UpFront

RUSSIA ANNOUNCES MAJOR DIAMOND SUMMIT

Leaders of Russia’s government and diamond industry will convene an unprecedented conference of world diamond leaders June 19. The four-day conference includes a tour of Mirny, a mining area in Sakha Province that was a closely guarded secret until a few years ago.

The conference begins in Moscow with Russian officials outlining their country’s newly expanded role in the diamond world and hosting a tour of diamond offices and polishing plants. Then participants will proceed to Sakha to meet with top provincial officials and tour the mining, sorting and marketing operations of Almazi-Rossi-Sakha (ARS), the agency that controls the mining and sales of Russia’s newly mined diamonds.

Participants will include officials of ARS and Komdragmet, the agency that controls Russia’s diamond and gold stockpiles; De Beers executives; delegates from all of the world’s diamond bourses; and representatives of other diamond producing states.

The conference is important for several reasons:

  • It’s the first time the Russians have hosted a large-scale diamond event on their soil.

  • For the first time, representatives of all major diamond producers (Botswana, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Angola) will be together under one roof.

  • The program could presage some new shift in Russia’s controversial role in today’s diamond industry.

Russia’s diamond hierarchy has come under fire in recent years for large-scale sales of rough diamonds outside of De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation. Some in the industry say this compromises the stability of the world market and undermines producers’ and dealers’ profits. The controversy has grown this year as Russian officials began talks with De Beers on a new five-year sales contract.

Further, the power balance between ARS and Komdragmet is shifting. Komdragmet sold more than $1 billion worth of rough and polished diamonds last year, giving it the upper hand in Russia’s diamond policy. However, ARS’s power grew recently when Komdragmet officials came under fire for allegedly making poor deals with foreign companies.

CURRENCY CONCERNS TOP BASEL TRENDS

The flash of new technology and design, the glint of stainless steel and a rainbow of brilliantly colored dials from the world’s watch giants were enveloped in a fog of currency concerns at the World Watch, Clock and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland. The show ended its eight-day run May 3.

The continuing strength of the Swiss franc vs. the U.S. dollar (which has dropped roughly 23% in value against the franc in the past year) will most likely affect the U.S. retailer in the form of higher manufacturer prices, squeezed profit margins or both, according to exhibitors and retailers at Basel.

At least six larger watch companies raised wholesale prices or cut margins before the show, and exhibitors said those that hadn’t already would likely do so soon afterward. Several vendors compared the economic stress to that faced by Japanese watch companies at last year’s Basel fair. (The yen continues to be strong against the dollar.)

It’s unclear how the pricing pressures evident at the show will affect sales this year. The U.S. remained second – after Hong Kong – in sales of Swiss-made watches last year with a 5.1% increase. Demand fell in Great Britain, Italy and France – all three suffering economic difficulties – but rose in nearly all other major markets. However, the increases were due to higher values placed on watches made in Switzerland; unit sales dropped 3.2% globally.

Despite the talk of currency and price, visitors to Basel were not disappointed by the technical and design trends that punctuate the industry’s leading showcase for watches. Trends seen among the nearly 600 timepiece exhibitors at Basel:

  • More automatics and automatic chronographs in virtually every price range. These include introductions from sport watch lines that previously emphasized the precision of quartz movements.

  • Stainless steel for new models. Whether polished or machine-finished, the metal turned up in cases, bands and bezels everywhere. High-tech titanium also was integral in the design and appeal of many new sport and sporty dress watches.

  • Tonneau, rectangular or other non-round cases.

  • Sport watches with greater water resistance, more use of screw-down crowns and cases, greater bezel functionality and wider use of specific-sport features (golf, diving, boating and flying).

  • Easy-to-change straps and bracelets. This moves a successful feature among fashion watches into the jeweler’s market.

  • The world’s first center-positioned tourbillon on a wristwatch.

  • Chronometers in more popularly priced sport and sport/dress watches.

  • Colorful dials, most notably deep blue. From major sport watch companies to conservative high-end brands, blue was hot. Many companies added a metallic look to basic hues to create a gloss seen more often in higher priced lines.

  • Easy-to-read faces. Bigger numerals, clearer subdials, less clutter.

  • Continued use of limited editions to generate collector interest.

Overall, nearly every watch company that exhibited in Basel introduced new products, many specifically for the U.S. market. Even products not slated for immediate U.S. distribution will affect the look and technology of watches in the U.S. For complete information about these new items, see JCK’s detailed coverage of Basel ’95 in the July issue.

SWATCH PLANS STORES, HIRES NEW AD AGENCY

Swatch plans to open about 100 retail outlets in major markets throughout the U.S. in the next 18 months. The company already operates three stores – two in Manhattan and its largest store in the world on Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass.

The new retail outlets will be a combination of company-owned and franchised operations, says Bill Schoonmaker, director of public relations.

As part of the expansion, Swatch hired two new marketing executives, Randy Kabat and Denise Benou, and named Ogilvy & Mather, New York, as its advertising agency. Ogilvy & Mather will launch print and outdoor advertising campaigns this month and a series of television ads later in the year. Swatch doesn’t make public its advertising budgets, but Advertising Age magazine estimates it at $2 million this year.

Many of the new ads are expected to spotlight Swatch’s role as the official timer of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, its Olympic Collection series and its new all-metal Irony line. The Irony line recently added models with new flexible metal bands.

Some of the ads will feature Dan Jansen, a 1994 Olympic Gold Medal speed skater. Jansen has already made a number of appearances on behalf of Swatch’s Olympic Collections and will help to launch the second of four collections this July. Swatch donates a portion of proceeds from sales of these watches to the International Youth Camp in Atlanta and toward new Olympic facilities in Atlanta.

The recent initiatives follow the company’s consolidation of U.S. distribution to “core accounts,” says Schoonmaker. Swatch watches are now available in 1,500 locations nationwide, down from about 3,000 outlets a few years ago.

Swatch also announced it will soon open a creative office in New York to design watches in collaboration with its main creative office in Milan, Italy. Swatch is a division of Swiss-based SMH Inc.

JEWELERS FAIL DISCLOSURE TEST ON TV PROGRAM

Five Florida jewelers who offered to sell fracture-filled diamonds to a TV reporter without disclosing the treatment earned a black eye on a program in the Miami area in May.

Al Sunshine, the “Shame on You” reporter for CBS affiliate WCIX-TV, worked with GIA-trained advisers to check 36 diamonds from a variety of jewelry stores in the Miami area. Five of the stones turned out to be fracture-filled.

Two of the five jewelers selling the filled stones identified them as treated. “But they didn’t tell us anything else,” Sunshine told JCK. “There was no talk about the durability of the treatment. They figured they’d done all they had to when they said they were fracture-filled. I don’t consider that real integrity.”

The three other jewelers who offered the fracture-filled stones made no mention of the treatment. One in particular annoyed Sunshine. “This guy, the owner of the business, made himself out to be a real diamond expert,” Sunshine said. “He put on a 20-minute show and told us all about the 4C’s. But when we went back to him with a GIA certificate showing the diamond was treated, he said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been snookered.’ Then he told us it wasn’t his fault, that he wasn’t really a jeweler.”

Sunshine also criticized the state for not requiring a person to prove professionalism or to have particular skills to become a jeweler. To prove his point that anyone can become a jeweler, he went to the Dade County Occupational Licensing Bureau where, for $75, he got a license for the “Shame on You Gemological Sales & Appraisals Store.”

“Reporters like me who report on the dark side of an industry aren’t trying to paint with a broad brush and say all jewelers are unqualified,” Sunshine told JCK. “We’re just telling the public things they should know.”

He said that after the show, the TV station received many calls from consumers who wanted to know where to go to check their diamonds. He also said he had about two dozen requests for the Federal Trade Commission’s Guide to Buying Fine Jewelry, which he mentioned on the show.

SHAREHOLDERS REJECT PLAN TO BREAK UP SIGNET

A proposal to break up the Signet Group, the London company that owns Sterling Inc., the second largest U.S. jeweler, was defeated in a special meeting of shareholders in London May 5.

The proposal had the support of U.S. preference shareholders, who are owed some $100 million in unpaid dividends, and some of their British counterparts. When the voting shares were counted, however, 203.8 million (72%) had been cast against the proposal, with 78.8 million in favor. Almost 70% of Signet’s total 414 million shares were cast.

About 250 people – representing preference and ordinary shareholders, company officials and the press – attended the 90-minute meeting at a London hotel. “The overwhelming majority of shareholders agreed with the board that the resolution wasn’t in their interests,” Signet Chairman James McAdam said after the vote. Laurence Cooklin, Signet’s No. 2 man and Sterling’s interim chief executive since Nathan R. Light resigned in February, was unavailable for comment.

Spokesmen for the U.S. preference shareholders had no immediate comment. They were expected to meet later in May.

Financial position: Signet posted a $12.7 million profit for the fiscal year that ended in January, reversing several years of losses. However, the company still carries debt of about $575 million.

Shareholders haven’t been paid since January 1993; payments can’t be made to ordinary shareholders until preference shareholders are paid. On March 30, fund managers representing the U.S. preference shareholders formally requested an “extraordinary general meeting” to vote on sale of Signet’s assets in the United Kingdom and/or the U.S. These assets include Sterling in the U.S. and the H Samuel and Ernest Jones jewelry chains in Great Britain.

Shareholders had until May 3 to send their proxy votes to the company. Before the vote, both sides pressed their case with the company’s ordinary stockholders. The dissident shareholders, led by the UK Active Value Fund, a British institutional investment company, offered to waive much of what they are owed in back dividends and capital. This would have increased the amount ordinary shareholders would have received from a sale of any Signet divisions.

In addition, the preference shareholders on May 1 issued an open letter criticizing the board for offering no alternative solutions to their proposal to break up the company. They called the board’s promise to restructure Signet “a vague promise” that could have an adverse effect on ordinary stockholders.

Signet, on the other hand, sent two letters explaining in detail why it opposed the “ill-conceived and uncommercial” proposal. In effect, the letters said the company is returning to profitability and growing in value. Forcing it into “what amounts to an eight-week public fire sale” would erode that value and damage the confidence of lenders, vendors and staff.” A failed sale would be even worse, “making capital reconstruction impractical.”

Issues remain: The meeting was civil and included statements from representatives of preference and ordinary shareholders, said observers. But the directors and McAdam didn’t directly address the issue that sparked the meeting in the first place – the unpaid dividends. They said only that they are aware of Signet’s obligation to shareholders and that they sympathize with the shareholders, especially the ordinary shareholders.

McAdam and the directors repeated their commitment to “the principal of capital reconstruction” of Signet, but didn’t say when it might begin or what it might include. McAdam did say there will be “no sacred cows.” According to a spokesperson, that means Signet will consider the sale of some operations – if the price is right. Observers say that is unlikely until Signet has increased its value and goes through reconstruction.

At least two British companies – Argos, a catalog firm, and The Goldsmiths Group, a smaller retail jewelry competitor – have expressed interest in acquiring some or all of Signet. (McAdam told stockholders that as of May 5, the board had received no firm offers.)

Meanwhile, the search continues for a permanent replacement for Nathan Light, former president and chief executive officer of Sterling (see “Sterling Loses Guiding Light,” JCK, April 1995, page 15).

Cooklin was unavailable for comment on the implications of the May 5 vote on Sterling’s operations. However, a Signet spokesman said the vote would have no effect on day-to-day operations “other than to remove a tremendous amount of uncertainty for suppliers and staff.”

– by William George Shuster

GEM DEALER SUES CARTIER OVER DAMAGED SAPPHIRE

A Boston-area gem dealer has sued Cartier, alleging the luxury jeweler damaged a kashmir sapphire ring he had consigned 2 1/2 years ago.

Fred Feldmesser of Middlesex, Mass., says in a suit filed in Massachusetts Superior Court the 4.76-ct. sapphire in the ring was “completely free of any external scratches or flaws” when he left it with Cartier to sell for $105,000. When he asked Cartier to return the ring two years later, according to the suit, the stone’s table “was severely abraded.” Feldmesser alleges that Cartier’s staff wore the ring during the consignment: “They were very careless because the damage couldn’t have happened any other way.”

Feldmesser says that violates the Uniform Commercial Code because the ring wasn’t returned in the same condition. He seeks the $105,000 retail price of the ring plus damages and legal fees.

Cartier attorney Neal Gordon calls the suit “crazy” and denies that Cartier was careless with the ring.

Andrew Fischer of Boston, attorney for Feldmesser, acknowledges Cartier offered to have the sapphire repolished, but he says that would completely alter it. “It will lose some of its weight, and it could change all of the angles required to to make this a well-cut sapphire,” he says.

NEW COLLECTION OFFERS 50 WAYS TO SAY FOREVER

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon says there are “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” De Beers would rather you stay together.

“Fifty Ways to Say Forever” is the theme of a new advertising campaign and jewelry collection launched by the Diamond Promotion Service of N.W. Ayer & Partners, De Beers’ U.S. agency.

The collection will be introduced at the JCK International Jewelry Show, June 9-12 in Las Vegas. Pieces were selected from several hundred submissions by U.S. diamond jewelry manufacturers. They were judged for fashion and salability by a panel consisting of Esther Fortunoff of Fortunoff; Hollie Welch of Vogue magazine; Johanna Trotter of Carlyle & Co. Jewelers; John A. Green of Lux, Bond & Green; Mark Moeller of R.F. Moeller; Nancy Sindt of National Jeweler; Lorraine DePasque of Modern Jeweler; and Hedda Schupak of JCK.

“The primary objective with this collection is to increase the desire for diamond jewelry among women through advertising, and to encourage consumers to buy the pieces through their local retail jeweler,” says Jim Haag, senior vice president and senior partner of N.W. Ayer & Partners.

The collection will be featured in an eight-page booklet to be inserted in the November/December issues of high-profile national consumer magazines such as Vogue, People and Vanity Fair. An estimated 20 million consumers and potential customers will see the collection during this time.

Beginning in June, consumers who call the 800 number listed in the 1995 De Beers Women’s Diamond Jewelry national print advertisements will receive an advance copy of the booklet. Retailers may obtain a copy at the Diamond Promotion Service booths at the JCK Show (K13-17 and L12-16). They also will have a chance to vote for their favorite piece in the collection and win a trip for two to London.

AURAFIN TO ACQUIRE WILLIAM SCHNEIDER

Michael Gusky, president and CEO of Aurafin Corporation, announced an agreement in principle to acquire certain assets of William Schneider Inc.

Aurafin of Sunrise, Fla., is a leading supplier of karat gold jewelry; William Schneider of Miami manufactures gemstone jewelry.

Gusky noted that “Schneider’s customer base and products are a good fit for Aurafin, and an opportunity for our manufacturing division to produce gemstone jewelry.”

Frank Dallahan, president and CEO of William Schneider, added, “Schneider’s reputation for prompt service and quality will be continued and enhanced under the Aurafin banner. Aurafin’s financial strength and marketing expertise will allow William Schneider to realize its growth potential.”

The transaction was expected to be completed promptly.

ZALE SALES UP SHARPLY; STOCK CLEANING GOES ON

Zale Corp. reported a 15.1% increase in comparable-store sales for the third quarter ended April 30. Total sales for the quarter were $192 million, a gain of 15% from $167 million in the same quarter of last year.

Sales for the nine months totaled $825 million, a 14.6% gain from $720 million the year before. Comparable-stores sales were up 14.4%.

Robert J. DiNicola, chairman and chief executive, attributed the higher sales to increased productivity resulting from improvement in merchandise content, selling skills and overall marketing. “During the quarter, we also successfully stepped up efforts to clear aged and problematic merchandise, which we will continue to do for the remainder of the year,” he added.

DiNicola said that while he’s pleased with overall performance, “we remain focused on increasing market share and positioning the company for both short- and long-term growth.”

As of April 20, Zale operated 1,180 jewelry stores and leased departments in the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.

JEWELER CLEARED IN WIFES SHOOTING DEATH

A jeweler in Franklin Park, N.J., who fatally shot his wife during a robbery of their jewelry store, won’t be charged in her death. The Somerset County prosecutor said the shooting was accidental. However, a local dentist who allegedly helped to plan the robbery has been charged with murder, robbery and possession of a weapon, according to published reports.

The incident occurred March 14 when three people posing as delivery men entered Jeffrey Scott Fine Jewelers. One of them jumped over the counter and knocked down the wife of owner Jeffrey Wolf. The jeweler pulled a gun from beneath a counter and fired six times. The assailant was hit four times and Wolf’s wife was hit once. Wolf initially told police one of the robbers shot his wife, but ballistics tests found the bullet came from Wolf’s gun and that the assailant’s semiautomatic handgun hadn’t been fired, according to published reports.

At press time, four men had been arrested and a fifth was being sought. One of those arrested was Harry Insabella, a dentist who lives a few miles from the store. Police said Insabella had bought and sold jewelry at the jewelry store and knew the victims. Also arrested was Marquis Kennon of Kansas City, Kan., the robber who was shot and who collapsed outside the store as he tried to flee. The other two robbers were identified only as Robert L. Williams and Michael W. Gunhse, both of Missouri and both arrested in early April. The fifth man allegedly is a friend of the dentist and is also wanted in connection with two Kansas robberies.

DEPUTIES FOIL GEM THEFT

Two sheriff’s deputies on their way to lunch foiled a $1.5 million jewel theft following a high-speed chase, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.

The two lawmen – Sgt. Edward Thompson and Lt. David Hanks – were approaching an intersection when they saw two men with black cases running from a car. The thieves jumped into a gray van that sped away, sideswiping other vehicles along the way.

The chase ended when the van crashed into a fence and trees on a dead-end street. Five men in the van fled, leaving cases of pearls, rubies, emeralds and diamonds that reportedly belonged to a jeweler from North Carolina who was in a nearby store at the time. No one had been arrested at press time.

MIXED VERDICT RETURNED IN TIFFANY ROBBERY CASE

A Tiffany loss prevention supervisor was acquitted of planning a $1.9 million theft of the luxury jeweler on Labor Day weekend 1994, but found guilty of planning the 1992 robbery of a Tiffany executive that netted $750,000.

The verdict against Scott Jackson, 32, came as a surprise because prosecutors had focused their case on the 1994 theft, the largest in Tiffany’s history. But a New York State Supreme Court jury in Manhattan instead found him guilty on April 19 of robbing a Tiffany merchandising coordinator in a building where she had taken jewelry to be photographed for a catalog, according to news reports. Jackson was convicted of second-degree robbery and could serve up to 15 years in prison.

Two people have pleaded guilty in the 1994 theft: Mark Klass, 30, Jackson’s cousin, and Mark Bascom, 27, a former Tiffany guard. Both were witnesses for the prosecution against Jackson, alleging he recruited them for the 1994 theft. Another Jackson cousin still faces trial in the 1994 theft.

“Tiffany & Co. believes the cause of justice has been served by the conviction of Scott Jackson for the 1992 holdup of a Tiffany employee,” according to a company statement. But Bascomb and Klass implicated Jackson as the planner of the 1994 robbery and “we are understandably astounded by his acquittal for this crime.”

WORLD GOLD COUNCIL DETAILS FALL TRENDS

Variety will be the key word for gold jewelry this fall, according to the World Gold Council. The council’s Fall 1995 Gold Merchandise Directions brochure identifies nearly 300 items ranging from $17 to $4,800 wholesale from more than 150 manufacturers and designers, many new to this issue.

“There is a great variety of new gold jewelry designs this season, from updated classic styles to more detailed designer pieces,” says Christine Yorke, the council’s merchandise manager. Here are the top trends the Council sees for fall:

  • Garden inspired, including realistic and abstract interpretations of flowers, leaves, animals and insects in 14k and 18k gold.

  • Romantic jewelry, including bows and hearts, ribbon designs and lace. Also popular will be cameos and intaglios fashioned into all types of gold jewelry, as well as celestial motifs.

  • Texture, especially florentine, matte, hammered and other finishes.

  • Charms and pendants. Dangles offer versatility and value. They also update a wardrobe when hung from a necklace, bracelet, pin or earrings.

  • Button earrings. A staple in every woman’s gold jewelry wardrobe, on-the-ear styles are perfect for day-into-evening wear. Newest are button earrings with removable drops.

  • Links, a classic every season, will feature beads or stations incorporated into the design in necklace/bracelet combinations. Also look for new finishes and textures on traditional styles.

The Gold Merchandise Directions brochure will be launched at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas June 9-12. Retailers are invited to visit the WGC booth to view the merchandise and pick up a copy to use as a buying guide for the show.

“The brochure has become recognized as an extremely valuable shopping tool,” says Yorke. “It enables retailers to preselect merchandise and develop a list of vendors they want to see at the show.” Vendors featured in previous brochures have told the council they get visits from an average of 12 new buyers and open six new accounts as a result of the exposure.

World Gold Council, 900 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022; (212) 688-0005, fax (212) 371-5466.

JA & PRATT PREPARE FOR DEGREE PROGRAMS

Jewelers of America and Pratt Institute have completed plans to offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in jewelry management and design. The programs, first announced in mid-1994, will be ready to accept students for fall 1996 enrollment at Pratt, located in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pratt Institute specializes in design, art, architecture and engineering. It has offered a bachelor’s degree in jewelry in the past, but the new programs developed in conjunction with JA are the first to offer specialized degrees in jewelry design and management of a jewelry business.

The objectives, outlined in a recent letter of agreement between JA and Pratt, are:

  • To establish New York state certified bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Jewelry Business Studies and Jewelry Design.

  • To establish a Jewelry Computer Design Lab, exposing students to the latest jewelry design technology.

  • To establish a Gem Identification Lab, enabling students to study the properties of gemstones and learn about gemstone grading.

  • To devise recruitment strategies targeted at a diverse body of students at every level of the jewelry industry.

  • To provide enrolled students with credit for courses completed at the Gemological Institute of America and for professional experience.

  • To create rotating internships offered in the junior and senior years of the bachelor’s degree program so students can gain hands-on field experience.

  • To develop program training sites – in cooperation with other education institutions across the country – where students can complete liberal arts courses toward a baccalaureate degree before traveling to Pratt for specialized jewelry training.

“The establishment of accredited degree programs will transform the jewelry industry from a trade to a profession,” says JA Chairman Michael D. Roman. “Consumers will see their jewelers as professionals they can trust and that will keep them coming back. Ultimately, it will lead to increased sales and a healthier and more respected jewelry community regionally, nationally and internationally.”

WORKING WOMAN MAGAZINE HONORS AYA AZRIELANT

Aya Azrielant, president of Andin International and designer of a signature 18k gold jewelry collection, was recently named one of the top 50 women business owners in America by Working Woman magazine. It was the first time a woman in the jewelry industry received the accolade.

Working Woman called her “Aya Azrielant, Good as Gold.” The Israeli-born designer and her husband, Ofer, established Andin International in 1981 after emigrating to the United States. Since then, the New York City company has grown to become one of the nation’s largest private-label jewelry manufacturers with annual sales of $150 million.

The Aya Azrielant Collection of 18k gold jewelry was introduced two years ago and now is sold in upscale department and specialty stores throughout the U.S. and in Israel, France and Japan.

NEW SHOW PLANNED IN ATLANTIC CITY

The East Coast will get a new regional trade show next year with the debut of the International Jewelry Exposition May 19-21 in the Atlantic City Convention Center.

IJE, in the planning stages for more than a year, will be sponsored by Modern Jeweler magazine and managed by Best Trade Shows Inc., an exposition management company in Atlantic City. Timothy Murphy, publisher of Modern Jeweler, says organizers expect about 700 booths and at least 3,000 buyers the first year. (In 1997, the show will move to a new convention center now under construction in the New Jersey gaming and shore city.)

For information, call (800) 344-6301.

NEWS BRIEFS

Banice Bazar, chairman and chief executive, announced that IPS Inc. (doing business as Imperial Pearl Syndicate) and Deltah Inc. (formerly Pearls by Deltah) have merged. The new corporation will be known as Imperial-Deltah Inc. All personnel and officers will remain in place, with no change of address, phone or fax numbers. Deltah was founded in 1898 and Imperial Pearl Syndicate in 1929. Both were divisions of Bazar Inc. Sales Co., as is the new corporation.

Jerry Madison, owner and founder of Jerry Madison Jewelry, who sold his company to OroAmerica Inc. last year, left the firm effective April 28. Shiu Shao, OroAmerica senior vice president, confirmed Madison’s departure. All other questions were referred to Madison, who could not be reached for comment by press time. Shao said that Madison’s duties “would be covered by other members of the current staff.”

QVC Inc. and Home Shopping Network reportedly will launch interactive shopping services on MSN, The Microsoft Network. Microsoft’s online service is expected to debut in August along with shipment of the new Microsoft Windows 95 operating system.

CORRECTIONS

An article in the May 1995 issue (page 124) gave incorrect dates for the 16th Annual Antique and Period Jewelry & Gemstone Course. The course will be held July 19-23 at the University of Maine in Orono. For more information, see the story or contact Joyce Jonas & Associates Inc. at (212) 535-2479, fax (212) 988-0721.

An article on page 261 of the April 1995 issue listed some incorrect starting dates for courses offered by the Gemological Institute of America. The Graduate Jeweler program at GIA’s Santa Monica campus will start Aug. 24 and Oct. 5. There is no G.J. program at the New York City campus.

The cover photo on JCK’s April Open To Buy issue included a ring designed by Scott Anthony Gauthier of Scottsdale, Ariz. That ring received a third prize in the 1995 Spectrum Awards competition, not an honorable mention, as stated.

A caption on page 82 of the May 1995 issue listed the incorrect price for a pair of blue and yellow gold earrings by Steven Kretchmer of Los Angeles. The correct suggested retail price is $3,500.