April 1, 2001

Jewelry Dot-Bombs

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Jewelers Foiled by Moissanite on 20/20

jewelers again failed the moissanite test—even as consumers passed it—in a recent investigation conducted by the abc television newsmagazine 20/20. five jewelers in the washington, d.c., area misidentified a 1-ct. moissanite worth $600 as a diamond worth thousands, according to the episode.

GIA Giants on Display

the gemological institute of america’s world headquarters in carlsbad, calif., has installed a weighty new exhibit. “giant gemstones and colossal crystals” features one of the world’s largest doubly terminated amethyst crystals, weighing in at 164 pounds, and one of the world’s largest cut gemstones, a 500,000-ct.

Indian Quake Halts Diamond Production

diamond cutting all but ceased in india in the weeks following the devastating jan. 26 earthquake that may have claimed as many as 100,000 lives. the 7.9-magnitude quake caused considerable damage in ahmedabad, home to several hundred thousand cutters. in one polishing factory, 127 cutters were killed when the factory’s walls caved in on them, the associated press reports.

Dateline NBC to Spotlight ‘Conflict Diamonds’ in Congo

dateline nbc recently contacted industry leaders about a story on the “conflict diamond” situation in the democratic republic of congo—a sign of increased interest in diamond issues in the troubled african nation. until now, most of the attention on the “conflict diamond” issue has been directed toward sierra leone and, to a lesser extent, angola.

Journalism 101

hschupak@cahners.com edward r. murrow must be spinning in his grave. what would the legendary cbs journalist—who set the standard for excellence in broadcast journalism—have said about the conflict diamonds segment of the network’s feb. 18 episode of 60 minutes ? the segment, better suited to a supermarket tabloid than a so-called respectable newsmagazine, was rife with opinion an…

Gemprint Goes ‘Hollywood’

if you watched “the hubris” episode of nbc’s law and order on jan. 17, you may have noticed that the gemprint diamond identification system was used to solve the crime. james tuck, sales and marketing manager for gemprint corp., says the show’s writers phoned—out of the blue—to ask about using gemprint in their story.

The Power of the Press

fdallahan@cahners.com so, it has finally come to pass. the nongovernmental organizations have gone public in a big way with their efforts to club the diamond world into submission. the well-meaning ngos “nicely” demanded that the industry comply with their requests to control the flow of conflict diamonds to the consumer market.

Everyday Diamonds Delight Busy Mom

kelly annarella, 37, has a beautiful jewelry wardrobe, says retailer penny viau, owner of goldtinker jewelers. viau should know: annarella, the petite mother of two girls—ages 2 and 5—has been a regular customer at viau’s store for nearly 10 years, and the jeweler knows that annarella is particularly fond of diamonds.

On Your Laser Drilling Marks …

effective april 10, 2001, members of the jewelry industry—including jewelers and manufacturers—will again be required to disclose all laser-drilled diamonds. the federal trade commission, which revised its guides for the jewelry, precious metals, and pewter industries in 1996, has revised them again.

Meet Your New Competitor: De Beers

the word is not in any press release. it was never uttered by executives. spokespeople delicately dance around it. but it’s been on everyone’s mind ever since de beers announced its new retail venture: antitrust. for years, the market has feared that de beers would open up retail stores. but there was always the assumption that the law would stand in its way.

U.S. Aid Official Discusses ‘Conflict Diamonds’

jewelers can make a difference in bringing peace to sierra leone and other african countries suffering from problems caused by “conflict diamonds.” that was the opinion expressed by sylvia a. fletcher, a senior advisor to the u.s. agency for international development, at a luncheon sponsored by the jewelers vigilance committee.

’90s Retrospective: It’s A Keeper!

the winter 2000 edition of the gemological institute of america’s gems & gemology journal is a special issue titled “retrospective of the ’90s.” that decade of change included some high drama in the diamond business. it began with the introduction of affordable synthetic gem-quality diamonds created by general electric, sumitomo electric, and de beers, along with a few russian ventures.

TRICK VIII: BENCH PIN INNOVATION

the quality and proficiency of a pre-finishing job for a ring can depend on how it’s held for filing and shaping. ja® certified master bench jeweler? wayne lenkeit of lenkeit manufacturing, temecula, calif., offers the following innovation: lenkeit’s innovation. for position a: using a coarse file, remove a portion of the left side of a bench pin, leaving a “saddle” for the inside of a …

Pinning Down Fashion

ladies who lunched in the ’50s traditionally wore them on their suits. grandmas around the world have favorites reserved for special occasions. in the ’80s, women used them to hold their collars closed, and in the ’90s, young fashion designers took to placing them in models’ hair. for every era, for every age group, brooches have had a shining moment.

A Vivid Tribute to a Fashion Icon

the fashion and beauty industries came together in november to honor liz tilberis, the harper’s bazaar editor-in-chief who died last year of ovarian cancer. participating in the event was the vivid collection, which donated yellow diamond drop earrings for a live benefit auction hosted by celebrity tracey ullman.

The Fashion of Politics

on jan. 20, promptly at noon, a new era began. the inauguration of george w. bush signaled a turn to conservative traditions and heartland values. and while the changes are primarily political, fashion is seeing its own transition. first lady laura bush first quashed any notion of her as a mousy librarian by publicly disagreeing with her husband on roe v.

Jewelry Dot-Bombs

they said it wouldn’t last—and they were right. it was a little over a year-and-a-half ago that a parade of well-funded, high-profile jewelry web sites burst onto the scene, hoping to duplicate the popularity of e-commerce sites like amazon.com. they raised millions of dollars and attracted the best and brightest in the industry.

Vicenza: All Elegance and Glamour

the vicenza fair in january, opening the season of spring fairs, always evokes great expectations. the start of a new year sparks the anticipation of new trends. and the italians, masters at styling fashionable yet wearable jewelry, have an extra burden to carry concerning these expectations. winter saw the arrival of a new opulence in women’s fashion.

CWE Begins Efforts to Increase Number of U.S. Watchmakers

a proposal to attract young americans to a career in watchmaking was considered earlier this year by the coalition for watchmaker education (cwe). the idea—modifying the widely used swiss training program—was discussed at the cwe’s feb. 22 meeting in new york city. the new plan would divide the two-year, 3,000-hour course of the watchmakers of switzerland training and education pro…

Rolex Sponsors Historic Auto Races

rolex watch u.s.a. has become the title sponsor of the monterey historic automobile races, the country’s premier historic and vintage motor racing event. the multi-year arrangement was announced in january by walter fischer, president of rolex u.s.a. the prestigious racing event will be retitled the rolex monterey historic automobile races presented by daimlerchrysler.

Coping with Calamity

it can happen to any family business: the unexpected illness, injury, or death of the owner/manager. the sudden removal of the dynamo at the heart of the business—the leader who makes financial decisions and is the key contact for vendors and customers—can leave a void that’s not easily filled.

Seiko Moves Against Fake Watches

a serious dent in the watch counterfeiting business in the united states was made recently by seiko. between july and september 2000, three lawsuits were filed by seiko corp. of japan, one of the world’s largest watchmakers, and seiko corp. of america, its u.s. subsidiary based in mahwah, n.j. the suits led to the seizure by federal marshals of thousands of fake seiko watches.

‘This is the Year of Ebel’s Rebirth’

ebel, one of the best known swiss luxury watches, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year by reinventing itself. the company is aiming to recapture lost prestige, create a sharply focused global brand image, and build more sales among young, affluent adults, especially men. “2001 is the year of rebirth and renewal for ebel,” declares guillaume brochard, managing director of ebel sa, he…

The Envelope, Please

c.r. “cap” beesley of american gemological laboratories has won the antonio c. bonanno award for excellence in gemology. the award was created by the accredited gemologists association to honor bonanno and others who are dedicated to the field of gemology. in 1974, antonio bonanno (dec. 19, 1916-march 28, 1996) founded the accredited gemologists association, an independent nonprofit organiza…

Record Sales in Europe for 2000

the swiss watch industry, led by some of europe’s top watch groups, announced record results for the year 2000. the swiss watch industry’s exports topped 10,297 billion swiss francs (about $6.3 billion) for the first time. that was a 14.4% increase over 1999’s figures and marked 17 months of “uninterrupted growth.

If It’s February, This Must Be Tucson

if you thought the economic slowdown would mean easy-to-navigate, bargain-filled gem shows in tucson this year, you were in for a shock. the aisles of the major shows were filled with retailers and designers looking at well-stocked gem cases and familiar prices. outside, long lines of show-goers waited to register, and parking lots overflowed.

Japan’s Watchmakers Focus on ‘The Bright Spot’

some of the most noteworthy moves by top japanese watch brands to expand their business, especially among young adult and female consumers, are occurring in the united states … but not quite in ways the parent firms in tokyo had planned. the u.s. market is the most important and lucrative one for japan’s watches.

De Beers Hopes to Resolve Antitrust Issue

de beers wants its american law firm to find a way to settle its antitrust problems, london’s daily telegraph reported recently. the newspaper reported that the company will “make some movement” toward solving the dispute, which last flared up in 1996 when the justice department indicted general electric and de beers for industrial diamond price fixing.

DiNicola Returns as Zale Chairman, CEO

robert j. dinicola, 53, the architect of zale corp.’s return to profitability and industry leadership in the 1990s, returned feb. 21 as chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s largest jewelry retailer. sources say he will probably stay in the posts he held from 1994 to 2000 for “the long term,” possibly up to three to five years.

Laura Bush’s Mystery Necklace

it’s a presidential mystery: what happened to the diamond necklace first lady laura bush was supposed to wear for her husband’s inauguration—but didn’t? working in consultation with bush’s dress designer, dallas jeweler sue gragg crafted a gold necklace of three diamonds for the new first lady.

The ADA A Legal Obligation You Can’t Afford to Avoid

the americans with disabilities act (ada) is a legal time bomb, ready to affect any u.s. business that doesn’t adhere to it. yet many independent jewelers don’t know how to comply with—or mistakenly think they’re exempt from—the law’s requirements. “most jewelers have a vague knowledge that they must do something, but they’re not sure what,” says 30-year veteran jewelry store desi…

People

scott kay rocks the american music awards designer scott kay was selected from among hundreds of jewelers to create a commemorative piece for the 2001 american music awards, held at the shrine theatre in los angeles on jan. 8. celebrity guests and musicians, including daryl hannah, carmen electra, melissa joan hart, aerosmith, creed, melissa etheridge, jessica simpson, kid rock, and snoop dogg,…

Consumer Confidence Is Key to Thwarting a Recession

there’s a 40% chance of a recession within the next three to six months, according to some of the country’s leading economists, including joshua feinman, chief economist at deutsche asset management, new york. this prediction is based on plummeting consumer confidence levels, as tracked by the conference board, new york, as well as increases in mass layoffs and unemployment, as tracked by the …

Analysts Say Staffs Will Be Leaner This Year

in light of the slow 2000 holiday season and a cooling economy, analysts are predicting leaner retail staffs in 2001. government figures for mass layoffs and initial claims for unemployment insurance in december 2000 were the highest in six years. (according to the bureau of labor statistics, retail businesses account for just 7% of those claims.

Clarifications

in the article “return to sanity,” (jck, feb. 2001, p. 152), there was a misunderstanding about the setup and pricing structure of the ‘clicks and bricks’ e-tailer enjewel. the branded and designer jewelry offered for sale on the site is sold only at manufacturers’ suggested retail prices; it is not sold at discount prices.

Jewelry ‘Campers’ in Garden Spot

the 22nd annual antique & period jewelry and gemstone conference—a.k.a. “jewelry camp”—is slated for july 18-22 at adelphi university, garden city, long island, n.y. because this year’s camp is being held so close to downtown new york city, the assemblage of international faculty will include many from the influential new york jewelry community.

Brazil: Recognizing Enhancements

the first brazilian symposium on the treatment and characterization of gems was held at the school of mines of the federal university of ouro preto, in minas gerais, nov. 5-8, 2000. brazil’s minas gerais state has produced some of the most significant gem finds in the world, including large quantities of gem materials that can be treated to make them more salable.

The Old Switcheroo

jeweler ron burton of martinsville, ind., has been charged with four counts of theft for switching customers’ diamonds with synthetic moissanite. according to indiana state trooper william lux, the investigation of burton has been in full swing since last august and concluded in december when the store posted a “going out of business” sign.

Paraíba’s Tucson Connection

you didn’t have to travel to brazil to find paraíba tourmalines, according to steve cantar, owner of the jade gallery in denver, colo. every brazilian dealer in tucson seemed to have nice 2-, 3-, or 4-ct. paraíbas to offer. neal litman, a gem dealer from burlingame, calif., says there’s been new mining activity at the original paraíba mine site for a year.

What’s My Motivation?

when sales are slow, consider offering incentives to keep employees motivated. jck interviewed karen renk, executive director of the incentive marketing association, naperville, ill., on the variety and value of incentives: jck: what types of incentives exist? karen renk: open-ended incentives are ones that everyone can achieve, and closed-ended ones allow for a single top-award recipient.

ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

now that desktop pc sales and profit margins are shrinking, computer hardware and software makers are setting their sights on you, the small-business owner. “but i already own more computers than i can handle,” you might protest. that’s just their point. they believe it’s time for you to invest in a real network rather than the peer-to-peer system you’ve been running for the past few years.

Chalson Closes

william chalson & co., inc., one of the industry’s best-known fine jewelry manufacturers, has shut its doors. at press time, the 92-year-old new york city company was scheduled to close on march 1, according to co-owner robert chalson. a letter announcing the closing was mailed to the company’s clients on feb.

New ‘Conflict Diamond’ Campaign Urged

human rights groups vowed to turn up the volume on their conflict diamond “consumer awareness” campaign—kicking it off with a valentine’s day press conference that included amputees from sierra leone. the campaign will likely include further demonstrations outside jewelers, public relations efforts, and a postcard campaign to prominent retailers, particularly zale, tiffany, and wal-mart.

60 Minutes Takes on ‘Conflict Diamonds’

the industry’s image took another beating after 60 minutes took on de beers and the “conflict diamond” issue in february. industry executives who worked with the show’s producers had hoped the story wouldn’t be as negative as last year’s primetime live episode on “conflict” gems, noting that producers attended a mine opening in botswana and interviewed de beers chairman nicky oppenheimer.

Correction

an item in january’s “what’s new jewelry” (p. 178) incorrectly listed the retail price of a 14k tanzanite ring with diamond accents from plainville stock company at $799. the correct retail price is $279.

De Beers May Go Private

de beers is on the verge of becoming a private company for the first time in more than 100 years. under a new plan recently approved by the de beers board, three of its largest shareholders would increase their stake in the company, buying back all remaining shares and forming a new entity, db investments.

Ammolite

ammolite is fossilized ammonite, a coiled shellfish related to modern-day squids that existed some 65 to 410 million years ago. the name “ammonite” comes from the ancient egyptian god ammon, who is represented by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns, reminiscent of ammonite’s curled-up shells.

Ashford Acquires WatchNetwork.com

ashford.com, one of the internet’s leading retail web sites, announced feb. 15 that it will acquire online luxury watch retailer watchnetwork.com, which bills itself as “the web’s authorized watch retailer.” watches are already ashford’s largest retail category, and acquisition of watchnetwork.com is “a key element in our drive to build our relationships with the swiss watch community” says k…

The Elements of Retail Design

quality retail design makes good business sense. when done right, it establishes the unique image jewelers want to project. it allows customers the opportunity to purchase products that reflect the way they see themselves and how they want others to view them. and it allows a retail space to function in a way that helps employees sell more product.

Junghans, Bedat Get New Owners

two stars of the watch cosmos—one rising, the other long-established—acquired new owners in november, capping another year of mergers and acquisitions in europe’s mid- and luxury-priced watch industry. junghans, the well-known upscale german brand established in 1861, was purchased by eganagoldpfeil ltd.

High School Student Wins Design Contest

aaron berdanier, a junior from stevens high school, rapid city, s.d., got an early career boost recently when he won the annual high school design contest sponsored by stamper black hills gold. the high school junior received a cash prize and the first piece made from his design for a woman’s 10k ring.

Subtle trends, flat attendance mark both Orlando and New York shows

the simultaneous scheduling of the three major american spring jewelry trade shows resulted in flat or slightly diminished attendance levels at all three. at the same time, fears of a faltering economy and a dreary holiday 2000 selling season meant designers and manufacturers were hesitant to introduce radically new jewelry designs, staying instead with proven ideas and merely changing gemston…

EGL USA to Open New EGL Los Angeles

myriam and tom tashey, former licensee owners of the european gem lab in los angeles, now owners of professional gem sciences laboratory in los angeles and chicago, have relinquished the egl name to headquarters in new york after more than 15 years of use and, with permission from egl usa, a year earlier than terms of their license agreement.