UpFront

Almost done. The Basel Fair organization in Switzerland is investing some 300 million Swiss francs to upgrade the infrastructure of its fairgrounds. At the heart of the plan is a new, two-story convention hall complex (shown here) replacing most of “Building 1,” site of the watch segment of the annual international Basel Watch & Jewelry Fair, the largest in the world. The new facility has 36,000 square meters of exhibition space and is fitted with new technology. It was due to be completed this month, in time for Basel 99 (April 29 -May 6). Next on Basel’s agenda are construction of a new 20-story administration building and hotel as well as redesign of the fair grounds.

JA Launches Course on Gem Treatments

Jewelers of America has unveiled a two-hour course on the basics of gem treatment and how to discuss them with customers. “The main purpose,” says Bev Hori, JA’s director of education, “is to teach people how to present positive gemstone disclosure over the counter.”

Called “Nothing to Hide,” the new course was announced at the JA Show in New York City in January. It was developed by Hori and David Peters, JA’s new manager of educational development, in cooperation with the American Gem Trade Association. It includes JA study guides, workbooks, a video, and two brochures (“Gemstone Enhancements: What You Should Know” and “The Gemstone Enhancement Manual”) provided by AGTA. The program can be completed either as self-study or in training sessions, conducted by the store manager.

“Nothing to Hide” grew out of recommendations last year by JA’s gemstone enhancement task force for better tools to present treatment to the public, including training sales associates. However, stresses Hori, it is not intended to replace or compete with formal gemological training.

“This is specifically designed to encourage positive enhancement disclosure over the sales counter,” she says, “by teaching salespeople how to talk about it in ways that help make a sale and comply with [Federal Trade Commission] rules on disclosure.”

For more information, contact JA at 1185 Avenue of the Americas, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10036; (800) 223-0673.