Independent Jewelers Organization Hosts Fall Show in Reno

The Independent Jewelers Organization’s Fall Buying Show in Reno, Nev., held July 13-17, had a registration of 454 member stores, an increase of almost 7% over last year’s figure. Also attending were 42 new member jewelers and 12 guest member stores (two of which joined the group half an hour into the opening ceremony).

Eleven new vendors exhibited for the first time, including A & Z Pearls, Los Angeles, increasing wholesaler participation to 175 companies.

The opening cocktail reception drew “well over 1,000 attendees,” according to IJO chairman Richard Swetz, and another large group turned out for the general session the following morning. Marketing guru Robert Stephenson was the keynote speaker. Traffic on the show floor kept most vendors busy writing orders.

Numerous changes were instituted at this year’s show. Swetz informed members that their annual minimum purchase requirement was increasing, effective immediately, to $35,000, up from $25,000. Swetz also announced a cap on new membership—a departure from a previous decision to cap membership at 1,000 stores. IJO membership will remain at 850 stores, welcoming newcomers only if another jeweler leaves the group.

But new benefits for members also were among IJO’s changes. Group president Jeff Roberts announced a new $500,000 co-op program in cooperation with Overseas Diamonds, Antwerp, Belgium. The first 100 jewelers to buy into the program—for $10,000 of product—will receive $5,000 in co-op funds as long as the retailer matches the amount.

IJO also unveiled a new Web site and brought back a popular floating memo program that sold out at last year’s fall show. A new program sponsored by the Diamond Promotion Service and IJO aims to help jewelers sell more three-stone diamond jewelry, and another new DPS initiative encourages purchases of diamonds of a half-carat or more.

Jewelry trends included top-quality fashion pieces at affordable prices. Striking cuts of vibrantly colored semiprecious stones married with 14k gold were hot at the booth of Van Lachman Styling, Los Angeles. There was also a noticeable increase in fashion diamonds, from fancy cuts set in platinum—such as those from PMI, Dallas—to rough diamond crystals from Commercial Mineral Co., Scottsdale, Ariz. Imperial Pearl, Providence, R.I., noted the popularity of its new Imperial line: top-quality akoya strands with a signature 18k gold barrel clasp. (Imperial recently discontinued the use of freshwater pearls in its collection because of favorable akoya prices.)

Plenty of fun, stylish items were available as well. Sunrise, Fla.-based Cherie Dori’s styles ranged from turquoise and 14k yellow gold to bold designs featuring resin and crystals.

First-time exhibitor Harvest Gold, Center Lovell, Maine, featured “flexible” 14k yellow gold bracelets—”hand-wrought to bring out the tensile strength,” according to co-owner Lynda Rudd. And Long Island City, N.Y.-based Best Opal’s 14k gold and opal inlay creations were popular sellers: According to company vice president David Hertz, “The first two days of sales have been outstanding.” For more information about IJO, call (800) 624-9252.