Diamond Shavings: Your Friday Web Roundup

The news from the retail scene really isn’t bad … In fact, it’s pretty good. Retail sentiment is actually upbeat since “Black Friday.” But as for trade sentiment, it still has a lot of catching up to do.  There is more scientific retail chatter below.

Here’s the news:

Holiday reports:
–  November results: Jewelry “strong” at J.C. Penney and Saks, “weak” at Target and B.J.s.
– Bailey Banks and Biddle sales down.
– QVC has “best weekend in history.”
– Will December sales equal November’s?
– The “super-rich” will spend more. But middle class is pulling back.

Chaim on the DTC selection process, predicts 20 clients dropped, ten new ones added.
– Estimate: De Beers annual sales down 7%

The Bidz.com controversy
– Bidz sells one million in one day.
– Stock still hurting.

ABN Amro Diamond Division sold to Fortis? (See update.)

South African miners strike over safety
- De Beers “unaffected.”
– South African mine deaths “on the rise.”
– Strike causes platinum prices to rise.
My thoughts (from last week.)

Rio calls BHP merger proposal “dead.”
– More Rio speculation

Sam Merksamer leaves the Natural Colored Diamond Association.

Maks Birnbach, chairman of Fullcut Manufacturers, dies. (Didn’t know his daughter wrote the Preppy Handbook.)

CRJP criticizes World Wildlife Federation “luxury” report. It is hard to take a report seriously when the highest grade is a C+.  Haven’t they heard of grading on a curve?

More Leviev protests.

Police seek New York jewelry store robber. FYI, the new Phillip Seymor Hoffman movie, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is about a jewelry store robbery and features a sleazy 47th Street diamond dealer.

De Beers retail chain opened a new store in the Washington DC area and is now in the watch business.

IPO for Alrosa?

Some noteworthy diamond-related charitable endeavors from Tiffany and Russell Simmons

Media Watch:
Financial Times on De Beers and beneficiation.
The Economist on De Beers’ sale of its Cullinan mine.
– The New York Times on fashion brands selling jewelry and giving jewelry as a “push present.”
Dallas Morning News give “lesson” on diamonds.
– A Boston Globe essay about passing on engagement rings.
Kiplinger’s says to buy diamonds online
– Voice of America on Sierra Leone’s diamonds and Indian polishers.

Have a great weekend …

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JCK News Director