Diamond Prices Continue Relentless Downward Slide
New York, NY—Diamond prices softened again in September as suppliers worked to liquidate old stock. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for one-carat diamonds slid down 0.7% in September, but registered a 2% drop in total for the third quarter, a 4.5% decline since January 1, 2017, and a 7.4% decline year on year since September 2016.
But lower prices also present good buying opportunities for jewelers that still need inventory for the holiday season. This was borne out by trading at last month’s Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, with steady demand for goods at lower prices.
Manufacturers’ profit margins remain squeezed, as Alrosa and De Beers have held rough prices steady though polished demand has been sluggish. Rough prices on the dealer market and at auctions were down in September as trading slowed ahead of the October 19 Diwali festival. Indian suppliers have enough inventory to maintain their operations until Diwali, when factories typically close for two to three weeks. Rough trading is expected to remain quiet through October and November.
Dealers are now focused on filling US holiday orders, though jewelers require less stock than before as the retail landscape continues to shift. Still, diamond industry expectations are rising for the holiday season, as jewelry retail sales in both the United States and China are showing signs of improvement and a strong season should translate to stronger diamond demand in the first quarter of 2018, providing much-needed support for polished prices.
MJSA Education Foundation Awards $12,500 In Scholarships
Attleboro, MA--The MJSA Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to advancing professional skills in jewelry making and design, recently awarded five students scholarships totaling $12,500. The total also includes a first-time $2,500 scholarship provided by the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation, for students enrolled in an eligible Rhode Island program.
The following five students received funding:
Rebecca Richards ($5,000 scholarship) is studying for a bachelor of fine arts degree in jewelry/metalsmithing at Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine. Richards makes her jewelry from such diverse materials as yarn, brass, and mother of pearl.
Emily Fout ($2,000 scholarship) is pursuing a graduate gemologist diploma at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) campus in Carlsbad, CA. Fout currently runs her own company, Fizzy Love Jewelry, which emphasizes designs showcasing gemstones and beads.
Jaclyn Bush ($1,500 scholarship) is pursuing a graduate gemologist diploma at GIA. She also works full time in the repair shop at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry in Houston, TX; assists Designer Jewelers, an independent retailer also in Houston; and does custom jewelry work for her own small business.
Katelyn Butler ($1,500 scholarship) is working toward her masters of fine arts degree at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in Edwardsville, IL. Butler is scheduled to graduate in 2020, and she plans to pursue careers as both a jewelry maker and a teacher.
Valerie James ($2,500 scholarship through the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation) is pursuing a graduate jeweler diploma in jewelry and metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI, to refine her knowledge of traditional jewelry-making techniques and 3-D modeling. A 2017 Saul Bell Award finalist in the Emerging Jewelry Artist category, James expects to graduate in May 2019.
Any student enrolled in a jewelry program, whether through a university or trade school, who intends to pursue a career in the jewelry industry, and who can demonstrate financial need, is eligible to apply for an MJSA Education Foundation scholarship. Applicants are assessed on the basis of course of study, academics, career plans, recommendations, and industry experience. Students must be U.S. citizens.
To learn more about the MJSA Education Foundation and various educational and professional opportunities, click here.
GIA Education Campus Opens in Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan—GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has opened a campus in Tokyo. Speaking at the inaugural ceremonies on Sept. 19, GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques told dignitaries of the Japanese jewelry industry, “We are thrilled to see the many years of GIA’s commitment and involvement in Japan culminate in the return of GIA education courses in Japanese to this important center of the luxury industry. The expansion of our activities with updated educational offerings will help support the dynamic Japanese gem and jewelry industry, and advance GIA’s mission to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry.”
Beginning in November, the new GIA campus in Tokyo will offer the Diamond Essentials Intensive and Diamond Grading Lab classes in Japanese. The Diamond Essentials and the Diamonds and Diamond Grading eLearning courses will be available in Japanese by early 2018, allowing students in Japan to complete the Graduate Diamonds diploma in Japanese.
GIA plans to add the Graduate Colored Stones program later so students studying in Japanese can earn their Graduate Gemologist diploma. There will be other specific skills-focused seminars offered to help meet the needs of the industry. All Japanese language courses have been reviewed and updated to reflect the latest advancements in gemology.
Ribbon cutting to open the GIA campus in Tokyo, from left: Seung-Hae Moon, GIA managing director for Asia Pacific education; Ken Fujita, president of the GIA Alumni Association in Japan; Elizabeth Keating, GIA vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer; Susan M. Jacques, GIA president and CEO; Anna Martin, senior vice president of global development; Yoshiko Doi, president of the AGT Gem Laboratory; and Sam Kong, GIA global schools director. Photo Courtesy of Yoji Naito.
Japan was the first country outside of the United States where GIA offered educational courses, beginning more than 40 years ago. The GIA alumni chapter in Japan celebrated its 26th anniversary earlier this year. GIA opened a gem identification and grading laboratory in Tokyo in December 2012 and in December 2016 the lab added the fully automated GIA Melee Analysis Service to rapidly and accurately screen melee parcels for CVD and HPHT synthetic stones. The Tokyo laboratory has three full-time researchers – all with doctoral degrees – actively involved in advanced research on diamonds, colored stones and pearls.
For more information about GIA education in Japan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.