2014 Forecast: Ian Harebottle

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Gemfields CEO on robust demand for its coloured gemstones.

As part of Professional Jeweller’s February 2014 issue, we asked leading businesspersons, designers and retailers about their expectations of the year ahead. Gemfields chief executive Ian Harebottle discusses ruby auctions, investment in new technology and the popularity of coloured gems.

Professional Jeweller: How will Gemfields develop in the year ahead?
Ian Harebottle: We are already on a good trajectory in respect of our auctions of rough emeralds and we look forward to the introduction of our first auction of rough rubies during 2014.

PJ: How do you anticipate gemstone prices to develop in 2014?
IH: We continue to experience robust demand for coloured gemstones across all key markets. Our auctions of rough emeralds have shown dramatic price increases, and we expect the desire among consumers seeking gemstones as a store of value in volatile times to remain a feature of 2014.

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PJ: Do you plan to invest in new equipment?
IH: We continually invest in new equipment and infrastructure at our mining operations. This year will also see increased investment in electronic management information systems, as well as a study into the possible use of aerial drones to further improve monitoring of opencast gemstone mining operations.

PJ: Will fashion influence Gemfields’ work this year?
IH: Fashion trends don’t influence the product we bring to market but colour continues to be a popular. Every jeweller or brand we speak to seems to be very excited about adding more red hues to their palettes, so perhaps our first ruby auction might help to establish a new trend.

This Q&A was taken from the February 2014 issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.
 

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