De Beers exploring recycled diamond market

De Beers Group is getting into the recycled diamond business and testing the waters with a newly created initiative.

Based in New York City, International Institute of Diamond Valuation (IIDV) operates with a small number of retailers.

The program—which started last month and is slated to run into the beginning of 2015—is designed to provide better insight on the scale of consumer re-selling activity and the experience of doing so, particularly as it relates to the lasting value benefit of diamond ownership.

“The practice of consumers looking to sell back their diamonds isn’t new,” says Tom Montgomery, De Beers Group’s senior vice-president of strategic initiatives.

“For the vast majority of people, a diamond is something they keep hold of forever and never look to sell. However, for reasons such as death, divorce, or financial distress, some people will always look to re-sell their diamonds. Some retailers have expressed reservations, however, about how the current re-selling experience could impact consumers’ views on diamond equity in the long term. We believe the only way to gain a true understanding of diamond re-selling activity by consumers is to run this small-scale program to assess how re-selling has developed, how it might evolve, and how it impacts upon consumer perceptions of diamonds.”

For a closer look at the recycled diamond market, see “Street-mined: Making sense of off-the-street diamonds” in the August 2014 issue of Jewellery Business.

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Citizen develops new global brand campaign

Citizen has launched ‘Better Starts Now,’ a new global brand campaign.

Created in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy, ‘Better Starts Now’ is designed around the idea that it is always possible to make something better and now is the time to start doing it.

“We believe ‘better’ and ‘now’ are both infinite, and that there is always a next ‘better’ and a new ‘now’ in which you can start pursuing it,” Citizen said in a press release.

“It was clear from the onset of this project that we are dedicated to this ideal… not to the past, but to the present, and all the ways we can improve it.”

The campaign includes a new global Citizen brand movie, identity, and website. The movie takes place at a single Citizen workstation and highlights the company’s design innovations over the years. Crews shot the movie using a camera appropriate for the year in which the innovation is being portrayed—from historical black and white footage taken on a 1930’s hand-cranked 35-mm model to the saturated footage of a 1980’s VHS.

‘Better Starts Now’ will be integrated in all markets globally, as well as major sponsoring events, such as the U.S. Tennis Open and the World Figure Skating Championships.

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Freeze frame (Part 6)

Is your video surveillance system up to par?

Part 6 of 6

By Spike Anderson

Wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras can be ideal for store entrances to avoid bright outdoor light and dimmer light inside the store, which creates backlit silhouettes in the video feed. Photo courtesy Axis Communications

Video security systems have become much easier to use in recent years, but selecting the right cameras and installing them properly takes some expertise. Since jewellers must safeguard small items that are extremely valuable, it may be wise to consult with an you get the best system for the space. Here are a few more points if you’re considering installing a camera system.

Frame your shot

Isolate high-importance areas of your space, such as open display cases of valuable merchandise, and commit a camera to identify any persons in that area. Too often, only cameras producing wide-angle shots over a large area are deployed. These are useful to generate an overall picture of the store and of customer movements, but they are of little use to identify specific people.

Install enough cameras or the right ones

One of the most common mistakes is using too few cameras to cover an area. When the goal is to get an identification shot of every person entering the store, dedicate a camera to the entrance that will deliver a head-and-shoulders shot. And again, if the door faces outside, consider a WDR camera that can compensate for the backlit conditions. Technologies like 360-degree view IP cameras, covert digital cameras, and HDTV/megapixel cameras can actually cover more space when installed properly.

Be wise about megapixels

Bigger isn’t always better when selecting camera resolution. Most situations simply do not require massive resolution. Installing HDTV-standard cameras—which follow the same international broadcast TV standards governing the entertainment industry for colour reproduction, resolution, widescreen aspect ratio, and frame rate—is a wise choice. An HDTV 720p camera is roughly equal to 1 megapixel (MP), while 1080p produces 2 MP. The distance between the camera and the object you’re trying to see determines how many pixels are required for a usable image. The smaller that distance, the less resolution you’ll need to create a great picture. A general rule for identification is 80 pixels ear-to-ear on a person. So avoid the lure of six or 10 megapixel cameras—buying them is simply overkill for almost all retail situations. In fact, if certain factors line up, sometimes even VGA resolution (640×480) delivers enough pixels on target for your application. So if you want high-definition video, look for the HDTV designation, but consider working with a security integrator to determine the resolution that works best for your specific installation.

Plan for the future

Networked IP camera systems are especially valuable because they can easily grow and adapt to changing business conditions. An IP camera can be added to a store more easily and quickly than was true in the old analog days. And since IP is a standard and common format running on a software backbone, upgrades and future analytic installations require a mere system update, not a rip and replace. Since these cameras are really computers that can ‘see,’ the functionality they offer is expandable and customizable as new software comes on the market.

Jewellery retailers face unique challenges. Among the most significant is the fact the items they sell are small and highly valuable, making it even more critical to have a high-quality and comprehensive security camera solution in place. Coupled with video monitoring and analytics software, modern IP cameras installed in sufficient numbers and positioned for optimal coverage can help law enforcement officials make an arrest after a robbery. They can also proactively alert store owners to avoid theft in the first place.

Read the full article: Freeze frame

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Freeze frame (Part 5)

Is your video surveillance system up to par?

Part 5 of 6

By Spike Anderson

Jewellery stores employ bright lights to highlight merchandise, but reflections from glass cases can cause some kinds of cameras to underexpose a frame, creating video that is too dark to be usable. To address this, retailers can install wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras. Photo courtesy Axis Communications

Smaller jewellery stores typically deploy fewer than six analog cameras connected to a DVR. In most cases, the retailer selects these systems because the price is attractive, even though they often deliver low-quality video and, with so few cameras, insufficient coverage of the space. DVRs can also be prone to maintenance issues and failure. Not only is it an expense to maintain, it can mean your system is out of commission while the DVR is replaced.

While IP cameras may seem more expensive compared to their analog counterparts, they have become very cost-effective in recent years. Not many years ago, an IP system would have only been more cost-effective when 32 cameras or greater were required. Today, HDTV-quality IP cameras, new storage options, and off-the-shelf hardware components used for network video have all decreased drastically in price. This makes the use of IP in small systems (up to 16 cameras) a reality, while delivering the benefits of better image quality, increased functionality, intuitive management, and better scalability.

When price is a significant factor, cameras with on-board memory are an effective solution. Built-in SD memory card slots turn each camera into individual recorders. Depending on image quality and frame rates selected, a 16 GB SD card can deliver high-definition storage at a cost of about $30 per camera.

Cameras act as a deterrent to thieves, and can be used to help law enforcement make an arrest when a theft occurs. Equipment costs for an average retail location are manageable, and the hardware outlay can be largely offset by preventing even one significant jewellery theft.

More to come of this story in Part 6.

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Freeze frame (Part 4)

Is your video surveillance system up to par?

Part 4 of 6

By Spike Anderson

An IP camera is essentially a computer that can ‘see,’ so its video can offer applications, such as intelligent video, easy remote monitoring, and use of mobile devices. Photo courtesy Axis Communications

Utilizing a digital video feed can also provide jewellery retailers access to intelligent video through analytics, which turn video into a proactive tool to mitigate risks in real time, as opposed to reactive uses, such as witnessing a crime after it has occurred. Software inside the camera and VMS platform allows camera systems to think. Instead of simply recording security video, the system can, for instance, measure how many people enter and exit the store on any given day, allowing better management of staffing requirements. In addition, wait times at the checkout counter can be assessed. Retailers can also look at loitering hot spots and understand where customers and employees congregate. Loitering is often considered a pre-cursor to crime. More innocently, though, it could indicate a customer who has a question about your product. In any case, video analytics can help alert staff or security personnel to a situation requiring their attention.

More to come of this story in Part 5.

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Freeze frame (Part 3)

Is your video surveillance system up to par?

Part 3 of 6

By Spike Anderson

For surveillance in a retail environment, consider an all-IP system with highdefinition, intelligent network cameras connected to modern analytic software, and video management software (VMS). Photo courtesy Axis Communications

Jewellery stores employ bright lights to highlight merchandise, however, reflections from glass cases can cause lower-end cameras to underexpose the scene, creating video that is too dark to be usable. To address this, retailers can install wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras. These capture two or more full-frame snapshots of the scene at different exposures—some overexposed, some underexposed, and some in the middle. The processing power in the IP camera combines multiple exposures in real time to deliver properly exposed images.

WDR cameras are also ideal for store entrances. In a scenario similar to the glare from glass cases, bright outdoor light and dimmer light inside the store results in backlit silhouettes in the video feed. These are of little use for identification. WDR cameras can handle this dynamic range and deliver usable video images. Conversely, other areas, such as back rooms and hallways, are often dimly lit. Installing special low-light IP cameras in these areas can produce high-quality colour images in near darkness.

More to come of this story in Part 4.

Read the full article: Freeze frame

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