonds dominated the Christie’s New York ‘Magnificent<br />

Jewels’ auction, led by the 8.8-carat pink diamond dubbed ‘The Fuchsia<br />

Rose’ which was sold for $US6.7 million ($AU9.1 million).<br />

The stone – a potentially internally flawless fancy intense purple-pink<br />

diamond – is a pear-shaped diamond set on a platinum ring flanked by<br />

two 6.1-carat colourless diamonds.<br />

The tender resulted in 68 of the 71 lots being sold at an estimated value<br />

of $US25.1 million ($AU34.1 million).<br />

Among the other standouts of colour diamond pieces were a 2.44-carat<br />

fancy intense pink diamond sold for $US1.6 million ($AU2.17 million)<br />

and a 15.31-carat vivid yellow diamond ring that fetched around $US1.3<br />

million ($AU1.77 million).<br />

White diamonds also showed strong results, highlighted by a<br />

51.28-carat brilliant-cut round diamond ring sold for more than $US1.6<br />

million ($AU2.17 million) and a 9.56-carat Bulgari diamond ring that<br />

fetched $US630,000 ($AU855,858).<br />

This month, Christie’s will auction a 228.31-carat pear-shaped white<br />

diamond, dubbed ‘The Rock’, which is expected to fetch around $US30<br />

million ($AU40.50 million) during the Luxury Week tender in Geneva.

News<br />

Omega x Swatch chaos takes over Australian shopping centres<br />

Featuring different colour schemes to celebrate the solar<br />

system, Swatch made sure to differentiate each model.<br />

Shopping centres in Melbourne and Sydney were<br />

flooded with thousands of people trying to get<br />

their hands on the latest headline generating<br />

timepiece on Saturday 26 March, ahead of other<br />

major global markets.<br />

So, what was the watch generating all the buzz?<br />

Well, watches to be exact: the new Omega x Swatch<br />

Speedmaster Bioceramic MoonSwatch collection.<br />

There are 11 models in the collection paying tribute<br />

to the very solar system we inhabit, with each model<br />

designed after one planetary figure. Each planet<br />

from Mercury to Pluto has been covered, as well<br />

as the Sun and Moon. The watch was set to launch<br />

globally on 26 March, which meant that Australia<br />

was one of the first countries to launch the model,<br />

ahead of the US and European markets.<br />

The watches are designed and modelled after<br />

the iconic Omega Speedmaster Professional<br />

Moonwatch.<br />

In Melbourne, shoppers formed lines outside the<br />

Swatch store at the Chadstone Shopping Centre well<br />

before the doors were opened at 9am with some<br />

having lined up at 6pm the Friday before and turning<br />

up in the middle of the night to join the queue. It was<br />

a similar story at the Pitt Street Boutique in Sydney.<br />

Australians are not the only people caught up in the<br />

frenzy, with similar queus observed everywhere from<br />

Hong Kong to London, Singapore and New York City.<br />

The crowd of anxious shoppers in New York City<br />

reportedly topped 2,000 – despite the Fifth Avenue<br />

store claiming they had just 150 units available.<br />

Unfortunately the story didn’t end with a happy<br />

ending for every shopper, with Swatch announcing<br />

via social media that purchases would be limited to<br />

one per customer in order to satisfy the demand.<br />

“Due to the unexpected and phenomenal demand,<br />

we are obliged to update the purchase limit to<br />

one watch per person until further notice,” the<br />

statement reads.<br />

“We will revert back to two watches per person as<br />

soon as possible.<br />

“The watches are not limited and will be available in<br />

selected Swatch Stores, with more opportunities to<br />

purchase in the coming weeks.”<br />

Much of the hype generated by the Omega x Swatch<br />

Speedmaster Bioceramic MoonSwatch collection<br />

has come about due to the pricing. At just $380 per<br />

watch, the collection offers customers the chance<br />

to own a watch close to the iconic Speedmaster at a<br />

fraction of the cost.<br />

Online auction sites such as eBay are already seeing<br />

watches listed at more than five times the retail<br />

price.<br />

Another reason for the excitement has been<br />

the origins of the collection as a collaboration<br />

between luxury juggernaut Omega and industry<br />

icon Swatch.<br />

Police presence was required to man the line at Chadstone<br />

in Melbourne that spanned hundreds of metres.<br />

Moscow out of World Federation of Diamond Bourses<br />

The Moscow Diamond Bourse has suspended its<br />

membership of the World Federation of Diamond<br />

Bourses.<br />

The 17-year old trading centre announced a<br />

temporary suspension of activity on 7 March<br />

following the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict<br />

in late February. However, the Bourse has now<br />

gone a further step forward, announcing via letter<br />

that it would suspend its membership from the<br />

international organisation until the conflict is<br />

resolved.<br />

“We look forward to see the end of hostilities and<br />

hope that we all will be able to return to normal in<br />

the future,” the letter states.<br />

In response to the self-imposed suspension,<br />

WFDB President Yoram Dvash said “The Moscow<br />

Bourse president Alex Popov acted responsibly<br />

in shutting down its activities and suspending its<br />

membership in the WFDB.”<br />

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses was<br />

established in 1947 and is headquartered in<br />

Antwerp, Belgium. The aim of the organisation is<br />

to provide bourses trading in rough and polished<br />

diamonds, as well as other precious gemstones,<br />

with a common and shared set of trading<br />

practices.<br />

The WFDB has 30 core members and the Moscow<br />

Diamond Bourse was accepted as the 26th<br />

member in June of 2006.<br />

On 15 March, the WFDB released a public<br />

statement addressing the invasion of Ukraine.<br />

“The World Federation of Diamond Bourses<br />

(WFDB) is deeply concerned over the loss of life<br />

and suffering that is inflicted on so many as a<br />

result of the conflict in Ukraine,” the statement<br />

reads.<br />

“As a leading international trade organisation<br />

that incorporates diamond bourses from all<br />

around the globe, the WFDB has always called<br />

upon its members to encourage tolerance,<br />

dialogue and cooperation, as well as compliance<br />

with international business guidelines and the<br />

prevailing laws.<br />

“The current situation is complicated and volatile.<br />

At this time, it is impossible to predict or measure<br />

its impact on the world diamond industry. The<br />

WFDB will carefully monitor all developments<br />

associated with this crisis and will update its<br />

members.<br />

“The WFDB calls on all member bourses to<br />

closely follow the mandatory guidelines and<br />

decisions of the authorities within their relevant<br />

jurisdictions and to guide their members to act in<br />

strict accordance with such binding decisions and<br />

the laws to which they are subject.”<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 23

10 Years Ago<br />

Time Machine: <strong>May</strong> 2012<br />

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

Historic Headlines<br />

4 De Beers antitrust action finally final<br />

4 Australia’s $20 million, 12 carat pink diamond<br />

4 Calleija and Aston Martin: Luxury brands unite<br />

4 Hermes wins $100 million counterfeiting case<br />

4 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y retailer Miijo collapses<br />


Get on the same page<br />

Smart sales leaders know that they are<br />

in it for the long haul and they make<br />

sure that, besides their vision, strategy<br />

and processes being in place, clear,<br />

unambigious performance expectations<br />

are established and communicated to<br />

everyone in the business.<br />



<strong>Jeweller</strong>y association creates<br />

own furore<br />

A furore has erupted within the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Association of Australia after CEO Ian Haddasin<br />

issued an email inviting members to join Rapnet,<br />

an internet diamond trading platform “that allows<br />

diamond trade professionals to buy and sell<br />

diamonds online without commission.”<br />

Rapnet has no Australian or New Zealand office<br />

and is part of the US-based Rapaport Group. The<br />

email read: “JAA, in cooperation with Rapnet – a<br />

Rapaport service, invites you to participate in<br />

this special offer for JAA members only: get 13<br />

months membership for the price of an annual<br />

subscription.”<br />

The uproar began when a number of diamond<br />

dealers discovered that the JAA had distributed<br />

the email only to retail members, not including<br />

JAA supplier members. Many suppliers felt that<br />

the JAA was promoting overseas trade against the<br />

association’s own members.<br />

Dealers call JAA to account<br />

After the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia<br />

caused an industry outrage when its chief<br />

executive officer Ian Hadassin endorsed Rapnet,<br />

an international diamond trading platform, 11<br />

local diamond merchants have written an 'open<br />

letter' calling on Hadassin to explain what the<br />

JAA received from the Rapnet promotion.<br />

The letter pulls no punches, saying that Hadassin’s<br />

email to members was “misinformed and<br />

misleading”.<br />

“Following your recent attack on the wholesale<br />

diamond market in Australia (many of whom are<br />

members and are generally supportive of the<br />

industry), we think it is important that you fully<br />

explain your motivation and actions,” the letter<br />

reads.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 2012<br />

ON THE COVER Kagi<br />

Editor’s Desk<br />

4The quick and the dead: “I won’t<br />

pretend to have all the answers. I won’t<br />

even pretend to understand everything<br />

that is happening.<br />

However, what I do know is that we are<br />

at the beginning of a radical change<br />

to the way we do everything, and that<br />

includes shopping for jewellery.<br />

In addition, Australia is experiencing the<br />

affects of a confluence of many atypical<br />

events (global financial crisis, two speed<br />

economy, increased personal savings,<br />

high Aussie dollar) all of which demand<br />

a rethink of everything.<br />

Move or stand still.<br />

Soapbox<br />

4Talk security, fight crime : “This<br />

lack of communication is making our<br />

industry vulnerable to attack. As such,<br />

we are throwing around the idea of a<br />

database for industry operators to read<br />

about and submit robbery information,<br />

with access to the database restricted<br />

to jewellery store owners and relevant<br />

associates. Service stations have a<br />

similar system and it looks like we are<br />

overdue for one.”<br />

– Toby Bensimon, Director of Sheils<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>s in Western Australia<br />

Pandora’s Karin Adcock<br />

calls time<br />

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the tiny Pandora beads<br />

changed the Australian jewellery industry.<br />

Karin and Brook Adcock launched their new<br />

jewellery business in 2004 from their garage in<br />

Sydney. Little did she know that in only a few short<br />

years the business would have grown to 200 staff<br />

with sales revenue in the tens of millions.<br />

Nor would she have known that the Australian<br />

arm of the Danish designed brand would go on<br />

to become the model for all of Pandora’s other<br />

international markets.<br />

All that in only eight years! However, such success<br />

takes it’s toll and after eight years at the helm,<br />

Adcock announced last week she would be<br />

stepping down as president of Pandora Australia<br />

and would hand the day-to-day management to<br />

David Allen, the company’s vice president, sales.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y report gets it wrong<br />

A major report on the Australian jewellery<br />

industry was released late last month. The<br />

only problem is it’s error-ridden.<br />

The 34-page detailed report published<br />

by IBISWorld includes information about<br />

companies that no longer trade in the<br />

Australian jewellery industry has wrong<br />

store counts and even has errors in<br />

financial analysis.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> obtained a copy of ‘Watch and<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Retailing in Australia – April<br />

2012’ and began dissecting it. We presented<br />

a number of questions to IBISWorld’s<br />

analyst team over the last week in an<br />

attempt to get to the bottom of erroneous<br />

and misleading information.<br />

24 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

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As at 31 December 2021 <strong>Jeweller</strong> was ranked 54,878, in the world,<br />

well ahead of other jewellery industry titles in more populous<br />

countries. For example, the US magazines JCK, National Jeweler,<br />

and Instore ranked 82,055, 134,498, and 238,570 respectively, even<br />

though the population of the US is much larger than Australia.<br />


WORLD<br />


1 <strong>Jeweller</strong> Australia 54,878<br />

2 JCK USA 82,055<br />

3 National Jeweler USA 134,498<br />

4 Instore Magazine USA 238,570<br />

5 Diamond World India 256,670<br />

6 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 269,464<br />

7 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Net Asia Hong Kong 307,988<br />

8 Professional <strong>Jeweller</strong> UK 580,385<br />

9 The Jewelry Magazine India 613,901<br />

10 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Outlook UK 692,146<br />

11 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business Canada 745,214<br />

12 Art of <strong>Jeweller</strong>y India 769,354<br />

Leaders and numbers<br />

have one thing in common...<br />

13 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y World Australia 1,087,006<br />

14 Solitaire Magazine Singapore 1,142,751<br />

15 Indian <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 1,203,543<br />

16 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> Magazine UK 1,305,323<br />

17 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Focus UK 1,846,557<br />

18 Preziosa Magazine Italy 2,198,671<br />

19 The New <strong>Jeweller</strong> UAE / India 2,745,417<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> has been the leading voice of the Australian and New Zealand jewellery<br />

industries for 25 years, and today we rank #1 in the world.<br />

Alexa, the independent global ranking system for measuring website traffic and<br />

readership, now ranks jewellermagazine.com as the most widely read industry<br />

publication in the world – by far!<br />

Better still, the daily time spent on jewellermagazine.com averages 29 minutes, which<br />

far exceeds all other international publications, which average only 2–3 minutes per<br />

visitor. Moreover, our page views is miles ahead of all other industry publications.<br />

Moreover, <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s social media presence dominates and our eMags boast more<br />

than 12.3 million reads.<br />

The numbers speak for themselves - follow the leader, and follow the readers too!<br />

20 Canadian <strong>Jeweller</strong> Canada 3,726,881<br />

21 The Retail Jeweler USA 4,158,087<br />

22 Gold Book Magazine Turkey 4,942,352<br />

23 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Monthly UK 5,386,955<br />

24 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Network South Africa 6,005,766<br />

25 Bangkok Gems & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Thailand NO DATA<br />

26 Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Magazine Hong Kong NO DATA<br />

27 Jewel Trendz India NO DATA<br />

28 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Time New Zealand NO DATA<br />

29 Solitaire International Singapore NO DATA<br />





WORLD<br />


1 Rapaport Magazine* USA 48,447<br />

2 Idex* Israel 84,120<br />


Denotes titles connected to diamond trading platforms / publication




Page Views is the number of times a reader visits any page<br />

on a website. A higher Page View figure the better, because it<br />

means readers are more engaged in the content. <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s<br />

Page View count of 22 leads all websites while most others<br />

can only record a single Page View before the reader leaves.<br />

Time-on-Page is the average time a reader spends on a page<br />

while Time-On-Site is how long they spend on the site each<br />

day. <strong>Jeweller</strong> leads the world with a Daily Time of 29.6 minutes,<br />

while most other publications only manage 1-2 minutes. The<br />

more time spent on a website, the better the global ranking.<br />

The Bounce Rate measures the percentage of visits that<br />

consist of only a single page view. It indicates the percentage<br />

of readers that land on a website, and immediately leave<br />

(‘bounce off’) meaning a low bounce rate is optimal. Alexa<br />

records <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s Bounce Rate at less than 23 per cent.<br />




(IN MINUTES)<br />


BOUNCE<br />

RATE<br />

1 <strong>Jeweller</strong> Australia 22.00<br />

2 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 9.00<br />

3 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Net Asia Hong Kong 3.60<br />

4 The Jewelry Magazine India 2.10<br />

5 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business Canada 2.00<br />

6 Diamond World India 2.00<br />

7 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Focus UK 2.00<br />

8 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> Magazine UK 2.00<br />

9 Indian <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 2.00<br />

10 The New <strong>Jeweller</strong> UAE / India 2.00<br />

11 Canadian <strong>Jeweller</strong> Canada 2.00<br />

12 The Retail Jeweler USA 2.00<br />

13 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Outlook UK 1.80<br />

14 Instore Magazine USA 1.80<br />

15 National Jeweler USA 1.70<br />

16 JCK USA 1.70<br />

17 Professional <strong>Jeweller</strong> UK 1.50<br />

18 Art of <strong>Jeweller</strong>y India 1.40<br />

19 Solitaire Magazine Singapore 1.00<br />

20 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y World Australia 1.00<br />

21 Preziosa Magazine Italy 1.00<br />

22 Gold Book Magazine Turkey 1.00<br />

23 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Monthly UK 1.00<br />

24 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Network South Africa 1.00<br />

25 Bangkok Gems & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Thailand NO DATA<br />

26 Solitaire International Singapore NO DATA<br />

27 Jewel Trendz India NO DATA<br />

28 Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Magazine Hong Kong NO DATA<br />

29 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Time New Zealand NO DATA<br />

1 <strong>Jeweller</strong> Australia 29:60<br />

2 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 20:06<br />

3 National Jeweler USA 15:50<br />

4 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business Canada 02:17<br />

5 Diamond World India 02:15<br />

6 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Outlook UK 02:11<br />

7 JCK USA 01:56<br />

8 Professional <strong>Jeweller</strong> UK 01:55<br />

9 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Focus UK 01:51<br />

10 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Net Asia Hong Kong 01:44<br />

11 The Jewelry Magazine India 01:43<br />

12 Instore Magazine USA 01:42<br />

13 Art of <strong>Jeweller</strong>y India 01:38<br />

14 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> Magazine UK 01:11<br />

15 Solitaire Magazine Singapore 01:10<br />

16 Indian <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 00:54<br />

17 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y World Australia 00:30<br />

18 Preziosa Magazine Italy NO DATA<br />

19 The New <strong>Jeweller</strong> UAE / India NO DATA<br />

20 Canadian <strong>Jeweller</strong> Canada NO DATA<br />

21 The Retail Jeweler USA NO DATA<br />

22 Gold Book Magazine Turkey NO DATA<br />

23 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Monthly UK NO DATA<br />

24 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Network South Africa NO DATA<br />

25 Bangkok Gems & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Thailand NO DATA<br />

26 Solitaire International Singapore NO DATA<br />

27 Jewel Trendz India NO DATA<br />

28 Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Magazine Hong Kong NO DATA<br />

29 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Time New Zealand NO DATA<br />

1 <strong>Jeweller</strong> Australia 22.80%<br />

2 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Net Asia Hong Kong 33.80%<br />

3 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 38.70%<br />

4 Professional <strong>Jeweller</strong> UK 50.00%<br />

5 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Outlook UK 52.00%<br />

6 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business Canada 55.00%<br />

7 Art of <strong>Jeweller</strong>y India 59.10%<br />

8 Indian <strong>Jeweller</strong> India 60.00%<br />

9 Diamond World India 61.50%<br />

10 The Jewelry Magazine India 63.60%<br />

11 Retail <strong>Jeweller</strong> Magazine UK 66.70%<br />

12 National Jeweler USA 68.30%<br />

13 Solitaire Magazine Singapore 70.00%<br />

14 JCK USA 72.70%<br />

15 Instore Magazine USA 73.40%<br />

16 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y World Australia 92.30%<br />

17 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Focus UK NO DATA<br />

18 Preziosa Magazine Italy NO DATA<br />

19 The New <strong>Jeweller</strong> UAE / India NO DATA<br />

20 Canadian <strong>Jeweller</strong> Canada NO DATA<br />

21 The Retail Jeweler USA NO DATA<br />

22 Gold Book Magazine Turkey NO DATA<br />

23 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Monthly UK NO DATA<br />

24 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Network South Africa NO DATA<br />

25 Bangkok Gems & <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Thailand NO DATA<br />

26 Solitaire International Singapore NO DATA<br />

27 Jewel Trendz India NO DATA<br />

28 Hong Kong <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Magazine Hong Kong NO DATA<br />

29 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Time New Zealand NO DATA<br />











(IN MINUTES)<br />





BOUNCE<br />

RATE<br />

1 Idex* Israel 3.50<br />

2 Rapaport Magazine* USA 1.70<br />

1 Rapaport Magazine* USA 02:25<br />

2 Idex* Israel 02:19<br />

1 Rapaport Magazine* USA 60.60%<br />

2 Idex* Israel 75.80%<br />

All data collated as at 31 December 2021

On The Market<br />

1 2 3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

MAY<br />

Product<br />

Spotlight<br />

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

snapshot of the latest and greatest<br />

products to hit the market.<br />

6 7<br />

8<br />

1 GERRIM Elegance personified morganite and diamonds embellished in 9-carat rose gold. 2 BELLA DONNA SILVER Sterling silver white mabe pearl and hammered adjustable ring. Mabe is their<br />

most popular pearl. 3 CLASSIQUE | Sams Group Australia This elegant timepiece from Classique is crafted in stainless steel, featuring Swiss Quartz Movement and sapphire crystal. It is available in<br />

matching ladies and gents designs. 4 MARK MCASKILL Pink Caviar, a stunning art deco inspired ring set with white and Argyle pink diamonds. Available in 9-carat and 18-carat gold. 5 READYMADE |<br />

Palloys Engagement rings in the ReadyMade collection are crafted from 100 per cent ethically sourced and certified Australian gold. Palloys can supply a fully finished engagement ring, ready to<br />

set with a centre stone, or a fully finished diamond wedding band ready to ship the next day. 6 THOMAS SABO | Duraflex Group Australia Blue stones embeded in eye-catching charm pendants.<br />

These octopus and turtle pendants are crafted high quality blackened 925 sterling silver. Octopus is hand decorated with zirconia. Turtle has a shell with faceted stones. 7 DESERT ROSE | Ellendale<br />

Diamonds This 18-carat white androse gold trilogy statement ring features round diamond F VVS 0.72 carats, and two bezel set pear-cut Argyle pink diamonds that are 6PP SIAV totalling 0.122 carats.<br />

8 IKECHO Stunning Edison Diamond Huggy earrings and pendant. Double row of diamond studs on the bail, a lusturous round pearl with the earrings and pendant available in 9-carat yellow, white or rose gold.

Image: Mikimoto<br />

The pearl industry has always been susceptible to sudden and dramatic change, with everything from<br />

diplomacy to disease capable of reshaping the landscape. SAMUEL ORD puts the industry under<br />

a microscope in three key markets as a remodelled pearl industry enters a post-pandemic era.<br />

The international pearl industry has been<br />

forever changed by the impact of the global<br />

COVID pandemic.<br />

Pearls have been admired by cultures right across the<br />

world since they were first uncovered, and they’ve tended to<br />

symbolise different meanings to different people.<br />

Ancient Japanese folktales described pearls as the tears of<br />

mythical creatures, such as mermaids and nympths.<br />

Venus, the Goddess of Love, was once believed to have been<br />

the source of original pearls. The story supposed that after<br />

emerging from the sea, Venus shook the water from her body.<br />

The water fell as droplets, hardening as they met the air and<br />

evolved into perfectly round pearls before returning to the<br />

water.<br />

Early Chinese civilisations believed pearls to be one of the<br />

favourite gemstones of dragons, great beasts who would<br />

carry them nestled between their teeth.<br />

It’s common to see the pearl – embodying perfection, wisdom,<br />

simplicity and of course beauty – associated with strength<br />

too, and as the COVID pandemic appears to wind down within<br />

Australia, the local pearl industry has demonstrated plenty of<br />

strength of its own.<br />

The pandemic threw challenge after challenge in the direction<br />

of Australia’s pearl farmers, retailers and designers and<br />

exiting the pandemic, the industry has reshaped itself and is<br />


Deep Dive<br />

49.4 million<br />

was the auctioned<br />

price of Marie<br />

Antoinette's pearl<br />

pendant<br />

6 months<br />

the minimum<br />

period of time<br />

required for a pearl<br />

to form<br />

1858<br />

the year that<br />

Mikimoto Kokichi<br />

was born, the<br />

Japanese inventor<br />

credited with<br />

creating the first<br />

cultured pearl.<br />

prepared better than ever before to face unchartered waters.<br />

Australia: Everything turned upside down<br />

In Australia, prior to the global pandemic, the outlook was<br />

optimistic for white South Sea pearl producers.<br />

Demand had prompted steady growth from 2013 through<br />

2019, however the first six months of 2020 saw a dramatic<br />

drop in business operations and international consumer<br />

confidence as government regulations were enforced.<br />

By March, travel both within and out of Australia was closed<br />

and pearl producers – the majority of which are located in<br />

Western Australia – were left racing to find ways to continue<br />

production and distribution.<br />

While the farms themselves are, of course, restricted to the<br />

coast, operations are rarely based in one area.<br />

Paspaley Pearling, as one example, farms in Western<br />

Australia while being headquartered in the Northern Territory,<br />

in Darwin. The business also utilisies Japanese technicians<br />

for six months of the year, who were barred from entering<br />

Australia due to the border closures.<br />

In order to overcome these obstacles, Paspaley Pearling was<br />

forced to negotiate travel concessions with Federal, State and<br />

Territory governments.<br />

The business also developed a new online wholesale platform<br />

in order to provide around the clock access fo wholesalers,<br />

manufacturers and retailers across the globe. The first online<br />

auction was held in April of 2021.

Post Pandemic Pearls | PEARL FEATURE<br />

Blue Nile<br />

The Autore Group was struck with a similar dilemma. The<br />

business maintains 10 South Sea pearl farms, located in<br />

Australia and Indonesia, but is headquartered in Sydney.<br />

Following harvest, pearls are transported to Sydney for<br />

examination – a task made difficult by the closure of all<br />

borders in March.<br />

Rosario Autore, CEO and founder of the Autore Group, says<br />

his business was forced to entirely reshape the selling<br />

process.<br />

“Firstly, when the pandemic hit in March 2020, Autore was<br />

due to have an international pearl auction in Hong Kong<br />

which was subsequently cancelled,” he explains.<br />

“During a normal year, we would host between two and<br />

four auctions in Hong Kong and Kobe where 100-150 of our<br />

international clients would attend, and our staff would travel<br />

from Australia to run the auctions.<br />

“When the borders closed, we had to pivot as we were at a<br />

standstill due to our inability to travel. We had a very difficult<br />

five months where sales were impacted dramatically due to<br />

this inability to see our clients face to face, our habitual way<br />

of effecting loose pearl sales.”<br />

Autore said the company “worked with various colleagues<br />

and associates overseas and were able to find a path<br />

through this, and in September 2020 we held our first<br />

auction.<br />

“Today, the pearls travel from Australia to Japan, shown to<br />

our clients for 3 days, then to Hong Kong, shown for another<br />

3 days, and then finally to Shenzhen, where there is a lengthy<br />

customs process.”<br />

He explained that the entire auction period takes three<br />

weeks however he says it “proved to be successful, and while<br />

our staff haven’t been able to meet the clients face to face,<br />

we have had the best results we have seen in several years,<br />

with the prices of South Sea pearls increasing between 20-<br />

40 per cent across various shapes, qualities and sizes.<br />

Autore joked: “Today, the pearls get more frequent flyer<br />

miles than our staff members!”<br />

The Autore Group faced extensive challenges from a farming<br />

perspective too.<br />

He explains that managing staff due to work in both Western<br />

Australia and Queensland was a logistically nightmare.<br />

“The biggest challenge we faced on the farming side of the<br />

business was the travel restrictions within Australia as we<br />

had difficulty bringing staff in an out of our East Arnhem<br />

Land farm.<br />

“This impacted our operations dramatically and delayed the<br />

Annoushka<br />

Mizuki<br />

Autore<br />

Ikecho<br />

seeding of more than 100,000 oysters for a period of over 12<br />

months, hence delaying the revenue of those oysters for over<br />

12 months.<br />

“Furthermore, we were also impacted as we were unable to<br />

provide proper husbandry to the seeded oysters growing a<br />

pearl, which resulted in the loss of approximately 20 per cent<br />

of our seeded stock.<br />

“Our staff had to isolate for two weeks on their return to<br />

Western Australia and Queensland, after their 4 week swing<br />

working on the farm, which took up their time off; this was<br />

incredibly challenging on them and the company.”<br />

Australia: A new kind of dilemma<br />

Atlas Pearls harvests pearls from six farms in Indonesia.<br />

Kym Weir-Smith, chief marketing officer Atlas Pearls, says<br />

it was a surprise to see the industry – which is notoriously<br />

susceptible to massive loss of product due to elements such<br />

as disease – challenged by issues on land for a change, and<br />

not at sea.<br />

“Like so many other industries around the globe, the COVID<br />

pandemic has added extra layers of complexity to the<br />

pearling sector, one already at the mercy of mother nature<br />

and changing environmental conditions.<br />

“Whilst the pearls themselves continued to grow and thrive<br />

in the nutrient rich waters of our six farms, it was above<br />

the water where the impacts were felt the greatest but also<br />

provided some important opportunities.<br />

“The impact of reduced commercial flights has been an<br />

unavoidable disruption in the distribution of pearls to market<br />

but has in turn created a customer attitude more open<br />

to the new and emerging distribution channels we were<br />

developing.<br />

“These new online channels have made our pearls more<br />

accessible geographically and to broader audiences outside<br />

of the traditional markets.<br />

“With a program already underway to diversify our<br />

distribution channels the sudden change in global<br />

environment presented an opportunity which supported this<br />

new direction.”<br />

Australia: Innovative nation<br />

Australians have been lauded as inventive under pressure<br />

and during the pandemic, the pearl industry has lived up to<br />

that reputation.<br />

In November, research from the University of Western<br />

Australia was unveiled revealing that mother-of-pearl could<br />

be used as synthetic bone substitute – research which has<br />

the potential change the face of the pearl industry forever.<br />

30 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

Post Pandemic Pearls | PEARL FEATURE<br />

L to R: Atlas Pearls - An overhead view of an Atlas Pearls farm located in beautiful East Java; Ikecho necklace; Autore Pearls.<br />

The project was dubbed PearlBone.<br />

The collaboration by the University of Western Australia<br />

and biotech business Marine Biomedical aims to develop<br />

PearlBone using nacre - which is abundant in the region - as<br />

a suitable alternative for patients needing bone grafting and<br />

reconstructive surgery.<br />

Minghao Zheng is Professor of Orthopaedic Research at the<br />

UWA and is the co-inventor of the PearlBone project. He says<br />

momentum behind the project is continuing to build.<br />

“It’s a very exciting time for the project, we’ve recently been<br />

awarded government support at both the Federal and State<br />

level to establish a medical facilitiy in the Kimberely region to<br />

manufacture PearlBone product,” he says.<br />

“It’s a project that continues to have a very wide scope in<br />

terms of application, the most common application will be<br />

treating bone traumas which occur as a result of things like<br />

car accidents.<br />

“We’re also looking at applications in terms of dentistry, which<br />

would mostly be fillings.<br />

“PearlBone really has the potential to completely change the<br />

face of the pearl farming industry in Australia forever.<br />

“It’s completely reshaping the purposes of farming and what<br />

can be achieved with the product. If the project is successful<br />

it may lead to an increase in depmand which in turn leads to<br />

more farms.<br />

“That leads to a bigger industry with more and more<br />

people being hired from local communities, boosting local<br />

communities, which is great.”<br />

Australia: Technological advance<br />

Cygnet Bay Farms operates out of both Western Australia and<br />

New South Wales and owner James Brown said there were a<br />

lot of lessons to be learned exiting the pandemic.<br />

“The biggest takeaway from the pandemic and everything<br />

we’ve been through over the last two years I believe has been<br />

the importance of tracking and tracing,” he says.<br />

“We’d all heard of QR codes before the pandemic but did we<br />

really utilise them, or understand how they work and what<br />

they’re capable of? Learning how these sorts of technologies<br />

can be used in the pearl industry is crucial to success.<br />

“The restrictions on travel between borders really showed how<br />

fragile of an industry it can be and how susceptible we are to<br />

disaster. Thankfully we don’t need to rely on flying technicians<br />

in from overseas but I know that’s one thing which really<br />

troubled a lot of Australian pearl producers.<br />

“Purchasing pearls continues to be a very emotive purchase<br />

for consumers and using emerging technologies to<br />


Pearls in Numbers<br />

7500<br />

estimated age of<br />

the oldest pearl<br />

known to<br />

researchers,<br />

which was<br />

discovered in<br />

the UAE<br />

100 million<br />

estimated value<br />

of the world’s<br />

most expensive<br />

pearl, found by a<br />

fisherman in the<br />

Phillipines<br />

216<br />

pearls are found on<br />

the Susa necklace,<br />

the world’s oldest<br />

piece of pearl<br />

jewellery<br />

1<br />

in every 10,000<br />

wild oysters<br />

contain pearls<br />

6 kilograms<br />

weight of<br />

the legendary<br />

Pearl of Allah<br />

demonstrate to consumers that pearls are being produced<br />

in an environmentally friendly way, by organisations that are<br />

aware of the importance of something like climate change,<br />

can go a long way towards allevating any stress or concerns<br />

that a customer may have, and as a result keep those emotive<br />

purchases viable.”<br />

India: Safety comes first<br />

India was one of the country’s hardest hit by the COVID<br />

pandemic, recording the second highest number of confirmed<br />

cases in the world – trailing only the the US. More than<br />

500,000 people lost their lives.<br />

Moksh <strong>Jeweller</strong>y is based in Mumbai and represents more<br />

than 50 years of family legacy and tradition creating high<br />

fashion designs with an undertone of tradition.<br />

Founder and owner Milan Tanvir Chokshi began the business<br />

in 2005 and says that the pandemic was a challenge unlike any<br />

other he had experienced before, and that it changed the way<br />

pearls would be used in designs across the years to come.<br />

“The biggest challenge for us was ensuring the health and<br />

safety of our artisans,” he says.<br />

“A business has to be geared up for any economic volatility, so<br />

that wasn’t really as concerning for us. But an unprecedented<br />

halt to life such as the one we witnessed is something that we<br />

were the least prepared for.<br />

“However with the support of the local government in Mumbai,<br />

we were able to get the permissions to operate our export<br />

business and this kept everything going. At a restricted pace<br />

but it continued all the same.<br />

“Pearls have become more and more visibe in jewellery over<br />

the last few years and I think it’s possibly because they are<br />

comfortable to wear and fit easily into a casual or luxury<br />

mode. Comfort has been key for everyone, particularly while<br />

they were stuck at home over the past couple of years.”<br />

Affect on European pearl retailing<br />

While pearls aren’t farmed in the UK they remain a staple of<br />

high end fashion in cities such as London.<br />

Yoko London was founded in the early 1970s and has three<br />

generations of family business experienced working with 13<br />

different pearl farms around the world, breaching markets<br />

right across Europe.<br />

Yoko London CEO Michael Hakimian said that international<br />

retailers faced similar challenges to Australia’s homegrown<br />

producers and distributers. Restrictions on travel were just<br />

one of many challenges created by the pandemic.<br />

“People had limited opportunities to shop for jewellery in<br />

person,” Hakimian says.<br />

32 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

Producing more than 550,000 pearls each year across 7 farm sites<br />

throughout the South Seas, Atlas Pearls is a global leader in the<br />

production of sustainable South Sea pearls, certified from the source.<br />

Available online around the world.<br />


Post Pandemic Pearls | PEARL FEATURE<br />

L to R: Melanie Georgacopoulos; Ikecho; Yoko London; Tiffany & Co.<br />

“We responded by launching a brand new<br />

e-commerce website in August of 2020 featuring<br />

all of our collections which are available to ship<br />

worldwide.<br />

The restrictions on travel between borders<br />

really showed how fragile of an industry it can<br />

be and how susceptible we are to disaster.<br />

“The other challenge we experienced was that<br />

people had fewer occasions to wear fine jewellery.<br />

However, as a result, we experienced a rise in<br />

demand for easy to wear, fashion forward jewellery<br />

which can be worn daily with more casual outfits.<br />

“The pandemic has affected the supply of highquality<br />

pearls, causing costs to rise, and we expect<br />

this supply problem to remain for the foreseeable<br />

future.”<br />

Yoko London’s flagship store is based in<br />

Knightsbridge. With the store featuring pearls<br />

acquired from all around the world, Hakimain says<br />

that Australian pearls are always popular with<br />

consumers because of their innate qualities.<br />

“We feature Australian South Sea pearls in some of<br />

our finest jewellery designs,” he says.<br />

“These pearls stand out for their exceptionally large<br />

sizes, beautiful surfaces and magnificent lustre.”<br />

China: Government forces change<br />

China remains the world’s largest player in the pearl<br />

farming scene, manufacturing more than 90 per cent<br />

of global supply.<br />

Located in the south east of the country, Zhuji –<br />

nicknamed ‘the Pearl City’ – produces ton after ton<br />

of freshwater pearls in the many waterways that<br />

encompass the province.<br />

The city’s status as the centre of China’s pearl<br />

production may not last forever however.<br />

In 2015, China’s central government released a<br />

10-point action plan aiming to clean up the country’s<br />

rivers and coasts and to preserve the quality of<br />

groundwater reserves. Enforcement of these new<br />

environmental laws quickly impacted the pearl<br />

farming industry and while finding reliable data is<br />

difficult, the overall production of pearls is believed<br />

to have declined every year since 2015.<br />

While the new regulations have forced dramatic<br />

change within the industry, the hope is that the<br />

changes will lead to more sustainable practices and<br />

a higher quality freshwater cultured pearl product<br />

after adjustments are made.<br />

Dr Geng Li is a gemmology professor at China’s<br />

University of Geosciences, located in Beijing. He told<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> believes that concern over the environment<br />

would have a far stronger impact on the future<br />

of pearl farming industry than that of the COVID<br />

pandemic.<br />

“Total production of pearls in China has continually<br />

dropped since 2018 because of environmental<br />

concerns,” he says.<br />

“I don’t think the pandemic will impact greatly on<br />

the pearl farming according to my investigation and<br />

the information from my friends in pearl industry in<br />

Shanxihu, Zhuji, the pearl town.<br />

“The farming industry in China is viewed more like<br />

the fishing industry, and not the jewellery industry.<br />

There has not been much effect on the fishing<br />

industry from the pandemic, and so I think it will be<br />

the same for pearl farming.”<br />

While the new environmental policies were leading<br />

to a decrease in overall production, Dr Li says the<br />

quality of the pearls being produced continued to<br />

improve as time goes on.<br />

“It’s an industry which has greatly changed, not<br />

just in terms of the quality of pearls, but also the<br />

practices of farming,” he says.<br />

“The size, lustre, surface perfection, colour and<br />

shape, they’ve all improved very much. I do believe<br />

that rates of production will continue to decrease if<br />

the government continues to carry out it’s current<br />

environment policy.<br />

“We may see farmers change focus in terms of<br />

quality, of perhaps change to other gems, or another<br />

industry all together. Farming remains a rural job<br />

indeed.”<br />

Japan: Where it all began<br />

Japan is of course, where it all began for the cultured<br />

pearl farming industry.<br />

In 1888, Japanese entrepenuer Mikimoto Kōkichi<br />

obtained a loan to begin his first pearl oyster farm.<br />

Following five years of trials and tribulations, Kōkichi<br />

– facing bankruptcy and humiliation – successfully<br />

seeded an oyster with a small amount of mother of<br />

pearl.<br />

The experiment was successful and he created<br />

the first batch of hemispherical cultured pearls,<br />

kickingstarting Japan’s iconic cultured pearl<br />

industry.<br />

Kōkichi was so beloved for his success that in 1985,<br />

nearly 100 years after he first seeded an oyster,<br />

Japan’s Patent Office named him as one of Japan’s<br />

10 Greatst Inventors.<br />

Today, the spirit of Kōkichi’s ingenuity lives on via the<br />

saltwater farming of Akoya pearls.<br />

The Akoya pearl oyster is the smallest pearl-bearing<br />

saltwater oyster currently being used to create<br />

pearls today.<br />

It only holds one or two bead nuclei at a time, and<br />

after the implantation surgery, the pearl is left<br />

to grow for a period of 18 months to two years.<br />

The longer, the better. Akoya pearls are loved<br />

internationally for their perfectly rounded shape,<br />

and in terms of lustre, they’re remarkably sharp and<br />

highly reflective.<br />

In Mumbai, founder and owner of Moksh <strong>Jeweller</strong>y,<br />

Milan Tanvir Chokshi, says that Japanese pearls<br />

continue to be a staple in the world of design and<br />

remain in high demand.<br />

Chokshi told <strong>Jeweller</strong> that 2021 “was a very difficult<br />

year for the farming industry in Japan”.<br />

It’s an industry which has greatly changed,<br />

not just in terms of the quality of pearls,<br />

but also the practices of farming<br />

“Auctions had to be postponed and there were<br />

restrictions on the number of buyers who were<br />

allowed to attend the auctions. In terms of<br />

production, there wasn’t a big drop in production or<br />

quality. Local demand in Japan dropped significantly<br />

because big gatherings and events were restricted.<br />

“In China however the demand for pearls was<br />

as strong as it was pre-pandemic, so this helped<br />

exporters remain in business.”<br />

As the pandemic headed into a second year in <strong>2022</strong><br />

restrictions on travel were eased in some countries,<br />

while others ramped up intervention.<br />

Chokski says that the market remained kind to<br />

Japanese producers despite the uncertainty.<br />

“In <strong>2022</strong> the production was back to pre-pandemic<br />

levels and the prices were at the highest we’ve seen<br />

for quite a few years,” he explains.<br />

34 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

PEARL FEATURE | Post Pandemic Pearls<br />

“Demand in China was very strong and the weak Yen also helped Japanese<br />

exporters in servigin the demands of the Chinese market. With online sales<br />

growing at a very rapid pace in China, the demand for pearls and pearl<br />

necklaces that were were certified was the highest ever.”<br />

Brighter tomorrow<br />

Despite a challenging two year period for the industry, optimisim about the<br />

future remains a common message coming from various business leaders.<br />

Weir-Smith, says Atlas Pearls’ business is stronger having undergone the<br />

challenge of operating in the midst of a global pandemic.<br />

“Whilst the pandemic presented significant and sudden business<br />

challenges, as the world slowly returns to normal, we strongly believe<br />

the outcomes from the experience will only enhance our way of doing<br />

businesses in the future,” Weir-Smith says.<br />

“The past 24 months has seen unprecedented circumstances as a result of<br />

the COVID pandemic but has highlighted the importance of our company’s<br />

ability to be agile together with a collaborative and cooperative attitude<br />

across every aspect of our business and the wider industry.<br />

“Whilst we can return to the normalities of travel and the physical<br />

connection and presentation of pearls to our customers, the positive<br />

outcomes of the digital reach we have achieved during this time will<br />

continue to support our on-going marketing strategy and global reach.”<br />

For Autore, there were many positives to be found looking ahead to a postpandemic<br />

market.<br />

“During the pandemic, tourism to Australia was completely blocked,<br />

creating difficulties from a retail perspective for the pearl industry,” he<br />

explains.<br />

“On the other hand, the Australia public was not travelling overseas, so<br />

they were spending more on Australian products and supporting local<br />

businesses including the South Sea pearl industry. This past year has in<br />

fact been once of our best years to date!<br />

“Pearls produced from the Pinctada maxima shell, which is the South Sea<br />

pearl shell, have the thickest coating of nacre than any other pearl, providing<br />

a better quality product with a higher lustre.<br />

“This depth in lustre is the most important characteristic, and what we see<br />

as the ‘soul of the pearl. Additionally, Australia pearls, which are from the<br />

Pinctada maxima shell, are the biggest and best pearls in the world and it is<br />

difficult to compare them to the other species.<br />

“As the second largest producer and quota holder in Australia, I can<br />

confidently say Australian South Sea pearls are widely recognised on the<br />

international market as the best and most valuable in the world.”<br />

There’s no doubting that the international pearl market has demonstrated<br />

a willingness to change and adapt to adversity across the past two years.<br />

Businesses are retooled with new skills and platforms. Innovators are<br />

working to discover new uses for pearl products and searching for ways<br />

to improve methods of production.<br />

The industry is better prepared than ever before to face the unknown.<br />

Timeless Elegance<br />

Luxury Pearl and Opal <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

+61 2 9266 0636<br />

enquiries@ikecho.com.au www.ikecho.com.au

Behind every gemstone,<br />

there is a fascinating story<br />

waiting to delight clients<br />

around the world. Studying<br />

with GAA brings the<br />

expertise, networking and<br />

confidence to build a solid<br />

career in a multimilliondollar<br />

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one of the most supportive<br />

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communities of gemmologists<br />

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best decision I ever made.<br />

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Be<br />

Confident<br />

Gem-Ed Australia<br />


Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts<br />

and consumers about gemstones

Pearls Part II: South Sea & Tahitian<br />

Above: Autore Pearls; Arosha Taglia<br />

Below: Assael pearls; Musson<br />

South Sea and Tahitian pearls are the most<br />

prized of pearls cultured today. These<br />

exceptionally lustrous beauties can only<br />

be grown with meticulous care in the most<br />

pristine environmental conditions.<br />

The term South Sea pearls, by CIBJO<br />

definition, refers to cultured pearls from<br />

a Pinctada maxima oyster, grown in the<br />

Indian and Pacific oceans off the coasts<br />

of Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines<br />

(these being the most significant<br />

producers), and Myanmar.<br />

Compared to the saltwater cultured<br />

Akoya pearls (to be explored in Part III),<br />

South Seas have a particularly thick<br />

nacre and distinctive lustre.<br />

The classic white is in the highest<br />

demand of all colours possible in South<br />

Sea pearls, with appreciation growing<br />

for the rarer golden tones. The specific<br />

oyster in which these pearls are grown<br />

determines the resultant colour.<br />

The silver-lipped (or white-lipped) variety<br />

that produces the famous white pearl with<br />

a silvery overtone inhabits the waters off<br />

northern Australia and southern Indonesia,<br />

below the equator. Other colours can<br />

include pinkish and bluish overtones.<br />

Above the equator, the gold-lipped (or<br />

yellow-lipped) variety occupies the<br />

waters surrounding the Philippines and<br />

Indonesia, though also in Myanmar. As<br />

the name suggests, the champagne and<br />

creamy colours this variety produces<br />

can also extend to the rarest of colours -<br />

impressively saturated golden hues.<br />

Of all cultured pearls collectively, the<br />

South Seas are the largest. The average<br />

South Sea pearl will take around<br />

four years to grow, though this varies<br />

as more time is needed to produce<br />

larger pearls. Their size ranges from<br />

approximately 8mm to an outstanding<br />

22mm. These larger specimens are<br />

scarce and valuable.<br />

Heading east and further out into the<br />

South Pacific Ocean, Tahitian pearls<br />

– as they're known – are cultivated<br />

around the islands of French Polynesia.<br />

CIBJO defines these as cultured pearls,<br />

naturally coloured, grown in a natural<br />

environment around these islands by<br />

the Pinctada margaritifera cumingii<br />

oyster. This oyster is black-lipped, and<br />

hence the pearls that result include a<br />

variety of cool hues.<br />

Sometimes referred to as 'black pearls' or<br />

even 'black South Sea pearls', the range<br />

of colour seen in Tahitian pearls is much<br />

more extensive than these names suggest.<br />

Primarily shades of grey, brown, and black,<br />

the possible overtones include blues,<br />

greens, pinks, purples, and even creamy<br />

yellows that give some fantastic colours.<br />

Some popular names adopted by the<br />

trade for Tahitian pearl colours are<br />

'pistachio', 'aubergine' and 'peacock'.<br />

The true black peacock pearls are rare<br />

and carry a price tag to reflect this.<br />

Tahitian pearls are similar to South Sea<br />

South Sea &<br />

Tahitian Pearl<br />

Produced by the<br />

Pinctada maxima and<br />

Pinctada margaritifera<br />

oysters<br />

Colour: Multiple<br />

Found in: Australia,<br />

Indonesia, Philipines,<br />

Myanmar<br />

Mohs Hardness: 2.5 - 3<br />

Lustre: Pearly<br />

Formula: CaCO ³<br />

pearls in size, typically ranging from<br />

9mm to 18mm.<br />

Being gems of an biogenic nature,<br />

a particularly brilliant feature of the<br />

pearling world is the positive impact on<br />

conservation. As they require pollutionfree<br />

waters and thriving ecosystems to<br />

produce gem-quality pearls (which, even in<br />

ideal conditions, is a small percentage of<br />

production), the industry promotes healthy<br />

and sustainable oceanic environments.<br />

As is possible with all pearls, various<br />

treatments can be seen in South Sea<br />

and Tahitian pearls. Dyes, coatings,<br />

lustre enhancements, waxing, and<br />

chemical alteration are just some<br />

potential treatments, all of which<br />

require disclosure upon sale. Features<br />

like uneven colour, unusual blemishes,<br />

discrepancies in fluorescence, and a<br />

waxy-look lustre, can all assist in flagging<br />

possible treatment. However, it is not<br />

always possible for gemmologists to<br />

discern treatment without advanced<br />

laboratory equipment.<br />

Mikaelah Egan FGAA Dip DT<br />

began her career in the industry at<br />

Diamonds of Distinction in 2015. She now<br />

balances her role at the Gemmological<br />

Association of Australia with studying<br />

geology at the University of Queensland.<br />

Visit instagram.com/mikaelah.egan<br />

For more information on gems and<br />

gemmology, go to www.gem.org.au<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 37


Local Talent<br />

ANGELA<br />


Azure Star<br />

Necklace / Azure<br />

Galaxy Pearl<br />

Necklace<br />

Metal: Gold-plated<br />

sterling silver<br />

Gemstones: Lapis<br />

lazuli, pearl<br />

Angela HU<br />

Melbourne, VIC<br />



Dea Gold Cuff<br />

Metals: Goldplated<br />

brass<br />

Christie<br />

Nicolaides<br />

Brisbane, QLD<br />

HLSK<br />

Austin Ring II<br />

Metals: 9-carat<br />

yellow gold<br />

Gemstone: Diamond<br />

Hannah Stewart<br />

Armadale, VIC<br />

Australia and New Zealand are not only home to some of the<br />

rarest gemstones in the world, but also the most talented jewellers.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> showcases a tapestry of local masterpieces that have been<br />

meticulously crafted with great artisanship, right here on home soil<br />


Octavia<br />

Aquamarine<br />

Ring<br />

Metals: 18-carat<br />

white gold<br />

Gemstones:<br />

Aquamarine,<br />

sapphire, diamond<br />

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38 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>


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Responsibily Sourced<br />

What on Earth does ‘responsible sourcing’ mean?<br />

HUGH BROWN explores a world that’s far from<br />

black and white, and one, which he says, makes<br />

it impossible for retail jewellers to understand<br />

let alone decide.<br />

Sulphur Porters, Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia. | Hugh Brown

GEMSTONE FEATURE | Responsibly Sourced<br />

by HUGH BROWN<br />

Left and above: Artisinal<br />

sulphur labourers work at<br />

Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia.<br />

Let’s say you’re the buyer, or a key decision-maker<br />

in a jewellery store, and over the past few years<br />

an increasing number of shoppers are asking<br />

about ‘responsibly sourced’ jewellery.<br />

You know it’s a topical issue – no different to eco-friendly<br />

and sustainable products in other retail categories such as<br />

consumables.<br />

You’ve also heard that it’s complex issue. However, your<br />

intention is to begin offering, or continue selling, products<br />

that are ‘responsibly sourced’, whether they be gemstones,<br />

diamonds, or other jewellery.<br />

It’s about showing that your business has what is known<br />

as ‘CSR’ – corporate and social responsibility – across the<br />

board, even though you may only operate a small jewellery<br />

store.<br />

So how do you go about it? What are the guidelines, and,<br />

most importantly, how can you guarantee that you are<br />

sourcing responsibly?<br />

And just because someone says a product is responsibly<br />

sourced, does that make it true?<br />

Defining the problem<br />

The first issue is to work out what ‘responsibly sourced’<br />

actually means. To the consumer, it may have many<br />

meanings.<br />

Some might be interested in ensuring that no child labour is<br />

involved in the supply chain that produced, say, that beautiful<br />

colour gemstone or gold jewellery piece.<br />

For other customers, ‘responsibly sourced’ might relate to<br />

the impact on the environment, say, in mining operations.<br />

Others might be concerned about human trafficking,<br />

organised crime or the involvement of extremist groups in<br />

the supply channels.<br />

And more politically savvy people may be concerned about<br />

insurgent groups using the proceeds of mineral production<br />

to finance armed conflict.<br />

As you are probably starting to gather, ‘responsibly sourcing’<br />

is not as simple as it first seems.<br />

To add more complexity to the matter, responsible sourcing<br />

is not the same as ‘sustainable sourcing’.<br />

The former requires meeting or complying with accepted<br />

levels of ethical or trustworthy practices in areas such as<br />

human rights or pollution, whereas sustainable sourcing<br />

goes beyond compliance to engage and improve the<br />

AT A GL A NCE<br />

Artisanal and<br />

small-scale mining<br />

45<br />

million<br />

the number of<br />

people working in<br />

artisanal mining<br />

20<br />

per cent of the<br />

world’s gold is<br />

courtesy artisanal<br />

miners<br />

80<br />

The number of<br />

countries where<br />

artisanal mining<br />

takes place<br />

269<br />

million<br />

the potential number of<br />

people downstream who<br />

depend artisanal mining<br />

80<br />

percent cent of the<br />

world’s sapphires<br />

are courtesy<br />

artisanal miners<br />

Source: delvedatabase.org<br />

conditions of sustainability that can include areas such as<br />

livelihoods or climate-smart practices.<br />

So when a customer is asking you about responsible<br />

sourcing, their definition could be very different to yours – or<br />

that of your suppliers – and they could even have sustainable<br />

sourcing in their mind.<br />

Complex subjectivity<br />

The one reality in all of the above is that there are so many<br />

factors involved in the adjudication of what is, and is not,<br />

‘responsibly sourced’ that it’s impossible for there to be<br />

unanimity between consumers as to what it means. It is an<br />

entirely subjective process.<br />

A noble concept, but subjective nevertheless! And after all<br />

that, everything remains voluntary too.<br />

After all the above, the process and definition then becomes<br />

even more complicated when each element of responsible<br />

sourcing needs to be weighted relative to the other, and then<br />

scored to give an overall performance assessment.<br />

It’s a process that every customer does intuitively, making it<br />

impossible for there to be unanimity between customers.<br />

The little guy<br />

One of the major issues I raise with people and groups<br />

who preach about ethics is that responsible sourcing and<br />

sustainable sourcing both ignore the fact that almost the<br />

entire focus is on the negative aspects of jewellery supply<br />

chains, rather than the incredible positives that sourcing<br />

from Third World countries can also generate.<br />

And I say ‘Third World’ because the overwhelming<br />

production of gemstones in particular comes from<br />

impoverished nations.<br />

Now, here’s the rub. I say ‘incredible positives’ because 85<br />

per cent of the global mining of gemstones is carried out by,<br />

what are colloquially known as, artisanal miners.<br />

Artisanal mining, or small-scale mining, refers to<br />

subsistence mining by people using primarily manual<br />

means - forget machinery and automation, they work using<br />

tools such as picks and shovels. Think of the photos we’ve<br />

all seen of the Australian gold rush in the 1850s.<br />

It’s estimated that there are 40 million people mining this<br />

way around the world, while a further 240 million people<br />

symbiotically depend on the activity.<br />

The benefits not only accrue to these miners in the form of<br />

employment, they also accrue in terms of opportunities for<br />

others to gain skills they would otherwise not have because<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 41

Artisanal gold miner, Burkina Faso.<br />

High altitude artisanal gemstone miner, Karakorum Range, Northern Pakistan.<br />

the large-scale mining companies are typically<br />

looking for higher levels of education and training<br />

than most of these miners could ever dream of<br />

possessing.<br />

So artisanal miners and their families can learn<br />

how to be vendors, butchers, accountants, and even<br />

microfinance providers. The list of occupations within<br />

larger artisanal mining communities is large.<br />

Artisanal mining operations are thriving and vibrant<br />

economies where almost all of the money earned by<br />

the workers stays within local communities and ‘incountry’<br />

with some location-specific exceptions. For<br />

example, the ‘narcos’ using illegal mines to launder<br />

dirty money from drug sales into the US. There was a<br />

very public example of this out of Miami recently.<br />

Contrast this to the multinationals, which enter a<br />

country, pay a small amount of taxes, employ far<br />

fewer people and then repatriate most of their profits<br />

to their country of origin and the home countries of<br />

their shareholders.<br />

As you are starting to see, the concept of responsible<br />

sourcing is a minefield (pun fully intended!) and one<br />

which consumers will find almost impossible to<br />

navigate, let alone understand the complexity.<br />

I have worked in the field for more than 16 years and<br />

I have trouble understanding it, so what hope has the<br />

consumer?<br />

Fork in the road<br />

Back to you, as a jewellery retailer who wants to<br />

do the ‘right thing’ for your customers and your<br />

business: what should you do?<br />

The first decision is how do you find your responsibly<br />

sourced jewellery?<br />

Whether you source it directly, or whether you buy<br />

from local or overseas wholesalers, you then have to<br />

decide whether you will advertise and promote the<br />

products as being responsibly sourced. If not, why<br />

would you bother?<br />

Assuming your aim is to promote your own CSR<br />

values, then you will most likely promote your<br />

business – or at least some of the products – as<br />

responsibly sourced.<br />

This leads you to another fork in the road. Will you<br />

rely on your own values and definitions, or will you<br />

rely on a supplier having third party accreditation?<br />

The Australian Competition and Consumer<br />

Commission (ACCC) enforces the Australian<br />

Consumer Law of which section 18 provides that “a<br />

person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in<br />

conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to<br />

mislead or deceive”.<br />

Now, considering there is no single, unilateral<br />

definition for ‘responsible sourcing’ and it can<br />

mean different things to different people – I think it<br />

would be impossible for a consumer to be misled or<br />

deceived – however, I would encourage you to seek<br />

your own legal advice in that regard.<br />

Artisanal mining operations are<br />

thriving and vibrant economies where almost<br />

all of the money earned by the workers stays<br />

within local communities and ‘in-country’ with<br />

some location-specific exceptions.<br />

But let’s say you choose to pursue some assurance<br />

from an external, third party before making claims<br />

that your jewellery is responsibly sourced.<br />

You might look to a body such as the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Association of Australia (JAA) or the Responsible<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council (RJC).<br />

The JAA promotes itself as, “Advancing the<br />

Australian jewellery industry through representation,<br />

unity and consumer confidence” while the RJC tells<br />

us that it is “the world’s leading standard setting<br />

organisation for the jewellery and watch industry. We<br />

promote standards that underpin people’s trust in<br />

the worldwide jewellery and watch supply chain.”<br />

How does any of this help you as the jewellery buyer<br />

or decision-maker to decide whether your precious<br />

stones and jewellery are responsibly sourced?<br />

These two ‘official’ organisations should set your<br />

mind at ease, right? Well, a review of the JAA’s<br />

Industry Code of Conduct <strong>2022</strong> doesn’t engender<br />

great confidence.<br />

Three issues often talked about in the context of<br />

responsible sourcing are mentioned without much<br />

more, requiring Code Signatories (local retailers or<br />

suppliers) to:<br />

1. Implement the procedure provided by the CIBJO<br />

and the World Diamond Council’s “System of<br />

Warranties” to prevent trade in conflict diamonds;<br />

2. Implement procedures recommended by the<br />

JAA to prevent trade in conflict gemstones and<br />

precious metals; and,<br />

3. Make every effort to deal only with companies<br />

that do not exploit children or use child labour,<br />

provide adequate occupational health and safety<br />

conditions and respect the environment.<br />

CIBJO and the World Diamond Council’s (WDC)<br />

‘System of Warranties’ will be addressed below but I<br />

could find no procedures recommended by the JAA<br />

to prevent trade in conflict gemstones and precious<br />

metals.<br />

Moreover the provision on child labour is so<br />

ambiguous as to be meaningless. There is no<br />

mention as to what child labour means specifically.<br />

What ages are included? What occupations?<br />

What even constitutes OH&S or respecting the<br />

environment? All these details are left undefined.<br />

In other words, it appears to me that its mere virtue<br />

signaling, designed to make the JAA look as though<br />

people actually care or that organisations are<br />

honourable.<br />

It’s window dressing, form over substance.<br />

For anyone who might be unscrupulous or for<br />

someone that doesn’t care about the substance and<br />

importance behind these issues, it’s conceivable<br />

that JAA membership could be used to present a<br />

veneer of responsibility by promoting a company as<br />

42 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

High altitude artisanal gemstone miner, Karakorum Range, Northern Pakistan. Artisanal coal scavenger, India.<br />

‘responsible’ by being a signatory to the<br />

Industry Code of Conduct.<br />

In other words, the JAA’s Code is a waste<br />

of time for someone that genuinely cares<br />

about ‘doing good’.<br />

Responsible <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Council<br />

This brings us to the RJC, which has been<br />

recently hammered in the international<br />

media over its association with Alrosa,<br />

the Russian diamond mining company<br />

which is one third owned by the Russian<br />

government, and which has been accused<br />

of helping finance Russia’s recent war on<br />

Ukraine.<br />

The RJC Code of Practices (COP) was last<br />

amended in 2019 to bring it into alignment<br />

with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance<br />

for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals<br />

from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk<br />

Areas (the “OECD DDG”).<br />

This updated system is much tighter than<br />

the previous system and applies to gold,<br />

silver, PGM, diamond and gemstone supply<br />

chains. However, no matter how tightly<br />

regulated a system may appear, it always<br />

seems possible to find gaping holes.<br />

Sadly, we usually find these imperfections<br />

after the fact, when a breach has already<br />

been committed.<br />

Gemfields and Montepuez<br />

This is where the entire concept of<br />

responsible sourcing gets murky.<br />

For example, in 2009, a local farmer<br />

discovered a massive ruby deposit in the<br />

north of the country, in Montepuez. The<br />

find became the world’s richest ruby<br />

discovery and currently accounts for about<br />

40 per cent of global supply.<br />

Within months of the discovery, it’s<br />

reported that a local army General is<br />

alleged to have moved to expropriate the<br />

land and over which he subsequently<br />

acquired prospecting rights.<br />

The local farmer received nothing for his<br />

land or for the ruby discovery and was too<br />

poor to assert his legal rights.<br />

Within the space of two years, the General<br />

formed a joint venture company called<br />

Montepuez Ruby Mines (MRM), which<br />

was split 75:25 with a large-scale mining<br />

operator, Gemfields Group.<br />

Gemfields Group is incorporated in the<br />

tax haven of Guernsey. It is listed on<br />

the Johannesburg and London Stock<br />

Exchanges.<br />

In recent years activity at the MRM has<br />

seen increasing controversy, which has<br />

been reported widely by the world press.<br />

Regional Protection Police and members<br />

of Mozambique’s elite military unit<br />

were engaged together with a private<br />

security firm allegedly hired by Gemfields<br />

to provide security on the mine’s<br />

concessions.<br />

There have been allegations of murder,<br />

torture and beatings of local villagers and<br />

miners working on those concessions by<br />

nacatanas (machete gangs) and private<br />

security personnel associated with the<br />

General and Gemfields.<br />

Leigh Day, a British legal firm that began<br />

litigation against Gemfields in the UK on<br />

behalf of scores of plaintiffs. Its cases<br />

rarely, if ever, seem to get to trial, and that<br />

is what also transpired with the Gemfields<br />

case.<br />

Gemfields settled out of court in early<br />

2019 for the piddling amount of $US7.8<br />

million, in a no-fault settlement. I gather<br />

the company realises that the MRM<br />

controversies refuse to go away.<br />

Know your<br />

Gemfields<br />

258<br />

million<br />

US dollars, the<br />

revenue generated<br />

by Gemfields in<br />

2021<br />

133<br />

million<br />

US dollars,<br />

Gemfields profit<br />

in 2021<br />

230,500<br />

carats of emeralds<br />

at Kagem mine<br />

in 2021<br />

3.3<br />

million<br />

carats of rubies<br />

mined at<br />

Montepuez mine<br />

in 2020<br />

Source: Gemfields Annual<br />

Report, December 2021<br />

Until further updates, watch that space!<br />

Third party certification<br />

This brings me back to the RJC. While it’s<br />

clear that many of the artisanal miners<br />

and villagers were illegally operating on<br />

MRM concessions, they have received<br />

much worse than a raw deal by none other<br />

than one of the world’s largest gemstone<br />

producers.<br />

While all this is on-going, these same<br />

Montepuez rubies are being marketed to<br />

global consumers as ‘responsibly sourced’<br />

by Fabergé, a subsidiary company of<br />

Gemfields.<br />

Interestingly, Fabergé is a certified member<br />

of the RJC, however Gemfields is not, even<br />

though a major component of Fabergé<br />

jewellery is the gemstones and rubles<br />

mined by Gemfields.<br />

Its website states: “Today, Fabergé is a<br />

member of the Gemfields Group – a world<br />

leading supplier of responsibly-sourced<br />

gemstones”.<br />

Therefore, the obvious question that<br />

arises is: how can gemstones that do not<br />

seem to be sourced responsibly within the<br />

context of the RJC’s COP somehow then<br />

be responsibly sourced by its wholly owned<br />

subsidiary?<br />

It raises many more questions around<br />

the meaning of the word ‘responsible’<br />

and leaves us wondering how product<br />

sourced by Faberge from the MRM<br />

concessions can be considered to meet<br />

the COP requirements for certification if<br />

the circumstances under which its parent<br />

company Gemfields came to own a share in<br />

the mine has so many ethical issues – and<br />

controversies - hanging over it?<br />

For example, is it not correct to question the<br />

manner in which the largest ruby discovery<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 43

High altitude artisanal gemstones miner, Karakorum Range, Northern Pakistan.<br />

Artisanal coal scavenger, India.<br />

in history could somehow lead to the expropriation<br />

of land from local villagers and that these people,<br />

including the farmer who made the discovery, could<br />

receive next to nothing for his discovery?<br />

And further, how can it be ‘responsible’ for that<br />

land to be rezoned and issued to a high-ranking<br />

government official before then being part-sold to<br />

one of the world’s largest gemstone miners?<br />

One example of many<br />

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.<br />

There seems to be one rule for some of the world’s<br />

poorest – artisanal miners mining by hand and<br />

fighting to feed their families – and another rule for<br />

the large mining companies.<br />

Recently, I was talking with a colleague who is a<br />

mining company senior executive who has spent<br />

many years supplying contract services to gold<br />

mining companies. He told me that one of the<br />

world’s largest gold miners – a Western company -<br />

had just made a substantial royalty payment to the<br />

government in one of its countries of operation.<br />

The village immediately adjacent to the mine which<br />

generated this royalty payment has no sewerage,<br />

and barely any electricity.<br />

I’ve witnessed this first hand. Some of the worst<br />

poverty I’ve seen in Africa has been right next to<br />

some of its biggest gold mines.<br />

However, for some reason, it’s ‘taken as gospel’<br />

that most Western mining companies operate<br />

responsibly because, regardless of whether this gold<br />

producer is a member of the RJC, one can almost<br />

certainly assume that gold sourced from its site is<br />

being labeled as ‘responsibly sourced’!<br />

While it’s true to say that the world’s poorest<br />

artisanal miners, which everyone seems to love<br />

taking a big stick to, are by no means perfect,<br />

there are so many issues that must be considered<br />

adjudicating on whether a mineral is responsibly<br />

sourced.<br />

Most of these issues are continually overlooked<br />

44 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong><br />

Emerald<br />

Sapphire<br />

Ruby<br />

Source: Gemfields<br />

and responsible sourcing needs to be much more<br />

holistic.<br />

Evaluating the impacts of mining on local<br />

communities - and that’s for large and artisanal<br />

mines – must include factors such as employment,<br />

in-country and regional stability (because people<br />

are gainfully employed), environmental impacts, the<br />

opportunity for people to acquire new skills and the<br />

retention of wealth ‘in-country’.<br />

My issue is that we all seem to be happy to attack the<br />

small guys – the artisanal miners – because they are<br />

easy to target and can’t fight back.<br />

At the same time, we ignore the misdemeanors and<br />

perils of the larger producers because they have<br />

many more financial resources and powerful people<br />

watching their backs.<br />

In other words, holding the largest producers to<br />

account is a much tougher task. Just look at Russian<br />

diamond mining juggernaut Alrosa, if you need an<br />

example.<br />

'Responsibility’ sector<br />

The RJC’s COP is clearly an improved attempt at<br />

a more stringent and responsible due diligence<br />

standard, however, no matter how rigorous people<br />

attempt to make guidelines there will always be<br />

loopholes that are in almost direct proportion to the<br />

amount of subjectivity and latitude allowed within<br />

those standards.<br />

The subjectivity and loopholes vary from consultant<br />

to consultant and auditor to auditor and the level and<br />

extent of their life experience with the impoverished<br />

nations of the Third World. Then you can overlay the<br />

inequality of bargaining power between large and<br />

small and you can start to understand the problem.<br />

If you’re a small miner then your capacity to argue<br />

that you are doing anything ‘responsible’ will<br />

be almost minuscule when compared to any of<br />

the world’s largest mining companies that hold<br />

certification and have powerful board members,<br />

lawyers and litigation budgets to fight anyone who<br />

attempts to take them on.

Underground silver miner, Cerro Rico, Bolivia.<br />

Meat vendor, artisanal gemstones miner, Karakorum Range, Northern Pakistan.<br />

And these challenges pervade the entire responsible<br />

sourcing sector, whether that involves the RJC, WDC<br />

or CIBJO. The legislation and codes of conduct are<br />

only as tight as the interest groups controlling them<br />

will allow.<br />

If you have powerful vested interests fighting you the<br />

entire way, the chances are that legislation or codes of<br />

practice will tend to offer leniency towards those same<br />

interest groups. At the same time, they will block every<br />

nook and cranny for those without sufficient resources<br />

to fight their case.<br />

To see this logic in practice, it is instructive to look at<br />

the EU CAHRA legislation that came into effect on 1<br />

January 2021. This legislation was released with much<br />

fanfare and is still trumpeted by the international<br />

responsible sourcing groupies as being the high-water<br />

mark in global responsible sourcing legislation.<br />

The legislation followed the OECD Due Diligence<br />

Guidance, however, when the legislation was<br />

published, it applied only to the 3Ts and G - the 3Ts<br />

being tin, tantalum and tungsten and the G being gold.<br />

A senior OECD official recently wrote to me and said<br />

that the Guidance was limited to these minerals<br />

because it takes time to get the industry prepared.<br />

That’s accepted, but I pointed out and suggested<br />

to him that the draft legislation was first produced<br />

in 2017 and that the responsible sourcing push by<br />

legislators around the world had been happening<br />

since the Obama administration began in 2010.<br />

Further, that the OECD Guidance was originally<br />

finalised in 2013.<br />

How much ‘time’ is enough? And how much time<br />

should be enough?<br />

This is to assume that the participants involved are<br />

genuine about the process and not merely virtue<br />

signaling. A mounting body of platitudes and evidence<br />

seems to support the latter.<br />

The apparent lunacy of it all is then amplified by<br />

the fact that the EU CAHRA legislation has no<br />

enforcement or penalty provisions and that any<br />

changes to this may be considered when a review of<br />

the legislation is slated for 2023 or 2024.<br />

To quote responsible sourcing consultants and risk<br />

management firm, Achilles, when the new CAHRA<br />

legislation was published: “Both the law in the US<br />

and EU currently lack any real teeth. However, it<br />

is expected that sanctions or penalties could be<br />

introduced in Europe at a later stage if little progress<br />

is made, potentially following its first review in 2023.”<br />

[Emphasis added].<br />

Biggest question for retailers<br />

This brings us all the way back to the original<br />

question: How can I do ‘good’ and buy responsibly<br />

sourced jewellery?<br />

If I’m being honest, I still can’t answer that question.<br />

Clearly if you’re a member of the JAA or RJC then<br />

there will be some obligations that you will need to<br />

follow.<br />

If you have powerful vested interests fighting<br />

you the entire way, the chances are that<br />

legislation or codes of practice will tend to offer<br />

leniency towards those same interest groups.<br />

However, whether there are penalties for failing to do<br />

so is another question entirely. On the other hand, if<br />

you’re not a member, it’s pretty much happy days – do<br />

what you like!<br />

Regardless of whether you are a member of the JAA<br />

or RJC or not, then in my view it matters not as to<br />

whether the gemstones you are buying have been<br />

bought responsibly. What really matters is visiting<br />

the communities where the resources are produced<br />

and building some sense of understanding as to what<br />

positives or negatives will come from your buying<br />

decision.<br />

No matter how hard people try to package up and<br />

present responsible sourcing as the solution to<br />

difficult problems around the world, these things still<br />

come back to the same things as they always have.<br />

The big guys write the rulebook and the little guys get<br />

pushed around and kicked out.<br />

If legislators around the world were serious about<br />

responsible sourcing in the minerals industry there<br />

would be no exclusions by legislators for any mineral.<br />

The rules would be enforced equally whether breaches<br />

relate to the artisanals or the largest companies.<br />

At the moment this isn’t happening.<br />

There is a reason that not all minerals fall within<br />

legislation and COP guidelines and it’s because some<br />

people are more powerful than others. And as many<br />

times as they may say it, this has nothing to do with<br />

legislators and policy-makers not having had enough<br />

time to get it right and everything to do with politics<br />

and influence.<br />

I believe that the existing system that has arisen is<br />

fundamentally flawed and will never be fixed. But<br />

that’s a discussion for another time.<br />

In the meantime, you may now be wondering whether<br />

‘responsibly sourced’ includes enormous profits<br />

being repatriated back to wealthy countries from<br />

impoverished countries or, if it means giving some of<br />

the poorest families in the world the chance to survive<br />

and prosper?<br />

Whatever your intent, I wish you all the best in<br />

trying to ensure your responsibly sourced jewellery<br />

and gemstones are actually ‘responsibly sourced’,<br />

depending on what that means to you, and your<br />

customer.<br />

Good luck!<br />

HUGH BROWN has dedicated the past 15 years<br />

to a publishing project about artisanal miners.<br />

The book – The Garimpeiros Project aims to<br />

raise the profile of the world’s poorest miners,<br />

and to educate rich and powerful about the<br />

value they bring- hbrownofficial.com/msp<br />

He is active on Facebook at HUGHBROWN9<br />

or linkedin.com/in/hugh-brown-37a73132<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 45


Strategy<br />

Looking back to make the<br />

most of what’s ahead<br />

Sometimes the best way to predict the future when it comes to market change and adaptation is to study the past.<br />

BRYAN PEARSON examines the lessons learned in 2021 and how they may impact <strong>2022</strong> as it continues to unfold.<br />

If the past two years have taught the<br />

retail industry anything, it’s to meet the<br />

unexpected, eye-to-eye, with more of<br />

the unexpected.<br />

I mean ’unexpected’ as in surprising<br />

channels, unpredictable brand partnerships<br />

and even a dose of the expected. Consumer<br />

desires have not changed; they still want<br />

shopping to be stress-free, convenient,<br />

personalised and good value.<br />

When asked to rank how much 14 major<br />

retailers care about them – in terms of<br />

value and understanding– shoppers gave<br />

an average score of just seven out of 10,<br />

according to research by WSL Strategic<br />

Retail, in New York.<br />

The reason may be that consumer<br />

expectations continue to evolve in<br />

unexpected ways. The most cost-effective<br />

methods for maintaining relevance<br />

throughtout <strong>2022</strong> and into next year,<br />

therefore, will hinge on consumer<br />

understanding. We can gain that<br />

understanding by looking back on<br />

2021 in detail.<br />

Lessons learned in 2021<br />

If retailers and consumers think price<br />

tags are high today, consider everything<br />

– including non-dollar costs – that will<br />

influence purchase decisions tomorrow,<br />

such as time, convenience and experience.<br />

Any of these factors could change a<br />

shopper’s choice. Every one of them<br />

can coalesce to form expectations that<br />

are unparalleled and shifting with every<br />

rip of the calendar page. Yet while 2021<br />

may have been a challenge, nearly every<br />

month of it delivered a ‘return’ gift waiting<br />

to be unpacked.<br />

Looking back on the top retail news in last<br />

year, here are nine trends and behaviors that<br />

should inform retailer strategies in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

The trends<br />

Earth-friendly appetites will persist: the<br />

emergence of climate-conscious eating is<br />

gaining market support. This preference<br />

extends beyond food to the packaging it<br />

comes in. The next year will be telling for<br />

eco-friendly innovators.<br />

Technology will serve a bigger role in<br />

wellness: in 2021, many consumers<br />

struggled with anxiety and depression<br />

due to the pandemic, and merchants<br />

responded with a range of products<br />

to improve restfulness, creativity and<br />

a sense of purpose. We’re travelling<br />

through <strong>2022</strong> with the continued hum<br />

of uncertainty, so the desire for these<br />

products will likely continue.<br />

Consumers will visit new stores: nearly<br />

3,000 stores were expected to close in 2021,<br />

but close to 6,000 retail openings were<br />

announced during the first three quarters<br />

of the year. Look closer at the kinds of retail<br />

experiences that are being added, and<br />

one can see the decisions behind these<br />

additions hinge on emotional values: the<br />

human urge to resume social activities and<br />

Meeting the<br />

unexpected<br />

with the<br />

expected<br />

requires a<br />

review of the<br />

basics.<br />

Namely, how<br />

shoppers are<br />

using stores,<br />

what cements<br />

their purchase<br />

decisions and<br />

how they pay.<br />

to pamper ourselves in indulgent, frivolous<br />

activities. Retailers that make these<br />

experiences easy will attract customers.<br />

‘<strong>May</strong> I?’ advertising will take hold: More<br />

retailers will adopt permission-based<br />

advertising, asking customers to opt-in<br />

to sharing their data. This follows a year<br />

when many retailers, especially startups,<br />

approached this marketing model as a<br />

standard. To consumers, it should be<br />

standard; 70 per cent think it’s unacceptable<br />

for a business to share their details with<br />

vendors without their permission.<br />

AI will continue to set the price: in 2020,<br />

58 per cent of the top retailers said they<br />

planned to implement some form of AI<br />

pricing technology by the end of 2021.<br />

We’ve reached <strong>2022</strong> and record-making<br />

inflation is underscoring the urgency for<br />

intelligent modeling.<br />

The youngest consumers will be more<br />

active shoppers: sales are not wasted on<br />

the young. In 2020, a reported 80 per cent<br />

of children under the age of 12 influenced<br />

family purchases, translating to $US500<br />

billion ($AUD665 billion) in purchases a<br />

year. Now all of those digital shoppers are<br />

a year older and exploring more ways to<br />

shop. Be tech-forward, be sustainable, be<br />

transparent – and be ready.<br />

Retailers will make rewards cryptic, yet easy<br />

to understand: cryptocurrency, or digital<br />

money such as bitcoin, is becoming less<br />

enigmatic, so it’s a safe bet there are now<br />

enough crypto-curious consumers to justify<br />

46 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

ewards in that form. However, retailers will<br />

need to make the crypto-concept easier to<br />

interpret for new adopters.<br />

Fortunately, cryptocurrencies are<br />

intangible, so simplifying and explaining<br />

the process, as well as providing some<br />

guarantees of value, will go a long way in<br />

stoking consumer interest.<br />

Consumers will want to shake things up:<br />

in 2021, Home Depot’s 12-foot decorative<br />

skeleton became a national figure.<br />

However, the story behind ‘Skelly’s’ success<br />

is what should matter to retail in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

It served as an outlet of expression, from<br />

frustration to humor, and a device that<br />

provided a sense of control. The pandemic<br />

may have kept consumers in, but they could<br />

still act out on their lawns and they loved it.<br />

Untraditional retail hubs will become<br />

Main Street: Following nearly 8,700 store<br />

closures in 2020, developers registered a<br />

wealth of opportunity in all of those vacant<br />

fronts on main streets and suburban<br />

malls. What followed was a movement of<br />

innovative merchant combinations sexy<br />

enough to get shoppers away from their<br />

digital devices.<br />

Profiting from these skills<br />

The price of attracting new customers, and<br />

retaining existing customers, increases like<br />

inflation depending on the environmental<br />

factors that guide all buying decisions,<br />

from pricing, to the channel, to the most<br />

rewarding shopping experience.<br />

Retailers that trust their customers as<br />

guides, and combine that input with<br />

insight-enriching resources such as<br />

machine learning, should be able to<br />

detect worthy trends, as well as guide<br />

their trajectory.<br />

What’s around the corner?<br />

Meeting the unexpected with the expected<br />

requires a review of the basics. Namely,<br />

how shoppers are using stores, what<br />

cements their purchase decisions and<br />

how they pay.<br />

These five trends embody activities and<br />

services that click with consumers, through<br />

novelty, ease or necessity.<br />

#1. Shopping in the stream will bring live<br />

retail therapy. Live-streaming – realtime,<br />

interactive video streams that<br />

sell products, often on social platforms<br />

– bring in-store personal service to the<br />

screen by enabling viewers to comment<br />

during the events.<br />

The US women’s apparel chain Chico’s now<br />

livestreams on Facebook with regularity,<br />

as does Saks Fifth Avenue. Among Saks’s<br />

recent styling streams: a live wedding suite<br />

event with celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger<br />

featuring dresses from designers Carolina<br />

Herrera, David Koma, Alexander Gaultier<br />

and Manolo Blahnik.<br />

#2. Malls emerge in stores for a mini revival.<br />

In the US, traditional shopping centres may<br />

be closing, but a scaled-down version is<br />

emerging among big-name chains through<br />

store-within-a-store formats.<br />

Unlike the Starbucks in the supermarket,<br />

however, in-store co-branding will be taken<br />

to a more sophisticated, digitally-driven<br />

level in <strong>2022</strong>. Take the Hy-Vee store in<br />

Iowa (a supermarket) which is formatted<br />

to operate like a mini mall with a digital<br />

footprint so it can meet large-scale needs.<br />

#3. Buy-now purchase plans coming<br />

sooner than later. Fee-free ‘buy now, pay<br />

later’ payment plans will become the norm<br />

in <strong>2022</strong> and beyond as more competitors<br />

enter the ‘pandemic economy’ fray.<br />

Among the 10 installment services listed<br />

in the US publication US News and World<br />

Report in June are PayPal’s Pay in 4,<br />

Afterpay, Klarna and an option by Amazon.<br />

THE<br />



<strong>2022</strong>?<br />

Livestreaming<br />

Major retailers<br />

will continue to<br />

breach the digital<br />

space by livestreaming<br />

key<br />

releases<br />

Mini-malls<br />

Stores-withinstores<br />

will grow<br />

in popularity<br />

BNPL<br />

Buy now, pay<br />

later will take the<br />

world by storm<br />

Swap meets<br />

Consumers<br />

will pursue the<br />

best prices at a<br />

community level<br />

Crypto<br />

More and more<br />

consumers<br />

will take up<br />

cryptocurrency<br />

as a vehicle for<br />

digital spend<br />

Unlike traditional layaway plans, these<br />

plans enable shoppers to get their items<br />

up front without interest or other fees,<br />

assuming they pay within the allotted<br />

number of installments.<br />

The service is more prominent online,<br />

and as the option becomes more visible,<br />

consumers will come to expect it and<br />

choose the retailers that offer it.<br />

#4. Swap meets to beat inflation. Supply<br />

chain issues are forcing some consumers<br />

to consider alternative options, and ‘buy<br />

nothing’ giveaway groups are taking<br />

advantage.<br />

The New York Times describes the<br />

movement as “a network of social media<br />

groups, mostly on Facebook, where people<br />

give and receive things, treating the stuff<br />

taking up space in their homes as gifts<br />

meant to be shared and treasured.”<br />

This trend can pose a threat to retail sales,<br />

unless retailers can position their reworked<br />

items as the next best thing to buying<br />

nothing. This trend may especially have<br />

legs among younger consumers, including<br />

Gen Z, who are increasingly concerned<br />

about sustainability.<br />

#5. Digital commerce will become<br />

less cryptic. There are more than 6,000<br />

cryptocurrencies on the market, and<br />

more retailers are accepting them.<br />

Crypto shouldn’t block them from also<br />

testing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) –<br />

digital files linked to blockchain that<br />

grant ownership to digital content, such<br />

as an image of Twitter CEO Jack Dorey’s<br />

first tweet.<br />

BRYAN PEARSON is president and<br />

CEO of LoyaltyOne, and has more than<br />

20 years' experience in developing<br />

customer relationship. Visit: loyalty.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 47


Logged On<br />

From little tweaks, big savings grow<br />

Businesses have a habit of avoiding routine maintenance, preferring to perform costly large overhauls every few years.<br />

GRAHAM JONES explains that small but consistent tweaks leads to big savings further down the line.<br />

I recently arranged for some tradesmen<br />

to paint our garden. It hadn’t been done<br />

for several years, so it took them a long<br />

time to remove the grime before they<br />

could paint. The preparation time was the<br />

longest part of the job.<br />

It soon became clear that the excessive<br />

time it took to prepare the fence for<br />

painting could have been saved if we’d<br />

had it painted every year.<br />

While the painters were slapping the<br />

paint on the fence, I was running a oneday<br />

consultancy session for a client in<br />

the Netherlands.<br />

Before the day began, I was concerned<br />

about how I would fill the time they had<br />

booked because, prior to the global<br />

pandemic, I had visited them at their<br />

lovely offices in Amsterdam.<br />

We had spent time discussing their<br />

online options and when I returned to the<br />

UK and checked their internet activity<br />

a few weeks later, it was clear they had<br />

made significant changes following my<br />

consultancy.<br />

They had improved their Twitter<br />

following from around 25,000 to<br />

almost 600,000, showing they were<br />

doing a brilliant job.<br />

The right approach<br />

I approached our new session with<br />

trepidation. I was worried that they<br />

would think they were paying for<br />

nothing. They had done a great deal<br />

of work following my advice, and it<br />

was clearly successful for them. After<br />

analysing everything, I could only find a<br />

few ‘tweaks’ they needed to improve<br />

their current approach.<br />

In the end, I need not have been<br />

concerned.<br />

We spent the day discussing plenty of<br />

elements of their digital operations and<br />

activity. We tweaked something here,<br />

made a minor alteration there, and<br />

before I knew it, our time was up. I asked<br />

if the day had been helpful.<br />

Regular checks and actions avoid a massive task in the future.<br />

They said it was tremendously valuable<br />

and that they would like to book another<br />

session in a year to check they were still<br />

on track.<br />

I made summary notes outlining the<br />

ideas we had produced. There were only<br />

half a dozen key things they needed to<br />

do, plus a handful of smaller items. It<br />

didn’t seem much for a day’s work.<br />

Yet, the client was thrilled with what had<br />

been delivered.<br />

I looked out the office window into the<br />

garden and saw my shiny new fence. I<br />

realised that my client was behaving in<br />

a way that I hadn’t done with my fence.<br />

Rather than waiting several years to see<br />

if their online performance was up to<br />

scratch, they were reviewing every year.<br />

That meant that the time taken to deal<br />

with changes would be a lot less than<br />

if they waited several years to consider<br />

what they were doing.<br />

Unlike my garden fence, which had been<br />

left to get into a sorry state, they were<br />

ensuring that their online presence only<br />

needed a quick ‘touching-up’ every year<br />

or so.<br />

Don’t fall behind<br />

Sometime later I received a request<br />

from a potential client asking if I could<br />

review their website.<br />

When you don’t<br />

reconsider<br />

your social<br />

media strategy<br />

every year,<br />

you also leave<br />

it to wither,<br />

requiring<br />

significant<br />

investment at<br />

a later date.<br />

The company was thinking about a<br />

redesign and wanted to provide some<br />

information to web design companies.<br />

The email told me that they hadn’t done<br />

anything to their website for almost<br />

seven years and they had decided it was<br />

time for a refresh.<br />

I looked at their website and realised it<br />

resembled my neglected fence.<br />

There was a lot of work that needed to<br />

be done to prepare their website for the<br />

designers to do anything fruitful.<br />

When you don’t reconsider your social<br />

media strategy every year, you also<br />

leave it to wither, requiring significant<br />

investment at a later date.<br />

And if you do not look after your digital<br />

footprint on an annual basis, addressing<br />

the necessary changes in one colossal<br />

effort after several years takes more<br />

time and energy than is necessary.<br />

My clients in the Netherlands had the<br />

right idea.<br />

Regular checks and actions mean that<br />

there is never a massive task in the<br />

future.<br />

There is a tendency to go for significant<br />

changes every few years in business,<br />

rather than progressive alterations over<br />

shorter periods. If you are a ‘big change’<br />

business, then you are like my garden<br />

fence.<br />

Leaving it unpainted for so long has<br />

created much more work, at a higher<br />

cost, than if it had been tended to every<br />

year.<br />

Ignoring reviews of your online activity<br />

for long periods also means you make<br />

more work for yourself and raise your<br />

costs.<br />

GRAHAM JONES studies online<br />

behaviour and consumer psychology<br />

to help businesses improve website<br />

success. Visit: grahamjones.co.uk<br />

48 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>


Selling<br />

Fuel and friction: the psychology of sales<br />

Successfully reaching lofty sales targets is usually about more than just offering better products or selling harder.<br />

TOM MARTIN explains how retailers can increase sales by eliminating friction.<br />

All of us - every person, organisation and<br />

sales team - is surrounded by hidden<br />

forces that make it more difficult to<br />

convince others to adopt the new ideas<br />

necessary to close more sales.<br />

So when your sales numbers aren’t<br />

meeting expectations, what do you do?<br />

Loran Nordgren, author of The Human<br />

Element, believes that most companies<br />

add more ‘fuel’.<br />

Staff are encouraged to sell harder, to<br />

improve or invest more in marketing, to<br />

offer new and improved products and to<br />

consider additional hiring.<br />

However, what if you took a different<br />

approach? What if, instead of adding fuel,<br />

you removed friction?<br />

It’s an important question because<br />

answering it incorrectly wastes<br />

investment, time, and effort, which leads<br />

to failure. Fuel in sales is anything that<br />

elevates or enhances the appeal of an idea,<br />

product or decision.<br />

Typically this involves incentives,<br />

supportive evidence, emotional appeals<br />

or demonstrating the value of a new idea,<br />

product, or service to end-users.<br />

Friction meanwhile is anything that resists<br />

change. It’s defined as any set of forces<br />

that drag on innovation and change.<br />

Retailer learns a lesson<br />

In Nordgren’s book, he uses the example of<br />

a hypothetical furniture retailer which sells<br />

customisable one-of-a-kind furniture.<br />

The problem is that the customers love<br />

using the website to customise potential<br />

products and, using online design tools<br />

for hours at a time, but they don’t buy the<br />

finished product.<br />

The retailer attempts to resolve the<br />

problem with ‘fuel’ - reduced prices and<br />

improved fabric options both of which don’t<br />

increase sales.<br />

The retailer then engaged a research<br />

consultant who discovered the real<br />

problem: customers didn’t know what to<br />

What if, instead of adding fuel, you removed friction?<br />

do with their existing furniture in order to<br />

make room for their customised product.<br />

The retailer had added fuel in order to<br />

stimulate sales, when all that was required<br />

was eliminating the ‘friction’ keeping the<br />

customer from making the purchase.<br />

The retailer employed an additional service<br />

offering to remove any existing furniture<br />

as a part of the delivery process. Sales<br />

took off!<br />

Forget the easy way<br />

It’s easier and sexier to build a bigger<br />

rocket instead of a lighter spaceship.<br />

The human mind instinctively processes<br />

behaviour through the lenses of motivation<br />

and intent. The same principles are at play<br />

when people make the mistake of adding<br />

more fuel, rather than eliminating friction.<br />

If people aren’t buying what we’re selling,<br />

we assume the lack of desire is driven by<br />

a product’s lack of appeal. We instinctively<br />

add more fuel in hopes of winning the sale.<br />

Identifying friction can take a lot of time<br />

and energy, which takes our attention away<br />

from our customers.<br />

The University of Chicago, as an example,<br />

had a smaller applicant pool in comparison<br />

to similar colleges and universities. The<br />

school had a reputation for being rigorous<br />

and they wrongly, as it turns out, believed<br />

their brand was causing students to shy<br />

away from applying.<br />

If people aren’t<br />

buying what<br />

we’re selling,<br />

we assume the<br />

lack of desire<br />

is driven by a<br />

product’s lack<br />

of appeal. We<br />

instinctively<br />

add more fuel<br />

in hopes of<br />

winning the<br />

sale.<br />

In truth, students weren’t afraid of applying<br />

to a rigorous college, the issue was the<br />

ease of application. A number of other<br />

colleges and universities had joined a<br />

program, which allowed students to file a<br />

single application that was distributed to<br />

all participating schools.<br />

Once the University of Chicago joined that<br />

same program, applications increased<br />

dramatically.<br />

Simple techniques<br />

Next time you find yourself facing a sales<br />

issue, instead of just trying to sell hard,<br />

consider making it easier for people to buy<br />

what you’re selling by fighting friction.<br />

Make the action easier. Netflix<br />

automatically plays the next episode of any<br />

series because they knew it improves the<br />

chances that you’ll keep watching. Even the<br />

most minor changes to friction can keep a<br />

customer engaged.<br />

Make the customer feel as though they<br />

are the author of the change. We are<br />

most influenced by ideas that we believe<br />

we generated on our own. Guide your<br />

customer to the right purchase, don’t tell<br />

them what to buy.<br />

Remove negativity bias. Everyone knows<br />

that negative experience carry greater<br />

weight in comparison to positive ones.<br />

You need five good experiences in a<br />

relationship to outweigh one bad one.<br />

Think about how that principle can<br />

be applied to your relationship with<br />

customers.<br />

The bottom line<br />

Before you begin any sales process<br />

consider things from the view of your<br />

audience first. Uncover any source of<br />

friction and address them.<br />

TOM MARTIN is the founder of<br />

Converse Digital, a sales and marketing<br />

agency. He is also a keynote speaker<br />

and author of The Invisible Sale.<br />

Visit: conversedigital.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 49


Marketing & PR<br />

Make the most of local events and the chance<br />

to get face-to-face with new customers<br />

Communities often organise street fairs and shopping events, which to the untrained eye, may seem like a waste of time.<br />

NANCY GEORGES explains that these events are in fact an excellent chance to expand your business.<br />

Brick and mortar stores have a major<br />

advantage over digital stores – it’s the<br />

human connection.<br />

It’s all too common to see retailers give<br />

up on their unique physical space and<br />

focus on online sales without realising<br />

they are losing the human connection.<br />

It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic has<br />

encouraged customers to shop online<br />

more, but it’s noisy, impersonal and<br />

cold. Now more than ever customers<br />

want to connect and have a great<br />

experience outside the house.<br />

Councils organise street fairs and<br />

shopping events and they’re a great<br />

opportunity to build your business on<br />

their dollar.<br />

The atmosphere tends to put customers<br />

in a good mood, which makes their<br />

minds open to positive memories and<br />

feelings.<br />

If you can connect and collaborate with<br />

a neighbouring store, even better!<br />

There is strength in numbers and your<br />

message is amplified when you are can<br />

collaborate on themes and messages.<br />

Create magic and theatre in your<br />

store! It doesn’t have to just be<br />

for a one-off, special event. Give<br />

customers something unique to look<br />

at and experience. Make sure you’re a<br />

memorable, positive host too.<br />

Before we delve any deeper into<br />

specifics, let’s talk preparation.<br />

Before the event<br />

In the lead up to a street fair or special<br />

shopping event, focus on creating an<br />

interesting and engaging store window.<br />

Showcase your products and services<br />

with creativity, and find a way to include<br />

a relevant quote or saying – personally,<br />

I love a clever and funny sandwich board<br />

out the front of a store for messaging.<br />

Create an offer for the special event and<br />

not just a discount or sale.<br />

The atmosphere tends to put customers in a good mood.<br />

Make that offer available only for those<br />

shopping during the event, or those<br />

who have signed up to your business’<br />

database.<br />

Consider offering a special offer for<br />

those who sign up for your database on<br />

the day to develop new connections.<br />

Speak to any relevant suppliers too,<br />

ensuring you’re ready for the special<br />

event. They may even have special<br />

branded packaging they can offer just<br />

for the day, or perhaps even a discount.<br />

You can design vignettes and eyecatching<br />

displays throughout the store<br />

that show products or services in a<br />

way that’s memorable, and may even<br />

encourage customers to promote the<br />

store itself online.<br />

This will show customers you have<br />

flair and are digital savvy and it’s an<br />

attractive way to encourage sales.<br />

Encourage pictures be taken and shared<br />

online, as that also becomes content for<br />

your business.<br />

Another simple idea is to place a poster<br />

which promotes the event itself in your<br />

window and in your store, but make sure<br />

it’s done with style and class – consider<br />

a frame, or making it part of a larger<br />

display.<br />

It’s important to make sure your<br />

address and contact details, including<br />

phone number and email, or updated<br />

If you can<br />

connect and<br />

collaborate with<br />

a neighbouring<br />

store, even<br />

better! There<br />

is strength in<br />

numbers and<br />

your message<br />

is amplified<br />

when you are<br />

can collaborate<br />

on themes and<br />

messages.<br />

online in the lead up. Audit your site and<br />

social media presence.<br />

Promote the event on your website or<br />

social media pages and find ways to link<br />

in with the organisers at large, which is<br />

a great way to reach larger audiences.<br />

Use organiser hashtags, or create your<br />

own.<br />

Don’t just invite your regular customers<br />

either; contact to friends and family for<br />

support and to build excitement.<br />

Make sure you take plenty of great<br />

pictures of your displays, and share the<br />

online too.<br />

In the aftermath<br />

The opportunity to grow your business<br />

doesn’t end when the street fair or<br />

special shopping events does.<br />

Send customers who visited a thank you<br />

email, and consider offering then an<br />

exclusive offer for their next purchase.<br />

Post the pictures from the event on your<br />

website and social media pages. Tell<br />

any stories that may go with them and<br />

tag customers and organisers using the<br />

relevant hashtags.<br />

Link to your website and digital store<br />

and send a newsletter a couple of weeks<br />

after the event or find another way to<br />

touch base with your database.<br />

These are all important ideas but<br />

they’re just a basic start. There are<br />

so many other next level activities<br />

that can lead to sales success, but<br />

the foundation needs to be set before<br />

getting too advanced.<br />

Above all, focus on enjoying your time<br />

with the new people you meet. Enjoy<br />

showing them fruits of all the hard<br />

work you put into the event, and positive<br />

connections will follow.<br />

NANCY GEORGES is a retail strategist,<br />

consultant, coach and trainer. Her focus<br />

is marketing, planning, execution. Learn<br />

more: magnoliasolutions.com.au<br />

50 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>


Management<br />

Entrepreneurship 101 for leaders<br />

and those who want to be<br />

Business data and intelligence are vital in any organisation. MICHAEL HINSHAW explains<br />

the mechanics in leveraging customer-centric actions to better manage your business.<br />

Most businesses intuitively understand<br />

the need to connect their products and<br />

services to the needs of the market.<br />

Failing to determine a specific need and<br />

align your offerings to meet it leaves you<br />

with little chance of success.<br />

Early into venture creation, the pursuit of<br />

product-market fit is driven by identifying<br />

and closing the gap between customer<br />

issues and proposed solutions.<br />

As a mentor and teacher, I share my view<br />

that customer-driven evidence must lead<br />

to conclusions without letting biases get in<br />

the way of what the market actually needs.<br />

My role as a mentor is mirrored in my job<br />

as a customer experience strategist. I<br />

help small businesses understand what<br />

customers need and act based on what<br />

is learned, while building the institutional<br />

muscles to do so.<br />

Unfortunately, many retailers have<br />

difficulty dealing with customer<br />

perspective. They are hindered by tradition<br />

and habit - established processes,<br />

systems, rules, and reward structures.<br />

Whether you’re establishing a business or<br />

improving customer experience, the most<br />

common factor associated with success is<br />

an understanding of customer needs and<br />

providing them in ways that are relevant<br />

and unique.<br />

Customer development manifesto<br />

Bob Dorf and Steve Blank, authors of<br />

The Startup Owner’s Manual, a guide to<br />

building a great business, created a list<br />

of 17 customer development principles<br />

but I’ve narrowed it down to eight that<br />

are equally relevant to any established<br />

organisation striving to connect with their<br />

customers regardless of size, industry,<br />

location, or product.<br />

#1. Get outside<br />

There are no facts inside your building,<br />

so get outside! You don’t know what<br />

customers think without interacting with<br />

them. Using one-on-one interviews,<br />

qualitative focus groups and formal data-<br />

A factor associated with success is an understanding of customer needs.<br />

gathering such as surveys and behavioural<br />

analytics, there’s no substitute for looking<br />

at your business from the customer’s<br />

perspective.<br />

#2. Finding the heart<br />

Whether you’re improving existing systems<br />

and processes or designing products,<br />

services, or experiences, the ability to<br />

gather, analyse, integrate, and act on<br />

customer input is crucial in changing<br />

expectations. Adopting an iterative design,<br />

deploy, and assess approach to experience<br />

improvement is at the heart of the most<br />

customer-centric businesses.<br />

#3. Insight-driven pivots<br />

What worked yesterday may not work today<br />

or tomorrow. Consequently, you must<br />

have the ability to shift focus or direction<br />

based on insights from your customers<br />

and data. Continually identify pain points<br />

and experience gaps, then prioritise their<br />

improvement based on customer needs<br />

and your business objectives.<br />

#4. Validate hypothesis with experiments<br />

Always aim to turn your informed guesses<br />

— another definition for hypothesis — into<br />

facts by testing improvements with the<br />

customers who actually use or interact<br />

with them. In the context of customer<br />

experience, think of your efforts as ‘pass/<br />

fail’ experiments that provide insights to<br />

learn from and take action on.<br />

What worked<br />

yesterday may<br />

not work today<br />

or tomorrow.<br />

Consequently,<br />

you must have<br />

the ability to<br />

shift focus or<br />

direction based<br />

on insights from<br />

your customers<br />

and data.<br />

#5. Failure is an integral part<br />

As noted in Mark Coopersmith and John<br />

Danner’s book The Other “F” Word,<br />

failure can be a game-changing resource<br />

— provided you learn from it. It’s about<br />

finding what works and what doesn’t,<br />

based on what the data and outcomes<br />

reveal. And of course, set yourself up<br />

to fail small, since tests and iterative<br />

improvements lead to big gains over time.<br />

#6. Startup metrics are different<br />

Businesses are comfortable with<br />

traditional metrics like balance sheets,<br />

P&L, and cash flows. Customer experience<br />

metrics link customer interactions to<br />

the feelings those interactions drive and<br />

behaviours customers exhibit. Those<br />

behaviours are what drives traditional<br />

business metrics — and why linking them<br />

is foundational.<br />

#7. Communicate and share learning<br />

Customer experience professionals need<br />

to share knowledge with others, especially<br />

affected parties across the organisation.<br />

Customer-driven data is effective at<br />

aligning the organisation around problems<br />

and collectively pursuing solutions.<br />

#8. Success begins with buy-in<br />

Adopting a customer-centric strategy can<br />

change almost every aspect of a business,<br />

from go-to-market to metrics, systems,<br />

and processes. Up-front stakeholder<br />

buy-in is critical. But make no mistake —<br />

any experienced leader will require you to<br />

prove the value of your efforts.<br />

After all, no matter how well-aligned to the<br />

market your brand, messaging, products,<br />

or services are, if the experience of using<br />

them becomes challenging, customers<br />

won’t use them at all.<br />

MICHAEL HINSHAW is president of<br />

McorpCX, which focuses on customer<br />

experience management. Learn more:<br />

mcorpcx.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong> | 51

My Bench<br />

Muhammad Taqi Shakoor<br />

York <strong>Jeweller</strong>s. Penrith NSW<br />

Age 34 • Years in Trade 18 • Training Certificate 3 in <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Manufacture • First job <strong>Jeweller</strong> in Afghanistan<br />



Two-tone, 18-carat white and yellow gold dress ring with<br />

14X 1.13-carat RBC diamonds with two 0.47-carat, Half<br />

Moon cut diamonds, claw set in a halo surrounding a<br />

stunning 3.81-carat Boulder Opal with yellow gold fleur<br />

de lis shaped claws.<br />

4FAVOURITE GEMSTONE Blue sapphire.<br />

4FAVOURITE METAL 18-carat white gold.<br />

4FAVOURITE TOOL Fretz hammer.<br />

4BEST NEW TOOL DISCOVERY Artgraver handpiece.<br />

4BEST PART OF THE JOB Handmakes and stone setting.<br />

4WORST PART OF THE JOB Having to finish other<br />

people’s work.<br />

4BEST TIP FROM A JEWELLER Always be honest,<br />

patient, and punctual.<br />

4BEST TIP TO A JEWELLER When you stress,<br />

things can go wrong. Always take it easy.<br />


My back.<br />

4LOVE JEWELLERY BECAUSE I get to work with my<br />

hands and challenge myself to meaningful pieces<br />

others will enjoy.<br />

52 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>


Soapbox<br />

Strengthen customer relations by<br />

lending a helping hand with coverage<br />

Everyone wants to be protected in the event of a sudden disaster. LACHLAN RENSHAW<br />

says retailers have an important part to play in helping customers pursue quality insurance.<br />

What processes do you have in postsales<br />

customer care for your client?<br />

Most jewellers place jewellery insurance<br />

in the ‘too hard basket’ and leave their<br />

customers to fend for themselves.<br />

Many customers protect their jewellery<br />

through home and contents insurance<br />

and assume that they are protected in the<br />

event of a claim.<br />

Unfortunately, this often leads to underinsurance<br />

– which is when the item<br />

insured on your insurance policy —<br />

that is, the amount listed as the maximum<br />

you will be paid if you make a claim —<br />

isn't enough to cover the full cost of<br />

replacing the stolen or lost jewellery.<br />

The problem is exacerbated when people<br />

travel or take a holiday because they do<br />

not consider their policy conditions.<br />

For example, a recent report by Allianz<br />

Australia stated that more than 68 per<br />

cent of Australians do not have insurance<br />

for the valuables they take with them<br />

on holiday.<br />

Considering the number of people who<br />

travel overseas on their honeymoon,<br />

this is a considerable risk that they<br />

unknowingly expose themselves to.<br />

A recent case between a consumer and<br />

an insurer best illustrates the problem.<br />

A home and contents policyholder, who<br />

had specified to the insurer the jewellery<br />

items that she wanted covered before<br />

purchasing the policy, lost a dispute over<br />

sentimental jewellery pieces that went<br />

missing during a hotel stay.<br />

The home and contents insurance<br />

provider denied her claim on the grounds<br />

that she had not taken out the optional<br />

extra cover for ‘portable valuables’,<br />

which would apply for loss away from<br />

the insured address.<br />

So, how protected are most customers<br />

who seek to insure their jewellery through<br />

home and contents? The short answer is<br />

not very well protected at all.<br />

In the recent Australian Financial<br />

Complaints Authority (AFCA) ruling<br />

for this case, it was said, “She had the<br />

opportunity to check and ask the insurer<br />

about any concerns before the loss<br />

occurred, but she did not do so”.<br />

The ruling went on to say, “The full terms<br />

and conditions are set out in the policy<br />

documents which were provided at the<br />

time (and again at renewal)”.<br />

In another AFCA case in October 2020,<br />

a homeowner who lost her engagement<br />

ring after it fell through her deck was<br />

awarded $50,000 for the jewellery in<br />

a claim dispute hearing. A prominent<br />

home and contents insurance provider<br />

in Australia declined the claim to the<br />

policyholder, saying the policy specifically<br />

excluded cover for valuable contents that<br />

are in the open air at the site.<br />

“As the engagement ring was not lost<br />

or damaged inside the home, but rather<br />

lost while on the exterior deck that is<br />

in the open air at the site, coverage is<br />

not available in this circumstance,” the<br />

insurer said.<br />

However, in good news for the<br />

policyholder, the AFCA determined that<br />

the ring was covered.<br />

The question jewellers need to ask<br />

themselves is, by allowing customers<br />

to fend for themselves to insure their<br />

jewellery, are they providing exceptional<br />

post-sales customer service? Particularly<br />

when they have the knowledge and<br />

experience to assist them in making an<br />

informed choice?<br />

So, how<br />

protected are<br />

most customers<br />

who seek to<br />

insure their<br />

jewellery<br />

through home<br />

and contents?<br />

The short<br />

answer is<br />

not very well<br />

protected at all.<br />

Post-sale customer service<br />

Considering the ever-increasing<br />

operational expenses for jewellers, it’s<br />

no secret that ‘customer acquisition<br />

costs’ are also rising. How much does<br />

it cost you to advertise and promote<br />

your business in order to gain a new<br />

customer?<br />

This includes advertising spend,<br />

production costs, inventory upkeep,<br />

salaries, commissions, technical costs,<br />

overheads, creative costs, and many<br />

others.<br />

For this reason it’s in the best interest<br />

of jewellers to educate and inform their<br />

customers about adequate insurance<br />

cover for their jewellery.<br />

For most people the ideal insurance<br />

offers worldwide cover, guarantees the<br />

customer can return to the jeweller of<br />

their choice and with no cash settlements<br />

on the policy, just to name a few.<br />

You don’t have to offer advice. Your valued<br />

and loyal customers will appreciate the<br />

fact that you are pointing out things that<br />

they may not have considered.<br />

It can be doubly appreciated when it<br />

involves heirloom jewellery and other<br />

items that hold great sentimental value.<br />

There are a number of industry-specific<br />

insurers that specialise in jewellery and<br />

you can compare what they offer as a way<br />

to investigate which might be best suited<br />

to your clientele.<br />

Name: Lachlan Renshaw<br />

Business: Centrestone <strong>Jeweller</strong>y<br />

Insurance<br />

Position: Director<br />

Location: Sydney, NSW<br />

Years in the industry: 8<br />

54 | <strong>May</strong> <strong>2022</strong>

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