Weekly Digest: Tiffany sales climb, China retail holds firm and the Farnese Blue diamond takes centre stage
In a busy week of headlines from the international diamond and diamond jewellery trades, we consider the latest financial results from Tiffany & Co., find reasons to be optimistic in China and India, and discover the incredible history of the Farnese Blue diamond.
Tiffany reports net sales up 4 percent in fiscal year 2017
Tiffany reported net sales up 4% to $4.2 billion in fiscal year 2017 ended January 31, 2018, reflecting strong cash flow and sales growth in most regions and across most jewellery categories.
Comparable store sales were equal to the prior year, the jeweller said in a statement on March 16.
In the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2018, worldwide net sales rose 9% to $1.3 billion, resulting from growth in all regions and across all product categories, while comparable store sales rose 3%.
Tiffany & Co. reported net sales up 4% in 2017. Image Credit: Pexels.
“We are pleased to be finishing the year with solid sales growth, both geographically and across product categories,” said CEO Alessandro Bogliolo.
He added: “Confirming what we recently indicated, we believe that increasing investment now in certain areas, such as technology, marketing communications, visual merchandising, digital and store presentations, which we expect will hinder pre-tax earnings growth in the near-term, is needed to generate that lasting long-term growth.”
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Sotheby’s to auction historic Farnese Blue”, this spring
One of the foremost historic diamonds – The Farnese Blue – will appear on the market for the first time in history this spring, having remained in the same family for over three centuries.
The 6.16-carat pear-shaped fancy dark-grey blue diamond, which originated in the Golconda mines of India, will be offered in Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva on May 15, 2018, with an estimate of CHF 3.5 - 5 million (US$ 3.7 - 5.3 million).
The 6.16ct Farnese Blue has a long history among Europe’s royal families. Image Credit: Sotheby’s.
Given to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766), the legendary diamond has subsequently passed down through four of the most important royal families in Europe: Spain, France, Italy and Austria.
“It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division and co-chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland.
“This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in colour is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope diamond.”
India’s polished diamond exports inch up in February
Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during February rose by 0.51% from US$ 2,414.61 million in the same month a year earlier to US$ 2426.86 million this year, according to provisional data released by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
The country’s overall exports from the gems and jewellery sector in February dropped year-on-year by 7.38% to US$ 3.67 billion from US$ 3.96 billion last year.
Rough imports rose by 11.35% in value terms in February to US$ 1.68 billion, compared to US$ 1.51 billion imported the previous February. In volume terms, rough imports declined from 17.80 million carats in February 2017 to 16.8 million carats in February this year.
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IGI to launch screening facility to detect lab-grown diamonds
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) will open a screening facility to detect laboratory-grown diamonds at the Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) in Mumbai, the Antwerp-based lab group said.
IGI will open a new facility in the Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone. Image Credit: IGI.
The centre, which IGI says is the first of its type in SEEPZ, will enable companies in the jewellery-manufacturing hub to assure customers a stone is natural.
SEEPZ is a specially designated area in Mumbai where certain tax exemptions apply and gathers many jewellery exporters.
Jewellery retail sales rise in China
Retail sales of gold, silver and jewellery in China increased in the first two months of 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics of China said.
Total revenue for the category rose 3% year on year to 50.9 billion yuan in January and February, it said in a statement.
Total retail sales of consumer goods increased 9.7% year on year, while online sales climbed 35.6% year on year. The period included Chinese New Year.
Words by David Brough
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