De Beers Wins Rights to ‘Millennium’ Phrase

It’s the kind of last-minute hitch that can foil even the best-laid plans. Just as De Beers was about to sell its Millennium “branded” diamonds, luxury goods dealer Alfred Dunhill announced it would contest ownership of the phrase “Millennium diamonds” in court.

In 1980, Dunhill trademarked use of the word “millennium” for clocks, watches, and jewelry. The company’s lawyers argued that De Beers’ diamonds fall into the jewelry segment. De Beers planned to take its case to the English High Court, but attorneys for the two sides worked out a deal.

A press release says De Beers has “taken a license” for the use of the Millennium mark. But spokesman Andrew Lamont says the company isn’t paying Dunhill anything. “It’s quite an ambitious approach to try and patent the word ‘millennium,’ ” he says. “It’s like patenting the word ‘Christmas.’ ”

Goldman, Leshem Merge

Fracture-filled diamond supplier Goldman Diamond Co. has merged with Leshem Diamond Services to create a new company that will focus exclusively on filled stones. The new company will retain the name Goldman Diamond Co.

Both company principals have experience at other filled stone suppliers. Eitan Goldman of the Goldman Diamond Co. was formerly with Goldman-Oved Co., which recently dissolved. Humie Leshem was the lab and sales manager of the Yehuda Diamond Co., which pioneered the sale of filled stones.

The New York-based company, which also has an office in Los Angeles, will sell both loose stones and a new line of “clarity-enhanced” fine jewelry. It has already opened a lab in New York. The company principals say they’re developing a method to fill some previously untreatable feathers.

Soap Opera Actress Touts Moissanite

Popular daytime TV actress Hunter Tylo is the new 1999 spokeswoman for diamond lookalike synthetic moissanite. Tylo, an actress on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” has already appeared on behalf of moissanite for the product’s launch in the Atlanta and Miami markets. As one of her first official duties, Tylo wore a synthetic moissanite bracelet and earrings to the 1999 Emmy Awards.

Fox News: Appraisers Don’t Know Moissanite

We’ve grown accustomed to hearing about retailers mistaking synthetic moissanite for diamonds—but appraisers? New York TV station WNYW recently caught two out of three local appraisers misidentifying the diamond simulant as the real thing.

None of the appraisers was identified on-air. But Jerry Ehrenwald, president of the International Gemmological Institute, claims the one gemologist who correctly identified the moissanite was Anissa Carroll, G.G., an employee of his lab.

WNYW reporter Andrea Day says she did the story “on a tip.” She notes that it has gotten a strong reaction. “People are worried about whether the stones they have are in fact diamonds,” she says. On camera, Day advised viewers to make sure jewelers can identify moissanite. And, in a piece of advice likely to send retailers rushing for the Maalox, she added, “Be careful if you buy jewelry with a lot of stones, like [a] tennis bracelet. You have to check every single stone” to make sure that moissanite hasn’t been mixed in with diamonds.

Day says the story also aired on the Fox News Channel, a nationwide cable television network.

Israeli Diamond Institute Offers Seminars, Mini-Bourses

To strengthen relations with American jewelry manufacturers, diamond wholesalers, and retail jewelers, the Israel Diamond Institute and other members of the Israeli diamond industry will visit Boston and Seattle this fall to present seminars and mini-bourses.

  • Boston. The first major event, the Boston-Israel Diamond Market, will be held Oct. 17 and 18 at Boston’s Westin Copley Place Hotel. The program kicks off with Martin Rapaport discussing “How to Buy Diamonds in Israel.” Participants then can view and buy polished diamonds in a mini-bourse, an ad-hoc diamond trading floor manned by Israeli diamond manufacturers and dealers. Participants also can tender bids for the polished goods on view at the private Boston Diamond Auction/Tender, organized by Avner Sofiov of Tzoffey’s (1818) Ltd. Renowned diamantaire William Goldberg will deliver the keynote address on “Diamonds in the New Millennium.”

The Boston-Israel Diamond Market has been organized in conjunction with the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Jewelers Association, other regional jewelry associations, and the Israel Economic Mission.

  • Seattle. On Oct. 24, IDI will present an Israel diamond seminar at the Westin Seattle Hotel in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest and Oregon State Jewelers Associations, the Idaho and Montana state jewelers associations, and the Israel Economic Consulate. Ken Scarratt, director of the American Gem Trade Association’s Gemological Testing Center in New York, will deliver two lectures. Here, too, participants can tender bids for the polished goods on view at the private Seattle Diamond Auction/Tender.

DPL Moves (Again)

The Diamond Profile Laboratory (DPL), known for its innovative spectrophotometric color grading, brilliance and symmetry measurements, and Internet commerce, has moved again. Its new home is Dallas. Danny and Henry Kessler, owners of Dallas jewelry supply warehouse Sy Kessler Sales and major investors in DPL, see greater potential with the lab situated at their home office.

In June 1997 the lab moved from Portland, Ore., to Miami when appraiser Joe Tenhagen took over as director. Tenhagen, who struggled to make DPL profitable, is dismayed to see the lab move. “I just couldn’t get the local diamond dealers to go along with the program,” he says. The diamond grading report is very high-tech, including light return and dispersion measurements. “It was too new,” says Tenhagen. “And it took a while to get production up to profitable numbers—to do 30 to 50 stones a day.”

Tenhagen felt it was on the verge of “taking off,” but for the Kesslers, it was taking too long to make it worthwhile.

“The move out of Portland was intended to get this technology into a larger market,” says Craig Walters, originator of the lab. “It was my intention to give it one year [in Miami] to achieve a self-sustainable production level.” When that didn’t happen, the Kesslers and Walters decided it was best to move the lab to Dallas and run it under their management. The Kesslers hope to reestablish diamond grading services as soon as possible.

For more information on DPL, contact Sy Kessler Sales at (800) 527-0719. Walters has returned to Portland from Miami and can be reached at (503) 963 9251 or crmw@pacifier.com.

West Coast Diamond Club Elects New Slate of Officers

The new head of the Diamond Club West Coast, Joseph Bronner of Los Angeles’ Superior Diamonds, plans to make security the main focus of his tenure. Says Bronner, “We have to make it safe to do business here.”

Bronner, formerly president of the Diamond Club of South Africa, also wants to raise the club’s profile. “Los Angeles is the gateway to the Pacific Rim,” he says. “We have to improve our profile and trade with the Far East.”

Bronner succeeds two-term president Walter Feinblum, but the office stays in the family: Bronner is Feinblum’s father-in-law. “In my speech, I joked that while it’s common for a son-in-law to come after his father-in-law, this is one of the rare instances where it’s working the other way around,” Bronner says.

In addition, David Marcus of Marcus Diamonds was elected vice president, Jim Vernon of Frank Vernon won the post of secretary, and Hitesh Sheth of Nice Diamond was elected treasurer.