Lucapa’s Lulo reaches new monthly, daily alluvial diamond recovery records

Lucapa Diamond’s 40%-owned Lulo alluvial mine in Angola has reached a new monthly carat record for July 2020 of 3,462 carats almost immediately followed by a new daily carat record of 463 carats achieved in early August 2020.


GIA to report specific color and clarity grades for LGDs

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will report specific 4Cs color and clarity grades on its new digital reports for laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs), replacing the currently used descriptive terms and grade ranges, as per a press...


ABN Amro quits trade and commodity financing

Dutch bank ABN Amro announced today that its investment bank will end all trade and commodity financing operations. The Bank’s focus turns solely to Northwest Europe and clearing activities to reduce risks, according to media reports.


Lucara lauds diamond supply deal with HB as it calls industry sales chain ‘broken’

Lucara Diamond, which wholly-owns Karowe Mine in Botswana, is blowing its own trumpet for securing a rough diamond supply deal with the HB, which is expected to reduce price discounts and boost cash flow.


AWDC and IDI to host second online diamond trade show in September

The 'virus-free' trade show co-organized by the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) and the Israeli Diamond Institute (IDI) will take place from 14 to 17 September on the Virtual Diamond Boutique trading platform.


Those who implement the right anti-crisis strategies have more chances

22 june 2020

irina_slesareva_xxz.pngIt is not surprising that because of the pandemic and the crisis, the most heated debate in the jewellery industry is about what is happening and the possible ways of survival.

Irina Slesareva, an expert, art director of the Russian Diamond Line contest, member of the award panel of international jewellery contests, participant in the online inauguration of the Watches & Wonders digital platform held at the end of April, told the Rough & Polished industry news agency about the sentiments in the jewellery community and how its representatives prefer to act today.

You are actively communicating now with your colleagues from Italy, Spain, Poland, Switzerland. What are the sentiments in their countries?

Today, almost all the participants in the international jewellery business have found themselves in similar conditions when the consumer demand has sharply declined, the operation of the manufacturing facilities, repair shops, offices, warehouses, etc. has been suspended. All this happens despite the government support measures taken by the governments of different countries allocating funds to finance salaries, providing loans on preferential terms and some grants. The jewellery business has been paralyzed everywhere.

In socially responsible Europe, jewellers are looking for any opportunity to retain their staff and are discussing what costs could be reduced in the first wave. To support sales, they offer electronic gift certificates so that buyers do not refuse purchasing at all. Another effective way is providing individual discounts (up to 20%) to sellers who are now working remotely. As in Russia, prior to the Covid-19 period, many retailers relied on offline sales and set up websites and social media accounts to attract traffic to their stores. Now, everything has changed in a matter of days as it turned out that it is necessary to urgently create online stores, ensure safe delivery, change strategies and formats, review the commercial range of goods, make new look books, write adapted texts...

At professional platforms, some new jewellery trends and development strategies are discussed, and a prognosis of customer profiles is made.

What are your familiar jewellers doing under lockdown now?

Some jewellers keep on working, come up with new collections, and fulfill orders. They say, nobody is sure that these will be purchased, but the orders have not yet been cancelled, and that’s good. Someone masters the digital format actively, takes photoshoots through Face Time, like the Vertigo Jewellery Lab, or implements social projects and calls for responsibility, like Tatyana Kholodnova and her Jewelry Personal Protective Equipment (JPPE) with symbolic decorations in the form of protective masks. Despite the limitations, now it is a good time to move forward because everyone has went online.

Among jewellers there are also pessimists who shut down their businesses and prepared for the ‘great depression’. I don’t think it is right.

Now, the debate in the jewellery community has intensified. What disagreement exists among the players, what challenges are the most sensitive, and what issues are whole-heartedly supported by the jewellers?

All the jewellers unanimously want to survive because many of them have built their businesses for years. As you know, the jewellery industry was not recognized as a pandemic victim. The state support can be used by the SMEs engaged in the watches and jewellery retail [OKVED (Russian National Classifier of Types of Economic Activity) 47.7]. As for manufacturers, wholesale and repair companies, the benefits and subsidies do not apply. This is one of the main topics of discussion. According to the Guild of Jewellers of Russia, 5,000 companies and about 110,000 employees work in the jewellery manufacture who may lose their jobs. At the last press conference held by Boris Titov before the May holidays, it was told that the lists of the affected industries would be increased, as well as the OKVED’s list, so, the Russian jewellers could have a chance. At the regional level, such decisions have already been taken. In the Kostroma region, for example, the list of business areas affected by the pandemic includes the manufacture of jewellery and fashion jewellery (OKVED-2 32.1).

Another problem is the correct interaction between the manufacturers and retailers. Now, when it is difficult to meet a payment schedule, everyone needs to come to an agreement somehow. And the sales are of prime importance. The jewellers tailor multi-level marketing technologies to their needs, such as TM Ringo that launched the ‘Become an Agent’ campaign, they develop partnership support programmes, like ‘Krastsvetmet’ with their ‘Hotel for Metal’.

Everyone shares the opinion that ‘we are sinking, falling into the abyss’?

No, not all of us. Some large companies continue their operations as if there was no crisis. For example, the management of a well-known Russian brand from the Kostroma Region communicates directly with their customers via chat, provides legal support to the partner stores, negotiates with lessors, holds conferences and webinars for sellers. Such companies are less likely to drown because they implement one of the most correct anti-crisis strategies - they support those who are in the same boat with them, and do not throw them overboard.

What are you doing at this time? Do you continue working, keeping track of all the news in the industry?

My schedule has not changed much. I took part in the online inauguration of the Watches & Wonders exhibition, in the presentation by Louis Moinet, they didn’t postpone their shows for the next year like the Baselworld’s participants but arranged video broadcasting instead - the Discovery Days - for everyone who was invited to Basel. The HKTDC in Hong Kong launched the Spring Virtual Expo where many interesting design collections were displayed. Now, I have more time for communicating and training. I really like that in our professional environment, everyone is open for cooperation - this is very important.

You are on the jury panel of many jewellery contests. When everything recovers what changes will occur, to your mind?

Any contests can be held online, if they are not connected with exhibitions, such projects will suffer the least. It was decided to postpone the Milano Jewelry Week and the Artistar Jewels to June 2021, but the organizers continue to accept applications and plan to show all the entries in the autumn special issue of the L’Orafo magazine. Not so long ago, the INSTORE Design Awards 2020 was over that was also held online. In fact, no one can know how events will develop. But everyone hopes for the best.

What is your medium-term forecast and the one for the months to come?

This is not the first crisis that we are going through, and, of course, everything will be restored. To what extent and when - it depends on the strategies that companies will choose. Once, the ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ advertising campaign allowed De Beers to survive, and even today, the entire diamond jewellery industry is based on it. In the coming months, people will be selective about shopping. Jewellers need to look for new forms of communication and interaction with their customers to convince them that jewellery is important to be happy, even in difficult times. I would advise you to pay attention to how the creative brands work that have long gone online and use the wide possibilities of the digital marketing.

Galina Semyonova for Rough & Polished