24 October 2008
Now one Swiss watchmaker, Vacheron Constantin, has created a wristwatch that it says is impossible to counterfeit, as well as Men's Wedding Rings and Woman's Wedding Rings. What timing: The watch will be launched on Oct. 22 in New York, just as the luxury-watch industry is facing a possible global recession.
Do you care that many of the expensive-looking watches around us are probably not the real thing? Is the watch on your wrist real?
The watch, called the "Quai de l'Ile" for the watchmaker's historical Geneva address, uses layers of invisible UV marking, laser perforations of some watch parts, special high-security inks, and other measures used to secure passports and currencies like the euro and Swiss franc.
In the world of haute horlogerie, forged watches are as ubiquitous as fake handbags and black-market DVDs. These fakes are sold not only on sidewalk tables but also in stores, catalogs and Internet listings. The Swiss Customs Service has estimated that as many as 40 million counterfeit watches are put into circulation each year. Switzerland last year exported only about 26 million watches, so there's a fairly reasonable chance that the expensive-looking watch on your neighbor's wrist could be a fake.
Watchmakers have long fought counterfeiters by adding special stickers and limiting supply through authorized dealers. Rolex -- probably the most faked watch of all time -- strictly controls the numbers of its watches that can be sold by a dealer and requires that all repairs be made with authorized parts. Rolex also puts a green hologram sticker on the back of its watches -- though counterfeiters forge that, too.
But counterfeiters have been improving their technology faster than watchmakers. "Counterfeits have gotten more sophisticated," says David Hendry, chief underwriter for the Jewelry Insurance Brokerage of North America. "The counterfeiters have learned all the things that people didn't know 20 years ago." They add weight, use sapphire crystal for the glass of the watch and incorporate other elements that can confuse even experts -- and they may charge many hundreds of dollars.
Forging was an industry scourge even when the fine-watch market was growing at double-digit rates annually. Now, with growth sure to slow in the current economy, it's even more important for watchmakers to differentiate their products in consumers' minds.
Many luxury retailers -- particularly department stores such as Neiman Marcus -- have seen sales slow markedly this year. A survey released on Monday by Unity Marketing, a Stevens, Pa.-based consultant to the luxury industry, suggests that affluent consumers "are buying luxuries more selectively and more carefully."
The idea of Vacheron's new watch came out of a chance acquaintanceship between Vacheron Constantin Chief Executive Juan Carlos Torres and Roger Pfund. Mr. Pfund is an acclaimed Swiss painter and designer of the Swiss passport and international currencies since the 1970s. The painter met Mr. Torres socially several years ago.
'The Spirit of a Watch'
"To make secure watches was a new thing," Mr. Pfund said this past weekend, as he expounded on some of the artistic challenges involved. "The spirit of a watch is not the same as a bank note."
How does one use invisible ink on a watch, for instance? His answer: Print it on a slip of a paper-like polymer material that is inserted under the watch's crystal.
The Quai de l'Ile can be customized in up to 400 combinations and will sell for between $29,000 and $60,000, depending on which features are chosen. While the starting price for Vacheron Constantin watches is about $12,000, the company recently took an order from a European entrepreneur for a $6.5 million custom watch, says Julien Tornare, president of Vacheron Constantin U.S.
The company, which produces about 18,000 watches annually, expects to make 800 Quai de l'Iles a year.
To set the Quai de l'Ile apart, Mr. Pfund helped the company gain access to highly controlled money-printing materials like the polymer and inks, says Mr. Tornare. The inventory of polymer kept by Vacheron is monitored by the maker of Swiss passports, he said, noting, "We had no idea about security printing."
The watch's security measures involve engraving and printing with special inks. In the first series of watches produced, the words "Swiss Made" and "Automatique" are laser-engraved without using ink on the watch's dial, while some of the numerals, the date and the words "Vacheron Constantin Genève" are engraved with ink.
Miniature Texts on the Dials
Tiny texts on the dials of some models -- illegible without the aid of a magnifying glass -- reproduce parts of letters sent between 19th-century family members of the watchmaker, Jaques-Barthélémy Vacheron and François Constantin.
The Quai de l'Ile was unveiled to the watch industry last spring at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. That annual convention is sponsored by Cie. Financière Richemont SA, the luxury conglomerate that owns such oft-counterfeited brands as Vacheron Constantin, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
This appears to have given would-be counterfeiters an opportunity to get cracking on Vacheron's come-and-get-me challenge. Mr. Pfund, who is currently designing the 2010 series of the Quai de l'Ile, says, "They already have fakes of this watch. I saw one yesterday on the Internet. Of course, the movement is wrong -- a lot of things are wrong."
Original Article by Christina Binkley
Wall Street Journal Fashion
Oct. 16, 2008
13 October 2008
At Friday's lows, spot-month futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down 38% on the year and 59% from the record set in March as the global economic slowdown pinches industrial use.
Platinum could fall further on weakness in the auto sector, but then stabilize or rise modestly as investment liquidation runs its course and due to potential for output cuts as the price approaches the cost of mining, analysts said. This makes it a great time to buy platinum wedding bands.
The impetus for the early year peak was worries about tight supplies exacerbated when South Africa state-owned utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. announced electrical shortages that curtailed mining output.
"Supply was being outpaced by demand," said Bart Melek, global commodity strategist with BMO Capital Markets. "We had a massive rally way above the marginal cost of production."
Since then, the auto industry has slumped. This hurt platinum demand because its main industrial use is for catalytic converters.
Nearby October platinum Friday fell $22.60, or 2.3%, to settle at $957 a troy ounce. Most-active January lost $20.80, or 2.1%, to $965.80.
James Moore, an analyst with TheBullionDesk.com, said platinum's recent move is cyclical, reflecting changed fundamentals. Moreover, he said, the fundamentals perhaps were "overexaggerated" as prices soared at the start of the year. But he doesn't look for the recent slide to continue much longer because a "delicate balance" remains in the market.
"Eskom has already said they can't increase their energy capacity for at least another five years," Mr. Moore said. "The producers are struggling against rising costs and having to excavate metal from much deeper ore bodies. This has a massive impact on their bottom line."
If profitability suffers, downward price corrections such as the current one could prompt producers to shut down some of their operations, he said.
"In my view, it would be naive to think that the market is going to continue lower," Mr. Moore said. "We may see some further downside initially, but then look for it to possibly stabilize around $1,000 to $1,300 for the latter part of the year and heading toward next year."
BMO's Mr. Melek estimated that the cash costs of production for platinum-mining operations are between $700 and $1,000 an ounce.
"They might still go lower," he said of platinum prices on things like platinum wedding rings. "But they ultimately will have to rebound because we're hitting the marginal cost of production for many producers."
CPM Group analyst Carlos Sanchez also said there could be more selling pressure, but prices may soon stabilize.
Not only has platinum been hurt by concerns about reduced motor-vehicle production, but expectations are for a shift toward smaller vehicles at a time of high fuel prices. Smaller engines require less platinum group metals for auto catalysts, Mr. Sanchez said. Meanwhile, no further supply disruptions have occurred in South Africa lately, he said.
But at the same time, he said, many investors already may have sold some positions.
"You may go to $900," Mr. Sanchez said. "But they're already low compared to what they have been the last couple of years. So you may not have further selling."
In other commodity markets:
SUGAR: Prices dropped to a four-month low on ICE Futures U.S. as speculators exited from bullish positions, but the market pared losses before a vote by the House of Representatives approving the $700 billion financial-rescue package. ICE March world sugar fell 0.47 cent, or 3.6%, to 12.61 cents a pound.
CRUDE OIL: Futures zigzagged before ending slightly lower as traders mulled whether the passage of the rescue bill would stabilize demand. Demand concerns were reinforced after the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls fell more than expected in September, the steepest decline since March 2003. Light, sweet crude fell nine cents, or 0.1%, to $93.88 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
By: Allen Sykora
Wall Street Journal; October 5, 2008
22 September 2008
Any jeweler should be willing and able to show customers a variety of gemstones and jewelry in different shapes, sizes and qualities, and should stock a broad selection of ring styles to enable you to decide which best fits your pocketbook.
Your jeweler also should be able to help you learn to see with your own eyes why some diamonds of similar size differ greatly in value, or from a practical perspective - how you might reasonably select from a variety of different sizes, all priced similarly to fit your budget.
All of us like to feel that we receive a good value when we make a major purchase. Take time to find what you want and where you want to buy it. Diamonds, for instance, can be confusing. Even if two diamonds are the same size, color and clarity, differences in the way they were cut, their finish and fluorescence can cause one to be worth much more than the other.
Gemstones have been sought after and treasured throughout history. They have been found in ruins dating back several thousand years. They are valued as gifts symbolizing love.
Generally, the price of any gemstone is determined by size, cut, quality - which includes color, clarity and treatments - and type.
Here are some simple questions to ask about quality:
- Has it been heat treated?
- Is the stone natural or synthetic?
- Are there any noticeable scratches, chips or inclusions?
- Is the color even throughout the stone?
- How strong is the color? Is it vivid?
- If you are buying the stones for earrings or cuff links, are the stones well-matched?
Advice To Protect Jewelry
Try to protect any jewelry from scratches, sharp blows, harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures and sunlight.
Here's some advice about how to keep your jewelry in good condition:
- Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
- When doing household tasks such as gardening and cleaning, be certain to remove rings.
- Put your jewelry on after washing or bathing and applying any makeup or hair spray.
- Never wear jewelry while swimming in a swimming pool. The chlorine can cause damage to various gemstones and gold.
- Avoid storing your jewelry next to a heating vent, window sill or on a car's dashboard. Store jewelry away from sunlight (the sun may fade the gemstones).
- Always store bead necklaces (such as lapis, pearls, etc.) flat; silk stretches over time. Do not store pearls in plastic bags.
- Gemstones may become loose in their settings (and possibly fall out). Be certain that stones mounted in rings are not loose and don't rattle. The prongs of a ring can and do wear down. If the prongs wear down too much or break, you can lose the stone. Prongs are easily "retripped" by most jewelers to keep the stone secure.
- Most jewelers will restring necklaces or reset stones (for a fee)
- Sterling silver will polish up by rubbing or buffing it with a soft cotton cloth.
- Store silver in plastic bags with an interlocking seal to make it less prone to tarnish.
Remember, also, that the hardness of stones plays into how they can be treated. Hardness is based on a gem-trade standard called the Mohs Scale. The higher the Mohs Scale number, the harder the stone. The highest Mohs Scale rating is 10, for diamonds.
Anything rated less than 7 on the scale can be easily scratched - coral, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl and turquoise, for instance. Gold, silver and platinum are at the soft end ofthe scale.
Key Point to Consider
When you're searching for a jeweler, remember that you may spend thousands of dollars over time at this business. It's imperative to find someone you feel comfortable with and someone who is willing to work with you when you have questions about jewelry, repairs or perhaps special orders.
Find a store where the owner is the jeweler, someone actively involved in the store's operation who knows his clientele and the business.
Your chosen store should be able to design and create fine jewelry.
The staff should be happy to spend time with customers to educate them about jewelry and what's currently available on the market. Work should be done on the premises. After all, you've chosen your jeweler because of his or her expertise.
Look for well-known jewelry and watch lines while you're shopping. Your jeweler should offer free gift wrapping, in-town delivery and, above all, superb customer service combined with an expert staff.
Original Article by
Wall Street Journal
"After several years of retirement, I decided to become a jeweler designer and maker," says Hurley, whose stunning creations make a bold and sometimes ethnic statement.
She enhances the beauty of semi-precious stones by adding silver beads as a visual contrast to many of her designs. More recently, she sometimes uses copper in place of silver, giving her work an entirely different look.
"I've been introduced to working with copper. It's been about a month now, and I've really adopted it. It's become about an eighth of my inventory," Hurley remarks. "The more I saw it, the more I could see how well it went with the kind of jewelry I make, and the kind of natural stones I like to work with."
Hurley, who makes "mostly one-of-a-kind" pieces, admits to buying the bulk of her beads from "a wholesaler in Royal Oak and from bead shows."
She adds, "I find them (shows) a good source of things you don't see locally. I don't buy anything from a retail store, unless I run out of something basic, like a clasp."
This is the third year Hurley has sold her jewelry on Saturday mornings at the Grosse Pointe Park Farmers Market, which operates May through September. Her necklaces range from $36-$70.
By: Jocelynn Brown
Detroit News; September 20, 2008
15 September 2008
Traders are watching for the point where supply tightens thanks to a shakeout among producers that can't profit amid lower prices.
Some of the miners in the most pain are on acid -- lots of it. Sulfuric acid is used extensively in mining to extract nickel, copper, platinum, titanium, silver, diamonds, and uranium. But miners must compete for sulphur with the booming fertilizer industry. After a period when you could hardly give it away, sulfuric acid has gotten exceedingly scarce, rising some 1,000% in the past year. Some nickel mines consume $10,000 of acid just to extract a ton of nickel, now selling for about $20,000, down from $50,000 last year.
Mines and smelters also consume massive amounts of coal and oil to power blast furnaces, fuel trucks and process ore. Oil is up about 57% over the past year, while coking coal has tripled. Steel costs have soared; hard-to-find engineers can name their price; and the escalating cost of explosives -- derived from ammonia, a product of natural gas -- is blowing up margins. And while metal prices has soared recently, many jewelers, like Design Bands, buy up front, and have a large inventory that was bought at yesterday's prices. Companies like Design Bands are able to sell designer wedding rings at affordable prices.
In 2006 and 2007, when metals prices were climbing, inefficient and mothballed mines reopened. Now nickel, zinc and aluminum are fetching less than it costs such marginal suppliers to produce them, says Jim Lennon, senior commodities strategist at Macquarie Securities in London. When zinc, used to coat steel, climbed to $2 a pound in mid-2006, mines spending a dollar to produce it thrived. Zinc now runs about 80 cents.
Once more high-cost producers fall, says Jeremy Weir, chief executive officer of Galena Asset Management, a subsidiary of oil and metals trader Trafigura, "there's a likelihood that some of these markets that have been depressed from their highs could see a price recovery."
Factory Reading Is Key on Tuesday
Like commodities, the U.S. economy has been supported by strong global demand, a prop that has grown shaky.
Further evidence of this may come Tuesday morning, when the Institute for Supply Management releases its U.S. manufacturing index for August. Economists, on average, think it will slip a bit, to 49.5 from 50 in July. Any reading below 50 indicates factory activity is shrinking.
Though hardly robust, such a reading would be much higher than the 41 that usually marks a recession. Though it has slowed considerably in recent years, the index hasn't come close to that level, even during the fourth quarter of 2007, when gross domestic product contracted.
Healthy export demand has kept factories treading water. A weak dollar has helped, by making U.S. exports cheaper and more competitive. The dollar has rebounded this summer, but that shouldn't affect exports for some time.
What could show up soon is the slower growth gripping various economies around the world. The ISM's index of new export orders fell to 54 in July -- still relatively strong, but the lowest reading of the year.
By: Ann Davis
Wall Street Journal; September 2, 2008
11 September 2008
"Our businesses in Asia, Europe and the Middle East have been sufficient to offset the general market softness in the U.S. and Japan; this contributed to our strong retail finish for second quarter," President Thomas J. O'Neill said, adding that the company was on "firm footing" for the second half of the year.
The comments echoed those of fellow jeweler Tiffany & Co., which in late July said strong sales in the Asian-Pacific and European regions offset weakness in the U.S.
The diamond miner and retailer reported net income of $49.9 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with $20.1 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter was helped by a $4.3 million insurance recovery and a drop in the effective income-tax rate to 33% from 47%. The gross margin widened to 60.5% from 52.8%, helped by the insurance recovery.
Sales rose 7.4% to $186.1 million in the quarter ended July 31. Mining sales remained at $105 million as higher prices made up for lower volume.
Wall Street Journal; September 10, 2008
19 June 2008
Diamonds may be forever. Diamond mining, maybe not.
With growth in diamond prices trailing far behind that of most commodities, some miners are turning their sights toward gold, iron ore, and phosphate instead of sparkle.
Flinders Diamonds, an Australian miner, recently reassessed its exploration areas and identified a target in western Australia for iron ore, prices of which have been soaring along with demand for steel. It changed its name to Flinders Mines Ltd. to reflect its exr panded focus. Its stocks soared upon the April announcement.
Last June, diamond miner Sierra Leone Diamond decided to change its name to African Minerals Ltd. to reflect its exploration of precious and base metals across the African continent. Bonaparte Diamond Mines of Australia just concluded a diamond joint venture in Namibia to focus instead on exploring a phosphate project there because "the economic return" from diamonds "doesn't warrant moving into the next phase," Michael Woodborne, the firm's managing director, said in a statement. Prices of phosphate, a key component in fertilizer, are up dramatically lately.
For miners, the opportunity, cost of investing time and shareholder money in diamonds is just part of the problem. On the demand side, diamond sales, at least in the U.S., have been struggling. Citing a sluggish U.S. market, which accounts for about 50% of the total, De Beers Group reported a 3.7% fall in revenue to $5.9 billion last year.
Compared to most commodities, diamond prices have been "extremely unexciting" over the past few years, says Charles Wyndham, founder of PolishedPrices.com, which keeps a wholesale diamond price index. This year, it is flat, and up 3.6% from a year earlier. Over the same time, S&P GSCI, a commodities benchmark, is up 37.6% and 73.5%, respectively.
The departure from diamond mining marks a reversal from several years ago. At least 60 new diamond-mining companies sprung up after diamond giant De Beers went private in 2001, estimates David Hargreaves, a mining and gemstone consultant to United Kingdombased broker Hoodless Brennan Ltd. Yet, some newcomers may be finding that diamond mining is a trying and costly endeavor. Even if you find a diamond mine, it may take seven to 10 years before it produces, Mr. Hargreaves says.
Diamond mining is viewed as the "worst kind of gambling," says Theo Botoulas, chief executive of BRC DiamondCore Ltd., a diamond miner in South Africa.
In January, Tahera Diamond Corp., a Canadian miner, ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy-courtprotection. "Not every diamond mine will be successful.lt's a very high-risk business," said Gareth Penny, De Beers's managing director.
Still, several players, like BRC, are keeping at it. They argue that long-term demand for diamonds world-wide is good, and prices of big, better-quality stones have risen rapidly. Instead of shunning the gem business, Canadian miner Aber Diamond Corp. took full ownership of Harry Winston Diamond Corp. and focused on high-end retail sales before it started trading under its new name on the New York Stock Exchange in November. The company reported a 10% increase in overall revenue for the first quarter because of strong sales growth in Asia and Europe, though its mining production fell 31%.
De Beers has said it expects demand from markets like China, India, the Middle East and Russia to grow. It has raised prices of rough diamonds by an average of 8.5% so far this year. De Beers has been aggressively investing in new mining projects, and it will bring four major projects into full production this year.
Rio Tinto PLC, which produced 16% of the world's rough diamonds by volume in 2007, estimates diamond prices to rise in response to "a sizable supply gap" this year and expects demand will outpace supply for the next decade. Meanwhile, Diapason Commodities Management, a U.K.-based company, is planning to launch a "diamond fund" soon, in the form of a listed investment firm whose portfolio will be polished diamonds.
"Mining is a long-term game," said Mr. Wyndham of PolishedPrices.com. "Those who are switching back and forth from one commodity to another usually won't succeed."
By: Carolyn Cui
Wall Street Journal
12 June 2008
They say there are two things that will withstand the test of time, and love is one of them.
However, with gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon and lavish weddings chock full of frivolity, lovebirds are looking for the most cost effective ways to tie the knot.
And they aren't skimping on the details.
THE DRESS AND TUXEDO
Summer may be known as the season for weddings, but according to Cathy Heim, seamstress at Nicole's Bridal Boutique in Seneca, brides-to-be are choosing simpler designs and more contemporary looks to satisfy both the warmer weather, as well as lighter wallets.
"You can pay just as much for a formal dress as can you for an informal," Heim said. "But for this area, people are buying a lot more conservative."
Heim, who is working on more than 20 weddings this month alone, said business is as steady as ever, adding that she has received a lot of requests to alter dresses bought from outside dealers. The four-year employee said many women are purchasing the perfect dress elsewhere, but sticking to local seamstresses for the modifications, saving a much needed tank of gas as well as some sanity.
Heim said the only major cutbacks so far include slightly less expensive bridesmaids' dresses - shortened from full-length to tea. She said she doesn't expect any bride's budget to favor a dress that is subpar to what they have always dreamed of.
"Every bride has a dream," Heim said. "And they will sacrifice to get that. Now whether that means a cheaper tuxedo or fewer flowers, I don't know. But the dress (the average is $650 at Nicole's) really isn't the biggest cutback."
And neither is the tuxedo, according to Rob Walter, an employee with F.L. Crooks and Co. on Main Street in Clarion.
The specialty clothing dealer, offering a range of prices on both lower-end designs and top name tuxedos, said the average cost for the groom comes in at around $100 for a complete rental with the most expensive falling somewhere near $160. And while the only shift Walter has seen is to cooler microfiber shirts, many men are still going for a quality fit and fabric to satisfy their wants as well.
"Everything's really just on par as it's always been," Walter said. "I haven't noticed any big difference."
Perhaps the most illustrious piece of wedding memorabilia is the smallest and oftentimes most expensive for the big day.
Niki Volmrich, owner of Feldman Jewelers in Franklin, said couples are shopping vigilantly, but 'going for the gold' when it comes to actually buying.
"I haven't seen where they're really cutting back," Volmrich said. "I mean, they're still buying, but they're just perhaps not spending as much."
A veteran in the jewelry industry, having owned her Liberty Street shop for 23 years, Volmrich said those looking to celebrate nuptials are keeping a keen eye out for more traditional pieces that will not only look good, but won't break the bank.
One way brides are saving money is by purchasing titanium or tungsten bands for the groom, rings that not only have the weight and look of more expensive metals, but cost much less. An average price equals out to a little more than $100. Volmrich said many of the aforementioned materials are a lot more durable than conventional models.
However, she noted, grooms are still perusing the shelves for diamonds set in gold and platinum for their brides, in addition to the pricey engagement rings bought prior to the actual day.
"(Rising prices) don't really affect wedding jewelry, other jewelry yes, but not this," Volmrich said.
She also said the store's registry has consistently done quite well, with brides requesting various decorative accessories and everyday dishware.
"The ring is something you will have forever. You're going to be looking at that for years and years...hopefully," Volmrich said with a laugh.
By: Nicholas Hess
11 June 2008
Valuable jewelry has differing functions and symbolism across cultures. For many, the most important item of jewelry is, of course, the wedding ring.
That being the case, I have some advice concerning wedding rings as the warm summer days -- and along with them many, many weddings -- begin. Women have always been interested in jewelry. In the ancient Greek and Roman societies, jewelry was often worn as a form of protection from the evil eye. While women of those eras would wear many different types of jewelry, men were restricted to rings. These rings were strikingly different from those worn nowadays, and their stones were often also used as signets. This style of ring usage was continued by kings and aristocrats in the Middle Ages. During those times jewelry was sometimes a sign of wealth and at other times worn as protective amulets. Whether worn as a sign of status, for protection, or even just to accessorize, the most important kind of ring has perhaps always been the wedding band. The idea of wearing a ring to signify married status was started by ancient Egyptian princess Nefertiti. And though wedding rings have changed in color, stone, style, size and many other aspects over the years, the finger they are worn on has not. It is always the fourth finger of the left hand that is graced by a wedding band. Of course this is not just coincidental. Everyone knows just how advanced ancient Egyptian medicine was, and in fact medical research now shows us that this finger is the only one with a vein that heads straight for the heart. Choosing a wedding ring, this all-important piece of jewelry, is a meaningful act in that the jewelry is bought with the intention of wearing for the rest of one's life. Wedding rings are also one of the few kinds of jewelry that don't change too drastically along with changes in fashion. More than its actual appearance, the meaning carried by a wedding ring is what is important. The ring becomes almost like a part of the wearer's body, which is why there can be such great arguments between couples when one of them removes the ring. In any case, the wedding season is officially upon us, making it the perfect moment to take some time to talk about new styles and options in the wedding rings now available.
Traditional or modern: always timeless
When choosing a ring, the most important factors to keep in mind are the size and shape of you and your partner's fingers and hands. A thick band will make short fingers look even shorter. If you have bony hands, wedding bands with lots of stones of them are perfect for you. Square cut stones make fingers look a bit thicker, while rounder stones lengthen fingers' appearance. Last season, we saw an increase in wedding bands designed with not only precious metals, but also with precious stones. In particular, many couples decided on wedding rings decorated with diamonds -- classic.
There are many who don't want to pass up on the classic wedding ring, and for couples like this, there are new modern interpretations of the wedding ring available. Though wedding rings made from two different colors of gold were quite popular last season, this season we are seeing single-color gold wedding rings, mostly from red or white gold. Newer models of wedding rings are being designed for women who want to wear the same style of wedding ring as their future husbands. These are wedding rings that symbolize dynamism and a youthful attitude. It is of course also important that they don't go out of fashion. In a season when white gold is being chosen by so many couples for their wedding rings, platinum and steel are also favorites.
I'd also like to note that while we may see men wearing single-stone rings outside of Turkey, I very much doubt that this will find much of a place in Turkish culture. Wedding bands ought to be chosen according to characteristics that allow them to be used in every atmosphere. And if you can't find yourself anything you like from the shops, go to a company that specializes in individually designed wedding rings. You might be someone for whom designing and wearing your own wedding ring is much more meaningful.
A wedding ring that carries your spouse's name and wedding date on the inside of the band will no doubt become one of your most treasured possessions. So take particular care to choose a model that expresses something about your future spouse, not one that just makes a fashion statement. What adds true meaning to your wedding ring is not the stone or metal used in it, but the love felt when wearing it.
Original Article by: Wall Street Journal
04 June 2008
You've likely never heard of Martin Rapaport but to the diamond world he's famous. Rapaport is to diamonds what Robert Parker is to wine, a person of tremendous influence. He runs Diamonds.Net and his Rapaport Index defines diamond pricing for the world. On Monday, Rapaport spoke to the packed room at the JCK jewelry show in Las Vegas delivering his pronouncements on the diamond market at an annual breakfast event. Right now, the diamond industry is facing similar challenges seen by the rest of the luxury market. Rapaport feels that the current economic climate offers both opportunity and pitfalls for those in the diamond business.
The news is conflicting, larger stones have been getting higher and higher prices and the huge wealth in China, Dubai, India and Russia is creating a hunger for luxury goods and diamonds and diamond jewelry specifically. This is also a time when the plummeting real estate market in the U.S. and Europe means that the Western world, which fueled the global prosperity in the beginning, is now cutting back on spending. Independent stores and small chains are having a tough time and the news is full of stories of stores having bankruptcy sales where goods are being sold off at below cost. This means that diamond prices are coming down worldwide and the best prices on diamond wedding bands are at designbands.com.
As of 2007, the U.S. still made up the bulk of diamond jewelry sales, clocking in at 43%. China brought in 8.5%, Europe did 11% and the Middle East was responsible for 4.6%. Until recently, the U.S. had been on a path of prolonged economic growth and our prosperity fueled the global economy expanding the middle class in India and Africa. Small jewelers in the U.S. are now competing with a global market. As I've heard mentioned at other conferences such as the Luxury Summit, the number of millionaires and billionaires is growing worldwide. This might be one reason why the price of big stones is going up far faster than the prices for smaller stones, especially those under a carat.
For jewelry sellers, as I heard in other sessions at this show, branding is more important than ever, especially to new luxury spending markets. Rapaport cautioned though that branding is a "trojan horse" for the retailers. First the retailers convince their customers which brand to buy and then the seller of the brand raises that price. Many stores are worried about the new DeBeers Forevermark, a branded diamond sold by DeBeers. Now the considerable advertising budget of DeBeers will be aimed at marketing that diamond which will be sold at premium price. Rapaport's answer to those competing against this new stone? Hang a sign in your window advertising that you are selling for diamonds for 10% less than Forevermark.
Overall, Rapaport is bullish about the future of diamonds. His data shows that over time global demand for diamonds will outpace supply by an increasing margin. He made the analogy that just as a forest fire is a way of the forest ecosystem, righting itself for greater growth, the current economic climate will eventually be good for the diamond market as a whole and will benefit the smaller jeweler if they realize that flexibility is power. Just as I heard Nick Failla say about gold at an earlier session, Rapaport too believes that most stores should be buying back jewelry as well as selling jewelry especially since the amount of jewelry being sold back to jewelers will likely hit record rates in the coming years.
One of the big questions about the diamond market is whether prices are being raised by those who are speculating or investing. Before the JCK Show, Rapaport raised his pricing index 25%, a fact which didn't sit well with those hoping to do major business during the show. Rapaport defended his decision saying it was a correction based on a steady supplier price raising. Facing increasing hostility from the audience he stated frankly that he couldn't give a damn about suppliers or buyers, it's his job to watch the prices people are getting for diamonds and reflect what is out there. Rapaport says the non-mining profit in the diamond business comes from finding the right buyer for the right diamond at the right price and that he is advocating for free, fair, open, competitive markets. This information didn't sit well with those in the audience who feared that their buying power had been dropped by one quarter based on Rapaport's guidance.
Rapaport urged the jewelry retailers in the audience to remember that "diamond dream" what is being sold is the idea behind the jewelry, the emotional power behind the diamond remains, the real business for jewelers is to believe in what diamonds mean to people not just the romance angle but also the sense of the diamond as a global industry, it can do good for the people involved. In fact, Rapaport says that jewelry stores have a responsibility to make sure the diamond industry does well, because the industry also supports the diggers in other countries. It can be a tool for good. His own passion for finding ways to make sure the diamond industry is a benefit to diggers in Sierra Leone and other places has led him to be a leader in the fair trade jewelry movement. I'll be reporting in-depth on the fair trade jewelry conference which he moderated later this week.
Asia, Europe Strength Offsets Softness in U.S.; Sales Outlook Cautious
Tiffany & Co's fiscal-first-quarter profit rose 19% as higher demand in Europe and Asia helped make up for soft sales in the U.S.
In addition, the New York jeweler raised its full-year earnings outlook while noting it maintains "a cautious outlook for U.S. sales" and doesn't expect an improvement until later this year.
Tiffany also said it plans to introduce a "new, smaller store format" in the U.S. later this year, in addition to its plans to open about 24 new stores world-wide.
Sales at stores open at least a year rose 21% in Europe and 15% in the AsiaPacific region, driven by demand in areas from London and Italy to Hong Kong and China. Adjusted for currency effects, same-store sales rose 12% in Europe and 4% in the Asia-Pacific region.
Overseas sales helped offset flat sales in the U.S., the company's larg market, where a slowing economy' curtailed spending on jewelry , other discretionary items.
International shoppers taking vantage of the weak dollar also hel) Tiffany'S domestic sales. The com ny's New York flagship store saw a: jump in same-store sales, driven by demand from foreign tourists. Meanwhile, sales at branch stores declined 4% as the company experienced soft sales of items below $500.
Sales in the quarter ended April have been driven by engagement rings in the U.S., silver jewelry outside of U.S. or designer collections such as Elsa Peretti jewelry.
Chief Executive Michael J. Kowalski said strong sales growth despite "only modest growth in the U.S. due to challenging conditions reflects the benefit of globally diversified distribution."
"Tiffany is becoming a truly global brand," said Pali Research analyst Stacey Widlitz, who has a "buy" rating on
the stock. "The strength in international and the size of it is enough to offset however long the U.S. consumer weakness is lasting. International consumers love this brand."
World-wide sales so far in May have met the company's expectations, Tiffany said. While U.S. same-store sales for the year are expected to rise, the company said it expects second quarter U.S. sales to decline, which will pressure profit in that period.
Tiffany raised its full-year outlook it boosted in March an additional five cents and now expects earnings of $2.80 to $2.90 a share, maintaining its forecast for net sales growth of about 10%. The latest mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of $2.73 a share on 10% sales growth to $3.23 billion.
By: Andrie Cheng & Donna Kardos
Wall Street Journal; May 31-June 1, 2008
30 May 2008
Platinum has soared 50 percent this year to hit a record high of $2,290 an ounce in March, driven by strong industrial demand and power shortages in South Africa, a top producer.
Prices of platinum, used in catalytic converters of cars as well as in jewelry, are now quoted at around $2,150, but they are still up 40 percent this year.
The surge in precious metals prices, and a squeeze on incomes caused by the credit crunch and climbing food and fuel prices, are spurring changes in consumer behavior in the bridal market, according to Hatton Garden jewelers.
"People are looking for alternatives - and a good alternative to platinum at the moment is palladium," said Ercan Onguc, manager at Beverley Hills London.
The price differences between the metals are stark.
For instance, a 5 mm, or 0.2 inch, ladies' platinum wedding band retails for £923, or $1,797, almost four times the cost of a 5 mm palladium ring at £250 and a 5 mm white gold band at £263.
"There is less platinum being sold," said Kevin Reilly, manager of Classic Jewels. "People, particularly for wedding rings, have been switching to 18-carat white gold or palladium," he added.
Women, enchanted by platinum's romantic cachet, tend to still insist on platinum, especially those with the highest incomes, whereas men are more likely to compromise on cost and go for the less glamorous and less expensive palladium, jewelers say.
And though both are hard metals, platinum has the edge over palladium because it is denser. Platinum is also marketed much more vigorously than palladium.
A salesman at County Jewelers said some couples on tight budgets were opting for alternative metals to platinum so they could spend more on a larger diamond.
Well informed about the recent spike in precious metals prices, notably platinum and gold, more customers are now making inquiries about palladium and white gold bridal rings, jewelers say. However, a step down in price does not always mean a huge step down in quality. There are still many places, particularly businesses offering online shopping, that carry high quality cheap wedding rings. And so, heightened volatility in precious metals is leading jewelers to re-price their stock much more often nowadays.
A sign placed prominently in one Hatton Garden jeweler's window said: "Due to the fluctuation of metal prices, all wedding rings shown could be subject to surcharges."
Jewelry manufacturers are loathe to use less platinum in wedding rings or to hollow out designs to compensate for the rise in precious metals prices.
By: David Brough Reuters
International Herald Tribune; May 20, 2008
20 May 2008
New York—Despite platinum's rising price, which averaged $1,304 per ounce last year—36 percent more than in 2006—retail sales and manufacturing volumes of platinum jewelry in 2007 remained fairly resilient, boosted primarily by the high-end and bridal sectors, according to Johnson Matthey's annual platinum report for 2008.
Global demand for new metal in the jewelry industry actually dipped slightly in 2007, the metals consultancy said, falling 55,000 ounces to a total of 1.59 million ounces, yet demand from both the trade and consumers alike stayed strong for the majority of the year.
Platinum jewelry demand in Europe increased by 7.7 percent to a total of 210,000 ounces in 2007, and net demand for new metal from the Chinese jewelry sector increased by 20,000 ounces to a total of 780,000 ounces.
China remains the largest market for platinum jewelry, according to Johnson Matthey, with Chinese manufacturers buying 2.6 percent more of the metal compared with other markets. In the last year especially, platinum demand in China was particularly supported by the production of novelty platinum items and memorabilia manufactured in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In North America, however, where the economic slowdown has been accompanied not only by higher platinum prices but also by pressure on local manufacturing from imported jewelry, purchases of platinum by jewelry manufacturers declined by 5,000 ounces in 2007 to a total of 240,000 ounces.
Looking forward, Johnson Matthey expects platinum prices to remain volatile, though the high prices haven't yet been felt in the jewelry industry this year (for reasonably priced platinum wedding bands, check out Design Bands). The outlook for jewelry demand in 2008 is more dependent on price than previously, Johnson Matthey said in the report, but the high-end and bridal sectors will remain insulated from price changes.
While perhaps the biggest story regarding platinum for 2007 was supply—which fell by 4 percent in 2007—Johnson Matthey said there is still the possibility that supply for 2008 will increase. Among the biggest issues concerning supply in the last year were strikes and wage negotiations at mines in South Africa, plus a Lonmin smelter shutdown in the country, and general issues concerning improved safety and the acquisition of skilled staff.
National Jeweler Network; May 20, 2008
13 May 2008
1. Waist emphasis: After a tumultuous affair with the trapeze dress, America is ready to re-embrace the waist. At the Spring 2008 Fashion Week, designers showed nipped in waists, often accented with wide belts. Look for wedding dresses to follow suit, with a reinvigoration of the obi belt and contrasting color sashes.
2. Trumpet Skirt: As it skims over the body before flaring out near the knee, the trumpet skirt naturally shows off your best curves, especially your waist
3. Jewelry as Part of the Dress: While previous years' fads included heavy jewelry, in the year 2008 wedding trends, jewelries are now commonly worn on the dresses themselves.
4. Lower necklines: Show off the neck and shoulders
5. Back Detail: It's what your wedding guests see during the ceremony, so show it off with intricate details or a low v-back.
6. Vintage inspiration: From dresses to rings, brides are revisiting the past for style inspiration. For wedding gowns, that means delicate fabrics like chiffon and tiers of tulle, along with bygone embellishments such as beaded straps, keyhole halters, and lace sleeves.
7. Silver: The bride who wears a metallic silver wedding dress is sure to stand out and be remembered. If you're more traditional, incorporate the silver wedding trend in other ways like wedding bands and other jewelry accessories.
8. Yellow: Yellow was all over the Spring 2008 runways, which is great news for brides. This ideal wedding color is fresh, energetic and summery.
For an evening wedding, pair lemon yellow with chocolate brown. Or, choose a brighter yellow paired with silvery gray. Yellow brings feelings of warmth and happiness. When used alone, yellow makes an impact, when used as an accent; it compliments many other colors very nicely. Pale yellows are great for spring weddings, lemon yellows give a citrus punch to summer weddings and deep mustards are beautiful for fall and winter weddings.
9. Silver / Pewter: Silvers and metallics are taking the place of standard black. Steel gray will replace chocolate brown as the accent color. I absolutely love this soft yet deep hue teamed with butter yellow, bright aqua, rich eggplant, or pale pink. It's so versatile!
10. Bold colors: Jewel tones are back in style! If you love rich purples, bright greens, and shocking pinks, you'll be excited by 2008 wedding trends. But stay far away from the '80s. Today's couples should look to use jewel tones sparingly, mixing brights with cream or gray, or more muted versions of the same color.
11. A variety of dress styles: There's nothing wrong with wanting your bridal party to look coordinated, but because all your girls have unique shapes and styles. Why not pick a color and fabric and have them choose the rest?
Let your girls choose their jewelry. You can and should suggest the type of jewelry you'd like to see them wear (pearls, silver, or gold) but allow them to pick from their own closets when it comes to the particulars. Chances are, your pictures won't pick up the difference in their jewels, and they'll feel more comfortable in baubles they already know and love.
12. Metallic footwear: Rather than asking your girls to buy matching celadon green wedges, these days formal footwear is all about silver and gold - with just about any color and look you've picked for your maids.
Mother of the Bride/Groom
13. Consider the Wedding Party: Though you probably will want your dress to coordinate with the wedding party, it DOES NOT need to match.
14. Consult with the Bride: She is the one who knows best the style and formality of the wedding and can offer great insights.
15. Consult with Each Other: The mother of the bride should choose her dress first and then let the groom's mother know what she has selected.
16. Age-Appropriate Does Not Have To Mean Dowdy: There are many very fashion-forward options for the mother of the bride/groom.
17. Three Major "Don't"s to Remember: Don't wear socks that are too short. They should come up over the calves so that no skin is exposed when you sit down and cross your legs. (Source: "The Wedding Book" by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine)
Don't wear a belt with formal clothing. Use Suspenders to hold up trousers. (Source: "The Wedding Book" by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine)
Don't over accessorize. You don't want to look overly flashy. (Source: "The Wedding Book" by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine)
18. Take Cues from the Invitation: Is it in flowing, engraved black script on a heavy cream paper with formal language? Odds are the wedding will be similarly formal.
Does it cheekily ask you to come see them get hitched? Wedding guests should look for a nice casual outfit. And of course, it may tell you directly on the invitation - black tie, casual attire etc.
19. Do Not Wear White: This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing.
20. The Black Factor: Black is a great choice for an evening wedding, but you should never wear black to a daytime wedding.
21. Don't Upstage the Bride: Avoid anything too sexy or revealing.
All of the dresses featured in the video portion of this story can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue.
By: Holly Quartaro, Fashion Stylist at Galleria Dallas
Originally published CBS11tv.om; May 7, 2008
28 April 2008
Brides spend an average of $300 to $500 on jewelry for themselves and their bridesmaids. Throw in bridal tiara and hair accessories such as hair combs, clips, and pins - and you can easily hit $1,000 or more.
Bridal jewelry need not cost hundreds of dollars to be spectacular. Like a wedding dress, it can be a source of over-thinking, frustration and bank-breaking when it's likely to be used once and to live on only in pictures. There are countless wonderful bridal-worthy jewelry finds out there for $50 or less in a variety of stores such as GlamForLess.com that cater to different pocketbooks.
There are jewelry sets for $50 and less (original prices or on sale for up to 50 percent off), some of which are more lovely than their much more expensive counterparts. Most jewelry collections have the trendy red carpet look and came in styles ranging from traditional elegance to more glamorous designs.
At GlamForLess.com, for instance, there were several gorgeous jewelry sets on sale for only $19.99, some of which had originally cost hundreds of dollars. All a bride really needs is some good taste, great make-up, a killer hairdo and the right accessories to be a hit on her wedding day.
Even leading bridal magazines have featured lines of affordable bridal jewelry and accessories to show brides that having lots of money isn't the only way to have lots of style. Looking like a star doesn't always mean paying like one. Spend less and have more fun!
Here is some of our favorite bridal jewelry:
Today, jewelry sets for weddings utilize the bigger-is-better theme as well, dripping gemstones and setting off demure necklines. Dramatic cascading pendants show-off two, three, or more linked-stones, and even classic chokers are emboldened with up to six strands of pearls.
The look in bridal jewelry now is bold, and the hottest trend in the spotlight is the chandelier earring. The dangling pieces of jewelry boast diamonds, pearls, or even glass beads, evoking a glamorous, Art-Deco look. Long, thin, shoulder-skimming lines are also showing up on brides, a sleek counterpart to the bold chandelier.
Thick silver diamond cuff bracelets are currently flashing on the runways of fashion and the red carpet. Tiny rhinestones or beads add an air of daintiness to chunky designs of semi-precious stones. The look is wide and antique, with wedding walking down the aisle with family heirlooms on their wrists for an old-fashioned, sentimental air.
Don't despair if the bold look in wedding jewelry isn't your taste. The classic stand-bys of delicate pendants, classic diamond studs, and bare wrists are always in style, But for the up-to-the-minute wedding who wants to reflect the latest look, big is definitely beautiful.
By: Uche Unachukwu
Pr-inside.com; April 15, 2008
17 April 2008
Your wife and children sell, sell what you have,
Spare not your clothes, nay, make yourself a slave,
But money get, then to Currure make haste
There search the mines, a prize you’ll find at last.
The poem was written by a Portuguese business man who around 1610 went to mine diamonds in India, then the world’s main source for this gem. From among India’s many diamond deposits, he chose one at Currure. After spending an amount equal to 45,000 British pounds sterling in his search without finding a single stone, the prospector sold his clothes and belongings to keep the venture going.
Penniless, the Portuguese vowed that if by the end of his workers’ next pay day his luck hadn’t changed, he would poison himself. Luckily, a 437.40-carat rough was found on the very day he planned to take his life. To celebrate his deliverance, the miner wrote the poem quoted above and had it inscribed for posterity on a stone tablet.
What fired this all-or-nothing quest for diamonds?
The answer can be found in the annals of another European diamond hunter who went to India three decades later: French jeweler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who made the first of six journeys to India in 1641. Besides its many diamond mines, India boasted the greatest royal collections of pearls and precious stones every assembled. The merchant hoped to become as important a jeweler to the courts of India as he had the courts of Europe.
In his famous book, “Travels in India,” first published in 1676, Tavernier describes the many fabulous gems he bought, sold or was shown, reserving his highest praise for the diamond. “The diamond is the most precious of all stones, and it is the article of trade to which I am most devoted,” he wrote. Although his name is mostly linked with many famous fancy color diamonds, one of them the French Blue (later called the Hope Diamond), Tavernier preferred the finest white diamonds above all others.
Until he voyaged to Asia, Tavernier may have thought that his preference for colorless diamonds was purely European. But once in India, Persia and Borneo, where white diamonds enjoyed the same supremacy of regard, he quickly learned that his tastes were universal. Today, of course, the diamond is the backbone of jewelry sales throughout the world. Yet the fact that colorless (and near-colorless) diamonds have held their present-day standing for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years may come as a shock to those who attribute their preeminence solely to the machinations of the De Beers cartel.
Undoubtedly, the De Beers cartel, formed in 1888 as a response to the overabundance of South African diamonds, has contributed mightily to the diamond’s hegemony. Nonetheless, for its first 50 years, the cartel occupied itself with supply-side issues, focusing on market control and price stability. It wasn’t until 1939 that future De Beers Chairman Harry Oppenheimer, a staunch believer in the power of advertising, paid a historic visit to N.W. Ayer in New York to discuss a diamond campaign.
After World War II, De Beers began to pay serious attention to the demand side of the diamond market. Since the 1960s, it is safe to say that the jewelry industry has come to depend on the cartel more to stimulate demand than to regulate supply. Today, largely as a result of its multi-million dollar ad budgets, 40 cents of every dollar spent in jewelry stores by U.S. consumers is spent on diamonds, twice what is spent for all other gems combined. Given such dominance, it is hardly surprising that the popularity of diamonds is often seen as the byproduct of market manipulation. Take away the De Beers cartel, it is argued, and the diamond’s status will soon receded to that of just another gem.
A look at history and the diamond’s unique status suggests otherwise. At least 1,000 years before Tavernier’s arrival in India, the country’s sages considered colorless diamonds the pinnacle of gem perfection. Their reverence stemmed in large part from the white diamond’s “‘magical’ property of dividing white light into all the spectral colors,” writes precious stone dealer Benjamin Zucker in his
Connoisseur’s Guide to Gems and Jewelry.
The Indians’ esteem transcended aesthetics, Zucker writes. Indeed, when they developed what was probably the first color grading system for diamonds, they based it on the country’s ancient class structure. Until very recently, Indian society was comprised of four rigid hierarchical groups: Brahmins (rulers), Vaisyas (landowners), Sutras (merchants) and Kshatriyas (warriors). (A fifth group, the untouchables, had no rights.) Diamond color served as a badge of rank because each social group could only own diamonds with the color grade corresponding to it: colorless (D-G on the modern-day Gemological Institute of America color scale) for the Brahmins, lightly yellowish (H-K) for the Vaisya, noticeably yellowish (L-P) for the Sutra and brownish or blackish for the Kshatriya.
What is most amazing about India’s reverence for colorless diamonds is that it precedes by at least a millennia the ability to facet these gems and unleash their brilliance and dispersion. Indian rulers simply wore unworked octahedronal roughs that were deemed of the finest purity and color. And since it was law that the finest roughs be offered to the rulers, the world outside India, says Zucker, saw relatively few top-grade diamonds until after 1000 A.D., despite active mining as far back as 78 B.C.
One can only imagine the reaction to the effulgence of light seen when somewhere around 1400, no one is sure whether in Asia or Europe, the point cut was discovered. By simply polishing the faces of an octahedronal rough, the diamond seemed to explode with brilliance.
A century or so later, cutters took two more giant steps toward realizing the incomparable light-handling capabilities of the diamond with the invention of both the table and rose cuts. But the jewelry world had to wait until around 1700 for the invention of the ultimate brandisher of light: the brilliant-cut diamond. Later known as, among other things, “old European cuts” and “old miners,” variously proportioned brilliants predominated in jewelry by 1750. Today the much refined modern brilliant cut remains the most popular diamond shape and the chief reminder to modern jewelry patrons of the diamond’s main aesthetic virtues: peerless purity and fire.
*The above information was originally published at the Modern Jeweler's website*
25 March 2008
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24 March 2008
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I'm not quite sure what Nietzsche meant about gold giving itself, but the rest seems quite clear: Nietzsche was a fan of the yellow metal.
I'm old enough to remember the last bull market in gold during the 1970s. I worked in a bank then and I recall seeing people come in with their gold bullion to put in their safe deposit boxes. It seemed that everyone wanted gold.
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21 March 2008
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite tough economic times, sluggish holiday season sales and soaring prices of metals and gemstones, industry leaders project an increase in jewelry sales for 2008. With inflation rates expected to jump as high as 7-8 percent, the International Diamond Exchange forecast for jewelry sales in the U.S. predicts a 3 percent increase in the upcoming year—from $64.0 billion (estimated) in 2007 to $65.9 billion in 2008.
In a recent article by Ken Gassman “State of the Jewelry Industry—2008 Jewelry Demand,” for Idexonline.com, Gassman highlights the bridal industry’s substantial influence on the forecast. Millennials, or the children of Baby Boomers, are influencing both the jewelry and bridal industries in significant ways. In fact, in less than ten years, the number of weddings is projected to increase by approximately 30 percent among Millennials.
“Not only are Millennials more likely to get married—rather than just live together like children of the 1960s—they are also more likely to spend heavily on bridal jewelry because they have more wealth than their predecessors.”
This trend is especially significant for Platinum wedding bands since the type and quality of metal is one of consumers’ primary considerations when purchasing bridal jewelry.