August 1, 2001

Taking Your Business to the Next Level

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De Beers in the Dumps

“change is painful,” de beers executives sometimes note when quizzed about the agony of sightholders who are trying to comply with its new dictates. but de beers is finding change thornier than it bargained for. since last year, the company’s attempts to reinvent both itself and the diamond industry have met a string of roadblocks.

Pearl Quality Is a Concern

many retail jewelers attending the pearl market panel at the jck show in las vegas expressed concerns about the enhancement of a pearl’s luster. enhancements such as bleaching and dyeing are considered a fairly common practice among pearl producers, but the seller should always disclose any enhancement.

Swiss Army Battles Counterfeiters

swiss army brands inc. scored some successes recently in its ongoing fight against watch counterfeiters. the shelton, conn., company has been working with new york city law enforcement officials to crack down on street peddling of fake timepieces.over a four-month period between late 2000 and early this year, say company officials, new york city legal authorities made 35 felony arrests…

Beads Were High Rollers in Vegas

there were more natural gemstone beads at this year’s jck show than in years past. this was partly because more cabochon/bead material was available in the market (thanks to the vast quantities of material coming out of madagascar), and partly because of the economy, which helped boost sales of less-expensive—yet still genuine—stones.

JewelAmerica Acquires Astoria

jewelamerica inc., new york city, has completed the acquisition of astoria jewelry manufacturing co., based in long island city. astoria’s offices, key personnel, and manufacturing facility will be relocated into the existing headquarters of jewelamerica. howard zeller will remain with the company as vice president of merchandising and sales for astoria.

$1 Million Raised to Benefit UJA–Federation

some 300 guests attended the global retail award dinner held recently in honor of jeffrey taraschi, executive vice president, merchandising, for the home shopping network (hsn). the event raised more than $1 million to benefit uja-federation of new york. mark bozek (above, left), president and ceo of hsn, was on hand to present the award and deliver the keynote speech.

Fast-Fix Anticipates Business Growth

recently named as one of the best franchise growth opportunities by two leading business publications, fast-fix jewelry repairs offers jewelry and watch repair while customers shop or watch professional jewelers restore pieces. with more than 100 stores and kiosks across the united states, fast-fix anticipates a 75-store expansion within the next three years.

JIC Announces Media Excellence Award

the jewelry information center (jic) has announced the creation of a new annual awards program that will recognize journalists and other members of the media for superior coverage of fine jewelry and related issues. the first “gem awards” will be given on nov. 13, 2001, during a gala presentation dinner and ceremony in new york.

JVC Standards and Practices Praised

the jewelers vigilance committee has been elected to the 2001 associations advance america honor roll, a national awards competition sponsored by the american society of association executives (asae), washington, d.c. jvc received the award for its new membership standards and compliance practices, a written commitment distributed to jvc members for the first time in 2001.

Competitions See Changes

changes are in store for the premier colored gems and jewelry awards contests. both competitions will be held simultaneously, as the cutting edge lapidary competition is incorporated into the jewelry-design spectrum awards contest. this year’s entries are due by sept. 28, 2001.other changes include new design categories for the spectrum awards.

Toback To Be Roasted

on sept. 20, at madison square garden’s elegant “hall of champions,” the golden circle club of new york will roast one of its own—michael toback, a well-known “pillar” of 47th street. an industry veteran of two decades and president of myron toback inc., a new york-based findings house, he also is a newlywed and a renaissance man, both of which should provide plenty of fodder for hi…

San Antonio Jewelers Accused of Non-Disclosure

a san antonio tv station has accused a pair of local jewelers of selling lasered and filled stones without disclosing the treatments.according to a seven-minute troubleshooters segment on nbc affiliate kcol, area store lloyd’s jewelers didn’t reveal that a $4,000 stone bought by the show’s producers was fracture-filled.

‘Color Seal of Confidence’

according to doug hucker, executive director of the american gem trade association (agta), “the consumer is crying out for confidence.” in response, agta has developed a new program called the color seal of confidence, a multi-pronged campaign aimed at increasing colored stone and cultured pearl purchases.

Swatch, AOL Time Warner Agree to Collaboration

the swatch group, the world’s largest watch manufacturer, and international media group aol time warner have agreed to “utilize the strengths of each in the areas of media, entertainment, technology, sports, timekeeping, and next-generation internet access devices.” under the multi-year agreement announced april 26, aol time warner will create “unique and innovative programs” and promotio…

Fake Watches Lose in Court

luxury watch brands have won recent court victories against online and brick-and-mortar retailers who sell fake or altered versions of their products. “this case demonstrates that persons bent on defrauding legitimate businesses of their good names cannot hide behind the anonymity provided by the internet,” said scott n.

Movado Moves to NYSE

the movado group inc., a leading maker and supplier of fine timepieces, began trading its common stock on the new york stock exchange on may 21 under the symbol “mov.” the stock had been listed on the nasdaq since its initial public offering in 1993.the move to the nyse is “a major milestone for us,” said efrain grinberg, recently appointed movado president and chief executive.

Taking Your Business to the Next Level

what’s the secret of taking a business to the next level of success? that’s what jck recently asked hundreds of u.s. jewelers. we found that one in five has intentionally expanded the business—by entering a new market niche, boosting sales, adding another store, etc.—over the past two years.

First Saul Bell Awards Announced

ryan ringholz of new york city was the grand-prize winner of the first saul bell design award for jewelry featuring created moissanite. ringholz’s design was among 150 submissions to the inaugural competition, sponsored by rio grande, albuquerque, n.m., in honor of the company’s founder. the winner received a $10,000 rio grande gift certificate.

New Distributor For Alfex

eurotime corp. of new rochelle, n.y., has acquired u.s. distribution of the swiss watch brand alfex, which formerly was handled by the swiss watch corp., new york city. the changeover, effective may 6, was “seamless,” says eurotime president daniel bogue, “because all the people who have been associated with alfex for the past four years [bogue and his staff] remain the same.

$36M in Fake Watches Seized by U.S. Customs

the u.s. customs service has seized almost 40,000 counterfeit watches, worth $36 million, during a six-month operation in los angeles. it’s the largest seizure of fake watches in the agency’s history, says loraine e. brown, u.s. customs special agent in charge, office of investigations, los angeles.

A Big Gray ‘But’

is integrity always black-and-white—or can it have shades of gray?integrity is the cornerstone of the jewelry industry. that’s not to imply that other industries don’t also have a high degree of ethics, but how many other fields accept a handshake as a binding contract for the exchange of a million or more dollars? nor are there many instances when a supplier will send out a product…

ICA Ponders Its Role

participants at the international colored gemstone association’s ninth biennial congress looked not only at gemstones but also at the future role of the only organization that brings together miners, cutters, manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. the congress, held in sydney, australia, april 29-may 3, included panel discussions and lectures by marketing experts.

Sunstone

it’s not often that one has the opportunity to write about a gem that’s found solely in the united states. but the occurrence of transparent feldspar along with native copper mineral deposits occurs only in oregon. feldspar crystals are fairly common in volcanic basalts all over the globe, but their quality is rarely high enough to be used in jewelry.

Public Still Unaware of ‘Conflict’ Issue

consumers are still in the dark about the conflict diamond issue, according to research conducted by mvi marketing.the percentage of consumers who have heard of the issue did post a negligible increase—from 7% to 9%—but “that’s statistically insignificant,” says mvi president andrew wagstaff.

Celebrity Spotlight

diamonds international, the caribbean-based diamond retail chain, got some star-power publicity in april when its show-stopping earrings made a guest appearance at the essence awards. celebrity wife pauletta washington, wife of oscar-winning actor denzel washington, chose the 6.6-ct. fancy yellow diamond earrings and paired them with a sleek strapless pink dress.

Compromise Reached on ‘Conflict Diamonds’ Legislation

following seven months of often bitter squabbling, the industry and its critics are on the same page regarding conflict diamonds.the world diamond council, rep. tony hall (d-ohio), and hall’s allies at nongovernmental organizations (ngos) recently hammered out a compromise version of the “clean diamonds act,” legislation originally introduced by hall in the house.

‘Conflict’ Stones Offered for Sale?

at least one jeweler, one diamond dealer, and the editor of the jckgroup.com web site have received e-mail solicitations to buy conflict diamonds from someone claiming to be associated with the sierra leone rebel group ruf.the three requests—the veracity of which is doubted by some—are virtually identical except for different names and different phone numbers.

GIA Changing Cut Report

the gemological institute of america will likely tinker with its famed grading reports next year to include more information about a diamond’s cut.while an actual cut grade is not in the cards, gia is looking at ways to make the added information relevant to both the trade and consumers.”it’s one thing to add more information, but we also want to explain why it’s important,” says gia pres…

Diamonds in Pearls

ambar diamonds, known for the past two decades for its innovations in diamond cuts and invisible settings, is introducing another: the invisibly set diamond—this time in pearl. in 1982, ambar became known for its patented quadrillion cut, which has become the model for the generic princess cut.

Brindley, Thompson Honored

the 24 karat club, southeastern united states, honored two of its members at the group’s annual banquet, held feb. 24 in atlanta, ga. teresa brindley, of woodard’s diamond showroom in tullahoma, tenn., was awarded the bob foreman memorial scholarship, named for the 24 karat club’s founder. donald w.

The Maine Point

recently, i had the privilege of attending the convention of the tri-state jewelers association of maine, new hampshire, and vermont. for two-and a-half days a group of about 100 jewelers, their spouses, and their employees spent time discussing, debating, and learning about things that are important to their businesses.

Obituary: Don McNeil, Former JCK Editor-in-Chief

donald s. mcneil, former editor-in-chief and managing editor of jewelers’ circular keystone, died june 18 at the age of 92. his career at jck totaled 25 years.mcneil was a moving force behind many jck products, including the jewelers’ dictionary, who’s who in the jewelry industry, the annual jck directory, the brand name & trademark guide, the sterling silver flatware pattern index,…

Obituaries

janet l. baker, 48, owner and founder of david baker creative jewelers inc., dublin, ohio, died june 19, 2001. baker was a graduate of bliss college, columbus, ohio, as well as the gemological institute of america, carlsbad, calif. she is survived by her mother, ruby rae webb, belpre, ohio; husband david baker; children julie anne, krista rae, and gerard grant baker; mother-in-law betty j.

Gem Exhibit Planned

dr. jeffrey post, curator for the smithsonian institution’s national gem and mineral collection, was agta’s guest of honor during the jck show in las vegas, where he announced a combined effort to create a new smithsonian gem exhibit featuring gemstones of the world. the collection is slated to tour the nation in 2004.

Catch the ‘French Spirit’ on the Web

a new web site—www.french-spirit.com—provides french jewelry designers with a place to exhibit their work online. consumers and retailers around the world now have the opportunity to examine fine french jewelry and, in some cases, purchase products online. sylvie chapuzet, development manager for french-spirit.

Eclectic Fashion Mix for Fall

the ’80s are over—again. after a few seasons of pure nostalgia, designers have decided it’s time to sample fashion in the present tense. but they’re having a hard time agreeing on what that means.styles for fall and winter range from chic and somber black to connecticut preppy, to ’60s-influenced “mod” styles.

Timex Ends U.S. Watchmaking

an american watchmaking tradition is ending. timex corp., the best-selling watch brand in america, is closing its last manufacturing plant, in little rock, ark., after 56 years of operation. the middlebury, conn., firm was the last major domestic watchmaker of the once-thriving u.s. watch industry doing any manufacturing here at all.