Salutes, Hellos, Farewells

The year end and the season of goodwill to all are upon us. So it’s fitting, once again, to look back over the months since Jan. 1 and recognize those who by moving up, moving on, moving out or other various newsworthy actions became part of the year’s headlines.

To start on a high note, congratulations to two men who have contributed greatly to our business over the years &endash; Lee Berg of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelers in Baton Rouge, La., and Matt Stuller of Stuller Settings in Lafayette, La. &endash; each of whom was honored with an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 1995, and most appropriately so.

A tip of the hat to Herb Lewis, Allison Kaufman’s high-profile senior citizen, who continues to turn out as a hardy second baseman for the LA Dodgers’ oldtimers dream team. He’s an inspiration to all those still shy of their 80th birthday.

While we’re on the subject of old-timers, congratulations to Neiman Marcus’s legendary Stanley Marcus who, on the eve of his 90th birthday, delivered a provocative and entertaining talk at last April’s AGS Conclave in Phoenix.

To Dennis Foltz, GIA’s education and computer guru, best wishes for a full return to good health. His head-on fight with cancer and determination to lick it are further inspiration to us all.

To Harold Tivol, Joel Windman and the many men and women who worked with such dedication on JVC’s Appraisal Task Force. The result of their work, reported on in this issue, should and hopefully will go a long way to rid retail jewelry of misleading, bad or outright deceptive appraisal practices.

To Terry Burman who, in a surprise move, left the helm at Barry’s Jewelers to take over as CEO at Sterling. He follows a distinguished and outspoken predecessor, Nate Light, and joins the top of the jewelry league at a challenging time.

The year 1995 may very possibly go down in industry history as The Year of Association Change. It’s time to welcome new faces at a number of key groups, among them Matt Runci as the new chief executive at Jewelers of America, Lynn Ramsey as president of the Jewelry Information Center, Pat O’Rourke as head of the California Jewelers Association and Jim Marquart as president of the Manufacturing Jewelers & Silversmiths of America. We’ll also soon be seeing a new head of the New York State Jewelers Association, where veteran Manny Fuchs has stepped down.

We’re very lucky to have a sharp new group of leaders taking over these jobs. Seldom in recent history have the industry’s many associations faced such need to strive for new ways to meet members’ wants and demands.

In talking of associations, a special hail and farewell has to go to Mike Roman. His 20 or so years as head of JA were among its most exciting and prosperous &endash; and, at times, controversial. Mike’s most lasting legacy has to be JA’s deep commitment to improving jewelers’ professionalism through sustained continuing education.

To Barnett Helzberg for having the wisdom to know the time was right to sell &endash; and for finding a deep-pocketed new owner for his stores in Warren Buffett. The industry will miss Barnett’s strong and honest voice.

Sadly, during the year we lost some fine men. Morris B. Zale died and the industry’s sympathy and goodwill went out to his family. If ever a man earned the right to be called a living legend, Morris Zale was such a man. His name will always be a jewelry landmark. Sir Philip Oppenheimer also died. Though his life and work were remote from the day-to-day concerns of the American jeweler, he had a huge impact on the diamond business worldwide through his work at De Beers and the CSO. We also said goodbye to Durward Howes III, the scion of a distinguished jewelry family who in his day was a moving force in jewelry retailing and in the JA, where he was president in the mid 1960s.

To Team Zale, led by Robert DiNicola and Larry Pollock, for bringing new life and higher sales to jewelry’s No. 1 chain.

In a year when crime hit so many, special kudos to John Kennedy of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance for helping to protect so many more by providing them with timely advice and information.

Finally, to our loyal friends, subscribers and advertisers (hopefully some are all three) and to all who know they deserve them, good wishes from all of us at JCK to all of you for a fine and prosperous end to the old year and great good fortune in the new one.