anthony oppenheimer, former president of the now-defunct central selling organisation and second cousin to de beers chairman nicky oppenheimer, recently retired from the company. also leaving is longtime spokesman andrew lamont, familiar to u.s. retailers for his good-natured fielding of trade press questions.
April 1, 2002
Retailing in Tough Times: The Power of Promotions
sex and the city and its star sarah jessica parker have become nothing short of fashion icons, forging new fashion trends simply by wearing an item during an episode of the television series. in jewelry, the diamond horseshoe pendant is perhaps the strongest example of fashion following celebrity.
fashion for spring and summer is all about white, which has jewelers questioning: what about yellow? the answer is simple: the whites being touted by fashion experts consist of clothing—not metals. for these “essential” whites, the accessory of choice is yellow gold, a fact that fashion-maven favorite style.
according to reports from the spring jewelry shows, it seems the industry is ready to get back down to business. most of the major chains and mass-market retailers sent buyers—with order pads—to the jck show ~ orlando, while reports from the jewelers of america winter show in new york showed upbeat exhibitors and unexpected sales.
a decrease in the number of international buyers along with a marked sense of caution in design characterized vicenzaoro i, the jewelry industry’s earliest barometer of the year’s trends. italian designers rose to the financial and emotional challenges, however, and introduced collections that met the demand for lower price points while remaining infused with creativity.
in an unusual arrangement that underscores the changing nature of the diamond trade, j. walter thompson, the ad agency for de beers’ diamond trading company, will offer its marketing services to diamond companies. the arrangement is part of the dtc’s effort to help the industry improve its marketing.
be careful what you write: people can—and often do—disagree with you. in the past few issues members of the jewelry community have taken issue with an opinion i expressed in the september 2001 jck , in a column titled “parsing diamond quality.” since then, there have been a number of thoughtful letters to the editor disagreeing with my perspective on the si3 clarity grade.
dressing celebrities in diamonds is an age-old practice in hollywood. but with the increasing focus on celebrity placement and more competition from jewelry designers and high-end brands, it’s not getting any easier. in response, the diamond information center has created a charity-minded promotion and lured celebrities with over-the-top diamond jewelry.
despite the tension in the middle east, israeli diamond dealers say it is “business as usual.” israel diamond exchange chairman moshe schnitzer says that the country has seen a steady flow of buyers in recent months and hopes that will increase in 2002 as normal travel patterns resume. the world diamond congress, to be held in ramat-gan in may, will go on as scheduled.
the jck shows and jck magazine announced the recipients of the 2002 jck industry fund at the jck show ~ orlando 2002. the jewelers vigilance committee received $50,000 for developing a directory of appraisers in continuation of its j-bar program. jewelers’ security alliance received $25,000 for development of psychological counseling for victims of jewelry-related crimes.
ohio congressman tony hall (d-ohio), who first butted heads with and then worked alongside the diamond industry on conflict diamond legislation, is leaving congress after 22 years. hall recently accepted an appointment by the bush administration to serve as united states representative to the united nations agencies for food and agriculture.
the article “bad appraising lands good jeweler in court” (jck, january 2001, p. 128) stated that an appraisal by joseph tenhagen failed to set forth the “purpose, function, or intended use.” in fact the appraisal did contain those requirements as ethically required in any appraisal. jck regrets the error.
“gems! the art and nature of precious stones,” the latest exhibit at the bowers museum of cultural art in santa ana, calif., highlights the gem collection of michael m. scott, the first president of apple computer inc. the exhibit displays more than 300 rare gems, including the world’s largest tanzanite, weighing 242 cts.
gary gordon, president of samuel gordon jewelers in oklahoma city, okla., relies on a classic cost accounting principle to determine the prices of custom pieces made by his in-house designer and goldsmith, robert waite. waite, who works by appointment only for special orders, asks customers to meet with him three times: first, to discuss design ideas; second, to scrutinize a wax model; and fina…
when jeweler robert kaniss of st. petersburg, fla., decided to do some housecleaning, the students at pinellas technical education center became the lucky beneficiaries of his efforts. his jewelry store, in business since 1925, had amassed a collection of gemstones spanning 50 years, which he donated to the school for use in its jewelry program.
five more years of labor peace in the swiss watch industry is assured by a new collective agreement between its employers and workers. the pact affects 70% of swiss watch companies and 80% of swiss watch employees, or 31,000 workers in 400 companies. the agreement was signed jan. 22 in neuchâtel, switzerland, by the swiss watch industry employers’ association (cp) and the syndicate of indu…
rabco luxury holdings, the largest u.s. distributor of independently owned swiss watches, has added two more luxury brands. the new york city firm has signed long-term contracts with eberhard s.a. and goldpfeil s.a., both manufacturers of fine mechanical swiss timepieces. eberhard & co., founded in 1887, made the first automatic watch (1930), a chronograph with two pushbuttons (1935), and t…
the swiss watch industry exported us$6.2 billion of watches and watch products in 2001, a 3.5% increase and a new record, according to its annual report. there were significant gains for precious metal and upscale timepieces, but sales drops for cheaper watches. the value of finished swiss watches alone rose 3.
the u.s. state department’s lead negotiator on conflict diamonds, alan eastham, recently urged the industry to “self-police” by not buying conflict diamonds. in a speech at the annual jewelers vigilance committee (jvc) luncheon, eastham said, “if all the rough dealers would [not buy conflict diamonds], it’s unlikely there would be this link between diamonds and war.
your town’s big employer lays off several hundred people. the local economy sinks. business in your store drops. what’s a jeweler to do when times get tough? plan some clever promotions to inspire your staff, pull in traffic, and build sales, say business experts and jewelers around the country. when times are tough, it’s especially important to keep your name before the public.
there were 26 gem shows in tucson, ariz., this year, in 35 venues. while parking lots and shuttle vans appeared to be full, show aisles were comfortable for shoppers. dealers reported mixed results, but most agreed that while traffic was light, attendees were buying. a few exhibitors, however, felt that this was one of their worst shows in the past 20 years.
what would you say to someone who offered you brazilian cuprian elbaite from são josé da batalha? say “yes!” cuprian elbaite is another name for copper-colored tourmaline, são josé da batalha is in the brazilian state of paraíba … and the vibrantly colored paraíba tourmaline is one of the most favored colored gems among dealers.
analysts aren’t sure about the impact interest rate cuts are having on the economy, but some dealers say it’s helped them maintain prices. joseph schlussel of new york’s diamond registry notes that when interest rates hit 20% in the 1980s, many wholesalers went out of business. “there isn’t the same pressure to sell now,” he says.
de beers chairman nicky oppenheimer will be the keynote speaker for the upcoming american gem society conclave in vancouver, british columbia, on april 25. the canadian location made possible the invitation to the de beers chairman, who typically does not travel to the united states because de beers has no legal status here.
last month we reported on a study conducted by the american gem trade association gem testing center that found that certain sapphires coming out of bangkok had been diffusion-treated to make them look like padparadschas. the lab reports that “the orange component of the apparent overall color of this stone is due to artificial surface diffusion.
argyle is reactivating its once-dormant campaign to promote brown diamonds as “champagnes.” officials at the mine’s marketing agency, beverly hills, calif.-based market vision, are launching a new web site (www.champagnediamondcouncil.com), preparing new purchase material for jewelers, and conducting consumer research.
the swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, saw watch sales drop 2.8% in 2001, to almost us$1.8 billion. several of the group’s prestigious brands, however, showed signs of growth. sales of watch movements and other components dipped 1.5% (to about us$824.3 million), though in terms of units produced, there was a 1% gain (to 113.
burberry has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with the swiss division of fossil inc. to produce swiss-made watches for the british luxury brand. “our partnership with burberry [is] another important facet in our rapidly evolving swiss strategy,” says enrico margaritelli, fossil’s vice president of marketing and strategic direction.
festina, the spanish watch group, has bought the candino watch co., a family-owned swiss business that makes europe’s popular mid-priced candino swiss watch brand. the acquisition was completed jan.16 by miguel rodriguez, president and owner of festina, and kurt flury, head of candino. details of the deal weren’t released.
thomas van der kallen has been named president of the newly organized watch division of richemont north america. van der kallen, who had been president of baume & mercier north america since july 1999, joined the richemont group in 1991, doing marketing for the baume & mercier and piaget brands.
anyone who’s ever taken high school physics or owned a cat knows that what goes up eventually must come down. an object tossed in the air will continue its path until the force of its velocity no longer exceeds the force of gravity and it falls back to earth. cats operate on a much simpler principle: a cat up a tree will come down when it gets hungry.
fashion this year has taken a romantic turn, with femininity the crucial element. from full skirts and ruffles—think gypsies and hippies—to sheer chiffon and lace blouses, anything sweet and girlish is instantly chic. jewelry also shows its hopelessly romantic side this year, with feminine jewelry such as gemstone beads.
de beers is stressing that its two tests of the “forevermark” in asia are just pilot projects, and the company has not decided how it will use the icon. the “forevermark” is the diamond-shaped emblem that appears at the end of all de beers’ commercials. de beers has said it wants the symbol to be a “co-brand” for sightholders.
in a recent press release, international colored stones association (ica) president israel eliezri says that he has personally communicated with the tanzanian minister of energy and resources, e.d. maokola-majogo, who reassures him that almost all tanzanite is sold to licensed gemstone dealers and exported through formal channels.
two international luxury goods groups—the bvlgari group and lvmh (moët hennessy louis vuitton)—posted lower watch sales for 2001, despite group gains. bvlgari’s net revenues rose 13% in 2001 to $661.6 million, said its preliminary financial report. sales grew in all regions except the americas (-17%).