graff diamonds

British Diamond Heist: Diamonds Still At Large

Isaac Mostovicz writes that Graff hasn't found its diamonds...

Last August a team of diamond thieves stole 1,500 diamonds (in 43 jewelry pieces) worth £40 million from Graff Diamonds on New Bond Street in London. This week four of the thieves were found guilty of carrying out the raid, but the diamonds still haven’t been recovered. The two gunmen who had entered Graff Diamonds had handed off a black bag containing the stolen pieces to a motorcycle rider in a concealing helmet, who rode for two blocks then disappeared on foot in Green Park.

There isn’t much hope for finding the gems any time soon. Ivy Cutler, a diamond grader at the Gemological Institute of America, said

“I have spoken with Scotland Yard and the Flying Squad and we have them marked in our system. Sometimes pieces come back very quickly, sometimes it takes years. The criminals involved in this are extremely clever, unfortunately. I think they have probably changed hands many times and possibly been moved between countries. We can only hope the diamonds eventually turn up when an innocent buyer asks for their authenticity to be checked.”

The stolen diamonds were all certified and should be recognizable, but it’s possible that the diamonds have now been recut or falsely recertified. It will be interesting to see if any reappear, or if Graff would publicise their reappearance — my guess is probably not on both counts.

You say of this article...

Bookmark and Share

Cutbacks in luxury marketing

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

As the economic crisis turns into a recession, luxury companies are showing signs that they’re being affected negatively. According to this New York Times article, Marc Jacobs has cancelled his lavish annual holiday party, Mastercard SpendPulse estimates that luxury spending dropped 20.1% in October, magazines are reporting cutbacks, and luxury companies (including Graff Diamonds and Brioni) are purchasing fewer advertising page.

Surely these budget cuts and delays in marketing plans are a worry for luxury companies. But a greater worry is that the credit crunch will change peoples habits and make them less willing to spend on the very best. Wealthy people may no longer think it’s appropriate to wear $280,000 earrings to events while so many others are losing their jobs. Will the recession force conspicous consumption to end and make people stop buying luxury products all together?

I’m hopeful that the answer is no: if people stay true to themselves and they way that they interpret luxury, they’ll continue to buy what gives them the most pleasure. Thetas will find perfect things for affiliation, and Lambdas will find things that make them feel truly exceptional. Economic conditions may make the luxury buyer’s budget smaller, but if he or she is buying something (like a diamond) that represents love in a relationship, such affection won’t be suppressed by difficult economic times.

You say of this article...

Bookmark and Share

Lesotho Promise

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

One of the world’s largest diamonds sold for over $12m US at auction in Antwerp on Monday. The Lesotho Promise was sold to the South African Diamond Corporation, which is part of the Graff portfolio.

However, even at 603 carats, it is by no means the biggest discovery in history; the Cullinan diamond weighed in at 3106 carats, and the 530 carat Great Star of Africa, which takes pride of place in the Sceptre with the Cross of the British Crown Jewels, approaches in cut weight the uncut weight of the Lesotho Promise.

Even if, as I would argue, new generations of diamond dealers have lost the passion for gemstones held by their forebears, it would be hard to deny that diamonds of this magnitude continue have the power to awe and inspire consumers and industry players alike.

Watch the Lesotho Promise video at Reuters

You say of this article...

Bookmark and Share