Contests

GOLAY BUCHEL FêTES WINNERS IN BASEL

The 14th annual Prix Golay Buchel, the top award for young Swiss goldsmiths, was presented during gala festivities at the 1998 World Watch, Clock and Jewellery Fair in Basel. The prizes were awarded for creations on the theme of “wedding and partner rings” and were presented to three fourth-year apprentice goldsmiths and two previous Prix Golay Buchel winners.

First prize, CHF 6,000 (approximately $2,500), was presented to Shirley Viredaz, a student at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Geneva. Her entry was two spiral-shaped rings that can be wound together to form one ring. The woman’s ring is in yellow gold, the man’s is in gray rhodium-plated metal. The design calls for white gold or platinum, but the competition entry was made in plated base metal for cost containment. The ends of each spiral are set with mini diamonds.

The second prize, CHF 4,000 (approximately $1500), was awarded to Sébastien Perret, a student at the Ecole d’Art des Montagnes Neuchateloises in La Chaux-de-Fonds. His entry was a pair of rings that symbolize togetherness in a dual way. Each ring consists of two intertwining rings, and both combine to form one unbroken ring. Both are solid yellow gold, one matte and one high polish.

A special prize, CHF 3,500 (approximately $1,000), was awarded to Felicitas Seebass, a fourth-year apprentice goldsmith at Kurt Degen in Basel, for a series of wedding bands presented in the form of a large spiral with two solid gold wedding or partner rings in the innermost circle. The outer hoops in bronze, silver, copper, or iron can be used as arm or neck jewelry.

Repeating as prize winners were Sandra Zimmerman, a goldsmith at Bijouterie Sonderegger in Berne, and Sara Spalinger, a goldsmith at Karin Schaufelbühl in Bremgarten. Zimmerman submitted a pair of rings magnetically attracted to each other, fashioned as an angular square with round decorative elements as a contrast. Spalinger offered spirals in anthracite-colored tantalum metal. The men’s ring is larger, with an angular shape, and the woman’s ring is small and round. The rings can be joined by twisting one inside the other, either completely or partially.

CONTEST ENTRIES DUE THIS MONTH

Deadlines for several international jewelry design contests are rapidly approaching. Jewelers interested in entering any of these contests are urged to contact the sponsoring organizations immediately, using the telephone or fax numbers provided.

The Jewellery Network Society (J•NWS), based in Japan, is accepting registration applications through July 31. This is the fourth annual competition hosted by J•NWS, with the goal of helping designers and artisans in the international jewelry industry meet and inspire one another.

The contest theme this year is “Loving Energy,” representing the desire for people to love one another beyond the bounds of race and religion and focus on global humanity instead of a lifestyle ruled by time and economics. Jewelry has been part of human self-expression and used as a token of love since ancient times. The goal of this contest is to create jewelry design that will express a greater love of humankind, not just a romantic attachment between two people.

Anyone who is involved in the jewelry industry, whether as designer, manufacturer, goldsmith, or student, is eligible to enter. Each applicant may submit only one design, which must be a wholly new piece of work – original, unpublished, and not in commercial production. One first prize of 1 million yen (approximately $7,500 U.S.), and one second prize of 500,000 yen (about $3,750 U.S.) will be awarded.

Applicants must register to enter the contest by July 31. After registration, entry fees (free for J•NWS members; $50 for nonmembers) must be received by August 14 and design renderings by August 31. Those who are selected from the rendering stage will be notified in September and asked to submit their completed pieces in January 1999. Final winners will be announced at the end of February 1999.

For more information or to request a registration form, contact the Jewellery Network Society, 2-16-11, Nihonbashi, Chio Ward, Tokyo, 103-0027, Japan. Tel: (81 3) 3272 8421, fax (81 3) 3272 8420.

Applications are now being accepted for the 1999 Niche Awards, a program to recognize the outstanding creative achievements of American craft artists who produce work for craft galleries and retail stores. Entry deadline is August 3, with award presentations set for the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Crafts in February 1999.

Begun in 1990, the Niche Awards are sponsored by NICHE magazine, the trade publication for retailers of fine American crafts. Entry categories are clocks, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal , fiber, narrative, Judaica, garden art/sculpture, goblets, teapots, furniture, kaleidoscopes, clothing, decorative fiber, recycled goods, and mixed and miscellaneous media. Entries are judged on technical mastery and creativity in surface design and form, plus market viability and a distinct quality of unique and individual thought. The judging panel is composed of leading professionals in the fields of design and fashion, artists, editors, art critics, prominent collectors, and American craft retailers.

The 1998 winners in the jewelry categories were: gold, Keith Lambertson and Cat Glazer; gold with stones, Anthony James Vela; silver, Jayne Redman; silver with stones, Suzanne B. Stern; and fashion jewelry, Abrasha.

Applications may be obtained upon request to NICHE Awards, 3000 Chestnut Ave., Suite 304, Baltimore, MD 21211; e-mail: niche99@rosengrp.com

International Jewellery London, the United Kingdom’s main jewelry trade fair, announces its Design 2000 European jewelry design competition. Design 2000 aims to promote young designers from the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Entrants are asked to design a piece of wearable, marketable contemporary jewelry from gold, platinum, or diamonds. The four winning designers will receive an internship with the U.K. jewelry manufacturer who produced their winning designs. The sponsoring manufacturers are Solar for the gold category, PJ Watson for the platinum category, and Eric N. Smith for the diamond category. The other major sponsors of the competition are De Beers and bullion merchants Baird & Co. Ltd.

Winning designs will be on display at International Jewellery London, Sept. 6-9 at Earl’s Court 2, London. For more information about the trade fair or the contest, contact Nicole Cooper, tel. (44 181) 910-7833 or fax (44 181) 910-7930.

SPRING CONTEST ROUNDUP

Congratulations go to Curt and Elizabeth Parker of Curt Parker Inc. of St. Louis, who recently won “Best of Show” at the Missouri Jewelers & Watchmakers annual jewelry design competition. Their entry, a graceful gold ballerina brooch, features ribbons of diamonds, sapphires, and rubies flaring across the dancer’s skirt, and a large pear-shaped ruby representing her head. The brooch contains more than 100 gemstones total. The award-winning design will represent Missouri at the Jewelers of America National Design Competition, held during its annual International Jewelry Show in July.

A blue-green tourmaline men’s ring designed by Milwaukee jeweler David Liska, which won a first place American Gem Trade Association Spectrum award, has also been chosen for the first place award at the Wisconsin/Illinois Jewelry Expo ’98 design competition. The ring, accented with princess-cut diamonds, represents the second time Liska won a first prize at the Wisconsin state design competition.

The Society of Arts and Crafts of Boston has announced the winners of its third Artist Awards. The goal of the contest is to encourage and help Massachusetts artists who show a mastery of their chosen medium. Two jewelry designers, Mary Hughs of Gloucester and Sung Hae Yun of New Bedford, were chosen as winners. They will each receive a $2,000 cash award and have their recent work exhibited at the society’s Newbury Street Gallery in Boston. The contest judges also selected one clay artist and one furniture artist to receive awards and be exhibited at the gallery.

Congratulations to Lutherville, Md., jeweler Stephen Weinstein, president of Dahne and Weinstein, who was chosen to take part in the Fabergé Arts Foundation’s Young Jewelers Competition, held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May. The judging panel also includes the curator of West European Goldsmith work of the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, and the principal lecturer and master goldsmith from the Institute of Design in Finland. The purpose of the competition is to help restore to prominence the work of Russian jewelers in the tradition of Peter Carl Fabergé.

Separately, Dahne and Weinstein also was invited to display its collection of rings dating from the Bronze Age at the VicenzaOro2 fair in June in Vicenza, Italy.

Supplier News

JOSE HESS FILES FOR CHAPTER 11

Jose Hess Inc., a leading U.S. designer and manufacturer of high-end gold and diamond jewelry, has filed for bankruptcy, under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. That section gives protection from creditors while a firm reorganizes.

“We have every intention of remaining viable, in business and supplying our customers” during the bankruptcy reorganization process, says owner Jose Hess. Work on a reorganization plan is in progress.

The bankruptcy petition, filed May 5 in federal court in New York City, lists $7.6 million in current and long-term liabilities (including more than 100 creditors) and $5.9 million in total assets (including property and equipment).

Hess had net sales of about $4.5 million for the year ending January 31, down from a high of $8 million in 1989. The 20-year-old firm’s jewelry is carried by department stores and jewelry stores throughout the United States.

The petition gives two reasons for the firm’s financial problems. One is the “fairly dramatic decline in the jewelry industry” since 1991, in which Hess lost more than $300,000 in jewelry store bankruptcies.

The other is a commercial condominium unit in New York City, which it bought for $1 million in 1989 for its headquarters and manufacturing. It spent another $1 million on improvements ($300,000 from working capital, the rest financed through capitalized leases).

The firm’s “sudden business decline” in the early 1990s plus the increased cost of servicing the debt on the condominium caused “severe cash flow problems,” the petition states. Since 1992, the firm “has been constantly struggling” to meet expenses and restructure its business without filing for Chapter 11, it notes. At a 1996 meeting, most of its larger creditors agreed not to take any collective action but said they would monitor its activities. Though some payments have been made to them, “the vast majority of trade debt” on January 1996 is “still outstanding.”

A recent Internal Revenue Service “notice of levy” on Jose Hess Inc. and its commercial financial company led the firm to file for Chapter 11 to get “a breathing spell to attempt to reorganize its business,” says the petition.

LENOX CHIEF MOVES TO CHARITABLE GROUP

Richard E. Stearns, the president and chief executive officer of Lenox Inc., known internationally for its fine china, is the new head for U.S. operations of World Vision, the world’s largest privately funded Christian relief and development organization.

Stearns, 47, joined World Vision in Federal Way, Wash., on June 15. His new job is “unlike any other in the world,” he said, and offers the chance to put his “faith into action [and] make a significant difference in the lives of people throughout the world.”

World Vision, established in 1950, operates 4,400 programs serving 60 million people in 94 countries. It finances its work through private donations. Last year, it raised $348 million (including cash donations, grants, and goods donated by corporations and individuals).

Stearns joined Lenox in 1987 as president of the Lenox Collectibles Division and helped develop its direct mail order business. He was named president of the tabletop group in 1990, president of Lenox Inc. in 1993, and CEO in 1995. He will be involved in the leadership transition at the Lawrenceville, N.J., company, where he oversaw 4,000 employees, three divisions, and $500 million in sales.

At World Vision, Stearns will develop public policy and advocacy on behalf of poor and oppressed people and will oversee U.S. fund raising. A World Vision spokesman said his salary will be about $180,000, or about 80% less than what he was earning at Lenox.

FIRMS AID CHARITIES

OTC International Ltd. of Long Island City, N.Y., has entered into a corporate partnership agreement with Save the Children Federation Inc., a private, nonprofit relief organization aiding disadvantaged children in the United States and abroad. Since April 15, OTC has been making a per-piece contribution to Save the Children on sales of selected merchandise, including blue agate cameo, 14k gold, and sterling silver jewelry featuring OTC copyrighted designs. Donations range from 25¢ to $2 for each piece of jewelry purchased. For more information, call OTC International Ltd. at (800) 666-1136.

Leo Wolleman Inc., a diamond and colored stone supplier, named Gilda’s Club its official corporate charity. Gilda’s Club, named for comedienne Gilda Radner, is a cancer care community that is planning a national expansion. Contact Leo Wolleman Inc., 45 W. 45th St., New York, NY 10036; (800) 223-5667 or (212) 840-1881, fax (212) 869-4216.

SUPPLIERS ON THE GROW

Fuller & Associates, independent jewelry appraisers and consulting gemologists, has opened a new practice at 100 Front St., Suite 821, One Tower Bridge Building, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2889; (610) 941-2930, fax (610) 834-7845, email: fuller@fast.net. The company provides appraisal services by appointment for insurance, estate, liquidation, collateral, and informational purposes. It also offers pre- and post-purchase and general gem and jewelry consultations.

John W. Fuller, G.G., NGJA, previously was the gemologist/appraiser for the J.E. Caldwell & Co. stores in Philadelphia. He began in the jewelry business in 1972 in retail management.

WITTNAUER OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS

Wittnauer International of New Rochelle, N.Y., announced a new annual scholarship program that will benefit the children of its employees. The first Academic Scholarship Program will bestow three grants and one Chairman’s Award – worth $2,500 each – to eligible full-time undergraduate or graduate students.

Each scholarship will be awarded on the basis of academic record, leadership, extracurricular activities, and a personal essay. Three of the recipients are selected by a seven-member committee composed of representatives from Wittnauer’s three locations: New Rochelle, N.Y.; Branpton, Ontario; and Cayey, Puerto Rico. The Chairman’s Award is judged by Wittnauer chairman Robert L. Coleman.

PEARL PROMOTER SPONSORS CONTEST

Jamie B. Spivey of Williamston, N.C., won an unmounted Tahitian cultured pearl on April 4 from Perles de Tahiti, promoter of Tahitian black cultured pearls. Spivey was one of 21 people who correctly answered all 10 questions on the Tahiti Pearl E-Mail Quiz. This was the fourth quiz; the first marked the launching of the Tahiti Black Pearl Web Site (http://www.tahiti-blackpearls.com) on June 13, 1996.

The names of the 21 correct respondents were entered into a drawing, which Spivey won. The drawing took place after the Third Annual Pearl Producers International Auction in Tahiti. Eddie Decsi, manager of the education department at GIA, drew the winning name. A new quiz was posted on the Web site April 20. The winner will be chosen in late October.

MAYER’S UNVEILS FEYHAN LINE

Mayer’s of Hollywood, Fla., has unveiled a designer line of jewelry created by Feyhan. The designer was born in Vienna, raised in Turkey, and educated in England and France. She has received De Beers Diamond International and World Gold Council awards.

Feyhan’s first American line, called Soirée, is manufactured in 18k gold with semi-precious stones accented with diamonds. Ensembles in the Feyhan collection include rings, earrings, pendants, and brooches. Most items can retail for less than $1,000.

Mayer’s is the exclusive manufacturer and sales organization for this line. For information, contact Sam Ziefer at Mayer’s, 2002 Grant St., Hollywood, FL 33020; (954) 921-1422, fax (954) 921-1441.

People

ORT PICKS BERGMAN

Phyllis Bergman, president of the Jewelry Industry Chapter of American ORT and a member of the national board of directors of American ORT, was appointed to the board of trustees of the Bramson ORT Technical Institute in New York. The institute is a two-year technical college whose main campus is in Forest Hills, Queens. It is the largest U.S. technical institute supported by ORT, a Jewish community education and training organization.

Bergman is president of Mercury Ring Corp., a jewelry manufacturing firm in Englewood, N.J. She is president of the Women’s Jewelry Association, a member of the 24-Karat Club of New York and the Plumb Club of New York, and a director of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America.

THREE JOIN UNCAS MANAGEMENT TEAM

Uncas Manufacturing Co., a Providence, R.I.-based manufacturer of costume and precious jewelry, has hired a new manager and promoted two others.

Steven H. Armbrust has joined the company as vice president of market development. His responsibilities will include sales and customer service. Armbrust was president of Vargas Manufacturing Co. of Providence for 11 years before it was acquired by Uncas earlier this year.

Michael A. Britto has been named vice president of finance. He joined Uncas in 1994. Christopher S. Corsini has been promoted from production manager to vice president of operations and has been elected to the company’s board of directors. He has been with the company since 1995.

APPOINTMENTS

David W. Howard joined Zale Corp. as senior vice president of MIS. Howard will oversee the company’s management information systems, including its Year 2000 conversion. He replaces Paul Kanneman, who left the company to return to a consulting practice. Prior to joining Zale, Howard was senior vice president of information services at Sportmart Inc., a sporting goods chain operating in the Midwest and West Coast.

Spectore Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., has retained the sales services of Barry Hurvitz, who will be responsible for the New England territory, and Carol Ann Callahan of Callahan and Associates, who will cover the Mid-Atlantic region.

Shell Presenza was appointed packaging product manager for Chippenhook, a Flower Mound, Texas, designer and manufacturer of packaging for the jewelry industry. She will develop packaging and support programs for high-volume users in the U.S. retail jewelry industry. Before joining Chippenhook, Presenza was at Zale Corp., most recently as manager of purchasing services. The company also appointed Jerry Pothier as Southwestern region account executive.

GRID/3 International, New York, appointed Marcelo Albertal to partner. Albertal has been with the retail design company for seven years, most recently as senior associate.

Andrew Heyden was appointed North American new product development director for Nikko Ceramics, manufacturer of dinnerware and giftware. He will focus on developing and introducing new porcelain, bone china, and ironstone pottery patterns. Heyden previously was manager of product development and purchasing for the Shops at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera Gift Collection Catalogue.

Donald Bishop, director of information services at Meyda Tiffnay in Yorkville, N.Y., was elected mayor of Prospect, N.Y. Bishop will serve a two-year term as mayor while maintaining his job at Meyda Tiffany. The company manufactures Tiffany lamps and decorative lighting.

The Inverness Corp., a Fair Lawn, N.J., manufacturer of ear piercing products and systems, has named Tom Van Blarcom sales manager for Inverness and ERI Ear Piercing. Van Blarcom will work with distributors of beauty products throughout the United States and with jewelers and boutiques in the northeastern region of the country.

Vintage Creations and Jenna Nicole Crystal of Freehold, N.J., have appointed several sales representatives. Margo Bryan is the new Vintage Creations/Jenna Nicole Crystal representative for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Karla Green represents Vintage Creations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Marie Dunn carries the Jenna Nicole Crystal line in California, Oregon, and Washington. She also carries Vintage Creations’ Prong-Set Marcasite line and Filigree Collection in California. Marilyn Jones and Jim Sullivan represent Vintage Creations’ Prong-Set Marcasite and Filigree lines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.

New England Sterling has made several staff changes. Newly appointed are John Blackinton as vice president of operations and Wendy Blackinton as sales and marketing manager. Livia Greenberg has been promoted to director of sales and marketing, and Lori Lima has returned to the position of customer service representative. The company recently relocated its sales and marketing operations and part of its manufacturing facility to 45 Elm St. in North Attleboro, Mass.

Bruce Willox has been named director of marketing, Americas, for A.T. Cross Co. of Lincoln. R.I. He will be responsible for product marketing, advertising, promotion, market research, and merchandising activities for the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Willox, who joined Cross in 1984, had been the company’s manager of corporate marketing communications since 1994.

Bill Giovanello is the new president of Marsala Manufacturing. The Columbus, Ohio, company is a jewelry supplier for major retail stores throughout North America. Giovanello previously was vice president and general merchandice manager of footwear at Sears Roebuck and Co. in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

OBITUARIES

Jerome J. Atlas, founder of D. Atlas & Co Inc., Philadelphia, died recently.

Morton Goldin, the retired co-owner of Goldin Jewelers Inc., a Chicago retailer, died March 31 in Miami Beach, Fla. He was 72. Goldin owned and operated his jewelry business for more than 45 years before retiring in 1991.

Fritzi Moldavan, who owned Moldavan Jewelers in Chicago with her husband, Herman, died March 11 in Springfield, Va. Born in Leipzig, Germany, she was a Holocaust survivor.

Jennifer Billings Arrazate, 29, a sales associate for Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in the Lakeside Shopping Center in New Orleans, died April 17.

Nile Edsel Castleberry, 70, of Selma, Ala., died March 24. A manager for Zales jewelers for 23 years, he was a Certified Gemologist and had received several company honors from Zales.

Stanley D. Hall, 85, of Lebanon, Ind., died April 23. He had owned Stanley Hall Jewelry for 49 years before retiring in 1978.

Lottie W. Malone, 93, of Trussville, Ala., died May 1. She was a retired employee of Golbro’s Jewelry Store.

AWARDS

Theresa Beltrani, vice president of the Long Island, N.Y., Chapter of Alumni & Associates, received the GIA Alumni “Regional Member of the Year” award for 1997. Beltrani is the owner of Gem Evaluation Lab, an independent gem and jewelry appraisal service in Mineola, N.Y.

AN HOMAGE TO COLUMBUS

The real Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria probably didn’t cost as much, but it’s not about the money. It’s about a labor of love. Antonio Gonzalez, a master platinum- and goldsmith, re-created the ships of Christopher Columbus to pay homage to his hero for the 500-year anniversary of Columbus’ crossing of the Atlantic.

The task of re-creating the ships caused Gonzalez to give up his metalsmithing work on Philadelphia’s famed Jewelers Row for six years. He obtained designs of the replica of the three ships that traveled in convoy to America in 1992 and was able to scale down the Santa Maria to 18 in. long, 16.25 in. high, and 3.75 in. wide.

He built his own electrical and hand tools, a task that took nearly a year. Then he fitted pieces in brass before forming them from platinum and 18k gold. Even the flags and pennants are re-created in precious metals – platinum, yellow, and red gold.

The precious ships now are appraised at $1.9 million. They are available for private purchase.