April 2007

U.S. Remains World’s Top Platinum Watch Market


Senate Votes Minimum Wage Hike The Senate voted overwhelmingly to boost the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour recently. The bill also provides small-business tax cuts to help offset the cost of the wage increase. The increase in the minimum wage, the first in 10 years, was approved by a 94–3 vote. The Senate…

Blood Diamond Fallout

thanks to the movie blood diamond, the conflict diamond issue received more publicitythis past december than it has in years. but did the movie andthe media hype surrounding it make an impact on sales of diamond jewelry? and did the diamond and jewelry trade respond effectively to the movie and its publicity machine? senior editor rob bates asked the jck retail panel for their views and also sp…

TAG Heuer’s Jack Heuer Honored by JIC

jack heuer—watch innovator and marketer; great-grandson of heuer watch founder edouard heuer; and honorary chairman of tag heuer, the swiss luxury sport watch brand—in january received the jewelry infor-mation center’s gem award for lifetime achievement at its gala awards dinner in new york city.

Best-Selling Author to Headline AGS Conference

five groundbreaking speakers will present programs throughout the american gem society’s international conclave, to be held in denver april 25–28, at the denver marriott city center. jim collins will serve as keynote speaker. collins has authored four books, including good to great: why some companies make the leap … and others don’t, which topped the new york times, wall street …

Top Trends From the Jewelry Shows

a trio of recent trade fairs—vicenzaoro1 in vicenza, italy; the jewelers of america show in new york; and centurion in tucson, ariz.—ushered in a busy season for the jewelry industry. the hot products from these shows represent the trends to keep your eye on this year. here are the top seven trends, which you can expect to see more of at the jck show ~ las vegas.

Jewelry Wardrobe Basics

what does your jewelry wardrobe look like? have you ever even thought about it? we believe that your jewelry wardrobe should be given as much consideration as your clothing wardrobe—or perhaps more, since you are likely to keep the pieces in it much longer. your jewelry wardrobe does not need to be expensive or extensive, but it should be well thought out and organized so that you can alw…

A South African Platinum Odyssey

in october 2006, platinum guild international’s u.s. office organized a special trip for select members of the american jewelry trade—both retailers and manufacturers—to visit the source of all things platinum: the mines in south africa. the eight-day odyssey included visits to the platinum mines, a side trip to a diamond mine, and a visit to the jewelry studio at south africa’s ste…

Why Does Design Matter?

during the centurion jewelry show, i had the opportunity to interview juliet polcsa, the costume designer for hbo’s popular mobster soap opera, the sopranos. (see p. 62.) polcsa brought up an interesting point about the relevance of art and design in americans’ lives. she said most americans’ art education comes not from teachers, but from retailers.

Timex Group Launches Sequel

the timex group b.v. has reorganized its callanen international division and added a new worldwide company called sequel to take over from callanen the global marketing and distribution of the strong-selling youth-oriented guess and guess collection (gc) fashion watches. it will also handle guess jewelry.

Swatch Group Posts ‘Best Results of All Time’

swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, posted a 12.3 percent gain in gross sales for 2006, totaling about $4.04 billion. a jan. 22 announcement from the swiss watchmaker called the results its best “of all time.” the most substantial sales growth was among luxury watches. blancpain, breguet, glashütte original, and omega all enjoyed double-digit growth.

Lawyers: Industry Can Claim De Beers Settlement Jackpot

the diamond industry—including retailers—will soon be entitled to claim a share of the $300 million class-action settlement against de beers for antitrust violations, the lawyers who brought the suit announced at a packed meeting of the diamond manufacturers and importers association of america.

The Trade Tells Its Side

when it became clear that blood diamond would be made, diamond industry public relations people worried that the bigger danger might be the publicity surrounding it, rather than the movie itself. that turned out to be true. the film may not have scored big at the box office, but it did lead to some critical media coverage about the conflict diamond issue.

The Retail Impact

randy mccullough, president and chief executive officer of samuels, remembers going to a charity auction shortly after blood diamond opened. “at every table i sat at i got asked questions about conflict diamonds,” he says. yet, when he examined his chain’s christmas results, he was surprised that he didn’t see an impact—in fact, journey diamond products were strong sellers.

Fabergé Travels to Tennessee

the united states lost one of its greatest fabergé collections to russia in 2004, when the forbes collection was sold to victor vekselberg. but despair not—there are still great fabergé pieces to be seen here, and one collection debuted last month at a new home in nashville, tenn. the matilda geddings gray foundation collection (mggfc) is the result of one woman’s passion for fa…

A Winter Journey

so, there i was in são paulo, brazil, when hedda says to me, “you should really think about rescheduling your presidents’ day weekend flight to palm springs. there’s a big storm coming.” “not to worry,” i reply. “i’m sure i’ll miss it.” (cue ominous music.) the flight day came … and went.

Jewelry, Jersey-Style

if a queen wears a crown, and a princess a tiara, what does the wife of new jersey’s most famous mobster wear? for an answer, jck spoke with juliet polcsa, costume designer for the sopranos, hbo’s award-winning drama series about life in the (fictitious) newark mafia. polcsa was shopping the recently held centurion show for jewelry for the program, but while bling might be the thing for the w…

WJA Names Anna Martin to Hall of Fame

women’s jewelry association board of directors announced their selection of anna martin as the 2007 hall of fame inductee. she will be honored at the wja 24th annual awards for excellence gala, at pier 60 in new york on july 29. martin, the past president of wja and a board member for six years, is a senior vice president and regional manager of the america’s diamond, jewelry & precious m…

U.S. Remains World’s Top Platinum Watch Market

platinum watch sales continue to grow worldwide and remain strong in the u.s. market despite the rising price of platinum and a sharp increase in the watches’ average price since 2004, say new swiss watch industry and u.s. market figures. in 2006, the number of platinum watches exported worldwide from switzerland (most platinum watches are swiss-made) was 12,469, up 7 percent from the 20…

Is the End Game in Sight?

in february i wrote about the fabrikant bankruptcy and touched on a subject i would like to explore further—the domination of the mall diamond business by indian suppliers. in some ways the growth of large mall chains and the development of large indian diamond and jewelry companies have run in parallel.

Jewelry in Her Own Words

hilda “peggy” kirby used to be known as “the red-headed computer” of finlay fine jewelry. at age 93, her hair’s no longer red—and the former vice president has been retired for almost 30 years—but her eye on the jewelry industry is as sharp as ever. the daughter and granddaughter of jewelers, her views on what the industry needs to stay competitive toda…

Banking on a Ruby Appraisal

when an officer of an overseas bank called stuart robertson and asked him to appraise several large ruby crystals, robertson could tell from the description that they weren’t gem quality. robertson, research director and appraiser for gemworld international in glenview, ill., had seen similar material at gem shows in tucson, ariz.

JCK Invitational Speakers Discuss Salesmanship, Security, and Hugs

service, emotional appeals, and product knowledge will bring internet customers into your jewelry store, sales trainer and consultant shane decker said during a keynote presentation at the jck invitational show in february. decker said people buy on the internet because it provides low prices and convenience.

Journey Looks Like a Hit

journey—the newest product concept from jwt, de beers’ u.s. marketing firm—looks like a hit after its first christmas at retail. “journey was a very strong category for us,” says david sternblitz, director of investor relations for zale corp. “we don’t have any hard numbers, but we have heard across all levels that journey definitely helped drive sales over the h…

Wisteria Lane Looks

jck caught up with karo vartanian, costume supervisor for the abc mega-hit desperate housewives, during the centurion jewelry show in january. jck asked him to reveal the secrets to choosing a wardrobe—and picking jewelry—for the women of wisteria lane. jck: how do you choose what the stars will wear? karo vartanian: the look of each outfit is script driven—a collaboration…

A Bill of Rights for Appraisal Clients

the national association of jewelry appraisers has distributed to more than 700 members a client’s bill of rights that’s suitable for framing and display in appraisal offices or gem labs. a member-only benefit, the document was the result of a six-month study benchmarking similar documents from other industries including the american society for quality and the american society of association e…

William Devine Is New CEO of Bedat & Co.

william devine, 40, has been appointed by the gucci group n.v. as chief executive officer of its swiss luxury watch company bedat & co. he replaces christian bédat, who, with his mother, started the company in 1996. it was bought by gucci in 2000. bédat resigned in october 2006. no reason was given, though some earlier press reports suggested he differed with gucci over plans for …

How Can I Make Best Use of the Telephone?

in an age when telemarketers, credit card solicitors, political candidates, pollsters, mortgage bankers, college alma maters, and others are annoying customers with a flood of calls—and more households are using caller i.d.—it’s no wonder that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for salespeople to institute a successful telephone campaign.

New IDI Managing Director: Asia Is Our Future

the israeli diamond institute’s new managing director, eli avidar, recently replaced efraim raviv, who served in the role for 20 years. most of avidar’s experience is in government, including a stint as senior diplomatic advisor to ariel sharon when sharon was israel’s foreign minister. from 1996 to 1997, avidar was responsible for developing relations with islamic leaders.

Disparate Things That Connect

the value of attending an industry conference is the opportunity to see, hear, and experience—in person—the wisdom of interesting, intelligent people. recently i heard the director of blood diamond, ed zwick, speak at the rapaport conference about the plight of sierra leone’s alluvial miners.

Retail Thoughts

al molina, of molina in phoenix, is confident, and with good reason. he converted his small, 20-year-old, by-appointment-only business into a well-recognized brand known for rare and exquisite jewels. he’s not concerned with how other jewelers run their businesses, but he’s not afraid to tell them how to stay competitive.

WJA Calls for Scholarship Entries

the women’s jewelry association has announced its 2007 student scholarship program. the deadline for receipt of applications and required materials is may 1. student scholarships funds are raised from the wja silent auction held during its annual awards for excellence dinner in new york in july and from corporate and individual donations.

Trading Slows as Prices Rise

dealers report slower trading in the u.s. market. resistance to higher diamond prices is a contributing factor. availability of better-quality 3.00 ct. and larger goods is still a concern. in the new york diamond market, demand has improved for white, clean goods of less than 2.00 cts. rounds and princess cuts lead demand, ovals and cushions are doing well, pear shapes are stable, and marquise…

Measure Your Way to Sales and Profitability

if you decided to spend one day a month working to improve your selling techniques, would you know what to work on? knowing can mean the difference between zero and a 10 to 20 percent improvement in sales, but many organizations—and sales associates—don’t know what to work on first, because they don’t do a good job measuring elements of their sales process.

Shigley Gets New GIA Role

james shigley, the longtime director of research at the gemological institute of america, has been given the new role of gia distinguished research fellow, the institute said in an internal memo acquired by jck. “jim has served as a public representative to the press, at trade and technical conferences throughout the world,” the memo said.

European Commission Closes Book on Supplier of Choice

the european commission has ended its investigation of de beers’ supplier of choice policy, based on what it calls the “increased transparency in de beers’ distribution arrangements.” the ec says it recently had de beers “revise the mandate” of the supplier of choice ombudsman to further increase transparency.

Antiquorum Buys TimeZone.com

antiquorum, a leading horological auction house, has acquired timezone.com, the largest english-language community web site for wristwatch enthusiasts and those seeking information about fine timepieces. timezone has over 45,000 registered users worldwide and gets almost 70,000 new posts and 9.5 million page views per month.

Online Retailers Say Sales Rose Last Holiday

blue nile and amazon said sales were strong at christmas. seattle-based blue nile reported fourth-quarter net sales of $90.7 million, a 23.9 percent increase over 2005. the company also named its chief financial officer, diane irvine, to the post of president. amazon.com said its fourth-quarter 2006 jewelry and watch sales more than doubled, although it did not provide numbers.

Who Are You? A Guide to the New You, Part 1

listen to the who’s prescient 1978 rock ‘n’ roll anthem “who are you?” and you’ll be struck by pete townshend’s lyrics as they relate to key issues facing today’s jewelry retailers. in addition to the song’s title question, he asks: “do i really want to know?” if you’re a jeweler and you want to stay in business, then your reply had better be the same as townshend’s: …

PGI’s Three-Ring Program Takes Back the Wedding

a wedding begins and ends with the exchange of jewelry, and jewelers need to reclaim their rightful share of the wedding budget. platinum guild international calls this “taking back the wedding,” and it wants to see all its retail partners doing just that. the message is getting across: despite a sky-high price of $1,169 an ounce, interest in platinum among high-end jewelers and con…

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