Net News

POLYGON TIGHTENS RULES

Polygon Network Inc. announced that firms applying for membership in its Trading Network now face a more extensive credit review process.

For the past 15 years, Polygon has sold “subscriptions” to its on-line trading network to firms which had only to prove they operated in the jewelry industry. Effective

Oct. 1, applicants must apply for membership, which is granted only after a review of applicants’ credit status. This is based in part on information provided by industry resources such as JBT, as well as feedback from current members. Says Jacques Voorhees, Polygon president, “We hope to provide a more secure environment to accommodate the extremely high level of trading that is occurring.”

Polygon also increased the price of its first-year introductory membership from $475 to $495. Existing membership rates remain the same. Polygon Network Inc., FirstBank Center, P.O. Box 4806, Dillon, CO 80435; (970) 468-1245, fax (970) 468-1247.

Retailer News

ROBBINS JEWELRY OPENS SUPERSTORE

Robbins Delaware Diamonds, one of the largest retail jewelry stores in the country, has opened its newest branch, an 8,000 sq.-ft. superstore, in Newark, Del. The 60-year-old Robbins retail jewelry business, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., has four other shops in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The most famous is its flagship “Robbins 8th & Walnut” store.

The new store features the work of 85 leading gold and platinum jewelry designers in 50-plus custom-designed showcases. Some of the designers will make guest appearances, giving clients a chance to see their newest works and to ask questions.

In-store features include:

  • 18 private and semi-private viewing rooms, where customers can use the latest equipment to examine diamonds and jewelry.

  • A video wall in the customer lounges, where TV monitors continually present the work of different designers. Clients can enjoy cappuccino or soft drinks while waiting.

  • Connection to the Internet, giving customers access to a national loose diamond inventory.

  • A glass-enclosed, full-service jewelry manufacturing facility, offering clients a view of the store’s jewelers making or repairing jewelry.

  • A large staff of diamontologists to assist and educate clients. (Robbins’ sales associates are trained and certified by the Diamond Council of America.)

The store is designed to “give customers the ultimate diamond experience [and] is the store of the future” says Ron Robbins, co-owner of the business. He and his brother Jerry have been planning a store of this caliber for some 20 years, he says.

“This store is a dream come true for us,” says Jerry Robbins. “To my knowledge, there is not another like it anywhere else in the world.”

ROSS-SIMONS UNVEILS CORPORATE GIFT CATALOG

Ross-Simons, one of the largest catalog retailers of jewelry in the U.S., launched its first corporate gift catalog this fall. President Darrell S. Ross says it will “fill an important role in corporate gift giving by offering high quality gifts and the highest level of service at value prices.”

The Ross-Simons Corporate Gift Catalog “has something for every budget and every business style,” claims a company spokesperson. Prices range from $14.95 for an engravable pewter bookmark to $1,200 for a gemstone globe on a mahogany stand. Ross says he expects the catalog’s fine jewelry, cigar accessories, crystal stemware/ barware and golf accessories to be especially popular.

For a free catalog, call (800) 845-5677.

The company also offers its products through the Ross-Simons and Ross-Simons Gift & Home Collection catalogs, eight retail stores in five states and its website (http://www. ross-simons.com).

SERVICE REVAMPS MARKETING

Service Merchandise Co., Brentwood, Tenn., has restructured its marketing organization to “aggressively market our fine jewelry and lifestyle products to a broader customer base,” says Gary M. Witkin, chief executive officer.

The new structure, based on in-depth customer research, includes eight new merchandise “worlds” and eight “world” marketing director posts, with corresponding support teams, to oversee the merchandise categories. The eight categories are fine jewelry, kitchen and dinning, home accents and furniture, looking healthy/staying healthy, season to season, travel shop, electronics and kid essentials.

The firm also recently launched a new national television campaign and an expanded newspaper insert program. Service Merchandise (http: //www.servicemerchandise.com) operates 359 stores in 34 states and has some 25,000 employees.

Canadian jewelers win awards

Three Canadian jewelers have been recognized as Jewellery Retailer of the Year in a contest sponsored by Canadian Jeweller magazine.

The winners were Ben Moss Jewellers in Winnipeg, a 33-store chain, as Retail Chain of the Year; Diamond Design in St. John’s, Newfoundland, as Best Independent Retailer of the Year; and Shamin Jewellers Galleria of Burnaby, B.C., as Most Innovative Retailer of the Year.

Recipients were chosen by a panel of 11 judges for innovative retailing strategies, attention to customer service and ethics. The contest was co-sponsored by the Diamond Promotion Service, Seiko Watch Co. and the World Gold Council.

Supplier News

COMPANIES FORM LENDING GROUP

The Ozer Group LLC and Foothill Capital Corp., two financial services companies, have created Paragon Capital LLC. The new company provides secured debt financing to small and midsized retail and consumer product companies. It specializes in working capital for new and emerging growth companies that want to expand.

Paragon Capital LLC, Paragon Towers, 233 Needham St., Newton, MA 02164-1502; (617) 964-2100, fax (617) 969-4259.

HOOVER & STRONG MARKS 85 YEARS

Hoover & Strong, refiner and manufacturer of precious metal products, celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. The firm was founded in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1912 by Jay Hoover and Harry Strong, who sold his interest in the firm to Hoover shortly thereafter.

The company originally recovered platinum from industrial light bulbs. Later, it began to buy and refine scrap platinum jewelry and scrap gold, and to develop such products as sizing, half round, square and flat wire for the industry’s repair shops.

Hoover & Strong moved to Richmond, Va., in 1979 and added sophisticated computer systems to improve efficiency and expedite orders in the 1980s. In 1991, it bought the assets of Baker Fendt Corp. and added die-struck findings to its product line,

Today, Hoover and Strong offers its 10,000 customers mill products, findings, plating supplies and refining services.

Hoover & Strong, 10700 Trade Rd., Richmond, VA 23236-3000; (800) 759-9997, fax (800) 616-9997.

HONORA LAUNCHES AD CAMPAIGN

Honora, a New York City jewelry manufacturer and wholesaler of cultured pearls, hit luxury magazines with high-powered advertising this fall and winter. Ads featuring Honora’s Tahitian black pearl strands, 18k gold and platinum jewelry and akoya cultured pearls began filling full and 1/3 pages in August and will continue through January. Ads are appearing in Forbes, Modern Bride, Town & Country, Robb Report, Trump Style, In Style, New Yorker, Elle and Mirabella.

Honora jewelry also was included in an article called “Island Treasures” about Tahitian pearls’ popularity in Mirabella’s October issue, an editorial on white metals in Mirabella’s November issue and on the cover of Modern Bride in December.

MIKIMOTO ENTERS CORPORATE MARKET

Mikimoto (America) Co. Ltd., a leader in quality cultured pearl jewelry launched its corporate sales division in late October with a cocktail reception at its flagship store on Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Dorothy Harlen, formerly with Japan Airlines, heads the division, which will concentrate on marketing gift items and home accessories. They include such products as enameled clocks, writing utensils and vanity items, all accented with Mikimoto pearls, as well as designer silk scarves and fine china.

Mikimoto (America) Co. Ltd. is the U.S. division of K. Mikimoto & Co. Ltd., Japan. The company has retail stores in Tokyo, London, Paris, San Francisco and New York.

SUPPLIERS ON THE GROW

Jane Silver-Taylor Fine Jewelry Design moved from its former New York City location to 70 Woodbridge St., South Hadley, MA 01075; (413) 535-1574.

Int’l Jewelry Mktg. relocated to expanded headquarters at 36 W. 47 St., #207, New York, NY 10036; (212) 869-0465, fax (212) 869-5387. To mark the event, the company has said it will fully reimburse the airfare of buyers who visit the expanded showroom and purchase a minimum of $10,000.

Kent Raible Jewelry recently moved. The mailing address remains P.O. Box 323, Tiburon, CA 94920. Its new numbers are (415) 389-8885 (telephone) and (415) 389-0305 (fax).

Polygon Network Inc., the Internet service and Website provider for the jewelry industry, opened a New York sales office to promote its products to the diamond and jewelry industry. Ralph Joseph will be the New York sales representative. The new office is at 1120 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10036; (212) 626-6630, fax (212) 626-6650; e-mail: ralph@polygon.net.

Wilton Armetale was honored for environmental excellence. The Mount Joy, Pa. dinnerware and gift manufacturer was honored for attaining ISO 14000 compliance, the highest internationally recognized level of environmental management excellence.

Windsor Jewelers Inc., seller of estate and antique jewelry, relocated its New York City offices to 608 Fifth Ave., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10020; (212) 262-0500 or fax (212) 262-9799.

Carl K. Gumpert Inc., 55 S. Hill St., #1070, Los Angeles, CA 90013-2411, was named a registered supplier of the American Gem Society (AGS). There currently are 140 such suppliers. The firm designs, makes and distributes gold, diamond, platinum and gemstone jewelry.

Trade Shows

GLDA ADDS PAVILIONS

The Gem and Lapidary Dealers Association will add two specialty pavilions to the GLDA Tucson Gem Show at the Holiday Inn City Center in Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 4-11, 1998.

A select group of jewelry designers will be represented in the “Future

Visions” Designer Room. Among the designers already chosen are Barbara Westwood, Susan Sadler, Susan Barnett, Jeffrey Rein, Kreg Scully, Sam Ferraro and Bentley Thomas.

Innovations in gem carving will be the focus of the Crystal Galleria/Patio. The display of sculptures and carvings was organized by Lawrence Stoller, Amador Braojos and North American Gem Carvers.

GLDA, P.O. Box 2391, Tucson, AZ 85702; (520) 792-9431, fax (520) 882-2836.

Show Aims at Manufacturers

Catalog in Motion, the annual manufacturers’ show coinciding with the string of gem shows in Tucson, Ariz., will be held Feb. 7-10, 1998 at the Tucson East Hilton. Rio Grande of Albuquerque, N.M., will demonstrate its tools, equipment and supplies designed for bench jewelers and manufacturers. The show also includes demonstrations of techniques such as beadmaking, wire-wrapping and bead-stringing.

“Hands On In Tucson,” a series of classes by instructors from the Gemological Institute of America, will also be held at the Tucson East Hilton during the show.

Catalog in Motion, 7500 Bluewater Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87121-1962; (505) 839-3248, fax (505) 839-3001.

IFBS COVERS LATEST WOMEN’S FASHIONS

The International Fashion Boutique Show will be held Jan. 10-13 at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The show offers buyers the latest in women’s apparel, jewelry, accessories and footwear.

For information contact Colleen Maguire at (212) 594-0880, ext. 139. To exhibit call (800) 869-7469 or (212) 594-0880. To register as an attendee call (800) 869-7469.

DANKO TO SPEAK AT JCK ORLANDO

Dr. William D. Danko, co-author of The Millionaire Next Door, will deliver the keynote address on Jan. 19 at the 1998 JCK International Jewelry Show in Orlando, Fla.

Danko will describe the demographic groups who are growing more wealthy and how to reach them during a continental breakfast. The show will be held Jan. 18-20, with the pre-show conference program beginning Jan. 17.

JCK, 201 King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, PA 19089; (610) 964-4000, fax (610) 964-4481.

ASIAN CURRENCY WOES HURT HONG KONG ATTENDANCE

The show was big, the lights bright and the jewelry flashy at this year’s Hong Kong International Jewelry & Watch Fair, held Sept. 3-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The five-floor jewelry show featured more than 1,500 exhibitors of luxury jewelry, commercial goods and everything in between.

Organizers and exhibitors reported a drop-off in attendance, due mostly to an absence of many visitors from nearby Asian countries. Dramatic currency devaluations in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia shortly before the show had many retailers scared to invest in stock, some said.

The show was the first major jewelry trade fair in Hong Kong since the territory’s takeover by China in July. The mood concerning China’s ownership ranged from nonchalance to excitement.

“Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change,” says B.K. Chow, general manager of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association. Some companies say they are seeing the new access to China as an opportunity for increased manpower and less costly manufacturing facilities.

Yellow gold jewelry in 14k and 18k is still the preference among Hong Kong-based manufacturing companies. The HKJMA has encouraged its members to begin using platinum, and many gold designs were available with platinum accents. Other much-seen merchandise included rings with understated, bezel-set center diamonds; bands with several tiers of baguettes; and wide Italian gold link and woven chains. Freshwater pearl dealers were, as usual, in abundance, overshadowing akoya pearls for the most part.

Next year the show will nearly double the number of exhibit spaces when it expands into the convention center’s new addition, built to accommodate the Hong Kong handover ceremony in July. The move will add more than 32,000 square meters to the show space and accommodate the few hundred companies still on the waiting list to exhibit, according to organizers. The show will be held June 25-28 and Sept. 23-27, 1998.

FOREIGN SHOWS

The 9th International Jewellery Tokyo show will take place Jan. 28-31 at the Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan. It is expected to attract 38,000 buyers and 700 exhibitors. Also in Japan, International Jewellery Kobe (IJK) ’98 will be held June 11-13 at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall in Kobe. Last year’s show drew over 10,000 buyers and 248 exhibitors. In the U.S., (203) 840-5313, fax (203) 840-9313.

The Ambiente ’98 trade fair, to be held Feb. 14-18, will occupy all 10 halls of the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, as well as the Agora. More than 5,000 exhibitors from

80-plus countries are expected to attend. Last year’s show drew more than 120,000 visitors. Messe Frankfurt Communication, Ludwig Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main; (0 69) 75 75-68 03/63 63, fax (0 69) 75 75-67 57.

Despite the mournful atmosphere and crowds of people lining the streets following the death of Princess Diana, International Jewellery London went on as planned in September, with attendance up 8% to 6,500. New this year were the Platinum Design Competition and the Gemstone Plaza. IJL ’98 is scheduled for Sept. 6-9. Reed Exhibition Co., Oriel House, 26 The Quadrant, Richmond TW9 IDL, United Kingdom; (44-181) 910-7894, fax (44-181) 910-7930. In the U.S., (203) 840-5313, fax (203) 840-9313.

Religio ’98, which includes a section of religious jewelry, will be held at Espace Eiffel Branly in Paris, France, on Feb. 7-9, 1998. More than 400 exhibitors will offer articles of worship, vestments, church equipment, books, services and jewelry. NPLM/ Religio, L’Entrepierres, 32 Morsans, 28800 Newuvy en Dunois, France; (33-23) 718-2560, fax (33-23) 799-1666; website: www.religio.com.

The International Spring Fair (ISF) will be held Feb. 1-5 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. More than 4,000 exhibitors and over 85,000 buyers

attended the ’97 show. To obtain discounted travel packages, U.S. retailers should contact European Travel Management, (800) 992-7700, fax (203) 454-8840. For information on the ’98 event, contact Adam Ash, White Hound Advertising Inc., 95 River St., Hoboken, NJ 07030; (201) 659-0134, fax (201) 222-2141,

e-mail: WhiteHound@aol.com; website: www.gift-garden.com.

Bijorhca, held Sept. 5-8 in Paris, France, had 512 exhibitors of semi-precious jewelry, timepieces and costume jewelry. The fine jewelry area was organized in conjunction with the World Gold Council and focused on four major groups of consumers as identified by the WGC: Materialists, Conformists, People in the Know and Altruists. About half of the jewelry offered fell into the costume jewelry category.

Orogemma ’97, held Sept. 13-17 in Vicenza, Italy, drew 14,000 visitors. Highlights included the International Watch Pavilion; Gold from the Ukrainian Steppe exhibition; IWC of Schaffhausen display; Platinum: The rings – 1997 Trends and Innovations; and a Gold and Communications Strategies forum.

Associations

JEWELERS MUTUAL CHOOSES DIRECTORS

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. appointed a new board member and announced plans for expansion at a recent policyholders’ meeting.

Lee Berg of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, Baton Rouge, La., is the new member. Re-elected to three-year terms were Donald Hamann of Hamann Jewelers, Omaha, Neb.; John Michaels of Michaels Jewelers, Waterbury, Conn.; and Thomas Prosser, an investment broker for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Neenah, Wis.

Frank Maier Jr. of Maier & Berkele, Atlanta, Ga., retired from the board after 12 years of service. JMI donated $5,000 to the Gemological Institute of America to establish a scholarship in his honor.

Ronald Harder, JMI president and chief executive officer, announced plans for a $6 million headquarters expansion. The project will add 36,000 sq.-ft. to the building. Harder also outlined the company’s accomplishments in the past year, including a jewelry appraisal liability insurance product and a weather-related promotional package for jewelry retailers.

PEARL ASSOCIATION ELECTS MEMBERS

The Cultured Pearl Association of America inducted nine new cultured pearl importers into its organization and elected executive officers at its annual meeting in September.

New members include A.A. Pearls Miami, Miami, Fla.; Color Merchants, New York; Eliko Eximport Inc., New York; Far East Pearls, San Francisco; J & J Trading Co., New York; King Plutarco, Los Angeles; Midnight Pearls International, Honolulu, Hawaii; Raja Jewels, New York; and Shafiian Gem Corp., New York.

New officers are Stanley Schechter of Honora, New York, president; Raymond Mastoloni of Frank Mastoloni & Sons, New York, vice president; Armand Asher of Albert Asher South Sea Pearl Co., New York, treasurer; and Janice Ewenstein of Yonmir Pearl, New York, secretary.

NYSJA INSTALLS OFFICERS

The New York State Jewelers Association members enjoyed dinner and dancing on their annual convention and dinner cruise down the Hudson River in August. New officers were installed during the event. Officers are President Louis Fortunoff of Fortunoff, Uniondale; First Vice President Danny Arbusman of Jewels by Viggi, Great Neck; Second Vice President Marc Soloman of Soloman’s Fine Jewelry, Plainview; Treasurer Hershel Graubart of M.B. Graubart & Sons, Schenectady; and Secretary Rochelle Klieger of Ruby & Sons, Endicott.

WJA PRESENTS SCHOLARSHIPS

The Women’s Jewelry Association awarded $15,000 in 12 scholarships this summer. Winners were chosen based on applications, recommendations, mission statements, photographic samples of their work and demonstrated financial need.

IJO FLOCKS TO PALM SPRINGS

Members of the Independent Jewelers Organization will celebrate spring break early this year when they hit Palm Springs, Cal., for IJO’s Spring Show Feb. 21-26, 1998.

IJO members continue to receive free transportation through the organization’s Member Rewards Program. Members who attended the Greenbriar, W.Va., or Nashville, Tenn., show and have not received trips yet will get free travel to the Palm Springs show.

IJO, 2 Railroad Place, Westport, CT 06880; (800) 624-9252 or (203) 226-6941.

MJSA LAUNCHES FAXBACK

The Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America recently launched its FAXBACK service. FAXBACK helps jewelry buyers find manufacturers and suppliers of goods or services and retrieve information on MJSA trade shows and general jewelry-related subjects. Callers dial (800) 444-MJSA, then select FAXBACK from a list of options. MJSA’s telephone system processes requests and automatically sends requested information to the user’s fax machine. The service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America Inc., One State St., 6th Floor, Providence, RI 02908; (800) 444-MJSA, e-mail: MJSA@internetMCI.com, website: mjsa.polygon.net.

People

ROSENBERGS CREATE MEMORIAL FUND

The family of David Blair Rosenberg has established the David B. Rosenberg Fishing Adventure Fund at the Police Athletic League of New York City. Parents Judith and Jack Rosenberg of Judith Jack Inc., New York, N.Y., say they set up the memorial to reflect the love of nature and zest for life of their son, who died in 1992 at age 33.

The fund will give disadvantaged youths a chance to go on supervised one-day and weekend trips to fish, hike, swim, play games and learn camping skills. Tax-deductible contributions should be made payable to PAL/David B. Rosenberg Fishing Adventure Fund. Send to the Police Athletic League, Attn: Betty Craig, 341/2 E. 12 St., New York, NY 10003. Volunteers should call Lorraine Conti at (718) 991-2447.

Awards

For the third consecutive year, jewelry designer Aya Azrielant was named one of America’s top 50 women business owners by Working Woman magazine. She is president of Andin International Inc., a New York-based manufacturer of fine jewelry founded by Aya and her husband, Ofer.

Joan Thompson Sullivan, a sales representative for Frederick Goldman Inc., New York, N.Y., was named “Salesperson of the Year” by Jewelers of Louisiana Inc. Sullivan has worked for Frederick Goldman since January 1997 and is a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association and The 24-Karat Club Southwest.

Appointments

Amin Hasnani, vice president for Accurate Swiss Watches, recently moved from the company’s Bienne, Switzerland, office to its U.S. headquarters in Houston, Tex. He will direct operations and continue to handle product development.

Marie Shandor rejoined Elangy, Edison, N.J., as GMM (general merchandising manager)/VP Merchandising after spending one year with Macy’s East.

Michael Schrier joined Ross-Simons, Cranston, R.I., as director of jewelry merchandising for its catalog division. He has over 20 years’ experience in the jewelry industry.

Kenneth M. Linsky joined Codiam Inc., a New York sightholder. Linsky was formerly with Bliss-Kasdin Inc.

Bruce Rubin joined Samuel Aaron International, Long Island City, N.Y., as president of the guild division. Rubin is the current vice president of the Plumb Club. The firm also named Scott Lyle national accounts sales manager.

Eileen Farrell was named vice president of marketing for the New York-based Rapaport Diamond Corporation. She will oversee sales and marketing for the Rapaport Diamond Report, RapNet and the firm’s website, Diamonds.Net.

AGS Laboratories, Las Vegas, Nev., recently increased its staff to meet industry demand. Jill Bartz was promoted to lab supervisor; Kathryn Hale, Shirley Iodence, Ed Fasnacht and John Mesmer were added to the staff.

Seung-Hae Moon was named director of international education at GIA, Carlsbad, Cal. Her objectives include the expansion of GIA campuses in Europe, Asia and South America. Moon has been with GIA for 17 years.

Ruth Mellergaard, a partner in the jeweler-friendly interior design firm GRID/3 International, New York, N.Y., has become chairperson of the International Interior Design Association’s New York chapter. She will assist the chapter in presenting seminars and programs to professionals, growing membership and raising visibility.

Obituaries

Herbert Goldschmidt, 70, died Oct. 5 in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Herbert and his father Kurt founded K. Goldschmidt Jewelers Inc. in 1939.

Les W. Maglathin, 73, of Canton, Miss., died Aug. 14. He was a wholesale jeweler.

Douglas H. Sampia, 80, died Sept. 27. He was a jeweler for more than 55 years and the owner of Sampia Jewelry Store in Jackson, Miss.

Don Wilson died Sept. 5 in Austin, Tex. He was the president of the Texas Jewelers Association.