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Gap Grows Between Natural and Lab-Grown Diamond Prices

The trend is expected to continue.

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The prices of lab-grown diamonds are falling relative to natural diamonds, and that trend is expected to continue, Reuters reports.

As of mid-November, a 1 carat generic lab-grown diamond was selling at an average discount of 42 percent compared with a natural diamond, analyst Paul Zimnisky told the news agency. That’s compared to a 20 percent discount in January.

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Costs to make lab-grown diamonds are also falling, to about $300 per carat now, on the low end, from as much as $4,000 per carat in recent years.

De Beers announced in May that it was launching a company called Lightbox Jewelry to market laboratory-grown diamond jewelry, with pricing set at $800 for a one-carat stone.

By marketing lab-grown diamonds as fashion accessories, De Beers seeks to “reinforce the mystique of stones formed in the earth’s crust so consumers keep buying them for major events such as engagements,” according to Reuters.

Martin Rapaport, founder of the Rapaport Diamond Report, told Reuters that prices for lab-grown diamonds will likely continue to fall.

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“The cost of these synthetic diamonds will go down to production costs plus a competitive profit margin,” he said. “There is no shortage.”

Read more at the Reuters

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Jeweler, Coin Dealer Charged With Precious-Metal Violations

They allegedly failed to meet reporting requirements.

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YORK, PA – A jeweler and a coin dealer have been accused in Pennsylvania with violating reporting requirements for precious-metal sales.

The York County district attorney filed charges against James Zimmerman of Zimmerman Jewelers and Dennis Steinmetz of Steinmetz Coins and Currency.

A Pennsylvania statute mandates, “A copy of every record of transaction shall be delivered or mailed to the district attorney of the county in which a purchase of precious metals is made by the close of the next working day after the day on which the metal is purchased.”

Both owners were contacted on Jan. 15 advising them that they were to return to compliance, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. From Feb. 1 to present, Zimmerman Jewelers has had a 37% compliance rate, and Steinmetz Coins and Currency had a compliance rate of 17%, according to the release.

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The York County District Attorney’s Office stated that it “has invested significant time and money in an effort to make submissions easier on precious metals dealers by creating a web-based reporting system.” Over the past two years, the program has grown to include Lebanon County and is in the process of expanding to Cumberland County. There are currently over 50 precious metal dealers using the website, who maintain an average 94% compliance rate.

District Attorney Dave Sunday said, “It is the legal obligation of every precious metal dealer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide this information to their jurisdiction’s District Attorney. Data from this website has proven to be an invaluable tool, aiding municipal law enforcement officers in solving drug and property crimes, and helping to reunite stolen items with their rightful owners.”

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World’s Largest Diamond Mine to Close ⁠— Here’s What That Could Mean

The mine is known for producing pink and red diamonds.

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Rio Tinto Group plans to close its Argyle mine in western Australia, and that could bring a rise in the price of pink diamonds.

The mine is well-known for producing pink and red diamonds, Bloomberg reports.

In fact, 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds come from the mine, although such stones are only a tiny percentage of Argyle’s total production. The majority of its production consists of brown diamonds, which are less valuable.

The mine is the world’s largest producer of diamonds by volume.

Arnaud Soirat, head of copper and diamonds for Rio, told Bloomberg that operations will be shut down in late 2020. By then it’s expected that its supply of economically viable stones will have been exhausted.

Pat Godin, CEO of Stornoway Diamond Corp., has predicted that with the closure, “The rational offset between supply and demand should lead to price growth.”

He told Bloomberg that the effect could be “even more dramatic” for pink diamonds.

“You can imagine the laws of supply and demand will apply, and you can imagine the impact that will have on those very rare pink, red, blue and purple diamonds,” Godin said.

Read more at Bloomberg

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Fashion Jewelry Chain to Close All 261 Stores

3,000 employees could lose their jobs.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is closing all of its 261 stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Bloomberg reports that over 3,000 full- and -part-time workers could lose their jobs.

The bankruptcy filing is Charming Charlie’s second in the past two year, Bloomberg reports.

Store closing sales are being conducted by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Merchant Resources and SB360 Capital Partners, according to a press release.

Charming Charlie operates in 38 states. A full list of closing stores is available here.

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The liquidation is expected to take two months.

The company’s debt totals $82 million, according to Bloomberg. Its cash on hand amounted to only $6,000  as of the bankruptcy filing.

Charming Charlie is a Houston-based specialty retailer focused on fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts and beauty products.

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