Good News! Canada To Abolish Jewelry Excise Tax by 2009.

Canada has decided to spur economic growth by announcing that it’s 2005 budget will account for reducing the jewelry excise tax from 10 percent to 8 percent effective immediately. The rate will be reduced by another 2 percent each March 1 beginning in 2006 until the tax is eliminated on March 1, 2009.

Jewelers in Canada have lobbied for years to abolish the tax, which has been in effect in some form since 1918. In 1996 the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance concluded that the jewelry excise tax “unfairly discriminates against the jewelry industry, [it] is an anachronistic vestige of the early 1900s when it was introduced, and should be abolished.”

The proposed rate reductions and their effective dates:
Effective Date
February 24, 2005
March 1, 2006
March 1, 2007
March 1, 2008
March 1, 2009
Proposed Rate
8%
6%
4%
2%
0%

The Canadian Jewelers Association (CJA) stated that the tax “is the only remaining luxury tax in Canada. All other luxury taxes have been repealed.” Jewelry is the most heavily taxed consumer sector in Canada (apart from alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline.) “There is no credible policy reason for singling out the jewelry industry in this way,” CJA said.

This move by the Canadian Government will make the importation of USA diamonds and jewelry even more attractive to Canadian consumers and should result in a stronger presence of the GIA certified diamonds.

Diamond and Precious Metals Week In Review: 2/25/05

This week saw a major breakthrough and advance for Gold as it surged past the $432.00 resistance level to $437.00 before settling back to $432.00 in late trading yesterday. The week dollar, strong Euro, and rising oil prices to $51.00 a barrel and very strong consumer demand were all contributing factors. Platinum also very strong at $870 with continued strong consumer demand.

In the Diamond sector, trading markets remain very strong with prices firm in larger better cut quality stones in the 2ct+, H+, SI2+ categories. There is also very strong demand for 1-2ct, H-J, SI-1 and SI- 2 goods in better Cut grades.

Diamond “Bow-Tie”: Food? Apparel? What is It?

The diamond term “bow-tie” refers to a dark spot in the shape of a bow-tie that lies in the center of fancy shaped diamonds such as the Marquise, Oval, and Pear. This bow-tie runs horizontally, East to West across the center of the stone.

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Bow-tie running across the center of the diamond (indicated by Red Arrows)

Depending on the size, angle, and placement of the diamond facets, this bow-tie can be slight and barely visible or very pronounced and detrimental to the visual appearance of the diamond. It is a subjective call. Some bow-tie effect is good in that it provides necessary contrast and gives the diamond a sharper look.

It is possible to totally eliminate this bow-tie effect by altering the number, angle, size, and placement of the Crown and Pavillion facets.

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Marquise without Bow-tie. Arrows indicate the facets that play a critical role in eliminating the bow-tie effect.

The Marquise shape diamond is a regal and impressive presence with evenly distributed dispersion and scintillation when cut correctly.

If this is your diamond of preference I recommend that you examine stones with and without this bow-tie effect and determine which you prefer.

Also keep in mind that in addition to the bow-tie effect, you need to also take into consideration a pleasing shape that is determined by the Length to Width Ratio and symmetrical proportioning between the top and bottom of the stone.

Gold Surging!

Reuters reports this morning that Consumer demand for gold jumped seven percent in 2004 — the first rise in four years — with sharp price rises failing to deter buyers, the industry-backed World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters in January expect the price to extend gains in 2005.

On a regional basis consumer demand, including jewellery and retail investment, rose 17 percent in 2004 in India — the world’s largest gold market.

Demand in major consumer China was up 13 percent in 2004, with better designs and higher gold prices helping to brighten the metal’s allure.

Madagascar Loosens Gemstone Restrictions.

The government of Madagascar, which had placed tight restrictions on the export of its much-coveted gemstones, plans to open the island up to foreign traders, a mineral resources official told the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress.

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Right now only exporters that are registered as Malagasy companies have the right to export gemstones, a restriction that the government estimates has helped lead to millions of dollars worth of gemstones being smuggled out of the country.

Under new regulatory reform signed Feb. 18 by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Madgascar will allow both local and foreign traders to buy rough and polished stones in privately operated gemstone markets, within which the government will provide support for security and the physical infrastructure of the markets.

The policy change delighted gem dealers, who have been griping that prices on gemstones from Madagascar have doubled and tripled since it was first discovered as a hot spot for pink and blue sapphire five years ago. Opening the market to foreign traders should help stabilize prices, and bring more colored gemstones into a supply-hungry market.

“The full potential of the island hasn’t been touched,” ICA President Joseph Menzie said. “It’s developing fast as a production center for the gemtrade. It’s going to become a much bigger center in terms of production in the future.”

Macho Men Wear Diamonds?

During year 2004, men purchased jewelry for themselves, representing 11 percent of the total ($57.4 billion) jewelry market. But the potential to sell men diamonds is, according to Unity Marketing, a marketing goal worth exploring.

“Targeting the male jewelry market for self-purchasing men and gift-giving women is a new opportunity for growth,” said Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.

As business culture swings back into line with more formal attire, the demand for power jewelry is increasing, and men’s gemstone choice is diamonds.

“The time is right to position jewelry as a gift for women to give men,” Danziger said.

“Positioning jewelry as a gift for men is a wide-open marketing opportunity,” especially for men who are interested in fashion and grooming. “Jewelry is an innovative gift idea which offers significant potential for marketers and retailers,” Danziger concluded from her company’s consumer insights study.

Pamela, I think that’s a great idea, and Ladies, you can hit me with them bling-blings!

High Quality Timepieces at Outstanding Prices!

One of the best kept secrets in the luxury watch industry are the incredibly beautiful, quality timepieces manufactured by Oscar Waldan of Waldan International Watches.

I myself recently stumbled across a write up on Mr. Waldan in one of the watch magazines and subsequently looked him up. He is located right here in N.Y.C. and is very close to our offices and showrooms in the heart of the N.Y.C. Diamond District!

Let me tell you; this guy is the real deal. He is one of the last of a dying breed of “watch purists/manufacturers” who have not sold out to the big luxury groups, but are keeping their manufacture completely in house. His knowledge and expertise in the art of fine watchmaking is tremendous. His hand made watches are exquisite and boast of certified chronometere (Swiss) movements of the highest caliber, 18kt. precious gold and platinum cases of exceptional beauty, sapphire crystal, etc. etc.

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Waldan Watch – Swiss Certified Chronometere in Solid Gold

You would also be astounded by the excellent prices for his watches which I personally found to be the absolute best for watches of this caliber.

If you’re like me and you love fine watches; you must check this guy out!

The Origins of the Hope Diamond Finally Confirmed

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The Hope Diamond

National Jeweler– Researchers have traced the origin of the Hope Diamond to a 115-carat stone found in India in 1668, and suspicions that the stone had been cut from one of the crown jewels of France, the French Blue Diamond, have been confirmed.

New computer analysis research shows that that stone was sold to King Louis XIV of France who had it cut into the 69-carat French Blue, reports the Associated Press (AP). The stone was then stolen from the country’s collection of crown jewels during the French Revolution.

Twenty years later, after the statute of limitations expired, a large blue diamond was quietly put up for sale in London, and eventually Henry Philip Hope purchased it. Eventually the Hope Diamond, which at 45.52 carats is world’s largest blue diamond, was donated to the Smithsonian by jeweler Harry Winston.

In tracing the origins of the Hope Diamond, researchers relied on work completed around 1700 by French scientists, who studied several stones from the royal collection to determine their specific gravity and other details. Their analysis of the other stones that still exist was accurate, leading researchers to believe the data on the French Blue was also reliable, according to the (AP). While the French Blue no longer exists, Smithsonian gem curator Jeffrey Post said sketches of it from France were quite detailed, enabling a computer model to be made of the stone

The team of researchers led by Post and Steven Attaway, engineer and gem cutter; as well as gem cutters Scott Sucher and Nancy Attaway, deduced that the Hope Diamond would have fit inside the larger French Blue Diamond, matching its orientation, with the cut indicating that some of the facets on the Hope Diamond still remain from its parent stone.

“This new Hope Diamond research would not have been possible 10 years ago,” Post told the AP. “What is exciting is that we are constantly learning new information about our collections as we apply new high-tech research methods. Even the Hope Diamond is grudgingly giving up some of its secrets.”

Click here for more info. on the Hope Diamond!

Bangkok Jewelry Show Opens.

The Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair opened Monday, with commerce officials trumpeting statistics that show Thailand’s 2004 gems and jewelry exports exceeding $2.6 billion, an increase of 5.26 percent over 2003.

Due to strong demand for diamond jewelry in particular, exports to the United States—by far Thailand’s biggest market—totaled $718.4 million in 2004, a 16.11 percent increase over the previous year.

These growth figures are very impressive given the Dec. 26 tsunami, SARS and the avian flu, which have plagued this part of the world this year.

The fair, which expanded this year to six days from five days last year, brought about 3,000 exhibitors to the Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok, and was expected to draw 30,000 attendees.