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Coloured gems are the hottest Trend of the Decade!

by Touchstone Gems 10. July 2013 18:46

Latest statistics are reporting that jewellery buyers are looking for attractive prices. How attractive? Based on the most recent results from jewellery events, the top jewellery designer lines focused on silver jewellery featuring small fancy colour melee stones selling for just under $500.00 retail! This is a testament to the fact that buyers are younger than ever before and younger generations seem to prefer coloured stones over plain white diamond. Surprisingly, many of the world's wealthiest people are now investing into coloured stones instead of gold or diamond, proving that the colourful trend has gone viral, especially in the Asian Market. China is quickly developing into one of the biggest coloured stone markets, with a huge increase in demand for top-grade, quality coloured gems.

Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields, claims “he sees coloured gemstones and diamonds as complementing each other, rather than in competition with each other.” Seeing that coloured stones are the trend of the decade, we're seeing more and more unique designs from well-known brands, but nothing makes us happier than seeing local jewelers show off their craftsmanship.

Larimar Cabochon Gemstone We encourage all of our readers to support the coloured gem trade and help keep the coloured stone industry in the hands of our local jewelers and not corporations, CEO's and Wall Street.

The gemstone industry is thriving and will continue to grow faster than the rate over the past couple years, so there is no better time to start looking for coloured stone bargains than now!

Death of the Salesman?

by Touchstone Gems 4. July 2013 18:29

Original Article from Jewellery Net Asia

 

For decades the traveling salesman was the backbone of our industry.  They were the consummate middlemen, representing supplier's products to retailers.  Going into a store with a case full of goods the salesmen would bring new products and designs, a selection of coloured stones, or a diamond wallet into the store.  They earned their commissions by providing personalised service.  Each had their specialty and area of expertise.    Along with the goods for sale, these road warriors brought their product knowledge and news of the industry.  They helped the retailer stay educated and informed.

A few years ago, having a good rep was essential to running a retail store.  A retailer constantly needs a steady supply of melee and centre stones.  Building a strong relationship with your local rep was vital to growing a retail jewellery business.
 
Modern communication and logistics has made our local road warriors almost obsolete.  The smart ones have jumped on the electronic bandwagon early, communicating with clients via e-mail and sending goods door to door via courier.   It has made their job safer and more efficient. They have managed to expand their area of business without leaving their office and are now on the cutting edge of the industry.

However this sword of progress has also become double edged.   Easy communication within industry forums brings easy price comparisons.  Expanded territories means Retailers have more reps to choose from.  High quality imagery, videos and video chats make showing products dynamic and interesting.  Information and industry news are available at the click of a mouse.

As competition grows, the margins for middlemen shrink.  In order to survive, reps have been offering longer term appros which at least gets their goods into the showcases where they have a chance to sell.  But even that backfires.  Retailers certainly enjoy having a full diamond or gemstone case with no investment but when it comes time for that special call…they simply return the stones.

The final blow to the Saleman is the fact that online retail transactions are actually easier and less costly than wholesale.  Some suppliers have their own websites while others use online search platforms like Pricescope.   Stiff global competition drives selling prices down below the original wholesale list.  And why not?  When a Retailer orders online, the supplier gets paid before the stone ships.  No appros, no terms, no begging for payment.  The only catch is they must offer no-questions-asked returns, usually for 30 days.  This is no big deal.  It’s like a 30 day appro with zero risk. The money is already in the bank.

There are still a few road warriors out there.  As a retailer, treat them well, they are a vanishing breed.

2013 Gemstone and Jewellery Prediction

by Touchstone Gems 17. January 2013 17:36

Jewellery goes back thousands of years and people will always adorn themselves.

While there will always be a market for true collection goods at the very high end, I think we will see a large shift away from consumer "fine" goods in brick and mortar stores. There are several factors that will be in play.

First and foremost is online shopping. It is taking a bigger bite of the market every year and I don't see that trend ever slowing down.

Then there is the changing demographic. Younger people are simply not all that interested in real jewellery. They are very comfortable with the benefits of modern technology and have no negative feelings about treatments or synthetics. Cheap and fun are good. Look at Kay's "I Like Candy" ads for candy-coloured diamonds. They get it!

Alternative metals like Tungsten, Titanium, Damascus steel and even carbon fiber are gaining strength in the wedding band market.

No longer do people shop for jewellery with future generations in mind. A tattoo is forever, a diamond is only temporary.

Many people saw the underbelly of our industry when they tried to sell their better jewellery to survive and were offered pennies on the dollar. Where was that "lasting value" they were promised when they bought it?

Treatments and synthetic diamonds and gemstones are here to stay and will become even more pervasive and harder to detect. As much as we all strive for full disclosure at all levels, the reality is: It ain't gonna happen.

So where does that leave us? I think that the majority of goods on the market will be treated or lab grown and that is what will keep the masses adorned. All stones will be assumed to be high-tech unless it has a pedigree (jewellery laboratory report). Mined, untreated colour gemstones will be very strong in the high end collectors market but too expensive for the mass market.

Some designers will do well, but only if they are affordable and REALLY artistic. Silver jewellery will be very strong at this level. Look for interesting designs featuring agates, fossils and meteorites.

Jewellery will be divided into two major segments...fun stuff and Rich People's Stuff. Jewellery will become a true luxury item again, affordable only to those with a lot of disposable cash. Middle class people will trend toward fun stuff.

Laboratories will be for bigger players only, at least until advanced testing tools are affordable. While a starting gemologist used to be able to gear up for a few thousand at the most, now a serious gemologist needs to spend 10-20 times that amount to be able to be sure of an ID.

The modern hometown jewellery store will have to reinvent itself and find a market niche. It could be repair, custom designs, CAD-CAM, brass-n-glass bridal jewellery or something new. Expanding product mix will help. In the old days jewellery stores sold clocks, china, crystal and other luxury items. Finding the right lines to go with a repair or custom center will be essential for survival.

Mass market jewellery will be for the big retail chains...Walmart, Costco, Sams...yeah, those kind of chains. They will take a huge bite out of the bridal market.
Jewellery will be around forever, but the industry will have to evolve.
 

Guest post by Dave Siskin, founder of Carigem International  and the Carribean Gemological institute in Florida, USA

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