August 2008

Best in Show 2008

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Shirley Bridge Dies

shirley bridge, member of ben bridge jeweler board of directors, died recently at age 86 after a long battle with cancer. she is survived by husband herb bridge, cochairman of ben bridge; sons jon, the company’s co-ceo, and david; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Sales Training Does Not Work!

ok. i admit it. sales training does not work. being a sales trainer, this might be the last statement you would expect to hear from me. however, the following statements are absolutely true. sales training does not work—if it is an event. sales training works incredibly well—when it is a process.

Face Time

the dial is a canvas on which today’s watch designers are creating looks that are nothing like traditional flat dials. this year sees more three-dimensional dials, with multilevel subdials (such as romain jerome’s t-oxy iii) and more dials set deep into cases (some with interior rotating bezels), like dolce & gabbana’s time sir, maurice lacroix’s mémoire 1, formex’s grand prix gp 997, …

Keep Cash Flowing in Any Economy

at the mere mention of an economic downturn, all jewelers intensify their scrutiny of sales figures. a decline in sales, however, is not the only threat to a business’s financial well-being in a slowing economy. while it’s important to monitor sales, it’s equally important to keep a close watch on the delicate balance between accounts payable and accounts receivable.

‘Start Managing Margins’: An Interview With Dr. Timothy Malone

economists say we’re experiencing the most troubled u.s. economy since the second world war. that isn’t news to independent jewelers, many of whom felt the negative effects months ago, thanks to gold’s rising price, higher business costs, and fewer customers. so, what’s a businessperson to do? how can an independent not only survive but also thrive during downtimes? this summer, jck has been …

JCK Jewelers Choice Awards II

jck launched an exciting new design awards program last year, the jck jewelers choice awards. conceived as the first industry design celebration with online voting exclusively by retailers, the program was a huge success. in our first year, we received 430 design entries, which drew 11,000 votes from retailers.

Niches Without Glitches

establishing a niche is one way to differentiate a retail operation from its competitors, but developing one isn’t easy. in riches in niches: how to make it big in a small market, author susan friedmann lays out a blueprint for small-business owners and managers that can help them become nichepreneurs.

Best of the Blogs

customer watch: conversation starters i was interested to read that the editor in chief of lucky magazine, kim france, made the subject of jewelry intensely personal in talking to her editors about the magazine’s may 2008 jewelry-focused issue. she writes: “is it any surprise, given the fact that this is a magazine staffed by fashion-obsession obsessives, that every editor we asked had a…

Indicators

Spot Prices Per Ounce for Key Precious Metals [Seasonally adjusted] Gold Up $955.00 Silver Up $18.16 Platinum Up $1,846.00 Palladium Up $422.00 Rhodium Up $9,560.00 All Urban Consumers Up 0.6 percent Energy Up 6.6 percent Petroleum-based energy Up 10.0 percent Energy services Up 1.5 percent Food Up 0.8 percent Food at home Up 1.0 percent…

The Forevermark Brand

branding remains a hot topic in the diamond world, especially with the flurry of news reports that the forevermark brand will be introduced in the united states in the not too distant future. also recently, there was another interesting news report from the jewelry consumer opinion council, based on a survey done for one of the diamond grading laboratories.

House of Taylor Closes Doors

under the weight of more than $11 million in debt, without access to operating funds, with the loss of its two brand icons, and without even a name to operate under, the former house of taylor executed a peaceful possession of collateral with the lending company that has been financing its survival. new stream secured capital, ridgefield, conn.

Tightwad’s Tour of Tucson 2008

this year’s tour of the american gem trade association’s gemfair featured enough candyesque stones and beads to rival the most well-stocked mr. bulky. prices were another treat, as many unusual and often overlooked gems and minerals like druse drew in jck senior editor jennifer heebner like a bee to honey.

Gem Pricing Report

the u.s. economy continues to experience a significant slowdown. credit concerns are increasing for the jewelry industry as banks take a close look at debt. firms must move out nonperforming inventory and pay down debt to remain attractive to lenders. high gold prices offer a good opportunity to take an honest look at inventory and scrap stale items.

Antiquorum Sold

antiquorum auctioneers, the international watch auction house, changed owners again in late spring. artist house holdings, its former majority shareholder, sold its interest in antiquorum on may 16 for about $97,000 to a hong kong group called forever most investment. however, antiquorum’s new majority shareholder is gerald chase, a business executive, consultant, investor, and watch col…

The New Art

for a relatively short-lived style, art nouveau casts a long shadow. its sinuous curves and natural motifs—which originally emerged as an artistic response to the industrial age—are eagerly sought by jewelry collectors and enthusiasts. this summer, an extensive appreciation of the decadent style is on view in the boston museum of fine art’s new exhibit imperishable beauty: art nouve…

Bridging the Gap

the day before i sat down to write this month’s column, i read an article in advertising age magazine’s american demographics sub-section that discussed the many ways the american consumer is changing. one is the shift from older to younger consumers. both are significant forces in the marketplace. the messages each responds to are vastly different, and it isn’t just about the obvious differenc…

The Jewelry Channel Closes

a fledgling jewelry television shopping channel in austin, texas, announced that it will cease operations and lay off its entire staff of 106. the jewelry channel inc., launched in april 2007, filed papers with the texas workforce commission saying it will close aug. 4, the austin business journal reports.

The Truth Is in the Answers

this month’s column is premised on the socratic method—contending with a series of questions and reflecting on your answers. socrates, high atop the hills of greece more than two millennia ago, knew something about teaching life lessons. he learned that asking leading questions about a subject he wanted students to explore and understand produced better results than simply lecturing.

New Jersey Gold Bill Stopped

the new jersey state legislature went on its summer vacation without voting on a bill that would have regulated how jewelers can purchase used jewelry. the bill, a2712, was tabled following a last-minute telephone campaign led by the new jersey jewelers association. the bill had passed the state senate and was expected to be approved june 23 in the state assembly, said njja board member paul sa…

Leviev Protesters May Halt Dubai Store

the protesters at lev leviev’s retail chain may be scoring their first real victory: preventing the famed mogul from opening up stores in dubai. since last year, members of adalah, which calls itself “the coalition for justice in the middle east,” have sporadically picketed leviev’s chain worldwide, protesting what they see as leviev’s support for israel’s se…

Orloff Becomes President of Bell & Ross USA

u.s. watch industry veteran stacie orloff recently was appointed president of luxury watch brand bell & ross usa. no changes are planned. orloff was formerly the longtime president of luxury brand corum usa but left earlier this year in a management restructuring. she and her team built corum in the u.

AGTA Slams Paraíba Lawsuit

the american gem trade association is moving to dismiss the $120 million lawsuit targeting its use of the phrase “paraíba tourmaline.” (see “name blame,” jck, june 2008, p. 190.) the case, filed by david sherman and paraiba.com, claims agta has redefined the locality-origin classification “paraíba tourmaline” as a color-variety classification for si…

Newswire

jewelers’ security alliance has issued a warning for asian jewelry salespersons doing business in california, who apparently are being targeted by south american theft gangs. since january, 16 robberies of asian jewelry salespersons (particularly from hong kong) in california have been reported to jsa.

From the Jewelers Board of Trade

second-quarter statistics from jewelers board of trade reveal that the only regions experiencing growth in jewelry businesses were the south central and the southwest. the south central region saw a 12.5 percent increase in the number of new jewelry businesses compared with last year’s second-quarter figures, and a 100 percent drop in the number of new manufacturing businesses.

Patrizzi Launches ‘Innovative’ Auctioneer

osvaldo patrizzi, former chairman of antiquorum auctioneers, and members of his former management team have started a new watch auction house, patrizzi & co. auctioneers (www.patrizziauction.com). launched in april, the geneva-based auction house offers several innovative concepts using new i.t. technologies, while eliminating some shortcomings of online auctions and online bidding, it said.

America Ages

more than 80 percent of the growth in households in the next five years will be among those headed by someone age 55 or older. newly forming households headed by someone age 25–34 will account for most of the rest. little or no growth—or even a slight decline—is expected in the number of households in the highest-spending demographic, age 35–54.

Whitehall Goes Chapter11

whitehall jewelers in june became the latest mass marketer to declare chapter 11. at press time the 373-store chain was planning to sell its assets at an auction july 18 and said it was considering every option, including continuing as a going concern and liquidation. in its filing, whitehall said that while it had approached a number of possible buyers, none had submitted a formal offer, and …

Peapod Jewelry

the peapod first came to ronna lugosch as a happy coincidence. the jewelry artist was experimenting with different sculptural forms for casting metals, and made an empty podlike shape that a coworker suggested she fill with pearls to create a peapod. twenty years later, that simple design is the basis for her entire coastal maine-based company, peapod jewelry.

Our Summer of Discontent

the postmortems on the las vegas shows agree that most of the industry is in a slowdown. we do hear that there has been a boom at the top of the market, especially in large diamonds and fine precious color. there also has been an outbreak of innovative jewelry produced by relatively new companies that concentrate on alternative materials.

Rapaport Buys Watch Dealers Network

the rapaport group in late may acquired “a controlling interest” in the web-based watch dealers network. the value of the transaction, which gives it 51 percent ownership, wasn’t released but is believed to be worth millions. launched in 2007 after two years of development by veteran watch dealer avi soffer, wdn (www.

Best in Show 2008

best improvement on a tapered shank kury mfg.’s scooped back makes even a 16.5 mm wide ring comfortable for all-day wear and easy to size. the ring is available in 14k yellow, white, or rose gold and with heart, oval, round, or combinations of cutout designs. kury mfg., san juan, puerto rico. best alternative to keeping a pet tiger bapalal keshavlal’s 18k yellow and white gold and diamond cutou…