Retail Roundup: Week of Sept. 10

News and noise from the jewelry retail front.

Cult-favorite luxury jeweler Munnu Kasliwal dies

Munnu Kasliwal, owner of the India-based Gem Palace jewelry company, succumbed to brain cancer in his native Jaipur on Aug. 23. Kasliwal and his business never had the brand-name hype of a Cartier or Harry Winston, but collectors of his work include royals, sheiks, socials, and celebrities such as Nicole Kidman—who once wore a Kasliwal necklace on the cover of Vogue. Gem Palace is now in its eighth generation of family ownership (it was founded in 1852), and is famous for its detailed enameling and intricate designs, which are largely inspired by the Mughal era.

Dubai manufacturer and retailer expands in Sri Lanka

Pure Gold Jewellers, a Dubai-based jewelry manufacturer and retailer, is expanding into one of the most gem-rich regions of the world: Sri Lanka. The company will invest $50 million to set up a chain of 30 retail stores, from mall-based outlets to freestanding locales, in the country. The company also wants to base its wholesale gold business in Sri Lanka, and will likely launch a series of manufacturing facilities. It already operates two manufacturing facilities in India, and one in China. The first Sri Lankan location will open in Colombo, the country’s largest city.

Shreve, Crump & Low pays out $15,000 in back wages to former employees

Boston-based jewelry chain Shreve, Crump & Low has been ordered to pay 12 ex-employees roughly $15,000 in back wages over a two-year period following a federal investigation into the company’s pay practices. The company has been under investigation by the Department of Labor for months, after the group of former employees alleged that executives never paid out on promised commissions and failed to pay overtime.

Alex and Ani donates $1 million to Rhode Island College

Rhode Island-based jewelry company Alex and Ani—famous for its stackable charm bracelets which were a hit with Olympic athletes this past summer—announced Tuesday that it will donate $1 million to Rhode Island College, paid in $100,000 increments annually over 10 years. The college will name its $17 million art center, currently under construction, Alex and Ani Hall. Though the jewelry company is known to support Rhode Island causes, CEO Giovanni Feroci admits that its largesse is not entirely selfless. “The catalyst for the gift was [college] President Carriuolo’s passion and vision for Rhode Island College,” he said in a statement. “We also recognized that RIC’s jewelry program, together with our company’s need for a well-trained workforce, is a collaboration that would be of benefit to both entities.”

JCK Magazine Editor