Connect with us

Headlines

We’re Now At ‘Peak Gold,’ Experts Say

The amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, experts say.

mm

Published

on

Credit: Image by Stevebidmead [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Precious-metals experts are claiming that the world is at “peak gold,” the critical point when the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, rather than increase. With aging mines yielding fewer ounces and the number of major new discoveries dwindling, global gold production is no longer able to keep up with demand.

“If I could give one sentence about the gold mining business … it’s that in my life, gold produced from mines has gone up pretty steadily for 40 years,” Ian Telfer, chairman of Goldcorp, told the Financial Post. “Well, either this year it starts to go down, or next year it starts to go down, or it’s already going down… We’re right at peak gold here.”

Global production of gold escalated from 2,470 metric tons in 2005 to 3,150 metric tons in 2017. But even at that high-water mark, new gold production is hardly keeping up with global demand, which stood at 4,072 metric tons globally in 2017, according to statista.com.

The jewelry industry consumes nearly 53 percent of the global demand for gold, while other sectors lag far behind. They include bar and coin bullion (25 percent), electronics (9 percent), other industries (7 percent), central bank purchases (5 percent) and dentistry (1 percent).

The biggest reason why gold supplies are expected to drop is because mining companies are finding fewer and fewer new gold deposits.

Advertisement

Pierre Lassonde, the billionaire founder of Franco-Nevada, a company that invests in mining operations, told Business Insider that there haven’t been any blockbuster gold discoveries in the past 15 years.

Said Lassonde, “If you look back to the 70s, 80s and 90s, in every one of those decades, the industry found at least one 50+ million-ounce gold deposit, at least 10 30+ million-ounce deposits and countless 5-to-10 million ounce deposits. But if you look at the last 15 years, we found no 50-million-ounce deposit, no 30-million-ounce deposit and only very few 15-million-ounce deposits.”

A startling report by Goldman Sachs on commodity scarcity outlined a scenario in which the world could run out of mineable gold in 20 years.

Meanwhile, aging mines are yielding less. South Africa, once a world leader in gold production, is expected to run out of gold within four decades, according to a recent study.

While the combination of falling output, shrinking reserves and strong demand could lead to shortages and higher prices of the precious metal, the possibility remains that new methods of detecting gold deposits or more efficient ways of mining them could bend the production curve upwards again.

When the oil industry hit its peak production about 10 years ago, the industry developed new fracking and horizontal drilling technologies to help make up the difference. The energy sector also invested in alternative industries, such as solar and wind.Unlike the energy sector, however, the precious metals sector has no substitute for gold.

Advertisement

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

A Packed Store Like the Day Before Christmas? Wilkerson Makes It Happen

Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

Promoted Headlines

Headlines

This 18K Gold Is Made With 25% Plastic

mm

Published

on

Swiss researchers just unveiled a new type of 18-karat gold that’s made from 75% gold and 25% plastic, yielding super-lightweight, malleable material that weighs just 1/10th to 1/5th as much as the traditional alloy.

The team at ETH Zurich claims that the new lightweight alloy has the exact same lustrous qualities of traditional 18-karat gold, making it an attractive alternative for jewelry manufacturers and designers.

“Lovers of gold watches and heavy jewelry will be thrilled,” wrote Peter Rüegg on ETH Zurich’s official website. “The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter. Especially with watches, a small amount of weight can make all the difference.”

The researchers believe that the new material will also be attractive to manufacturers because it is easier to work than traditional precious metals. The melting point of the new material is just 105° C (221° F), versus 1,064° C (1,943° F) for traditional 18-karat gold.

Gold purity is measured by its karatage, with 24-karat gold being 100% pure. Conventional 18-karat yellow gold is made from 75% gold and 25% other materials, such as copper and silver. Popular 14-karat gold is 14/24ths (58.3%) pure gold, and 10-karat gold is 10/24ths (41.6%) gold. Both 14-karat and 10-karat gold are commonly mixed with silver and copper.

With the new material, ETH Zurich scientists used a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements. Instead of weighing 15 grams per cubic centimeter, the new 18-karat material weighs 1.7 grams per cubic centimeter.

Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich, explained how she and her colleagues used protein fibers and a polymer latex to form a matrix in which they embedded thin discs of gold nanocrystals. In addition, the lightweight gold contains countless tiny air pockets invisible to the eye.

Highlights of the process were recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

“This gold has the material properties of a plastic,” Mezzenga said. “If a piece of it falls onto a hard surface, it sounds like plastic. But it glimmers like metallic gold, and can be polished and worked into the desired form.”

The researchers also claimed that the hardness of the material may be adjusted by slightly altering the composition. The latex, for example, could be replaced by other plastics, such as polypropylene. Also, altering the shape of the gold nanoparticles will change the color from gold to violet.

While Mezzenga and her team see obvious applications for jewelry and watch manufacturers, the material also may be suitable for chemical catalysis, electronics applications or radiation shielding.

Credit: Image by ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.

Continue Reading

Headlines

717 US Jewelry Retailers Closed Their Doors in 2019

The number of closures is down significantly from 2018’s figure.

mm

Published

on

The Jewelers Board of Trade reports that 717 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2019.

That’s down from 852 businesses that closed in 2018.

Of those, 589 fell into the category of “ceased operations,” while 110 were listed as “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 18 were classified as “bankruptcies.”

Meanwhile, 193 jewelry retail businesses opened their doors in the U.S. in 2019. That was up from 183 in 2018.

Counting wholesalers and manufacturers along with retailers, 900 U.S. jewelry businesses closed their doors in 2019. That’s compared with 1,013 in 2017.

The total number of jewelry retailers listed in the U.S. is now 18,613, compared with 19,198 at the end of 2018, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.

The total number of jewelry businesses, including wholesalers and retailers, is 25,565, compared with 25,400 at the end of 2018.

Continue Reading

Headlines

Tiffany Safely Moves 114,000 Gems for a Store Renovation

It’s refurbishing its 10-story space in Manhattan.

mm

Published

on

Sunday was moving day for Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. And given the potential for theft, that meant a quick and highly secure operation.

The store temporarily moved a few dozen yards away as it renovates its 10-story space, The New York Times reports. For now, it’s occupying a former Nike store.

The company transferred 114,000 pieces of jewelry, according to The Times. Needless to say, that was millions of dollars of merchandise.

Tiffany had 30 security officers overseeing the move. New York City police officers were also on site.

The Times explains:

There were 300 cameras monitoring the Tiffany store and about as many in the temporary store, as well as a few more trained on the route along the sidewalk, that were live feeding monitors surveilled by other security officials in the two stores and at Tiffany’s distribution center in Parsippany, N.J.

Employees had been asked to keep plans for the move a secret. Tiffany took numerous other security precautions, according to the newspaper, such as monitoring social media for any hints of planned criminal activity.

Fortunately, everything went off without a hitch. When the store opened in its new location on Monday morning, not a single piece was missing.

Read more at the The New York Times

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Comments

Most Popular