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The Summer Lull and Other Important Diamond Developments

Updated: 2 days ago

Diamond Gems Weekly - June 24

We just enjoyed the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, but are we in for a long summer?  The diamond trade typically quietens in the third quarter as dealers in Belgium, Israel and the US break for vacation at various times.


It’s also a period during which jewelers start to prepare for the year-end holiday season. Retail inventory levels tend to rise in the third quarter as a result. However, I wouldn’t expect too much to change in the months ahead. The industry remains cautious as it battles competition from lab grown, a slowdown in China, and economic / election uncertainty in the US, while there is demand for select categories.


Take note of these stories as we start the new week:  


1. Signet Jewelers’ management maintained an upbeat message while revenue fell in the first quarter. They’re emphasizing the prospect that bridal will lift sales. At some point, that story will lose credibility without actual growth. Here’s my take as I argue, it’s Time for Signet to Deliver on Bridal.  


2. It’s not all doom and gloom. Jewelry ranked as a top performer in the luxury market in 2023, according to Bain & Company’s Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study. Growth was driven by consumers making investment-led purchase decisions, showcasing strength in both uber- and entry-luxury segments, the report noted.


3. Bain’s findings were backed by Bank of America’s Study of Wealthy Americans, which found that 94% of Gen Z or millennials said they are interested in collectibles, with watches, jewelry and wine/spirits ranking at the top of their lists.


4. The De Beers roadshow continues after Anglo American announced plans to divest or demerge from its 85% stake in the diamond unit. De Beers CEO Al Cook has raised his visibility since the announcement and gave several interviews at the recent Las Vegas shows, including this revealing conversation with National Jeweler: Al Cook on the Future of De Beers.  


5. Jewelers of America said it opposes the requirement to verify the origin of all diamonds exclusively in Belgium before they enter G7 countries, as proposed for the next phase of sanctions on Russian diamonds. Following a trip to Washington DC, the group contended such a move would cause maximum damage to the global diamond and jewelry supply chain, while having minimal effect on Russia’s diamond revenues.


6. Tiffany Stevens stepped down as CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC). She has been replaced by Sara Yood, who has served as deputy general counsel of the JVC – a provider of legal guidance to the industry.


7. India’s exports of polished diamonds declined 15% to $1.47 billion in May, while imports of rough diamonds rose 3% to $1.2 billion, according to data by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotional Council (GJEPC). As the largest diamond manufacturing center, the rough that India brings in and the polished it ships out provides a strong indicator of global demand.


8. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) launched a pilot program issuing Jewelry Reports with descriptions of the various components contained in the jewelry piece.  


9. Jewellery and Gem Asia took place over the weekend at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. While the event is the smaller of the three major shows on the Hong Kong jewelry trade calendar, it signaled a return of Chinese buyers traveling to the municipality, even if demand remains muted.  


10. Keep an eye on the following announcements scheduled for this week to gain further insight into industry developments:


  • US 1Q GDP: June 27

  • Petra Diamonds Investor Day: June 27

  • US personal income and outlays for May: June 28

  • Luk Fook annual results: June 28

  • TSL annual results: June 28.

A visitor inspects an exhibit at Jewellery & Gem Asia. (credit: Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong)

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