Emeralds from Gemfields
Coloured gemstone specialist Gemfields wants to capitalise on digital initiatives across its gem and finished jewellery operations to sustain business amid the coronavirus crisis.
In particular, the group is looking at online auctions of gemstones as well as increased digital presence for its fine jewellery arm, Fabergé.
Gemfields said the Covid-19 pandemic heavily affected its financial results in the first half of 2020, with group-wide revenues plummeting by 83 per cent from the same period in 2019.
With travel, quarantine and other restrictions still in place, Gemfields was not able to host its planned gemstone auctions except for a February 2020 sale of commercial-quality emeralds in Lusaka, which yielded US$11.4 million.
Auctions originally scheduled for May, June and August 2020 were all cancelled.
All but critical operations at its ruby mine in Mozambique and emerald mine in Zambia are suspended but the group has enough inventory for a mixed-quality ruby sale; and one auction each for higher-quality and commercial-quality emeralds, respectively.
“Due to the ongoing levels of uncertainty, Gemfields is unable to provide reliable guidance as to when it might be able to next host auctions or generate meaningful revenue from gemstone sales,” said Sean Gilbertson, CEO of Gemfields. “Work on an online auction platform is nearing completion, but this approach would still require in-person viewings of the gemstones by our clients.”
At Fabergé, the group is eyeing to mitigate the impact of the crisis on its physical retail outlets by increasing its digital presence, with a greater focus on social media platforms.
“Coloured gemstones set in fine jewellery collections will remain at the heart of the campaign, allowing Fabergé to seek and utilise synergies with Gemfields’ marketing and to continue to promote the brand’s tagline: A Life in Colour,” the group continued.