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10 Years Ago: May 2008

A snapshot of the industry events that made news headlines in the May 2008 issue of Jeweller.
Rising gold prices force branch closures

The story: AGR Matthey Jewellery has closed its branches in Brisbane and Perth to compensate for the impact of rising gold prices. According to a release from the company, AGR has been hurt by the rising gold price it has to pay gold producers.

This has resulted in closed branches and staff cuts across Australia. Despite the branch closures, a recent statement from AGR reported it had still managed to sufficiently improve delivery turnaround times for customers in WA and Queensland.

Auscert boasts biggest masterset

The story: Melbourne diamond-grading laboratory Auscert has announced the introduction of a CIBJO-certified, nine-stone colour masterset.

According to lab owners Anthony Bates and Monica Crofts, the set took much time and money to assemble. To qualify as a CIBJO masterset, every diamond has to be submitted for comparison against the C1 set held at the SSEF in Basel, Switzerland.

“The C1 set is the largest diamond masterset in the world,” Bates said. “Every major laboratory has a master set built against these diamonds.” Furthermore, to meet CIBJO standards, each diamond in the masterset has to be at least three-quarters of a carat in size and extremely high clarity.

Thieves stopped at show

The story: A move by the JAA Australian Jewellery Fair organiser to apprehend a suspicious group may have prevented theft at the Brisbane fair. Expertise Events security staff encountered a man allegedly loitering in the foyer of the exhibition hall on the second day of the show.

The guards apprehended the man and his associate, who were handed over to police for questioning. In an inspection of the duo’s accommodation, police uncovered a third suspect also taken in for questioning.

All three had flown to Australia from Colombia just three days before the fair, leading the security guards and police to believe they were part of an international crime group. It is well known in the jewellery industry that Colombian crime gangs target international jewellery fairs, working largely by deception.

Swatch tops one billion

The story: The world’s largest watchmaker, the Swatch Group, has announced net income profit of CHF$1.2 billion (AU$1.6 b) for 2007. According to the company, this is a record-breaking feat and a 23 per cent gain over 2006 figures. Gross sales reached almost CHF$6 billion, (AU$8.2 b) rising more than 17 per cent, according to a report in JCK.

“All regions delivered positive results, with Asia, Europe and the USA performing particularly well,” the Swatch report stated, highlighting that the Swatch Group’s core segment – watches and jewellery – “delivered another strong performance in 2007, posting new record figures once again”.

“This extremely positive trend was already visible in spring 2007 with the huge demand and numerous orders received at the BaselWorld watch and jewellery show,” the report continued. “All price segments delivered double-digit sales growth in 2007, helping boost profitability across the board.”






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