Unifying role is the main objective of the National Gemological Association

Yuri Shelementiev runs the Gemological Centre (GC) at the Moscow State University and is a president of the National Gemological Association (NGA) uniting the gemologists of Russia. The head of the MSU’ GC and the NGA answered the R&P’s...

15 july 2019

“Our goal is to bring clarity to the offering of Lab Grown Diamonds”, asserts Chris Casey, President, Lab Grown Diamond Council

Chris Casey is a 15-year veteran of the diamond and jewelry industry.  Chris also has extensive experience in market research as Founding Managing Director of the NPD Diamond and Diamond Jewelry Service where his responsibility included the...

08 july 2019

Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki: Our dedication to scientific research is an important foundation to our expertise

Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki, PhD, Director of the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF, in an interview with R&P told about the activities and plans of one of the world's leading Gemological laboratories specializing in scientific research of diamonds...

01 july 2019

“Lab-Grown Diamonds is probably the biggest scam this industry has ever seen,”: Leibish Polnauer, Founder-President, Leibish & Co.

An interesting story from the Leibish & Co takes you way back to the year 1979 when young Leibish Polnauer, then a diamond polisher, was travelling to London, having just found out that the factory at which he worked had been shut down. He found an advertisement...

24 june 2019

Botswana mining industry players speak on speculative exploration licences

Speculative mineral exploration licences was a recurring theme from presentations made by three players in Botswana mining industry at a conference convened in Gaborone. The country has issued thousands of exploration licences, across the mining industry...

17 june 2019

JCK Las Vegas 2019 through the eyes of an exhibitor

24 june 2019

The author of this article is Dmitri Zverev, an entrepreneur who, having started in the jewelry business as a 3D designer and pattern creator, then developed a technology of using 5-axis CNC machines for high-precision jewelry modeling. He is the founder and CEO of NS CNC Manufacturing Ltd. Dmitri lives and works in Canada. Every year he and his company take part in major industry exhibitions, including JCK Las Vegas, MJSA New York, IMTS Chicago, Junwex Moscow or St Petersburg and IJT Tokyo.

The JCK Las Vegas Show is the largest and most representative jewelry exhibition in North America. More precisely, it embraces several exhibitions going on at more than 20 pavilions, which bring together about three thousand different companies from various countries engaged in the jewelry business for a whole week in Las Vegas - the so-called Las Vegas Jewelry Week. It serves as a gateway to the American jewelry market. JCK Las Vegas, like all other exhibitions in America, is closed to ordinary retail customers, as this is a wholesale exhibition. Strict registration allows only owners of jewelry stores to visit it. A rank-and-file visitor from the street cannot go there. There is practically no trade at JCK Las Vegas. There are only product samples displayed in showcases.

This year, JCK Las Vegas moved to another exhibition complex, which is Sands Expo, and emerged in a slightly different format. There was little change in location and exhibit displays of major US jewelry companies. They still occupied the main second floor. The first floor of the show has always been occupied by equipment and technology, foreign jewelry companies, colored stones and diamonds.

But this year, diamond companies seemed to be elevated in status and for the first time they were all put on the second floor in a prestigious pavilion next to the most eminent jewelry firms, the so-called Plumb Club. It was very striking that lab-grown-diamond companies were more numerous and for the first time they were put on an equal footing in the same pavilion close to natural diamonds. It looked as a stark contrast to last year, when there were few of them and they were scornfully placed in the farthest corner of a little-visited pavilion on the first floor. Then, very few people knew about their existence at the exhibition. However, this time the exhibitors joked: “Now, from year to year LGD companies are grabbing more and more of both the best place at the exhibition and the market itself. Life is changing. If this continues in the future, then in a few years there will be few real diamond companies, and these will occupy the entire diamond market.”

Our company NS CNC Manufacturing is always displaying its equipment on the first floor in the Essential & Tech Pavilion together with other suppliers. The first impression at this exhibition of anyone who descended to the first floor from the second is a surprise. In fact, this is not a floor, this is a basement, more like an underground parking lot with lots of different pipes above your head. This contrasted very much with the past years, when we all were located in a giant pavilion with 10-meter-high ceilings. But the surprise passed quickly, because, despite the low ceiling with pipes, there were a lot of visitors.

The exhibition was very effective. The main result of the exhibition, which has become a reflection of the entire American jewelry market - it has become better. There is no drop in demand at all and there is no sign it is coming. And the struggle between natural and artificial diamonds is probably only to the benefit of the jewelry industry.

If we talk about the general level of the jewelry market in America based on numerous conversations with customers and visitors, from individual jewelers to giant companies, the market is slowly but steadily moving up. Of course, as always, the conversations sometimes went back to the memories of 10-15 years ago, when diamond goods were bought in larger amounts. The blame for the current general decline in jewelry sales may be pinned on numerous smartphones, tablets and other gadgets, all industry stakeholders say in one voice. Young people prefer to give iPhones as gifts to their young wives on their anniversaries, not diamond rings, as before. This is undoubtedly so. But at the same time, when a young man makes a proposal to his girlfriend, he nevertheless offers her an engagement ring with a diamond. This tradition cannot be canceled by any iPhones. It is exactly the engagement rings that serve as the basis of the entire American jewelry market. And it is these rings that help selling the large flow of diamonds to America. They were and will be. Another question asked by everyone is what will happen to the market for artificial diamonds? To what extent will they edge out natural diamonds? A young man who comes to the jeweler to order an engagement ring for his bride, now reads a lot on the Internet and knows much about diamonds. He often prefers to make a decision himself, without being prompted by the jeweler, and fork out $ 6,000 for a single-carat natural diamond or $ 3,000 for an absolutely similar, but artificial stone. And it should be said that externally no one will see the difference.

As for Russian companies, they were represented more than modestly at this exhibition and almost no one noticed them. This year they were exhibiting their goods under the motto “Made in Russia”. First of all, it stood out a mile that they completely failed to perceive what should be brought to the exhibition and what is needed by the American jewelry market. Their showcases displayed wonderful samples of traditional Russian souvenirs and dinner sets. These were real masterpieces! But who needs them in America? Here everyone is interested only in diamond rings, but not in Niello or filigree silverware. Saying this to my Russian colleagues at the exhibition, I heard in response that for them the main task was to promote Russia in the world market. Undoubtedly, it is a right and necessary task, but... I know firsthand how much it costs to participate in such an exhibition organizing a business trip for dozens of young people who are idling at their stands and don't speak English. But if the government pays for it all, then yes, why not take a trip to Las Vegas at no charge?

ALROSA presented its Diamond Inspector in the equipment and technology pavilion, not far from our exposition. I have no doubt about the merits of this device, but for what purpose it was brought to the exhibition remains unclear. ALROSA's exposition was a lonely table in the center with this lonely device on it and a bored, also lonely Russian interpreter girl sitting nearby. Talking with her, I learned that she was from California, hired to do her job, and knew little about this device and even less about diamonds.

Where and how to buy it remained a big mystery. An American friend of mine tried to learn more about the device and went to their website, but understood little of it, since the text was clearly written not by a native English-speaking author. After that, he brought an ALROSA booklet and asked me for help in finding more information on the Russian version of the website. I cheerfully undertook to help him read in my native language, but then I discovered that the author of the text in Russian laid out the offer even worse and I could not explain to the American anything from this phrase: “If the ALROSA Diamond Inspector device is purchased outside the Russian Federation (all countries of the world), delivery of the order is made to the airport terminal in Moscow. " (https://alrosa-inspector.com/RU/).

There were many similar devices able to identify if diamonds are man-made or natural. These devices are now in great demand in the market, and all well-known companies producing test equipment have been making them for a long time. So, if ALROSA wants to elbow its way into this market, it needs to work a lot on marketing and logistics. The online trade in equipment in America has reached a point permitting a jeweler from any faraway town to place an order for a needed tool making a couple of clicks on the PC keyboard until 5 p.m. today, and tomorrow morning the package will be under his or hers door. Note that there is no minimum order amount.

Therefore, my advice to Russian companies wishing to conquer the American market remains as before: Follow carefully what your American counterparts are doing and do the same, but only better!

Dmitri Zverev for Rough&Polished