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Tiffany to Disclose Geographic Origin of Its Diamonds

It’s a ‘significant step for diamond transparency.’

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NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. announced that it will begin sharing with consumers the geographic origin of its newly sourced, individually registered diamonds.

The company said the decision is “a significant step for diamond transparency.” It stated that by 2020, it will begin sharing its diamonds’ craftsmanship journey.

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With its Diamond Source Initiative, Tiffany is tracing each of its individually registered diamonds (0.18 carats and larger) by a unique “T&Co” serial number etched by laser and invisible to the naked eye, and providing consumers geographic sourcing information specific to their diamond.

“Beyond general assurances of ‘conflict free,’ Tiffany believes that knowing provenance is critical to ensuring its diamonds are among the most responsibly sourced in the world,” the company said in a press release.

“Diamonds, formed up to 3 billion years ago and brought to the earth’s surface by a miracle of nature, are symbols of the most important moments in our lives. There should be nothing opaque about Tiffany diamonds,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO of Tiffany. “Our clients want and deserve to know where their most valuable, most cherished diamond jewelry is from, and how it came to be.”

The company said that in cases where provenance is unknown, such as heritage stones that predate the policy, it will provide confirmation that the diamond was sourced with industry-leading practices.

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“Tiffany & Co. has long been committed to diamond traceability and going above and beyond industry norms to promote the protection of the environment and human rights,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer for Tiffany. “A transparent journey of responsible sourcing reflects the many positive and far reaching benefits along every step of the diamond supply chain.”

The company stated:

Tiffany’s superlative standards exceed the Kimberley Process Certification requirements for rough diamonds and, for polished stones, mandate compliance with Tiffany’s Diamond Source Warranty Protocol. In the case of one trusted supplier with several responsibly managed operations, diamonds may be designated ‘Botswana sort.’ The majority of these diamonds were mined in Botswana, as well as in select mines in Namibia, South Africa, or Canada. For ‘Botswana sort” stones, provenance is the above grouping of countries, procured as an aggregated parcel of rough diamonds from a specific, limited group of mines in Southern Africa and Canada.

Tiffany & Co. is unique among global luxury jewelers in owning and operating its own diamond polishing workshops around the world – where 1,500+ Tiffany artisans ensure superlative diamond quality and craftsmanship. To highlight this competitive difference, by 2020, Tiffany will also share the craftsmanship journey of its diamonds along with its provenance.

Between 80 percent and 90 percent of Tiffany’s individually registered diamonds (by volume) have been supplied through Tiffany operations in Belgium, Botswana, Mauritius, Vietnam and Cambodia, where craftspeople plan, saw and/or cut and polish rough diamonds from known, responsibly managed mines, most of which are in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa, accordin to the release. For the remaining 10 percent to 20 percent, Tiffany’s trusted suppliers of polished diamonds have complied with Tiffany’s Diamond Source Warranty Protocol, which warrants the diamonds did not originate in countries with diamond-related human rights concerns, such as Zimbabwe and Angola, even though those diamonds are accepted under the Kimberley Process.

From now, those suppliers will be required to go beyond a warranty of “conflict-free” to affirmatively state the geographic source of any polished diamonds sold to Tiffany including region or countries of origin.

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Headlines

Blue Nile CEO Departs

The company has named an interim chief.

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Blue Nile CEO Jason Goldberger has left the company, GeekWire reports.

There’s been little explanation for his departure just a year-and-a-half after joining the online diamond retailer.

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The company stated that he “moved on to pursue his next challenge.”

“We are continuing to invest behind our strategic priorities and new capabilities to accelerate growth,” Blue Nile continued in a statement.

Eric Anderson is serving as interim CEO.

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Before joining Blue Nile, Goldberger served as chief digital officer and president of Target.com. He previously held roles with Gilt Groupe, Hayneedle and Amazon.

Blue Nile officially become a private company in February. It had previously traded on the Nasdaq. The Seattle-based company was acquired by an investor group in a $500 million deal. The investor group is made up of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC.

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852 US Jewelry Retailers Closed Their Doors in 2018

The number of closures is up from 2017’s figure.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reports that 852 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2018.

That’s slightly more than the 817 businesses that closed in 2017.

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Of those, 706 fell into the category of “ceased operations,” while 122 were listed as “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 24 were classified as “bankruptcies.”

Meanwhile, 183 jewelry retail businesses opened their doors in the U.S. in 2018. That was up significantly from 131 in 2017.

Counting wholesalers and manufacturers along with retailers, 1,013 U.S. jewelry businesses closed their doors in 2018. That’s compared with 1,022 in 2017.

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The total number of jewelry retailers listed in the U.S. is now 18,974, compared with 19,823 at the end of 2017, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.

The total number of jewelry businesses, including wholesalers and retailers, is 25,102, compared with 26,270 at the end of 2017.

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Newly Discovered Gemstone Is Harder Than Diamond

It’s been found on Earth for the first time.

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Shefa Yamim, a precious stone exploration company in Israel, has discovered a new mineral that is harder than diamond and which has never been found on Earth before.

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The material is called carmeltazite, and it was recently approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

The mineral was named carmeltazite because of it its discovery on Mount Carmel and due to its major chemical components: titanium, aluminum and zirconium (“TAZ”), the company stated in a press release. Shefa Yamim trademarked the name “carmel sapphire” for the material.

The mineral “is a newly discovered type of corundum similar in appearance to the corundum, but unlike any other sapphire found in the world,” according to the company. The rough carmel sapphire is typically black, blue-to-green or orange-brown. The largest stone found is 33.3 carats.

The Vintage News reports that “it was previously believed that this type of mineral was only found on extraterrestrial material.”

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It’s harder than diamond and substantially rarer, “making its value extremely high,” according to the publication.

Avi Taub, CEO of Shefa Yamim, said in the release: “We are delighted that our Carmel Sapphire has been recognised as a host to many rare minerals. In today’s world where the prices of gems are determined predominantly by their rarity, the Carmel Sapphire is a unique discovery because it has not been found anywhere else in the world and was discovered by Shefa Yamim in the soil of the Holy Land. We believe this substantially increases the potential value of our ‘Gem Box’ of precious stones. The studies of Carmel Sapphire and its new minerals mark another milestone in the Company’s journey as we continue our progress towards trial mining in Zone 1 in 2019.”

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