First Israel Diamond Week in Shanghai to embark on a new era of cooperation

When the first Israel Diamond Week opens in Shanghai today, a new era of cooperation between the Israeli and Chinese diamond industries will be launched, says a press release from IDI.


Mothae diamond output 36% ahead of H1 target – Lucapa

Lucapa Diamond said its 75%-owned Mothae mine, in Lesotho produced 6,349 carats in the second quarter of 2019, bringing the first half output to 13,267 carats.


Newfield seeks to increase Tongo resource

Newfield Resources has commenced further drilling and diamond assays on the Panguma kimberlite, which is located to the west of the Kundu and Lando kimberlites, in Sierra Leone.


New large diamond found at ALROSA’s Verkhne-Munskoye deposit

ALROSA, the world's largest diamond mining company, extracted a large rough diamond from the Zapolyarnaya pipe of the Verkhne-Munskoye deposit.


Baselworld signs agreement with CIBJO to become its member

Baselworld has become an official member of CIBJO -  the World Jewellery Confederation after having signed an agreement with the organisation, reported.


The diamond market sentiment is cautious at the moment, especially in Europe

29 october 2018

angelika_mavridou_xx.pngBorn in Switzerland, Angelika Mavridou relocated to Thessaloniki (Greece) with her family, only to establish her own business JEWELLS GALLERY LTD, which was later transformed to S.A.

Prior to venturing into her own business, she studied Gemology and Diamond Grading in Germany and graduated from Deutsche Gemmologische Gesellschaft and the Gemological Association of Great Britain.

Angelika is known for giving lectures on diamonds and gemology as well as a writer, with articles published in several Economic Magazines and Newspapers. A regular on TV Channels and Radio for discussions on the evaluation of gems and diamonds, Angelika is a celebrity in her own rights.

Today, as the Founder, President and CEO of the company, Angelika not only manages the overall running of the business but makes ample time to organize private shows for loose diamonds in Greece and donate part of the turnover to Charity Organizations.

Here, in an Interview with Rough & Polished, Angelika Mavridou tells her the story of her journey in the diamond jewellery industry, but not before expressing her opinion on the state of diamond industry in Greece as well as globally.

Some excerpts:

Let’s start from the beginning … tell us about yourself before entering this business. And was it a passion that you landed in the jewelry business or was it a family business you took over? Can you walk us through on how it all began?

It all started by accident. It sounds funny but my dreams were to become a pilot for commercial airlines. My grandfather though was a goldsmith and watchmaker. He advised me to follow the Jewelry industry and especially the diamond section. So this is how all began. The more I entered the diamond and gems field the more my passion for jewelry grew up. Today, I do believe, that if you want to do this job correctly, you have to be passionate of it, because the results of the jeweler’s inspiration and passion for creation is what the final customer enjoys at the end. I studied Gemology, Diamond Grading and Jewelry marketing in Germany at the German Gemological Association in Idar Oberstein and afterwards I graduated the F.G.A. too which is the Diploma of the Gemological Association of Great Britain. I did my practice as gemologist by Ruppenthal GmBh Gems’ Company in Idar Oberstein. In 1986 I established my own firm, JEWELLS GALLERY LTD, which in 1995 was transformed to S.A. . I’m the founder, President and CEO of the company. In 1999 GALLERY DIAMOND enters the diamond world as its main activity. We organized for 10 years diamond exhibitions only for private customers supporting charity organizations.

Today GALLERY DIAMOND is specializing in polished diamond trade, diamond quality inspection, design and creation of exclusive fine jewelry collections, that are promoted to b2c market via branding.

Can you elaborate on your jewelry business? Are you into high-end jewelry only or also into entry-level everyday jewelry? Are you a manufacturer or get your jewelry sourced from another manufacturer? If former, from where do you source your polished diamonds? How important is legitimate sourcing for your company?

As already mentioned above I’m President & CEO of my own business GALLERY DIAMOND. GALLERY DIAMOND is specializing in the design and creation of high-end jewelry. Our jewelry is categorized as follows: GD Diamond Jewelry - Classic Diamond Jewelry collections, such as Diamond Solitaire Rings, Eternities, Tennis bracelets, etc.; GD Creations - Fine Exclusive High-End Jewelry Collection; GD Trends: Light exclusive Luxury Jewelry Gift collections; GD Loose Diamonds. We do manufacture our jewelry designs in collaboration with fine jewelry factories around the world. Our jewelry is elaborated by the best goldsmiths, meet the same strict requirements, like those of our Diamonds. Our main priority is the strict inspection, we follow on the selection of our diamonds and gems for our jewelry. As it is well known, GD diamonds meet high-quality requirements, regarding their 4Cs. We import our diamonds mainly from Antwerp, but we have access in markets as London, Hong Kong, India, U.S.A. and in general we have access in a very large global inventory. For GALLERY DIAMOND there is only one way to trade its diamonds and this is to follow Kimberley Law. I do believe that every single diamantaire that respects the business doesn’t know any other way to trade and it is an obligation for every one of us to follow the Kimberley policy in order to protect the diamond trade in the next years and maintain the diamond’s prestigious status for high demanding consumers/buyers.


Do your jewelry sell under your own 'Brand’ name? Do you undertake orders from buyers for customized jewelry? Does your company cater only to the domestic market or are you into exports as well? If so, to which countries do you export?

GALLERY DIAMOND is promoting and sales its diamonds and jewelry products via branding. We do have great experience in Bespoke Jewelry, in design and development of tailor-made jewelry for private buyers that wish to wear one of a kind jewel piece. That’s why we claim that GALLERY DIAMOND makes your dream come true. Also, there is a new service provided by the company which is “fit in your budget”, this means that we do create bespoke jewelry, but we cooperate with our customers to fulfill high end finishing expectations in their budget limit.

We realized that our customers enjoy all this procedure, become GD associates all the way from the idea to the final realization of a unique jewel pc. Since 2015 we firmed our Brand Expansion in U.K. GALLERY DIAMOND London Ltd and in 2017 we launched our UK E-shop.

We sell abroad mainly direct to private customers, a b2c target group of customers. Our UK company was firmed in order to expand the brand in U.K. and later globally.

And what about the e-commerce scene... do you have a presence on the online platform? How does the online business fare on the whole? What types of jewelry move faster … entry level pieces or high-end jewelry?

excl_29102018_3.pngWe invest a lot on the internet and digital marketing and we intend to invest even more. In the next years, the fine jewelry and diamond business will be more present on online than physical presence in the retail section. My belief is that the physical presence of the high-end jewelry and diamond industry will function mostly in the future to support online sales. All the way around from what we are familiar today. There are many reasons that will drive the industry in this direction. GALLERY DIAMOND is in the process of leaving all jewelry boutiques we used to have in Greece and entering the digital world of E-commerce. Even our global brand expansion is mainly based on our e-commerce presence supported by showrooms. Solitaire diamond rings, Engagement jewelry moves faster at this moment at least for GD, which is specialized mainly in this section, while fine jewelry has its own target group which is premium high demanding customers that love design and exclusivity. Could say that classic diamond jewelry is a must, you need a solitaire diamond ring to propose, on the contrary, fine jewelry is referring to luxury styling and the minority of jewelry customers. Certainly GD Trends, our light jewelry collections move also in mass consuming, providing branding luxury gifts for certain occasions in a lower price which makes them more attractive to consumers, especially if these trendy collections are combined with diamond and precious gems in a low-cost price.

What transformations have you seen in jewelry demand in Greece over the years? What's the present scene in terms of demand for jewelry per se. Your thoughts.

Greece, as it’s already well known, is suffering for a decade now of the economic recession which caused year after year the reduction of consuming power for many reasons. Such as we can mention, extremely high taxation on luxury products as fine jewelry and diamonds, reducing wages, Greek immigration abroad to find a better place to work, while in general in my opinion all governments although they advertise development to attract investors to come to Greece, they worked on the contrary and developed a hostile environment for business in general, furthermore in luxury products. With more than 400000 young educated Greeks, that have left the country for a better future, high-end jewelry lost a great portion of its future target group of customers and are really an enigma who are going to be the next Greek luxury products consumers. Certainly, the Tourist industry covers a high part of jewelry consuming but in the last years even the quality of tourists visiting Greece is dropped and only a few places maintain high demanding buyers for Jewelry such as Mykonos, Santorini and few more islands.

Bottom line with a 10% luxury tax on gold jewelry and after on that to add another 24% VAT tax, that can’t be interpreted as a friendly environment for our industry, on the contrary, could say it’s a hostile place to be a jeweler. Jewelry in Greece became more commercial and mass production products appeared in the market.

With regards to diamonds especially, what is the demand trend in the quality/size of diamonds in jewelry in today’s Greek market? How is the demand for colour diamonds jewelry right now, given that price comes with a premium?

Diamond demand in Greece decreased the years of the economic recession regarding the spending amount for this purpose and certainly the ct size. Speaking for the majority we could say that they buy nevertheless not over 0.50ct for a solitaire ring and with the sizes of 0.20-0.40ct to become really popular. There is a slight demand for bigger sizes too. Natural fancy color diamonds are not dominating on the scene of the Greek jewelry retail. Occasionally it could be shown from time to time, an interest from private buyers in sizes over 1.00ct & n.f.c.. On the other hand tr. black or brown diamonds move very well in small sizes in the jewelry section, providing more attractive price and design solutions. Overcrowding is a serious factor that reduced demand in diamonds in the last years. Market moves mainly in small sizes as I said and in the majority there is high demand nowadays in certified diamonds.

Which lab do you use to certify your stones? Do labs need to be more assertive and think of better ways to provide services without loopholes, so that they are not misused? What are your suggestions?

GD works with GIA, HRD & IGI. For natural fancy color diamonds GIA. Competition between labs to prove which one is more reliable to the consumer and also the huge e-commerce inventories that promote certified diamonds even for sizes of 0.10ct drove both consumers and jewelers in a slight confusion somehow. Although certification of a natural diamond for me is the only way to buy a diamond, especially if you are a private, we ended up, today buyers are interested more in the certification than the diamond itself. Diamond jewelry confronts a lot of challenges nowadays. Such one could be the Synthetic diamond which is claiming to enter and take a significant part of the promising jewelry pie, so the labs and the diamond dealers must be even stricter and define in detail how valuable a Natural diamond is comparing to a synthetic one. This will guide consumers to go at the end for the natural diamond and defend its stability in the global market.


Wrapping up, what's your opinion of the current diamond industry globally, especially now that it is facing numerous challenges? Any future plans to grow your company further going forward?

I could say that the diamond market sentiment is cautious at the moment, especially in Europe. As recent Rapaport reported, the industry expects that the stock market wealth in U.S.A. will boost holiday buying. On the other hand, Indians are afraid that higher taxation that was implemented in the import duties will reduce polished diamonds demand. Serious concerns about the Eurozone economy dented luxury stocks after Italy increased its budget-deficit target. Demand rises up, but the budget spends for a diamond ring dropped. Today’s consumer power reduced a lot. Not to forget to mention that consuming mentality of young people changed comparing to previous generations. They target more to technology products, less in diamonds. According to for the diamond industry, worldwide diamond production for the year 2016 is estimated approximately to 128 million cts. Worldwide reserves are estimated to be some 750 million carats. The global diamond mining industry is largely dominated by a small number of companies to control the market. Comparing diamonds to gold or any other precious metal, diamond prices are ruled by the syndicate and not by the state governments, a fact that turns diamonds to become popular to consumers’ mind. Diamond prices globally have increased geometrically since 1960 looking at their today’s prices. The global diamond jewelry market value in 2016 was estimated approximately 80.1 billion U.S. dollars. About half of the global demand for polished diamonds comes from the United States.

Diamond market is traditionally addressing new coming yuppies and at this moment this to happen is difficult as we experience a huge geological and political transformation on our globe. Diamonds are entering a challenging era and I believe they will prove at the end that they can last as they always did. GALLERY DIAMOND is already transforming its whole presence by becoming more a digital branded diamond & fine jewelry company, looking forward to expanding its horizons to a global b2c direction. That’s why we firmed our expansion in the UK and launched our UK e-shop

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished