December 2009

JCK Year In Review 2009

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Class Action Launched Against Cash4Gold

a class-action lawsuit was recently filed against jewelry seller cash4gold, charging that the mail-in gold company “defrauds” consumers by falsely telling them their jewelry got lost in the mail and then frustrating them when they try to reclaim it. the suit further charges that the company’s return policy is a “ploy,” since it “often” melts its customers’ j…

Safe Shipping

jewelers mutual insurance co.’s loss prevention department says it has recently seen “outbreaks of shipping losses” and offers these tips to reduce the chance of shipping problems this holiday: for additional security tips, visit jewelersmutual.com and click on security and safety.

New Metal, BioBlu, Unveiled

a new metal for jewelry, bioblu 27, was introduced by designer scott kay recently. kay said the metal is bright, white, and more durable than tungsten carbide. it’s an alloy of 65 percent cobalt, 29 percent chromium, and 6 percent molybdenum and can be cast and milled as well as inlaid with precious metals.

Overseas Diamonds Goes Under Water

overseas diamonds, a longtime belgium-based sightholder best known in the united states for the isee2 viewing system, recently filed for the belgian version of bankruptcy, the company said. it had been a dtc client since 1981 and also purchased from alrosa, bhp, and rio tinto, among others. it issued bonds in 2006, a move that was hailed as part of a new transparency for the industry.

Everlon and Love’s Embrace: How Similar?

sterling is one of the few big retailers to turn its back on de beers’ everlon love knot campaign, preferring its own love’s embrace product. so it raised eyebrows when love’s embrace came out and looked somewhat similar to everlon. both lines involve loops of diamonds, but everlon products involve knots, while love’s embrace pieces don’t.

Kwiat Takes Over Fred Leighton

diamond and jewelry company kwiat purchased and plans to manage and operate fred leighton, the estate and antique jewelry retailer that recently filed chapter 11. the purchase, transacted in partnership with financiers och-ziff, is valued at $25.8 million. greg kwiat, who will take over as fred leighton’s ceo, told jck his company “believes very strongly in the fred leighton brand name.

Stores

west james avery craftsman recently announced the opening of its 53rd location, in fredericksburg, texas. the new store is in the historic schandua building, which is designated a recorded texas historic landmark by the texas historical commission. awards and recognition jewelry maker o.c. tanner, salt lake city, recently unveiled a newly renovated flagship jewelry store located in the histori…

Gem Pricing Report

wholesalers report weak sales for october, usually a strong month. many retailers are curbing seasonal purchasing. credit issues and high unemployment continue to stifle consumer spending. the guarded optimism of october has softened slightly. there is activity in calls to fill requests for custom and repair work.

Hurricane-Ravaged Store Celebrates Reopening

vic’s estate and fine jewelry, galveston, texas, is celebrating its 80th anniversary. that’s a significant event, given its encounter with hurricane ike last year. sharon pagan, granddaughter of the store’s founders, came back after the storm to “seven feet of water in the store. the first floor was hit hardest, with two safes lost and all of the gemological equipment destroyed.

Industry

education the revere academy will host 14 master classes taught by leading goldsmiths and other experts during its 2010 masters symposium, scheduled for april 3–25 in san francisco. classes are open to students at all levels. for information, call (415) 391-4179 or visit www.revereacademy.com. court a federal jury in seattle dismissed blue nile’s $60.

Zale’s Travails

challenges remain for zale corp., with the news in october particularly unsettling:

Jewelers Hit by Gold Scams

with more jewelers buying gold from the public, gold-related crimes are increasing, says john kennedy, of jewelers’ security alliance. kennedy’s group has received over 28 reports of gold-related frauds committed against retail jewelers in 2009, compared with six last year. “every time you buy off the street you have to be on your guard,” kennedy says.

People

coming + going the plumb club has appointed lawrence hess its first executive director. among his duties will be overseeing construction of the new plumb club pavilion at jck las vegas in 2010. hess’s 25-year career in the jewelry industry began with his family business, jose hess. he also served as vice president of suberi brothers.

JCK Year In Review 2009

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Jewelers Targeted by IRS Over Patriot Act

the internal revenue service plans to examine jewelry companies for compliance with the patriot act, according to cecilia gardner, jewelers vigilance committee executive director, who met with irs agents recently. “the irs will be looking at all segments of our business for compliance,” she said.