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Showcase Jewellers acquires Aussie diamond brand

Passion8, the well-known diamond brand previously owned by Miller Diamonds, has been acquired by Showcase Jewellers, which could cause a few issues for the local jewellery industry.

George Proszkowiec, chairman JIMACO – the operating company for Showcase – told Jeweller that the deal had been finalised with the Miller Diamonds’ liquidator on Friday 29 August, two days before the Sydney fair.

Proszkowiec said the decision to acquire Passion8 was largely driven by the fact that it was stocked by a large number of Showcase members.

Carson Webb, acting Showcase CEO, said, “Our members are fine jewellery retailers and we’re in the fine jewellery and diamond business. This is a wonderful opportunity to venture forward with an amazing brand that has amazing potential for our members.”

Proszkowiec would not reveal the number of Showcase members that had previously stocked Passion8 prior to the Miller Diamonds collapse, but he did acknowledge that the acquisition created a few issues given that non-Showcase members also stocked the diamond range.

Asked if the buying group would eventually open supply to non-Showcase retailers Proszkowiec explained, “That’s something we have to work out. It’s a brand and people want the brand, and if we can deliver Passion8 under certain conditions to other retailers we will consider it, but at this stage it’s too early to say either way.”

Webb recognised that many retailers had invested in Passion8 and its marketing and said, “We will engage in conversations about that at the appropriate time.”

As previously reported by Jeweller, Miller Diamonds appointed insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland in late July and at the time the official liquidator, Sule Arnautovic, said the cause of Miller Diamonds’ financial predicament was largely due to its major overseas diamond supplier “calling in” its debt.

He added that all stones held in stock by Miller Diamonds had been returned to the European-based diamond supplier. Jeweller understands that to be Antwerp based Tache Diamonds.

Proszkowiec advised that Showcase was not interested in other Miller Diamonds assets offered by the liquidator and that only the Passion8 intellectual property was acquired. This means that Showcase could source diamonds from various suppliers that may or may not include Tache Diamonds.

“Passion8 is a specific cut and therefore it’s proscribed and we can go into the market and fill that description so whether we deal with the original supplier or not doesn’t matter. At this stage it’s early days,” Proszkowiec explained.

He added, “Passion8 is registered in Australia and we bought the IP which doesn’t relate to the diamond supplier.”

More reading
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