Juicy Jewelry News!

Juicy Jewelry News! recaps some of the biggest news from top insider industry sources. Here are just a few of the latest stories and events taking place in the jewelry world:

Copenhagen, Denmark: Pandora Closes 105 “unbranded” stores in first quarter 2015 – most located in US

780004EN12-1Generating double-digit growth rates, Pandora’s total global sales reached $532.8 million this past quarter – up 37% from first quarter 2014, and its gross margin slightly increased as well.

In addition to the Pandora Brand e-commerce store in the US that is independent of its retail partners, Pandora is focused on increasing its company owned and operated stores worldwide by opening more than 325 new concept stores this year.

To focus efforts on this effort, Pandora officially pulled its jewelry from 105 “underperforming unbranded” stores in the Americas – most located in the United States.  The Pandora closures occurred with retailers that were not heavily branded.  71 were “silver” retailers that carried a medium-sized assortment of Pandora product with less in-store branding than gold-level retailers. 34 were “white” retailers that carried a limited assortment of Pandora product, and the rest were travel retail locations.

GIA Recalls Hundreds of Diamonds and Notifies Trade of Potential Undisclosed Diamond Color Treatment that is not stable and resulted in color grade up to 3 times higher than actual grade

SatelliteThe Gemological Institute of America (GIA) – the developer of the 4Cs in diamond grading currently used worldwide – released a trade notice warning that approximately 500 colorless to near-colorless diamonds previously submitted to GIA’s grading laboratory in Israel may have been potentially subjected to an undisclosed temporary treatment that resulted in a color grade up to three grades higher than the stone’s actual color grades.

GIA learned of the problem when a buyer of one of the stones returned the stone to GIA for reexamination because over time the stone’s color appeared a much lower color grade than what he paid for. GIA believes that a potentially new treatment may have temporarily masked the body color of the diamond, which caused the resulting high color grades from the GIA lab. GIA notified all appropriate authorities (diamond bourses) and terminated client agreements with 4 submitting companies that it believes knew of the treatment and failed to disclose it. GIA will not issue a confirmed treatment statement until the recalled stones have been re-examined and it can make definitive conclusions.

With the vast majority of stones sized at 1 carat or larger, and a number in the 3-5 carat range, a 3-color grade jump would cause a huge price increase for these stones. The Israel Diamond Exchange called an emergency meeting of its board of directors and is implementing procedures to identify the suspects and take needed measures.

Black Opal Ring Wins 2015 Jewelers’ Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards

Satellite-1Niveet Nagpal, a GIA Graduate Gemologist, who is the president and head designer of Omi Prive` in Los Angeles, designed the 18kt ring (shown) that won the GRAND PRIZE in JCK magazine’s 2015 Jewelers’ Choice Award for “Best Ring Design Over $10,000” and WINNER of W magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards.

The ring features a 4.33 carat Lightining Ridge black opal, green tsavorite garnets, blue sapphires, and white diamonds.

Geneva: “Sunrise Ruby” Bidding Soared to $30.3 Million!

051415_Sothebys-ArticleJuicy Jewelry News! previously reported that high-end jewelry sales were setting auction records again in 2015 as they had in 2014. There is global demand for the finest diamonds, gemstones and signed designer pieces.

Sotheby’s May 12th auction sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels in Geneva achieved the highest-ever total at $160.0 million, dethroning Christie’s November 2014 auction sale in Geneva of $150.2 for Magnificent Jewels.

3 world auction records were set on May 12th, including “Sunrise Ruby,” a ring set with a 25.59 carat Burmese ruby (shown), which lit up the auction world when it sold for $30.3 million.

GIA Lab Reports on Low-Temperature Heat Treatment of Mozambique Ruby

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Mozambique is the world’s leading source of commercial grade and gem-quality ruby since 2009. Heat treatment of corundum (ruby, sapphire and fancy sapphire) has been done for centuries, and it is estimated that over 95% of corundum in the market place has been heat treated.

Heat treatment of gemstones is done with primitive to highly sophisticated methods. Sri Lankan “burners” (shown) have become adept at low-temperature heat treatment of ruby and pink sapphire from Mozambique that reduces the blue color component and enhances the red or pink overall hue of the stones, making them more marketable. GIA has issued a statement that even low heat treatment of corundum can be detected in the GIA labs using high magnification with fiber-optic lighting and FTIR spectroscopy.

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