Centurion and the AGTA Gem Show offer the trade the first glimpses of the latest products and services for the new year. And, true to form, many jewelry designers, service providers, support industries and even gem labs showed attendees their newest offerings at the notable Tucson industry events. Here’s a roundup of some new and interesting products and services from both shows.
Jenny Perl: With gold prices at historic highs, retailers have turned their focus on silver. Jewelry designers and manufacturers have responded with a wide range of designs including marrying high-end silver with precious stones. For many years this has been done well with small sizes and numbers of diamonds. But Jenny Perl’s new AMALFI Collection brings together 925 silver with generous portions of sapphires. This new collection features high-end silver jewelry worthy of a double take. Given the ample amounts of yellow, pink, white and blue sapphires, a casual glance leads one to think the earrings, pendants and bracelets that make up this collection is anything but silver. Reactions to the collection from retailers at the Centurion Show: “Retailers appreciated the fact that these pieces have the look, craftsmanship, precision and quality of fine jewelry at affordable prices,” says Jenny Perl.
The suggested retail price for these earrings is $1,800
The suggested retail price for this pendant design is $950
Frédérique Constant: Watches in traditional styles sold well for many retailers last Christmas. And, nothing is more time-honored than watch styles from a simpler time. In 2009, Frédérique Constant launched their Runabout watch series. The new limited edition watches on display at the recent Centurion show hearken back to the roaring 20’s when “Runabout” yachts were a staple of Lake Geneva’s boating culture. This new addition to the Frédérique Constant’s Runabout watch series is a moonphase version with calendar functions (date function, automatics are also available) that retails for $2,395 (stainless steel). Only 1,888 Runabout watches will be produced for this new limited edition. And, in addition to being a very traditionally-styled watch made in steel and rose gold plate, what’s equally impressive is that each new Runabout watch comes in its own handmade wooden gift box that is in keeping with the craftsmanship of the old Runabout yachts. In addition to a handsome, wood box with a watch holder, each new limited edition Runabout also comes with a miniature reproduction of one of these classic wood yachts. “It’s not only an excellent addition to the Runabout series,” says Ralph Simons, president of Frédérique Constant USA. “The case and the boat reproduction are an excellent value for watch and boating enthusiasts.”
Frédérique Constant’s Runabout watch in rose gold
Fire Polish: Last year Fire Polish did a soft launch of their Nanocut, plasma-etching process that allows light to better travel through a diamond in such a way as to improve its fire and scintillation.
At the recent Centurion show Fire Polish executives Robert Goldstein and Glenn Markman officially rolled out the service equipped with before-and-after samples and a gemological microscope for a closer look. In describing the technology developed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), renowned gemologist and contributing writer to GIA’s gemological quarterly Gems & Gemology Mary Johnson described the technology as a cutting process that: “Doesn’t impact the weight, color, cut or clarity of a diamond that has gone through the [cutting] process. The loss of weight is negligible – out to the fifth decimal point.” Johnson is one of six researchers who wrote an in-depth article on Fire Polish’s new cutting process entitled “Cutting Diffraction Gratings to Improve Dispersion (“Fire”) in Diamonds,” which was published in the Winter 2009 edition of Gems & Gemology.
Based in Los Angeles, the staff at Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers was one of the first retailers to learn about the nanotechnology first hand. Since early 2010, the retailer has been using the diamond cutting process in a variety of ways.
“We offer it as a service to people looking to add a little life and sparkle to old diamonds set in family heirlooms,” says David Friedman, president of Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers. “In addition to offering this as a stand-alone service, we’ve also been using it to make our own inventory look better. The process brings out more light return and more spectral colors, which gives us something to sell in addition to ideal-cut goods. And, it’s a great market differentiator for us. No other jeweler in the area is offering this service. And, we’re finding that young bridal customers who are aggressively shopping the competition like that we have something different.”
Before (left) and after (right) images of a Fire Polish diamond
Diamond Council of America: At the AGTA Gem Show the DCA announced its new Advanced Jewelry Sales course. The course has been in development for three years, making the 12-chapter course the DCA’s main new product to talk about at the gem show. The course will soon be released to the industry in mid-February pending accreditation from the DETC (Distance Education and Training Council), according to DCA president Terry Chandler.
The new course will focus on important sales issues such as generational selling, branding and bridal. The online course will link to optional reference videos and movies. “It’s a sales training course that can teach newer, less experienced sales individuals on up to top sales people on how to sell more jewelry,” says Chandler. “In fact, it’s ideally suited for a store’s most experienced sales staff with so many of them in need of refreshers.”
American Gemological Laboratories: Based on AGL’s “Inside” series, the gem lab has created several detailed gem charts. At the recent Tucson Gem Show the lab’s president and chief gemologist Christopher Smith had the lab’s new sapphire chart on hand as part of the lab’s many on-site services during the event.
The sapphire chart is the sixth of its kind. Other colored stone charts from the series include ruby and emerald as well as a colored diamond series on pinks, blues and blacks. The centerfold of each “Inside” print edition is a fold-out chart with a dense, but incredibly useful spread of gemological information on each gemstone ranging from historical and to current mining sources to known internal features.
But the real beauty of these charts is the gemstone photography. Top-end samples of gemstones in different cuts and shapes sourced from mining areas the world over run along the top of each chart. Below the gemstone source are microphotography images which give readers even greater gemological insight and details such as common to rare inclusions and known internal features. These internal features are helpful in determining the origin of a gemstone.
“Retailers can use these charts in any number of ways, from training staff members in meetings to showing customers,” says Smith. “It can be a big help to staff members with basic gemological knowledge looking to learn a little more and it can be tremendously helpful for a store’s appraisal department.”
Each gem chart has a sturdy laminate and costs $20