April 2011

The Road to Mandalay Bay

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Suzanne Belperron’s 1950s Brooch

In the rarefied world of haute joaillerie, the name Suzanne Belperron represents the ne plus ultra of collecting. From her shop in Paris’ ninth arrondissement, the designer created some of the 20th century’s most memorable jewels for the likes of Grace Kelly, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, and the Duchess of Windsor. At first glance, this…

Colored Stones: Tony Duquette, Tucson Gem Week

Tony Rewards Bonhams & Butterfields will auction the artistic expressions Holly­wood designer Tony Duquette created during a personal “healing process.” The Talismans of Power auction will follow the 20th Century Decorative Arts Auction in Los Angeles on April 18. Stamped with Duquette’s signature imagery, more than 135 pieces of the elaborate necklace collection with accompanying…

Silver: Saundra Messinger at Reinhold Jewelers, Mauri Pioppo at Sea

Trunk-Show Silver Streak When Marie Helene Morrow, the owner of 30-year-old Reinhold Jewelers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, discovered Saundra Messinger’s silver line a few years ago, she knew it was a perfect fit for her clients. But it took a recent trunk show to remind her of the collection’s popularity—and of the importance of…

Platinum: Loyalty Cards, Spectrum Award Winners

Loyalty Has Its Rewards Marc Johnson knows about loyalty. It has helped him build his 3½-year-old custom design business, Cove Jewellery, in Andover, U.K., into a lean, mean one-man operation that thrives on commissions, remodels, and repairs (Johnson alone works the front and back of the house). With 100 percent of all jewels made in-store,…

Diamonds: Kimberley & the Ivory Coast, De Beers & Everlon

KP Targets the Ivory Trade The Kimberley Process is turning its attention to reports that conflict diamonds are entering the market from the Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) in West Africa. As the only country whose diamonds are considered “conflict” under the traditional definition (“diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed…

Gem Pricing Report: The Price of Desire

Rising global demand for diamonds is pushing the cost of rough higher It was only a matter of time before price increases hit the polished-diamond market. Dealers are no longer able to absorb the higher costs for rough. The $64,000 (or, more accurately, $64 million) question is: Are consumers willing to absorb the higher cost…

Piaget’s Minty Mojito Cocktail Ring

Maybe we’ve been mired in the frigid New York City winter for too long, but lately, our daydreams have been filled with sandy beaches, 80-degree weather, and pitchers of mojitos. So when we discovered that Piaget had designed a bejeweled homage to our favorite summer drink (price on request) we dusted off our Collins glasses…

JCK 5: Going globalDESIGN

A sampling of what’s new from vendors at globalDESIGN, held in Philadelphia Feb. 18–20 in conjunction with the Buyers Market of American Craft: 1. (above) Moonface ring with black jade, platinum, and diamonds; $3,000; Anthony Lent, Elkins Park, Pa.; 866-472-5699; anthonylent.com  2. Silver and 18k gold necklace with mother-of-pearl under quartz; $4,600; Anna Ruth Henriques,…

Get Comfy at SOFA

A high-end show where retailers (not suppliers) rule Fifty-five vendors may sound like a ­paltry sum in the trade-show world, but when the exhibitors are high-end gallerists with hundreds of individual SKUs, the event becomes a lot more interesting—and valuable. ­Jewelers in search of art jewelry would do well to scope out what their peers…

How to Navigate the Modern-Day Gold-Buying Market

Over the past couple of years, soaring gold prices have inspired many retail jewelers to reclaim their gold-buying heritage. However, the tactics they use in approaching the secondary market have evolved considerably since the 1980s—the last time ­jewelers needed to market their gold-buying services to the public. “For the first time in a long time,…

JCK 5: Delightful New Gold Jewels

1. Sutras Bold ring in 18k gold with rock crystal and diamond accent; $8,200; Diane von Furstenberg by H.Stern, New York City; 800-747-8376; hstern.net 2. Long Open Scallop Link ­necklace in 18k yellow gold; $8,910; Jamie Wolf, New York City; 212-246-1729; jamiewolf.com 3. Spring Slip-On bracelet in 14k gold, available in six colors, including rose…

Gold Crush

The cost of the gleaming yellow metal may be at all-time highs, but jewelers who can stifle their own sticker shock and sell the aesthetic appeal of gold jewelry can turn a tire kicker into a collector. In the fourth quarter of 2010, a couple in their mid-60s came to K. Jon’s Fine ­Jewelers in…

JCK 5: Tips From Feng Shui Masters

When working with retailers, visual ­merchandisers and interior designers often use the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. Here are five tips for creating a ­successful business environment: 1. Add water. Water treatments, such as a fountain or a fish tank, positioned near the entrance or inside the boutique are thought to attract and retain…

Visual Merchandising Made Simple

A stylish presentation works wonders when your goal is to get shoppers to spend. When Swiss watchmaker Breitling took over a prime piece of real estate on 57th Street in New York City for its first-ever flagship, the challenge was to make it feel modern, yet warm and welcoming. The 4,500-square-foot space had drawbacks—at approximately…

20 Years of the JCK Show: An Oral History

The inside story on America’s largest jewelry show, as told by the people who were there from the beginning. It seems astonishing now, but at one time the idea of JCK magazine starting a trade show was considered a Vegas-size gamble. For decades, the Jewelers of America show—held then, as now, in July/August at New…

JCK 5: Let’s Do Lunch!

Refuel at one of Mandalay Bay’s casual eateries (mandalaybay.com/dining): 1. Red, White and BlueThere’s no going wrong with this classic ­American joint’s steaks, chops, and salads. (702-632-7405) 2. Burger Bar Beef, buffalo, turkey, vegetarian, or vegan—the burger of your dreams awaits. (702-632-9364) 3. Hussong’s Cantina Baja street fare in a mariachi-music setting. (702-553-0123) Burger Bar…

JCK 5: Bottoms Up!

Get your cocktail on at any of these ­boîtes between Mandalay Bay and ARIA: 1. Red SquareA headless statue of V.I. Lenin ushers you into this Mandalay Bay bar’s veritable museum of vodka. (702-632-7407) 2. eyecandy sound loungeA chic ­hangout smack in the middle of the ­Mandalay casino. (702-632-7777) 3. Mix Lounge at THEhotelFrom its…

The Road to Mandalay Bay

What would a trip to Las Vegas be without copious amounts of eating, drinking, and nightlife? Herewith, a bon vivant’s guide to the southern tip of the Strip. My first trip to Las Vegas since last June’s JCK show begins, appropriately enough, in a restaurant full of furniture upholstered in gemstone colors: amethyst, tanzanite, pink…

Mae West: She’s No Angel

“I never worry about diets,” quipped Mae West, the bawdy blonde beauty of 1930s cinema. “The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond!” West had no shortage of them (evident in this 1936 photo). One of her favorite pieces was rumored to be a diamond pendant shaped like a…

JCK Asks…Christian Tse

As a certain metal band sang, let there be rock(s) Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’ve also been pretty good to Christian Tse. The Pasadena, Calif.–based designer first made a name for himself with ­platinum and gold mesh jewels. But recently, he’s become known for diamonds. Stunning, natural color diamonds. If he’s…

From Red Carpet to Reality: The 83rd Annual Academy Awards

A trio of Oscar-winning actresses strut their stylish stuff on Hollywood’s biggest night Nicole Kidman The Oscar winner is no stranger to drama. Kidman—nominated again for Rabbit Hole, one of 2010’s rawest films—wore a strapless, embellished white Dior Haute Couture gown, topped off by a 19th-century riviere by Fred Leighton featuring 150 cts. of colorless…

JCK 5: Go Big or Go Home

In other words, don’t hold back. Spring’s silky, flowing garments are ideal backdrops for the big, bold pendant necklaces shaping up in studios around the world. A wide medallion of metal or stone (or both) stationed against the torso can efficiently anchor a billowing silhouette, or serve as the focal point for a smart-­looking shift…

Innovative Retailer: Roberson’s Fine Jewelry

She’s scaled the Heights, and Trish Roberson is still movin’ on up Store owners do all sorts of things to appeal to broader demographics, but few uproot their three-decades-old location in the midst of a recession. In October 2008, Trish Roberson left the Heights—the affluent area of ­Little Rock, Ark., that Roberson’s Fine Jewelry had…

Store We Adore: Mystique Fine Jewelry Designs

211 The Strand, Alexandria, Va. The cobblestone-studded Old Town—Alexandria, Va.’s historic town center/shopping mecca—may cover less than 1.5 square miles, yet it’s home to six fine jewelers. Another 10 or so stores sell jewelry of some sort (estate, charms, costume, and more). Yet despite—or perhaps because of—its off-the-beaten-path waterfront location, the 20-year-old Mystique Fine Jewelry…

It’s All Relative: London, Ontario’s Nash Jewellers

At Nash Jewellers, staff is treated like family, and customers are part of a community When John A. Nash borrowed $500 to open his eponymous store in 1918, he met instant success. Then he met the Great Depression. Nash Jewellers survived—the enterprising Nash established a recession-friendly trade-up program called “Grow Your Diamond”—and thrived, thanks in…

How Do You Rank?

Fine-tuning your SEO strategy is sure to lure Web traffic and sales With so much to worry about when it comes to Web marketing, it’s easy to overlook more complex areas. We’re so busy with Facebook, Twitter, and blogs that we neglect the basics—like SEO, or search engine optimization. At its core, SEO is the…

Lost in Transition

Turning a browser into a buyer is trickier than you might think. Before you start practicing your sales pitch, think about your floor space. Getting people in the door is half the battle for any retail jeweler. But once they’re in, there’s no guarantee they’re going to spend. Consider that five out of every six…

Retail Details: Hands Jewelers’ Bill Nusser

Diamond sleuth/salesman Bill Nusser proves that nice guys finish first 1. What form of advertising has elicited the best response for you? For the past 12 to 13 years, I’ve been part of a panel for an intro to marketing class and upper-level marketing class at University of Iowa’s business school, speaking to nearly 400…

JCK 5: Lessons Learned

To avoid a jewelry heist, consider this hard-earned advice from Karat 22 Jewelers owner Aku Patel: 1. Install a primary and secondary alarm system. For added security, have the systems installed by two different companies. 2. If your security system has a drop-line or loss-of-signal alarm, don’t casually disregard it. Treat it and every alarm…

Rooftop Break-Ins on the Rise

It could have been a scene out of Ocean’s Eleven. The evening of Feb. 5, a band of thieves broke through the roof of Karat 22 Jewelers in Houston and made off with jewelry worth “multiples of seven figures,” according to owner Aku Patel. Police and industry experts were stunned by the swiftness and efficiency…

April’s Birthstone: Diamond

Greeks named diamonds, April’s birthstone, adamas, meaning “unconquerable”—a fitting moniker for the hardest substance found in nature. Mined most famously in South Africa, but also in Australia, Canada, Russia, India, Brazil, and even Borneo, diamonds are the oldest of all gemstones. (Most are more than 100 million years old.) While the gems are commonly thought…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >> Unique Settings of New York appointed Naz Aksu its new marketing director.   >> On Feb. 15, Moshe Mosbacher was elected president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York, besting former bourse vice president Zvi Farber. Mosbacher, also a former VP, ascended to the top job in 2009 following the death…

Zale’s Pagoda Sale Off

Zale Corp. finally ended months of speculation Feb. 23 by announcing it is not likely to sell Piercing Pagoda. Sources say Apollo Management—which bid for the entire Zale Corp. in 2009—was interested in merging the Pagoda chain with its costume-jewelry franchise, Claire’s. Zale’s decision could be a reflection of better-than-expected 2010 holiday sales, which rose…

Court Nixes ZIP Code Queries

The California Supreme Court ruled Feb. 10 that requesting a customer’s ZIP code violates privacy laws. California resident Jessica Pineda filed Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores in 2008 after buying an item at Williams-Sonoma and providing her ZIP code at the cashier’s request. According to the court, the store subsequently used software to match the plaintiff’s…

Jeweler Testifies to Congress Against 1099

On Feb. 9, a Maryland jewelry store owner testified on Capitol Hill about the impact of the new IRS Form 1099 reporting requirement. Seth Shipley, of Ship­ley’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry in Hampstead, Md., spoke to the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on behalf of the National Retail Federation. Illustrating the potential burden…

Washington Jeweler Suffers Home Invasion

Three gunmen invaded the home of a Kennewick, Wash., ­jeweler on Feb. 9 and subsequently stole an undetermined amount of ­merchandise from his store. Just after the Touchstone ­Jewelry closed, three masked and armed suspects forced entry to co-owner Mark Welsh’s home. Two took Welsh back to the store, where they removed the jewelry. A…

Connecticut Jewelry Tax Targeted

Jewelers of America and the Connecticut Jewelers Association are marshaling their troops to fight a proposal by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to raise taxes on ­jewelry purchases in his 2012–13 budget. The governor proposed a 3 percent tax on jewelry priced higher than $5,000. Because Connecticut already has a general sales-tax rate of 6 percent…

JCK 5: Top Valentine’s Day Jewelry Searches

According to the Google Retail ­Advertising Blog, Valentine’s Day–related searches typically pick up around late December. Here is what Google found most jewelry-buying shoppers were searching for this year: 1. “Pandora jewelry” (above)   2. “Pandora charms” 3. “Engagement rings” iStockphoto 4. “Jewelry armoire” iStockphoto 5. “Birthstones by month” Geoffrey Watt

Jewelers Cope With Rising Diamond Prices

If the amped-up prices of gold and ­silver weren’t giving jewelers big-enough headaches, now they must contend with more-expensive diamonds. De Beers on Feb. 11 reported its rough prices rose 27 percent throughout 2010, mostly due to strong polished sales in China and India, where gem demand has soared more than 20 percent. In February,…

Greetings From Los Angeles!

Last month, I was lucky enough to escape the last dregs of New York City’s winter and find my way to 80-degree Los Angeles. While it’s always a pleasure to spend time downtown with our West Coast sales rep, Robin Lutin, visiting friends and clients in the heart of L.A.’s jewelry district, my trip was…

What Happened in Vegas

When I attended my first JCK show in 2000, as a fledgling editor for a long-since-defunct jewelry trade website called GemKey (where I wrote about the pearl and watch markets), I stayed at Treasure Island, ate at the food court in the then–1-year-old Venetian Hotel, and partied the night away at Drai’s with one of…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Luxury LVMH added another jewel to its growing luxury portfolio on March 6 when it acquired the majority interest in famed Italian gem house Bulgari in a stock swap valued at more than $5 billion. The sale of the 127-year-old ­jeweler, which has branched out into hotels and fragrances, was portrayed by a member…