SALES GAINS REPORTED AT IJO DENVER MEETING Sales were up 7% at the Independent Jewelers Organization’s Denver spring buying show Feb. 20-25. That’s compared with sales at the group’s ’98 meeting in Palm Springs, Calif., which had been its best spring show ever, according to IJO president and CEO Jeff Roberts. In the last year, IJO attracted nearly 170 new members, bringing the for-profit buying group’s total membership count to 800. The group was founded 28 years ago and was purchased last year by jeweler Richard Swetz from the organization’s founder and original owner, Bill Roberts (Jeff Roberts’s father). In the last year the group also unveiled its “Masterpiece Collection,” a 16-piece line of jewelry priced between $1,000 and $3,600 retail that is exclusive to IJO members and is designed to set IJO jewelers apart from their retail competition. IJO’s fall bu

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