Jeweller – February 2024

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.


Pearl Power<br />



Digging Deeper<br />



Bridal Bonanza<br />





SINCE 1986<br />

Everything a<br />

Needs<br />




<strong>–</strong> READY FOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY <strong>–</strong><br />




Stones and jewellery in stock to arrive at your doorstep overnight<br />


Premium cut lab-grown diamonds with no tinge<br />

Fancy-cut lab-grown diamonds (single or calibrated)<br />

Parcels and melee available with hearts and arrows<br />

P + 6 1 3 9 6 5 0 2 24 3<br />


L1 3 / 2 2 7 C O L L I N S S T R E E T<br />

MELBOURNE VIC 3000<br />


Helping you shine<br />

yesterday, today<br />

& tomorrow.<br />

Proudly serving the Australian & New Zealand<br />

jewellery industry for 28 years<br />





Sapphire Dreams celebrates the natural wonders Australia has to offer, in the form of<br />

unique, vibrant Sapphires. Expertly cut and crafted, every stone has passed through the<br />

hands of our skilful gem cutters. Mined on Australia’s east coast, Sapphire Dreams stones<br />

are sustainably sourced and crafted into immaculate, luxurious jewellery pieces.<br />

Our Australian sapphire jewellery is available in 9ct or 18ct white, rose or yellow gold,<br />

with many designs enhanced by sparkling, elegant white diamonds.<br />


Become a stockist today 02 9290 2199

0 3 9663 2321<br />



602/220 COLLINS ST, MELBOURNE VIC 3000<br />











FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong><br />

Contents<br />

This Month<br />

Industry Facets<br />

13 Editorial<br />

14 Upfront<br />

16 News<br />

26<br />

29<br />

58<br />

60<br />

10 YEARS AGO<br />

Time Machine: <strong>February</strong> 2014<br />


Game-changing gemmologists: VI<br />

MY BENCH<br />

Sarah Lim<br />


Rita Price<br />


Portrait of Power<br />

4Pearl jewellery has dominated the spotlight at<br />

major red carpet events and remains a top choice<br />

for trendsetters - both male and female.<br />

Features<br />

30<br />

41<br />

<strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT - ADDENDUM<br />

The legacy of past presidents examined<br />


Consumers are increasingly experimental<br />

30 <strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT<br />

47<br />


Nothing says power like pearl jewellery<br />

Leadership and legacy<br />

retrospective<br />

4As the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia<br />

grapples with governance and transparency<br />

issues, questions have been raised about the<br />

benefits offered to members.<br />

Better Your Business<br />

52<br />

54<br />

55<br />


Is optimism hurting your business? GRAHAM JONES asks an important question.<br />


JEANNIE WALTERS dispells a common misconception in business.<br />


Intentions are only half the battle. MALCOLM SCRYEMGOUR explains why.<br />


New flavours<br />

4Younger consumers are<br />

increasingly experimental when<br />

it comes to selecting bridal and<br />

engagement jewellery, and it's<br />

important that retailers are ready<br />

to meet their needs.<br />

56<br />

57<br />


BETH WALKER discusses the importance of content marketing strategy.<br />


MICHAEL HINSHAW outlines the impact your digital presence has on consumers.<br />


Stuller offers a remarkable selection<br />

of engagement ring styles to help every<br />

couple start the next chapter of life.<br />

Based in the US, Stuller's mission is to<br />

serve jewellery industry professionals<br />

by offering a selection of quality<br />

products and exceptional services as a<br />

leading supplier to the trade.<br />

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

Pearl Power<br />

Digging Deeper Bridal Bonanza<br />

Stuller.com<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 11

Editor’s Desk<br />

XXX<br />

For more than a decade, people have been predicting the end of physical stores as choice and convenience lured<br />

customers away from the streets and into the cloud. But one thing is certain, and as demonstrated by the past<br />

two years, nothing is as ever as it first seems. ANGELA HAN explores what the future holds for retail.<br />

“Retail is dead,” shouted some experts!<br />

In fact, so sure have some doomsayers<br />

been about the demise of retail that a<br />

new term was coined: ‘retail apocalypse’.<br />

The notion started around 2010 soon<br />

after the Global Financial Crisis when<br />

many major retailers began closing their<br />

brick-and-mortar retail stores, especially<br />

international chains.<br />

The term gained prominence around 2017<br />

when it was first mentioned in The Atlantic<br />

to describe major retail bankruptcies and<br />

mass store closures of major US chains.<br />

Only two years later in 2019 <strong>–</strong> just before<br />

the pandemic <strong>–</strong> the US witnessed approximately<br />

10,000 more businesses close their<br />

doors, which was reported as<br />

a 60 per cent increase on the year before.<br />

So it’s understandable that the harbingers<br />

of doom were already painting a dire<br />

picture of the future of retailing <strong>–</strong> a decade<br />

on, the prophecies were all coming true.<br />

Then finally in 2020 the real impact took<br />

hold, as COVID-19 went global.<br />

You could hear Chopin’s Funeral March<br />

while watching the retail dominoes collapse<br />

<strong>–</strong> the pandemic was the final kiss of<br />

death, especially for businesses that were<br />

on life support, the pundits predicted.<br />

As of May 2020 only a few months into the<br />

pandemic, store closures and bankruptcies<br />

catalysed. Household names and department<br />

stores such as J. Crew, Neiman<br />

Marcus, and JCPenney were among the<br />

first major retailers to file for bankruptcy,<br />

although it is arguable that trouble was<br />

already brewing long before COVID.<br />

While an exact figure is almost impossible<br />

to ascertain, it was reported that a further<br />

12,000 retailers had closed stores across<br />

the US in 2020 alone. According to a 2021<br />

UBS Group report, it’s anticipated a further<br />

80,000 US stores are expected to shut<br />

shop in the next five years with one-quarter<br />

of US shopping centres also expected<br />

to permanently close.<br />

The US economy is often seen as a bellwether<br />

for what happens here in Australia.<br />

So what does this mean for<br />

the future of retail?<br />

Closer to home, it has been reported<br />

that between 1,000 to 2,000 retail stores<br />

collapsed in 2020 and 2021 following on<br />

from a dismal year of pre-pandemic trading<br />

through 2018-19. Whether or not this estimate<br />

includes small shops on suburban<br />

strips is unknown, but it’s fair to say that<br />

no one was exempt from feeling the turbulence<br />

of the pandemic rollercoaster.<br />

The Beauty of a Bold Statement<br />

Discover the perfect gemstone for every design<br />

with 850,000+ in-stock options.<br />

Two years in, a quick stroll down the street<br />

reveals a string of ‘For Lease’ signs and<br />

storefronts closed until further notice. From<br />

K-mart to Woolies, we’re seeing empty<br />

shelves, a lack of staff and supply chain<br />

turmoil. These problems side-by-side make<br />

it easy to assume that we’re right in the<br />

middle of the, so-called, retail apocalypse.<br />

However, the wise and percipient know<br />

from past experience that economic<br />

instability and the challenges therein can<br />

lead to new opportunities. Instead, these<br />

events can simultaneously expose existing<br />

weaknesses and strengthen the position<br />

of a business.<br />

Indeed, while COVID-19 has accelerated<br />

store closures, it’s also ushered in a wave<br />

of digital revolution for the retail sector.<br />

With consumers now living, thinking<br />

and shopping differently, businesses have<br />

been forced to evolve and further experiment<br />

with what works and what doesn’t<br />

<strong>–</strong> a playground to freely explore<br />

the opportunities that had been put off.<br />

Certainly, if you were dragging your feet<br />

before 2020, the pandemic dragged you<br />

by the hair into the new world.<br />

KPMG’s 2021 Australian Retail Outlook<br />

Survey indicated that despite a huge shift towards<br />

omni-channel models <strong>–</strong> where more<br />

than 70 per cent of retailers have to increase<br />

their investment in digital technology <strong>–</strong> 25<br />

per cent of respondents said their websites<br />

generate no revenue and 21 per cent said<br />

that less than 5 per cent of their revenue<br />

comes from e-commerce.Fewer than 10<br />

per cent of retailers indicated that their<br />

e-commerce platform generates up to 50<br />

per cent of revenue.<br />

The Beauty of It All ®<br />

This is a double-edged sword: while there<br />

has been extraordinary development and<br />

growth in e-commerce, it’s clear that consumers<br />

still prefer to spend more in-store,<br />

which is a welcome revelation in amidst all<br />

the doom and gloom of the retail apocalypse.<br />

As customers have been forced into<br />

e-commerce, whether Stuller.com/Gemstones<br />

they liked it or<br />

not, The Law of Unintended Consequences<br />

came into play: Featured: firstly, people Santa came Maria to Color realise<br />

the importance of a tangible<br />

Aquamarine<br />

in-store<br />

You could hear<br />

Chopin’s Funeral<br />

March while<br />

watching the<br />

retail dominoes<br />

collapse <strong>–</strong><br />

COVID-19 was<br />

the final kiss of<br />

death, especially<br />

for businesses<br />

that were on<br />

life support,<br />

the pundits<br />

predicted.<br />

shopping experience and secondly, with a<br />

surge in delivery fees and delay in delivery<br />

times, the price of items both instore and<br />

online became comparable.<br />

Coupled with this, the Australian Bureau<br />

of Statistics’ most recent turnover estimate<br />

(November 2021) for retail businesses,<br />

which include both physical store and online<br />

sales, is reported to have risen<br />

7.3 per cent month-on-month and increased<br />

5.8 per cent on 2020. In essence,<br />

people haven’t stopped shopping, and<br />

instead, their consumption has increased.<br />

Moreover, what has come to light since<br />

2020 is to what degree consumers enjoy<br />

shopping for jewellery.<br />

In March 2020 I wrote: “When compared<br />

to other retail categories, there’s ample<br />

evidence that many fine jewellery retailers<br />

have remained resilient during the COVID<br />

pandemic and economic crisis”, which was<br />

backed up by soaring Pandora and Tiffany<br />

stock prices.<br />

“Hong Kong retailer, Chow Tai Fook, had<br />

seen its shares rocket back to its 2018<br />

heydays and both Michael Hill International<br />

and the US chain, Signet Jewelers, were<br />

recovering since the huge sell off in the<br />

depths of the crisis and LVMH stock prices<br />

are back to what they were pre-COVID.”<br />

And now, 15 months further on, Pandora<br />

has recorded all-time high revenue while<br />

Michael Hill reports its best second quarter<br />

in history. Richemont group’s sales have<br />

reportedly exceeded that of pre-COVID and<br />

even local jeweller Linneys reported historic<br />

Christmas trading. Sales are booming!<br />

In this month’s feature <strong>–</strong> The Great Retail<br />

Reset <strong>–</strong> we look at the ‘retail apocalypse’<br />

from a different standpoint. Sure, while the<br />

catastrophic effects of the pandemic cannot<br />

be ignored, it has equally been an opportunity<br />

for brave and savvy retailers<br />

to reinvent, redefine and rebirth.<br />

In March 2020, I gave my humble advice<br />

in these difficult times: if you want to<br />

prepare yourself against the horsemen<br />

of the apocalypse, don’t build a bunker <strong>–</strong><br />

learn to ride a horse!<br />

It appears that some have gone a step further<br />

and learned to tame a herd.<br />

Angela Han<br />

Publisher<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 13

Editor’s Desk<br />

Your escape from a world dominated by the superficial<br />

The jewellery industry is under siege. SAMUEL ORD discusses the importance<br />

of deeper examination in an increasingly superficial culture.<br />

The modern world is plagued by superficial<br />

analysis, and the jewellery industry is the<br />

latest in a long line of victims.<br />

What do I mean when I say ‘superficial<br />

analysis’? It is shallow and short-term<br />

thinking that excludes any consideration<br />

of the complexities of life and the depths<br />

of human experience.<br />

Worse, all too often it’s unquestioning,<br />

and ‘facts’ go unchallenged.<br />

We all know the pitfalls of superficial<br />

analysis <strong>–</strong> we learn them as children.<br />

We are taught never to judge a book by its<br />

cover. We shouldn’t let first impressions<br />

colour our perception of people.<br />

We are also taught that personal<br />

relationships are to be valued over<br />

material possessions and that we<br />

shouldn’t exchange long-term<br />

success for immediate gratification.<br />

Most people would readily concede that<br />

these are virtues worth living by, yet life in<br />

the ‘Information Age’ strikes a remarkable<br />

contrast to this timeless wisdom.<br />

Information overload has become a<br />

serious issue <strong>–</strong> people experience<br />

difficulty understanding complex issues<br />

and making effective decisions because<br />

they have too many factors to consider.<br />

The tools made possible by the internet<br />

and social media were once heralded for<br />

their ability to improve lives in advanced<br />

societies greatly; however, in many ways,<br />

it’s led to unfulfillment and indignity.<br />

With smartphones and computers, we have<br />

access to a never-ending treasure trove at<br />

our fingertips every day; however, the ability<br />

to deeply analyse and capitalise on this<br />

information is amputated and replaced by<br />

disposable posts on social media defined by<br />

character limits and addictive looping clips.<br />

This is where the jewellery industry<br />

suffers. The addiction to bite-sized<br />

information leads to consumers with<br />

rapidly evolving tastes and preferences <strong>–</strong><br />

and retailers are struggling to keep up.<br />

In a global economy, retailers have never<br />

had more jewellery collections and pieces<br />

to offer customers; however, even if the<br />

perfect decision is made, chances are<br />

tastes have changed by the time the<br />

collection reaches the store.<br />

This reliance on immediate gratification also<br />

means consumers have never been more<br />

impatient.<br />

Bespoke and custom-made jewellery<br />

has never been more popular <strong>–</strong> which<br />

is great news for traditional jewellers<br />

<strong>–</strong> however, with a skills shortage and a<br />

lack of available bench jewellers, it takes<br />

time to create these pieces <strong>–</strong> which can<br />

sometimes fly-in-the-face of the ‘want it<br />

now generation’.<br />

Indeed, it would seem to be a great<br />

hypocrisy that consumers desire timeless<br />

jewellery that provides profound emotional<br />

and sentimental importance <strong>–</strong> and it must<br />

be produced immediately.<br />

Who is to blame?<br />

While everyone must take personal<br />

accountability for how they think and act,<br />

it’s difficult not to blame the media for<br />

perpetuating this attitude.<br />

Wherever you look today, much of<br />

contemporary media - especially ‘social<br />

media’ - is dominated by superficial<br />

analysis designed to provoke an immediate<br />

emotional reaction from the reader that is<br />

forgotten by the next day.<br />

For most ‘movie critics’, the latest film is<br />

either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Little consideration<br />

is ever given to the broader context of<br />

the film itself <strong>–</strong> did it build upon previous<br />

works? Was there a breakout performance<br />

for an actor, or did the director showcase<br />

any newfound technical prowess?<br />

It’s a similar story in music. Artists always<br />

build on previous works <strong>–</strong> did the band<br />

incorporate new sounds or pay tribute to<br />

influences? Don’t get me started on the<br />

lowest of all criticisms in art <strong>–</strong> “it didn’t sell.”<br />

Regarding superficial analysis, the sports<br />

media is the biggest perpetrator. Any team<br />

that doesn’t win the trophy, cup, or title is<br />

a failure. Only one team can win it all every<br />

year <strong>–</strong> yet this overbearing reality is always<br />

ignored in favour of the latest ‘hot take’.<br />

The jewellery industry is not exempt from<br />

this kind of thinking. Industry media has a<br />

tendency to accept whatever is said by public<br />

relations staff without question.<br />

Press releases are repeated word-for-word<br />

and presented to readers as ‘news’ without<br />

any attempt to paint a more vivid picture of<br />

We all know<br />

the pitfalls<br />

of superficial<br />

analysis <strong>–</strong> we<br />

learn them as<br />

children. We are<br />

taught never to<br />

judge a book<br />

by its cover. We<br />

shouldn’t let<br />

first impressions<br />

colour our<br />

perception of<br />

people .<br />

the announcement or event.<br />

Every business and brand is taken at<br />

their word <strong>–</strong> whatever happened to<br />

‘trust but verify’?<br />

What’s the solution?<br />

This issue has no easy solution because<br />

technological advances cannot be reversed.<br />

The ‘addiction to distraction’ is not going<br />

away anytime soon.<br />

With that said, there’s nothing to stop us from<br />

practising ‘deep work’ while the rest of the<br />

world dwells on shallow analysis.<br />

This year should be defined by your<br />

willingness to ask the questions no<br />

one else is willing to ask. Abandon the<br />

obsession with multi-tasking and the fear<br />

of boredom. Don’t take numbers at face<br />

value <strong>–</strong> ask why they are the way they are<br />

by weighing every complexity.<br />

With that said, this will be a year of ‘deep<br />

work’ for <strong>Jeweller</strong>. Namely, it’s time to take<br />

the information uncovered in the <strong>2024</strong> State<br />

of the Industry Report (SOIR) and repeatedly<br />

ask the all-important question <strong>–</strong> why?<br />

While the SOIR's reception has been<br />

terrific <strong>–</strong> and the feedback gratefully<br />

accepted <strong>–</strong> as promised, it raised more<br />

questions than answers.<br />

Over the coming months, <strong>Jeweller</strong> will<br />

publish a series of addendums addressing<br />

topics and issues raised by the report that<br />

couldn’t be thoroughly explored because of<br />

size and time limitations.<br />

The SOIR provided the latest ‘numbers’ for<br />

many important industry sectors <strong>–</strong> detailing<br />

the unexpected decline of independent<br />

retailers in Queensland, the collapse of the<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia, and the<br />

rise of ‘online showrooms’ as examples.<br />

And there is more <strong>–</strong> much, much more.<br />

Documenting these occurrences was just<br />

the beginning <strong>–</strong> now, the time has come to<br />

ask the harder questions. Very little goes<br />

unchallenged and unquestioned by this<br />

publication.<br />

This work will transform the SOIR from<br />

important to invaluable and provide the<br />

tools to understand today’s economic climate<br />

and prepare for the decade ahead.<br />


EDITOR<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 13

Upfront<br />

Stranger Things<br />

Rewind: Best Bench Tip<br />

Image: Getty<br />

Weird, wacky and wonderful<br />

jewellery news from around the world<br />

The largest diamond ever?<br />

4Lab-created diamond manufacturer<br />

Diamond Foundry has created a<br />

diamond wafer 10 centimetres in<br />

diameter. "By solving the thermal<br />

limitations at the very foundation of<br />

each of today's most exciting mega<br />

tech industries, including AI, electric<br />

cars, and wireless, the company helps<br />

shape the future," the company said<br />

in a statement. Diamond Foundry was<br />

established in 2012. In November 2022,<br />

the company purchased Augsburg<br />

Diamond Technology, also known as<br />

Audiatec, which manufactures diamond<br />

wafers for jewellery and manufacturing.<br />

Food-inspired jewellery<br />

4<strong>Jeweller</strong>y resembling food may be<br />

on the menu for designers in <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Designer Silvia Furmanovich has<br />

released a new collection of pieces that<br />

resemble food. The collection is named<br />

Buon Appetito, the Italian phrase “Enjoy<br />

your meal.” Another designer, Jessica<br />

McCormack, released a new necklace<br />

named ‘Carmela’ after the character<br />

from the television series The Sopranos,<br />

resembling swirling spaghetti pasta in<br />

diamonds and gold.<br />

MAY 2015<br />

“Perfect each<br />

component before<br />

moving on to the next<br />

because accuracy is<br />

everything!”<br />




Duke of Devonshire Emerald<br />

4The Duke of Devonshire Emerald<br />

is a terminated hexagonal-shaped<br />

crystal discovered at the Muzo Mine in<br />

Colombia, the source of the world’s finest<br />

emeralds. It is an exceptional deep-green<br />

emerald, with perfect transparency<br />

in certain areas while remaining<br />

heavily flawed in others. The emerald<br />

is considered one of the largest and<br />

finest uncut emeralds at 1,383 carats.<br />

The Duke of Devonshire Emerald gets its name from the sixth Duke of<br />

Devonshire, William Cavendish, who reportedly received the gemstone<br />

as a gift from the first emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro I. Other reports have<br />

suggested he purchased the emerald somewhere between 1822 and<br />

1831. The emerald was displayed at the Great Exhibition in London in<br />

1851 and, more recently, at the Natural History Museum in 2007.<br />

Timeless Trends<br />

4Close-fitting necklaces worn tightly<br />

around the neck, known as chokers,<br />

appear to be back in the spotlight in<br />

<strong>2024</strong>. Uma Thurman wore a Chopard<br />

with multiple strands of rubies at the<br />

2023 Cannes Film Festival, while Margot<br />

Robbie was spotted in a pearl style by<br />

Assael at the Barbie premiere.<br />

Image: BVLGARI<br />

Watch out for fake teeth<br />

4Dentists in Fiji have issued a<br />

warning about unlicensed operators<br />

providing cosmetic dentistry<br />

services using phoney false teeth<br />

and imitation dental jewellery that<br />

can corrode and become toxic. FDA<br />

president Parikshath Naidu said some<br />

businesses are advertising what were<br />

purported to be 22-carat gold caps for<br />

just $FJ5 ($AU3.30). He told<br />

ABC News that registered dentists<br />

in Fiji had experienced an influx<br />

of patients presenting with health<br />

problems after having cosmetic work.<br />

Changing<br />

the game<br />

with new<br />

payment<br />

methods<br />

4With the arrival of a new year comes<br />

speculation about changes in retail trends, and<br />

one of this year’s hottest talking points is the<br />

evolving nature of payment methods. There’s an<br />

increasing variety of payment methods available<br />

for consumers and retailers, including soft pointof-sale,<br />

mobile point-of-sale, buy now pay later,<br />

instalments, and peer-to-peer apps. Advanced<br />

technology is allowing the relationship between<br />

consumers and businesses to become more<br />

flexible and increasing the opportunity for<br />

retailers to improve loyalty with unique benefits<br />

programs. One retailer to watch is Amazon,<br />

which expanded its proprietary palm-based<br />

payment system across its network of more than<br />

500 US Whole Foods stores, enabling customers<br />

to make purchases using their hands.<br />

Campaign Watch<br />

4Bulgari has launched a new campaign<br />

to promote its B.zero1 range of fine<br />

jewellery featuring US actress Zendaya,<br />

showcasing a bicolour gold and steel<br />

timepiece. Zendaya has been a brand<br />

ambassador for Bulgari since 2020 and<br />

frequently promotes the brand to her 185<br />

million Instagram followers.<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 • Editor Samuel Ord samuel.ord@jewellermagazine.com • Advertising Toli Podolak toli.podolak@jewellermagazine.com<br />

Production Learoy Bangis art@befindanmedia.com • Digital Coordinator Riza Ortiz riza@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.

News<br />

Pandora on top: Strong sales<br />

performance continues<br />

LVMH reports record sales despite adverse economy<br />

Luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët<br />

Hennessy (LVMH) has published its financial<br />

report for the past financial year, announcing a<br />

strong increase in revenue.<br />

Group revenue increased by nine per cent to<br />

a record €86.15 billion ($AU141.97 billion)<br />

despite a slowdown in sales in the second half<br />

of the year.<br />

LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault highlighted<br />

the reopening of Tiffany & Co’s ‘Landmark’<br />

location in New York City and the reception of<br />

Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior collections at<br />

fashion shows as important milestones.<br />

The world’s largest mass-market jewellery brand,<br />

Pandora, has published a preliminary fourth-quarter<br />

financial report outlining strong sales during the<br />

holiday season.<br />

Revenue increased by 12 per cent, while like-for-like<br />

sales improved by nine per cent in the three months<br />

ending 31 December.<br />

Total revenue for 2023 reached kr28.1 billion ($AU6.14<br />

billion), a significant increase from the kr26.5 billion<br />

($AU5.79 billion) in sales the previous year.<br />

CEO Alexander Lacik said these results showed that<br />

the brand remains popular with consumers.<br />

“We are very pleased with our results across the peak<br />

trading season and how we closed 2023. It’s clear<br />

that our brand resonates well with consumers and<br />

continues to gain strength,” Lacik said.<br />

“The success in 2023 is also a testament to the great<br />

work of Pandora teams around the world, who have<br />

helped take the Phoenix strategy to the next level.”<br />

Sales in the US improved by 10 per cent, while revenue<br />

in Europe increased by five per cent. Sales declined in<br />

China by 12 per cent and in Australia by six per cent.<br />

According to chief financial officer Anders Boyer, the<br />

company will remain focused on appearances at<br />

fashion events in the new year.<br />

“We’ve raised the game starting a year back,<br />

putting more money behind not just driving<br />

awareness of the brand, but driving desirability as<br />

well,” Boyer told WWD.<br />

“We are participating in those kinds of events in order<br />

to show that even though we are an accessible luxury<br />

brand from a price perspective, we also know what’s<br />

on trend, and we can be part of creating what’s on<br />

trend as a company.”<br />

Audited full-year results are expected to be published<br />

on 7 <strong>February</strong>.<br />

“Our performance in 2023 illustrates the<br />

exceptional appeal of our Maisons [brands]<br />

and their ability to spark desire, despite a year<br />

affected by economic and geopolitical challenges.<br />

The Group once again recorded significant growth<br />

in revenue and profits,” he said.<br />

“Our growth strategy, based on the<br />

complementary nature of our businesses,<br />

as well as their geographic diversity,<br />

encourages innovation, high-quality design<br />

and retail excellence and adds a cultural and<br />

historical dimension thanks to the heritage of<br />

our Maisons.”<br />

For the year, sales in the watches and<br />

jewellery division increased by three per<br />

cent to €10.90 billion ($AU17.95 billion), with<br />

fourth-quarter revenue reaching €2.95 billion<br />

($AU4.86 billion).<br />

“While remaining vigilant in the current<br />

context, we enter <strong>2024</strong> with confidence, backed<br />

by our highly desirable brands and our agile<br />

teams,” Arnault added.<br />

Weathering the storm: Richemont pleased with<br />

improving consumer demand in Asia, US markets<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y was the top-performing division of<br />

Swiss luxury goods company Richemont in the<br />

past quarter off the back of increasing demand<br />

in Asia and the US.<br />

Sales at Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and<br />

Buccellati improved by six per cent on a yearon-year<br />

comparison, reaching €3.95 billion<br />

($AU6.54 billion) for the three months ending 31<br />

December.<br />

The statement attributed the sales increases to<br />

positive sales in the US and the return of tourism<br />

to Hong Kong and China. The report also<br />

detailed a weaker retail performance in Europe.<br />

“Wholesale sales were four per cent above the<br />

prior-year period, sustained by strong sales at<br />

the jewellery maisons [brands], which more than<br />

offset a softer performance across the rest of the<br />

“For LVMH, it provides a new opportunity to<br />

reinforce our global leadership position in<br />

luxury goods and promote France’s reputation<br />

for excellence around the world.”<br />

By market capitalisation, LVMH is the<br />

world’s 18th largest company at $US418.8<br />

billion ($AU636 billion), overseeing 75 brands<br />

including Tiffany & Co, Bulgari, Kering, and<br />

TAG Heuer.<br />

group,” the statement reads.<br />

Sales at specialist watchmakers, including IWC<br />

Schaffhausen, Piaget. and Vacheron Constantin,<br />

declined by one per cent to €939 million<br />

($AU1.55 billion).<br />

Richemont chief financial officer Burkhart Grund<br />

told Reuters that brand recognition was crucial<br />

to weathering the storm in an adverse economy.<br />

"In times of, let's say, economic uncertainty,<br />

it helps to be a highly recognised and highly<br />

respected jewellery brand through the power of<br />

iconic product lines," he said.<br />

"This reassures customers not just in jewellery,<br />

but also in watches."<br />

Total group revenue increased by four per cent to<br />

€5.59 billion ($AU9.25 billion).<br />

16 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

News<br />

Administrative penalties: Confusion around JAA reporting requirements intensifies<br />

In the past two months, it was revealed that the<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia (JAA) may<br />

have breached government reporting regulations<br />

following an amendment of its Constitution.<br />

The confusion about the JAA’s apparent blunder<br />

and the handling of this matter by the regulator<br />

has worsened.<br />

During the research phase of the <strong>2024</strong> State of<br />

the Industry Report, <strong>Jeweller</strong> became aware of a<br />

possible breach of Australian Charities and Notfor-profits<br />

Commission (ACNC) legislation.<br />

The JAA is a registered charity and, as such,<br />

must adhere to reporting requirements<br />

concerning its management and governance.<br />

This includes a requirement to notify the ACNC<br />

of any changes to governing documents within<br />

60 days.<br />

At the JAA’s annual general meeting on<br />

21 November 2022, a special resolution was<br />

passed to amend the Constitution about the<br />

composition of its board and the election and<br />

appointment of directors; however, more than<br />

12 months after the AGM, the JAA had not<br />

submitted the relevant documents <strong>–</strong> an<br />

amended Constitution <strong>–</strong> to the ACNC.<br />

It was not until 15 January <strong>2024</strong> that the JAA’s<br />

changes to the Constitution were finally reflected<br />

on the ACNC website. The document is dated 27<br />

March 2023. Whether the 60-day deadline begins<br />

on 21 November 2022 or 27 March 2023, either<br />

way, it appears that the JAA has not adhered to<br />

the ACNC’s reporting requirements and could<br />

face penalties.<br />

Transparency in question<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> can now report that there is more to<br />

this blunder, some of which casts doubt on the<br />

management of the JAA as well as the ACNC.<br />

On 15 December 2023, <strong>Jeweller</strong> contacted JAA<br />

director Meredith Doig to inquire about the<br />

board’s failure to meet its reporting obligations<br />

under the ACNC Act 2012.<br />

Doig did not respond to <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s questions in<br />

the 15 December 2023 email. For that reason,<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> contacted JAA operations manager<br />

Megan Young on 19 December 2023 to confirm<br />

that the email had been received.<br />

It is worth noting that when the JAA announced<br />

the appointment of Doig as a director on 1<br />

September 2022, she was described as bringing<br />

a “magnanimous degree of experience and<br />

knowledge in the governance sector” by thenpresident<br />

Karen Denaro.<br />

When contacted Young advised that Doig was<br />

currently overseas and that there would be a<br />

delay in receiving a response. At the time of<br />

publication, Doig has not responded to that<br />

email, nor has she responded to a follow-up<br />

email on 12 January <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

At this point it is also worth noting that on 19<br />

December 2023, Young did not advise <strong>Jeweller</strong><br />

that the JAA had submitted an amended<br />

Constitution to the ACNC the day before - 18<br />

December 2023 <strong>–</strong> three days after the issue was<br />

first raised and yet not acknowledged.<br />

Either Young <strong>–</strong> who has been with the JAA for 17<br />

years <strong>–</strong> was not aware that the documents had<br />

been filed with the ACNC, or she chose not to<br />

disclose this information.<br />

More confusion with ACNC<br />

That said, the confusion does not stop there.<br />

The confirmation that the JAA submitted its<br />

documents on 18 December 2023 was provided<br />

by the ACNC today. This information; however,<br />

contradicted a previous statement by the ACNC.<br />

In an email dated 15 January <strong>2024</strong>, an ACNC<br />

spokesperson advised, “The <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Association submitted an updated constitution<br />

to the ACNC on 12th December. The updated<br />

document will be available on the Charity<br />

Register record by the end of today”.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> queried the date (12 December 2023)<br />

for two reasons - it created a confusing ‘timeline’<br />

of events and contradicted information about<br />

regulatory processes provided by the ACNC in<br />

December.<br />

If the JAA had submitted an amended<br />

Constitution on 12 December 2023, that would<br />

mean the submission occurred three days before<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> first raised the issue with Doig via email<br />

on 15 December 2023.<br />

This would not change the issue of violating<br />

reporting requirements; however, it was<br />

nonetheless confusing.<br />

The ACNC spokesperson later retracted the 12<br />

December 2023 date and advised that the correct<br />

date of submission was, in fact, 18 December<br />

2023 <strong>–</strong> up to 11 months beyond its obligations.<br />

This confirms that the upload occurred three<br />

days after <strong>Jeweller</strong> raised the issue with the JAA<br />

and not three days before; however, one other<br />

matter remains unresolved. The new date still<br />

contradicts a previous statement from the ACNC<br />

concerning the process for submitting altered<br />

governing documents.<br />

”To notify changes, charities submit updates via<br />

the Charity Portal. These changes flow through<br />

to the Register immediately. The ACNC can<br />

apply administrative penalties if a charity makes<br />

false or misleading statements or fails to lodge<br />

documents on time,” the ACNC spokesperson<br />

clarified in December.<br />

With that in mind, it remained unclear why the<br />

JAA’s amended Constitution was not available on<br />

the ACNC website until 15 January <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> sought clarification on this issue<br />

and was informed: “Unfortunately there was<br />

an ACNC IT glitch which led to a delay in the<br />

charity’s governing document being published<br />

on the Charity Register after it was submitted in<br />

December 2023.”<br />

Outstanding questions for the JAA<br />

Serious questions arise from this matter for the<br />

JAA.<br />

• When <strong>Jeweller</strong> directly contacted the JAA on<br />

19 December 2023 about this matter, why was it<br />

not disclosed that the amended Constitution had<br />

been submitted to the ACNC the day before?<br />

• How did it come about that the JAA did not<br />

comply with statutory reporting requirements <strong>–</strong><br />

and only did so after being advised of the error by<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>?<br />

• After submitting the amended Constitution on<br />

18 December 2023, was the JAA board aware<br />

that the document did not appear on the ACNC<br />

website until 15 January <strong>2024</strong>?<br />

Problems surrounding the JAA’s governance<br />

standards and industry disclosures seem<br />

ongoing.<br />

Following Doig’s appointment as a co-opted<br />

director, questions were raised in December<br />

2022 about an undisclosed commercial<br />

relationship between her and JAA vice president<br />

Ronnie Bauer.<br />

It is unclear whether the JAA will, or has,<br />

incurred financial or administrative penalties<br />

for breaching the legislation by failing to meet<br />

reporting requirements. The ACNC website<br />

states: "Monetary penalties are calculated by<br />

reference to penalty units under the Crimes Act<br />

2014" and range from $1,565 and $7,825.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> has contacted the ACNC regarding this<br />

matter and is awaiting further advice.<br />



<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 17

Australia’s #1 <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Directory<br />

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

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

The <strong>2024</strong> Suppliers Directory is the biggest ever edition at 400 pages and remains<br />

the “Bible” of the Australian and New Zealand jewellery industries <strong>–</strong> it has all the answers.<br />


#1 DIRECTORY<br />

280+<br />

Product<br />

Categories<br />

4<br />

Distinct Category<br />

Sections<br />

520<br />

Individual<br />

Industry<br />

Suppliers<br />

500+<br />

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

Watch Brands<br />

Supplier - Are you and your products listed? Retailer <strong>–</strong> Get your copy?<br />

Email info@jewellermagazine.com<br />

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

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


News<br />

Checking the pulse: Industry optimistic following Melbourne <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Expo<br />

The Melbourne <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Expo (MJE) has offered<br />

the industry crucial insights into the year ahead.<br />

Retailers and suppliers gathered at the<br />

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over<br />

three days, with the fair closing on 5 <strong>February</strong>.<br />

Highlights of the weekend <strong>–</strong> outside of the<br />

warm summer weather <strong>–</strong> included special<br />

presentations from interior designer Shaynna<br />

Blaze, television and radio presenter Jo Stanley,<br />

and Australian Retail Association head of<br />

marketing Mariela Zaharija.<br />

Expertise Events general manager Zac Fitz-<br />

Roy said feedback had been largely positive,<br />

signalling an optimistic outlook for <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

“It’s been great hearing positive feedback<br />

from suppliers and retailers alike. It’s been an<br />

opportunity for sales, but importantly to catch up<br />

with friends, clients and key industry suppliers<br />

under one roof,” he told <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

prospects and had a few retailers apply for<br />

memberships, which is somewhat unusual<br />

at a fair. We were delighted,” she told <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

“You always make connections at industry events,<br />

but to receive as many applications as we did was<br />

unexpected. We were also approached by a few<br />

suppliers based on recommendations from other<br />

suppliers, which is pleasing.”<br />

Regarding industry sentiment, Keller agreed<br />

with Wertheim and Ridkas and said that retailers<br />

appeared optimistic despite the consensus<br />

around the economy proving negative.<br />

She also reported widespread excitement<br />

about Black Friday sales <strong>–</strong> a relatively new<br />

phenomenon in Australia.<br />

Black Friday originates as a retail tradition<br />

in the US, beginning on the Friday after<br />

Thanksgiving in November and marking the<br />

start of the Christmas shopping season.<br />

“Shaynna Blaze on Saturday was also a great<br />

hit. She offered insights into both business and<br />

design trends, many of which applied to some<br />

topical issues for the jewellery industry.”<br />

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,<br />

retail spending in November ($36.15 billion)<br />

exceeded spending in December ($35.19 billion)<br />

in seasonally adjusted terms.<br />

Hosted alongside the Gift & Lifestyle Fair, the<br />

MJE offered retailers an opportunity to finalise<br />

new orders before Valentine’s Day (14 <strong>February</strong>)<br />

and Mother’s Day (12 May).<br />

Fitz-Roy said that while visitors remained<br />

cautious about the economy and consumer<br />

spending, overall sentiment was positive.<br />

“It will be interesting to see how retail sales track<br />

over the coming months,” he said.<br />

“There’s been a lot of talk about tighter<br />

conditions, but it seems many are yet to see it<br />

really impact”.<br />

Checking the pulse<br />

Exhibitors at the MJE were pleased to report<br />

many visitors offered a ‘glass half full’<br />

perspective when discussing plans.<br />

JS Landau's managing director, John Wertheim,<br />

said buyers were interested in a surprising<br />

variety of products.<br />

“We were very happy with how the fair unfolded,"<br />

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

"We connected with existing customers and<br />

picked up some new ones, which I think is exactly<br />

what you’re looking for at an event such as this<br />

one,”<br />

“The interest among buyers was right throughout<br />

our range. We’ve had some interest in the higherend<br />

merchandise, which was great to hear, but<br />

quite generally, we offer a wide range of jewellery,<br />

and we think everyone found something to buy.”<br />

This sentiment was echoed by Karen Ridikas of<br />

Couture Kingdom, who said that retailers were<br />

on the hunt for diversity in stock as a way to offer<br />

something new to customers.<br />

“Among the retailers we spoke with, they were<br />

looking for a real variety of products. There’s<br />

a desire to offer new products that expand the<br />

interest in their business,” she explained.<br />

“I think there’s a need to create more excitement<br />

about their stores; offering something new and<br />

different can encourage customers to start<br />

spending on jewellery again, given that retail has<br />

been slow for some time.”<br />

She said that retailers were particularly<br />

interested in the Disney 100th anniversary<br />

collection, which is only available for another six<br />

months.<br />

“Anything that’s only available for a limited time is<br />

always attractive," she continued.<br />

"Overall, it was a good show considering the<br />

size <strong>–</strong> maybe fewer visitors than we expected, but<br />

they were quality visitors looking to place orders,<br />

which means you're speaking to fewer people,<br />

but converting a higher percentage."<br />

Pleasant surprises<br />

Among the crowd was Australiasia’s largest<br />

buying group, Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s. Membership<br />

manager Erin Keller said there were many<br />

surprising takeaways from the fair.<br />

“We had a very good fair; it exceeded our<br />

expectations. We were approached by several<br />

ABS analysts suggested that December's<br />

drop resulted from consumers spending<br />

more in November to take advantage of<br />

Black Friday sales.<br />

“Many of the retailers we spoke with said they<br />

experienced a downturn over the Christmas<br />

period after recording very strong Black Friday<br />

sales, which I thought was interesting to hear,”<br />

Keller said.<br />

“Black Friday seems to be taking over from<br />

Boxing Day. Many retailers said they weren’t<br />

expecting to exceed sales targets from the year<br />

before but did, and the way the economy is and<br />

the climate we are trading in has made many<br />

people happy.”<br />

She added: “There was a great deal of industry<br />

longevity gathered in one building, people are<br />

friends as well as colleagues, and many social<br />

things are happening outside the fair itself <strong>–</strong> a<br />

sign of the sense of community within the<br />

industry.”<br />

Sunshine State awaits<br />

Industry attention now turns to the Gold Coast<br />

for the Australian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair in March.<br />

Hosted at the Gold Coast Convention and<br />

Exhibition Centre, the fair is scheduled for<br />

24-25 March.<br />

The International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair, the industry’s<br />

largest annual gathering, will occur in Sydney<br />

on 17-19 August.<br />

For further details and registration information,<br />

visit jewelleryfair.com.au<br />



<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 19





The <strong>2024</strong> Exhibition presents an opportunity to view<br />

the largest and most amazing range of opal and opal<br />

jewellery seen in one attractive location.<br />

Wednesday 31st July <strong>2024</strong><br />

9.00 am - 5.00 pm<br />

& Thursday 1st August <strong>2024</strong><br />

9.00 am - 4.00 pm<br />

Australian<br />

OPAL<br />


Southport Sharks<br />

Corner Olsen and<br />

Musgrave Avenue<br />

Southport<br />

Queensland 4216 Australia<br />


T: 0427 920 474<br />

E: mail@austopalexpo.com.au<br />


News<br />

Diamond discovery: Tourist unearths special stone<br />

A French tourist on holiday in the US will head home<br />

with memories to last a lifetime after a remarkable<br />

diamond discovery in a national park.<br />

Julien Navas, from Paris, travelled to the Crater of<br />

Diamonds State Park in Arkansas on 11 January<br />

and rented a diamond hunting kit.<br />

Navas spent the day toiling in the mud, discovering<br />

several ‘interesting rocks’ before heading to the<br />

Diamond Discovery Centre to consult the staff.<br />

After an examination, one of the rocks was<br />

determined to be a 7.46-carat brown diamond,<br />

described as ‘deep chocolate’ in colour.<br />

The discovery was the fifth of 11 diamonds recovered<br />

from the park this year and is the largest since 2020.<br />

The stone <strong>–</strong> named the ‘Carine Diamond’ <strong>–</strong> is the<br />

eighth largest found since the area was designated a<br />

state park in 1972.<br />

An estimated 75,000 diamonds have been<br />

discovered in the soil of the park since 1906,<br />

including the ‘Uncle Sam’ stone, a 40.23-carat<br />

diamond unearthed in 1923. The Uncle Sam is<br />

the largest uncut diamond ever found in the US.<br />

“This part of Arkansas is loaded with diamonds<br />

thanks to a violent volcanic vent eruption that took<br />

place roughly 100 million years ago,” writes Sarah<br />

Kuta for Smithsonian Magazine.<br />

“The powerful explosion carried rocks from Earth’s<br />

mantle up to the surface and left an 81-acre crater<br />

in its wake. Three types of diamonds — white,<br />

yellow, and brown — are common in the region,<br />

as are gemstones such as quartz, agate, garnet,<br />

amethyst and jasper, among others.”<br />

Navas plans to divide the diamond into two smaller<br />

stones and gift them to his fiancé and daughter.<br />

Australia’s<br />

Largest<br />

Sleeper<br />

Earring<br />

Wholesaler<br />


halosleepers.com<br />

Ancient jewellery: Hidden temple discovered in Greece<br />

Archaeologists on the Greek island of Evia have<br />

discovered a previously unknown temple packed<br />

with ancient jewellery and treasures.<br />

Evia is the second-largest Greek island in area<br />

and population and the sixth-largest island in the<br />

Mediterranean Sea.<br />

The site was discovered near the Temple of<br />

Amarysia Artemis and is dated to the 7th century<br />

BC; however, sections of the temple are believed to<br />

be older. Test cuts from the site show that sections<br />

of the buildings can be dated as far back as 900 BC.<br />

A team of more than 50 archaeologists uncovered a<br />

variety of gold, silver, coral, and amber jewellery, as<br />

well as bronze and iron fittings and amulets, within<br />

the 100-foot temple.<br />

"Although the investigation of the earliest of these<br />

levels has only just begun, the first discoveries<br />

suggest that the cult had its roots in the centuries<br />

after the end of the Mycenaean period."<br />

In a statement, Greece’s Ministry of Culture<br />

described the temple as the most crucial discovery<br />

in continental Greece in 65 years.<br />

“Although the investigation of the earliest of these<br />

levels has only just begun, the first discoveries<br />

suggest that the cult had its roots in the centuries<br />

after the end of the Mycenaean period,” the<br />

statement reads.<br />

"The excavation of the archaic temple brought<br />

to light rich offerings: Corinthian alabaster, attic<br />

vases, ritual prochos of local production, as well<br />

as jewellery made of precious materials like gold,<br />

silver, and coral.”<br />

The temple was dedicated to the goddess Artemis.<br />

In ancient Greek mythology, Artemis was the<br />

goddess of the hunt, wilderness, nature, and the<br />

care of children.<br />

In 2015, a 3500-year-old warrior grave was found in<br />

southern Greece. Among the items recovered were<br />

gold rings, swords, fine-toothed ivory combs and<br />

more than a thousand precious stone beads.<br />



News<br />

Reality check: Watches of Switzerland lowers forecast<br />

encouraged by our market share gains in both the<br />

US and UK.”<br />

Our diamonds are<br />

meticulously selected<br />

to ensure quality<br />

and diversity<br />

in our range to suit<br />

any design.<br />

Retailer Watches of Switzerland has lowered its<br />

full-year forecast, citing an adverse market for<br />

luxury timepieces.<br />

The UK-based retailer expects sales of between £1.53<br />

billion ($AU2.95 billion) and £1.55 billion ($AU2.98 billion),<br />

an increase of between two and three per cent.<br />

The retailer initially forecasted an improvement in<br />

sales of between eight and 11 per cent; however, CEO<br />

Brian Duffy said the retail environment was proving<br />

more challenging than anticipated.<br />

"The festive period was particularly volatile this year<br />

for the luxury sector, with consumers allocating<br />

spend to other categories," he said.<br />

“While we are disappointed with this trend, we are<br />

Watches of Switzerland also confirmed a double-digit<br />

sales increase in the US in the third quarter, which<br />

ended 28 January.<br />

The company will release a full financial report on 8<br />

<strong>February</strong>. The market responded quickly to the announcement,<br />

with share prices sharply decreasing.<br />

“Watches of Switzerland slashed its annual revenue<br />

and profit margin forecast on Thursday, as consumers<br />

spend less on luxury items amid a cost-of-living<br />

squeeze, sending the luxury retailer's shares down to<br />

an over three-year low,” Reuters reports.<br />

“Shares in the company, which sells brands including<br />

Rolex, Cartier and Patek Philippe, plunged as much<br />

as 30 per cent, its steepest one-day drop ever.”<br />

The report continued: “Several factors ranging<br />

from geopolitical tensions, a slower-than-expected<br />

recovery in China after COVID-19 shutdowns, and<br />

raging inflation have restricted consumer spending.<br />

Luxury brands are particularly hit with a slowdown<br />

in demand as high costs make people judicious with<br />

discretionary spending.”<br />

Watches of Switzerland operates more than<br />

170 stores worldwide and is a major retailer of<br />

brands such as Rolex, Omega, Cartier, TAG Heuer,<br />

and Breitling.<br />

Michael Hill announces store closures and job cuts<br />

Michael Hill International (MHI) has confirmed job<br />

cuts and store closures after a sharp decline in firsthalf<br />

earnings.<br />

The retailer is expected to report comparable<br />

earnings of between $30 million and $33<br />

million for the first half of the financial year, a<br />

decline of between 39-45 per cent on a<br />

year-on-year comparison.<br />

03 9654 7225<br />

www.metrodiamonds.com.au<br />

This announcement comes just weeks after the<br />

release of <strong>Jeweller</strong>'s <strong>2024</strong> State of the Industry<br />

Report, which recorded store counts for every<br />

chain in Australia. MHI had 171 locations in<br />

Australia at the time of publication.<br />

The retailer recently opened four new Bevilles<br />

locations; however, six underperforming Michael<br />

Hill stores have been closed <strong>–</strong> five in Australia and<br />

one in Canada.<br />

Michael Hill International currently oversees 302<br />

stores worldwide.<br />

“While the first half was definitely a challenging<br />

period for our business with sales for the core<br />

Michael Hill brand down, we are encouraged by our<br />

performance against the broader jewellery sector,”<br />

CEO Daniel Bracken said.<br />

"Clearly, margin was under pressure from both<br />

input costs and promotional activity, and inflationary<br />

forces saw elevated costs across many aspects<br />

of the business, which together impacted EBIT<br />

[earnings before interest and taxes] for the half.”<br />

He added: “As a result, the company has taken<br />

direct actions to reduce operating costs, including<br />

the exit of a number of senior management roles.”<br />

Group sales are expected to improve by 4.1 per<br />

cent, reaching $362.8 million. Sales at the recently<br />

acquired Bevilles have improved; however, sales at<br />

Michael Hill locations have declined.<br />

Sales in New Zealand were particularly impacted,<br />

decreasing by 10.3 per cent. Digital sales accounted<br />

for approximately eight per cent of total revenue.

Welcome to<br />

the world’s<br />

only diamond<br />

subscription<br />

service<br />

Y O U R P E R F E CT LY C U R AT E D<br />




dialogvault.com<br />

Let's Dialog<br />

Send an email to info@dialogvault.com to<br />

meet with us at the Australian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair

News<br />

Globetrotting: Nationwide heading to<br />

the US for September to remember<br />

Earlier this month, Australasia’s largest jewellery industry buying group,<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, announced plans for an educational trip to the US.<br />

Nearly every booking was sold within hours.<br />

Nationwide members will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana, to tour Stuller’s<br />

headquarters in September. Founded in 1970, Stuller is one of the largest<br />

jewellery manufacturers in the US. While in Lafayette, members will<br />

attend Stuller’s ‘Bridge Conference’. Nationwide general manager Glen<br />

Pocklington has previously participated in the conference and said the<br />

insights gained by members will be invaluable.<br />

“The conference focusses on present and future trends in the jewellery<br />

industry, provides data-driven strategies for retailers, and new directions<br />

in customisation technology,” he told <strong>Jeweller</strong>.<br />

“Networking with more than 100 fellow retailers and Stuller staff provides<br />

valuable insights and opportunities to grow your jewellery retail business.”<br />

He added: “Our initial allocation of registrations for the Bridge event<br />

at Stuller was fully booked within hours of the details being shared<br />

with our members. Fortunately, Stuller allowed us to increase our<br />

booking, enabling us to include those members on the waitlist. There<br />

are now only a handful of spots remaining.”<br />

Following the conference, members will travel to New York City and<br />

visit the Diamond District. In the past, Nationwide has organised trips to<br />

Antwerp in Belgium to facilitate diamond buying; however, the group has<br />

taken a new approach this year.<br />

“Instead of our usual trip to Antwerp in September, this year we have<br />

arranged for our members to visit the New York offices of our Antwerp<br />

diamond suppliers,” Pocklington said.<br />

“In a similar fashion to the way our Antwerp Diamond Program works,<br />

members will begin promoting their trip to hand pick the perfect<br />

diamonds for their customers from July.”<br />

In November, the group revealed the details of a trip to Spain which begins<br />

in Madrid and concludes in Barcelona nine days later.<br />

Counterfeit jewellery allegations emerge<br />

Australia Post has launched an investigation after one of its stores allegedly<br />

sold counterfeit designer jewellery.<br />

A visitor to the Australia Post location in Wentworthville in New South Wales,<br />

took to social media in early January to express confusion about a range of<br />

jewellery stocked on shelves. The jewellery included earrings, necklaces and<br />

rings that appeared to be from luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent,<br />

Louis Vuitton, and Chanel; however, each item was offered at just $39.99.<br />

More than 60 per cent of the national postal outlet network consists of<br />

Licensed Post Offices, independent businesses with a licence to provide<br />

Australia Post products and services. Trading in counterfeit goods is<br />

prohibited under Australian law.<br />

Featuring the delicate pink tone<br />

of Argyle pink diamonds<br />

PinkKimberley.com.au<br />

Become a stockist today 02 9290 2199<br />

People and businesses found to have purchased or sold counterfeit goods<br />

are subject to legal consequences, including copyright and trademark<br />

infringement penalties.<br />

“Australia Post outlets are required to comply with all federal, state and<br />

local laws. We treat any breaches of this requirement seriously and are<br />

investigating this matter,” a spokesperson for Australia Post said.<br />

The Wentworthville store manager was interviewed by A Current Affair and<br />

confirmed that the jewellery was purchased in Vietnam.

Shine Brighter Together!<br />

March 24<strong>–</strong>25, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre<br />


jewelleryfair.com.au<br />



SEARAY<br />

RegisterNow! jewelleryfair.com.au<br />


Supported by<br />

Organised by<br />

Est. 1990

10 Years Ago<br />

Time Machine: <strong>February</strong> 2014<br />

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

Historic Headlines<br />

4 <strong>Jeweller</strong>s association looks for new CEO<br />

4 nia ontines fight against iamon miing<br />

4 aorate eweery heist none with a iss<br />

4 worth taes on eweery maret<br />

4 are rgye iamon ossiy swaowe in thet<br />

Swatch confident against<br />

smartwatch wave<br />

Smartwatches and wearable technology is an<br />

opportunity for traditional watchmakers, not<br />

a threat, according to Swatch.<br />

While the worldwide buzz continues to grow<br />

about smartwatches, chief executive officer<br />

of Swiss giant Swatch, Nick Hayek, said he<br />

had no concerns regarding the possible<br />

impact on traditional watchmakers and is<br />

instead treating it as an opportunity.<br />

In an interview with Reuters, Hayek<br />

expressed optimism towards the wearable<br />

technology trend.<br />

“The smartwatch is an opportunity for us,<br />

whatever happens. If people who never used<br />

to wear anything on their wrist start wearing<br />

a so-called smartwatch, then we certainly<br />

can convince them quickly to try wearing a<br />

beautiful watch instead,” he said.<br />

World’s oldest gemstone<br />

discovered in Australia<br />

Scientists have confirmed that a tiny zircon<br />

gemstone discovered on a remote rock outcrop<br />

in Australia is the oldest known material of any<br />

kind formed on Earth.<br />

The tiny fragment of zircon was found in 2001 on<br />

an outback sheep station in Western Australia by<br />

University of Wisconsin geoscience professor John<br />

Valley. At the time, he had been on a field trip to an<br />

area called Jack Hills, located north of Perth.<br />

An international team of scientists, led by Valley,<br />

conducted a study on the gemstone, which<br />

revealed that the Earth’s crust first formed at least<br />

4.4 billion years ago, 160 million years after the<br />

formation of the solar system.<br />

According to Valley, the research <strong>–</strong> published in the<br />

journal Nature Geoscience <strong>–</strong> showed that the time<br />

when the planet was a fiery ball covered in magma<br />

ocean came earlier.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 2014<br />


Editor’s Desk<br />

4ACCC picks on jewellery retailers?<br />

“There are many more online examples<br />

that would appear to be misleading and<br />

deceptive, and maybe it’s time for the<br />

ACCC to be seen to be levelling the playing<br />

field if, indeed, it isn’t level now.<br />

That is, there may be good reasons why<br />

all of these practices are not illegal and<br />

the only businesses breaking the law are<br />

these “terrible” bricks-and-mortar stores,<br />

which is why they are being targeted. Do<br />

you seriously believe that?"<br />

Soapbox<br />

4 Watch battery changes... love ‘em or hate ‘em?<br />

“Lots of our customers want their<br />

batteries changed on the spot and<br />

resent the price they pay, and yet<br />

they can’t do without them.<br />

Then there is the need to explain<br />

about pressure testing on every<br />

waterproof model.<br />

“No, I never go in the water with it on,”<br />

the customer says. “Just whip the back<br />

off and stick in a new battery mate.”<br />

Yeah right! And who will get the stick<br />

when it fills with water after a day at<br />

the beach or a hot shower?”<br />

Monty Knight, Knights the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />


“Poor management is the biggest cause<br />

of retail business failure, and the<br />

difference between a successful and<br />

unsuccessful business is often the<br />

manner in which it can channel the flow<br />

of money. Bryan Young steps you through<br />

five ways to improve your cashflow and<br />

boost your business.”<br />

Swarovski Australia set for<br />

major retail expansion<br />

Swarovski has announced a major shift in<br />

its Australian retail strategy, as the local<br />

operation continues to perform well even<br />

in the difficult retail climate.<br />

The Austrian-based jewellery giant is set to<br />

embark on a major store expansion using its<br />

international “mono-brand partner” model.<br />

Swarovski currently operates 58 retail<br />

outlets in Australia and New Zealand, all<br />

of which are company owned stores or<br />

department store concessions.<br />

Internationally; however, the company<br />

also has non-company owned stores<br />

under a partner or licensing model<br />

similar to Pandora’s concept store<br />

franchise operation.<br />

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

world’s largest retailer<br />

Signet Jewelers’ recent acquisition of long<br />

time rival Zale Corporation will make it the<br />

largest jewellery chain in the world, with<br />

six recognisable retail brands across three<br />

countries.<br />

The deal, said to be worth US$1.4 billion<br />

(AU$1.56 b), will combine Signet’s 1,974<br />

retail stores (located across America and<br />

the United Kingdom) with 1,679 from Zale<br />

(located across America, Canada and Puerto<br />

Rico) for a total of 3,653 outlets <strong>–</strong> well above<br />

the 2,000 stores for China’s Chow Tai Fook.<br />

The acquisition covers all elements of Zale<br />

including the Zale’s chain, Gordon’s, Piercing<br />

Pagoda and Zale Canada (which includes<br />

Peoples and Mappins).<br />



26 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Enrol in a<br />

GAA Gemmology<br />

course today!<br />

Learn about the scientific<br />

study of gemstones<br />

with Australia’s leading<br />

industry educator<br />


Diploma in<br />

Gemmology<br />

Confidence and knowledge sells<br />

Now more than ever, we need to know the<br />

facts about what we are buying and selling.<br />

Customers are trying to educate<br />

themselves using the internet and want<br />

to buy gemstones from someone more<br />

educated than themselves.<br />

Make a difference to your career and<br />

experience the rewards with an education<br />

that will last a lifetime.<br />

Have great fun with a wonderful group of<br />

passionate people and open up another<br />

world for yourself.<br />

Become a Fellow of the Gemmological<br />

Association of Australia FGAA with a<br />

Diploma in Gemmology<br />

gems<br />

Introduction to<br />

&<br />

gemmology<br />

Dip your toe into the water to see if<br />

you want to dive in!<br />

Introduction to Gems & Gemmology is<br />

designed to teach the basic gemmology<br />

of gemstones. This course is ideal<br />

for gem enthusiasts as well as those<br />

considering a career in the jewellery<br />

and gemstone industries.<br />

For more details and other<br />

courses, call 1300 436 338<br />

or visit: gem.org.au<br />


Passionately educating the industry, gem enthusiasts<br />

and consumers about gemstones

REVIEW<br />

Gems<br />

Gemmologists who changed the game:<br />

Donald B. Hoover<br />

Dr. Donald B. Hoover was a distinguished figure in<br />

the field of gemmology. He was born on June 17,<br />

1930, and passed away on January 22, 2023, at the<br />

age of 92.<br />

Hoover completed a Doctor of Science equivalent<br />

to a PhD at the Colorado School of Mines in Denver,<br />

US. Hoover worked for a long time with the United<br />

States Geological Survey as a senior scientist<br />

specialising in seismology, volcanology, geothermal<br />

energy, and nuclear waste disposal.<br />

After he retired from USGS in the 1980s, he delved<br />

further into gemmology. He was known for his<br />

energy and enthusiasm, particularly regarding<br />

geological and gemmological discovery and<br />

research. Hoover was also a member of the editorial<br />

review board of The Australian Gemmologist.<br />

One of Hoover's notable contributions is his work on the<br />

thermal properties of gemstones. Thermal inertia is a<br />

measure of how quickly the surface temperature of a<br />

material can be changed with the application of heat.<br />

It depends on the material's thermal conductivity,<br />

specific heat, and density. A material with high<br />

thermal inertia will resist changes in temperature<br />

and feel cold to the touch. In contrast, a material<br />

with low thermal inertia will easily change<br />

temperature and feel warm to the touch.<br />

Hoover compiled a comprehensive table that arranged<br />

materials based on their thermal inertia. This work has<br />

been instrumental in gemstone analysis, providing a<br />

valuable parameter for accurate, quantitative probes.<br />

Fluorescence<br />

Hoover also made significant strides in the study<br />

of fluorescence in gemstones. Fluorescence is the<br />

emission of visible light by a gem material when<br />

exposed to radiation of shorter wavelengths, such<br />

as ultraviolet (UV) light.<br />

Some gemstones, such as synthetic and heat-treated<br />

sapphires, show a chalky blue to green fluorescence in<br />

short-wave UV light caused by isolated Ti 4+ ions or<br />

Ti<strong>–</strong>Al vacancy pairs in the crystal structure.<br />

This reaction is rarely seen in natural, untreated<br />

sapphires and can be used as an indicator of hightemperature<br />

heat treatment.<br />

Hoover’s research, published in a paper entitled<br />

‘Fluorescence excitation-emission spectra of<br />

chromium-containing gems,’ explained the<br />

effectiveness of the crossed filter method in examining<br />

emission spectra in gemstones such as rubies.<br />

Donald Hoover in 2007 with Grant Pearson’s opal<br />

pineapples, mined in White Cliffs (NSW).<br />

Hoover studied fluroescence in gemstones<br />

such as sapphires.<br />

This study has been pivotal in understanding how<br />

fluorescence can be used as a gemmological tool.<br />

The crossed-polar method uses a circular polariser<br />

filter in front of the UV lamp and another in front of the<br />

camera lens, aligned perpendicular to each other.<br />

This eliminates the red fluorescence of ruby and<br />

enhances the contrast of the chalky blue fluorescence,<br />

making it easier to see the zoned patterns that reflect<br />

the original crystal growth structure.<br />

This method can also be used with a Schott BG-12<br />

filter, which transmits the blue fluorescence and<br />

blocks the red fluorescence.<br />

Gemstone testing<br />

Hoover has also been involved in preliminary<br />

investigations of gemstone testing using strong<br />

rare-earth N52-grade neodymium magnets.<br />

These magnets detected 35 per cent more HPHT<br />

synthetics than traditional magnets. His innovative<br />

research has laid the groundwork for further studies<br />

on using magnetism in gemstone identification.<br />

In another study, Hoover derived garnet composition<br />

from magnetic susceptibility and other measurable<br />

properties. The garnet compositions derived from this<br />

method corresponded closely with results obtained<br />

from chemical data, demonstrating the accuracy and<br />

reliability of this approach.<br />

His research covered many areas, including opal from<br />

all over the world and his thirst to discover the origin of<br />

Brazilian diamonds.<br />

Hoover's contributions have had a profound impact<br />

on the field of gemmology. His research has not<br />

only advanced our understanding of gemstones but<br />

also provided practical tools and methodologies for<br />

gem identification.<br />

His work continues to be referenced in contemporary<br />

gemmological studies, underscoring its enduring<br />

relevance. His legacy inspires current and future<br />

gemmologists, ensuring his impact will be felt<br />

for years.<br />

athryn yatt i , is a qualified<br />

gemmologist, diamond technologist, registered<br />

jewellery valuer, educator and member of the<br />

Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association. For<br />

more information on gems and gemmology, go to<br />

www.gem.org.a<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 29


<strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT<br />

JAA: Legacy of past presidents<br />

and their achievements<br />

The JAA’s structure is somewhat unique, which causes complexity in<br />

measuring its success. That said, in order to look to the future, one must<br />

recognise the success and failures of the past.<br />

69%<br />

Decline in membership<br />

for the JAA between<br />

2012 and 2018.<br />


The JAA's approach of<br />

representing retailers and<br />

suppliers is uncommon<br />

among trade associations.<br />

Attracting members<br />

to a trade association<br />

is difficult when the<br />

benefits of joining are<br />

not clearly established.<br />

768<br />

Number of members the<br />

JAA had in 2015, before<br />

the attempt to launch a<br />

new jewellery fair.<br />

A s part of the review of the Australian jewellery<br />

industry over the past 13 years, an analysis of<br />

the success and failures of the industry’s trade<br />

body <strong>–</strong> the <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia (JAA) <strong>–</strong><br />

was required.<br />

At the height of its powers in 2010, the JAA could<br />

rightfully claim the title of ‘peak industry body’ with<br />

nearly 1,000 members. Retail membership alone<br />

accounted for 1,039 stores across Australia; however,<br />

the JAA could claim a mere 350 retail jewellery stores<br />

in 2023, a decline of 73 per cent since 2010.<br />

It’s important to understand that the JAA is somewhat<br />

unusual and unique as a trade association. The stated<br />

aim of representing the entire industry <strong>–</strong> including<br />

retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors<br />

and wholesalers <strong>–</strong> is uncommon among trade<br />

associations.<br />

Traditionally, trade associations would represent<br />

‘one side of the fence’, whether wholesale or retail,<br />

but not both ‘sides’ - partly because of conflicting<br />

interests. That said, for decades, retail members have<br />

dominated the JAA, while industry suppliers have<br />

accounted for around 20-30 per cent of its base.<br />

It’s worth noting that for 10 of the 13 years covered<br />

by the <strong>2024</strong> State of the Industry Report (SOIR), two<br />

people ‘led’ the JAA as president <strong>–</strong> Selwyn Brandt<br />

for seven years and Jo Tory for three years. Both are<br />

industry suppliers.<br />

For that reason, it was deemed appropriate for this<br />

study to offer Brandt and Tory an opportunity to reflect<br />

on their time ‘at the helm’.<br />

To assess the JAA’s position in the industry over the<br />

past decade, <strong>Jeweller</strong> initially contacted Tory on 10<br />

October to gauge her interest in providing information<br />

about her time as president, particularly a list of<br />

accomplishments and achievements.<br />

Tory is the owner of Najo, a supplier of women’s silver<br />

jewellery. She joined the JAA board in 2017 and was<br />

president between 2019 and 2021.<br />

The same invitation was also extended to Brandt<br />

on that day. Brandt vacated the presidency in 2018<br />

because the JAA Constitution states that no person<br />

may serve as president for more than seven years.<br />

Brandt is a director of Australian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Supplies<br />

(AJS), another industry supplier. In 2014, his former<br />

business, House of <strong>Jeweller</strong>y, merged with AJS.<br />

He replied to <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s email on 12 October,<br />

stating that he would submit a response “as<br />

soon as possible”.<br />

Tory did not respond to the initial 10 October email;<br />

however, when the request was resent on 18 October,<br />

she responded quickly, stating that she would provide<br />

2,699<br />

1,039<br />

860<br />


2,010<br />



359<br />

607<br />

information within the next week.<br />

A week later, on 25 October, Tory was sent a follow-up<br />

email asking when this information could be expected.<br />

Tory never replied.<br />

Because Brandt had not replied for a week, a followup<br />

email was sent to him on 18 October. He answered<br />

the next day, stating he was busy but would respond<br />

soon.<br />

However, two weeks later <strong>–</strong> on 6 November <strong>–</strong> Brandt<br />

emailed <strong>Jeweller</strong> with an unexpected response.<br />

“You would have received information from the current<br />

JAA president relating to recent achievements,<br />

member benefits, mission statements and latest<br />

news,” he said.<br />

He added: “My tenure with the JAA was several<br />

years ago and does not bare (sic) relevance to the<br />

organisation as it is today.”<br />

Brandt was correct. <strong>Jeweller</strong> had received an<br />

unexpected email from JAA president Joshua Sharp<br />

on 25 October.<br />

The email contained three documents: a media<br />

release announcing the resignation of Tory from the<br />

board, a copy of the JAA’s revised Mission, Vision, and<br />

Values statement, and the 2023 JAA Achievements<br />

and Progress report.<br />

Coincidental timing?<br />

It was intriguing that two weeks after <strong>Jeweller</strong> first<br />

requested a list of accomplishments from Tory and<br />

Brandt on 10 October, the JAA opted to prepare a list<br />

of "recent accomplishments".<br />

It should be noted that the requests to Brandt and<br />

Tory were sent to their business email addresses and<br />

were not ‘copied’ to the JAA. As Brandt indicated in<br />

his 6 November email, it seems apparent that the<br />

requests were discussed with the JAA.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> contacted Sharp on 13 December to raise<br />

this issue. It was suggested that Brandt and Tory<br />

contacted the association regarding the story after<br />

they had previously agreed to participate.<br />

30 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT<br />



Sharp responded on 21 December, denying that Brandt<br />

and Tory had advised the JAA about the invitation to<br />

contribute to the SOIR.<br />

“For the record, both Jo and Selwyn have not been<br />

in contact with me regarding you contacting them,”<br />

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

This statement seems to contradict the information<br />

provided by Brandt on 6 November, where he advised:<br />

“You would have received information from the current<br />

JAA president ...”<br />

Sharp continued, “Furthermore, as you are aware, Jo<br />

[Tory] and Selwyn [Brandt] are no longer on the JAA<br />

board and have no board involvement. Should they<br />

wish to not respond to your emails, I guess that is<br />

their choice, they have no obligation to do so.”<br />

It should be emphasised that both Brandt and<br />

Tory had previously advised <strong>Jeweller</strong> that they<br />

would participate in the study. Brandt withdrew on<br />

6 November with a direction to the information<br />

provided by the JAA. Tory stopped replying to emails<br />

after 18 October.<br />

Colourful legacies<br />

For the SOIR researchers, it was unfortunate that<br />

Brandt and Tory declined the opportunity to offer<br />

comments and information about their terms as<br />

president, especially considering they steered the JAA<br />

for 10 of the 13 years detailed in the report.<br />

During the early years of his tenure, Brandt was<br />

lauded for successfully restructuring the JAA’s board<br />

in 2014. At the time, the board was criticised for its<br />

size relative to membership figures.<br />

It consisted of 13 members - which meant one board<br />

member for every 60 members. The JAA was also<br />

criticised for its gender disparity, with just one woman<br />

serving as a director for six consecutive years.<br />

It was seen as unbalanced for a trade association<br />

representing an industry with many successful supply<br />

and retail businesses owned and operated by women <strong>–</strong><br />

let alone millions of female consumers.<br />

Brandt and others convinced the industry that a<br />

smaller, six-member board would be more effective.<br />

At the same time, a 14-person National Industry<br />

Advisory Council (NIAC) was created to represent the<br />

many different and diverse industry sectors.<br />

It was a significant achievement for Brandt and the<br />

JAA, although the NIAC eventually fell by the wayside<br />

over the ensuing years.<br />

While Brandt pushed the JAA in a positive direction<br />

in that regard, it was a disastrous period for the<br />

association regarding membership and finance.<br />

The JAA’s membership declined by 69 per cent (867 to<br />

514) between 2012 and 2018, which led to a decrease<br />

in membership income of 60 per cent from $415,000<br />

to $249,000. During the same period, total revenue<br />

plunged from $770,000 to $349,000 <strong>–</strong> a decline of<br />

around $380,000, or 50 per cent.<br />

Financial statements show that from 2014 to 2017,<br />

the JAA had four consecutive years of losses totalling<br />

more than $350,000. The average annual membership<br />

income for the same period was $328,000.<br />

However, as previously reported in detail, the<br />

board’s decision in May 2016 to terminate a 25-year<br />

sponsorship deal with Expertise Events <strong>–</strong> a move<br />

supported and spearheaded by Brandt <strong>–</strong> had an<br />

impact on the JAA that is still felt today.<br />

The association’s additional income, including thirdparty<br />

sponsorship from Expertise Events, Marsh<br />

Insurance, and other companies, including <strong>Jeweller</strong>,<br />

all but vanished. Annual revenue went into freefall,<br />

and the JAA office was closed as costs were slashed.<br />

As was reported in the SOIR for the first time, over<br />

ten years prior to making its decision to walk away<br />

from the sponsorship agreement and to run its own<br />

(competing) event, the JAA received $1.2 million in<br />

cash and an additional $100,000 in non-cash support<br />

from Expertise Events. The sponsorship agreement<br />

was for the JAA to effectively lend its name to the<br />

Sydney trade fair.<br />

There were other adjacent controversies during<br />

Brandt’s time as president. In October 2017, the board<br />

signed off on a financial report riddled with errors.<br />

It was also discovered that Brandt’s trading company<br />

<strong>–</strong> Australian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Supplies <strong>–</strong> was not supporting<br />

the JAA’s new jewellery fair <strong>–</strong> even though he had<br />

spearheaded the JAA's walk away from the annual<br />

sponsorship income. It was also discovered that AJS<br />

was not a JAA member during his tenure as president!<br />

Leadership under crisis<br />

Brandt stood down from the board in December 2018,<br />

and Tory assumed the presidency in January 2019.<br />

The first financial statements under her presidency<br />

showed a $48,000 loss; however, by the following year,<br />

Tory had the JAA back in the black, to the tune of<br />


1000<br />

900<br />

800<br />

700<br />

600<br />

500<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

0<br />

960<br />

867<br />

854<br />

791<br />

768<br />

744<br />

$70,000, mainly by slashing $43,000 of staffing costs<br />

(from $132,000 to $89,000).<br />

At the time of its decision to cancel its agreement with<br />

Expertise Events (2016), the JAA’s staffing costs were<br />

$300,000 per annum, which included an annual salary<br />

of $150,000 to its executive director.<br />

It should be noted that 12 months after becoming<br />

president, Tory was faced with the global COVID<br />

pandemic <strong>–</strong> a time of relentless uncertainty for<br />

jewellery retailers and suppliers.<br />

It was a trading environment unlike any other faced by<br />

previous JAA presidents <strong>–</strong> with Tory forced to navigate<br />

an unprecedented event as both the leader of the JAA<br />

and as a business owner herself.<br />

Her time as president was impacted by the<br />

continuing backlash over the 2016 decision to end the<br />

sponsorship agreement with Expertise Events.<br />

For example, by the time Tory had decided to take on<br />

the presidency, the JAA’s membership had already<br />

fallen by 30 per cent since Brandt’s board voted to<br />

commence a rival trade show.<br />

As a result, membership and income suffered <strong>–</strong> so<br />

returning the JAA to profitability by her second year<br />

(2020) was a notable accomplishment.<br />

These things considered, it was also a time of missed<br />

opportunities for the new president. Tory had a chance<br />

to ‘heal the wounds’ caused by the failed attempt to<br />

launch a new jewellery fair.<br />

Of particular interest was the JAA’s relationship with<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s, Australia’s largest buying<br />

group.<br />

The buying group withdrew from the JAA after Brandt<br />

<strong>–</strong> along with vice-president Laura Moore (nee Sawade)<br />

and executive director Amanda Trotman (nee Hunter)<br />

signed a media release in September 2016 that<br />

alleged a “conflict of interest” by Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

managing director Colin Pocklington.<br />

In fact, in the seven years since that media<br />

release was published, no member of the JAA<br />

board has ever contacted Pocklington to discuss<br />

the events, let alone apologise.<br />

It is worth noting that when Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

‘10 ‘12 ‘13 ‘14 ‘15 ‘16 ‘17 ‘18 ‘19 ‘20 ‘21 ‘22 ‘23<br />

The chart shows the decline of JAA membership from 2010 to 2023. The 2023 membership figure is a calculation because<br />

the association could not, or was incapable of supplying its membership number. <strong>Jeweller</strong> used the JAA’s membership<br />

directory page and other information to arrive at the December 2023 information, which has not been disputed by the JAA.<br />

605<br />

514 521<br />

413<br />

439<br />

400<br />

316<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 31

<strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT<br />


The <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia is<br />

my first point of contact for business advice<br />

and retail best practice.<br />

Membership to a buying group offers<br />

more benefits than membership to the<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia.<br />

43.69%<br />

Retailer Survey<br />

The retailer survey was undertaken using<br />

Survey Monkey, a digital research platform<br />

and emailed using <strong>Jeweller</strong>’s comprehensive<br />

database.<br />

It began on 31 October and ended on 17<br />

November with more than 200 independent<br />

retailers responding, which is estimated to<br />

be around 10 per cent of the market.<br />

Interestingly, while the JAA represents<br />

less than 10 per cent of the entire market<br />

(all jewellery stores including chains) its<br />

members were overrepresented in the<br />

survey at 29 per cent of participants.<br />

40%<br />

30%<br />

20%<br />

10%<br />

0%<br />

1.46%<br />

7.28%<br />

32.52% 33.98% 24.76%<br />

Strongly<br />

Agree<br />

Agree<br />

Neither agree<br />

nor disagree<br />

Disagree<br />

Strongly<br />

Disagree<br />

40%<br />

30%<br />

20%<br />

10%<br />

0%<br />

18.45%<br />

25.24%<br />

5.83% 6.80%<br />

Strongly<br />

Agree<br />

Agree<br />

Neither agree<br />

nor disagree<br />

Disagree<br />

Strongly<br />

Disagree<br />

quit the JAA after a 25-year relationship, it had<br />

469 members (391 Australian) and 511 stores (427<br />

Australian), more than the total number of JAA<br />

members and stores today.<br />

Indeed, during Tory’s time as president, no<br />

discernable effort was made to ‘extend an olive<br />

branch’ to anyone impacted by what was arguably the<br />

most shocking time in the JAA’s history.<br />

Therefore, her presidential legacy remains mixed.<br />

Perhaps it will be remembered for its impressive<br />

achievement of steadying the JAA’s finances during<br />

a global pandemic while continuing the disunity and<br />

division by choosing not to deal with the past - which<br />

she could argue was not her doing.<br />

It is hard to imagine that the damage inflicted on the<br />

industry by Brandt, Moore and Trotman’s decision to<br />

issue a media release with false allegations can ever<br />

be overcome without an apology in the very least.<br />

While making these observations, it is important to<br />

note that the president or CEO is just one person<br />

on a larger board of directors who makes the final<br />

decision and for which the actions and outcomes<br />

should be attributed to the organisation itself and not<br />

any single person.<br />

However, just like the buck stops with the coach of a<br />

sports team, the CEO or president is remembered for<br />

their legacy, whether positive or negative.<br />

It should be noted that Karen Denaro of Brilliamo<br />

Designer <strong>Jeweller</strong>y served less than one year as JAA<br />

president after quitting the role in October 2022 under<br />

unamiable circumstances.<br />

Following her resignation, she expressed concern<br />

about the board's governance and suggested she was<br />

prevented from meeting with Expertise Events before<br />

the 2022 International <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Fair.<br />

Obligations presented as accomplishments<br />

This leads us to the JAA’s list of recent<br />

‘accomplishments and achievements’ provided by<br />

Sharp on 25 October.<br />

It states: “The <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia (JAA)<br />

has made meaningful achievements and progress in<br />

2023, demonstrating its commitment to supporting<br />

and advancing the Australian jewellery industry.”<br />

Apart from listing items that cannot reasonably be<br />

described or even viewed as accomplishments, the<br />

document also includes ‘everyday’ responsibilities<br />

that are expected and for which it is legally obliged to<br />

undertake.<br />

For example, the sixth item listed is the appointment<br />

of a board member: “New Board Director: JAA<br />

welcomed a new Board director, Daniel Anania, to<br />

contribute fresh perspectives and expertise. The<br />

association continues to seek out additional director<br />

candidates, who can contribute to its mission and<br />

vision for a stronger industry.”<br />

The JAA is legally obliged to have board members<br />

and, therefore, must manage the issue. The<br />

appointment of a new board member to replace<br />

another is a duty and obligation; it cannot be rightfully<br />

described as an accomplishment.<br />

“Should you wish to write<br />

an article and scrutinise<br />

the information, I will leave<br />

that to your creativity.”<br />

Joshua Sharp<br />

JAA President<br />

The same can be said of the tenth item on the list <strong>–</strong><br />

handling consumer complaints - and the following<br />

statement: “The day-to-day administration of the<br />

Association has been efficiently managed …”<br />

JAA members rightfully expect their annual fees to be<br />

“efficiently managed”.<br />

In addition, for something to be described as an<br />

‘achievement’ or ‘accomplishment’, it is reasonable to<br />

assume it has concluded. Something you are thinking<br />

of undertaking, exploring and/or are still negotiating<br />

- and has not been finalised - cannot be called an<br />

‘achievement’.<br />

The JAA lists two expectations as accomplishments:<br />

“the promise of future benefits like messaging services<br />

and fuel card programs currently in the works” and<br />

“investigations into shared workspace and insurance.”<br />

The third item listed is “re-contract with JewelCover”.<br />

The JAA announced its partnership with JewelCover<br />

in <strong>February</strong> 2018, meaning that a commitment to<br />

continue offering an existing service could hardly be<br />

described as an accomplishment. It should be noted<br />

that the JAA receives income from JewelCover.<br />

Is it reasonable to describe a contract renewal from<br />

which you benefit financially as an ‘accomplishment’?<br />

The alternative was to stop receiving financial<br />

payments from JewelCover.<br />

One of the ten items listed could be described as an<br />

accomplishment: “maintaining a profitable status.”<br />

Given the previously documented financial freefall<br />

and the JAA’s continuing membership decline, it is a<br />

notable achievement for the JAA to stay in the black.<br />

With that said, the real issue is not the JAA’s attempts<br />

to present its duties and obligations and future<br />

expectations as achievements. The real problem is a<br />

question of membership benefits.<br />

Who benefits?<br />

The pragmatic issue the JAA board faces moving<br />

forward is as follows: What value or benefit does a<br />

business receive from becoming a JAA member?<br />

If membership in any trade association offers little or<br />

no benefit, it will struggle to attract members.<br />

The issue is complex because there are core benefits<br />

(which all members enjoy) and ancillary benefits<br />

(which some members enjoy).<br />

Herein lies another problem with the JAA in <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Because it attempts to represent retailers and<br />

suppliers simultaneously, something that might be<br />

viewed as a benefit to a retailer may not be used by<br />

suppliers, and vice versa.<br />

For example, the JAA listed renewing the contract<br />

with Jewelcover as an ‘achievement’. In truth, this<br />

‘service’ is not a core retailer benefit <strong>–</strong> the product is<br />

for their customers - but regardless, it has nothing to<br />

do with suppliers.<br />

Another example is the first item listed <strong>–</strong> the<br />

JAA Australasian <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Awards. While it is<br />

undoubtedly exciting for the 10-20 jewellery<br />

designers who participate, it is of little interest to<br />

suppliers who may consider joining the association.<br />

It cannot be described as a core benefit from which<br />

all members will gain.<br />

32 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>2024</strong> STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT<br />


The <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia’s<br />

support and promotion of industry<br />

wholesalers and suppliers is:<br />

The <strong>Jeweller</strong>s Association of Australia<br />

is my first point of contact for business advice<br />

and wholesaling best practice.<br />

40%<br />

30%<br />

20%<br />

40.38%<br />

19.23%<br />

25.00%<br />

Excellent<br />

Above average<br />

Average<br />

Below Average<br />

Very Poor<br />

40%<br />

30%<br />

20%<br />

28.85%<br />

36.54%<br />

28.58%<br />

Strongly<br />

Agree<br />

Agree<br />

Neither agree<br />

nor disagree<br />

Disagree<br />

Strongly<br />

Disagree<br />

Supplier Survey<br />

The supplier survey was opened on<br />

9 November and closed on 17<br />

November. While the exact number<br />

of jewellery suppliers (wholesalers) is<br />

unknown because of the complexities of<br />

various business models, it is estimated<br />

to be somewhere between 500-750.<br />

The survey received 52 responses, which<br />

is estimated to be between 8-10 per cent<br />

of the market.<br />

10%<br />

0%<br />

5.77%<br />

9.62%<br />

10%<br />

0%<br />

5.77%<br />

Interestingly, even though the JAA has<br />

been led by supplier presidents for 10<br />

of the past 13 years, suppliers appear to<br />

have little regard for the JAA’s support<br />

of the wholesaler sector, with around 85<br />

per cent saying it is average to very poor.<br />

The same could be said of many other<br />

accomplishments listed in the document <strong>–</strong> they<br />

cannot be seen as a core or ancillary member<br />

benefit, which leads to retailers and suppliers<br />

questioning the reason to join the JAA. <strong>Jeweller</strong><br />

contacted Sharp to clarify which accomplishments<br />

could be described as a core benefit to jewellery<br />

retailers and supplier members.<br />

An example of a fuel card was provided. Members<br />

could benefit from a fuel card supplied by the JAA;<br />

however, they could also acquire a fuel card from<br />

various sources, and thus, it’s not an outright<br />

motivation to join the association. Sharp opted not to<br />

discuss the matter further.<br />

“It was a general document listing achievements and<br />

progress. You mention that you cannot report certain<br />

parts as an accomplishment. We are certainly not<br />

holding you to any news report,” he said.<br />

“Should you wish to write an article and scrutinise<br />

the information, I will leave that to your creativity.”<br />

Public perception challenges<br />

At one time, membership with the JAA was perceived<br />

to offer great value to retailers and suppliers,<br />

reflected in strong membership figures.<br />

As the recent survey results demonstrated, the<br />

perception of the JAA among retailers and suppliers<br />

is negative <strong>–</strong> despite members of the association<br />

being overrepresented among the respondents! The<br />

2023 industry surveys reflect the same data as a<br />

similar study completed in 2017.<br />

This point to be emphasised is that this is not the<br />

‘editorial’ opinion of <strong>Jeweller</strong> <strong>–</strong> this was feedback<br />

from current JAA members.<br />

The following was put forward: Membership to a<br />

buying group offers more benefits than membership<br />

to the JAA.<br />

More than 43 per cent of retail respondents said they<br />

‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ while only 12.5 per cent<br />

said they ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’. It would<br />

appear Australian jewellery retailers do not see<br />

much benefit in the JAA compared to buying group<br />

membership.<br />

Suppliers were asked a similar question: The JAA<br />

is my first point of contact for business advice and<br />

wholesaling best practice.<br />

More than 65 per cent of supplier respondents said<br />

they ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’ while a mere<br />

five per cent ‘agreed’. Around 24 per cent of supplier<br />

respondents were JAA members.<br />

If the JAA intends to resurrect its membership<br />

figures and represent a large percentage of the<br />

industry in the future, this perception must be<br />

addressed.<br />

What has the past taught us?<br />

As previously noted, the JAA has always been a<br />

trade association dominated by retailers (70-80 per<br />

cent). Yet, for 10 of the past 13 years, it was ‘led’<br />

by presidents who owned wholesale businesses -<br />

suppliers serving retailers.<br />

When Sharp was announced as president in October<br />

2022, there was a suggestion that change was in<br />

the air <strong>–</strong> as he comes from a retail background as<br />

general manager of Ian Sharp <strong>Jeweller</strong>y. The last<br />

retail president was Peter Beever in 2012.<br />

That said, Sharp has held the position for more than<br />

one year, and the JAA appears to be maintaining the<br />

same trajectory it held under previous leadership.<br />

In November 2022, it was reported that Sharp had<br />

contacted Expertise Events managing director Gary<br />

Fitz-Roy. The telephone call occurred after JAA vice<br />

president Ronnie Bauer created another controversy<br />

by making statements about Expertise Events.<br />

Only one month into his tenure as president,<br />

Sharp found himself issuing a media release titled<br />

‘Retraction on comments made by Ronnie Bauer, JAA<br />

Director and Vice President’. Bauer apologised to<br />

Fitz-Roy and retracted four comments he had made.<br />

Sharp later told <strong>Jeweller</strong>, “The JAA is looking to<br />

assist in uniting the industry and ensure it prospers<br />

in the future. We will work with whomever is willing<br />

to help our industry prosper”.<br />

Seven years since the industry JAA divided the<br />

industry - and more than one year since Sharp called<br />

Fitz-Roy - there has yet to be any indication that<br />

industry unity is coming anytime soon.<br />

Like Tory before him, Sharp has also made no<br />

attempt to contact Pocklington or resurrect the<br />

JAA’s relationship with Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s.<br />

During the extensive six-month research for the<br />

SOIR, <strong>Jeweller</strong> uncovered other information that<br />

indicates the JAA’s focus remains on industry politics<br />

rather than benefits for members.It would seem<br />

that listing legal obligations and expectations as<br />

achievements is merely the tip of the iceberg.<br />

As previously observed, it’s arguable that a State<br />

of the Industry Report is a project the JAA itself<br />

should be undertaking. With that said, two former<br />

presidents opted to remain silent rather than accept<br />

an invitation to reflect on the past 13 years so that<br />

the industry could better prepare for the future.<br />

It is not possible to solve problems with the same type<br />

of thinking that created them. Mistakes have been<br />

made; however, the industry will remain divided until<br />

the JAA attempts to resolve the conflict it created with<br />

Nationwide <strong>Jeweller</strong>s and Expertise Events.<br />

Perhaps the one decision made by the JAA that is<br />

supported by this study was the choice to no longer<br />

refer to itself as ‘the peak industry body’.<br />


This article is an addendum to the State of the Industry<br />

Report published in December 2023. The purpose of the<br />

six-month study into the Australian jewellery industry is<br />

two-fold <strong>–</strong> it’s a historical document offering an in-depth<br />

examination of the trade from which a glimpse of the future<br />

may be obtained.<br />

As is often the case with studies of this nature, the research<br />

often uncovers unexpected insights. These include significant<br />

changes due to advances in technology, the evolution of<br />

consumer habits and expectations, and the unforeseen<br />

impact of an unprecedented global pandemic.<br />

In some cases, the space allocated to specific sections of<br />

the report was insufficient because of the additional detail<br />

and information obtained. This article is one such case where<br />

it was noted that although the JAA has historically been a<br />

member-based trade association of retailers (buyers), it was<br />

found that in the past 13 years, it had been led by presidents<br />

from the wholesale channel (sellers). This was deemed<br />

worthy of further analysis.<br />

There is a host of additional information uncovered during<br />

the SOIR research period, which was also unable to be<br />

included in the initial report due to space and time limitations.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> will continue to publish addendums to the SOIR to<br />

analyse and clarify an ever-changing industry.<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 33

The Beauty of Infinite Possibilities<br />

Modify more than 3,000 jewellery styles using Stuller’s CAD/CAM Services<br />

to give your customers a piece that is one of a kind.<br />

The Beauty of It All ®<br />

Stuller.com/CADCAMServices<br />

Featured item: 124773<br />

34 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Lab Grown Diamonds<br />

A Glimmering Future<br />

or Hidden Ethical Dilemma?<br />

There’s a sweeping wave of change in the global diamond<br />

market, and it’s sparking both interest and scrutiny. Consumers<br />

are flocking to lab-grown diamonds, lauded for their nonmined<br />

origins and identical physical properties to their mined<br />

counterparts. However, a lingering question refuses to fade:<br />

What about the energy used to produce them?<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 35

Introducing<br />

Clear Neutral<br />

In an age where every consumer choice carries weight, the<br />

jewellery industry faces the essential task of aligning with ethical<br />

standards and environmental consciousness. Enter Clear Neutral.

The quest for<br />

truly ethical<br />

diamonds starts<br />

beyond the lab.<br />



While lab-grown diamonds<br />

are heralded as a modern<br />

alternative, they also<br />

cast a shadow on environmental<br />

sustainability.<br />

Cultivating these diamonds in a<br />

laboratory is an energy-intensive<br />

process. A single carat might<br />

consume over 200 kWh of energy,<br />

equivalent to a family’s entire<br />

weekly consumption.<br />

Indeed, lab-grown diamonds have<br />

merits such as higher accessibility,<br />

quality, and yield. But we can’t<br />

ignore the environmental costs.<br />

This complexity reveals a nuanced<br />

landscape with its own challenges,<br />

with some viewing lab-grown<br />

diamonds as an ethical solution and<br />

others questioning that very ethics.<br />

This has led to more interest<br />

in carbon offsetting, which<br />

helps reduce the harm diamond<br />

production can do to the<br />

environment.<br />

This approach helps build trust with<br />

buyers, showing them that their<br />

jewellery purchases are responsible<br />

and not just about looking good.<br />

As sustainability gains momentum,<br />

companies like Clear Neutral are<br />

leading the way. By specialising<br />

in making lab-grown diamonds<br />

carbon neutral, Clear Neutral offers<br />

a precise solution that integrates<br />

seamlessly with existing suppliers.<br />

Clear Neutral uses extensive<br />

research and a proprietary<br />

system to accurately assess a<br />

diamond’s carbon footprint<br />

through its growing, cutting,<br />

and polishing stages.<br />

Considering factors like stone size,<br />

country of origin, and growth type,<br />

they offset emissions conservatively,<br />

ensuring no negative impact is<br />

overlooked. Investments in projects<br />

such as renewable energy and<br />

waste management underline<br />

their commitment to ethical<br />

responsibility.<br />

“We believe the quest for truly<br />

ethical diamonds starts beyond<br />

the lab. By looking at the entire<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 37

production chain we can begin to<br />

see the effect our choices have on<br />

the environment,” says Phil Preston<br />

from Clear Neutral. “Clear Neutral’s<br />

mission is to make a clear path<br />

towards the sustainability that<br />

we all want. Our goal is to make it<br />

accessible, easy and transparent for<br />

both retailers and customers alike.”<br />

The consumer market is growing<br />

increasingly discerning. Recent<br />

studies indicate that a staggering<br />

90%* of global consumers express a<br />

preference for responsibly sourced<br />

products. Moreover, 83%* are willing<br />

to dig a little deeper into their pockets<br />

for ethically produced merchandise.<br />

When it comes to the jewellery sector,<br />

the statistics are equally revealing.<br />

An impressive 68% of Millennial and<br />

Generation Z consumers say that<br />

sustainability concerns could be a<br />

deal-breaker in purchasing diamond<br />

jewellery, according to a recent Bain<br />

& Company survey on the global<br />

diamond industry.<br />

Embracing sustainable practices<br />

isn’t just about saving the planet;<br />

Ultimately, the journey<br />

towards ethical<br />

perfection is far from<br />

over. Clear Neutral and<br />

other initiatives like<br />

it offer an incredible<br />

opportunity for the<br />

jewellery industry to<br />

embrace responsible<br />

practices.<br />

it’s good for business. A 2023<br />

Deloitte report revealed that 72% of<br />

employees in retail organisations with<br />

leading sustainability programs are<br />

committed to their current jobs.<br />

Buyers like Jake Goodwin also<br />

appreciate an ethically sound supply<br />

chain. “It’s more than just a gem;<br />

it’s a statement of who I am,” he<br />

says. The sentiment echoes among<br />

consumers like Ainsley Caulfield, who<br />

notes, “I love the idea of wearing a<br />

diamond that’s not only beautiful but<br />

also kinder to our planet.”<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>s themselves are taking<br />

notice of the growing ethical<br />

concerns. “More and more people<br />

are asking about lab-grown<br />

diamonds. They love that they’re<br />

more sustainable, but they’re also<br />

concerned about the energy used to<br />

produce them,” says Jordan Cullen,<br />

Managing Director of Cullen <strong>Jeweller</strong>y.<br />

“We need to ensure we’re addressing<br />

those concerns head-on.”<br />

Ultimately, the journey towards<br />

ethical perfection is far from over.<br />

Clear Neutral and other initiatives<br />

like it offer an incredible opportunity<br />

for the jewellery industry to embrace<br />

responsible practices. The opaquely<br />

symbiotic relationship between<br />

jewellers, consumers, and the<br />

environment will continue to evolve.<br />

What seems clear, though, is that the<br />

path towards ethical consumption<br />

and responsible retailing is not just a<br />

trend. It’s a necessary evolution that<br />

resonates deeply with the buyers,<br />

employees, and society at large.

Carbon Neutrality for<br />

Modern <strong>Jeweller</strong>s<br />

Join the Movement<br />

Millennials and conscious buyers are demanding more. Don’t miss the<br />

opportunity to align your business with their values and stand out.<br />

Only Offset as You Sell. (No Upfront Cost!)<br />

Your investment in sustainability doesn’t have to be burdensome.<br />

Clear Neutral’s unique model allows you to offset as you sell. No<br />

hidden fees, no initial investments <strong>–</strong> only pay for what you need,<br />

when you need it.<br />

Use Your Current Supplier<br />

Stick with your trusted suppliers. Clear Neutral works alongside your<br />

existing supply chain, providing carbon neutrality solutions without<br />

the need to switch suppliers.<br />

Pricing to Fit Your Business<br />

Starting from just 2% of the diamond’s value, carbon neutrality is<br />

accessible. Your customers will likely not even notice the price<br />

difference, but the planet surely will.<br />

Boost Employee Retention<br />

A commitment to ethical sourcing aligns with staff values, enhancing<br />

satisfaction and retention.<br />

Future-Proof Your Brand<br />

Aligning with sustainability and ethics ensures that your brand stays<br />

relevant, respected, and ahead of the regulatory curve.

Clear<br />

Neutral?<br />

It’s your Path to<br />

Sustainable Luxury<br />

Carbon Offsetting, Simplified for You<br />

Using existing identifiers, we measure the carbon footprint of<br />

each lab-grown diamond through all phases: growing, cutting,<br />

and polishing. We then offset it by investing in environmental<br />

projects like renewable energy. This requires experience and<br />

expertise; let us handle the complexities for you.<br />

Carbon Credits Verification<br />

Clear Neutral only purchases internationally-recognised<br />

carbon credits. They all meet the following requirements: real,<br />

measurable, additional, permanent, and independently verified.<br />

A Partner in Authenticity<br />

Our physical reports provide tangible proof of your ethical<br />

sourcing. Authenticity is key to building customer trust.<br />

Not-For-Profit<br />

We’re transitioning to a non-profit model to further our<br />

dedication to responsible sourcing and environmental<br />

stewardship.<br />

Online and In-Store Marketing Materials<br />

Provided<br />

We provide professional marketing materials, customised for<br />

your store and website, that highlight your commitment to<br />

sustainability.<br />

Transform Your <strong>Jeweller</strong>y Business<br />

with Clear Neutral Today.<br />

Your customers want this.<br />

Your business needs this.<br />

With Clear Neutral, the path is clear,<br />

and the future is bright.<br />

40 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />


1300 208 897<br />

www.clearneutral.com<br />

@clearneutralofficial<br />



Open Your Mind<br />

Experimental<br />

Engagement<br />

Jean Dousset<br />

Change is in the air, and the jewellery industry faces a<br />

momentous year ahead. SAMUEL ORD examines the<br />

latest trends in bridal and engagement jewellery.<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 41

Breaking Tradition | BRIDAL FEATURE<br />

Sapphire Dreams<br />

B<br />

ridal and engagement jewellery is the<br />

backbone of the business for so many<br />

Australian retailers. Change is in the air,<br />

and jewellers must be prepared for what lies ahead.<br />

After the doldrums of the COVID years and a gruelling<br />

post-pandemic economic recovery dominated by cost-ofliving<br />

pressures and weakened consumer confidence, this<br />

coming year is expected to be highlighted by an influx of<br />

engagements and marriages.<br />

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the<br />

national population has more than doubled since the 1970s,<br />

the number of marriages occurring each year has not<br />

changed significantly.<br />

The number of marriages consistently fluctuated between<br />

100,000 and 120,000 before the pandemic. There were<br />

89,164 marriages in 2021, followed by a significant spike the<br />

following year, reaching 127,161, which indicates that ‘postpandemic<br />

unions’ began to arrive.<br />

Should this trend continue, this year is an important<br />

opportunity for budding young couples and jewellery<br />

retailers.<br />

Easy Weddings, an events management company based in<br />

Victoria, publishes an annual report that includes survey<br />

responses from more than 4,000 engaged and newlywed<br />

couples. The report provides data on everything from budgets<br />

to demographics and supplier preferences.<br />

The <strong>2024</strong> Australian Wedding Industry Report has<br />

forecasted 131,280 marriages in Australia this year, a<br />

subtle decline from the 134,370 marriages estimated to<br />

have occurred in 2023.<br />

The report expects marriages to rise again in 2025, with<br />

133,582 weddings expected to occur.<br />

“We’ve seen the impact of cost-of-living pressures not only<br />

on everyday expenses but also a slight dip in overall wedding<br />


Engagement<br />

Boom<br />

131,280<br />

Expected weddings in<br />

Australia in <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

33%<br />

Percentage of couples<br />

experiencing a longer<br />

engagement due to<br />

budget concerns.<br />

3.25<br />

Estimated time between<br />

engagement and marriage<br />

according to Signet<br />

Jewelers.<br />

79%<br />

Percentage of couples<br />

that say cost-of-living<br />

pressures have reduced<br />

their wedding budget.<br />

spending. The challenge of staying within a budget remains<br />

the number one source of stress for couples, prompting<br />

them to prioritise their non-negotiables and make budgetconscious<br />

decisions,” writes CEO Matt Butterworth.<br />

“Despite these challenges, one thing is clear — love endures,<br />

and the wedding industry continues to be a source of hope<br />

and inspiration. Even as more Australian couples start their<br />

families before marriage, the value of matrimony and the<br />

dream of a grand wedding remain as strong as ever.<br />

He added: “The average planning cycle remains consistent,<br />

but we’ve noted a steady increase in the average age of<br />

couples, suggesting longer engagement periods and more<br />

thoughtful, deliberate planning.”<br />

This is not a phenomenon that is restricted to Australia.<br />

In the US, Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of<br />

diamond jewellery, has identified <strong>2024</strong> as a year that will<br />

bring an engagement and wedding ‘boom’.<br />

Research from the retailer has suggested that because of<br />

the pandemic’s impact on dating, there was a ‘delay’ in the<br />

engagement process.<br />

Signet suggests that couples date for an average of 3.25<br />

years before engagement, making <strong>2024</strong> the year postpandemic<br />

proposals are expected to surface.<br />

CEO Virgina Drosos says that her company expects<br />

between 2.4 and 2.5 million engagements in the US this<br />

year. This is crucial for Signet as bridal jewellery accounts<br />

for approximately 50 per cent of sales.<br />

“Why are we confident that engagements will recover?<br />

Our confidence is based on 45 proprietary milestones we<br />

track to measure a couple’s journey toward engagement,”<br />

she explains.<br />

“Not every couple experiences all of the 45 milestones we<br />

track, but we know that once they reach 25 to 30 of these<br />

milestones, they become, statistically, significantly more<br />

likely to move on to engagement.”<br />

76%<br />

Percentage of jewellers who<br />

stated that custom-made<br />

jewellery is increasingly<br />

important to their business.<br />

Ellendale Diamonds<br />

Sapphire Dreams<br />

Soklich & Co.<br />

Stuller<br />

42 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Order our famous Lava rings now for the year ahead!<br />

For all wholesale queries and orders, call us on +61 8 9367 7712 or email<br />

workshop@soklichco.com | Shop 2, 61 Angelo Street, South Perth WA 6151<br />

soklichco.com<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 43

Open Your Mind | BRIDAL FEATURE<br />

Calleija<br />

Calleija<br />

Emily Ratajowski<br />

Scarlett Johansson<br />

So, what does this mean for your business? You’ll<br />

need to be prepared to take advantage of a possible<br />

spike in customers looking for engagement and<br />

bridal jewellery.<br />

What do we know about the couples getting<br />

married? According to research from Easy<br />

Weddings, the average age of both bride and groom<br />

is rising. The average age of a bride in 2023 was 32,<br />

while for grooms, it was 35.<br />

“In 2019, the average couple was a 28-year-old<br />

bride and 29-year-old groom,” the report states.<br />

“While the marrying age of couples followed an<br />

upward trend for many years, contributed to by<br />

COVID postponements during 2020-2022, cost of<br />

living pressures have now impacted engagement<br />

lengths and extended marrying ages further as a<br />

result. A third of couples (33 per cent) are having a<br />

longer engagement due to budget concerns.”<br />

Cost-of-living pressures have reduced budgets for<br />

79 per cent of couples and have led to a change in<br />

approach towards ‘the big day’.<br />

Experimenting<br />

Due to these budget constraints, couples are<br />

experimenting with cost-cutting measures and new<br />

ways to celebrate with friends and family that don’t<br />

break the bank.<br />

Regarding jewellery, these pressures have been<br />

paired with another interesting phenomenon<br />

in style and fashion <strong>–</strong> the increasing desire for<br />

personalisation.<br />

Younger consumers increasingly seek clothing<br />

and jewellery with a personalised touch, which<br />

suggests that the adornment is unique to them.<br />

When paired with budget pressures, this thirst for<br />

personalisation is encouraging young couples to<br />

explore non-traditional engagement and bridal<br />

jewellery.<br />

“While sentimental value can be imbued in a<br />

favourite pair of jeans, a signature scent, or a<br />

treasured knickknack unearthed at a thrift shop,<br />

there’s no denying that an engagement ring holds<br />

more emotional weight than any other item a<br />

person owns,” writes Shelby Wax of Vogue.<br />

“Should this trend continue, this year<br />

is an important opportunity for budding<br />

young couples and jewellery retailers.”<br />

“Given as a promise of love, loyalty, and<br />

partnership, an engagement ring is a piece of<br />

jewellery often worn every single day to honour<br />

one’s commitment to a spouse or spouse-to-be.<br />

Since this investment piece might feel as much<br />

a part of you as the hair on your head, having a<br />

ring design that feels authentic to you and your<br />

style is absolutely essential.”<br />

She adds: “That’s why creating a bespoke<br />

engagement ring is a must for many couples<br />

looking to tie the knot. Luckily, the process of<br />

going custom has become much simpler in the<br />

modern era.”<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong> surveyed more than 200 independent<br />

jewellery retailers in Australia as part of its<br />

research for the <strong>2024</strong> State of the Industry Report.<br />

Retailers were asked if custom-made or bespoke<br />

jewellery has become increasingly important in<br />

their business in the past 5-10 years.<br />

More than 76 per cent of responses either ‘strongly<br />

agreed’ or ‘agreed’ to that statement, suggesting<br />

that personalisation is more appealing than ever for<br />

Australian consumers.<br />

Overwhelming options<br />

When it comes to experimental engagement ring<br />

options, there are many options to consider for<br />

consumers and retailers.<br />

• Emerald: With mesmerising green hues,<br />

emeralds are an enticing alternative to diamond<br />

jewellery. The best emerald is neither too deep nor<br />

too light in colour, striking a balanced intensity that<br />

is highly transparent.<br />

In recent years, few engagement rings have been<br />

as heavily discussed online as that of US actress<br />

Megan Fox. Following her engagement to rapper<br />

Machine Gun Kelly, Fox showcased a ring with two<br />

interlocking bands held together by a magnet.<br />

One band holds a pear-shaped diamond, while the<br />

other features a pear-shaped Colombian emerald,<br />

with both stones resting on an 18-carat white gold<br />

pavé set.<br />

• Ruby: Rubies are a popular alternative<br />

to a traditional engagement ring because<br />

they’re both bold while maintaining an aura of<br />

sophistication and class.<br />

Rubies come in a wide range of tones, from deep<br />

pink to dark red, and strike an impressive contrast<br />

against white and yellow precious metals.<br />

“The average planning cycle<br />

remains consistent, but we’ve<br />

noted a steady increase in<br />

the average age of couples,<br />

suggesting longer engagement<br />

periods and more thoughtful,<br />

deliberate planning.”<br />

“Not every couple<br />

experiences all of the 45<br />

milestones we track, but we<br />

know that once they reach<br />

25 to 30 of these milestones,<br />

they become, statistically,<br />

significantly more likely to<br />

move on to engagement.”<br />

“That’s why creating a<br />

bespoke engagement ring is<br />

a must for many couples<br />

looking to tie the knot. Luckily,<br />

the process of going custom<br />

has become much simpler in<br />

the modern era.”<br />

“Typically, when a woman<br />

hopes to wear a piece of<br />

jewellery for the rest of her<br />

life, she chooses a more<br />

traditional path and a ‘safe’<br />

design, such as a classic round<br />

brilliant-cut solitaire.”<br />

Matt Butterworth<br />

Easy Weddings<br />

Virgina Drosos<br />

Signet Jewelers<br />

Shelby Wax<br />

Vogue<br />

Katerina Perez<br />

Natural Diamond Council<br />

44 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Ellendale Diamonds<br />

Linneys<br />

Among the more iconic ruby engagement rings is that of US actress<br />

Eva Longoria, who married Mexican film producer José Bastón in 2016.<br />

Longoria’s engagement ring features an eight-carat ruby halo set with<br />

diamonds in a platinum band.<br />

• Sapphire: Sapphire is a popular choice for engagement rings for various<br />

reasons. The gemstone comes in many colours and is one of the hardest<br />

alternative stones, which is ideal for everyday wear.<br />

Sapphires are not only durable, but they’re also versatile. They mix well with<br />

other gemstones and diamonds and can be worn alone. They pair well with<br />

silver, gold, and platinum and can be featured in classic and contemporary<br />

designs.<br />

In 2018, Princess Eugenie of York was engaged to boyfriend Jack<br />

Brooksbank, an English businessman. Princess Eugenie’s engagement<br />

ring features a rare padparadscha sapphire, displaying a unique pinkorange<br />

shade that highlights the wide range of colours the gemstone is<br />

capable of.<br />

• Opal: Opal jewellery might be the right choice for consumers looking for<br />

an engagement ring with a more vintage or ‘heirloom’ feel.<br />

With tightened discretionary spending in mind, opal rings are also a<br />

budget-friendly alternative for young couples amid the pressure of<br />

wedding expenses.<br />

Most of the world’s gemstone-quality opal is sourced from Australia,<br />

an additional advantage for consumers hoping to purchase something<br />

‘homegrown’.<br />

Gossip columns and tabloid magazines in the US have been dominated by<br />

the relationship between singer Taylor Swift and NFL star Travis Kelce over<br />

the past year.<br />

In December, speculation ignited about an opal ring the Kansas City Chiefs<br />

player had gifted the singer, suggesting that it was symbolic of a planned<br />

engagement.<br />

• Morganite: Morganite is another gemstone that has grown in popularity<br />

“I remember looking for<br />

jewellery for my own wedding<br />

and struggling to find<br />

beautiful pieces that aligned<br />

with both my budget and<br />

vision for the big day.”<br />

Lauren Sommer<br />

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

Moi Moi<br />

Our new Sapphire Dreams Autumn Edit is full of unforgettable<br />

jewellery designs crafted in premium 9ct or 18ct gold, centred<br />

around unique, one-of-a-kind Australian Sapphires. The<br />

pieces in this range showcase the beautiful colour range of<br />

these natural Australian gemstones, crafted into luxurious<br />

rings, pendants and earrings.<br />

SapphireDreams.com.au<br />

Become a stockist today 02 9290 2199

Open Your Mind | BRIDAL FEATURE<br />

Hailey Bieber<br />

Pink Kimberley Diamonds<br />

Musson<br />

over the past decade for consumers looking for an<br />

engagement ring that can withstand everyday wear.<br />

Morganite is found in shades of orange and pink and is<br />

often paired with rose gold for a feminine look.<br />

British actress Lily Collins was engaged to boyfriend<br />

Charlie McDowell in 2020, and the pair sealed the<br />

commitment with a three-carat cushion cut morganite<br />

stone set in a yellow gold band.<br />

Old faithful<br />

While consumers have a wide variety of gemstones<br />

to choose from when selecting an engagement ring,<br />

diamonds still reign supreme as a symbol of luxury.<br />

Whether it be because of the cultural dominance of diamonds<br />

over the past century or the innate beauty of the stone,<br />

consumers still overwhelmingly choose diamonds first when<br />

planning for an engagement or wedding.<br />

That said, there’s always room for innovation, particularly in<br />

design. Reflecting on notable changes in jewellery design over<br />

the past decade, Katerina Perez says that young couples are<br />

more willing to experiment than ever.<br />

“To really see experimentation, however, one needs<br />

to look to the most reserved of natural diamond<br />

categories: engagement rings,” she writes for the Natural<br />

Diamond Council.<br />

“Typically, when a woman hopes to wear a piece of<br />

jewellery for the rest of her life, she chooses a more<br />

traditional path and a ‘safe’ design, such as a classic<br />

round brilliant-cut solitaire.<br />

“However, over the last ten years, I’ve seen engagement<br />

rings that defy all expectations: fancy-cut diamonds, bezel<br />

settings rather than traditional claws, blackened 18-carat<br />

gold at Jessica McCormack, asymmetric styles, portraitcut<br />

diamonds, bridal stacks, engagement ring jackets, I<br />

could go on.”<br />

Perez also drew attention to fancy-cut and fancy-shape<br />

diamonds, such as carré, bullet cuts, briolettes, rose cuts,<br />

half-moons, trilliant, and kites.<br />

These diamonds are no longer restricted to the work of<br />

elusive private jewellers. They appear in collections from<br />

some of the world’s biggest jewellery brands, such as<br />

Chopard and Chanel.<br />

“Technologies are rapidly changing the cutting landscape, and<br />


Alternative Approach<br />

Emerald<br />

Mesmerising green gemstone<br />

that is best when striking a<br />

balanced intensity.<br />

Sapphire<br />

Pairs well with silver, gold, and<br />

platinum and can be featured in<br />

classic and contemporary styles.<br />

Ruby<br />

Sophisticated and traditional, and<br />

available in a wide range of colour<br />

from deep pink to bright red.<br />

Opal<br />

Ideal for consumers looking<br />

for a vintage style and is<br />

popular with Australians.<br />

Morganite<br />

Increasingly popular in recent<br />

years because it’s durable and<br />

can withstand everyday wear<br />

and tear.<br />

Aquamarine<br />

The most-sought variations<br />

carry a dark blue tone with high<br />

intensity, owing to its rarity.<br />

soon, customers may be able to have any type of diamond they<br />

wish in whatever shape they demand,” she said.<br />

“I believe we are entering a period of profound innovation and<br />

creativity <strong>–</strong> one that rips up the rule book and takes natural<br />

diamonds into a new and exciting era.”<br />

Thinking outside the box<br />

Preparing for an incoming wave of weddings and<br />

engagements doesn’t just mean focusing on offering<br />

alternative gemstones and designs.<br />

There are many other ways retailers can meet and exceed<br />

consumers’ desires.<br />

In November, Australian jewellery retailer Moi Moi <strong>–</strong> with<br />

stores in Melbourne and Sydney <strong>–</strong> announced the launch of<br />

the ‘Bridal Borrow’ program, signifying a shift in approach<br />

to wedding and engagement jewellery.<br />

The program allows customers to reserve pieces from Moi<br />

Moi’s collection as a rental.<br />

Customers who spend $10,000 in a single transaction,<br />

including the purchase of an engagement ring, are eligible for<br />

the program.<br />

“I remember looking for jewellery for my own wedding and<br />

struggling to find beautiful pieces that aligned with both<br />

my budget and vision for the big day," explains founder<br />

Lauren Sommer.<br />

"I was reluctant to invest a huge amount into jewellery<br />

when I had our wedding and other expenses to think of.<br />

“As a family business, we feel privileged to be part of our<br />

clients’ special days. We believe that every milestone deserves<br />

to be celebrated in style, and this program empowers brides<br />

to do just that.”<br />

Borrowed pieces are available to purchase from Moi Moi after<br />

the rental for an ‘exclusive’ price.<br />

Fashion rental companies became increasingly popular<br />

during the pandemic, and the Bridal Borrow program is<br />

one example of retailers experimenting with new services<br />

to appeal to the next generation of consumers.<br />

If modern consumers are increasingly thinking outside the box<br />

when it comes to jewellery, retailers must meet these needs<br />

by showcasing adaptability to the latest trends and designs<br />

to ensure that they have an important role to play in the most<br />

significant day of many people’s lives.<br />

46 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


Pearl Perfection<br />

PEARLS<br />

Once confined to only the most formal occasions, pearl<br />

jewellery has become an everyday staple. SAMUEL ORD<br />

explores fascinating changes in the world of pearl jewellery.<br />

Autore<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 47

La Peregrina<br />

Elizabeth Taylor wearing La Peregrina<br />

Anne Boleyn<br />

(Natalie Dormer)<br />

Diamonds may be forever; however, when<br />

making a statement, few gemstones can<br />

match the intensity of pearl jewellery.<br />

Whether in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, or rings, pearls<br />

offer a timeless allure and an enchanting glow that has<br />

captivated hearts and minds for centuries.<br />

That said, the majesty and beauty of pearl jewellery once<br />

presented a double-edged sword for consumers and<br />

retailers alike.<br />

Because pearl jewellery is precious, it was reserved for only<br />

the most formal of occasions <strong>–</strong> weddings and funerals, for<br />

example <strong>–</strong> and, as a result, developed a reputation for being<br />

impractical.<br />

If pearl jewellery is only reserved for rare occasions,<br />

it becomes impractical to own for consumers <strong>–</strong> and<br />

challenging to sell for retailers.<br />

After all, consumers purchase jewellery with the intention<br />

of actually wearing it!<br />

The good news is that there’s been a significant shift in recent<br />

years.<br />

Designers are increasingly pushing the envelope and creating<br />

practical, everyday jewellery using pearls.<br />

This improvement in design, when paired with wave after wave<br />

of celebrity endorsement for high-profile pieces and everyday<br />

adornments, has led to a revitalisation of the category.<br />

“I recently asked a twenty-something shop assistant where<br />

her pearls were from (a short necklace nestled above a<br />

few chains and pendants), and she answered bashfully:<br />

Oh, they’re my mum’s. She’s not happy I’ve pinched them!”<br />

writes Shane Watson for The Daily Mail.<br />

“And that nicely sums up the new position of pearls. Twelve<br />

months ago, her mum couldn’t have cared less if her daughter<br />

had pinched her pearls. Last year, pearls were for the kids to<br />

layer, boys included.”<br />

He continues: “But now pearl necklaces are like colourful<br />

Gazelle suede trainers — great whatever your age, and the<br />

detail that makes you look a bit in-the-know.<br />

"Pearls are flattering, too, somehow lighting up your face,<br />

which is probably the reason pearl drop earrings have been<br />

the hottest jewellery item of the past couple of years.”<br />


Everyday<br />

Beauty<br />

Shane Watson<br />

The Daily Mail<br />

"Pearls are flattering, too,<br />

somehow lighting up your face,<br />

which is probably the reason<br />

pearl drop earrings have been<br />

the hottest jewellery item of the<br />

past couple of years.”<br />

Rosie Davenport<br />

Harper’s Bazaar<br />

“Whether you’re looking for<br />

traditional jewellery that’ll<br />

stand the test of time,<br />

something more modern, or a<br />

dramatic look for party season,<br />

this semi-precious stone is the<br />

perfect choice."<br />

Allure<br />

Icons of yesterday<br />

While pearls have never reached the popularity of<br />

diamonds or other gemstones such as rubies, emeralds,<br />

and sapphires, one thing is clear <strong>–</strong> when worn as jewellery,<br />

pearls exude prestige.<br />

“What’s not to love about pearls? They’re versatile, they’re<br />

elegant, and they’re timeless. As a renowned fail-safe<br />

in the jewellery world, they’re appropriate for weddings,<br />

funerals, and all the mundane life events in between,”<br />

writes Hana Tilksew for Evie Magazine.<br />

“Throughout history, pearls have been so desirable that<br />

kings and emperors have passed laws dictating who was<br />

allowed to wear them.<br />

"Thankfully, in today’s day and age, everyone has the right<br />

to adorn themselves with as many pearls as their heart<br />

desires. Don’t let this right go to waste by thinking pearls<br />

belong to a bygone era <strong>–</strong> they’ll be relevant forever.”<br />

“If pearl jewellery is only reserved for rare occasions,<br />

it becomes impractical to own for consumers <strong>–</strong><br />

and challenging to sell for retailers. ”<br />

The historical importance of pearl jewellery is well known<br />

- pearls have been worn to symbolise status and wealth for<br />

thousands of years.<br />

Glowing strands of oceanic treasures have adorned the<br />

hands, ears, necklines and heads of kings, queens, and<br />

emperors worldwide.<br />

Egyptian Queen Cleopatra famously wore earrings, which<br />

were believed to feature the largest pearls ever discovered<br />

at the time.<br />

During her relationship with Roman General Marcus<br />

Antonius, she famously dissolved one of the pearls into a<br />

cup of vinegar, drinking the concoction after it dissolved.<br />

Cleopatra’s toast to Anthony was considered<br />

an aphrodisiac.<br />

It was only fitting then that when British-American actress<br />

Elizabeth Taylor appeared in Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1963<br />

film ‘Cleopatra’, she was adorned in remarkable pearls.<br />

48 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Jacqueline<br />

Kennedy<br />

Diana of Wales<br />

Grace Kelly<br />

Ikecho<br />

Angelina Jolie<br />

In the film, Taylor wears a necklace featuring the legendary<br />

La Peregrina pearl, a gemstone with a fascinating history.<br />

The pearl was discovered in the early 1500s in Panama and<br />

was worn by royalty for hundreds of years.<br />

It was placed at auction at Sotheby’s in 1969 and was<br />

purchased by none other than Richard Burton, husband of<br />

Elizabeth Taylor, who starred opposite her in ‘Cleopatra’.<br />

Burton had purchased the pearl as a Valentine’s Day gift.<br />

After Taylor’s death, La Peregrina returned to<br />

auction in 2011. The pearl was expected to return around<br />

$US3 million; however, it generated an unprecedented<br />

$US11.8 million.<br />

Queen of England Anne Boleyn adored pearl jewellery. The<br />

details of her marriage to King Henry VIII are well known,<br />

and while it was a short relationship, her legacy as an<br />

ardent supporter of pearl jewellery lives on.<br />

Boleyn’s royal portrait includes a remarkable 37-inch rope<br />

of large nature pearls, and her gown is decorated with even<br />

more aquatic treasures. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I,<br />

reportedly had hundreds of dresses decorated with pearls.<br />

In the television series ‘The Tudors’, actress Natalie<br />

Dormer portrays Anne Boylen in a performance fondly<br />

remembered for the portrayal of the infamous initial ‘B’<br />

pendant hung with three drop-shaped natural pearls<br />

suspended from a natural pearl necklace.<br />

When reflecting on the relationship between power,<br />

influence, and pearl jewellery, it’s impossible to look past<br />

perpetual trend-setter Princess Diana.<br />

In 1997, Princess Diana wore the ‘Swan Lake Suite’ at the<br />

gala opening of the Swan Lake ballet at London’s Royal<br />

Albert Hall, just months before her untimely death in Paris.<br />

Former British Crown <strong>Jeweller</strong> Garrard created the piece.<br />

The platinum necklace is mounted with brilliant-cut<br />

diamonds in a scroll motif. Five cultured South Sea pearls<br />

and seven marquise diamonds in a fringe drop design are<br />

suspended from the necklace.<br />

Princess Diana’s pearl jewellery was expected to be<br />

auctioned in May and to return around $US15 million;<br />

however, the sale was cancelled after a mystery buyer<br />

purchased the collection.<br />

Princess Diana is far from the only contemporary royal<br />

figure to showcase pearls. Queen Elizabeth II and Princess<br />

Hana Tilksew<br />

Evie Magazine<br />

"As a renowned fail-safe in the<br />

jewellery world, they’re appropriate<br />

for weddings, funerals, and all the<br />

mundane life events in between."<br />

Louisa Chan<br />

Phillips Jewels- Hong Kong<br />

“Since more men are sporting<br />

jewels on the red carpet, pearl<br />

jewels such as chokers and<br />

long necklaces are also coming<br />

back, but for men.”<br />

Claire Hammon<br />

Meadowlark<br />

"Just because something is<br />

classic doesn’t mean it’s old. For<br />

me, they finish an outfit so well.<br />

Pearls with jeans and a T-shirt<br />

<strong>–</strong> that, to me, is beautiful and<br />

really, really cool."<br />

of Wales Kate Middleton have shared a necklace featuring<br />

four strands of perfectly matched saltwater Akoya pearls<br />

finished with a sparkling diamond-accented centrepiece<br />

doubling as a clasp.<br />

Influencers of today<br />

With this historical perspective in mind, it should come as<br />

no surprise that influential trendsetters have attempted to<br />

replicate the timeless popularity of these figures and their<br />

jewellery by endorsing pearl jewellery.<br />

In fashion, Rihanna is the so-called ‘Queen of Reinvention’,<br />

and the pop musician has long endorsed pearl jewellery.<br />

During Paris Fashion Week in 2022, Rihanna was draped<br />

in a multi-strand choker-style necklace — an archival<br />

Christian Dior piece from John Galliano’s Spring 1997<br />

Haute Couture show.<br />

Rihanna was spotted again in New York the following year<br />

wearing the same Dior choker, this time joined by a multilayered<br />

Briony Raymond estate necklace studded with<br />

pearls, emeralds, diamonds, and rubies.<br />

While these are two recent examples, Rihanna’s love<br />

of pearls is hardly new. While performing at the 2012<br />

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the singer wore Chanel<br />

sunglasses framed with pearls and a pearl necklace by<br />

Vivienne Westwood Couture.<br />

While these statement pieces showcased the<br />

‘wow factor’ of pearl jewellery, many other celebrities<br />

have also taken the time to highlight the gemstone's<br />

elegant, understated nature.<br />

Actress Angelia Jolie is well-known for her resistance<br />

to ‘maximalist’ trends, favouring simple staples for a<br />

subtle look.<br />

On a trip to Washington DC in 2021, Jolie wore a strand of<br />

luxurious pearls with matching earrings that appeared to<br />

be a nod to the many influential women in politics who have<br />

favoured pearl jewellery <strong>–</strong> whether it be Kamala Harris, Jill<br />

Biden, or even Jackie Kennedy.<br />

“Elegant, timeless and surprisingly versatile, pearl earrings<br />

are always a good investment. Whether you’re looking<br />

for traditional jewellery that’ll stand the test of time,<br />

something more modern, or a dramatic look for party<br />

season, this semi-precious stone is the perfect choice,”<br />

writes Rosie Davenport for Harper’s Bazaar.<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 49

Soklich & Co<br />

Rihanna<br />

Ikecho<br />

Autore<br />

“When accessorising ball gowns and off-duty<br />

wardrobes, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zendaya,<br />

and Angelina Jolie have all made a case for the<br />

timeless pearl stud <strong>–</strong> proof that this simple design<br />

is the quiet luxury item of the jewellery world.”<br />

In recent years, pearls have become<br />

increasingly popular with male celebrities.<br />

If you were to pin this resurgence on any<br />

single figure, it would be singer and songwriter<br />

Harry Styles of One Direction fame.<br />

Since 2019, Styles has often worn them<br />

at red-carpet events, while performing on<br />

stage, and in his music videos. These pearls<br />

are often oversized and luxurious; however,<br />

photographers have also snapped him in public<br />

with a more casual look.<br />

Timothée Chalamet is another high-profile<br />

pearl devotee and was recently photographed at<br />

the launch of the film ‘Bones And All’ wearing a<br />

pearl and bone choker.<br />

It’s become a particularly popular look in the<br />

music scene, no doubt in part driven by Rihanna’s<br />

relentless advocacy.<br />

Rapper Kendrick Lamar attended a Chanel<br />

fashion show with a long pearl tassel necklace<br />

to complete his outfit. A$AP Rocky was an<br />

early adopter of pearl jewellery, undoubtedly<br />

encouraged by his relationship with Rihanna.<br />

The rapper first wore pearls in 2019, and since<br />

then, they’ve been part of his regular rotation,<br />

whether for formal events or casual streetwear.<br />

Changing course<br />

Whether you believe that celebrities set the<br />

course that consumers will follow in the form<br />

of trends or are sceptical of the influence<br />

‘A-Listers’ wield, one thing is for sure: pearl<br />

jewellery has proven itself to be iconic time and<br />

time again.<br />

Fortunately for retailers and consumers,<br />

jewellery designs have become far more<br />

accessible in recent years. Consumers no<br />

longer need to break the bank to purchase<br />

show-stopping pieces, and retailers no longer<br />

need to fear that pearl jewellery will sit on<br />

shelves unloved.<br />

Designers have become increasingly<br />

experimental with pearls to ensure that while<br />

the appeal of the elegance and class of the<br />

gemstone is preserved, it’s also jewellery that<br />

can be worn every day and doesn’t end up<br />

locked in a jewellery box, gathering dust.<br />

Louisa Chan, head of sales at Phillips<br />

Jewels in Hong Kong, says that the ability of<br />

pearls to blend into classic and contemporary<br />

designs means pearls are no longer reserved<br />

for formal events.<br />

“Current pearl jewellery designs exude the<br />

same elegance, but designers are more<br />

experimental and no longer conform to the<br />

tradition that pearls should always be strung,”<br />

she tells the South Morning China Post.<br />

“Ethereal pearls are juxtaposed with heavy metal<br />

chains; they are used to highlight a thick ear cuff,<br />

and thin strands of pearl bracelets are stacked<br />

with gold bangles. Since more men are sporting<br />

jewels on the red carpet, pearl jewels such as<br />

chokers and long necklaces are also coming back,<br />

but for men.”<br />

New Zealand jewellery brand Meadowlark was<br />

launched in 2006 by Claire Hammon and he<br />

partner Greg Fromont.<br />

Hammon told The Australian Financial Review<br />

that she never set out to work with pearls;<br />

however, based on their popularity with<br />

customers, she had no choice but to continue.<br />

“We started working with pearls a long time<br />

ago. I thought we would do them once and never<br />

again, but everyone loves them,” she said.<br />

“They almost design themselves. And each<br />

pearl is completely unique, so the jewellery is<br />

also unique.”<br />

Hammon’s work aims to achieve a harmony<br />

between casual and elegant. She says the days<br />

of younger consumers viewing pearl jewellery<br />

as ‘old-fashioned’ are over.<br />

“Just because something is classic doesn’t<br />

mean it’s old. For me, they finish an outfit so<br />

well. Pearls with jeans and a T-shirt <strong>–</strong> that, to<br />

me, is beautiful and really, really cool.”<br />

Jackie Kennedy once famously said that “pearls<br />

are always appropriate.” Today, that statement<br />

has never beenmore accurate.<br />

Pearl jewellery has never been more accessible.<br />

This opens the door for retailers to offer<br />

consumers the opportunity to recreate the<br />

iconic looks of yesterday’s influential figures,<br />

and to emulate the appearance of today’s<br />

trendsetting men and women.<br />

50 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 51


Strategy<br />

Are you too optimistic about the<br />

future of your business?<br />

Looking on the bright side of life is pleasant. GRAHAM JONES explains<br />

how unrealistic positivity can harm your business.<br />

Not too long ago, a student popped into my<br />

office for an interesting chat. The student<br />

was a little nervous about her impending<br />

assessment, but I tried to be reassuring.<br />

After speaking for a few minutes, she<br />

said, “I always enjoy coming to speak with<br />

you. You are always so positive.”<br />

I hope I did not show it; however, that<br />

comment slightly worried me because<br />

I had just been reading some research<br />

that made a rather negative connection<br />

between positivity and cognitive ability.<br />

Research from the University of Bath has<br />

found a link between unrealistic optimism<br />

and cognitive skills. The report suggested<br />

that the most optimistic people tend<br />

to have lower cognitive skills, such as<br />

analytical thinking.<br />

The study looked at people’s financial<br />

predictions. Those who made the most<br />

optimistic forecasts had lower cognitive<br />

skills than those who were ‘realistic’ or<br />

pessimistic. In other words, it looks like<br />

optimists do not think as deeply as those<br />

who are realistic.<br />

This is not news in psychology. The<br />

‘optimism bias’ is well established. Indeed,<br />

it is easily visible in the workplace when<br />

you use ‘SMART’ goal setting. These are<br />

specific, measurable, achievable, relevant,<br />

and time-bound goals.<br />

In fact, it is anything but SMART, and<br />

there is a vast body of evidence that<br />

shows that such goal-setting just doesn’t<br />

work. One reason is the optimism bias I<br />

mentioned earlier.<br />

People tend to think they can achieve<br />

more than they can or believe they can<br />

do it faster than possible. The result is<br />

that they do not achieve their so-called<br />

SMART goals!<br />

Part of the reason for an optimism bias is<br />

thought to be our desire to control our own<br />

lives. Pessimistic thinking makes us realise<br />

we are not in control. Lack of control is<br />

frightening for us because it could mean a<br />

potential threat to our survival.<br />

Bias in action<br />

Consider the following example in a retail<br />

environment. A salesperson offers you<br />

jewellery and asks if you would like it to be<br />

covered with insurance, and you decline.<br />

If you accept the insurance, you are<br />

pessimistic as you will accept that<br />

something could go wrong. Instead, your<br />

survival instinct kicks in, telling you that<br />

you are in control and nothing will break,<br />

so you don’t need the insurance. You<br />

reassure yourself by thinking that other<br />

people probably need insurance - but it’s<br />

not for the likes of you!<br />

The need for our brain to convince us we<br />

are in control forces us to be optimistic.<br />

As a result, we stop thinking. The study<br />

from the University of Bath shows that<br />

people who do not analyse things deeply<br />

make the most optimistic predictions.<br />

Their brains have fallen into the ‘everything<br />

is going to be okay’ frame of mind. That’s<br />

If we do not<br />

think deeply<br />

enough, we<br />

tend to be overoptimistic.<br />

So<br />

how can you<br />

prevent the<br />

‘optimism bias’<br />

from affecting<br />

your work and<br />

business?<br />

the territory inhabited by many politicians<br />

right now. “I’m not going to lose my seat<br />

in an election next year; it’s the other MPs<br />

who need to worry.”<br />

Indeed, many Western politicians may<br />

now be concerned about their optimism<br />

bias and lack of depth of thought about<br />

the war in Ukraine. Right at the start,<br />

Vladimir Putin said that the West would<br />

eventually give up supporting Ukraine,<br />

allowing him to waltz right in. Nobody<br />

believed him.<br />

Indeed, we had Western politicians<br />

lining up to say the war would be over in<br />

weeks. Their lack of analytical thinking<br />

back at the start of 2022 did not prepare<br />

them for Putin's patience.<br />

Remember at the beginning of 2020<br />

when we were told that the COVID<br />

pandemic would be over in a matter<br />

of weeks? Pundits predicted we’d only<br />

need three weeks of lockdowns, and<br />

then life would return to normal.<br />

Once again, the optimism bias kicked in<br />

and did not allow for adequate critical<br />

analysis of the situation.<br />

How can we avoid the trap?<br />

Depth of thought and other associated<br />

cognitive skills appear to be linked to<br />

our ability to be realistic. If we do not<br />

think deeply enough, we tend to be overoptimistic.<br />

So, how can you prevent the<br />

‘optimism bias’ from affecting your work<br />

and your business?<br />

52 2 | | November <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 2023

One thing that helps is to start with the<br />

assumption that whatever task or project<br />

you are working on has failed. Then, you<br />

try to consider all the reasons it could<br />

have failed. This allows you to work out<br />

the potential pitfalls in advance, thereby<br />

having a more realistic idea of what is<br />

possible.<br />

The trick here is not to start looking<br />

forward. You need to start your thinking<br />

at the end of the project when it ‘has<br />

failed’. Think about that happening and<br />

what caused it.<br />

Another way of dealing with the optimism<br />

bias is to consider the ‘availability heuristic’.<br />

A heuristic is a shortcut way of thinking.<br />

The availability heuristic suggests that if<br />

we can easily recall something because it<br />

is easily available to our brain, then it must<br />

occur more often.<br />

This means we tend to believe something<br />

is more likely to happen because we can<br />

more easily recall similar events. For<br />

example, it is easy to recall news stories<br />

of plane crashes because they are so<br />

dramatic.<br />

Hence, when we get on a plane, we tend<br />

to worry about it crashing because we<br />

can recall an example of that happening.<br />

Our ability to remember something is<br />

disproportionate to the actual risk.<br />

In the office, this means analysing things<br />

based on availability heuristics. Do we<br />

think something is likely to occur simply<br />

because we can easily recall an instance?<br />

Considering this, we can avoid the<br />

optimism that such thinking leads to.<br />

Techniques like this can help you avoid<br />

the optimism bias in the workplace. They<br />

encourage deeper thinking and taking a<br />

more analytical approach.<br />

As the research at the University of Bath<br />

shows, without this level of analysis, we<br />

could end up being more optimistic than<br />

is healthy for our business.<br />

It’s a common problem that can be<br />

avoided with just a little extra thought.<br />

When your brain tries to come up with<br />

an answer and signals to you, it’s time<br />

to stop thinking; that’s the danger point<br />

leading to excessive optimism.<br />

Don’t let your brain fool you into avoiding<br />

extra thought.<br />

That’s the way that many men go<br />

when thinking about buying Christmas<br />

presents. Their optimism bias suggests<br />

‘it will be fine’ to leave the shopping until<br />

the afternoon of Christmas Eve <strong>–</strong> and we<br />

all know how that usually ends!<br />

What are you missing?<br />

Excessive optimism is an issue that’s<br />

closely related to another problem that<br />

business owners routinely face <strong>–</strong> wilful<br />

ignorance.<br />

Indeed, in a recent analysis involving<br />

more than 30,000 people, researchers<br />

from the University of Amsterdam have<br />

discovered that four out of ten people will<br />

set aside troublesome information.<br />

These people were even prepared to pay<br />

money to remain ignorant of information<br />

that would mean their decisions would<br />

cause harm to others.<br />

This is all related to our survival instincts<br />

and many aspects of our behaviour.<br />

Dealing with issues that could affect<br />

HOW DO YOU<br />



BIAS?<br />

Think ahead<br />

Consider the<br />

possibility of<br />

failure and<br />

consider how it<br />

might occur.<br />

Question<br />

the past<br />

Just because<br />

something has<br />

happened before<br />

doesn’t mean<br />

it will happen<br />

again.<br />

Avoid loss<br />

aversion<br />

Accept the<br />

possibility<br />

of failure <strong>–</strong><br />

everyone<br />

experiences it.<br />

Learn from<br />

the mistakes<br />

of others<br />

Reflect on<br />

the negative<br />

experiences of<br />

other businesses.<br />

others can lead to conflict.<br />

We do not want confrontation; we try to<br />

avoid it. That’s because the conflict can<br />

lead to a threat to us. Conflicts could get<br />

out of hand, so we avoid arguments to<br />

prevent any potential danger.<br />

This means we must be ignorant of<br />

certain information; otherwise, it will lead<br />

to conflict.<br />

There’s another reason for remaining<br />

wilfully ignorant <strong>–</strong> selfishness. Knowing that<br />

a decision you take could affect other people<br />

means you may not make that choice.<br />

So, how can we avoid the problems created<br />

by the natural tendency to be wilfully<br />

ignorant in business? One way is to think<br />

like a scientist <strong>–</strong> always assume there is an<br />

alternative answer to any question.<br />

Another way is to create a culture of<br />

acceptance of ‘being wrong’. Allow staff to<br />

be wrong, to share with each other that they<br />

were wrong about something they did.<br />

Perhaps you can have a weekly ‘I made<br />

a mistake’ session where people openly<br />

admit their errors.<br />

In that way, you create a culture that<br />

accepts that decisions and choices have<br />

consequences.<br />

It becomes ‘acceptable’ to be wrong. In<br />

that culture, people will be less willing to<br />

be wilfully ignorant as they know it won’t<br />

be a problem if they make a mistake.<br />

GRAHAM JONES studies online<br />

behaviour and consumer psychology<br />

to help businesses improve website<br />

success. Visit: grahamones.o.<br />

November <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 2023 | | 533


Selling<br />

What does quality mean to your customers?<br />

Most businesses believe they offer customers a quality experience.<br />

JEANNIE WALTERS encourages you to question how true that is.<br />

Quality is an interesting word in<br />

business. We toss it around when<br />

discussing products, describing them as<br />

‘high quality’ or lacking it altogether. But<br />

what is the meaning of quality?<br />

Where does quality fit in the context<br />

of customer experience? Well, I’m<br />

betting your definition of what quality<br />

means to your customers might differ<br />

from their version.<br />

For example, when you ask people what<br />

they want from a bank, they often say<br />

things like ‘security’, but they really want<br />

convenience. Today’s assumption is that if<br />

you are a reputable bank, you offer good<br />

security. So, is that quality?<br />

Maybe, but when customers discuss<br />

a ‘great’ experience, they often mention<br />

things like convenience, communication<br />

and feeling ‘cared about’ by their<br />

banks. So, what’s the definition of a<br />

‘quality’ customer experience for these<br />

banking customers?<br />

Like it or not, much of what was<br />

considered high-quality in terms of<br />

customer experience in the past is what’s<br />

considered the status quo today.<br />

That means that while you may think a<br />

customer’s perception of your business<br />

is based on the quality of your products,<br />

privately, they may have other ideas.<br />

The trap we tend to fall into repeatedly is<br />

considering what we assume is important<br />

to us within a business is what’s important<br />

to the customers we think we serve.<br />

Defining an experience around a product<br />

being of ‘high quality’ is an excellent<br />

example of that kind of mindset.<br />

When you start identifying this type of<br />

thinking in your own business, I challenge<br />

you to ask a few questions.<br />

Who cares about your product?<br />

If you answer this question with something<br />

like “young couples preparing for<br />

marriage”, you’re way off the mark. They<br />

don’t care about your product; they care<br />

about what they can do with it.<br />

Instead, listen to your customers' stories<br />

and consider where your product might<br />

make their narrative more interesting. My<br />

favourite example is ‘your product/service<br />

helped us to do X’. The explanation usually<br />

involves some feeling.<br />

As an example, a technical repair shop<br />

might be told by a customer, “Your<br />

technician helped save my daughter's<br />

wedding. All the planning information was<br />

on the computer he repaired.”<br />

Think about that! These didn’t go into<br />

specifics about the product or service.<br />

They describe how the product or service<br />

delivered actual, emotionally charged<br />

human outcomes.<br />

You can safely assume these same<br />

customers believe they are<br />

high-quality products and services,<br />

but I’d bet they also think that about<br />

some of your competitors.<br />

What makes your business better than<br />

a competitor?<br />

This is where many businesses love to<br />

drink the Kool-Aid. ‘We were the first’ is<br />

not a good answer to this question.<br />

Make sure<br />

you and your<br />

customers are<br />

aligned on the<br />

meaning of<br />

quality before<br />

you claim<br />

you’re the best<br />

on offer.<br />

Another answer I’ve heard is as follows:<br />

“While the others are less expensive, we feel<br />

ours is much higher quality.”<br />

This answer might sound better, but what<br />

does it mean? If the product is excellent<br />

but getting help is painful, is it a quality<br />

experience for the customer? This is where<br />

you hear the opposite from customers<br />

regarding the experience.<br />

• “We love the products, but customer<br />

service is terrible.”<br />

• “We used to be loyal customers, but the last<br />

time we tried to get help was a disaster.”<br />

Don’t become complacent because you<br />

believe you have the ‘best’ product on the<br />

market. It’s only the best if your customers<br />

believe it, along with the entire experience,<br />

really is.<br />

How do you keep up?<br />

Like it or not, your competitors are setting<br />

expectations for your customers.<br />

Make sure you and your customers are<br />

aligned on the meaning of quality before you<br />

claim you’re the best on offer.<br />

Overall, it’s also important to note that<br />

gathering customer feedback on this means<br />

going beyond questions that only concern<br />

your products.<br />

Someone can answer that they believe your<br />

product is ‘high quality’ as a rating but still be<br />

frustrated with the experience.<br />

Keep that in mind when asking your<br />

customers what they think of your<br />

business.<br />

Getting richer and more in-depth<br />

responses requires extra effort, whether<br />

via customer interviews, focus groups, or<br />

other similar programs.<br />

Are you wondering where you should start?<br />

Address where you are today and build<br />

the ideal journey for tomorrow. Don’t wait<br />

because tomorrow is here.<br />

JEANNIE WALTERS is founder and<br />

CEO of Experience Investigators.<br />

Learn more: eerieneinvestigators.om<br />

54<br />

2 |<br />

|<br />

November<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />



Management<br />

Purpose: What does your business stand for?<br />

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.<br />

MALCOLM SCRYMGEOUR asks an important question <strong>–</strong> what is your purpose?<br />

In 1860, the Royal Society of Victoria<br />

organised an expedition to find a route from<br />

Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.<br />

Almost surprisingly, at the time,<br />

Melbourne was the second-largest city<br />

in the British Empire. Establishing a<br />

telegraph cable would give the city great<br />

economic benefits.<br />

With the single-minded purpose of<br />

establishing a telegraph cable to the rest of<br />

the world, the Society selected Robert Burke<br />

and William Wills to lead the expedition. They<br />

didn’t do exceptionally well!<br />

The expedition of 19 men set off in midwinter,<br />

and their wagons broke down at<br />

Essendon, on the outskirts of Melbourne,<br />

on the first day. Their equipment included<br />

essential items such as a cedar-topped<br />

camp table, a stationary table with<br />

matching chairs, a Chinese gong, and 270<br />

litres of rum to be fed to their camels to<br />

prevent scurvy.<br />

After two months, they had progressed<br />

750 kilometres, a journey the mail coach<br />

completed in a week.<br />

The hapless Burke and Wills fascinated<br />

the local Indigenous people, who often<br />

came to watch their ineptitude. Burke<br />

and Wills came to an unfortunate end and<br />

didn’t survive the expedition. While their<br />

purpose was clear, their execution of the<br />

plan was disastrous.<br />

When confronted with the question about<br />

their purpose, most jewellery store owners<br />

don’t have an answer other than to make<br />

money. Making money isn’t a purpose. As<br />

a suggestion for a draft purpose, perhaps<br />

consider ‘we create life memories.’<br />

Whenever you consider purpose - look at<br />

each word:<br />

• ‘We’ means the entire business, not just<br />

the owner or the jeweller. Each employee.<br />

• ‘Create’ refers not just to the product but<br />

the experience in the store.<br />

• ‘Life’ means important events in<br />

consumers' lives, such as weddings,<br />

anniversaries, celebrations, and other<br />

recognitions of love.<br />

• ‘Memories’ is the experience of<br />

collecting the jewellery and the<br />

cherished moment when it is gifted to<br />

the recipient.<br />

It doesn’t mean ‘we create life memories’<br />

should be your purpose, but instead of<br />

anything else, it is a starting point to<br />

improve upon! The essence of purpose<br />

is best defined by English author Simon<br />

Sinek, who said, “People don’t buy what<br />

you do; they buy why you do it”.<br />

A group of jewellers I was with recently<br />

answered this question by saying<br />

‘we exist to make money’. Profit is an<br />

outcome of purpose. The better you are<br />

at your purpose, the better the financial<br />

result tends to be.<br />

Passionate and focused jewellers<br />

who are clear on their purpose and<br />

supported with quality business advice<br />

are typically the most successful. Those<br />

who muddy the waters and focus on<br />

chasing the money are not as profitable.<br />

A clear purpose has the potential to set<br />

the shape for decision-making. Once the<br />

purpose is decided, it follows a strategic<br />

plan that behoves the owner and the<br />

staff to work towards implementation<br />

and execution.<br />

A common problem with purpose<br />

Profit is an<br />

outcome of<br />

purpose. The<br />

better you<br />

are at your<br />

purpose, the<br />

better the<br />

financial result<br />

tends to be.<br />

is that many owners and businesses<br />

cannot implement the agreed strategies,<br />

meaning the purpose statement is just a<br />

meaningless ‘waffle.’<br />

As Burke and Wills discovered, a good<br />

idea needs the support of a great plan.<br />

The most common reason a plan fails is<br />

the difficulty of seriously committing to<br />

implement the strategies.<br />

Often, they conflict with the old setin-stone<br />

habits and beliefs, years and<br />

sometimes decades in the making. These<br />

cultures, roles and behaviours, and<br />

collective mindsets reinforce the ‘forprofit’<br />

purpose of many jewellery stores.<br />

Businesses — principally individual and<br />

independent groups — with a genuine<br />

sense of purpose drive far better results.<br />

Success results from sticking to the plan<br />

with a staff where everyone is clear on the<br />

purpose, the strategies, the importance of<br />

their role and why they will be better off.<br />

Otherwise, making the right decisions to<br />

achieve the desired purpose is impossible.<br />

If you adopt a clear purpose, then everything<br />

you do needs to support it. Your store layout,<br />

your product range, your team culture and<br />

training, and your store presentation <strong>–</strong><br />

should all follow the same plan.<br />

As Burke and Wills instead painfully<br />

discovered, a great plan must be<br />

supported by an outstanding plan to<br />

execute that vision.<br />

With that said, your business should have a<br />

purpose and a plan. That plan should then<br />

be executed, which is done by taking the<br />

right advice to help you achieve those goals.<br />

From there, you can enjoy the<br />

superior results that a well-executed<br />

purpose delivers.<br />

MALCOLM SCRYMGEOUR is a business<br />

advisor with Retail Edge Consultants,<br />

working hand-in-hand with retailers<br />

in pursuit of efficent practices and<br />

improved sales.<br />

Visit: retaiegeonstants.om.a<br />

<strong>February</strong> November <strong>2024</strong> 2023 | | 55 3


Marketing & PR<br />

Content marketing strategies you<br />

can’t afford to ignore<br />

There are so many marketing strategies and so little time.<br />

BETH WALKER offers advice on where to begin your marketing strategy.<br />

One habit that isn’t changing anytime<br />

soon is that most consumers research<br />

a business, product, or service on the<br />

internet before making a purchase.<br />

Digital marketing is a necessity for<br />

businesses. Often, your website is your<br />

first opportunity to impress potential<br />

customers. For today’s consumer,<br />

around 80 per cent of the ‘buyer’s<br />

journey’ is digital.<br />

if it's not optimised for mobile phones!<br />

Social media marketing<br />

As you strive to extend your digital returns,<br />

leveraging social media is helpful.<br />

Social media channels like Instagram,<br />

YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and<br />

LinkedIn are excellent places to connect<br />

with your target audience, share content,<br />

and answer questions.<br />

A well-rounded content marketing strategy<br />

will help you connect with your ideal<br />

customers and delight your audience to<br />

improve retention.<br />

A well-written blog article will convey<br />

your message to your readers and search<br />

engines. It’s important to understand the<br />

context of your content.<br />

By utilising SEO best practices, you will<br />

increase your content’s opportunities to<br />

appear in search queries for keywords<br />

relevant to your industry or niche.<br />

It takes time and money to develop<br />

high-quality content. However, it’s the<br />

cornerstone of every digital marketing<br />

strategy because of all the different<br />

ways you can repurpose a long-form<br />

piece of content.<br />

Research suggests that businesses with a<br />

blog receive 55 per cent more visitors than<br />

rivals that don’t. More than 75 per cent of<br />

people regularly read blog posts.<br />

Furthermore, 61 per cent of consumers<br />

in the US have completed a purchase<br />

after reading a blog post. It’s time to<br />

start writing!<br />

Video content<br />

Adding a video is one of the quickest<br />

ways to enhance your written content and<br />

significantly improve your opportunities to<br />

rank in search.<br />

There are two ways to include written<br />

and video content together in a blog post.<br />

If you start with the video, you can add a<br />

transcript of the video’s spoken words.<br />

Need a simple video editor? Type Studio<br />

enables you to edit videos simply by editing<br />

the transcribed text.<br />

If you start with the written content,<br />

you can add a video to provide deeper<br />

content on a topic. This may draw in<br />

visual learners who don’t have the time or<br />

patience for longer blog posts.<br />

Another great way to use video marketing<br />

is on social media. Instagram Stories,<br />

Facebook Stories, and Google web stories<br />

offer visual opportunities to connect with<br />

potential leads uniquely.<br />

In 2022, streaming online videos and<br />

downloads accounted for 82 per cent of<br />

all internet traffic and more than threequarters<br />

of those videos were viewed on<br />

mobile devices.<br />

Email marketing<br />

Email marketing is vital to a complete<br />

content marketing strategy because it<br />

allows you to personalise and target your<br />

communication with each contact.<br />

Email is used for every aspect of a<br />

customer’s buyer’s journey, starting<br />

with lead generation. You can continue<br />

to engage your customers and delight<br />

them by offering insider discounts on new<br />

products or services.<br />

Remember that consumers prefer to open<br />

emails on mobile devices. More than 40<br />

per cent of consumers will delete an email<br />

A well-rounded<br />

content<br />

marketing<br />

strategy will<br />

help you<br />

connect with<br />

your ideal<br />

customers<br />

and delight<br />

your audience<br />

to improve<br />

retention.<br />

It’s worthwhile to spend time developing<br />

a ‘consumer persona’. This way, you<br />

will know which social media platforms<br />

will best connect your brand with your<br />

target buyer.<br />

You will want to plan out your social media<br />

posts and look ahead and consider ways<br />

you can incorporate interactive content<br />

such as polls.<br />

More than three-quarters of the world’s<br />

population (older than 13) uses some form<br />

of social media. While planning your social<br />

media strategy, remember that visual<br />

content is vital.<br />

Include visual content in your content<br />

marketing, such as infographics, photos,<br />

graphs, charts, slide decks, and web<br />

stories. One easy way to incorporate visual<br />

content is to have a custom image with<br />

every blog post.<br />

Research suggests that readers retain<br />

65 per cent more information when<br />

written content is paired with a relevant<br />

infographic. Regarding e-commerce,<br />

online consumers are 30 times more likely<br />

to initiate a payment when prompted to do<br />

so by visuals.<br />

As you develop your content marketing<br />

strategy, consider how to incorporate each<br />

of these aspects into your overall digital<br />

marketing efforts.<br />

It’s never too late to get started, and<br />

there’s an effective strategy for every<br />

business owner's preference.<br />

BETH WALKER writes for US-based<br />

SMA Marketing, which specialises<br />

in digital marketing strategies for<br />

businesses. Visit: smamareting.net<br />

56 2 | | November <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 2023


Logged On<br />

Shaping your business around customer experience<br />

The relationship your customers have with your business is crucial.<br />

MICHAEL HINSHAW encourages you to refine your approach to this relationship.<br />

Learning how to be more customercentric<br />

sounds good; however, based on<br />

the structure of your business, you may<br />

have some work to do.<br />

The list of potential opportunities to improve<br />

is long; however, this article's ideas are<br />

not complex. That’s because it’s meant to<br />

get you thinking and developing solutions<br />

specific to your business.<br />

• Listen to your customers: I’m not talking<br />

about satisfaction surveys or any other<br />

sophisticated approach to the problem.<br />

The issue with these fancy solutions is that<br />

they don’t point toward the problems or<br />

delights that drive the results.<br />

Listening to your customers is as simple<br />

as asking them what they think — and why<br />

- and then acting on the information if it’s<br />

valuable. It’s essential to reflect on your<br />

business and the data it collects<br />

and question whether you’re acting on<br />

these insights.<br />

• Customer perception is reality: The<br />

quality of your customer experience lives in<br />

one place - your customer's mind.<br />

No matter how well you think your business<br />

is doing, the gap between customer<br />

expectations of experience and their<br />

perceptions of experience is the reality you<br />

need to understand and address.<br />

In this regard, you should aim to make<br />

your customers a part of the ‘solution’.<br />

Involving customers in the experience<br />

design process — whether it be your<br />

approach to products, services, or even<br />

the physical layout of your store <strong>–</strong> has<br />

been used effectively for a long time.<br />

It boils down to this: Take your customers’<br />

points of view into account before you start<br />

making decisions about what they might<br />

want or need.<br />

• Map your customer’s journey: A journey<br />

map allows you to ‘walk in the shoes’ of your<br />

customers by travelling with them as they<br />

interact with your business.<br />

Research-based and focused on desired<br />

outcomes from the customer’s perspective,<br />

you’ll see their needs at each stage and<br />

point of interaction.<br />

You’ll understand how well your business<br />

meets their expectations and identify the<br />

areas where you’re either exceeding or<br />

falling short. This is where opportunities<br />

for improvement are found.<br />

• Monitor customer interactions:<br />

Monitoring customer interactions is<br />

critical because only you know all your<br />

touchpoints. This includes transactional<br />

surveys, phone calls, complaints, general<br />

feedback, and social media commentary<br />

for a jewellery business. When you<br />

monitor the performance of your business<br />

in all of these places, you may be<br />

surprised at what you learn.<br />

Set key performance indicators based on<br />

customers' expectations and your planned<br />

experience, and monitor how well you do.<br />

• Get your data together: Most<br />

established businesses keep customer<br />

data in silos across the enterprise: sales<br />

data in one bucket, marketing data in<br />

another, product and service somewhere<br />

else, and digital data in another entirely.<br />

This customer data must be integrated<br />

and easily accessible across your<br />

business. This allows employees to<br />

truly ‘see’ the relationship between your<br />

business and your customers and make<br />

informed decisions. This is one of the most<br />

significant challenges businesses face and<br />

one of the most important to solve.<br />

• ‘See’ your customers digitally: Every<br />

transaction between your business and<br />

your customers generates data.<br />

Each online or mobile interaction<br />

generates ‘digital data trails’ to be stored<br />

No matter how<br />

well you think<br />

your business<br />

is doing, the<br />

gap between<br />

customer<br />

expectations<br />

of experience<br />

and their<br />

perceptions<br />

of experience<br />

is the reality<br />

you need to<br />

understand and<br />

address.<br />

and analysed. Looking at your customers<br />

through the lens of your digital relationship<br />

will provide valuable insights into behaviour<br />

that can help you radically improve<br />

customer experience.<br />

• Define your strategy: Customer<br />

experience strategy flows from your<br />

business and brand strategy.<br />

Just as brand strategy creates and<br />

manages customer expectations of a<br />

brand, your customer experience strategy<br />

is your plan to meet or exceed those<br />

expectations.<br />

With implications for virtually every aspect<br />

of your business, it’s the vehicle through<br />

which you can turn customer expectations<br />

into reality.<br />

• Empower and reward your employees:<br />

In the quest to be more customer-centric,<br />

your employees are the frontline. They<br />

boast a wealth of insight about customers<br />

and internal operations and can quickly<br />

improve customer experience through oneon-one<br />

interactions and behind-the-scenes<br />

decision-making.<br />

Yet many companies have reward<br />

structures tied only to revenue,<br />

compared with meeting the needs<br />

of customers. They don’t empower<br />

employees to make the decisions<br />

required to meet those customer needs.<br />

Now that you’ve considered these ideas,<br />

where can you take advantage of these<br />

opportunities in your business? And what<br />

further ideas can you add to this list?<br />

Keep this in mind: The secret to customercentricity<br />

is based on designing your<br />

world around an understanding of your<br />

customer’s needs and then focusing on<br />

meeting those requirements.<br />

This core idea relates to everything on this<br />

list — and should relate to everything in<br />

yours.<br />

MICHAEL HINSHAW is president of<br />

McorpCX, which focuses on customer<br />

experience management.<br />

Learn more:www.mor.<br />

November 2023 | 3<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 57

My Bench<br />

Sarah Lim<br />

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

• AGE: 37 • YEARS IN TRADE 6 • TRAINING: Short courses - no formal qualifications. • FIRST JOB: Retail • OTHER QUALIFICATIONS: Sales and insurance.<br />


The Black Diamond Coffin Halo stacked with our Crown<br />

Stacker and Ritual Band is quite a signature Windfall<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y look. From the black diamond centrestone<br />

to the coffin shape, to the stacking set - these are all<br />

aesthetics that have become a staple of our brand.<br />

4FAVOURITE GEMSTONE This is difficult!<br />

Any colour-changing or bi-colour gemstone is<br />

fascinating. I also love vibrant parti sapphires and<br />

champagne salt and pepper diamonds.<br />

4FAVOURITE METAL 18-carat yellow gold.<br />

4FAVOURITE TOOL Polishing machine <strong>–</strong> I find it so<br />

therapeutic.<br />

4BEST NEW TOOL DISCOVERY Dedeco radial disks.<br />

4BEST PART OF THE JOB Finding the dream<br />

gemstone for a customer and making their dream<br />

design come to life.<br />

4WORST PART OF THE JOB A sore back when<br />

you’re not mindful of your posture while working.<br />

4BEST TIP FROM A JEWELLER Be yourself, stay<br />

true to yourself, and do business your way!<br />

4BEST TIP TO A JEWELLER Don’t worry about<br />

what anyone else is doing.<br />


Breathing in toxic particles long term.<br />

4LOVE JEWELLERY BECAUSE The rich history of<br />

jewellery dating back to ancient times. I also love<br />

being able to create tangible things that represent<br />

and celebrate such important milestones and<br />

connections in people's lives.<br />

58 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | 59


Soapbox<br />

Are you ready for the Year of the Dragon?<br />

What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. RITA PRICE encourages<br />

you to make the most of the new opportunities <strong>2024</strong> will bring.<br />

With a new year comes new opportunities<br />

in the jewellery industry <strong>–</strong> and your<br />

business needs to be ready to capitalise on<br />

what’s shaping up for a productive year.<br />

In the Chinese lunar calendar, <strong>2024</strong> is the<br />

Year of the Dragon <strong>–</strong> the fifth of the 12-year<br />

cycle of animals that appear in the Zodiac.<br />

This is one of the oldest systems of astrology<br />

in the world.<br />

There is a widespread belief among those<br />

who follow the system that individuals<br />

born in the Year of the Dragon are destined<br />

for good fortune. In many Asian cultures,<br />

fertility rates even increase during Dragon<br />

years as families hope to coincide birth with<br />

specific star signs.<br />

Quite generally, many people believe that<br />

the Year of the Dragon brings prosperity and<br />

good fortune <strong>–</strong> and based on what I’ve seen<br />

and heard from my customers so far, I’m<br />

one of them.<br />

This year brings promising opportunities for<br />

jewellery businesses across Australia.<br />

From personal experience, customers have<br />

never been more interested in custom-made<br />

and bespoke jewellery. The passion for<br />

quality craftsmanship is strong, and<br />

consumers are willing to pay more for<br />

jewellery that carries personal meaning.<br />

There’s no doubt that economic pressures<br />

are affecting personal budgets; earlier this<br />

month, I was working with a customer who<br />

told me of the many ways rising interest<br />

rates are impacting his family and the<br />

stress that brings.<br />

Still, he was taking the time to purchase<br />

custom-made jewellery because it brings<br />

him happiness.<br />

<strong>Jeweller</strong>y that comes straight off the shelf,<br />

which consumers know thousands of other<br />

people are wearing simultaneously, can’t<br />

offer this kind of emotional attachment.<br />

This desire for custom-made jewellery<br />

presents an exciting opportunity for<br />

jewellers to showcase their talents and<br />

abilities. People love personalised<br />

jewellery that helps them ‘grab a<br />

moment’ and transform those<br />

feelings into a design they can wear.<br />

We learned during the pandemic that<br />

people like to spend money on personal<br />

adornments to reward themselves for<br />

enduring challenges during hard times.<br />

Even with recent economic challenges,<br />

customers are still willing to spend, which<br />

is a timely reminder that you cannot take<br />

them for granted.<br />

You cannot cut corners with your<br />

customers. You can’t use inferior products<br />

and materials. You should use the highest<br />

quality materials to reward your customers<br />

for their faith in your business.<br />

Local consumers love wearing jewellery<br />

made from Australian materials, whether<br />

it be gemstones, gold, or other metals.<br />

Consumers know bespoke jewellery is of<br />

a higher quality than mass manufactured<br />

products and understand the price and<br />

guarantee differences. They will happily<br />

pay extra if the jewellery is of the highest<br />

possible standard.<br />

Giving your customers a high standard of<br />

service is also an important point of<br />

difference in retail.<br />

In the first week of this year, a customer<br />

entered my studio in tears. It was completely<br />

unexpected. She had visited another jeweller<br />

hoping to get a ring resized.<br />

When she explained the issue to the<br />

jeweller, he made an off-handed personal<br />

comment about her. She was devastated <strong>–</strong><br />

and so was I!<br />

Given my positive interactions with my<br />

customers daily, I couldn’t believe someone<br />

could be so blase and hurtful.<br />

Then there’s the business ramifications <strong>–</strong><br />

"This means<br />

that you should<br />

be giving your<br />

customers the<br />

highest possible<br />

standard of<br />

service, too<br />

<strong>–</strong> and that<br />

doesn’t just<br />

mean quality<br />

jewellery."<br />

of course, there’s the lost sale - but also<br />

consider all the people she will tell about<br />

this terrible experience. The impact a simple,<br />

off-handed comment can have on a business<br />

long-term can be severe.<br />

As of late, I’m encountering more and more<br />

customers with older jewellery they would<br />

like to see restored or repurposed. Whether<br />

it’s something from their parents or<br />

grandparents or just a beautiful old piece<br />

they’ve found, I think it’s fantastic.<br />

Giving life and new meaning to old designs is<br />

terrific, and as every jeweller knows, the best<br />

part of the job is handing over the final piece<br />

to the customer.<br />

Returning a restored ring to a family that’s<br />

owned the piece for a century and knowing it<br />

will stay with them for another hundred years<br />

is a great feeling.<br />

I firmly believe that what you put into the<br />

world is returned to you. You get out what<br />

you put in. If you’re kind to people, you’ll get<br />

kindness back. If you work with integrity,<br />

you’ll be rewarded with customers who<br />

appreciate your creations.<br />

Conversely, if you cut corners and produce<br />

work you’re not proud of, that energy will<br />

return to your business.<br />

The nature of the jewellery industry is<br />

changing. Many older jewellers are retiring<br />

and young apprentices are stepping into their<br />

place. It is important that we uphold these<br />

standards to ensure success in the future.<br />

To make the most of this year, consistently<br />

exceed customer expectations. If you always<br />

work to the highest possible standard and<br />

offer a service better than expected,<br />

trust me, the rewards will come.<br />

ame Rita Price<br />

Business: Tindrah of Sweden<br />

Position: Owner & <strong>Jeweller</strong><br />

Location: New South Wales<br />

Years in the instry 25<br />

60 | <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

So much more<br />

than just a fair.<br />

17<strong>–</strong>19 AUGUST, <strong>2024</strong><br />

ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour<br />

jewelleryfair.com.au<br />

Proudly supported by<br />

Organised by

Pink Kimberley showcases luxurious Argyle pink diamonds in<br />

elegant, unique designs. All Pink Kimberley jewellery is crafted in<br />

18 carat gold, embellished with rare, sparkling Australian pink and<br />

white diamonds. Each individual stone has been carefully chosen<br />

and intricately arranged in an expression of creativity, influenced<br />

by Australian nature and landscapes.<br />

Become a stockist today<br />

02 9290 2199<br />


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!