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Signet Jewelers Looks to Cut Staff

It’s making buyout offers.

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Signet Jewelers is making buyout offers to 2,600 employees in Fairlawn, OH, and 800 in Dallas as part of a cost-cutting effort, Crain’s Cleveland Business reports.

Employees of the company’s stores, which operate under the Kay, Zales, Jared and Piercing Pagoda brands, are not eligible for the program.

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The headcount reductions are designed “to fund the critical investments we need in our transformation plan,” David Bouffard, vice president of corporate affairs, was quoted saying.

If not enough employees sign up for the “voluntary transition program,” layoffs may be necessary, company officials said.

The company is also deferring merit pay increases for Store Support Center employees in Fairlawn and Dallas, Crain’s reports.

Signet CEO Virginia Drosos said in a memo, “We have critical efforts going on in real estate to reduce rents, merchandise to reduce cost of goods, indirect spending savings, and many more.

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“But we also need to make some hard decisions to get Signet where we need to be.”

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the buyouts “come as Signet, which had an under-performing 2018 holiday sales season, is working to transform its business.”

Read more at Crain’s Cleveland Business

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Jewelry Insurance Startup Firm Raises $2M

The founder is a third-generation jeweler.

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BriteCo, a jewelry-insurance startup company, announced a $2 million seed round.

The round’s investors include Brian Spaly, the founder of Trunk Club; and Jeff Taylor, the former chairman and CEO at Cole Taylor Bank.

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The firm provides verified appraisals and immediate replacement coverage by HDI global, an A-rated insurance carrier, according to a press release.

“As a third-generation jeweler, my family and I have a long history delighting customers and helping them celebrate moments of joy in their lives,” said Dustin Lemick, BriteCo founder and CEO.

“But the jewelry buyer is changing rapidly. Millennials now represent the largest jewelry buying demographic, and their expectations are different from those of prior generations. BriteCo helps jewelers by providing them with the optimal blend of online convenience and personal attention.”

Lemick and his family have owned and operated retail jewelry locations in the Chicagoland area for over 60 years.

BriteCo explains that its coverage has no deductible, automatically updates protection each year using advanced price analytics and predictive models, and offers a streamlined claims experience. It also “offers an easy to use, cloud-based Appraisal Management System (AMS) that is faster and more accurate than the jewelry industry’s traditional manual processes,” according to the release.

“What Dustin and his team have accomplished in such a short period of time is amazing,” said Jeff Taylor, one of the company’s investors. “Getting BriteCo licensed in virtually every state before officially launching is a testament to their hard work and the professionalism with which they’re approaching this big challenge.

“I’m excited to be a part of their push to modernize the jewelry insurance and appraisal process and to help millions of people across the US protect their most valuable possessions.”

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Fugitive Jeweler Arrested in $2B Fraud Case

India is seeking to extradite him.

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Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweler who’s suspected in a $2 billion fraud case in India, has been arrested in London, The Telegraph reports.

He was arrested on behalf of Indian authorities, and he appeared Westminster Magistrates’ Court to fight extradition to India, according to the newspaper.

In court, he “spoke only to confirm his details and to refuse to submit to extradition” related to embezzlement allegations, The Telegraph reports.

He’s due in court again on March 29.

Modi had been staying in a high-dollar apartment in London’s West End, according to the newspaper.

Last year, The New York Times described Modi as being “on the run” and noted that figuring out his location had become something of a “national pastime” in India.

He remained at-large despite Interpol’s issuance of a reed notice for his arrest in July, according to The Telegraph.

Modi is at the center of a fraud case involving Punjab National Bank, where employees are “suspected to have steered fraudulent loans” to Modi’s businesses, Reuters has reported.

Modi has apparently been involved in a new new diamond business in the UK, according to The Telegraph.

Read more at The Telegraph

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This 13-Carat Pink Diamond Just Sold for $8.7M+

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced that a 13.33 carat pink diamond recovered at the Letšeng mine in February has been sold for $8.75 million.

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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That’s a record for a Letšeng diamond, according to a press release from Gem. The company owns both the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana.

The diamond sold on tender in Antwerp. Gem did not reveal the identity of the buyer.

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Yahoo Finance reports that Gem mined about 127,000 carats of diamonds last year.

That amounts to under 1 percent of the worldwide total, making the company a relatively small player compared to industry titans such as Alrosa and De Beers.

 

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