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21 posts from November 2005

Diamonds add push to repeal of jewelry tax

A punitive tax on Canadian jewelry manufacturers has been repealed.

The Mining Association of Canada joined the Canadian jewelry sector in celebrating the immediate repeal of the Jewelry Excise Tax. The act to amend the tax was a private members bill and received Royal Assent last week.

The tax was called outdated, unfair and uncompetitive and was seen as punishing Canada's jewelry manufacturers and sales, a spokesman said.

The development of Canada's diamond industry added momentum to the campaign and in the February budget the federal government announced a phase-out of the tax - Bill C-259 repeals it immediately.

''The repeal of this tax benefits Canadian consumers,'' said Gordon Peeling, MAC's president and CEO, ''and it also benefits Canadian producers of the raw materials that go into jewelry--diamonds, gold, silver, platinum and gem minerals, by removing a disincentive to the purchasing of Canadian jewelry products.''

Based in Ottawa, the Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members are engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.

India - fastest growing diamond jewellery market in the world!

The demand for diamonds in the Indian market has never been stronger! The Indian market which has shown a collective growth of 50% the past two years, according to research conducted has once again shown a 20% growth this fiscal! This makes it the fastest growing diamond jewellery market in the world for the third time in a row! Diamond jewellery has been making inroads into the jewellery market, thanks to the efforts of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC).

The DTC by launching its own brands Arisia, Nakshatra, Asmi and Sangini, has been targeting separate consumer need states. This is because the concept of a diamond for everyone has ensured that more and more consumers can aspire to buy, own and possess a diamond. Once the objectives of the Brand are fulfilled, consumer need states fulfilled, the DTC looks towards progressively handing over its brands to its sightholders to run. This has been DTC’s marketing policy worldwide, DTC then will look at launching new programs and Brands targeted at different consumer need states.

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Foreign Jewelers Target China

Overseas jewelry manufacturers and retailers are stepping up efforts to sell their products in China's mainland as the government lowers tariffs on the products under its commitment to the World Trade Organization.

The mainland's new sparkle for overseas jewelry firms was evident yesterday as the First China International Gold, Jewelry and Gem Fair opened in Shanghai's Hongqiao area.

"China will be our biggest market in the future as it opens up with lower tariffs and more consumers begin buying jewelry products," said Wolfgang Fchlogl, general sales manager of Germany-based Stenzhorn Juwelen GmbH, whose current No. 1 market is Japan.

Under WTO rules, China's mainland will gradually lower its tariffs on imported jewelry and related materials from the current 30-plus percent to zero to 21 percent for categories including pearls, gold, silver and colored stoned.

Facing the new competition brought by future tariff cuts and the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement that allows Hong Kong jewelry makers to export products to the mainland with zero tariffs, some local jewelry manufacturers are trying new ways to expand their business.

Diamond Show Closes Early

An exhibition of priceless diamonds has been closed after police were tipped off about a planned heist.

The display's centrepiece was the 203-carat De Beers Millennium Star, also targeted by crooks in a foiled raid in 2000.  In addition to the 203.04-carat De Beers Millennium Star, the world's largest flawless, colorless diamond, the show included the 59.6-carat Steinmetz Pink, the biggest flawless fancy vivid pink stone, and a dress encrusted with 3,000 diamonds. The garment worth 5 million pounds ($8.6 million) was worn by Irish singer Samantha Mumba at the London premiere of the film ``Spider-Man 2.'' Scotland Yard said yesterday: "Information we received leads us to believe criminals were looking to stage a robbery."

The show at London's Natural History Museum, which opened in July, will shut immediately, three months early. 

The Millennium Star and 11 other diamonds were the target of a robbery attempt during a show at London's Millennium Dome in 2000, the only other occasion the stone had been exhibited in the U.K. The pear-shaped Millennium Star was unveiled at the site in 1999. Police arrested 11 men after a gang used a bulldozer to smash into the Dome. Police acted on intelligence and switched the gems with replicas before the raid.

Museum director Dr Michael Dixon said: "The only responsible course of action was to close it."

Jewelry Stores Destination of 12 percent of Holiday Shoppers

Twelve percent of U.S. holiday shoppers plan to head to traditional jewelry stores but 44 percent will do their shopping online, noting convenience as a prime factor, according to a survey commissioned by Deloitte.

The 20th Anniversary Holiday Mood Survey of retail spending and trends found that 68 percent of households, surveyed nationwide, said they are likely to spend the same or more this year than last.

When asked about  their favorite shopping venues , the top choice was discount department stores at 57 percent, followed by the Internet, at 44 percent.

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Platinum prices up, jewelry demand down

Demand for platinum among North American jewelry manufacturers is expected to continue dropping through the end of 2005, as the price of platinum is forecast to move even higher—above $1,000 an ounce—in the next 6 months, finds a new report.

In Platinum 2005 Interim Review, released Tuesday by platinum producer Johnson Matthey, the company projected the price of platinum may reach $1,030 an ounce within the next six months.

Demand within the platinum market as a whole is expected to rise by 120,000 ounces to 6.71 million ounces this year, a new all-time high. But the increased demand is coming from the auto industry, which uses the metal for platinum autocatalysts for diesel cars and trucks, and from the computer industry, which uses the metal for hard disks and LCD glass panels.

Platinum purchases by the North American jewelry trade are expected to fall 10 percent in 2005 to 260,000 ounces, down from the peak demand in 2000, when jewelry manufacturing demands exceeded 360,000 ounces.

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Los Angeles Cab Driver Finds Pouch Of Diamonds In His Cab

A pouch of diamonds left in a taxi could have gone a long way toward helping a Los Angeles cab driver achieve his dreams.

But he didn't keep the diamonds. He contacted the passenger who left them. It turns out they belonged to a New York jeweler, and were worth $350,000.

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'Conflict diamonds' group vows more efforts against illicit trade

Kimberley_processThe member states of a UN-backed body that aims to counter the trade in so-called "conflict diamonds" voted Wednesday to step up efforts to stop illicit diamond exports from Ivory Coast, thought to fund separatist rebels.

At a meeting in Moscow, members of the Kimberley Process, which includes 44 countries plus the European Union, "noted with grave concern the evidence... that significant illicit production of diamonds is continuing" in northern parts of Ivory Coast controlled by separatist forces, a resolution agreed at the meeting read.

The Kimberley Process was set up in South Africa in 2000 to establish a system of certifying rough diamonds in order to prevent them being used to fund conflict.

On Wednesday members discussed further ways of coordinating controls on the trade in west Africa, particularly in countries bordering Ivory Coast.

The member states of the Kimberley Process are thought to account for virtually all of the global production of rough diamonds.

However a pressure group, Global Witness, on Tuesday cast doubt on the group's effectiveness, saying that illicit diamond trading remained a major problem for both Ivory Coast and Liberia.

"Weak government controls are failing to stop diamonds from fuelling conflict," Global Witness said. "Despite considerable achievements, both governments and the diamond industry must share the blame for flaws in the implementation of the Kimberley Process."

Ivory Coast has been divided and in a state of crisis since a war broke out in 2002 that has pitted the government in Abidjan against rebels who control the north of the country.   


Palladium jewelry craze hits China

PalladiumnuggetChina this year has experienced a massive 55% increase in consumer demand for palladium jewelry, while demand for the metal from jewelry manufacturers in China is expected to increase by 70% to 1.43 million ounces, according to Michael Steel, a Johnson Matthey spokesman.

In many countries, palladium is viewed as a second-choice substitute for platinum and gold jewelry, but China's growing ranks of affluent consumers view palladium as desirable in its own right, he said.

Palladium and platinum are both members of the platinum group of metals and typically are found together in ore deposits.

Chinese consumers tend to prize metals for their purity and high levels of palladium purity are available in China, he said.

Jewelry makers and sellers, for their part, welcome the trend because palladium has low price volatility and is much cheaper than platinum, making for attractive profit margins.

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India won't trade in conflict diamonds that fund terror

India has become a party to an international campaign to reject conflict diamonds. With reports that several terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and various civil war groups are continuously getting funds from diamond trade proceeds in Africa, India supported a proposal to ban import of diamonds from Ivory Coast. A section of the traders in the tiny African nation is reportedly using diamond trade proceeds to fund wars.

The decision was endorsed in a closed door meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). WFDB controls majority of trades through the structured exchanges. Diamond bourses representing 17 nations supported the move.

The ban was further encouraged by a recent discovery that the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda has a stake of $20m from conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone. Recently, it was also reported that rebel groups in Angola financed its wars against the country’s legitimate government by trading in rough diamonds. Then it became clear that Sierra Leone, Congo, and many other African states were engaged in the trade of so-called “conflict diamonds.”

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