RetailerNews

BALL STUDIO OPENS RETAIL STORE

New York City’s Lillian Ball Studio, maker of jewelry and watches based on artifacts of modern life and health such as sleeping pills, breath mints, and vitamin E capsules, has opened its first retail jewelry store. It occupies the ground floor of the company’s new location at 500 Greenwich St. in SoHo, which houses the company’s corporate offices and wholesale showroom.

Sculptor Lillian Ball, a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in fine arts, designs the jewelry for the company bearing her name. In her signature collection, “Cast From Life,” familiar shapes such as Advil, TicTacs, and Chiclets are transformed into sterling silver and 14k and 18k gold jewelry.

Ball collaborated with architect Galia Solomonoff on the design, furniture, and fixtures of the new retail space.

“Cast from Life—Time Capsule for the Millennium” in sterling and 14k rose gold from Lillian Ball Studio

TIFFANY ENDS SALES TO OTHER JEWELERS

Tiffany & Co., one of the world’s leading jewelry retailers, will stop selling its goods to other U.S. jewelers and department stores effective Jan. 1. The announcement was made Sept. 2.

Tiffany has been selling to other retailers for 14 years. However, the business has been “marginally profitable,” with sales amounting to less than 3% of its total business, according to James Quinn, Tiffany vice chairman.

The decision also reflects the company’s intent to maximize control over distribution of its products and brand and to focus on company-operated store development, said Quinn. Tiffany currently operates 37 stores in the United States and expects to add more.

Tiffany’s business with retailers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia isn’t affected.—William George Shuster

FINE ARTS JEWELRY COMES TO CONN. MALL

Jeweler Raphael Shai has opened a new store in Farmington, Conn., that introduces the rarefied milieu of an art gallery into the bustling environment of a major shopping mall. Raphael’s—The Gallery for Fine Art Jewelry, located at Westfarms Mall, showcases the work of 18 contemporary jewelry designers for one or two months at a time. The store also displays contemporary paintings and sculptures, which remain on view for three to four months.

The Sept. 12 grand opening featured the work of Oscar Betz, Christopher C. Cates, Stephen Dixon, Fedra International, Elyse Fradkin Designs, Anthony Gerard, Lydia Halebian, Jimmie Harrison, Susan Helmich, Aaron Henry Designs, Janis Kerman Design, J. Kennedy Design, Paul Lantuch, Dennis Lingo Designs, Sam Lovato, Patricia Madeja, Mark Michael Designs, Michael Sugarman Designs, and Aaron Toadlena.

Shai, a native of Israel, came to the United States in 1973 and worked as a pilot, airplane mechanic, and electrician before turning to jewelry design two years later. He also owns boutiques in West Hartford and Martha’s Vineyard.

OKLA. JEWELER PROMOTES TRIP

B.C. Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City recently turned a South Africa diamond-buying trip into a marketing opportunity.

Prior to their departure, Jim Clark, Coleman Clark, and B.C. Clark Jr.—the store’s president, marketing director, and chairman of the board, respectively—developed a marketing plan for a “Diamonds Out of Africa” sale upon their return. The sale, billed as one of the biggest diamond events in the store’s 106-year history, was advertised in newspapers, on television, via direct mail, and in the company’s customer newsletter. A print ad that ran prior to the trip invited customers to place special orders.

Jim Clark took a video camera with him on the trip; portions of the footage he shot were used in a commercial that ran upon the group’s return. Photos from the trip also were used in newspaper ads and other publicity.

During the promotional event, the store was decorated with animal prints, animal figurines, and other elements with a safari theme. This event plus an earlier diamond promotion boosted the store’s total loose diamond sales to more than $1 million, according to the Clarks.

During the trip, the jewelers toured the Bultfontein diamond mine in Kimberley, South Africa, as guests of De Beers and spent a day and a half at a diamond-cutting factory owned by a De Beers sightholder in Johannesburg. They stayed at a lodge located within a wildlife sanctuary and enjoyed a three-day safari.