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Know It All: September 2015

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‘Natural’ Shaped synthetics found

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HRD Antwerp has issued an alert about its discovery of almost colorless lab-grown diamonds featuring the classic octahedral shape found in natural stones, which may lead to detection issues for the rough market, according to the Belgian lab.
— IDEX Online News, 7/13/15


Apple effect seen in slowing Watch Sales

2 U.S. watch sales fell the most in seven years in June, one of the first signs the Apple Watch is eroding demand for traditional timepieces. Retailers sold $375 million worth of watches during the month, 11 percent less than in June 2014, according to data from NPD Group. The 14 percent drop in unit sales was the largest since 2008. — Bloomberg, 8/6/15

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Retailer Spending on Social ads Surges

3 Retailers are boosting their social media marketing budgets, with half spending more this year than last on paid Facebook options like promoted posts and paid ads, according to the NRF’s “The State of Retailing Online 2015” report. Some 29 percent of retailers are opting for similar paid options on YouTube, 27 percent are spending more on Pinterest, 22 percent at Twitter, and 20 percent at Instagram. —INSTORE, 7/22/15


big Retailers test mobile payments

4 A mobile payment application developed by Merchant Customer Exchange — a firm founded in August 2012 with funding from Walmart, Target and Best Buy — has been tested by employees of the retailers and was scheduled to be rolled out on a trial basis in stores in August. That suggests shoppers will soon be able to use the technology, called CurrentC, to pay for items with their phones. — Bloomberg, 7/24/15

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De Beers’ Venetia open pit mine in South Africa. The company said it is looking to lay off 55,000 workers amid a slump in demand.

Diamond Industry in Crisis

5 In an unprecedented move, De Beers allowed sightholders to postpone buying as much as 75 percent of their allocations at its August sight as a credit squeeze and supply glut roil the industry. Meanwhile, the RapNet sentiment index fell to its lowest level since 2008. — Rapaport Tradewire, 7/28/15


new type of Diamond Found in Russia

6 Geologists have discovered a new type of diamond in the frozen lava of the Tolbachik volcano in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, according to a statement from the Russian Science Ministry. The diamonds were formed by volcanic gases — as opposed to magmatic melt — under tremendous pressure and “were crystallized under the influence of an electrical current discharged by lightning,” RT News reported, citing the ministry’s statement. — Rapaport Tradewire, 7/26/15

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Jewelry slips in TV Shopping ratings

7 Jewelry, which in 1995 was the largest category on the Home Shopping Network, has now fallen to being a bit player, with both HSN and QVC slowly moving away from the segment as other products such as makeup and apparel offer better returns. — JCK, 8/7/15


Gold price slumps to 5-year low

8 Gold fell to a five-year low, shedding 8 percent of its value in July alone as expectations the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates eroded the metal’s role as a store of value. Demand for gold as a commodity is weakening as well. “Gold has always had a dual nature as a currency and a commodity,” Macquarie Bank wrote in a report. “At present, it is not desired in either form.” — Bloomberg, 7/24/15


Montanans spend big on Engagement Rings

9The folks at Ritani have crunched a mass of data and come up with the average price paid for engagement rings in each state. Montana tops the list with an average price paid of $9,523, followed in the top five by Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana and North Dakota. Oddly, just across the border in South Dakota, couples spend an average of just $1,251, for 50th place. — PopSugar.com 7/22/15


Kohl’s Sued over ‘False’ Discounts

10 Kohl’s is being targeted in two lawsuits in California over its longtime practice of promoting its own-branded merchandise as being heavily discounted. Both actions allege that the discounts are false and that Kohl’s does not routinely sell much of its own merchandise at the “original” or “regular” prices. — Consumerist.com, 7/23/15

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of INSTORE.

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