December 2013

2014: The Year in Preview

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Proud 1920s Cartier Peacock Brooch Fetches $870,000

Has there ever been a prouder peacock? Commissioned from Cartier by an unnamed royal in 1924, this pin was the piece du jour at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale Oct. 7. The bejeweled bird would seem to fit right in with Cartier’s iconic animal oeuvre, but in the ’20s, the house…

Bridal: Diamond Tiaras Go Global & More

Wedding Bands and (Bull)rings With roots in Madrid, it’s no ­wonder Carrera y Carrera is influenced by the Spanish tradition of bullfighting. Its 5-year-old Ruedo collection of fashion-forward fine jewelry incorporates designs like rope braids, beads, and scalloped accents reminiscent of components in a matador’s costume. Now, Ruedo has given rise to a bridal line.…

Watches: Manufacturers Embrace Midrange Timepieces

The Price Is Right As the new year kicks off, a 2013 trend that’s likely to continue into 2014 should be good news to watch retailers: The death of the midrange segment has been greatly exaggerated. At the 100-year-old family-owned Feldmar Watch Co. in Los Angeles, vice president Scott Meller says the biggest takeaway from…

Diamonds: Kim Kardashian’s Newest Engagement Ring & More

Keeping Up With the Kardashian Ring Kanye West recently popped the question to baby mama Kim Kardashian, and in typical Yeezy style—i.e., big, bold, loud, but also stylish—he did so with a massive diamond ring designed by celebrity jewelry queen (and Kardashian fave) Lorraine Schwartz. Media reports say the stone is a colorless, internally flawless…

From Mine to Store: Katey Brunini’s Heart-Breaking Electric Blue Opal

Designer Katey Brunini is a master of marrying the stunning with the strange. At the center of her Robot Heart necklace: a huge electric-blue Australian opal shot through with earthy brown swirls. But it’s a tiny LED light—tucked behind a diamond-encrusted gold lightning bolt—that gets this heart beating. The piece was inspired by the relationship…

JCK 5: Luxury Watches Debut at SIHH 2014

The world’s prestige watch buyers meet Jan. 20–24 at Geneva’s Palexpo fairground for the 24th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. Here’s a sneak peek at five models making their debut (all prices TBD): (Above)1. Limelight Blooming Rose in 34 mm 18k white gold case with 2.4 cts. t.w. diamonds; Piaget, NYC;…

Warming Up to VicenzaOro 2014

The Winter edition of Italy’s VicenzaOro fair ushers in a year of big, bold color When Sutra Jewels’ Arpita Navlakha sets up her booth at the VicenzaOro Winter fair (opening Jan. 18), she plans to unpack her “most dramatic pieces…with lots of emphasis on color,” says the Houston-based designer. Think oversize cuts of opals, tanzanite,…

Jewelry Classics Revisited

These 10 jewelry staples have stood the test of time precisely because they’ve changed with the times The Tennis Bracelet: In 1987, while Chris Evert was competing in a match at the U.S. Tennis Championships, the clasp broke on her diamond bracelet. She requested that the match be suspended until she found her bracelet, and…

The Booming Business of Jewelry Auctions

Why the secondary channel has become an increasingly ­important part of our business—and what it means for the rest of the industry Sometimes it seems like another day, another record set at auction. The sky-high prices that once sent shock waves through the trade have become almost commonplace, with records regularly falling like dominoes. This…

Let’s Have a Kiki

Meet mother and daughter Kiki Frayard and Katie Culbert, the trendsetting duo behind Lafayette, La.-based Kiki The hottest jeweler in all of Acadiana—the French-speaking region of Louisiana centered on the city of Lafayette—came to jewelry rather serendipitously. It was 2003 and Kathryn “Kiki” Frayard, the creative director of a local ad agency, was merely helping…

2014: The Year in Preview

By all accounts, 2013 was a pretty good—if not great—year for jewelry store ­owners. To keep the momentum going, we’ve pulled together our annual list of the 10 tech, style, and retail trends that’ll have the industry buzzing in 2014. Body jewels, blue gems, and brand loyalty are just the ­beginning. (Two words: ­Chinese synthetics.)…

Hamburger Heiress Jean Vanderbilt in Van Cleef & Arpels

You’d never know by looking at Jean Vanderbilt (née Harvey) that she comes from a family of meat packers and hamburger hawkers. You also wouldn’t guess that her two glittering Van Cleef & Arpels pearl, diamond, and yellow gold bracelets could become a necklace by joining their decorative clasps. That’s not all: The pearl strands,…

JCK Asks…Borgioni’s Rhonda Bartolacci

The Borgioni matriarch on her mother-daughter business They say long-distance relationships never work, but mother-daughter duo Rhonda and Tiffany Bartolacci are disproving that old adage with their 7-year-old brand ­Borgioni. Despite a cross-country divide (Tiffany lives in L.A., Rhonda in Tampa, Fla.) and “way too many phone calls and emails” (Rhonda’s words), the pair have…

The Winter Best: Trends & Ads in the December 2013 Fashion Magazines

InStyle Pushing:• Black diamond watch (“edgy,”), diamond watch with python strap (“an opulent statement”)Advertisers:Tiffany & Co., Alexis Bittar, Fendi, Honora, Simon G., Raymond Weil, Monica Rich Kosann, Movado, John Hardy, Seiko, Roberto Demeglio, Marco Bicego, Citizen, Gemfields, Colore|SG, Goshwara, Tacori, Trollbeads, Armitron, Pandora, Dannijo, Zales, Timex, Alex and Ani Elle Pushing:• Rhodium-plated brass cuff; metal…

Tony Davis Praises Online Retailer Jewlr.com’s Personal Touch

“A friendly, risk-free shopping experience” is one of the taglines on Jewlr.com, the Toronto-based online retailer specializing in personalized jewelry. The 4-year-old company, which was launched in 2009 by software engineer Tony Davis, isn’t just calling out its stellar customer service; Jewlr.com is silly with consumer-friendly qualities. Prices for merchandise on the site are extremely…

J. Landa

2412 Rice Blvd., Houston In the heart of Houston’s Rice Village, a charming shopping district with the soul of a small town and the diverse retail selection of a big city, sits J. Landa, a 15-year-old jewelry boutique that recently underwent a dramatic transformation. Long known for its stylish and affordable silver pieces, the store,…

One Big Happy Family at Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

A father-son duo muses on their entrepreneurial spirit and “puppy-love” passion for jewelry When Trey Bailey told his parents, Clyde and Jane, that he wanted to join the family business, Raleigh, N.C.–based Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, they were more than a bit surprised. “You could have knocked me over with a feather,” recalls Clyde. “Trey was…

Create a Unique Selling Proposition in 6 Easy Steps

If you want to win the battle for the spending dollar, you have to offer something tangible to your customers. Saying you’ll give them good service won’t cut it. This six-step plan will help set you apart from the competition and boost sales.  1. Determine your enemies (er, competitors). You probably have their names in your…

2013: A Tech Odyssey

How the year’s innovations will reverberate through 2014 and beyond Remember when we had “cell” phones and email accounts we accessed solely on our desktop? Virtual resources and smart gadgetry now play major roles in our daily lives—often from the palms of our hands. 2013 will go down as the year of temporary social media…

JCK 5: 5 Music Services to Help Your Store Sound Spectacular

Try one of these services to take your soundtrack from so-so to supersonic: 1. Audio Sushi (audiosushi.com) taps its library of 3 million-plus tunes to create brand-appropriate music, and even suggests hip but mellow songs. 2. Custom Channels (customchannels.net) delivers its edited playlists through an online radio station built expressly for each client. 3. Rockbot…

Tune In, Turn On, Rock Out: How Music Can Help Sell Jewelry (Really!)

Plato, the big-brained Greek philosopher, once wrote, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Oh, and it can also help sell jewelry. Numerous studies have proved that music has a profound effect on our mood, actions, and even physiological functioning—truisms retailers can harness…

Jewelry Industry & People: December 2013–January 2014

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Wal-Mart has named company veteran Doug McMillon its new president and CEO, effective Feb. 1. He succeeds Mike Duke. >> Tiffany & Co. chief financial officer Patrick ­McGuiness has resigned. Chief operating officer James ­Fernandez will serve as interim CFO until the company hires a replacement. >>?Michael Rae, CEO of the Responsible…

The Exotic and the Everyday: Gem Pricing, December 2013–January 2014

Exceptional gems like paraiba are in demand, but so are more affordable stones Expectations are positive heading into the 2014 Tucson gem shows. During 2013, the industry saw more investment in gemstone exploration and mining than during the previous year. Dealers report that interest in exotic gems, especially paraiba tourmaline and padparadscha sapphire, spiked sharply…

JCK 5: R.I.P.

The industry said a sad goodbye to some notables recently: 1. William Callaghan, chairman of Sterling Possessions/Thistle & Bee, died Oct. 9 in New York City after a brief illness. He was 70 years old. 2. Pat Patten, former president of the Nancy B. Corp. and MJSA board member, died Sept. 8 of Alzheimer’s disease.…

Industry Worries About Undisclosed Synthetic Melee

The diamond industry is facing a crisis after numerous reports surfaced of synthetic melee being sold undisclosed alongside natural diamonds in parcels. In October, the Rapaport Group issued a “trade alert” warning of “persistent reports that large amounts of synthetic lab-grown diamonds are being mixed with natural diamonds in parcels of melee and pointers.” Similar…

A True Honor: Publisher’s Letter, December 2013–January 2014

It was my great honor this week to be inducted into the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York! The esteemed organization—best known for hosting 1,000-plus people at its annual black-tie gala, held every January at the Waldorf Astoria—has just 200 members at any given time, so an invitation to join is coveted…

Future Rock: Editor’s Letter, December 2013–January 2014

When I passed through southern Louisiana in September, one name kept popping up. I was driving to Stuller headquarters in Lafayette when a big pink billboard touting an upcoming Jamie Joseph trunk show at Kiki caught my eye. Then I posted a pic of the Atchafalaya River Basin on Facebook, and designer Erica Courtney urged…

10 Things Rocking the Jewelry Industry: December 2013–January 2014

1. Exhibitions Through March 9, visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Jewels by JAR” exhibition will see the oeuvre of a master ­jeweler to rival the great Peter Carl Fabergé: the Bronx-born, Harvard-educated, Paris-bred Joel A. Rosenthal, aka JAR. The Met is showing some 400 of his works, all of which make clear his…