Archive | Jewellery and Coins

A Brief History of the Nickel – by Daniel A. Gross (Smithsonian Magazine – April 28, 2016)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/

In honor of the coin’s 150th anniversary, read up on how the nickel came to be minted

The nickel wasn’t always worth five cents. In 1865, the U.S. nickel was a three-cent coin. Before that, “nickel cents” referred to alloy pennies. It turns out that even the name “nickel” is misleading. “Actually, nickels should be called ‘coppers,’” says coin expert Q. David Bowers. Today’s so-called nickels are 75 percent copper.

Those aren’t the only surprises hidden in the history of the nickel. The story of America’s five-cent coin is, strangely enough, a war story. And 150 years since it was first minted in 1866, the modest nickel serves as a window into the symbolic and practical importance of coinage itself.

To understand how the nickel got its name, you have to go back to an era when precious metals reigned supreme. In the 1850s, coins of any real value were made of gold and silver. In the event of a financial crisis—or worse, the collapse of a government—precious metal coins could always be melted down. They had intrinsic value. Continue Reading →

How Cartier’s Parent Is Losing Some of Its Sparkle – by Rupert Steiner (Barron’s – September 27, 2019)

https://www.barrons.com/

Luxury-goods company Compagnie Financiere Richemont could be overvalued due to political uncertainty in Hong Kong and slowing momentum for its star Cartier brand.

The stock of the Swiss-listed watch and jewelry maker, which also owns high-end Van Cleef & Arpels, Dunhill, and Montblanc, has had a good run in the past three years, up 31.4%. Richemont (ticker: CFR.Switzerland), along with other big players, has shrugged off concerns of a consumer slowdown and trade tensions, with rivals LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (MC.France) gaining 147%, and Tiffany (TIF), 29%, over the same period.

But due to its product mix and exposure to Asia, Richemont is likely to suffer more than most from disruption in Hong Kong, depreciation of the Chinese yuan, and macro issues engulfing the region. Continue Reading →

Silicon Valley wants to put diamond mines out of business – by growing gems in a lab using solar power – by Margi Murphy (The Telegraph – September 5, 2019)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

If you have ever found yourself on one knee clutching a ring, or on the receiving end of such a gesture, you might not wish to read any further.

The value of diamonds as an investment is set to diminish and within a decade the gem will be as commonly found in computer chips, satellites and even medical implants. At least, that’s what Silicon Valley’s avant-garde lab-grown diamond purveyors are banking on.

“We want to drive prices down because we think there are going to be many more applications for diamonds right now,” says Martin Roscheisen, founder of Diamond Foundry. “Right now, diamonds are way too expensive”. Continue Reading →

Tiffany beat profit expectations—and it conflicts with the idea that millennials aren’t buying diamonds – by Anna Hecht (CNBC.com – August 29, 2019)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Despite a drop in tourist spending in the U.S. and protests in Hong Kong slowing sales, American luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co still beat estimates on its quarterly profits, although the company’s revenue fell short, it announced in its earnings report on Wednesday.

Tiffany’s relatively successful performance contrasts with the widespread idea that young people aren’t buying as many diamonds as they used to. While Tiffany & Co doesn’t represent the entire jewelry industry, it still provides an interesting look into how the diamond industry is responding to changing tastes.

Currently, the jewelry industry as a whole is struggling. It shrunk 4% between 2017 and 2018, and last year alone, 852 U.S. jewelry retailers shut down, according to a report from the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT). Continue Reading →

NEW CAMPAIGN FOR NATURAL DIAMONDS AIMS TO FIGHT MISCONCEPTIONS – by Arabella Roden (Jeweller Magazine – August 23, 2019)

 

https://www.jewellermagazine.com/

The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has released new promotional materials to combat misinformation about diamond mining. Called ‘Essential Diamond Truths’, the campaign from the US-based industry group involves a video that is shareable via social media, as well as an infographic series.

A DPA spokesperson told Rapaport News, “The goal is to convey some of the key facts and truths about natural diamonds in a compelling, cinematic way that will engage viewers. Continue Reading →

Can diamonds be a millennial’s best friend too? – by Olivia Pinnock (The Telegraph – July 12, 2019)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

In the heart of Siberia, the Sakha Republic is home to acres of evergreen larch trees, herds of reindeer, the indigenous Yakut people and, under its permafrost, diamonds.

Mining is one of the main industries in the region, with 95pc of Russia’s diamonds originating here, accounting for 27pc of the world’s supply.

In July, it’s hot. Temperatures reach 86F (30C), midges and flies are in abundance and feral dogs seek shade under the site office. In the harsh Siberian winters though, it can drop to -22F (-30C). It’s a world diamond consumers don’t get to see. Alrosa, the partially state-owned mining company listed on the Moscow Exchange that operates here, wants to change that. Continue Reading →

The ‘hidden costs’ of striking the Lincoln cent – by Chris Bulfinch (Coin World – May 15, 2019)

https://www.coinworld.com/

Most recent studies suggest that the Lincoln cent is wasteful. Contemporary analyses suggest that it costs several times a cent’s face value to produce, and most consumers find them a nuisance. But is there a hidden cost behind the continued production of the cent? Climate scientists think so.

According to an article published by the Smithsonian and research by students at the University of California Davis, production of the cent produces considerable greenhouse gas emissions and other toxic waste.

The current cent’s alloy, 95 percent zinc plated with 5 percent copper requires mining both materials in massive quantities. Each ton of copper produced releases 2.45 tons of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that causes climate change, and each ton of zinc produced releases .58 tons of the same, according to the scientists. Continue Reading →

Lab-grown gems are giving mined diamonds a run for their money – by Gayle MacDonald (Globe and Mail – April 6, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In January, when Dame Helen Mirren sat down to chat with the hosts of Good Morning Britain, she was wearing a diamond necklace and earrings that were the essence of the actress herself – classy with just the right touch of pizzazz.

Her stylist Rachel Fanconi had chosen the diamond set carefully. The look she wanted for her Academy Award-winning client was elegant, not flashy, and for the jewels she turned to a tiny company called Lark & Berry, which has an interesting sales pitch. It only sells diamonds made in state-of-the-art laboratories – anything pulled from a mine in say, Botswana, is strictly taboo.

“I love the point of difference that the brand offers,” says Fanconi, whose clients also include Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and David Beckham. “Lab grown feels different and fun, and answers a lot of ethical questions.” Continue Reading →

Jewelers must say whether diamonds are mined or synthetic: U.S. FTC – by Diane Bartz and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – April 3, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which investigates allegations of deceptive advertising, has sent warning letters to eight companies to insist they distinguish in advertisements between diamonds from mines and those made in laboratories, it said on Tuesday.

The FTC said it had found instances where the eight companies advertised diamond jewelry “without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the diamonds are laboratory-created,” according to the letter.

The agency declined to identify the recipients of the letters. An unredacted version of one of the letters seen by Reuters identified that recipient as Diamond Foundry, a California company that makes laboratory diamonds. Continue Reading →

Gold train hunter strikes GOLD with discovery of priceless 500-year-old renaissance wall art – by Stuart Dowell (The First News – March 4, 2019)

https://www.thefirstnews.com/

A Polish explorer who spent years hunting for a Nazi gold train has finally struck gold following the discovery of 24 priceless renaissance wall portraits dating back 500 years.

Piotr Koper made his sensational discovery after finding the portraits hidden behind the plastered walls of a palace he was renovating in the village of Struga near Wrocław.

The construction entrepreneur and lover of local mysteries was carefully lowering the remains of a dome that once covered the palace ballroom when he noticed fragments of paintings under old plasterwork. Continue Reading →

Lab-Grown Diamonds Shake Up The Diamond Industry – by Cardiff Garcia and Sally Herships (NPR.org – March 28, 2019)

https://www.npr.org/

A lot of money is pouring into the global diamond industry, but demand for diamonds has been less than lustrous of late. A new player might be changing up the industry – diamonds grown in labs.

AILSA CHANG, HOST: The global market for diamond jewelry is worth $80 billion a year. Money is flooding into this industry, but why when demand for diamonds isn’t as lustrous as it once was? Cardiff Garcia and Sally Herships have more from the Planet Money podcast The Indicator.

CARDIFF GARCIA, BYLINE: So marriage rates are on the decline. At the same time, the cost of producing diamonds is still obviously very high. You have to mine diamonds, which is labor-intensive. It’s dangerous. It’s expensive. And of course diamonds are a dwindling natural resource. There’s only so many of them in the ground. That leads us to our mystery. Why is all this money pouring into the diamond space? Continue Reading →

Russia’s Richest Man Plans Crypto Tokens Backed by Palladium – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – March 27, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC and its billionaire chief Vladimir Potanin are planning several digital platforms, including using crypto tokens for trading palladium.

The world’s top palladium producer is in talks with Swiss authorities about issuing tokens by its Switzerland-based palladium fund, and may eventually expand the concept to other metals, Potanin said in an interview in Moscow.

“People more and more tend to use decentralized networks and platforms that don’t have a main operator,” he said. “We want to be active participants of this process,” as trading in digital tokens has many advantages, he said. Continue Reading →

You Know Your Diamond’s Cut and Carat. But Does It Have Ethical Origins? – by Tiffany Hsu (New York Time – January 8, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Consumers want to know the origin of the things they buy, like the name of the farm that supplied their milk or the source of the feathers in a down jacket. But when it comes to a diamond — quite likely one of the most expensive and emotional purchases a jewelry buyer will ever make — most know next to nothing about the source of the stone.

Tiffany & Company, which sold more than $500 million worth of diamond engagement rings in 2017, is hoping to change that. Beginning Wednesday, it will start a program that will identify for customers the country where their diamond was mined, and, eventually, information on where it was cut, polished and set.

The move is part of an effort among jewelers to attract younger shoppers, who may look upon established, venerable stores as stuffy and uncool. They also tend to eschew the hefty baubles their parents preferred for a much more spare style. Continue Reading →

552-Carat Yellow Diamond Discovered In Canada, Largest In North America – by Anthony DeMarco (Forbes Magazine – December 14, 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/

It gets quite chilly in the northwest region of Canada but the diamond industry in the area is starting to burn red hot as a 552-carat yellow diamond was discovered in October.

The rough diamond was unearthed at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, jointly owned by mining companies Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines, which made the announcement Friday. It is the largest diamond discovery in North America, far surpassing the previous record held by the 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire,” which was recovered at the same mine in 2015.

The gemstone, which measures 33.74mm x 54.56mm, was discovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” the company said in a statement. “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.” Continue Reading →

Diamonds are forever – whether made in a lab or mined from the earth – by Joshua Wilhide and William LaCourse (The Conservation – December 12, 2018)

https://theconversation.com/

It’s diamond season. Almost 40 percent of American engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with Christmas the most popular day to pop the question – and hand over a sparkly piece of ice. Jewelry stores do at least double their usual monthly sales in December.

Since at least the late 1800s, with the discovery of huge diamond mines in South Africa, people have treasured these dazzling gems. The beauty and splendor of diamonds goes well beyond the surface. Like a diamond hunter digging in an underground mine, one must look deeper to their atomic characteristics to understand what sets these stones apart – and what makes them valuable not just for romantics but also for scientists.

When mined from the earth, diamonds look like cloudy rocks before they’re cut and polished. Their chemical nature and structure were unknown for centuries. It was Isaac Newton’s experiments in the 1600s that first suggested diamonds are made up of the fourth-most abundant element, carbon. Continue Reading →