February 2016

Inside the Same-Sex Marriage Market: Real-Life Couples Tell All

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Behind the New Millennial-Friendly Jewelry Brand AUrate

Bouchra Ezzahraoui  Sophie Kahn AUrate New York City auratenewyork.com Instagram: @auratenewyork   Transparency and philanthropy both resonate deeply with millennial consumers—and they’re at the heart of AUrate, a 2-year-old fine jewelry retailer based in New York City. The startup retailer, which sells online and through pop-up shops, was founded by friends Bouchra Ezzahraoui (pictured left)…

JCK Photo Shoot Outtakes With Model Alla Grigorjeva

Model Alla Grigorjeva struck an unconventional bridal pose during this issue’s cover shoot. From her stick-straight decidedly un-bridal ’do to the bold and beautiful cabochon emerald on her ring finger, she embodies our celebration of unconventional marriage (see our cover story, “Inside the Same-Sex Marriage Market: Real-Life Couples Tell All“). Check out the online outtakes…

10 Things Rocking the Industry, February 2016

Watches Visitors to Geneva’s 26th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie had more to see than usual last month. The exclusive venue—home, traditionally, to 15 primarily Richemont-owned brands such as Cartier and Panerai—welcomed for the first time nine independent watchmakers, including Christophe Claret and MB&F. Organizers had long sought to promote the artisans pioneering…

5 Must-See Brands at the 2016 AGTA GemFair

At the AGTA GemFair, taking place Feb. 2–7 at the Tucson Convention Center, the desert flowers won’t be the only beauties vying for attention.   Rectangular tourmaline plates weighing 124 grams; $9,300; Robert Bentley, NYC; 212-302-4846; robertbentleygemstones.com (pictured, top)   Bracelet in 18k gold with sapphires and diamonds; $26,000; Akiva Gil, NYC; 800-592-0009; akivagil.com (pictured, inset)   Round-shape 43.48 ct.…

Editor’s Letter, February 2016: Modern Marriage

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, I attended two wildly different weddings. The first was a surprise picnic affair in Santa Monica, Calif., where one of my oldest, dearest friends married her longtime girlfriend as their 1-year-old daughter and a handful of our astonished friends bore witness. The second was much more formal, if…

Staff Picks, February 2016: Rock It to Me!

What JCK’s Emili Vesilind is loving this month “I’m bewitched by slightly off-kilter color combinations and classic designs made modern with of-the-moment gems.”  —Senior editor Emili Vesilind     The playful mash-up of stones—sapphires, emeralds, opals, tourmalines, and diamonds—puts a cool-girl spin on a vintage-feeling design. (Irene Neuwirth, price on request, ireneneuwirth.com)   Circles, squares,…

Publisher’s Letter, February 2016: A Weekend to Remember

Unbelievable that as I write this, we’re officially in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century. Wow. It’s going to be an amazing, exciting year, from the presidential election on down. Fasten your seat belts, everyone! The year kicked off in high style around this year’s 24 Karat Club of the…

Why @the_mrs_box Is Our Favorite Instagram Feed of the Month

Wedding retailers in need of inspiration should take a page from @the_mrs_box. The handmade vintage-style ring boxes—often photographed with antique diamond stunners from Trumpet & Horn—transport you to an instant state of wedded bliss.   For the blushing bride   Berry nice!   Spring wedding, anyone?   Won’t you be mine?   We’re green with…

On the Scene at the 2016 Gem Awards and 24 Karat Club of NYC Banquet

The epitome of glamour, Jewelers of America’s 14th annual Gem Awards, at Cipriani on 42nd Street (above), honored the industry’s most talented designers and two very special members of the media. Meanwhile, the 114th annual banquet of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York got more than a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t. GEM AWARDS (pictured,…

Bright Christmas: Diamonds Boost Holiday Jewelry Sales

Despite a year’s worth of industry trepidation, jewelry store sales over the 2015 holiday were largely positive—if not overwhelmingly so. In a post-season check of more than 20 independent jewelers, JCK heard of only a few declines, though a number said sales were flat and varied from month to month. Among the trends: Diamonds shone.…

Industry & People: February 2016

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Luca + Danni, the Rhode Island–based fashion jewelry manufacturer, has appointed Allison Carley (pictured) president. Carley was previously vice president of sales at Alex and Ani. >>?Patrick S. McClymont, chief financial officer of Sotheby’s, has resigned to “pursue other opportunities,” according to a statement. Dennis M. Weibling will step in as interim CFO.…

3 Questions for…Peter Yantzer

In late November, Peter Yantzer retired after 20 years as executive director of the American Gem Society Laboratories. The following week, he spoke with JCK about his time at the lab and current industry issues.  Do you think that the AGS cut grade improved the quality of make in the industry? Yantzer: Absolutely. We kept…

A Visit to Crocker’s Jewelers in the Heart of Texas

Shane Woodruff Crocker’s Jewelers Texarkana, Texas  President and owner crockersjewelers.com What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day? It happened not too long ago. We received a ring to resize through the mail—a nice $8,000 diamond engagement ring. And the employee who checked it in didn’t follow protocol. She thought she was…

Store We Adore: The Golden Carrot

1102 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J. Long before opening a French-accented jewelry boutique in Hoboken, N.J., Nicole Corriher felt a special affinity for all things Parisian. Her husband proposed in Paris, and their wedding reception decor included an Eiffel Tower covered in lights. So when Corriher spotted an empty storefront on Hoboken’s busiest street, she knew…

Meet the Mother-Daughter Duo Behind Mississippi’s Carter’s Jewelry

Judy Carter Carter’s Jewelry Petal, Miss.  52, first generation Chae Carter Carter’s Jewelry Petal, Miss.  28, second generation   Chae Carter was a college student with a new baby when her mother, veteran jewelry retailer Judy Carter, told her she was considering retiring and possibly closing Carter’s Jewelry—the Petal, Miss.–based fine jewelry retailer she’d founded…

Jonathan Goldman on Carrying on the Management Tradition His Dad Started 70 Years Ago

This year, Jonathan and Richard Goldman will celebrate their 40th year in the jewelry business; the brothers serve as CEO and president, respectively, of Frederick Goldman, the New York City–based company founded by their father in 1948. The Goldmans have turned their business into an industry powerhouse with an enviable stable of brands, from ArtCarved…

Mismatch Maker: Earrings That’ll Make Heads Turn

Perfect proportions are so overrated. Designers are purposely missing the mark with wonderfully wonky necklaces, rings, and—most strikingly—earrings. Think lopsided settings, cockeyed clusters, mixed shapes that form unexpectedly whimsical silhouettes, and sets of visually compatible (but by no means matchy-matchy) pieces. Consider it jewelry’s answer to the asymmetrical neckline. (Above) Earrings in 14k gold with 1.47…

Caped Crusaders: Carrie Underwood and Gwen Stefani’s Chic Red-Carpet Look

Carrie Underwood The American Music Awards’ Favorite Country Female Artist winner donned a peachy-keen thigh-high Yas Couture creation, with a long glittery cape that maximized the appeal of the mini style and glowy rose gold jewels. ON UNDERWOOD Signature irregular diamond outline Femme earrings in 18k rose gold; $17,600; Kimberly McDonald, NYC; 646-205-9994; kimberlymcdonald.com   UNDER…

Jewelry Designer Stephen Dweck’s Game of Stones

After 35 years, the designer’s statement pieces are bold as ever Stephen Dweck is the personification of the jewelry brand he started 35 years ago: colorful, exuberant, imaginative, and inspired by the beauty of natural stones and minerals. His delight in arranging chunky opals, moonstones, and chalcedony into a one-of-a-kind necklace reflects his lifelong fascination…

Don’t Cry for Her, Argentina: Eva Perón in Van Cleef & Arpels

Eva “Evita” Perón—who was born illegitimate and poor but would become the first lady of Argentina and be called the spiritual leader of the country—was a study in contradiction. All while advocating for the descamisados (“shirtless ones”), she toured Europe with 82 pieces of luggage and was photographed in furs and -lavish jewelry. She despised the wealthy,…

Margot McKinney’s Wild Orchid Earrings

At first glance, the cool-purple sapphires at the center of these orchid earrings might seem a curious match for the warm-pink rhodolites anchoring the (detachable) pendant drops. But it’s this unexpected union of hues—which reconciles completely in the petals’ mix of violet-toned gems—that makes these Margot McKinney danglers so dynamic. The Australian designer has a…

Diamonds: Ebony and Ivory Jewelry & More

TREND GAME Ebony and Ivory Black and white is the combo that won’t quit in fashion and in diamond jewelry. Not only are black and white gems a timeless duo that can punch up a day or night ensemble, they work in classic, modern, and whimsical designs. Is it any wonder that the pairing is…

Gold: Out-of-Balance Jewelry & More

TREND GAME Balancing Act Jewelry designers are all askew. Using mixed shapes and sizes of stones, they are striking a beguilingly out-of-balance note in jewels that favor the crooked path. In other words, forget about playing it straight.  Top: Bangle bracelet in 14k gold with 18k gold accents and 1.56 cts. t.w. white topaz, $2,690 each, Lauren Chisholm,…

Inside the Same-Sex Marriage Market: Real-Life Couples Tell All

Real-life same-sex couples dish about their engagement jewelry buying experiences: what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what kind of products appeal to them. (Hint: There’s no such thing as “gay jewelry.”) “Hi, I’m gay and getting married—do you have a problem with that?” was the question Brendan Kelly, an advertising executive based in…

Marriage Material: Super-Cool Jewelry for the Whole Wedding Party

All the jewels fit to glint, from sure-to-please bridesmaids’ gifts to jaw-dropping engagement rings Engagement Rings   EURO FLASH (Top) Ring in 14k gold with 0.96 ct. old European-cut diamond and 0.91 ct. t.w. old European-cut diamonds; $11,000; Mociun, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 718-387-3731; mociun.com HEART CLASS (Right) Ring in 18k yellow gold with 7.02 ct. natural fancy…

Instagram? Insta-Slam!

A primer on using social media’s most jewelry-friendly marketing tool Jewelry retailers depend on beautiful images—in catalogs and direct-mail flyers, on websites and, increasingly, on social media platforms—to grow their revenue. Among the various social sites, Instagram in particular seems tailor-made for the jewelry industry, with its simple format, focus on images over text, and…

Rubies and Sapphires and Emeralds…Oh My!

As Chinese demand for gems slides, prices on rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are bound for a correction. Over the course of his nine-year career selling sapphires, Sheahan Stephen had never seen anything like it: At Facets Sri Lanka, the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, and the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, all of which…

Stuck on Hue: Sensational New Colored Stone Jewelry

Bright turquoise (sleeping) beauties, juicy emeralds, and cabochons that seem to be lit from within: Could these gemstones be any more intense or intriguing? Photographs by Ted Morrison   Wouldn’t you much rather be forever in blue gems? (Above, clockwise from far left) Cross earrings in 18k gold with Sleeping Beauty turquoise, blue sapphires, and…

Baselworld 2016 Preview: Taking Jewelry-Buying to the Next Level

Visitors to Baselworld, set for March 17–24 at the Basel convention center, will be looking for the best in class in every category. The show is the go-to source for rare, one-of-a-kind jewels that high-end vendors hoard until it’s time for the annual Swiss watch and jewelry fair to open. Why? Baselworld is the only…

Partnering With Social Media Stars to Make the Most of Your Marketing

As a small brand or retailer, it’s tougher than ever to stand out on social media. Consumers, weary of the advertising deluge on social networks, are getting choosier about whom they follow on social channels. And mega-retailers boasting huge marketing budgets post original content numerous times a day, effectively gobbling up major swaths of the…

Tool Time: Cool Jewelry Gadgets, February 2016

WHO, WHAT, WEARABLE Bezels & Bytes   Created expressly for Fitbit fitness trackers, the initial collection from San Francisco tech jewelry brand Bezels & Bytes comprises trendy bracelets (which hold the tiny Fitbit Flex) and metal charms (designed to dress up the sporty Fitbit Charge HR)—perfectly in step with young, tech-savvy fashion shoppers.   What we liked:…

Russian Dressing: Chaumet’s Early-20th-Century Diamond and Enamel Tiara

“This is an early model from the 20th century made in platinum—as opposed to silver and gold from the 19th century. It is lighter and thinner and more delicate.”    Chaumet’s enamel and diamond tiara, which sold for $676,104 at Christie’s Geneva on Nov. 10, combines two great headwear styles: the kokoshnik, the traditional Russian…