August 2007

Best in Show: Hot News + Trends From 2007

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The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas Business Solid Overall

between may 29 and june 5, las vegas was the center of the jewelry universe, as the jck show and its sister events, luxury by jck and swiss watch by jck, drew 3,400 exhibitors, more than 20,000 buyers, 300 journalists, dozens of celebrities, seven rising stars, and one hollywood icon into its orbit. the jck show ~ las vegas featured 22 national pavilions, 40 educational sessions, and two conven…

Best in Show: Hot News + Trends From 2007

best places to spot attainable, fashion-focused jewelry the gold expressions by bel-oro booth focused on marketable interpretations of top italian design, and the world gold council booth high-lighted pieces selected by its blue ribbon panelfor fashion sense and salability. both collections are sure to appeal to self-purchasing women—the category jck has been touting for years as the indu…

Gem Pricing Report

traditionally, the summer months are slow for the u.s. jewelry industry. this year is no exception. dealers report slow business throughout the midwest and east coast, but sales are slightly better on the west coast. the one bright spot is pearls, which are selling well in most categories. the popularity of akoya has rebounded, especially for the 8 to 9 mm sizes.

De Beers Sales Drop, But Profits Rise

de beers’ rough diamond sales through its diamond trading company reached $6.15 billion in 2006—its second- highest number, but down from 2005’s record $6.5 billion. the company said the sales drop reflected “reduced purchases from alrosa in line with the commitments given to the european commission, and the continued challenging environment in the wholesale market for rough diamo…

Doug Hucker Resigns From AGTA

the board of directors of the american gem trade association announced that they have accepted the resignation of douglas k. hucker as chief executive officer and executive director of the association. hucker will continue to work for the association in an advisory capacity for the next six months. a statement issued by agta did not give a reason for the resignation.

U.S. Luxury Market Driven by Women Self-Purchasers, Says Survey

the u.s. luxury market is “scorching hot,” and much of the boom—including watches—is being driven by the growing number of women self-purchasers, says john clarkin, executive director of sales development for w magazine. he spoke at the recent luxury by jck show in las vegas, where he detailed a new w survey of affluent women in households with annual incomes topping $1…

How Much Time Should We Spend on Training?

“knowledge is power,” according to an old saying, but i don’t believe it. i believe that the use of knowledge is power, and that’s a big difference. conducting sales training once a week or once a month, or having your people watch a video or read an article does not ensure that the knowledge is being used.

Former Zale CEO Joins Gemesis Board

gemesis corp., a producer of lab-grown diamonds, has appointed larry pollock, former chief executive officer of zale corp., to its board of directors. pollock is currently nonexecutive chairman of borders group, which operates borders books and walden books, and is managing partner of lucky stars partners llc, an investment firm.

Inadmissible Evidence

retailers and suppliers buying and selling “no heat” sapphires and rubies may be in for a rude awakening if gemologists determine a way to identify low-temperature heat treatment. some stones with “no evidence of heat” written on their gem-identification reports could be reclassified as “color enhanced by heat,” turning pricey natural-color gems into not-so-p…

De Beers Restructures Diamdel; Market Scared

de beers is restructuring diamdel, its sightholder subsidiary that traditionally sells to smaller and medium-size dealers. the announcement caused anxiety in the diamond industry, since de beers had cited diamdel in response to criticism that its supplier of choice policy hurts middlemen. diamdel will continue to sell to nonsightholders, principally through its office in antwerp and hindusta…

New Pearl Center to Serve as Wholesale Marketplace

plans to unveil perhaps the world’s largest pearl and jewelry trade center were announced at a press conference during the 2007 baselworld. a newly constructed 1.5 million– square–meter campus housing wholesale and retail shops, apartments, hotels, offices, exhibition space, and other professional services that relate to pearl culturing and production is in the works in zhuji city, …

Pluczenik and Chaumet Strike Deal

diamantaire and sightholder pluczenik unveiled a diamond jewelry partnership with french design firm chaumet during baselworld. pluczenik will supply diamonds to chaumet for its attrape-moi, si tu m’aimes (catch me, if you love me) collection. the jewelry will be sold exclusively at chaumet stores worldwide.

GIA Plans to Open Overseas Diamond Labs

the gemological institute of america has announced plans to open overseas labs in southeast asia, southern africa, and what it terms the “major industry centers.” gia president donna baker said the first priority is for gia’s thailand colored stone lab to expand into diamond grading, which she says will happen relatively soon.

Panama Hopes to Establish First South American Diamond Club

a group in panama hopes to set up latin america’s first fully functioning diamond exchange. the proposed panama diamond exchange would be based in panama city, the country’s capital, and function as a gateway to the latin american market, according to president and chief executive officer charles garavitt.

Johannes Hunter Jewelers

linda hunter started her jewelry career in the early 1970s as a single mother and college student, selling turquoise and silver native american jewelry out of a shoebox along the roads of montana. today, hunter owns johannes hunter jewelers, an ags guild store in downtown colorado springs, colo., with annual sales between $4 million and $5 million.

Rio Tinto: Other Producers Should Market Diamonds, Too

rio tinto diamonds, which markets production from the argyle, diavik and murowa mines, is getting more involved in promoting diamonds, jean-marc lieberherr, general manager for marketing, told jck recently. “it is clear that de beers is not ready to bear the burden of generating demand for the industry,” he said.

Original Sins

at christie’s magnificent jewels auction on april 25, a beautiful 22.66 ct. blue cushion oval brilliant sapphire was sold for just over $3 million, the highest price ever paid for a natural-color sapphire. the stone was accompanied by a gübelin gem lab report noting that the stone had “characteristics consistent with those of sapphires originating from kashmir,” and an agta rep…

Indian Jewelry to Become More Expensive

jewelry from india and thailand imported into the united states will now bear a 5.5 per-cent duty, the result of changes being made in america’s generalized system of preferences, which aims to help developing countries by lowering their import tariffs. sterling jewelers inc. and associations like jewelers of america lobbied against the move to reimpose the duty, which was made by the bush a…

Mechanicals on the Move

mechanical watches seemed near extinction just 25 years ago. today, they not only dominate luxury watchmaking but also are profit centers for other watches. maurice lacroix, for example, expects 90 percent of its watches to be mechanical by 2012. nearly 60 percent of hamilton’s watches are now self-winding, while 25 per-cent of victorinox swiss army’s watches are mechanicals, including its new …

Black Pearls Have Gemstone Bead Nuclei

this year’s most outstanding addition to the gem world was premiered at the jck show ~ las vegas by gem and jewelry artist chi huynh, of galatea: jewelry by artist, san dimas, calif., who exhibited black pearls with portions carved away to reveal gemstone nuclei. for over 100 years, mother-of-pearl beads have been used to create bead-nucleated pearls, including akoyas, south seas, and tahitians.

Motivation Times Seven

if you’re frustrated in your efforts to elicit the best from each of your employees, chances are it’s not that they can’t be motivated, but that you’re using the wrong methods to motivate them. the secret is to tailor your approach to each individual in a way that makes him or her want to deliver for you.

Bill Lieberum, Internet ‘Rockdoc, Dies

william r. “bill” lieberum, better known to habitués of polygon and pricescope as “rockdoc,” died june 20 at the age of 57. lieberum was a gemological institute of america graduate gemologist, a former american gem society retail store owner, and certified gemologist appraiser.

Random Thoughts

summertime is all about being easy, breezy, and a little lazy. while it’s the equivalent of christmas for jewelers in summer resort locations, it’s a slow time for most of the rest of the industry. in fact, many in the manufacturing sector still adhere to the tradition of closing their factories for two weeks in the beginning of july.

Marion Halfacre

it is somewhat of a shock to realize you’ve reached the age when more acquaintances and friends begin to pass away. i received several phone calls from my good friend avi raz one sunday in june. he was unable to reach me on the first two. he left simple yet unusual voice-mail messages for me to call.

Aber Changes Name to Harry Winston

aber diamond corp., which owns a 40 percent stake in the diavik diamond mine in canada’s north-west territories, is changing its name to harry winston diamond corp. the company completed its purchase of the celebrated retailer last year. the name change “will allow the corporation to attract broader media coverage and interest through the wider recognition of the harry winston brand name,…

Hot Chocolates

chocolate pearls get their luscious colors through a number of different processes. some are irradiated, some are dyed (see “on treated chocolate pearls,” jck, may 2007, p. 84), some are heated (see “identification of treated ballerina pearl co. chocolate pearls,” gems & gemology, winter 2006), and a handful come courtesy of mother nature.

AGA Panel Scratches the Surface of Coated Diamonds

colored diamonds are hot, but natural fancy-color diamonds are rare—and pricey. hence, several types of enhanced color diamonds are appearing in the market. one enhancement that’s arousing the color diamond market is being referred to as an “infusion technique.” the term infusion suggests that the resulting color has penetrated the stone’s sur-face, but at a recent seminar…

Channel Shift and Channel Conflict

jewelry retailers have been agonizing and arguing over the changes being wrought in our industry for 20 or more years. mostly, they have cast aspersions on new channels and felt vindicated when those business models or channels they didn’t approve of disappeared. avon no longer sells jewelry door-to-door, and it is hard to believe that it owned tiffany for five years before selling america’s…

Cultured Comments Continue at Congress

the debate over using cultured versus syntheticto describe lab-created diamonds rumbled throughout the cibjo congress in may, reports jack ogden, executive director for the gem-a. “it seems to have become as much an emotional issue as it has a rational nomenclature discussion,” says ogden.

Good as Gold

for john calnon, u.s. managing director for the world gold council, extensive retail merchandising and management experience in a variety of industries helped pave the way for his success at boosting gold jewelry sales through innovative trade programs and strategies. born in rochester, n.y., calnon moved at the age of 9 to winter park, fla.

Fabergé Has a New Owner

a consortium led by london-based pallinghurst resources has acquired the worldwide fabergé brand—one of the world’s best-known luxury names—from unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies. the brand and all associated trade-marks, licenses, and intellectual property are now held by a new company formed by pallinghurst, called fabergé limited.

MJSA Vision Award Winners Announced

manufacturing jewelers & suppliers of america honored the winners of its 2007 mjsa vision awards during its recent expo new york trade show. the awards, which have both a professional category and a student category, were created by mjsa to encourage innovation and creativity in jewelry design. in addition, there were several special distinction categories honoring outstanding design in pa…

Victorinox Swiss Army Makes U.S. Management Changes

victorinox a.g. this summer has made top management changes in victorinox swiss army inc., its u.s. subsidiary. the moves come as victorinox, the 123-year-old parent firm in ibach, switzerland, adjusts its global initiatives and operations. j. merrick “rick” taggart in june was named president of victorinox swiss army inc.

Promotions: the Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent

there’s much more to a successful promotion than donating a piece of jewelry to a local charity. for a promotion to make an impact and have a chance to earn an adequate return on investment, it needs publicity value and should merit a radio, print, and direct-mail campaign. involve your sales associates.

Manufacturers Can Now Dictate Costs to Retailers

a recent supreme court decision will, for the first time in nearly 100 years, allow manufacturers to set minimum prices for retailers, a practice that was previously considered illegal price fixing. analysts called it a blow to discounters and internet resellers of branded products. the supreme court ruled in 1911 that minimum-price agreements violate federal antitrust law.

Pull—Don’t Push—Your Way to Clienteling Success

i define “clienteling” as proactively creating and managing client relationships so clients are more likely to think about, visit, and buy from your store when they have discretionary dollars to spend. i’ve seen top sales associates increase their traffic by as much as 30 percent and their sales by 50 percent through superior clienteling.