Industry & People

OPENINGS

>>?Tapper’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry is opening its third store in Troy, Mich., in early September. 

CLOSINGS

>>?Island Jewelers, located in Oak Harbor, Wash., closed after 37 years on July 2, due to retirement of its owner, Jeff Mack.

>>?The Movado Group closed its retail boutique division effective June 30. However, it will continue to sell through its 31 outlet stores and maintain the Movado Boutique in New York City’s Rockefeller Center as a flagship store. 

 >>?New Zealand chain Michael Hill announced on June 8 it will close eight of the 17 stores it bought from defunct Whitehall Jewelers.

CRIME

>>?A salesman at Fred Meyer Jewelers in Battle Creek, Mich., had an $8,200 diamond ring pulled off his finger on June 12, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. A suspect was later arrested, thanks to an employee who gave a description of the robber’s car.

CHARITIES

>>?James Avery will donate 50 percent of the purchase price of its Dogwood pendant to Boys & Girls Clubs of -America that were damaged by the May flooding in the Nashville area.

COMING AND GOING 

>>?Basant Johari was elected vice president of the New York Diamond Dealers Club. Previously he was chairman of the Club’s Board of Directors. He is the first Indian to hold a top position in the Club. 

Cathy Calhoun

 >>?Humphrey Valenbreder is now head of ABN-AMRO’s International Diamond and Jewelry Group for the Americas and Canada. Valenbreder is taking over for Rob Broedelet, who is working for the bank in Dubai.

>>?The American Gem Society named Cathy Calhoun president of its Board of Directors. Calhoun, owner of Calhoun Jewelers in Royersford, Pa., will hold the title until 2012. She succeeds Mark Moeller

Nicole Lichwick

>>?Women’s Jewelry Association has hired Nicole Lichwick as its first administrative director. Lichwick had been the administrative coordinator of the Jewelry Information Center.

Miles Dowd

>>?Miles Dowd, a 30-year industry sales veteran, has joined Martin Flyer as a sales representative.

 >>?Freddy Hager was elected president of the London Diamond Bourse in June. Harry Levy was appointed vice president.

>>?Gemvara.com, the designer jewelry website, announced on May 27 that Roy Albers has joined the company as VP of operations. Albers previously served as senior VP of operations at Slane & Slane and chief gemologist and VP of gemstone acquisitions for Tiffany & Co

Jim Feibig

>>?Parlé Jewelry Designs announced that former retailer Jim Fiebig is now its colored gemstone sales expert and representative for the Southeast.

>>?Antwerp bourse Diamantclub van Antwerpen held its annual elections in May. Willy Rotti was voted in as president, Philippe Barsamian as vice president, and Thierry Polakiewicz and Michaël Suchowolski as managing directors.

REMEMBERED

Wolfgang Gross

>>?Wolfgang Gross, former president of the Diamantklub Wien (Diamond Club of Vienna), died May 24 of natural causes, just short of his 93rd birthday. Gross served as bourse president from 1972 to 1996.

>>?Adam Virag, 90, of Virag Jewelers in Evanston, Ill., died June 3 in Glenview, Ill., of complications from an infection. Virag played a key role in the D-Day invasion in World War II by testing soldiers’ watches to make sure the timepieces ran properly and were synchronized. 

ASSOCIATIONS

>>?Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America and GE Money are partnering to offer a revolving credit card that will be offered through MJSA retail members nationwide.

 >>?The Kimberley Process has launched a Facebook page, which includes information about its goals, history, and current actions. 

 >>?The Responsible Jewellery Council has appointed STR Responsible Sourcing as the first auditing firm accredited by RJC to verify its members’ business practices. The group said it hopes to announce other firms soon.

 >>?HRD Antwerp, the commercial subsidiary of Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which promotes the Belgian diamond industry, has begun a new trade group, the Belgium HRD Association China, to provide networking opportunities for graduates of HRD Antwerp courses and to improve dialogue between the Belgian and Chinese sectors.

LEGAL

>>?On May 21, Hector Rivera was sentenced to 32 years in prison for leading a robbery and extortion crew that targeted diamond businesses and shipments from midtown Manhattan’s Diamond District. Rivera, who pleaded guilty to the charges, must also forfeit $2.93 million in criminal proceeds.

>>In May, the SEC charged Luis Felipe Perez, president and owner of the defunct Lucky Star Diamonds and Luis Felipe Jewelry Design Corp., in an alleged $40 million Ponzi scheme.

COMPANIES

>>?Rhode Island’s Providence Chain Company was forced into receivership June 7, according to The Providence Journal. RBS Citizens Bank says the company owes it $16 million.

 >>?On May 17, Lazare Kaplan filed suit against various Lloyd’s of London syndicates and European insurers for $640 million, charging the companies failed to pay specified coverage resulting from of the disappearance of insured diamonds.

 >>?The NPD Group announced on June 1 that it had acquired LGI Network, which provides retail point-of-sale information on fine watches and branded jewelry. Huntington, N.Y.–based NPD tracks sales of fashion watches and other accessories. 

International Gem Tower

 >>?The International Gem Tower—the new building under construction on New York City’s West 47th Street (a.k.a. the Diamond District)—was approved as a Foreign Trade Zone by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Tenants will be permitted to import foreign merchandise without Customs entry or the payment of U.S. duties until the goods are sold. No duty will be payable on re-exported goods. 

LABS

>>?Gem Certification & Assurance Lab passed its third annual International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 Audit in April.

 >>?Beginning June 1, the Gemological Institute of America’s lab began offering a color image of the graded diamond on two of its reports. The service is optional and costs an additional $50.

EVENTS

Montego Glover and Chad Kimball

>>?Montego Glover and Chad Kimball, stars of the 2010 Tony-winning Best Musical Memphis, were honored by the Everlon Diamond Knot Collection May 25 at a private dinner in downtown Manhattan. Also in attendance were director Christopher Ashley, writer Joe DiPietro, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo.