Industry & People



COMINGS AND GOINGS

>> Unique Settings of New York appointed Naz Aksu its new marketing director.  

>> On Feb. 15, Moshe Mosbacher was elected president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York, besting former bourse vice president Zvi Farber. Mosbacher, also a former VP, ascended to the top job in 2009 following the death of the club’s longtime president Jacob Banda. He won with two-thirds of the vote. Basant Johari was re-elected vice president, Reuven Kaufman was elected secretary, and Jacob Zupnik was elected treasurer.

James Orloff

>> The California Jewelers Association elected James Or­loff of Orloff Jewelers in Fresno, Calif., president for 2011. Orloff succeeds Stuart Benjamin of Stuart Benjamin & Co. ­Jewelry Designs in San Diego. The CJA also elected David Hayman president elect; Brenda Newman first vice president; Sarah Ashoori second vice president; and Robert Marks treasurer.

>> Lazare Kaplan International has appointed three regional sales managers. Sam Panisuik will be responsible for the Pacific ­Northwest area; Peter Stirtzinger will cover the southern California area; Jay Lipinsky will handle Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The company also appointed Amir Almog as vice president of rough diamonds, and Erez Ben-Shushan coordinator of international manufacturing.

>> Harry Winston Diamond Corp. appointed Cyrille ­Baudet group chief financial officer on Feb. 7. Wendy Kei will assume the role of CFO of the mining and rough diamond sales team, while ­Robert Scott continues as chief financial officer of the brand retail and wholesale business.

Glenn Douglass

>> Joshua J. Fine Jewelry, a Los Angeles–based bridal and fashion jewelry manufacturer, announced Feb. 3 that Glenn Douglass, vice president of sales, will expand his territory to the Eastern states.

>> Charles & Colvard appointed Steven M. Larkin to its board of directors Feb. 7. Since January 2010, Larkin has been senior vice president of Golfsmith International Holdings. Before working at Golfsmith, Larkin had served several executive roles in marketing and e-commerce at Zale Corp.

>> Zale Corp. announced Feb. 22 that David F. Dyer, chairman, president, and CEO of Chico’s FAS, had become a board member. The company also announced the resignation of Charles M. Sonsteby from the board.

>> Eric Modell was appointed president of New York City jewelry pawnbrokers Modell Financial, the company announced Feb. 10. Current president Gerald Modell will assume the role of chairman.

REMEMBERED

>> Jeweler Roy Devoe, owner of Roy T. Jewelers in Bridgewater, N.J., was killed during a robbery at his store on Feb. 7. The gunman later shot himself.

>> Pioneering designer Jean Vitau, 83, died of cancer Feb. 12 at his New York City home. Vitau came to the United States from France 45 years ago, eventually establishing the Gemveto Jewelry Co. He patented the Gemlok setting, a secure, snag-proof way to set diamonds and precious stones.

FINANCIAL

>> Blue Nile reported its “strong­est holiday sales season” ever in 2010, with overall sales for the fourth quarter rising 11.5 percent. Sales for the entire year rose 10.2 percent, to hit $332.9 million, compared with $302.1 million in 2009. 

>> Charles & Colvard, the sole source of diamond simulant moissanite, announced Feb. 16 that its total net sales for 2010 increased 53 percent, and total fourth quarter sales were up 48 percent. On Feb. 21, Artis Capital Management, a San Francisco hedge fund and early investor in ­YouTube, revealed it controls 11 percent of Charles & Colvard’s stock.

AWARDS

>> New York City’s Absolute Brilliance announced the winners of its Diamond Council of America Advanced Jewelry Sales Course scholarships: Jessica Larrabaster of St. Augustine, Fla.; Mark Dechand of Topeka, Kan.; Krista Gilman of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Shelli Bardot of Eureka, Calif.; Kim Westerdahl of Vancouver, Wash.; B.J. Simonzi of South Windsor, Conn. Winners received scholarships for their essays on “Why I chose retail jewelry as my career.”

TRADE SHOWS

>> The Centurion Jewelry Show is moving in 2012 from Tucson, Ariz., to a “top resort” in nearby Scottsdale, according to Howard Hauben, president of show organizer H2 Events.

EVENTS

>> The 34th Annual Antique Jewelry & Art Conference, also known as ­Jewelry Camp, will be held July 15–17 at Tarrytown House Estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., organizers announced. For more information, go to jewelrycamp.org.

GIVING

>> Jewelers for Children partnered with RAN Product Solutions and Maya Caroleena Jewelers to offer a professional gem and jewelry care kit for retailers to sell or give to customers at point of purchase. The kit includes a concentrated solution packet, a basket, brush, and cleaning/polishing cloths. 

A Wattsson & Wattsson U.P. pendant

>> Wattsson & Wattsson ­Jewelers in Marquette, Mich., gave President Obama its signature piece of ­jewelry—a pendant shaped like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—when he visited the state Feb. 10. The store decided on a pendant because Obama wears only the American flag on his lapel. The President then gave the pendant to First Lady Michelle Obama.

LEGISLATION

>> On March 10, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the “Main Street Fairness Act,” requiring Internet merchants who contract with in-state affiliates to ­collect ­Illinois’ 6.25 percent sales tax on customer purchases (and subsequently remit it to the Illinois Department of Revenue). In response, Amazon reportedly severed ties with its Illinois affiliates. Sales tax fairness laws also exist in New York, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Jewelers of America said it applauded the governor’s action.

CRIME

>> Maine state police are investigating a security breach in Waterville-based Day’s Jewelers’ computer system that may have released customers’ credit and debit information to third parties. Day’s president Jeff Corey said the company’s initial investigation indicates personal information was not accessed. 

LEGAL

>> Wilton Brooks Jr., owner of ­Carolina Gold & Coins in Simpsonville, S.C., was arrested Feb. 18 for allegedly buying silver and gold rings without documenting the purchase or obtaining a signature and identification of the seller. Brooks was charged with violating the state’s precious-metals act and with receiving/possessing stolen goods valued under $1,000.

>> Lior Bitton, owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems in Westminster, Calif., pled guilty Feb. 4 to one felony count of insurance fraud, for collecting more than $99,000 from his insurance company after falsely reporting a stolen diamond, according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to three years of probation, five days in jail, and 90 days in home confinement. He will also pay $99,000 in restitution.

ASSOCIATIONS

>> Constellation Energy has been named the endorsed energy supplier by the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America. The company will offer MJSA’s 1,500 members a portfolio of energy management products, ranging from competitive electricity supply to renewable energy certificates.

(Additional reporting by Lindsey Wojcik)?