April 1, 2005

A Taste for Platinum Delicacies

Rumor mill

Westwood Next? Another fashion brand will dabble in jewelry beginning this spring. This time, however, the jewelry will be launched by a well-known jewelry insider. German manufacturer and designer Gert Hellmuth, Hellmuth Simply Good, has reportedly partnered with Vivienne Westwood to launch a new line under the Westwood name. Trump Motto: Why Pay Retail? The…

Pretty Packaging

rosalie powel has seen her share of poorly wrapped packages—she wrapped most of them herself. the worst are “probably the ones i give to my children,” she confesses. “sometimes i give gifts to them in the bags they came in because i don’t have time to wrap them.” she knows she should know better: “my mother used to say that if the presentation isn’t nice, then the gift can’t be much.

MIDAS Texan Fine Jewelry Show Set for August

this year midas texan fine jewelry show will take place on aug. 27–29, at the gaylord resort & convention center in grapevine, texas. the show aims to offer the safest way to do business with industry professionals from texas, oklahoma, louisiana, arkansas, kansas, nebraska, new mexico, and missouri as well as with retailers and exhibitors nationwide.

Man Jewels!

while the ladies were slightly less jewelry crazy than in past years, the gents on the academy awards red carpet embraced the idea of precious accessories more than ever. from diamond earrings and cufflinks to bejeweled watches (and even a glittering lapel pin or two), man jewels were hotter than ever.

What Once Was Old is New Again

with fashion’s recent emphasis on all things ladylike, many women have been seeing their grandmother’s hand-me-down jewelry in a new light as they hunt for long-discarded brooches or flashy right-hand rings. some jewelry designers also are looking at old jewelry, but with an eye toward education and improvement.

Understanding Color

tiffany, pepsi, and microsoft. three brands with very separate plans, but something big in common. all use various shades of blue as their signature color—their brand. and, according to a recent study by international research and marketing firms, global market bias: part 1 – color, the “time and money invested in brand identity is well spent.

The Trade-Show Advantage

it hardly seems possible that another show season is upon jewelry retailers. the fourth-quarter selling season is barely a memory and it’s time to talk about the may and june shows! according to all the research published on why retailers attend shows, seeing new product is usually the no. 1 reason. following close behind that are other responses also related to seeing new product: finding new …

Smithsonian Adds a Star

the smithsonian institution has been given a 16.21-ct. natural ceylon star ruby. the star of katandru has classic sri lankan color and a perfect star—six straight, centered, unbroken legs. jeffrey bilgore, gem dealer in new york, says a series of fortunate circumstances allowed him to buy the star, and some vivid memories suggested where it should ultimately go.


Dickson Concepts (International), an international Hong Kong retailer and distributor of luxury products, completed acquisition of Bertolucci, the Swiss luxury watch brand, in January. Swiss media report that Dickson will invest about $24.8 million in it over the next two years. Bertolucci plans to develop what it calls “distinctive new watch collections based on innovative…

Fifty-Carat Unenhanced Emerald Goes on Tour

not many retailers, and even fewer consumers, have ever seen an unenhanced 1-ct. gemmy emerald, let alone a 50-carater, but they’d probably like to. at least that’s what arthur groom and a number of select jewelers are banking on. groom, new jersey emerald expert, is sending the impressive colombian emerald to a dozen north american retailers in an effort to reestablish jeweler and consumer con…

Grade Expectations

it’s taken more than a decade of research, millions of dollars, and many false promises—but the gemological institute of america says it’s finally ready to release its first-ever cut grade sometime this year. of course, gia has a history of missing cut-grade deadlines, so there may be an additional wait before we find out just what the white coats in carlsbad, calif.

Brain Press Launches Web Site

brain press has launched its web site at www.brainpress.com. the site has a strong educational side and features comprehensive links to more than 600 pages of articles and book extracts related to jewelry making written by charles lewton-brain. subject areas include fold-forming, jewelry photography, gemology, business, catch building, jewelry construction methods, and critical ways of thinking…

Stable market adds sheen to platinum sales in 2005

following two years of volatile, rising prices, the platinum market will be calmer in 2005, say experts, providing a stable basis for healthy sales of jewelry and watches made from the metal. supporting those sales are new programs for retailers and a strong spotlight on platinum, as worn by style setters and celebrities.

AGS Labs in Dubai, Belgium

ags laboratories has entered into two agreements to operate take-in windows, one with the dubai diamond exchange to operate a take-in window in that region, and the other with elmyr services of antwerp to operate a take-in window in belgium. ags will utilize brinks to transfer the product between the two new take-in windows and ags laboratories in the united states.

De Beers Wins Victory, but Keeps Defaulting

de beers has received some good news in its continuing legal battles. a court recently denied class-action status to a group of consumers who sued the company because they claimed they were defrauded on their diamond purchases. the consumers sought millions in damages on the grounds that, since the diamond industry was controlled by a monopoly in violation of antitrust laws, they had paid more …

A Retail Space Odyssey

it pays to have an architect in the family. andrea fortunoff is the architect for the fortunoff family’s retail empire, charged with creating new retail spaces for the company as well as maintaining existing spaces for the growing chain of regional stores that sell everything from vacuum cleaners and household furniture to some of the world’s finest jewelry and gift items.

The Ghost of Appraisals Past

on nov. 16, 2004, john anthony jr. stood in a pennsylvania courtroom awaiting a jury’s verdict. he was accused of a reputation-demolishing, potentially business-destroying offense: switching a diamond. the civil case revolved around a 1988 update of a 1965 appraisal, both performed by the defendant’s father, john anthony sr.

Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre Unite on New Watch

luxury jeweler-watchmaker cartier and luxury watchmaker jaeger-lecoultre have partnered to create a new movement and a new watch. the 42-mm pasha de cartier, unveiled this month in geneva at the sihh luxury watch trade show, uses the new 8000 mc automatic calibre created for it by jaeger-lecoultre, one of the last swiss watch companies making its own movements.

Sri Lankan Sapphire

sri lanka, the west virginia–size pear-shape island 40 miles southeast of india, has been a treasure trove of gems for more than a thousand years. even as gem deposits from other locales come and go, the mines of sri lanka, formerly ceylon, continue to produce fantastic gems. known for its sapphires, rubies, and chrysoberyl cat’s-eyes, the island nation also produces some of the world’s …

A Literary Treasure

the rewards of reading are often intangible, but a treasure’s trove by michael stadther can lead readers to some very real gifts. the expressive 116-page fairy tale, geared to both children and parents, tells the story of a group of forest creatures who enlist a woodcarver and his magical family to help search for their recently crystallized fellow critters.

Jewelry Show Sees Armed Break-In

an armed intruder was shot, and later died, during a robbery attempt at a small gem and jewelry show in florida in january. it’s the first known attempted armed robbery of any u.s. jewelry show in at least 13 years, says the jewelers security alliance. according to jsa and police reports, at 2:30 a.m.

Reducing Aged Inventory

while disposing of aged inventory can be a daunting task, kathy corey makes the job seem a lot easier. during the the jck show ~ phoenix 2005, the vice president of merchandising for day’s jewelers, waterville, maine, offered jewelers tips for managing aged inventory:

Social Insecurity?

given the firestorm that president bush’s proposed social security changes have already sparked, it’s highly likely that the final outcome—whatever it is—will be greatly modified and hotly debated in congress. it’s far too early to even guess whether the program will remain entirely tax-funded or become a blend of individual investment and government-guaranteed income.

Friedman’s to Close 165 Stores

as part of its chapter 11 reorganization, friedman’s will close up to 165 stores in 17 states and sell in excess of $25 million of inventory. when finished, friedman’s will operate approximately 481 stores in 20 states. the decision to close the 165 stores—nearly one quarter of its total—followed a review of its store operations, said sam cusano, president and ceo, friedman’s inc.

Pittsburgh Blues

soaring ceilings of the carnegie music hall foyer, towering green marble columns, matching marble floors, a gold-gilded balcony … what a magnificent venue for a gem show! the 2004 seventh annual carnegie gem & mineral show in pittsburgh was held from nov. 18 to nov. 21, transforming the carnegie museum of natural history into a showcase of gems and minerals.

Odimo Has IPO

a second jewelry web site has gone public. odimo.com’s initial public offering in february raised some $28 million, at $9 a share, down from its initial estimates of over $40 million, at $11 to $13 a share. the company is partially owned by israeli sightholder beny steinmetz and jan bell founder alan lipton.

Mall Exodus?

zale corp., known as a mall jeweler, now believes in the power of off-mall locations. it will soon open 25 off-mall zales stores in new york city, and it’s testing several gordon’s jewelers in power centers—open-air shopping centers of large-operation, category-specific retailers. and in the last six months, it’s opened a handful of zales stores in lifestyle centers—upscale and more…


HSN Seeks ‘Interactive TV Shopping’ This Year Cable television shopping network HSN plans to initiate shopping by remote control, according to news reports. The TV retailer is negotiating with cable television operators nationwide to launch “interactive TV shopping,” in which customers register payment and mailing options in advance and use their remote controls to make…

Best and Worst

while we cheer all who chose beautiful baubles for their academy awards red-carpet waltz, there were—as always—those who pulled it off well and those who, well, should have put it on differently. worst we applaud hilary swank for bucking fashion trends in her choice of a gown, but wish she’d accessorized it better.

Terms of Enhancement

Treatment: Natural stones may be made to undergo processes to improve or change their appearance. The changes are usually made to improve the color or clarity and to cover open or closed fissures. Common treatments include: Heating, Filling or In-Filling, Irradiation, High Pressure High Temperature, etc. Disclosure: Stating the weight, type of stone, price, and…


Sterling Jewelers Inc. has promoted Robert Knapp to vice president of corporate supply chain management. In his new role, Knapp, who joined Sterling in 1982, will be responsible for optimizing the practices and processes used to procure goods and services. To mark the 80th birthday of Milos Vainer and to commemorate his many contributions to…

Jewelry with a Purpose

cause-related marketing is a growing movement that the jewelry industry has endorsed for many years. countless retailers and manufacturers have donated time, resources, and money to charitable causes through sponsorship of charity events, special sales, or by donating proceeds from a particular item or event to charity.

A Jewel of an Exhibition

french jewelers staged an unusual exhibit in paris in november, showing more than 300 contemporary jewels for public viewing at hotel drouot montaigne. the exhibit, un bijou d’expo, the first in a series organized by the mayor of paris, aimed to show creative expression in color. the series will feature everything from fashion and beauty to design and gastronomy.

A Taste for Platinum Delicacies

sure, platinum is pure, rare, and eternal. by now, everyone in the trade has heard this mantra of the platinum guild international, and any retailers who haven’t recognized platinum’s power in the bridal category are surely in a time warp. while stocking a selection of platinum bridal jewelry has become a no-brainer over the last decade, many overlook platinum’s strength when selling fashion je…

Swiss Watch Exports Set Record in 2004

the value of swiss watch exports in 2004 set a new record, for the first time topping 11.1 billion swiss francs ($9.2 billion). this is a 9.2 percent gain over 2003 figures (up more than $775 million), says the federation of the swiss watch industry fh, which represents more than 90 percent of swiss watchmakers.

Coming to America

hublot, the luxury swiss sport watch best known for its “porthole” bezel and natural-rubber strap, is shifting its primary marketing spotlight to the united states, and its watch-design focus to american tastes, jck has learned. “hublot will put 80 percent of its efforts and energy in this market,” said fabrizio cocchiano, president of hublot of america, in fort lauderdale, fla.

Online Diamond Sales Surge on Valentine’s Day

online purchases of diamonds surged 130 percent this valentine’s day compared with last year’s figures, according to verisign, which processes nearly 40 percent of north american internet sales. it was the biggest increase of any category the company tracked. online sales of the overall jewelry category increased 34 percent over last year, verisign said.

De Beers Sets New Sales Record

de beers hit another sales record in 2004, when rough sales through its diamond trading company jumped 3 percent, to hit $5.7 billion. a statement noted that during 2004, “the dtc raised its rough-diamond prices on three occasions, the cumulative effect of which was that sales by the dtc in 2004 were at prices, on average, 14 percent higher than in 2003.

Cost, Margins, and Goldsmiths

remaining competitive in the jewelry market requires constant research, skill upgrading, cost management, and a host of other “hands-on” efforts. we have all watched as companies competing within our market areas have undercut standard margin structures in order to attract and win sales, sometimes putting themselves out of business in the process, and seriously hurting the reputations of those …

Jewelers Create Pieces with a Purpose

recently, under the combined banners of agta, ags, gia, and icga, the jewelry industry responded to the tsunami disaster by establishing the jewelry industry relief fund. a few more charitable projects: the kazanjian foundation, beverly hills, calif., which sponsors the jewels for charity program (see jeweler’s notebook, jck, march 2005, p.

GIA Expands Its Labs

the gemological institute of america is expanding its east coast and west coast laboratories to meet increased demand and complaints of backlogs. when construction is completed by the end of the year, the new york location will have added 11,500 sq. ft., for a total of 32,500 sq. ft. gia will more than double its laboratory space in carlsbad, calif.

Balance Your Diamond Inventory, Speaker Says

jewelers need to reconsider their diamond inventory in terms of what their consumers want, malcolm alderton of arms (advanced retail management systems) said at a seminar on “balancing your diamond inventory” at the jck show ~ phoenix 2005. “if you are not managing your inventory, you are costing yourselves sales and money,” he said.

Top Add-On Questions

selling add-ons is one of the major keys in developing a business and maximizing selling opportunities. lay the groundwork for selling add-ons early in the presentation by asking the right questions. find out what the appropriate add-on(s) will be, and then introduce them later in the presentation. bringing up an additional item without first laying the groundwork may be perceived as pushy and …

DISC Returns to Represent America

the long-moribund diamond industry steering committee—which for years served as the american industry’s mouthpiece to the larger diamond world—is being revived in an effort to put the entire u.s. industry “under one umbrella.” at press time a disc dinner had been proposed for march, set for a major new york hotel, to “gather together the industry’s biggest players,” said honorary ch…

CIBJO Wants No Uncertain Terms

retailers and color-stone dealers have been grappling with the thorny issue of enhancement disclosure for decades, but diamond dealers seem to be not so well informed on the issue. to address that perceived gap in knowledge, harry levy, president of cibjo’s diamond commission, has drafted a publication called “a compendium of gem treatment terminology” (see sidebar), which aims to educate diamo…

Suspected Killer of Three Jewelers May Face Death

the man charged with the shocking killings of three jewelers during a string of robberies in december and february could face the death penalty, authorities said. the murders in new york and connecticut were reported nationally and as far away as india. the jewelers security alliance said there was a sharp increase in subscriptions to its newsletter and people accessing its web site (www.


what’s the silliest excuse you’ve ever gotten for a return? boxer rebellion steve ginsberg, vice president, ginsberg jewelry, cedar rapids, iowa a man bought a levian ruby and diamond ring set in 18k gold for his wife. shortly after, he went back to the store to return it. “i don’t want this,” he said, pointing to the sticker on the back of the ring box.

Fine, Extra-Fine Strong in Tucson

market in brief: march 4, 2005 …the color-stone market continues to demonstrate a strong demand in a narrow range of products. fine and extra-fine unenhanced gem materials are selling well. prices are strong with little resistance from buyers. sales of gems in the mid price points that were vital to the strength of the color-stone market in the late 1990s now lag sharply.

Luxury Watches Boost Swatch

the 2004 sales of the swatch group rose 4.7 percent to $3.49 billion, propelled by double-digit sales in upscale and luxury watches, says a february report from the group, which noted that production of watches, movements, and components also rebounded. the report forecast “dynamic” 2005 sales. watch sales rose 9.

A Growing Population

like fashion retailers, jewelers run the risk of falling for what’s trendy, without taking their customers into consideration. to avoid that pitfall with one market segment, consider this: as of 2000, 19.8 percent of the u.s. population can be categorized as obese, and the number continues to rise. in 1991, 12 percent of the population was obese, according to the national center for chronic dis…

Necklaces Return to the Red Carpet

there wasn’t a whole lot of bling on the red carpet, and there’s good reason … the buzz in pre-oscars hollywood was that “bling” is out, elegance is in. one element of that elegance is, apparently, the necklace. while there were those who clung to the trend, it seems the era of the earring–bracelet–bare neck is at long last winding down.

QUIZ: Guess My Weight

the taylor-burton diamond: how much does it weigh now? originally 69.42 cts. t.w., the colorless pear-shape elizabeth taylor–richard burton diamond was put up for auction in 1979. but before it could be sold, it needed to be recut—the gem had sustained a few bangs and bruises that only a cutter could cure.

LVMH Drops Christian Lacroix

lvmh has sold the christian lacroix brand, reportedly because of lack of profits, to the u.s.-based falic group. the move is part of a plan by lvmh ceo bernard arnault to refocus on the company’s core brands, including fendi leather goods, by eliminating others. falic group bought two of lvmh’s cosmetic brands, hard candy and urban decay, two years ago.

Mother’s Day Contest Founder Publishes Book

michael c. watson, president of gallery of diamonds in costa mesa, calif., and sponsor of the annual writing contest “why mom deserves a diamond,” has published a book titled adopted like me: chosen to search for truth, identity, and a birthmother about his long-time search for his birth mother. the book includes essays written by contest winners, who receive a diamond to give to their mother…

Rio Tinto Reports on Argyle

it seems almost impossible that champagne—a.k.a. chocolate—and fancy vivid-pink diamonds may soon be history, but this is the reality of gem mining. confirming what was written in our february gem feature (see “argyle is still in the pink, but maybe not for long,” jck, february 2005, p. 88), a brief report by mining giant rio tinto notes that the argyle mine, kimberley, australia, i…

Thinking Outside the (Jewelry) Box?

in the art, music, and literature worlds, it’s called “genre crossing”—combining two genres to create a new one. (novelists lindsey davis and steven saylor, for example, combine mystery with history, setting their detective novels in ancient rome.) in the whirlpool-bathtub world it’s called morphosis—at least that’s what jacuzzi calls its plan to bring in high-end design concepts fr…

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