CIBJO launches new informational website that provides guidelines for describing natural and lab-grown diamonds.
CIBJO has launched a new informational website, called “What is a Diamond?” Its purpose is to inform consumers and members of the jewellery and gemstone industry about the precise terminology that should be used to describe both natural diamonds and man-made diamonds.
Located on the web at www.whatisadiamond.org, the new website is an initiative of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission, and it was built with the support of the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF.
Using the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book as its primary reference, the new website definitions also comply with ISO Standard 18323 of the International Organisation for Standardisation. They draw a clear distinction between natural diamonds and synthetic or laboratory-grown or laboratory-created diamonds, as well qualifying what are considered natural products and what are considered products made by man.
The website also explains the distinctions used in the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), and supplies concise guidelines as to the terminology that should be applied by traders of both natural diamonds and man-made diamonds.
“The purpose of the website is to be an easy-to-find and simple-to understand reference point for all those who purchase, sell or handle diamonds,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. “Our goal is not to indicate what is better or more valuable, but rather to ensure that the public is able to distinguish between the different products in the marketplace. Consumer confidence, which is the bedrock of our industry, is completely dependent on people being able to make informed purchasing decisions.”
Launched in 1992, La Grande Classique de Longines has played a major role in forging the reputation of the winged hourglass brand. This range is a symbol of Longines’ classic elegance and timeless sophistication, and stands out thanks to its very slim profile and wide palette of versions. Designed for both women and men, this iconic collection can be seen on the wrists of all those who know how to appreciate true value.
La Grande Classique de Longines was first introduced in 1992 and enjoyed immediate and long-lasting success. Its classic spirit and timeless style very quickly made this collection a pillar for the brand. Today, it is offered in a wide range of versions and is designed for women and men who will always turn to sure, authentic value.
The collection has expanded over the years, but has never forgotten its original features, especially its very slim profile that comes from the unique construction of its case, whose back also serves as the bracelet’s lugs. That technique has been patented by Longines.
Cased in steel, sometimes set with diamonds, or made out of yellow or pink PVD, this collection’s models come in six different sizes (Ø 24, 29, 33, 36, 37 and 38 mm) to suit every wrist and style sensibility. The dial too offers an array of options: white mother-of-pearl, black, blue, brown, silver, or gold; with sunray or even lacquer or flinqué; decorated with Roman numerals, diamonds, or painted indices… In its own way, each face magnifies these elegant features created to mark life’s most beautiful moments.
To complete the classic aesthetic of this timepiece, a white, black or blue leather strap adds a finishing touch to the elegance of the case. Steel, yellow or pink PVD, or a combination of steel and PVD bracelets hug the curve of the wrist perfectly thanks to their supple, fine links. Quartz or automatic movements drive this range’s models.
As an emblematic collection of the winged hourglass brand, La Grande Classique de Longines bears witness to the long-standing expertise with which the watchmaking company embodies elegance today.
After operating across the US for more than 30 years, illustrious third-generation natural coloured diamond wholesaler L. J. West Diamonds recently opened an Australian subsidiary in Perth. Managing director of the new subsidiary William Gant spoke with Jewellery World to discuss the company, the new operation, his own unique history, and the Argyle legacy.
Timing and location perfect for Perth presence The subsidiary opened on St George’s Terrace in the Perth CBD in March, expanding the company’s reach to the Asian and Pacific markets. William said the strategy to set up an Australian subsidiary was formed back in 2019, soon after L. J. West Diamonds’ Hong Kong subsidiary had been established in order to have greater access to the Chinese market.
“Of course, L. J. West Diamonds already had strong relationships with many Australian clients, but the geographical challenges meant that servicing those clients was suboptimal,” he said.
“The Australian market appreciates the value of Argyle’s reds, pinks and blues, and one of the hallmarks of L. J. West Diamonds is its expertise in repolishing diamonds to improve their natural colour – we needed a more efficient way to connect the two.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the office opening throughout 2020 until it was finally opened last month.
Perth made for an ideal city to establish a subsidiary because for William and the L. J. West Diamonds team, it is strategically well-connected through direct flights with other major Australian cities, it shares the same or similar time zone with most of Asia, and is within easy reach of most Asian destinations (once travel restrictions are lifted).
“Symbolically, of course, Western Australia is the birthplace of the Argyle pinks.
“As an added benefit, Perth has shown to be one of the safest places in the world to be in to weather the global pandemic while awaiting a vaccine, with a very robust state economy.”
A world-renowned supplier with a polished history A distinguished diamond supplier to many in the jewellery industry, L. J. West Diamonds, led by the eponymous Larry J. West and his son Scott, is one of the world’s prominent houses for some of the rarest and most important fancy-coloured diamonds to have been unearthed. Larry founded the company in the late ‘70s, and it originally traded in white diamonds, but shifted its focus to coloured diamonds in the ‘90s. William said that Larry’s skill in artfully repolishing diamonds quickly established him as not only a supplier of choice among fancy colour connoisseurs, but also a customer of choice for his appetite to purchase stones in a wide range of colours. He said the company also holds the pride of being one of the original authorised Argyle partners, with a relationship with the mine dating back almost 30 years.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, we have one of the largest collections of Argyle pink diamonds in the world, and the largest in the US.”
From marketing graduate to managing director William himself has a long and intimate history with diamonds and Argyle. It all started many years ago when he began as a marketing graduate working at Argyle, back when the mine’s production was in its prime, producing more than forty million carats a year which equated to a third of the world’s output at the time.
“Argyle was where I learned all aspects of the diamond mining business, from maintaining conveyors and machinery carrying diamondiferous ore, to diamond business analysis, sorting rough diamonds, grading polished diamonds, and then to marketing and selling the mine’s pink and other fancy-coloured diamonds to wholesale customers around the world.
“Towards the end of my ten-year stint with Argyle, I was responsible for all international pink sales and was deeply involved in the Pink Diamond Tender process.”
William’s Eurasian mixed ancestry along with his bilingualism and his cosmopolitan upbringing across Asia and the Middle East all gave him a unique understanding of and sensitivity to the varied ways of doing business in different cultures, particularly in Asia.
“Thanks to that, I think, I developed lasting relationships with my customers at that time, many of whom are still in the coloured diamond business and doing incredibly well as a result of it.”
He eventually left Argyle to pursue new personal challenges and soon landed a senior management role at Argyle’s parent company Rio Tinto in which he tackled the commercial challenges of a completely different product: uranium. He spent 15 years overseas in London and Singapore working in sales and marketing for Rio Tinto, before returning to Australia wherein one of the customers during his time at Argyle – Larry West – contacted him with an idea to expand L. J. West Diamonds’ reach to customers all over the world.
Custodians of the Argyle legacy As one of the original authorised Argyle partners and because they have such a large collection of Argyle diamonds, L. J. West Diamonds has a distinct responsibility to carry on Argyle’s legacy now that the mine has closed. William said that one of L. J. West Diamonds’ hallmarks is their strong passion for the Story of Argyle.
“To us, Argyle’s pinks are more than just a commodity: they are a unique type of diamond that was discovered by chance in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, a one-in-a-million discovery found at just the right time, that isn’t likely to be repeated in our lifetime.
“So, we are passionate about maintaining the Argyle legacy, and we seek to reinforce how incredibly special these treasures are and how lucky it is to own them.”
He said they seek to do this through public exhibitions and events to tell the story. He compared the closing of the mine to the passing of a famous artist for whom all that’s left is his beautiful paintings.
“This is a story worth telling.”
What’s on offer at L. J. West Diamonds
L. J. West Diamonds are wholesalers of natural diamonds across an incredible range of colours including reds, pinks, purples, violets, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, and all the colours in between. William emphasised that L. J. West Diamonds’ expertise is repolishing a stone to improve its colour, which he says is not a process to be taken lightly.
“Argyle pinks are that colour because of the intense heat and pressure that twisted their carbon lattice structure during formation, resulting in not only the colour we all love, but also very hard diamonds that can be exceptionally difficult and risky to polish.”
Along with their array of diamonds available, their Scott West Jewelry is then able to design and handcraft jewellery which showcases the unique qualities of these stones, ensuring that each piece is a unique work of art.
There are multiple good reasons to order your Mother’s Day stock well in advance. Paul Hicks fromEllani Collections says that the jewellery industry has seen large increases in sales for the back end of last year and the momentum continues to rise.
“With many people unable to travel overseas combined with low interest rates, many consumers are spending their extra disposable income on jewellery purchases,” says Paul. “This looks set to continue into good Mother’s Day sales.”
Ellani Collections provide a versatile range of exquisite jewellery designs, made of 925 sterling silver with rhodium plating or polished surgical grade stainless steel, with some gold-plated options, and featuring freshwater or shell pearls, or cubic zirconias.
Erica Miller, director of Ikecho, says that customers tend to buy much earlier for Mother’s Day than they did in the past. Staying organised also helps deal with unexpected issues.
The extra time is beneficial, says Erica, “if we need to re-string to a custom length for their mums or order a custom piece of jewellery that we don’t have in stock.” Ikecho is an Australian wholesaler of the world’s finest quality pearls, set in exciting and contemporary designs. In 2017, Ikecho (pronounced i-ket-cho) also incorporated opals into their jewellery designs.
Melinda Carey of Georgini also recommends that retailers pick their ranges early “to give customers time and variety in both product and price range for Mother’s Day.
“Georgini provides an eclectic range of designs featuring the finest rhodium plated sterling silver, semi-precious stones and glittering gems.
“There are no rules anymore, so our tip is to be creative and mix it up when selecting both gifts and ranges,” said Melinda.
Best sellers for Mother’s Day
When you are stocking for such an important once-a-year event, it helps to know that you have products that will appeal to your customers. Daniel Bentley of Daniel Bentley Jewellery recommends necklaces, earrings and bracelets, as the buyer won’t need to worry about sizing. Daniel Bentley has over 25 years’ experience as a jewellery designer, handcrafting distinct and timeless pieces to create a range of styles with something to appeal to every customer. His jewellery has been worn by European aristocracy, national leaders and media personalities.
Company director of Jewellery Centre, Ted Pevy says that anything engraved is always special for Mother’s Day, as the engraving adds an extra personal touch.
“At Jewellery Centre, we provide lockets, family pendants, engraving shapes and bangles,” Ted said. “It’s also important to consider affordability for families so children can buy a gift for Mum. Hearts are always a great option.”
The Jewellery Centre is a highly respected wholesale jewellery business, importing and wholesaling gold and silver jewellery from Europe, USA and Asia, to all parts of Australia, New Zealand and most South Pacific countries.
“Gifts that evoke emotion are on trend this Mother’s Day,” says Melinda Carey of Georgini. “Say ‘I love you’ with a heartshaped pendant or a favourite shaped stone to make it extra special. Mother’s Day evokes many emotions, so finding a particular piece that has meaning and is unique to each Mum is the best choice.” Melinda says that “classic forever items” such as a pair of stud earrings or a decadent tennis bracelet are always appreciated. “Our Esteem earrings with a beautiful removable halo, our Always pearl studs or our Selena tennis bracelet are perfect choices.”
The Power of the Jewellery Set
Paul Hicks says that many retailers create special package deals by pairing up a matching earring set with a pendant purchase. This makes a perfect gift for siblings to team up and give to Mum. “Some retailers are capturing consumer email addresses with key dates like birthdays and anniversaries, so the retailer can email them on special occasions to generate interaction and sales.
Ted Pevy says that the Jewellery Centre’s Euro bolt ring chains and bracelets, plus earring and pendant sets are always popular options for Mother’s Day.
“Our website is only available to retailers, so we highly recommend that retailers browse our entire range, particularly on our latest arrivals, so you can order the right stock in plenty of time to promote and sell through displays,” he said.
Daniel Bentley says that jewellery sets give the customer the incentive to come back for another purchase, especially when you choose a design that will remind of the specialness of the day.”
“Some of our clients note that although customers don’t buy the full set – ring, earrings and necklace – in one purchase, they like to know they can come back and buy the next piece in a collection their partner loves,” said Daniel. “This is one of the main reasons why we create a full range of pieces in our collections – it’s for the follow up purchase.”
Daniel Bentley Jewellery has a few collections that have proved particularly popular.
“Our Open Heart collection in silver with aquamarines is very popular as it’s modern and elegant and the heart is recognized as a beautiful symbol of life and love. The most important aspect of this heart design is that it’s open… forever,” Daniel said. “The Wild Iris collection is another popular choice, inspired by the Australian wildflower with a very contemporary shape. The yellow gold diamond stud earrings and Twin Iris bracelet are particularly beautiful modern classics.”
Georgini is releasing a new heart earring and pendant set this Mother’s Day, named Hera, after the Goddess of Women, Marriage and Family. It is a perfect and easy gift for all mothers, and aligns with Georgini’s core focus of offering an affordable luxury to both our retailers and consumers.
Melinda Carey says that Georgini has a wide range of options to create the perfect set for every mum. “We design our pieces to work with each other, so it is easy to select unique items and create a beautiful set or choose designs that perfectly match together.”
Social Media Promotion
Even when customers prefer to shop in a physical store, they tend to window-shop online, so start preparing your social media promotions early. Erica from Ikecho says that having an active online presence has also been extremely beneficial in helping build up a following of repeat customers. “We have noticed that repeat customers will buy through retailers in response to our social media,” she said.
Daniel Bentley says that regularly updated social media content is a valuable way to help retailers promote the supplier’s products.
“We always provide new social media content to be used by our wonderful stockists who often report back that they have many returning Daniel Bentley clients due to the high-quality content.”
Retailers with a versatile range of jewellery products, well-organised promotional displays and the option of streamlined online purchasing, have everything they need to attract customers on Mother’s Day and draw them back again for other special events throughout the year.
Firstly, it is the year of the JAA Jewellery Awards, which will always bring excitement to the industry.
It is also the JAA’s 90th birthday, and I think that really needs to be celebrated! We certainly have plans to mark this ninety-year milestone with festivities, so stay tuned for our announcements!
The JAA was founded in July, 1931, during the Great Depression, when unemployment was close to 32 percent, and it has weathered significant worldwide events and industry fluctuations in its ninety-year history.
Post WWII saw European immigration bring new designs, outlook and skills to the decorative arts and jewellery industry. With the post war boom, jewellery manufacturing and retail flourished.
Manufacturing has seen enormous changes over the years. The development of sophisticated and innovative software programs and advanced machinery has slashed labour costs however, the need for traditional skills and hand manufacturing will never die. One has only to look at the skill levels of the JAA Award entries and the interest in high level jewellery making to recognise that.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century there has been a plethora of synthetic and laboratory-grown gemstones entering the market and consequently the need for an increased knowledge to keep up with an ever-changing industry. We have seen our industry threatened by cheaper, mass produced imports. Nevertheless, the Australian jewellery industry has flourished because the consumer recognises quality over quantity.
In the 1960/70s the jewellery store was augmented by the art gallery, and those that worked “on the bench” were seen as artisans. This trend gave jewellers a forum, outside the commercial space,to exhibit designs that pushed design parameters. Similar galleries overseas held exhibitions of jewellery by Australian artisans. Australian Jewellery was receiving the international recognition it deserved.
The introduction of the internet has changed the way the world operates. It has brought challenges, opportunities and growth to our industry in unexpected ways. Not only is there a broader marketplace in which to compete, but designers and everchanging trends are quickly accessed. The fact that consumers can be educated when it comes to jewellery and gemstones explains the growth of online sales in the fine jewellery sector.
Whilst some industry members still experience the impacts of Covid, our industry currently contributes $4 billion to the Australian economy. The relevance of our Association continues.
I am constantly asked why we should be members? The JAA brand is trusted throughout Australia and the world. We work for you and the consumer to give our industry the trust and confidence that is achieved through strength in numbers.
We look forward to witnessing future trend sand changes, supporting our members and this great industry, for years to come!
Business owners in general like to believe that they are capable of (and even good at) change. I would challenge this premise. We need to ask ourselves what the implications are of not changing.
DDCA NEWS Rami Baron President, Diamond Dealers Club of Australia firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, there is always the fallback position: Why fix it if it isn’t broken?
The answer to that question is a lot simpler than you think. If you wait for it to be broken, it may be unfixable and then you really are stuffed.
As usual,I like to relate it to our industry. When I sit and discuss data analytics with jewellery retailers, I often get responses such as “we deal with these people all day long, we know what they want” or “my clients would cringe at the idea that I am analysing their buying habits or even preferences”.
I recently did a presentation on technology in the diamond industry. My focus was on the GIA’s Origin Certificate and the connectivity of this program to the mines, the cutters, the polishers and the retailers themselves. In addition, it also covered the Sarine journey and where blockchain technology fits into all this.
I bring this up because during my research, I could see a significant resistance by a number of retailers to using these tools effectively and, furthermore, their failure in getting past the cool visuals and looking to get a deeper understanding of the importance that these programs are revealing when it comes to sustainability.
All of us over the years learn a ‘patter’,or in this trade, I think we can call it a ‘spiel’. No matter what we are selling, we have this five-step process, which incorporates a certain language, style and methodology which works in the majority of cases for us to close a sale. So why change what works?
There is no doubt that reading it is a lot easier than doing it. I also accept that I’m no different to the rest of you when it comes to my spiel. However, I am acutely aware that as everything around us changes, we need to constantly reflect on what we are doing.
I need to determine if this spiel could be more effective, could be more relevant, and is connecting with my customers.
I’m sure that it’s fair to say that very few of you have ever gone back to a customer to find out why you didn’t make the sale. And the truth is that they will rarely tell you the real reason.
What if the real reason was that you did not really connect with them? What if sustainability was really high on their agenda but they weren’t going to bring it up unless you did. In my webinar, after interviewing some very successful people I came to the conclusion that in today’s world, it’s not enough to just tell your customer something. You actually have to be able to prove it.
The technological tools which I have spoken about above, i.e. origin and journey certification, are only one aspect of the equation, but they enable a retailer to highlight the journey and sustainability that natural diamonds are taking, and the importance that we place on it.
Why don’t you ask your team around you if they think you’re good at making changes? Or your family — just ask your partner.
When was the last time you made a radical change to your window jewellery display or asked someone else in the team to do it? Have you ever looked at all the different technologies in our industry or in retailing or wholesaling and asked yourself what could help you? Forget the cost to begin with. Ask the hard questions.
What would my business benefit most from if we were to change? It may be your location, it may be your merchandise mix, it may be your lighting, it may be your suppliers, it may be your working hours, or specifically the ability for a customer to contact you outside of traditional working hours, it may be the way people come dressed to work. Have you ever stopped to listen to the language everyone in your team is using when they sell? Is there consistency? Does your store have the ability to create a clearly defined journey for every new customer?
Last but not least, maybe it’s you that needs to change.
You notice I posed the question can you change? I believe anyone can change. The problem that I see from my own experience and watching others is that because change is so difficult we often will only change when the pain is so great that we do not have a choice.
So, let’s ameliorate some of this pain and start by asking ourselves the sort of questions I posed above. Success is often achieved by small but continuous adjustments aiming to improve. The Japanese call this “Kaizen”. You don’t have to make massive change, just meaningful and continuous change.
Clearly, without change and the desire to find better ways to do things, we would never have the mobile phone as we have it today or the ability to find a vaccine in 12 months where other viruses have been worked on for decades with no result. Yes, that is the big picture, but in our own individual bubbles which we reside, it’s the questions we should contemplate.
This is the story of the intrepid Australian geologists who discovered pink diamonds in the Kimberley.
The remote Kimberley region of Western Australia has a rich history and a unique geography. In the 1960s De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company, sent gem-hunters to the area but they came away empty handed. It was a vast region to survey, and they’d overlooked something vital.
A few years later, a team of Australian geologists with a tiny budget searched for even tinier mineral clues. Those clues led them to the earth’s largest diamond deposit and the world’s largest and richest source of coloured diamonds, included the very rare pink diamonds.
Based on in-depth research and interviews — including with Alan King Jones, Bill Leslie and ‘the father of Australian diamonds’, Ewen Tyler, Argyle: The Impossible Story of Australian Diamonds details the almost overwhelming challenges with realising a diamond mining venture in Australia, shows how these obstacles were overcome, and explores the mine’s impact and legacy.
Historian Stuart Kells has twice won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize and has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Hi is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce.
Argyle is available in print and ebook from all good bookshops and is published by Melbourne University Publishing.