People, Associations, Auctions/Exhibits, Trade Shows, and Calendar

Is Stuller ‘Strapped’ for Business?

Stuller is adding a new dimension to its business. The Lafayette, La.-based manufacturer and distributor of mountings, findings, metals, loose stones, and finished jewelry is now making watch straps. But this move goes beyond product. Stuller is a bold newcomer to the strap market, and its advantage may be its strong focus on service and profitability.

“My sense is that the watch strap business is fairly competitive, but it has not been a real service-oriented segment, which is our specialty,” says Stuller’s Steve MacDiarmid.

The leather bands feature the rembordé method of construction, which seals the top leather layer to the lining for added water resistance, durability, and a more tailored look. Like its Tulip settings, the straps are branded with the Stuller logo, on the buckle. Stuller straps retail from $9.95 to $21.95, with a triple keystone markup.

This new collection isn’t just an assembly line of straps shipped out in mass quantities throughout the United States. Stuller, known for superior service as well as its products, offers quality control with the new line.

“We felt this move addresses some issues which exist in the industry: No. 1, availability – we can ship the same day they are ordered,” MacDiarmid says. “No. 2, we can combine the shipment with other orders they send us. No. 3, it’s prepackaged with a triple key markup, which gives the straps a good margin. That’s not usually the norm. Nor is the fact that you can order just one piece, because we have no minimum order. Our clients won’t have to wait on the salesman to wait on them.”

MacDiarmid says Stuller’s advertising and promotion typically has revolved around the trade, but Stuller will spread the word of its new watch strap product to consumers as well. – Keith Flamer

Eye on the Prize

Cartier is known for its timeless designs. To encourage future jewelry designers and promote the importance of design, the company awards an annual “Cartier Prize” to an outstanding jewelry student at the Rhode Island School of Design.

The award is presented each year at commencement time to a graduating jewelry design major recognized by RISD faculty for excellence in creativity and craftsmanship. Marjorie Shachnow of Oakland, Calif., was the winner of this year’s Cartier Prize. She won for demonstrating great imagination, flair, and a concern for quality execution.

“I predict she will have a very successful career in this industry,” says Ralph Destino, Cartier chairman, who presented Shachnow with the award.

The Cartier Prize at RISD was first presented in 1997 on the occasion of Cartier’s 150 anniversary. The luxury goods company has made major contributions to the history of jewelry design.

Swarovski’s Promotes Rituals

A coin in the bride’s shoes on her wedding day is good luck. Wearing the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand is derived from the belief that this finger has a vein that runs directly to the heart. Throwing rose petals in front of the bride leads her to a sweet and plentiful future.

What do such customs, rituals, and superstitions have in common? A bride, a groom, and a celebration of the marriage bond. And when love is in the air, so is Swarovski.

The Cranston, R.I., manufacturer of full-cut crystal stones for giftware, fashion, jewelry, and lighting industries has been a perennial contributor to wedding traditions, including bridal jewelry, attendant gifts, and even crystal-embellished wedding gowns. And as nuptial customs change, so does Swarovski’s role.

A new wedding custom that has emerged, for example, is individual table favors for each guest. With Swarovski’s Crystal Memories collection, newlyweds can offer a personal stamp of appreciation for guests beyond the “thank you” card. The practice was inspired by the medieval custom of attendant gifts meant to thank those involved in wedding preparation. Traditionally, these gifts were simple reminders of the reception.

“The look and feeling of crystals, and their brilliance and romance, have always lent themselves to all aspects of a wedding,” says Cherry Crowden, the international director of the Swarovski Collectors Society. “And like a wedding, crystals mean beauty, sparkle, and luminosity.”

During Victorian times, wedding cakes became works of art, featuring personalized mementos. The cake topper accessory evolved from this and has since inspired Swarovski’s popular crystal swan cake topper. The “bride’s basket,” also born during Victorian times, were ornately designed to hold the bride’s fruits and sweets. Swarovski Selection’s Apollo bowl is a modern-day version of the bride’s basket, similarly adorned with crystals.

In late May, Swarovski hosted a simulated wedding reception that was actually a wedding etiquette classroom for engaged couples. The company chose a popular event hall, Bloom Ballroom, where brides-to-be and their fiancés spoke with the company’s special-occasion experts for advice and gift ideas for their upcoming nuptials. At the event, Swarovski unveiled its Special Occasion Collection of pearl and crystal jewelry, including the Princess Tiara.

For newlyweds, Swarovski – the exclusive national corporate sponsor of PBS’s 1998 Championship Ballroom Dancing – presented a “First Dance Clinic,” with international Latin dance champions Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith, a married couple of nine years. Following their dance exhibition, instructors from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio led couples in a class, teaching fundamentals of the foxtrot and the waltz.

Swarovski also offered tips such as special songs appropriate for the first dance and dance strategies (such as dance lessons starting six months before the wedding, two classes per week), jewelry for bridesmaids, and gifts for guests. – Keith Flamer

Skalet Gold Fights Breast Cancer

Skalet Gold, a division of the Donald Bruce Co. in Chicago, is donating a portion of the proceeds from its new Hope Ribbon Collection to the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation at Northwestern University’s Memorial Hospital.

Skalet has pledged matching contributions for up to 10% of the retail sales amount, according to company vice president Bill Jobbins.

“It is important to realize, especially for our industry, that one in eight women will develop breast cancer,” says Yaffa Leitman, designer of the Hope Ribbons. “It is the leading killer of women ages 34-54. So we’re making every effort to promote [cancer research] and to be good citizens.” Retailers are being urged to make contributions, for which Skalet plans to match every dollar.

For more information, contact Carla Petersen at (800) 621-6017, Ext. 311.

WILLIAM LEVINE DEBUTS NEW DIVISION

William Levine Inc. has launched a new division of fine finished jewelry, William Levine Fine Jewels, LLC.

The line includes necklaces, earrings, brooches, and rings in platinum, 18k yellow gold, diamonds, and South Seas pearls and precious stones. Featured is a collection by European designer Patrick Schwarz.

The company, which has been in the diamond business for three generations, debuted the line at the JA International Jewelry Show last month. For information, contact Bruce Lawton & Associates at (213) 461-8017.

Akiva Gil Adds New Gemstones

Akiva Gil Co. Inc. is now supplying “raspberry rhodolite,” pink and purple gemstones from Tanzania. The stone, which is not enhanced, is found in sizes up to 25 cts. For information, contact Akiva Gil Co. Inc., 18 E. 48th St., Suite 1601, New York, NY 10017; (800) 592-0009.

Global Groups Go Online

The French Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (BOCI) has launched a Web site (www.frenchjewelry.com) in English aimed primarily at American customers to provide information about French suppliers and their products.

It joins other national industries that have inaugurated similar sites, including the German, Hong Kong, Israeli, and Italian industries, though those are aimed at a worldwide audience.

“We want to be known to customers beyond the trade exhibitions,” says Bruno Peytel of De Percin & Cie., a leading Paris gold and silver jewelry manufacturer and one of the “founding firms” of the site. At least 50 of BOCI’s 250 members were expected to be on the site June 30.

Meanwhile, the Italian Trade Commission reports that its informational site (www.itcjewelry.com) is attracting 1,500 new users around the world every day. Use of the site has tripled in the past year. It is the world’s largest database of Italian jewelry manufacturers and is accessible through various Internet search engines.

In Paris, upscale jewelry retailer Christian Bernard has launched its own site (www.christian-bernard.com). In addition to company information and jewelry, it features testimonials from customers, “The Top 10 Jewelry Trends,” and job opportunities.

CD-ROMs are also becoming an increasingly accepted computer tool for both individual firms and associations. The Israel Export Institute, for example, released its new 1998 catalog on a CD-ROM for the first time. It is available by writing the institute or through its Internet site (www.export.gov.il). Meanwhile, Italian jeweler Molina & C.S.N.C., a leading producer of quality 18k gold and diamond jewelry, excited customers at the recent JCK Show in Las Vegas with its first-ever CD-ROM catalog, in English, featuring 6,500 pieces. The CD catalog is detailed (by price, material, jewelry type, etc.), has sharp color pictures, and enables Molina’s clients to show or order jewelry without carrying samples.

Also at The JCK Show, D.A.T.A. Inc., of Lombard, Ill., debuted CRMS Retail Jeweler software by Computer Aided Management Systems Inc. The software, “designed for the AGS jeweler,” handles every computerized management chore in a jewelry store, except payroll, according to the company. It is designed for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT. – William George Shuster

New Home Page Aims to Unify Industry

The Jewelry Channel, a Web site providing selling, marketing, and information services to jewelry suppliers, retailers, and consumers, was launched in July. The new site’s goal, say its founders, is to present “a unified jewelry industry to the public” and to provide consumers with “realistic buying choices” in new and estate jewelry and “in an environment that instills confidence to make purchases.”

The Jewelry Channel (www.jewelrychannel.com), based in Huntingdon Beach, Calif., was founded last year by two advertising executives, Larry Kasper (CEO of the Jewelry Channel) and Mark Finley (vice president). It was created in response to the growing numbers of suppliers and retailers who have launched their own sites, says Finley, whose family has been in the jewelry business for 70 years and who formerly headed his own retail jewelry firm.

Membership on the Jewelry Channel (for a fee) provides suppliers and retailers with online “24×7 storefronts” – available to viewers around the clock – that are customized and maintained by Jewelry Channel. (Existing Web sites also can be integrated into them.)

The Jewelry Channel has two main sections. One is a password-protected, trade-only section for trade services and interaction between suppliers and retailers. The other is a jewelry marketplace, where consumers can make immediate online purchases. The retailer storefronts for consumers include information on fashion, jewelry, and design trends as well as purchasing tips.

The firm hopes to have 1,000 suppliers and 200 retailers online within six months, says Robert Finley, director of marketing. For information, contact the Jewelry Channel, 15102 Bolsa Chica Rd., Suite E, Huntingdon Beach, CA 92649; (714) 899-0638, (888) 650-6664, fax: (714) 899-1244; e-mail: mail@jewelrychannel.com.

Gias John Hummel Dies in S. Africa

John H. Hummel, Ph.D., the former director of course development at the Gemological Institute of America, died May 14 at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, after two heart attacks. He was 62 years old.

Hummel had traveled to South Africa to tour the region’s diamond mines on March 16 as part of a special GIA research assignment. He suffered the first heart attack three days before the end of the trip and was hospitalized until his death.

In mourning Hummel’s passing, GIA officials lauded his work in revising the institute’s course material, a task he undertook in the mid-1980s. His goal was to make the educational programs understandable and appropriate for students from a variety of educational backgrounds. In 1994, he oversaw revision of the GIA Diamond Directory, which later became the first GIA publication to be released on CD-ROM. He became a specialist consultant for GIA in 1997.

Hummel, a native of Paterson, N.J., came to GIA via an unusual route – the study of literature. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature from the University of Texas, he became an associate professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught there for 15 years, rising to the rank of full professor. In 1980, he became a freelance journalist and owned and operated a salmon trawler in Northern California. He joined GIA in 1983 as manager of course development.

“He was a brilliant writer and editor,” said GIA President William Boyajian. “He took a one-man department and turned it into a million-dollar division. He was the real reason we were able to develop so many courses all those years.”

CSO’S Vaughan Commits Suicide

Howard Vaughan, 54, a long-time public relations and marketing officer with De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation, committed suicide on June 5.

At the time of his death, Vaughan was a consultant to the CSO, working on updating reference books, including Diamonds by Eric Bruton.

Vaughan joined De Beers in 1962 as a public relations assistant and later became Diamond Companies Press Officer in London. In 1971 he was assigned to South Africa, but returned to CSO’s London office in 1977. In 1990, he moved to the Market Liaison Department, where he served as the chief contact between the CSO and gemological laboratories around the world.

F.R. Ballou Dies

F. Remington Ballou, 69, chairman and chief executive officer of B. A. Ballou & Co. in East Providence, R. I., died May 17 at home after a long illness.

A Marine Corps captain in the Korean War, he graduated from Yale University in 1950 and from Harvard Business School in 1956. He took over the helm of the company from his father, Frederick A. Ballou, in 1964.

The company specializes in finished jewelry and jewelry findings. It was founded in 1868 by his grandfather.

He was a past president of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York and a director of the Jewelry Industry Council. He also served on the boards of the Providence Journal-Bulletin, the Hospital Trust National Bank, and Keyport Life Insurance Company of Boston.

In 1964, then-Gov. John Chafee named him chairman of the newly created Council for Equal Employment Opportunity. Over three years, Ballou’s council obtained pledges from close to 230 firms to stop discrimination in the hiring, treatment, and advancement of employees.

His son, Allan W. Ballou, and daughter, Caroline Ballou Naumann, are both active in the company.

Other Obituaries

Manley Abercrombie, 86, died May 14. He owned Abercrombie Jewelers in Rushville, Ind., for 47 years, retiring in 1977.

Joseph Conrad Evans, 41, a watch repairman for Evans Jewelers in Colvis, N.M., died Feb. 24. He was a graduate of Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas.

Ort to Honor Sears Jewelry VP

Leslie Mann, vice president and general merchandise manager for fine jewlery, costume jewelry, handbags, accessories, and hosiery at Sears, Roebuck and Co., will receive the ORT Jewelry Industry Chapter’s Community Achievement Award. She will be presented with the award at a dinner on Sept. 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. The honor recognizes her contributions to the jewelry industry and to ORT, an international Jewish community education and training organization.

Mann has been at Sears, Roebuck and Co. since 1969. In 1988, she became national merchandise manager of fine jewelry and watches. She has been in her current position since 1994.

In 1995, Sears’ fine jewelry department was named the company’s Department of the Year. Last year, Mann was recognized as Retailer of the Year by the Women’s Jewelry Association and chaired ORT’s Jewelry Industry Chapter’s 1997 Annual Awards Tribute Dinner.

Dominick Sorresso of Rogers & Holland is the chairman of the dinner honoring Mann.

Diamond Industry Spokesman Retires

Lloyd Jaffe has stepped down as chairman of the American Diamond Industry Association, a group he founded in 1982 and had headed since then. However, he plans to stay active as a diamond manufacturer in New York. “I always liked that part of the business, and I want to go back to it,” Jaffe says.

As for ADIA, its future is up in the air. One possible scenario is folding it into the Diamond Industry Steering Committee. Jaffe, though, wants it to continue as an independent entity. “I would like it to represent all aspects of the American industry – as the name implies,” he says.

The big question is funding. The group was originally bankrolled by the three main associations – the Diamond Dealers Club, the Diamond Trade and Precious and Stone Association, and the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association. Today, it is funded by a variety of sources, including some, but not all, of New York’s sightholders as well as a De Beers rough broker.

ADIA was born in the superheated atmosphere of the investment diamond crash of the early 1980s. DDC President William Goldberg convened an emergency meeting to find solutions to the public relations beating the industry was taking. The only problem was that no one had any. Most manufacturers wanted to appeal to De Beers, but Jaffe had a different idea. “I said we can’t just rely on De Beers. We’ve got to do something ourselves,” he recalls. Jaffe’s gumption got him drafted as head of the “do-something-ourselves” committee.

Public relations powerhouse Howard Rubenstein conceived both ADIA’s moniker and its mandate. Jaffe, known for his precise Midwestern diction, became the group’s spokesman, and ran the association with fellow dealers Ted Baumgold and Manny Cohen. (Cohen is still with the group.) Rubenstein taught the new chairman how to deal with the press, and by the 1990s, Jaffe became the industry’s full-time cheerleader. In 1996, ADIA severed its ties with Rubenstein.

ADIA’s timing was fortuitous. Shortly after it was formed, Edward Jay Epstein’s Rise and Fall of Diamonds was released, with its notorious final chapter predicting that diamonds would one day be worthless. Jaffe and others launched an immediate counterattack, disputing the book on TV and in print. Looking back, he has no doubts who won that first big battle. “No one remembers the book today,” he says. “But everyone remembers their first diamond.” – Rob Bates

Charity Fund Party a Big Success

This year’s “Party with a Purpose,” an annual gala staged during The JCK Show by the International Retail Jewelers Charity Fund, raised $1.3 million. The June event is one of the industry’s social highlights of the year and attracts leading United States retailers and suppliers. Event organizers said each of nine charities will get at least $90,000 (after expenses). The fund has raised more than $15 million for nonprofit groups in its 15 years of existence.

At the party, the fund also unveiled a CD that jewelers can sell in their stores to raise money for good causes. Entitled “Musical Gems for Charity,” it has 10 popular jewelry-related songs (including “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”) by such artists as Ethel Merman, Tammy Wynette, and the Platters. It retails for $9.95 (with $7 going to charities).

This summer, the fund is offering stores the chance to carry the CD on consignment. Contact the International Retail Jewelers Charity Fund at 1212 Ave. of the Americas, Suite 2200, New York, NY 10036; (800) 783-6203.

Pearl Seminar in Hong Kong

The South Sea Pearl Consortium (SSPC), in cooperation with the Gemological Institute of America, will give a seminar on pearls during the Hong Kong Jewellery and Watch Fair. The program will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

At the seminar, GIA representatives will give a progress report on GIA’s research on treated color pearls. SSPC officials will report on the current market situation and prices of South Seas pearls. The seminar is open to all in the trade and is free of charge.

New at IJO

The Independent Jewelers Organization has launched a monthly newsletter, the IJO Spectrum, to report information about members, including special announcements, store openings, remodelings, and promotions. Another regular feature will be a supplier profile. The newsletter debuted in June.

At its semi-annual “Buyer’s Review” held last spring, the organization accepted eight new manufacturer lines. The new suppliers were screened by a panel of five IJO retail jewelers.

The new additions to the IJO Buying Group are Austern & Paul, New York; Fisher Le Stage, North Attleboro, Mass.; Group D, Sarasota, Fla.; Jewelry Box Corp. of America, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Jewelry by Michael, Los Angeles; LC International, New York; Ruedisili, Sylvania, Ohio; and Schneider Design Studio, Long Beach, Calif.

Four Groups Stage Big Media Event

The Jewelry Information Center and three other industry organizations attracted nationwide media attention with their recent fall preview of fine jewelry.

“In a first-time collaboration with industry partners, we showcased some of the most innovative jewelry designs,” said JIC president Lynn Ramsey. Some 150 pieces of jewelry from 36 designers and manufacturers were displayed at a New York luncheon in May. Cohosts were the Cultured Pearl Information Center, Platinum Guild International USA, and World Gold Council.

To generate media interest, JIC arranged for a showing of the flawless 1.09-ct. Arkansas diamond, which has been valued at $33,000. The lure worked. Four TV stations and more than 50 magazine editors showed up.

JIC, a nonprofit group based in New York, generates publicity for the jewelry industry and offers its members professional, ready-to-use newspaper advertisements.

Owners, Managers Meet in Oklahoma

The first interstate convention just for U.S. jewelry store owners and managers, staged recently in Afton, Okla., was so successful that its organizers might hold another in a couple of years. And jewelers in other regions are considering their own meetings.

“For a long time, I’ve felt that, for all the great programs offered by state and national associations, jewelers learn the most from each other,” says Lane Roberds, first vice president of the Oklahoma Jewelers Association and manager of the B.C. Clark store in North Park, Okla. Roberds’ idea was a regional conference of only managers and owners, with no employees present (as there normally would be at state or national trade shows or industry events).

“Most owners and managers are pretty much on their own when making decisions that determine the success of their stores,” he explains. “A retreat like this gives them a chance to share their common concerns and successes and to freely discuss sensitive issues involving employees,” such as hiring and firing, compensation, or employee handbooks.

The conference,18 months in the planning, cost $40,000. Jewelers of America provided $10,000 from its venture fund. Support also came from corporate sponsors, including the Cyma Watch/Glenn Corp., Jewelers Mutual Insurance, Precision Set, the Platinum Guild, the American Gem Trade Association, Jules Borel & Co., Steve Litvak & Associates, Aurafin Corp., Color Visions, Richard Glatter Inc., Mastoloni & Sons, W.R. Mazza & Son, Andrew Meyer Jewelry Inc., and SCA/Seiko.

The three-day conference was open only to independent jewelry store owners and managers who were members of the state jewelers’ associations in Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, and Iowa (all of which use the same executive director).

The highlights of the weekend event were round-table discussions. Topics included insurance, discounts, employee handbooks, in-store training, hiring, and firing. Each was chaired by a moderator – often an expert, such as a lawyer specializing in estate planning, an advertising executive, an officer of Jewelers Mutual Insurance, and a clinical psychologist who deals with family business problems. Round-table sessions were repeated three times a day, enabling jewelers to attend several over the weekend.

Fortunoff to Chair GIA’s Vision 2000

Helene Fortunoff, principal of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry and Silverware Inc., has been named to chair the Gemological Institute of America’s Vision 2000 campaign. Vision 2000 is GIA’s international effort to raise funds to improve its education programs, broaden research and development activities, provide scholarships and student aid, and expand its educational outreach.

Fortunoff’s contributions to Vision 2000 include a $125,000 sponsorship of a GIA classroom on the New York campus. In 1997, she was inducted as a League of Honor Sovereign, one of the institute’s most prestigious forms of recognition.

She has been active in industry-related organizations since she established the fine jewelry division of her company in 1957. She is a member of the GIA alumni organization and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee executive board. A past president of the Women’s Jewelry Association, she currently is an adviser to its national board.

Two L.A. Groups Join Forces

East met West in Los Angeles on May 17, when the Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association (USA West) and the Diamond Club West Coast co-hosted a gala dinner dance at the Intercontinental Hotel. The event, dubbed the “Jewel of Friendship,” was one of a series of activities jointly organized in the past year by the two groups, both headquartered in L.A.

Last year, the two clubs launched a joint initiative aimed at reducing the number of robberies in the area. The Los Angeles Police Department, County Sheriff, Orange County Police, State Police, and FBI have formed a task force to address the issue.

The groups have also lobbied legislators in Sacramento on behalf of the industry. Earlier this year, both club presidents – Rahul Parikh of IDCA and Walter Feinblum of the Diamond Club – traveled to Sacramento to express their support for a bill that would require a mandatory sentence of 10 years for thefts exceeding $10,000 in California.

Additionally, the two groups have formed a joint committee to discuss issues affecting the industry and seek solutions to common problems.

The Pearl Corner by Stanley Robin

I have bad news for those of you who enjoy the order and security of a universal grading system. At this time none exists for cultured pearls. It has not been for a lack of trying though. Unlike diamonds and precious stones, cultured pearls are harvested annually. From year to year every harvest yields a distinctive crop. And every so often the crop can be radically different in appearance. Further, the many varieties of pearls, some grown in cold water (Japanese Akoya) and some in warm (Chinese Akoya and South Sea), add to the complexity of any possible grading system.

On the other hand, a loose grading system has gradually evolved over the years. Lower quality pearls in this system are the more poorly defined with multiple letters like “B” or “C” or words like commercial or promotional being used interchangeably. However, the middle and upper quality ranges have been pinned down fairly well. The backbone of this system is made up of the letters “A”, “AA”, and “AAA”. They represent the following qualities.

“A” (Good commercial) is a round, clean, moderately cultivated pearl, with medium luster and a light body color.

“AA” (Top commercial) is a round, clean, well cultivated pearl, with medium high luster and a light body color.

“AAA” (Fine) is a round, clean, heavily cultivated pearl, with a light body color and silver or pink overtones. The top end of this quality is usually considered Gem quality.

Keep in mind that, although most pearl dealers are familiar with these letters and what they represent, there may still be some slight grading variations from dealer to dealer. Generally, the grading system is effective. Use it whenever possible!

JIS PLANS MIAMI SHOW

Jewelers International Showcase will hold its next show Oct. 24-26 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Fla. JIS expects about 1,000 exhibitors. Call (561) 998-0205, fax (561) 998-0209; e-mail: jisshow@aol.com.

BANGKOK FAIR EXPANDING

The 22nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair will be held Sept. 9-12 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand. The expanded biannual event is expected to attract 480 local and international companies. Among the improvements to the visitor facilities will be hospitality and business centers, according to Sanit Vorapanya, director general of the Department of Export Promotion, Thailand’s ministry of commerce.

Fair activities will include the Top Ten Jewel Award, a contest for Thai designers. All of the entries feature rubies, gold, and diamonds. This year’s contest theme is sports, selected to commemorate the 13th Asian Games next December in Bangkok.

The first three days of the fair are for trade only. On the final day, Sept. 12, the show will be open to the public.

For information, contact the Department of Export Promotion, (66-2) 511 5066-77, Ext. 300, fax (66-2) 512 2670, e-mail: tidep@mocnet.moc.go.th, www.thaitrade.com.

FIGURES RELEASED FOR INDIA SHOW

The 13th India International Jewellery Show ’98, held March 18-22, attracted nearly 144 foreign visitors, organizers report. More than 80 of India’s leading jewelry firms participated.

The show was held in Delhi, the capital city, for the first time. It was moved from its previous location in Mumbai, the country’s financial center, in an effort to create greater export awareness within the region and to commemorate the golden jubilee year of India’s independence.

The 14th Indian International Jewellery Show will be held at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai Sept. 11-14.

OTHER FOREIGN SHOWS

More than 50 overseas companies will be exhibiting at International Jewellery London ’98, to be held Sept. 6-9 in Earls Court 2. Among the countries to be represented are Australia, India, Germany, France, and Denmark. This year for the first time the show will feature a Hong Kong pavilion, in which 15 companies will be exhibiting. For more information, call (44-181) 910 7833, fax (44-181) 910 7930.

Autumn Fair Birmingham, formerly known as the International Fair, is scheduled to run Sept. 6-9 at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham, England. Running concurrently with Housewares International and the International Hardware Fair, the combined events attract nearly 25,000 visitors from 60 countries. Nearly 3,000 exhibitors will showcase their products in four new halls at the NEC. For information, call (201) 659-0134, fax (201) 222-2141, e-mail: whitehound@aol.com, internet: www.gift-gardenmart.com. The 1998 International Spring Fair, held Feb. 1-5 at the NEC, attracted more than 80,000 visitors, including more than 1,000 North American retailers.

The fifth Malaysia International Jewelex ’98 show will be held Nov. 20-23 at the Putra World Trade Centre. Exhibitors from more than 20 countries, including the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Israel, England, and Belgium, are expected. Organizers say 12,000-plus manufacturers, dealers, traders, wholesalers, importers/exporters, and buyers will attend.

MACEF Spring ’98, the international exhibition of tableware, household and gift items, silverware, goldsmiths’ items, and watches held in Milan, Italy, Feb. 6-9, attracted 3,452 companies, a record for the show. MACEF Autumn ’98 will be held Sept. 4-7. For information, call (39-2) 485501, fax (39-2) 48004423, www.fmi.it.

Tendence ’98 will take place Aug. 29-Sept. 2 and will feature the Carat Creativ special show that debuted at Ambiente ’98. Carat Creativ will bring together 140 exhibitors of high-grade contemporary designer jewelry and wristwatches fashioned from varying materials and distinguished by imaginative design. For information, call (49 69) 7575-6673, fax (49 69) 7575-6757.

Barnajoya ’98, an international exhibition of jewelry, watchmaking, silverwork, goldwork, machinery, and related services, will take place Sept. 10-14 in the Metalurgia Hall of Fire in Barcelona, Spain. This year for the first time, the show will run concurrently with the Exphogar Gift Autumn Exhibition. Other concurrent activities include the Second Jewellery Congress international meetings in Barcelona on Sept. 12 and Nova Joia, the largest designer jewelry show in Spain, taking place Sept. 4-14. For information, call (93-467) 0232.

Iberjoya will stage its 21st edition Sept. 18-22 at Feria de Madrid. Around 400 Spanish and foreign companies are expected to participate. Organizers aim to enhance the international character of the show and have set their sights on attracting foreign buyers. The fair also will showcase Spanish jewelry production.

MERCHANDISE SHOW PLANNED

Atlantic City is the venue for next year’s Mid-Year Variety Merchandise Show. Atlantic City shows will open on Sunday, to accommodate buyers who can’t leave their businesses Monday through Saturday. For information call (800) 950-1314 or (212) 279-3968, fax (212) 279-3968.