April 1, 2003

Drive Time

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Trade Lives: By George!

lazare kaplan may be the diamond industry’s version of zelig. name an industry trend, and the company—which turns 100 this year—was there, generally from the beginning. it was the first company to tout “ideal cuts,” the first to start a brand, the first to get a patent for girdle inscriptions, the first to open a factory in puerto rico, and more recently, the first to market heat-a…

Author Tells ‘Diamond Stories’

what does the diamond trade, with its idiosyncratic business practices and strong code of conduct, look like to an anthropologist? the fascinating answer to that question can be found in renée rose shield’s diamond stories: enduring change on 47th street, published by cornell university press. the book covers everything from the history of the trade to its current controversies and changes…

Golden (or Diamond or Gemstone or Pearl) Globes

no longer quite the stepchild of the academy awards, the golden globes remain, nonetheless, not as serious a fashion moment as the oscars. for celebrities, that means less pressure for perfection and more opportunity to try their hand, neck, or wrist at something different. jennifer garner, for example, chose seed pearls over diamonds, and cate blanchett went for an eastern-inspired fringe gems…

Hot Diamonds Appoints U.S. Distributor

historic originals, a uk-based jewelry manufacturer, has appointed prismax management services as the sole usa distributor for its “hotdiamonds” line of sterling silver and diamond jewelry. prismax manages and distributes for a number of overseas companies in the jewelry industry. the company, based in camden, maine, can be reached at (888) 246-8722.

American Assay Offers New Services

laser inscription of names, numbers, and custom logos on a diamond is now available from the safeguard quality assurance division of the american assay and gemological office. turnaround time for conventional inscription is 48 hours; custom inscriptions are returned in 72 hours. the division also has introduced a diamond certification report.

DDC Launches New Web Site

the diamond dealers club has jumped on the internet with an ambitious new web site that includes a cyberspace trading floor. offerings at www.ddcny.com include news from the club and 47th street; pages on the club’s history, by-laws, and membership guidelines; and a buying guide for consumers, including a tutorial on the four cs.

ebay-sics

buying jewelry on ebay is not for the faint-hearted. not everyone would buy a ring they’ve never seen, from someone they’ve never met, with only testimony from past buyers for reassurance. and even that testimony isn’t always available, nor is it always a reliable predictor of dependability. but whether buying jewelry on ebay is smart, stupid, or some combination of the two, more and more peopl…

Swatch Group 2002 Sales Drop 2.9%

the swatch group posted a 2.9% drop in total revenues for its divisions (including watches, movements, and electronics) for 2002, to 4.06 billion swiss francs ($3 billion), it said in a feb. 5 report. for finished watches alone, the group saw a 1.8% drop in sales to 2.98 billion swiss francs (about $2.

Signity Introduces Melee Colors

melee colors is the latest offering from signity, swarovsky’s natural colored stones division. designed to add color accents to jewelry, watches, and even mobile phones, melee colors are, in the company’s words, “tiny gemstones” that come as small as 1 mm—and are full-cuts. frank cardone, signity’s new york manager, recently gave jck the opportunity to loupe a few.

Winter G&G Features Enhancements

disclosing enhancements is straightforward if you know that the gems have been enhanced. the winter 2002 issue of gems & gemology, published by the gemological institute of america (gia), includes an article titled “chart of commercially available gem treatments” by chris smith of the gübelin laboratory in lucerne and shane mcclure of the gia gem trade laboratory in carlsbad.

AGS Grades ‘Round Fancy Brilliant Cuts’

the american gem society laboratories (agsl) will begin providing cut-grading services for round brilliants with facet arrangements different from the normal round brilliant, while using parameters in place for polish, symmetry, and proportions. such diamonds will be referred to as “round fancy brilliant cuts.

ICA India Congress Called a Success

the international colored gemstone association (ica) congress held this past january in jaipur, india, welcomed a record 250 attendees (plus family members) and included a post-congress sri lankan mine tour. gia president bill boyajian gave the keynote address. the educational portion of the five-day event consisted of more than 30 seminars and panel discussions.

Stuller Offers Gemewizard Color Software

how do you describe color when ordering a gemstone over the phone? and what color will you get when your order is filled? the colored gem industry needs a good—and, most importantly, universally accepted—color communications tool. there are a few color systems in use, such as gia’s gemset and howard rubin’s gemdialogue, but none are universally accepted by the trade.

Metals Refining Company Changes Name

refining one, founded in providence in 1994 as a provider of precious metals refining and reclamation services, has changed its name to r-one alloys inc. the company, which has moved into primary production of sheet, wire, tubing, grain, elemental master alloys, solder mixtures, and commodity plating chemicals, has made significant capital investments in technology, processes, and staff in ord…

Feeling a Little Off-Kilter

jewelry design this season feels slightly … off kilter. stones aren’t set “just so,” and links just might not match. but the effect is less chaotic than it is refreshing. thanks in part to the preciousness of the product, these off-balance designs never feel messy. in fact, given fashion’s recent penchant for asymmetry in details such as hemlines, the style is suitable and smart.

De Beers Touts Right-Hand Rings

following the success of its three-stone jewelry campaign, de beers’ diamond trading company plans this year to promote right-hand rings. richard lennox, director of the diamond account for j. walter thompson, says the campaign exploits a hole in the market. “the non-bridal diamond ring category is dominated by pavé- and melee-set cluster rings and is largely unmarketed to,” says lennox.

Location, Location, Relocation

is your neighborhood going to the dogs? do you fancy owning a regional chain instead of a lone store? or are you just wild about windows? for three jewelry retailers, the solution to these and other issues was just around the corner—or across town. a better neighborhood. for lew and caroline hill, owners of van scoy jewelers, wyomissing, pa.

Irish Innovation

when the trade group enterprise ireland began surveying stores that retail irish-made products in a north american network, it discovered some interesting facts: “imagine how well a jeweler can do with irish jewelry—promoted properly—if gift shops are dedicating 30% of their space to jewelry,” says michael mcnicholas, senior vice president, industrial and consumer products, enterpri…

Implementation of Kimberley Process in Question

the launch of the kimberley process has been repeatedly delayed, and now no one is sure just when the diamond-tracking system will be implemented. while kimberley certificates began being issued in january, it became clear last year that many countries—including the european union—would not have their kimberley systems in place by the jan.

Treasures from Tucson

quantity was the operative word at tucson: 33 separate shows, gems by the pile, bushel bags of pearls. recent mine finds included russian demantoid—in kilo bags—at pala international’s booth at the agta show, and spectacular transparent rhodocrosite from the sweet home mine in colorado, shown at iteco.

Chicago Firm Relocates, Adds New Generation

hy spreckman & sons inc., chicago, recently announced the relocation of the firm to the 12th floor of 29 e. madison st., after nearly half a century on chicago’s historic jewelers row. the new, modern facilities allow on-site manufacturing, from casting to finishing, of earrings, pendants, semimounts, and rings in 14k and 18k white and yellow gold as well as platinum.

De Beers Plans to Expand Diamond Market by 50%

de beers has sky-high hopes for the future: it wants to enlarge the diamond market by some 50% in the next decade. de beers managing director gary ralfe stated this ambitious target at a teleconference following the european commission’s official okay of the company’s “supplier of choice” strategy. ralfe called “supplier of choice” a “suite of strategies to grow demand” by, among other things, …

‘Supplier of Choice’ Set to Go

following its official blessing from the european union, de beers’ market-shaking “supplier of choice” strategy will debut this summer, three years after it was first announced. rumors that the company will prune its client list by as much as 50% have made sightholders jittery about the program’s launch.

Antwerp Diamond Center Robbery is Largest Ever

thieves emptied 123 of 160 diamond vaults in the antwerp diamond center in mid-february, in what appears to be the biggest diamond theft in the history of antwerp, a major diamond-cutting center. “we are certainly talking about many millions [of dollars],” the associated press was told by youri steverlynck, a spokesman for the diamond high council (hrd), which oversees and represents the belgi…

American Salon Calls It Quits

the american salon, a jewelry trade show that was to be held may 28-june 1 at the mandalay bay convention center in las vegas, has been canceled. the announcement was made in an e-mail from the show’s organizers to those who expressed interest in the show. “the american salon was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the industry to take control of its destiny,” the statement read.

Watch SPOT Run

“smart wristwatches”—which display customized information such as weather, appointments, and news via a national wireless network—are expected to be available this fall in the united states from watchmakers citizen, fossil, and suunto. the watches use the new “smart personal objects technology” (spot)—actually a set of innovative wireless communication technologies—devel…

Mexican Fire Opal

although nine mexican states have produced these magnificent gems, querétaro and jalisco—two centrally located states—are the primary origins for most opals labeled “mexican.” and while the “hecho en mexico ” label may not be exotic enough for some, these gems are both unique and beautiful.

Drive Time

the relationship between watches and cars is getting cozier as more watch firms focus on automotive brands, events, and designs to boost consumer awareness, build sales, and attract new customers. “the tendency of more watch companies is to align themselves with cars and car events to take their brands to the next level of business,” says carol levey, senior director of marketing for swiss watc…

Genesis Award Honors Local Design

sometimes a new design-related event works; sometimes it doesn’t. happily, in the case of schwarzchild jewelers in richmond, va., it was the former. after a successful inaugural genesis award in 2001, in-house designer trish mitchell harris last year undertook a second edition of the design competition.

Canada to Circumvent De Beers’ Sight System

for more than a century, de beers has sold diamonds from its mines by parceling them out at its 10-times-a-year sights. but in the latest surprising change, de beers has announced that its new canadian mine will sell stones outside that system. the arrangement is unusual for de beers, but not for the other two mines at the location, both of which supply parts of their production to stimulate th…

Solid Business at Winter Shows Boosts Optimism

busy, crowded aisles at the jewelers of america show in new york, solid business from major retailers at the jck show ~ orlando, a high-end buying blitz at the centurion show in tucson, ariz., and busy stone dealers at the various tucson gem shows all helped give the jewelry industry a boost of optimism this winter.

Jeweler Gerald Goldwyn Dies

gerald h. goldwyn, ceo of richard d. eiseman jewelers in dallas, died feb. 17 in dallas. he was 64. a much-beloved figure in the industry, goldwyn joined eiseman 26 years ago. prior to moving to texas, he worked for marchal jewelers on fifth ave. in new york, the store best known for providing the charm bracelets used on the nbc weekly television program this is your life.

Smithsonian Receives Tashmarine and Tourmaline

every piece in the smithsonian national museum of natural history’s gem and mineral collection is either donated to the museum or acquired by trading donations. that’s why it’s fitting to recognize jewelers who donate important collections to the smithsonian. during the american gem trade association’s tucson gemfair, kathe and eric braunwart of columbia gem house in vancouver, wash.

So You Wanna Buy a Ring?

recently, a canadian jeweler pal sent me a link to an appalling web site called soyouwanna.com. among other inaccuracies, this site suggested that consumers buy only from members of the american gem corporation—which i can only assume is an erroneous reference to the ags and not to the firms by that name in oak park, mich.

Wake-Up Call

the jck show ~ las vegas will present a new face this june. improvements—including grouping exhibitors according to product categories, color-coded sections, and more cafés and restaurants—will make the show easier for retail jewelers to work. the changes, based on research within the retail community, have not been well received by many of the exhibitors who have been relocat…

Chopard USA Acquires New Home

swiss watchmaker and jeweler chopard usa has a new home for its north american headquarters—a five-story mansion in new york city. the company had outgrown its leased space in rockefeller center, says chopard usa ltd. president thierry chaunu. the new facility, at 21 e. 63rd st. between fifth avenue and madison avenue, also will serve as home to jeweler de grisogono, chopard’s sister comp…

Upgrades at Luxury by JCK

luxury by jck has announced that the theme of the 2003 event will be “luxury lifestyle.” sarin bachmann, industry vice president of luxury by jck, says that a series of improvements are planned for the show, including newly designed invitations sent to selected upscale retailers and an upgraded educational program in which leading luxury market authorities will share their insights and expertise.

Canadian Jeweler Receives National Honors

goldsmith donald a. stuart has been awarded canada’s highest honor, the order of canada, in recognition of his work as a craftsman, educator, and volunteer. stuart, a four-time winner of the “diamonds today” award, also is active within the community. he initiated a unique weaving project for inuit women at pangnirtung (baffin island), nunavut, which today is the largest handweaving studio in c…

Jewelers Mutual Aids College Fund

jewelers mutual insurance company has contributed $5,000 in memory of james b. white to the college fund that benefits children of deceased agents of the federal bureau of investigation. white, who died sept. 6, 2002, led the jewelers’ security alliance for 29 years and served as an fbi agent early in his career.

‘Trendy’ Advice at JCK ~ Las Vegas

leon hall, star of the popular program fashion emergency on e! channel’s the style network, will present the keynote address at the jck show ~ las vegas 2003, on friday, may 30, from 8:30-9:45 a.m. at the sands expo and convention center. hall’s presentation, titled “cultivating consumer desire and brand cachet,” will break down the consumer purchasing phenomena and focus on the indefinable …

Behnam Jewelry Welcomes Designer Frederica

new york city designer frederica recently joined behnam jewelry corp. their first joint project will be a line of classic frederica designs in 18k gold as well as sterling silver with 18k gold details, set with diamonds and colored gemstones. her most popular designs reflect the art and architectural elements of ancient greece, rome, and egypt, as well as the renaissance, victorian, art nouveau…

Longines, Tissot Mark Major Anniversaries

two well-known swiss brands celebrate milestone anniversaries this year. on jan. 28, longines marked 125 years with new limited-edition timepieces and an exhibition. “hope and glory” has 125 sets, each of which includes a presentation case with a pair of prestigious timepieces: a vintage sports timepiece and a wrist chronograph based on the watchmaker’s original design.

Grinberg Receives JIC Life Achievement Award

gedalio “gerry” grinberg, founder and chairman of the board of the movado group inc., received a lifetime achievement award from the jewelry information center during jic’s inaugural gem awards, presented in january at a black-tie gala. consumer magazine, newspaper, and international journalists also were honored, and tiffany & co.

Swiss Watches Take Top Honors

some leading swiss brands recently won top awards for their watches. grinberg receives jic life achievement awardgedalio “gerry” grinberg, founder and chairman of the board of the movado group inc., received a lifetime achievement award from the jewelry information center during jic’s inaugural gem awards, presented in january at a black-tie gala.

2002 Swiss Watch Exports Match ’01 Figures

swiss watch exports in 2002 were “better than forecast,” according to a feb. 6 report from the federation of the swiss watch industry. export value in 2002 matched that of 2001, and last year’s rise in the volume of exports ended a decade-long decline in export numbers. for the year as a whole, export value totaled 10.

Making the Case for Good Display

for magazine publishers, “putting your best face forward” means creating a compelling cover that will stand out among the dozens of offerings at the newsstand. for jewelers, putting your best face forward means displaying your merchandise attractively and effectively. fortunately, manufacturers of display cases and store fixtures have made enormous strides in the quality of finishes, the variet…