Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Platinum demand remains resilient despite price

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. 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.

Italian bran Io Si. jewellery

Gold and precious stones combine to exotic effect in a new range of jewellery from Italian bran Io Si.

Launched this week by Middle East jewellery house Damas at the Basel Fair 2008, the range features pendants, earrings and rings in gold and gemstones.

Amethysts, green zavorites, diamonds and pink, yellow and orange sapphires can all be embedded in yellow and white gold settings.

Tawfiq Abdullah, chairman of Damas Jewellery, commented: "Io Si's jewels exude a strong, sculptured artistry that's both eye-catching and exotic."

The brand exemplifies the glamour and culture of its homeland, Italy, Mr Abdullah said.

Founded in 1907 in the United Arab Emirates, Damas sells brands including Tiffany, Perreley and Montega and its network spans a number of continents.

According to Mr Abdullah, the ring collection is famous for its reflected equilibrium, with the distinctive forms of the upper section reproduced in miniature in the lower section.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

IGI, Brinks Collaborate to Bring Services to Shanghai Diamond Exchange

Shanghai, China: The International Gemological Institute (IGI) and its strategic partner, Brink’s Far East Ltd., today jointly announced the initiation of IGI certification services exclusively for Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) members.

Under a collaboration agreement, SDE members who send their diamonds, gemstones and jewelry to IGI for analysis, grading and certification, will receive complimentary shipping services provided by Brink’s, from its SDE counter to the IGI Hong Kong lab and then back to the SDE, point-to-point.

Initially, there will be a weekly turn-around service, the frequency of which may be increased, dependent on demand patterns.

“In response to the increasing demand for IGI Reports in mainland China and at all levels of the diamond pipeline, we felt it imperative to offer our clients easy access to our services. We provide SDE members the opportunity to certify their goods at IGI, with the added benefit of free shipping from Shanghai to IGI Hong Kong,” said Marc Brauner, CEO of IGI Hong Kong.

Encouraged by the recently reviewed China import taxation laws that state diamonds that remain within the SDE can be shipped to Hong Kong and back to China without being taxed again, IGI and Brink’s opted to launch the same strategy the partners used with Israeli diamond companies shipping gemstones between Tel Aviv and IGI Antwerp daily for more than 10 years. Due to IGI/Brink’s collaboration agreements, no shipping or insurance costs were charged.

“We are very excited about the prospect of actively contributing to the growth of China’s diamond trade,” said Sally Lee, senior manager of the China business development unit at Brink’s. “SDE members will benefit from Brink’s world-class professional shipping services when choosing to certify with internationally recognized laboratory, IGI; this will save them money—and time—which is absolutely vital to the trade.”

In addition to its global network, Brink’s has five operational addresses in Hong Kong, and offices in Beijing, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Shanghai, where, as a member of SDE since 2002, its service counter is right inside the exchange.

Brauner added, “We have been monitoring the development of the Chinese market for many years and are acutely aware there has been rapid growth of the SDE membership since the announcement was made to reduce value added tax (VAT) to four percent for the diamond trade – in July 2006. This opportunity has come to us at a time when we must respond to the market. ”

New GemeFancy identifies diamond color

GemeWizard Inc. is offering a free three-month trial of its new color-assessment program for fancy-colored diamonds, GemeFancy.

According to a release from GemeWizard, GemeFancy is a color-assessing and communication application that allows users to accurately identify, describe and communicate all the colors visible in fancy-colored diamonds, and to place them within the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) Fancy Diamond color range.

The new system identifies a total of 27 main hues, each of which is modified into 36-42 fancy grades and other color descriptions. The images are described using the standard GIA terminology and GemeWizard's alphanumeric color code.

The system then creates an e-mail message that allows the color information to be transferred to a third party.

Menahem Sevdermish, GemeWizard's founder and developer, said the goal of the new system is to provide anybody handling fancy-colored diamonds a common language with which to communicate hue information.

"By creating the GemeFancy, we have provided the industry with tools to make this dream of a common color language a reality," he said.

The free three-month trial period began on May 5. To access the free trial for three months with no obligations, visit

GemeWizard, a provider of software and hardware for professionals in the colored-gemstone, fancy-colored diamond and jewelry industries, offers an entire suite of colored-diamond identification products, called GemeSquare. The system allows users to describe a gem's color more accurately and to communicate the information to other professionals who are not GemeWizard users.

GemeWizard is slated to display at a booth at the upcoming JCK Las Vegas jewelry show.

HSBC to Open Diamond Banking Branch in Dubai

HSBC announced its support of the Dubai diamond industry, saying it will open a diamond banking branch. The branch will probably be located in the Almas Tower, future home of the Dubai Diamond Exchange.

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has been putting lot of effort in bringing banking to the DDE, realizing that without offering a full range of supporting services, the local diamond industry will not grow to become a major diamond trading center.

The DMCC said HSBC’s decision follows an extensive campaign to promote diamond banking activities, adding that HSBC is establishing a diamond banking unit to finance the local and regional trade.

In a release, DMCC said HSBC will offer a range of innovative financing solutions including import credits, working capital and receivables financing, as well as offer factoring services, precious metals hedging, and physical services to meet the needs of the entire supply chain.

The Almas Tower is in final preparations to open later this summer. Many of the floors have been handed over to buyers for retrofitting and most supporting services, such as secure delivery, already arranged.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Diamond India to Hold First B2B Sale of Loose Stones

India’s first ever private B2B sale of diamond solitaires and colored gemstones is being organized in Mumbai June 21– 30t by Diamond India Ltd, a consortium of 58 leading Indian diamond manufacturers, including DTC Sightholders, Rio Tinto’s Select Diamantaires and BHP Billiton customers.

Goods on display will include solitaire diamonds of 1 carat and above in all shapes and colors and a range of precious colored gemstones – blue sapphires, rubies, ruby lights and emeralds of all shapes, sizes and qualities.

The event is a strictly B2B platform and is expected to have participation from major Indian diamond manufacturers and leading companies from Antwerp, Israel and the U.S. The recently formed Indo-Thai joint venture company Prakruti will also be displaying a range of colored gemstones.

Buyers at this by-invitation only event will be from among India’s top 500 retailers. Viewing and sale will take place at DIL’s Mumbai office by appointment only.

“We will be making vigorous marketing efforts to bring in leading retailers from all across the country through advertising on trade platforms, e-mailers, personalized invitations, etc.,” says Praveen Shankar Pandya, Chairman, DIL.

He adds that the organizers will ensure that all items have clearly defined prices and that there will be complete transparency in the process.

Ever since the government abolished the duty on cut and polished diamonds, there has been an increasing interest among international polished manufacturers to sell their goods in the Indian market, which today is one of the major diamond consuming markets worldwide. Indian jewelers report that the demand for large sizes is particularly strong.http.

Diamond market strong despite external pressures

To paraphrase a former director of the Diamond Trading Company (the wing of DeBeers responsible for selling rough diamonds): The demand for diamonds is driven by two factors: greed and vanity. We do not foresee a shortage of either in the future.

There has been some talk of late of rising diamond prices. Part of this is that diamonds, like almost all commodities, are priced in US dollars. As the dollar goes down the price goes up. Most economists would agree that the US dollar is falling relative to the other major currencies. This situation is different from a few years ago, when South African producers were closing mines, some in part due to end of mine life, but also in part due to a strong Rand versus the US dollar.

According to Mr. Laboucan Prolific analyst diamonds will continue to see strong demand. In particular the emerging upper-class of very populous countries (China and India) will continue to be a growing market for luxury goods, one that will outstrip that of the U.S. Even if only 1% of the 2.4 billion people living China and India make it to the high disposable income level to afford luxury goods in the next ten years, that is a new crop of 24 million consumers - a number a little short of the population of Canada.

The problem with diamonds is that they are not just any other commodity. Gemstones are evaluated individually based on a number of characteristics unique to each individual stone. It can be difficult to determine if prices for diamonds are increasing due to this increased complexity. Mr. Laboucan alludes to this by mentioning the fact that companies producing larger/high quality diamonds will always see strong business as such goods are for the “ultra-rich” and immune to economic swings. The market for smaller/lower quality diamonds is more sensitive to economic pressures and is mainly a function of the level of disposable income possessed by the upper-middle class. This brings us back to the emerging middle class in the BRIC countries, the potential size of which could very well dwarf that of North America, and possibly even Europe as well. Should the economies of these countries continue to grow, the above scenario becomes a strong possibility. Even with signs of slowdown in China, other growing countries such as India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey will pull up the slack.

With these fundamentals in mind, a cautious investor should be able to pick the most promising diamond companies now, when they are cheap. Assuming due diligence has been properly performed, strong gains could be reaped in the market within a few years time.

Lonrho Mining Recovers 61ct fancy Yellow at Schmidtsdrift Mine

Lonrho Mining has recovered a 61.3 carat fancy yellow diamond at its Schmidtsdrift Mine in South Africa, the company said Thursday (May 15.)

"This diamond is of extremely high quality and is expected to achieve a very high value,” Charles Mostert, chief executive officer of Lonrho Mining, said of the octahedron shape stone. “We are confident that the recently completed operational review at the Schmidtsdrift mine will continue to have a positive effect and hopefully yield further diamonds of this quality."

Lonrho Mining, formerly known as Nare Diamonds, owns 80 percent of the Schmidtsdrift mine with the Schmidtsdrift Communal Property Association owning the remainder.

The mine has recovered 16,395 carats of diamonds in the two years since operations commenced in April 2006. Production included 328 stones larger than 5 carats, including a rare 235 carat stone, two 66 carat stones and 25 stones between 15 and 50 carats.

Schmidtsdrift comprises six contiguous farms along the western bank of the Vaal River, with a combined area of 320 square kilometers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jewelry Design Contest to Highlight the Beauty of Athletics

An international jewelry design competition is being held to promote and develop jewelry brands from Shenzhen, a major jewelry manufacturing area in China. The 2008 China International Jewelry Design Contest is themed on “the Beauty of Athletics” and will highlight the spirit of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

According to the organizers – the Shenzhen Gold & Jewelry Association and high-end jewelry manufacturer TTF Jewelry – the purpose of the contest’s launch is to “respond to the current policy for globalization of Chinese jewelry brands,” refresh the level of jewelry design in the country and discover new, talented designers.

The contest is open to professional and non-professional jewelry designers, manufacturers and artists in the world, individuals and companies included. The organizers note that college students are also welcome to take part.

The design style should be concise, modern, and express the “Swifter, Higher, Stronger” theme of the Beijing Olympics. The design should also be innovative, practical and marketable.

Acceptable materials for the designs include gold, platinum, palladium-gold, diamonds, gemstones and jade, among others. The total diamond weight should not exceed one carat.

Additional submission requirements and details will be available shortly on the contest’s website,

The contest is also being held in cooperation with the Gems & Jewelry Trade Association of China, the National Gems and Jewelry Technology Administrative Centre, the Shanghai Diamond Exchange and Oro D’Autore, a contemporary jewelry art collection in Arezzo, Italy.

SA Proposing 2.2 - 3.3% Rough Diamond Royalty

Following continuing appeals by some of South Africa’s largest mining firms, the National Treasury agreed to adjust the way it calculates new mining taxes, Bloomberg reports.

Royalty rates on rough diamonds and other unrefined products will be 2.2 to 3.3 percent with a levy of as much as 7 percent, the Treasury said Tuesday in a written submission to parliament.

Last March, diamond miner De Beers warned that the company would be subjected to an “unfair form of double taxation,” affecting the Finsch diamond mine, due to the combined new draft of the Royalty Bill with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has rejected De Beers’ assertion.

In recent weeks multi commodity miner Anglo American and other mining companies warned that the royalty could deter investment.

In general, royalty rates will range from 0.5 percent to 7 percent of sales, after certain costs, and will depend on what miners produce as well as profitability, the Treasury announced.

The tax on refined products such as gold will range between 1.7 and 2.5 percent, with a 5 percent cap.

The new tax formula will allow depreciation and amortization to be deducted.

Many jewelry buyers duped by fake rubies

PHOENIX --People in Arizona and across the nation, for buying a ruby , are putting down big bucks for something they think is the real deal.

But in reality, they're getting ripped off.

"It's really an amazing transformation from basically junk to a gem," said Craig Lynch, president of the Arizona Jewelers Association.

Lynch is talking about a scheme where jewelry dealers convince consumers into thinking they're buying 100-percent genuine rubies, but they aren't.

"They're being duped that this is ruby," Lynch said. "It's partly ruby and mostly glass and they're paying exorbitant prices for them."

In fact, according to Lynch, many jewelry dealers are passing off the glass-filled rubies for the real thing.

"It fools the person," he said. "It looks like it's 10 times that value."

How do you know they're not the real thing? Well, Raymond Mason of the Arizona Gemological Society says simple household cleaners and heat will dull and crack the glass over time.

"In any abnormal heat, they're at risk," Mason said. "Any abnormal chemicals, household chemicals like ammonia, will also etch the stone."

Faux rubies fall apart after being heated up.

Lynch said usually consumers never know they've been taken advantage of until it's too late.

"For the consumer, even some of the basic jewelers have a hard time identifying it because it is a brand-new process," Lynch said.

The best advice is to not buy jewelry from anyone you aren't familiar with.

The experts say you should also avoid buying jewelry over the Internet, on cruise ships and overseas to keep from getting taken advantage of.

By the way, rubies are just the beginning. According to the experts, tiny pieces of diamonds and sapphires, for example, will be "morphed" into looking like the real thing when they're not.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

RBCCM forecasts positive Diamond fundamentals despite credit crunch

LONDON, RBC Capital Markets, the corporate and investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE), has published a research report that concludes that despite the worsening global economic climate, the fundamentals for diamonds remain positive.

Des Kilalea, Analyst, Global Mining Research at RBC Capital Markets commented:

"While the world economy lumbers through one of its worst periods in modern history, with central banks reducing interest rates to stave off recession, diamond prices remain surprisingly firm.

"While the possibility of recession in the US might put the upward move under threat, the long-term prognosis is good, with supply of rough gems likely to fall short of forecast demand pushing prices well above inflation rates.

"The major beneficiaries will be producers of better quality and large gems. Here prices are likely to rise at well above inflation rates simply because the stones are in very short supply.

"Investors are placing a premium on current producers over explorers. The result is that companies looking to fund exploration campaigns will find fund-raising difficult and expensive in the short term until risk aversion among investors dies down. This is likely to encourage increasing consolidation in the junior diamond sector.

"The area offering the greatest potential to capture additional margins is in better quality rough diamonds of the type produced by some junior miners listed in London and Canada. But Government intervention, be it in the form of higher taxes and royalties, increased ownership, or pressure to beneficiate in the host country, is increasing. All listed companies will have to adapt to this."

These and other topics will be discussed at RBC Capital Markets' second annual Diamond Conference "A Jewel of an Opportunity" on Thursday 15 May 2008 at HM Tower of London.

The conference brings together the senior management of the world's leading diamond corporations, from exploration to mining to polishing and retailing. Speakers include: De Beers, Rio Tinto, Harry Winstons Diamond Corporation and Apollo Diamond (producer of synthetic diamonds).

The conference contents will be available via audio-only webcast from Friday 16 May via RBC Capital Markets' website at

NAs (Tapping of precious stones helps for uplift, Zaman)

GILGIT, (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) - Northern areas are rich with natural resources, specially the precious stones that would be exploited and tapped for poverty alleviation in the area and also for the socio- economic development in the country. This was stated by Chief Secretary Northern Areas, Qamar Zaman Chaudhry , while inaugurating Industries Office Complex near the Karakorum International University here Saturday. The project will cost Rs.20 million and would be completed within two years time, says a press release.

He said that Northern Areas of Pakistan are not only famous for its natural panoramic beauty and resources, but also for having precious and costly gems and stones popular around the globe. Ch.Qamar Zaman called for special efforts, hard-work, proper planning, processing, polishing and marketing of the gems and stones of the area to earn precious foreign exchange and boosting of their exports for the economic development of the country.

He added that local officials of the Industries, who are the dedicated and young officers of the mineral department and playing an important role for the promotion of the sector in the area.

Chief Secretary Northern Areas further said that some young people of the Northern Areas were sent to Peshawar and Sri Lanka for training in Gems and Stone sector.

He added that ten students of Karakorum International University were also sent to Italy for training in the sector who after completing their training will come back and impart training to other people of the area as master trainers.

He said that there is lot of talent in the youth of Northern Areas and through their proper training and skill development their skills can be exploited for the development of the area.

He also inaugurated the Laboratory of Northern Areas Protection Agency and a the suspension bridge to connect Umphary with Konadas. launches the largest ever Gemstone, a leading online jewelry portal launches the biggest ever Gemstone Stud Collection. "We are launching more than 14000 Gemstone Stud Earrings early May. It will be the largest collection offered by any jewelry site," declared Ashish Jhalani CEO & Co Founder. One of the most respected online jewelry brands, MySolitaire is already unbeatable in the online Gemstone Rings Collection. Ashish further elaborated, "We want our customers to have maximum choice and flexibility, now they will have the option to design their own gemstone studs."

A specialist in engagement and wedding rings MySolitaire is committed to provide better choice, better quality and better value for money. "We want to give our customers complete choice to design their own jewelry. Our Stud Galore allows them to design studs in more than twenty gemstones available in eight shapes, five different metals and several settings," emphasized Amit Jhalani, VP & Co Founder. The gigantic collection ensures a stylish answer in sync with the latest fashion trend of color gemstone jewelry. The founders are all geared to dazzle the customers with the array of new designs customized especially for this collection. On a lighter note, they seem to redefine the phrase you name it and we have it!

A top online destination for diamond and gemstone jewelry, MySolitaire showcases more than 20,000 jewelry designs. The concentration however will remain on engagement and wedding rings, with the introduction of more than 200 new designs. Surging ahead to capture US jewelry market with their biggest collection of the Black Diamond, Fancy Color Diamond and now Gemstones, MySolitaire promises to be truly a buyer's paradise.


Established in 2004, is a leading online retailer of fine jewelry and diamonds. A respected brand MySolitaire, aspires to provide its consumers a better way to buy diamonds and fine jewelry.

MySolitaire is known for its fine and extensive line of wedding rings and engagement rings. Showcasing thousands of certified diamonds and vista of gemstone jewelry, sells at significantly lower prices than traditional retailers. MySolitaire has also become the online leader in color diamonds line such as blue diamonds, black diamonds and red diamonds. MySolitaire can be found on
Amit Jhalani, V P Sales & Marketing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thailand eyes Namibia as a new direct supply source for gemstones

Thailand wants to establish resource-rich Namibia as a new supply source of diamonds and gemstones to support its burgeoning jewel making and exporting industry.

A Thai government delegation including executives from Thai Gem & Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) plans to visit the African state in June to explore that possibility.

The visit is a follow-up to talks last March in Bangkok between Deputy Prime Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan and Namibian Ambassador to Thailand Neville Melvin Gertze about fostering economic ties between the two countries.

Namibia offers the potential to supply its abundant diamond, gemstones like tourmalines, amethyst, topaz as well as quartz and gold where are needed by Thailand's gems and jewelry industry. Furthermore, the country also offers opportunities in joint venture and partnership in diamond and precious stone mining as well as polishing and jewelry making.

By establishing a direct link, Thailand would be able to source these materials directly from Namibia, rather going through middle-man sources.

"Direct sourcing from Namibia will not only help us to ensure raw material supplies but reducing production costs and thus increase our competitiveness in the global market," CEO of Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, Mr. Somchai Phornchindarak pointed out.

Namibia was identified as one of the new long-term sources of supplies by TGJTA in its supply diversification plan.

During the visit to Namibia, TGJTA plans to invite members of Namibian jewel industry to attend the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair to allow them to see for themselves the magnitude of Thai industry. The attendance will also provide opportunities for Namibian companies to personally interact with local operators on the potential to work together to create a win-win business result.

This could also be the next big step of Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, the world's premiere gems fair organized twice a year on March and September. Since the fair, best-known as the heart of gemstone market, would be the best place where the international buyers to trade directly with the Namibian companies, while the Namibian will have more chance to meet with the manufacturers of their choice.

For their own benefit, the visitors of the upcoming 42 Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, staged during September 11-15, 2008, are urged to regularly update the latest progression of the Thai-Namibia trade relation on The visitors can also reach their success by registering now.

Memoire to distribute Dimexon Eurostar

New York—Dimexon Eurostar Jewelry and Memoire have signed an exclusive agreement by which Memoire will be the sole North American distributor of jewelry designed and manufactured by Dimexon Eurostar.

Dimexon Eurostar's portfolio includes high-end, classic and fashion-forward diamond jewelry crafted in gold and platinum. The company, part of the Dimexon Group of companies, is headquartered in Hong Kong and currently serves leading retailers and jewelry manufacturers in the Hong Kong market, as well as in Belgium, India, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

"Strategically, this partnership is important for the Dimexon Eurostar jewelry business as we build our global product and service offerings," Dimexon Eurostar Chief Executive Officer Vishal Mehta said in a media release. "We are committed to becoming one of the leading providers of high-end jewelry products and services worldwide. Partnering with Memoire will help us achieve our ambitions more quickly in North America."

Memoire, a company with a European heritage, has been manufacturing diamond jewelry in the United States for more than 20 years. Its jewelry is distributed through a select group of authorized retailers. According to the press release, Memoire will market Dimexon Eurostar's products under the new name of "Memoire Boutique."

"Dimexon Eurostar Jewelry offers an exclusive range of high-end jewelry products which meet the exacting quality standards for which Memoire is known in the market," Memoire CEO Doug McDowell said in the release.

Memoire Boutique jewelry will be on display at Memoire's booth at the upcoming JCK Las Vegas show.

Jewelry Shanghai: Visitor Numbers Down but Quality Up

Jewelry Shanghai 2008 concluded Sunday after a weekend-long exhibition that started May 8 at the Shanghai New international Expo Center. On the last day of the show, hours before companies began packing up their booths, foot-traffic was light, mostly made up of members of the public, with a few trade members here and there.

Prominent designs included gold jewelry set with small size diamonds, with a good deal of jade, amber, pearls and precious stone pieces all around. Diamantaires noted good sales of SI+ / D-G goods.

Jane Kao of Taipei, Taiwan-based jewelry wholesale company Bennie Wang Jewelry, exhibiting for the first time at Jewelry Shanghai, remarked that the visitor numbers were much lower than she had expected and that most of the attendees she saw were consumers. The company sells its own designs to retailers, and, although Kao says that the industry members she did meet were interested, sales were “not good.”

“We are mostly here to promote our company and to test if people in Shanghai like our product. We are different from others who sell mass-produced items. Ours are all designed in-house, in small numbers. Nevertheless, I expected to see more people here.” Kao commented that a recent downturn in the Shanghai stock market, as well as overall concern about the economy kept people away.

Anna Tchapovshaia, of Botswana Diamonds, a brand manufactured by DTC Botswana Sightholder DIA Holdings and distributed in China by Trinity Diamond, echoed the sentiment, that most of the attendees they saw were consumers, not trade members. However, despite this she says that the brand is there almost purely for the PR opportunity, and “in terms of this, we’re happy with the show.”

Official visitor numbers were not made available from show organizers.

Raymond Cohen, sales executive of Antwerp-based DTC Sightholder Tache Company NV, emphasized that the relatively sparse crowds at the show didn’t faze him. “Numbers are down, definitely, but the quality of buyers is up,” he says.

Cohen also gave some advice to foreign companies exhibiting in China. “Chinese buyers want a large range of goods. I think a lot of companies come here with a very specific set of goods, that people here may or may not want, but you can’t do that.” When asked how the show is going for him, he said that it is going very well. “It’s simple,” Cohen says. “If you have the goods, it’s fine; if not, it’s not good.” He said most buyers had been interested in everything but SI goods.

Raj Impex Shanghai Limited is a company that has been selling in Shanghai for approximately two years now and that specializes in small goods below 0.30 carat. “Mac,” a sales executive, echoed the complaints of other exhibitors that people were simply not buying. Those that had been buying were mostly Chinese, Japanese and Korean buyers.

He stressed that the show is very small in comparison to others in the region, such as Hong Kong, but that the event is a good opportunity to meet and gain new customers from cities in the Shanghai area that may not come to Hong Kong.

Show organizers said that there were 400 exhibiting companies from China, Hong Kong, India, Belgium, Israel, Taiwan and others. Shanghai, they say, makes up 20 percent of the Chinese jewelry industry’s total sales and is an important distribution and consolidating center for the country’s industry.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Zale Q3 Sales Increase 6.3%

Dallas—Same-store sales at Zale Corp. increased 5.8 percent for the third quarter ended April 30, and revenues for the period increased 6.3 percent to $477 million, compared with $449 million for the same period last year, the company announced today.These amounts, both current and comparable, exclude revenues from the Bailey Banks and Biddle stores, which Zale sold to Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp. on Nov. 9, 2007.Year-to-date same-store sales decreased 2.3 percent, and year-to-date revenues decreased 2.4 percent to $1.68 billion, compared with $1.72 billion for the same period last year.

Unrecognized revenues related to warranty sales increased $17 million for the third quarter and $64 million year-to-date. These increases reflect the incremental cash collected and the future positive impact to earnings as a result of the change to the company's lifetime jewelry-protection plans.

"We have a focused agenda to improve execution, and these sales results reflect the early success of our plan," Zale Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Neal Goldberg said in a media release issued on Thursday. "Sales were fueled primarily by an aggressive clearance strategy that exceeded our expectations with $55 million of inventory liquidated in the third quarter. This clearance strategy is critical for us to achieve our goal of becoming clearer in our product offering and more effective in differentiating the good, better, best value proposition."

According to Goldberg, Zale will further reduce its inventory by $100 plus million using the same aggressive promotional activity.

Zale is a specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America operating approximately 2,200 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale's brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda.

Zale will announce its third quarter earnings on May 22.

For additional information on Zale Corp., visit its Web site,

Michigan rocks at this year's gem and mineral show

Filed under The News Herald : At first glance, collecting rocks might not seem like the most exciting hobby, but there's more to it than meets the eye.

Apart from the thrill of unearthing new and interesting stones, collectors learn the history and geological makeup of different regions.

"Rocks aren't just black and gray," club President Dick DePodesta said. "It's about the beauty of nature and the rarity of the rocks."

For those who think rock collecting might not be their cup of tea, DePodesta encourages them to give it a chance.

"My wife got me started and the more I got into it, the more I liked it," he said.

The Midwest Mineralogical and Lapidary Society's annual gem and mineral show draws hundreds of people to the Southgate Civic Center every year.

"It's not necessary to buy to go to one of these shows," he said. "You can just talk to the dealer and find out about what you're looking at."

But some people might wonder what goes on at such an event.

Showcases of collectors' favorite rocks of all sizes, shapes and colors line the aisles, with awards bestowed on collectors with the most educational, most beautiful and most interesting displays, among others.

"In the past, we've had moon rocks and cases of jewels," he said.

An exhibit of dinosaur fossils was a big hit several years ago, he added.

Sulphur, celestine and quartz are among the minerals found in collections.

Celestine, a favorite among mineral collectors with its sky blue color, is one of the unique finds in the mineral kingdom.

"Michigan Rocks" is the show's theme this year, focusing on the background and history of rocks and minerals found in the state's parks, lakes and roads, including Petoskey stones, Lake Superior agates and datolites.

"It's been a long time since we did something special on Michigan," he said.

A special emphasis is put on attracting children to the annual event.

"The whole idea is to get them interested so they can keep this hobby going," DePodesta said.

There will be 20 dealers and free mineral kits for children.

Students in third through eighth grades and their teachers can visit the show for free during "Kids' Day" next Friday.

Activities abound for the tykes and include spinning a mineral wheel to win minerals and visiting the "gold mine" to dig through sand for minerals.

"They can go to the Minerals for Miners table to pick out minerals, there're grab bags with special tickets to turn in for free prizes, and they can wander through the dealers to buy things at kid prices," he said.

About 700 students are expected to come through this year.

That exposure helps the club achieve its primary purpose — to promote interest in the fields of mineralogy, geology and paleontology, including lapidary and related arts.

Jewelry and bead making, silversmithing and the art of cabochon — rounding and polishing gemstones — are some of the group's activities.

Founded in 1956 by a group of people who met at a local rock shop, the club boasted more than 200 members at one time, but interest has dwindled over the years.

DePodesta estimates that about 117 people are active today in the club, which meets the third Tuesday of each month, except in July and August.

Those two months are special times for the group to search for more prized specimens.

"We take off and go collecting rocks all over the country," he said.

Members go on digs to search quarries, beaches, parks and roads around the country for unique and interesting finds.

For some, that means a trip to Hungry Hollow in Canada to look for fossils or a jaunt to the Red Metal Jamboree in the state's Upper Peninsula to search old copper mines.

And each member is required to undergo safety training to enter the mines and quarries.
"None of the quarries will let you in without that anymore," DePodesta said.

A monthly newsletter, annual banquets and speakers are part of the club's activities.

The 2008 Gem and Mineral Show will take over the Southgate Civic Center annex, 14700 Reaume Parkway, from 4 to 8 p.m. next Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 17 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18.

Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $1 for teenagers.

For more information about the show, e-mail, call Mike Bomba at 1-313-381-8456 or Norm Hanschu at 1-734-455-8596.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

State Dept., Customs Officials to Provide KPCS, Clean Diamond Act Guidance at JCK

New York City: Sue Saarnio, special advisor for conflict diamonds at the U.S. State Department and Vincent Dantone, program manager for trade policy enforcement programs at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will be available to provide legal compliance information to rough diamond importers and exporters about the Kimberley Process (KPCS) and the Clean Diamond Trade Act at the JCK Las Vegas Show.

Under U.S. law, all rough diamond shippers are required to use U.S. Kimberley Process certificates when importing or exporting rough diamonds. Importers and exporters also must send copies of Kimberley Process certificates to the U.S. Census Bureau's toll-free fax line at 1-800-457-7328 and maintain records of all rough diamond shipments for five years. Importers also are required to send confirmation of receipt to foreign exporting authorities, among other requirements.

Saarnio and Dantone will be based at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) booth, L-13, Sands Expo & Convention Center, Sunday, June 1 and Monday, June 2.

For information about the Kimberley Process and Clean Diamond Trade Act, visit: or

A Diamond is Forever Floral Spectacular Kicks-off at Grand Central

New York, NY – A bevy of Hollywood elite and New York glitterati flocked to historic Grand Central Terminal to kick off the opening of the A Diamond Is Forever Floral Spectacular designed by chic celebrity floral designer Antony Todd, commissioned in celebration of Mother’s Day.

The stunning installation was created with more than 24,000 long stem red roses spelling out A Diamond Is Forever. Located along the Vanderbilt Hallway Bridge inside Grand Central Terminal, the floral spectacular is as beautiful as it is meaningful. The concept of using roses as the material for the installation illustrates the idea of the temporary versus the permanent. Over time these roses will age. And as they do, the timelessness of diamonds becomes even clearer to those observing it.

To honor Todd and his vision, A Diamond Is Forever hosted a small intimate luncheon overlooking Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse and the floral spectacular. The star studded lunch was attended by the likes of Diane Kruger, Lake Bell, Natasha Richardson, Tory Burch, Coca Rocha and Elisabeth Hasselbeck who joined Todd in celebrating the brilliant and beautiful installation amidst a sea of flowers and diamonds.

As part of the festivities, A Diamond Is Forever is also giving away a diamond gift each day for three days. Beginning Wednesday, May 7th through Friday, May 9th anyone who walks by the Floral Spectacular inside Grand Central Terminal has the chance to pick up one of 1,000 roses being handed out daily by A Diamond Is Forever. Everyone who picks up a rose will get a code that they can then enter online at for a chance to win a 3 Stone Diamond Necklace worth $5,000. If you can’t make it to Grand Central Terminal, you can also register at for a chance to win.

JBT: Bankruptcies down, claim amounts up in Q1

New York—The news on credit in the American jewelry industry in the first quarter of 2008 was both good and bad, according to statistics from the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT).

While the JBT reported a decline in the number of collection claims placed in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the first quarter of 2007, the average amount per claim jumped dramatically. The number of claims dropped by 9.4 percent in the first quarter—850 claims, as opposed to 938 for the same period in 2007—but the average claim increased 24.6 percent, from $6,583 to $8,203.

Bankruptcies, industry-wide, dropped by 15 percent in the first quarter of 2008, totaling 20 as opposed to last year's 17. As in the first quarter of 2007, the overwhelming majority of bankruptcies occurred at the retail level, with no regional trend discernible.

So far this year, decreases in credit ratings have outpaced increases by 1,703 to 1,559: a dramatic shift from the first quarter of 2007, when increases led decreases by 1,548 to 1,041. Downward adjustments increased by 63.4 percent in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007. For the month of March, the increase was 79.5 percent compared with March 2007.

In terms of new businesses so far this year, 60 new retailers have opened their doors, compared with 59 in the first quarter of 2007. New wholesalers are up 60 percent (16, compared with 10 in the first quarter of 2007), but only three new jewelry manufacturers have opened so far this year, compared with 12 in the first quarter of 2007: a 75 percent drop, perhaps reflecting the growing tendency toward global sourcing of various industry-related goods.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Breakthrough Makes Hand Polishing At 200x Magnification Possible

Diamond manufacturers Overseas Diamonds, who market isee2 super ideal cut diamonds, has announced a technology breakthrough that makes it possible for the first time to cut and hand polish diamonds at a 200x magnification.

Utilizing high-definition imaging and proprietary tools at the cutting wheel, the new technology reveals aspects of the diamond’s polish that are otherwise hard to detect or that might be missed as they are hand-cut by the craftsman.

As a result, the technology enables the accurate placement of facets, with each sized and polished to a level of perfection not possible before.

“In researching existing systems, isee2 diamond engineers found that when pushed to the current limits of 100x magnification, the image quality that resulted did not provide sufficient detail or definition to meet their specifications,” says Joseph Srodawa, managing director of Overseas Diamonds in the U.S.

Srodawa says isee2 diamonds cut and polished using the new 200x magnification technology will become available to retailers beginning June 2008, with full implementation by September 2008.

Launched in 2002, isee2 diamonds provide a “Birth Certificate” that tracks the diamond from mine to purchaser.

Yahoo Holders Turn Up Heat After Microsoft Deal Talks Fail

Filed under, SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Jerry Yang Monday had to tangle with some big shareholders who were displeased that he didn't reach a deal to sell his company toMicrosoft Corp. at a sweetened price.

At issue was Yahoo's stance in negotiations with Microsoft Saturday that the company was worth $37 per share, while Microsoft said it was prepared to offer $33. Some of Yahoo's major shareholders had by late last week signaled to Yahoo that they were open to a deal around $33 or $34 per share, according to people familiar with the matter.

With Microsoft's withdrawal of its offer Saturday, and a sharp slide in Yahoo shares Monday, some investors are asking why Yahoo didn't work harder to bridge the price gap with Microsoft. Any investor dissatisfaction could potentially feed into calls to unseat Yahoo's board at its next annual meeting or efforts to press Yahoo's directors to go back to Microsoft to try to strike a deal. Yahoo late Monday announced it would hold its annual shareholder meeting on July 3, setting a May 15 deadline to receive any new nominations for Yahoo directors.

A manager at another major shareholder said the firm was "comfortable with Microsoft's price," and had communicated to Yahoo last week that it would accept a deal in the approximate range of $33 or $34 per share.

A manager at a third major Yahoo shareholder said some investors were pressing Yahoo to "reopen the dialogue" with Microsoft about possible deals. "The shareholders are pretty irate," the manager said.

Yahoo's Mr. Yang and the company's chairman Monday defended Yahoo's actions. "Listening to shareholders is very important but you'll get lots of points of view," said Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock in a joint interview with Mr. Yang Monday. "In the final analysis the independent directors of the board had to make a determination of what our position would be when we put the first price on the table," he added, saying that Yahoo's board had not named any price before Saturday.

"We said, considering all of these hard data, what we should do is say we think a fair value for the company is $37. It was not a take-it-or-leave it statement," Mr. Bostock said. He said Microsoft did not respond to that price other than to withdraw its offer.

Mr. Yang in the interview disputed the idea that Yahoo didn't want to sell to Microsoft. "There should be no question about our willingness" to sell to Microsoft, he said, speaking of himself and Mr. Filo. "We as a company and I personally have always been open to a deal with Microsoft and I hope that the last few days it was clear that we have shown we're willing to do a deal with Microsoft but that we couldn't get to an agreement on price."

As expected, Yahoo's stock took a pummeling in the stock market Monday, falling $4.20, or 14.7%, to $24.47. Analysts said the shares, which traded at $19.18 on Jan. 31 prior to Microsoft's initial $31 per share offer, were supported from falling to the same level by the possibility that Microsoft could revive its Yahoo pursuit, and that Yahoo was poised to announce a search advertising pact with Google. While a deal wasn't finalized as of Monday afternoon, Yahoo and Google were vetting a potential agreement with antitrust regulators, according to a person close to Google. Mr. Yang said he was taking Mr. Ballmer's letter withdrawing the Microsoft offer "at face value for what it is." He acknowledged facing pressure now to deliver on Yahoo's plans for its business. "There is no celebrating here," he said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us."

Polished Diamond Price Inflation Shows Dramatic Rise in April

Energy prices continue to spike; food costs are higher; clothing prices are up. Global prices of virtually all goods are on the rise, and inflation is the main topic in news headlines around the world. So it should be no surprise that polished diamond prices are also caught up in this inflation frenzy.

The economy of the U.S., which represents just less than 30 percent of the global economy and about 50 percent of global diamond consumption, appears to be mired in a recessionary mode, there is no shortage of demand for high quality polished diamonds in other world markets. Diamond buyers in Asia, the Middle East, India and China have stepped in, and they are bidding up prices, especially among the larger stones – three carats and above.

A common question today, will these diamond price increase hold at retail, or will merchants negotiate them down? – appears to have been answered. Because of strong demand for polished diamonds in other global markets, diamond suppliers have been able to maintain their price increases. If a U.S. customer bulks at paying higher prices for diamonds, the diamond supplier simply moves on to another market where demand is strong.

As long as the demand for diamonds and diamond jewelry remains strong, especially in emerging markets, prices are expected to rise. Further, since rough diamond prices have been rising faster than polished diamond prices, there is on-going pressure to pass along those price increases. So far this year, rough diamond prices are up about 8.5 percent based on results of DTC Sights; polished prices are up by just over 6 percent since the end of 2007.

While diamond prices showed a dramatic increase in April based on comparisons of the average prices for the month, the real spike in diamond prices occurred in March.In March, there was a sharp spike mid-month, and those higher prices carried over into April.However, while prices were at record levels in April, they were relatively flat throughout the month. The market was apparently digesting the price spike which occurred in March; many suppliers were waiting to see if prices would hold firm. They were rewarded for their patience: prices were steady in April.

Because rough diamond prices are rising at a pace faster than polished diamond prices, there is much pressure on cutters and polishers to raise their prices, a trend that is likely to continue. This will keep polished diamond prices from falling, and should provide support, along with baseline consumer demand, to send prices higher, but at a more moderate rate.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Andesine Aggravation

The recent saga of the gemstone andesine illustrates the complexities of gemstone enhancement and disclosure.

Andesine is a reddish-orange feldspar that's been in the market for five years. It's sometimes called sunstone because its chemical composition is similar to that gemstone's. Stuart Robertson, research director for Gemworld International, Glenview, Ill., says it was first seen at the gem shows in Tucson, Ariz., in 2003, but didn't draw attention until 2005, when quantities started to increase. Color and clarity were remarkably consistent, raising questions about origin and enhancement. Some have answers to those questions. Some of the answers raise more questions.

"It's from Tibet, natural and unenhanced," says Jackie Li, owner of the Tibetan Sunstone Mine, whose Web site,, details the story of andesine's origin. Missing from that story: any images of an actual mine or rough gems.

Congo has been identified as another source of andesine. Online gem merchant says it first purchased Tibetan sunstone in East Africa, where it was identified as Congolese. And Dr. Laurent Sikirdji, of, says his andesine—which he calls natural and unenhanced—is from Congo. But no one has seen a Congolese andesine mine or any Congolese rough. Sikirdji admits that his Congolese andesine is purchased in Thailand.

Jewelry Television had been selling andesine as natural and unenhanced. "We were assured that the color was natural by all our suppliers," says JTV cofounder Jerry Sisk.

Late last year JTV found a source for andesine in Mongolia. Sisk describes what happened next: "Our man in the field saw the rough coming out of the ground (all yellow) and was given the 'recipe' for heating the material."

JTV has sent samples of treated and untreated andesine rough to Dr. James Shigley at the Gemological Institute of America, Dr. George Rossman at California Institute of Technology, and Dr. John Emmett at Crystal Chemistry in Brush Prairie, Wash., all renowned experts in gemstone enhancements. Sisk is determined to find the mechanism behind the color, and he wants to know how to identify treatments. It may take several months before any conclusions are reached.

"The only comment that I would make," says Sisk, "concerns our prior purchases, which we cannot attribute to China or Mongolia. We actually have documentation on a number of our acquisitions stating Congo as the source of the gems. Once again, we were relying on our vendors, but took the position that we will find the source(s) and inform our viewers. We released that information within a very short time frame once it was verified."

Sisk notes that JTV has not directly purchased any gemstones from the Mongolia site. "We will, of course, start negotiations with the mine owners to procure a steady supply of material for our viewers," he says. "Any gemstones from the mines in northern China and southern Mongolia will be disclosed properly and noted on our invoices."

Sisk adds, "When we first started selling red and green andesine-labradorite, we did send samples to the labs as part of our standard operating procedure. The reports came back as natural color. Our vendors also assured us that the color was natural. That is how we represented it to our customers."

Sisk says demand for fine-quality red and green andesine-labradorite is putting pressure on the supply side, boosting prices on his recent purchases, and making it difficult to get enough fine-quality gems to meet demand, particularly in larger sizes. "The prices are higher than they were a year ago, and we cannot purchase the quantities we need to supply the consumer," says Sisk. "Clean, unzoned green andesine-labradorite is nearly nonexistent.We have extremely limited supplies of the green material and do not see any improvement in availability in the near future."

GIA Museum launches historical jewelry campaign

The Gemological Institute of America Museum is launching a new campaign to build the “GIA Historical Collection,” a comprehensive assemblage of jewelry, object d’arts and gemstones from all time periods and cultures world-wide.

“We intend to create a wide-ranging, world-class collection that captures the essence of each period in gem and jewelry history," said Elise Misiorowski, GIA Museum director. "People are always fascinated by historical pieces. It’s our goal to bring together a variety of significant treasures representing different episodes in history.”

“Jewelry is like a time capsule,” adds Misiorowski. “It can tell you about the economics, social structure, and technology of the culture it came from. Jewelry preserves this information in a very concentrated way. It’s like a Rosetta stone; if you know how to read it, you can interpret the socio-economic climate of the period.

Misiorowski also noted, “Gems also have their own individual story to tell. Their sources, significant owners, and other details give them their own personality and place in history.”

The Institute hopes to not only increase the number of pieces in its collection, but acquire examples from many different eras as well. The Institute anticipates this collection will quickly become an important addition to the museum because donors, visitors and students alike will benefit from sharing the stories of these intriguing pieces.

The GIA Museum plans to use the Historical Collection for display in other venues on a regular basis, accompanied by lecturers and experts, and pieces from the collection will be showcased further via podcasts and other educational vehicles. Misiorowski said “We hope the GIA Historical Collection will grow to inspire, educate and excite viewers today and for generations to come.”

In addition, the GIA Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center will archive any accompanying documents for donated pieces that detail the item’s background and provenance in its Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives.

Fine Jewelry News Launches Website for Women

Fine Jewelry News announces the launch of its community-based website designed to give women a forum to share their love of fine jewelry, gain confidence about buying jewelry, and help others in need of advice. "Fine Jewelry News speaks to the dreams and desires behind a woman's jewelry purchases: to mark a moment in time with her children, to live more lightly on the earth, to be a little bit 'rock n' roll' even with a full-time job and a family that needs dinner," says Jodi Goldberg, editor.

Through Fine Jewelry News, women will gain confidence about buying fine jewelry by asking questions and speaking their minds in a secure, supportive environment. They'll start to think of jewelry first when it's time to celebrate special moments, honor traditions or start new ones, and give back to the people they care about most--including themselves. Not to mention taking time out to indulge in a little luxurious daydreaming!

A subscription-based e-publication offers a rich blend of style and substance, covering topics that range from fashion trends to fair trade gems. Opportunities to connect with an online community give women a valuable second opinion on potential jewelry purchases, along with space to share stories and swap ideas with an eager, interested audience. Casting a vote in the Fine Jewelry News weekly opinion poll lets women find out what they have in common with other jewelry lovers all around the world.

"Fine Jewelry News is a great resource for consumers, but it's valuable to the jewelry industry, too," according to Goldberg. "It's a place to find out what's on women's minds, and to gather insight about what's important to them."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Charles and Colvard cuts staff

Morrisville, N.C.—Charles and Colvard has slashed its workforce by 18 percent to cut costs amid slowing sales, various news services report.

The cuts amount to a loss of about 10 jobs for the Morrisville, N.C.-based moissanite maker, bringing its staff down to a total of 45.

Like so many other players in the jewelry industry, Charles and Colvard is feeling the effects of an anemic economy.

According to news reports, the company reported a net loss of $698,000 for the first three months of the year, compared with a year ago when the company reported a net income of $339,000.

Charles and Colvard Chief Executive Officer Bob Thomas was quoted in The News and Observer as saying the cuts were made across all departments, including sales, management and the administrative staff.

A consulting company hired by Charles and Colvard recommended the cuts, which will save the company about $500,000 a year.

Thomas also said further changes "will address more encompassing issues," and will be announced after the company's May 27 shareholder meeting.

While Thomas would not elaborate, one analyst told The News and Observer that Charles and Colvard is a prime target for acquisition.

According to news reports, the company's inventory of moissanite gemstones is valued at about $42 million and could retail for up to $169 million.

Cheaper Nanodiamonds Produced for Medical Functions

A group of Taiwanese scientists has discovered a cheaper way to create tiny fragments of diamonds, similar in size to microscopic viruses and known as fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs), making it possible for them to be used to reveal the movement of cells around the body, or even deliver genes, according to New ScientistTech.

This function of the nanodiamonds is realized when the diamond fragments are hit with a laser; due to defects in the structure of the diamonds that absorb the laser energy and emit their own light at a different wavelength, they can fluoresce for hours afterward and be tracked in cells throughout the body.

In addition, the diamond material is relatively stable and non-toxic and is therefore an attractive material for use inside the body. But, until now, the diamond fragments have been too expensive to manufacture.

As New ScientistTech explains, FNDs are usually made when a high-energy electron beam is fired into diamond powder and then heated up to 800 °C, but a Taiwanese scientist named Huan-Chen Chang and his colleagues at the Academia Sinica have discovered that they can shoot a less intense, and thus cheaper, beam of helium ions at the diamond dust to produce FNDs with the same quality.

"The beam of helium ions knocks some carbon atoms out of the nanodiamonds, leaving vacancies behind," explains Chang. Those vacancies, he says, bond with nitrogen atoms and form flaws that allow the diamonds to absorb and re-emit laser light. The cheaper FNDs work almost as well as those produced with an electron beam. In tests, Chang said his team could track the movement of a single fluorescent nanodiamond within a cell for over 3 minutes.

Other uses for the cheaper nanodiamonds have been explored by the researchers, including monitoring stem cells in developing tissues or carrying drugs into cells.

New site enables year-round buying, selling

Norwalk, Conn.—JCK Luxury and Premiere have launched a new Internet platform that will allow exhibitors and attendees of the Las Vegas-based event to leverage the Web to sell and find products all year round.

Access to will be exclusive to participants in JCK Luxury and Premier. Membership to the site provides each exhibitor with a gallery for displaying thousands of items in a format that is easily accessible to retailers. Exhibitors will be promoted throughout the year through targeted marketing efforts that boost member visibility throughout the industry.

Retailers visiting the site will have the opportunity to make appointments to meet with exhibitors during the Luxury and Premiere events, plus use the site's comprehensive search engine to find sought-after items more quickly, and get into direct contact with the proprietor of that merchandise.

"Our event takes place for three days in Las Vegas, but this new platform is a great way for the top designers and manufacturers to showcase and sell their products all year long to retailers that they meet at the show," Luxury and Premiere Industry Vice President Yancy Weinrich said in a media release.

JCK Luxury and Premiere will be held from May 27-May 29 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. For more information about the show, call (800) 257-3626 or visit the event's Web site,

For more information about, call (877) 777-9771 or visit the Web site directly.