August 2006

JCK Show ~ Las Vegas Ends On a Positive Note

Madison Jewelers

tom losonci is president of madison jewelers, fairfield, conn., a full-service store that specializes in ags- and gia-certified diamonds and is known for expertise in bridal jewelry. the company works with many high-profile designers and brands, and also sells estate jewelry and custom-designed pieces.

Mondaine, Luminox Form Partnership, New U.S. Agency

two swiss-made watch brands—swiss-based mondaine, creator of the swiss railways watch, and u.s.-based luminox, known for its unique watch-illumination system—have formed a new partnership. it includes an endeavor to market their watches in the united states. in april, andré and ronnie bernheim, founders of the swiss watch company mondaine, bought 50 percent of the american comp…

Goldman Welcomes Another White Metal in Bridal

frederick goldman’s artcarved division recently unveiled four bridal lines in palladium, a member of the platinum family. the jewelry includes the floral, petite, surprise, and geometric collections of solitaire and three-stone engagement rings and anniversary and wedding bands. retail prices for wedding bands start at $250; engagement ring semimounts start at $450.

JCK Show ~ Las Vegas Ends On a Positive Note

by most accounts, business was brisk and the mood upbeat at the 2006 jck show ~ las vegas. high-end exhibitors reported strong buying, but the feeling wasn’t unanimous, as the low- and midlevel sectors struggled with high metals prices and cautious buyers. the seven-day event, featuring 2,989 exhibitors, opened with a two-day educational conference program and a keynote presentation by co…

MJSA’s Brand-New Vision

when frank dallahan took over as chief executive officer of manufacturing jewelers and suppliers of america, he wondered why his new business card had three logos. if three logos were confusing the ceo, surely they would confuse the industry. dallahan, a highly respected industry veteran and a former publisher of jck, took the reins at mjsa in october 2005.

Damiani Launches Loren Collection

“just as loren always wears armani clothes, she also always wears damiani jewelry,” explained public relations manager wendell figueroa ruiz 10 days after the launch of damiani’s sophia loren collection. the jewelry was inspired by the style of the legendary italian actress, designed by damiani, and named after loren—who gave her approval in march by wearing pieces …

Can I Get a Witness?

bb becker, denver, engraves inspirational messages on sterling silver bracelets, charms, and pendants. so does san francisco jewelry artist jeanine payer. payer believed becker’s pieces too closely resembled her designs, so she sued him for trade dress infringement. last october, after hearing expert testimony from a jewelry historian, a new york city jury found becker not guilty.

Pearl Royalty

nearly two decades ago, the cultured pearl information center introduced the pearl princess program, which crowned one young woman as pearl royalty in an effort to promote the gems around the world. that program has been defunct for more than 10 years but, in a new initiative that echoes the past, perles de tahiti has crowned a 19-year-old beauty the first tahitian pearl ambassadress.

What’s in a Name?

is the recent debate over whether the name paraíba should be used for all tourmaline sporting a vivid green-blue color or reserved only for stones actually mined in paraíba, brazil, a matter of monumental importance—as it is to gem dealers—or simply another example of the semantic nit-picking in which this industry periodically indulges? let’s look at some other exam…

Don’t Just Ask—Earn the Right to Close the Sale

it’s been shown that for higher-price items, close ratios increase when sales associates ask for the sale. the most common reason for not asking is fear of being turned down. that fear comes from not successfully executing the first five steps of the sale process: greeting effectively, asking good questions, listening carefully, making a persuasive presentation that an item meets the cus…

De Beers Wins Battle for Its Name

de beers lv, the retail chain, can stop a new york diamond dealer from selling diamonds under the name “de beers” on the internet, a judge ruled recently. new york diamond dealer marvin rosenblatt incorporated the name “debeers diamond syndicate” in 1981, and eventually let the trademark lapse.

‘Jacob’ Arrest Shows 8300 Importance

the recent arrest of jacob arabov—aka “jacob the jeweler”—on conspiracy to commit money laundering has renewed attention to jewelers’ obligations to file internal revenue service form 8300 for large cash transactions. among the things the federal indictment accuses arabov of is “failure to file forms 8300” after allegedly receiving cash from a group of accuse…

NASCAR Debuts Mobile Technology Center

nascar introduced a new state-of-the-art mobile technology center at the running of the nascar nextel all-star challenge in may. it will serve as the at-track home base for nascar’s timing and scoring system. tissot, the official timekeeper of nascar, consulted with nascar to refine the system. “tissot has been measuring time for world-class sporting events like nascar for years,”…

Parmigiani Uses ‘Real Women’ to Promote Its Watches

tired of celebrities paid to promote watches? so is swiss luxury brand parmigiani fleurier, which is taking a new approach to promote its first-ever women’s collection of watches. “we refuse to hire show- business types or top models to market our watches, especially our new women’s watches,” says watch veteran jean-marc jacot of the sandoz family foundation, co-owner o…

Do the Math, Part 1

market researcher pamela danziger continues to call attention to the seismic shifts occurring in luxury consumers’ buying habits. shoppers’ needs and wants are in transition as old-line luxuries like jewelry give way to new, experiential luxuries like ecotourism and day spas. starbucks, selling $3.

Forty-Eighth Street Named After Goldberg

forty-eighth street between fifth and madison avenues in new york is now officially known as william goldberg way. the street, where goldberg had long kept his office, was named after the charismatic former diamond dealers club president in a ceremony attended by sen. charles schumer. “willie goldberg was a giant of a man,” schumer said.

The ‘I’m Just Looking’ Customer

before answering this month’s question—how do you handle the customer who’s “just looking”?—let me say i hope that you, as a salesperson, didn’t elicit the customer’s response by asking the age-old question “can i help you?” that almost guarantees you’ll get back a “no thanks, i’m just looking” from the customer.

How to Select a Watch Brand

jewelers looking to add a new watch line should ask themselves the following questions before selecting a brand. will adding a new brand increase or cannibalize existing business? adding a brand should increase total business and bring in new customers, not replace sales of an existing brand. the new brand can be in the same category as a current brand, since it helps increase awareness of tha…

Steven Kretchmer Dies in Accident

the industry is mourning the sudden loss of jewelry designer and innovator steven kretchmer, 52, who died july 8 as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. daughter claudia said his business—los angeles–based steven kretchmer designs—will continue. “we want to carry on his legacy,” she said.

The Industry Authority

we’ve received more terrific news here at jck. we recently undertook an online research study to take the pulse of the industry with regard to people’s perception of jck and the other trade magazines in the jewelry business. we are thrilled with the results. jck is perceived as the highest-quality and most authoritative publication, and the true “industry authority.

Escada Unveils Bridal Jewelry Collection

international fashion brand escada will woo chic brides with jewelry from the sparkling love collection. collections include love paper, timeless love, two for love, sense of love, and pink heart in karat gold or platinum and diamonds. retail prices start at $1,200. escada, new york; (800) 869-8424; www.

Hublot Launches TV Channel

swiss luxury watch brand hublot geneve launched its own 24-hour television channel—hublot tv—in june. it’s the first tv channel devoted exclusively to a watch brand. the endeavor is not only a first in the watch industry but also in the luxury goods sector in general. the tv channel is accessible on hublot’s year-old web site, www.

Worldmart Opens in China

an international jewelry trading platform called worldmart jewelry & gems emporium centre has opened in the panyu district of guangzhou, china. it aims to allow china’s jewelers to penetrate the international market and overseas players to enter china. worldmart combines raw materials procurement, finished products trading, logistics and distribution, information inquiry, and business promo…

Swatch Group Celebrates 333 Millionth Swatch Watch

the swatch group in june celebrated production of its 333 millionth swatch watch, its namesake industry-changing watch introduced in 1983. the milestone was marked at “splashtival,” a public festival in lugano, switzerland, where a new swatch watch collection (jelly in jelly) was unveiled.

Revere Offers Design Project

the revere academy of jewelry arts is incorporating an independent design project into its jewelry technician intensive course this fall. the academy’s founder and director, alan revere, will work with students individually as they create their own jewelry designs and improve their skills and problem-solving abilities.

Gem Pricing Report

market in brief: volatility defines the diamond market. well-made rounds of g/vs2 or higher in 3.00+ ct. sizes are scarce. a key diamond-trading database revealed some 4.00 ct. f–g/vs rounds selling above prices in rapaport report and the guide. recent sights contained much rough that will finish to goods already plentiful, while demand areas lack supply.

Rings for Separation

everybody knows about buying engagement rings to cement loving bonds, but have you heard about the band that signals a split? the break-up ring is now available from werner häring, a designer in pforzheim, germany. made of platinum, the ring’s surface features a broken heart—with a deep fault winding down the middle of the two halves—and a small round brilliant diamond …

Albany Jeweler Arrested for Fobbing Off Fakes

ajeweler in the albany, n.y., area has been arrested after allegedly selling “diamonds” that were actually synthetic moissanite and cubic zirconia. peter spinelli, owner of spinelli’s custom jewelry in colonie, n.y., has been charged with grand larceny in the second degree, according to christopher baynes, assistant district attorney for albany county.

Diamond Issues Discussed in Vegas

here is a sampling of the diamond seminars at the recent jck show ~ las vegas. pipeline to shrink the diamond and jewelry pipeline is undergoing a tremendous squeeze, analyst ken gassman said in a seminar on “changes in the diamond and jewelry pipeline.” gassman explained that the classic view of the diamond and jewelry distribution chain starts with the manufacturer and ends with…

New GIA President: We Want to ‘Listen More’

you will see greater transparency, openness, and an increased “customer focus” from the gemological institute of america in the future, according to acting president donna baker. baker recently took over as president from longtime gia head william e. boyajian, who resigned in may. the institute’s board of directors is conducting a search for a permanent replacement.

GIA to Issue Reports for Synthetic Diamonds

the gemological institute of america’s famed grading lab is planning to issue grading reports for synthetic diamonds, gia chairman ralph destino said at the world diamond congress in israel. destino’s initial announcement said the reports will be a different color (yellow) from gia’s reports for natural diamonds, and that the synthetic stones will have the word “syntheti…

Israel Diamond Exchange to Build Fifth Tower

the israel diamond exchange board of directors has approved the building of a new tower, the fifth building in the exchange complex. the 28-story building will add approximately 28,000 square meters to the present 80,000 square meters. the fifth building will be built across jabotinsky street from the existing buildings, and will be connected to the complex by an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Rio Show Sees Attendance Boost

judging by the empty display shelves on the final day, this year’s las vegas antique jewelry & watch show was a success. held june 1–5 at the rio suite hotel & casino, the show featured over 280 exhibitors and saw attendance increases of approximately 5 percent over last year’s figures.

The ‘Bizarre’ Sightholder

dr. chuck lein, president of stuller, loves to talk about his company’s first diamond trading company sight. after lein and his comrades completed the dtc’s famously arduous applications, endured rejection on their first attempt, and received the nod on their second, they finally entered the dtc’s imposing headquarters in london as a full-blown sightholder last year.

A Letter to Bill Boyajian

dear bill, your departure from gia has caused real concern in a number of quarters. the gem and jewelry industry from a long-term perspective will be diminished by your leaving. many in the industry think it was a mistake for you and gia to part company. but rather than rehash a decision that has been made and implemented, it is appropriate to use this space to recognize some of the contributi…

Mandela to Support Diamond Industry

former south african president nelson mandela has been enlisted to help the diamond industry defend itself against the film the blood diamond, a report says—but his appointment has kicked up an unexpected controversy. a los angeles times report notes that de beers has hired what it calls “hollywood’s top spinmeisters”—sitrick and co.

Understanding the Consumer Mind

in his new book, why customers do what they do: who they are, why they buy, and how you can anticipate their every move, retail expert marshal cohen outlines how retailers and marketers can reach consumers by understanding their needs and wants. cohen, chief industry analyst for npd group, talked with jck about how some of the concepts and strategies he details in his book can help jewelers im…

950 Palladium Laser-Welding Tips and Techniques

according to frank mcallister, chief executive officer of stillwater mining co., the quantity of individual pieces of jewelry made with 950 palladium recently surpassed that of platinum products. mcallister calculated this based on the number of ounces used globally for each alloy. retailers can expect to see 950 palladium products in their stores, including their own inventory—which may …

Design Focus

brenda warburton, a jeweler with a string of prestigious design awards, is the co-owner of austin & warburton in ann arbor, mich. this story details how she and her husband, craig, made cad/cam technology a major part of their successful retail venture and the role it now plays in her creative process.


i write this column at a time when metal prices have soared—and dipped—and many manufacturers wonder about where it goes next and how to respond. speculative booms make us nervous. we can make some good guesses about certain prospects for the future. gold, platinum, and silver production worldwide is not expected to rise much over the next few years.

Design Embraces Emotion

a highlight of the 2006 oroarezzo fair was “the project house: from an emotion to a jewel,” a program intended to encourage future designers to break out of the “golden cage” of traditional jewelry design. the theme, “embrace,” required participants—including designers, jewelry professionals, and students from four area design and jewelry schools&#821…

Arezzo Weathers Gold Volatility

between the rising—and volatile—price of gold, and the dollar-to-euro ratio, these are tough times for the italian jewelry industry. but 2005 statistics from the arezzo jewelry district in tuscany are somewhat encouraging. while far from indicating a full-fledged recovery, data from the arezzo chamber of commerce’s studies and statistics service show that the 2005 production va…

De Beers Settles Two More Lawsuits

de beers has settled two more trade-generated class-action lawsuits for $45 million. the suits—from anco industrial diamond and derek parsons, the head of the miami bourse—accused de beers of anticompetitive practices. when added to a prior class-action settlement of $250 million, plus $5 million in what are termed settlement costs, de beers has paid $300 million to settle various c…

Dispute Continues Over Distribution of Roger Dubuis Watches

the dispute continues over who is authorized to distribute luxury brand roger dubuis watches in north america. in june, roger dubuis north america, wilkes-barre, pa., which was fired in november as distributor by the swiss manufacturer, filed its case with a three-judge panel of the international chamber of commerce, convened in geneva, to arbitrate the dispute.


A one-of-a-kind version of Jacob & Co.‘s award-winning The World Is Yours timepiece sold for $140,000 in late May in England at the “Full Length & Fabulous” celebrity party of soccer champion David Beckham and wife Victoria’s Children’s Charity, to raise money for UNICEF and celebrate June’s World Cup Tournament. The white gold, five-time-zone watch…

Rockin’ Into the 21st Century With Robbins Diamonds

jerry robbins of robbins diamonds in philadelphia says he’s too old to race full speed into the future with his successful jewelry business. but at the age of 69, that’s exactly what he’s doing. in may he opened a 5,600-square-foot superstore to go along with his four other stores—including two superstores—in the tristate region of pennsylvania, new jersey, and delaware.

Chinese Luxury Tax Upsets Swiss Watchmakers

china’s new 20 percent sales tax on luxury watches (i.e., over $1,200 retail), which became effective april 1, has upset swiss watchmakers and the swiss government. almost all imported luxury watches sold in china (99.6 percent) are swiss. switzerland has urged china to rescind the tax, but it refuses to do so.

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