February 1, 2002

AGTA's Spectrum Award Winners: Singing the Blues for 2002

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Richemont Names Belmont Chief of Watch Division

richemont, the swiss luxury goods group, has appointed henry-john belmont as chief executive of its watch division, which includes the luxury brands jaeger-lecoultre, piaget, baume & mercier, iwc, vacheron constantin, a. lange & söhne, and officine panerai. belmont also has been named a director of richemont société anonyme, the group’s management board.

Lapis Lazuli

it was called saphiros, the sapphire of the ancient sumerians. originating from the land of persia, the gem was mined and traded among the conquerors of the world. its royal blue color was a perfect contrast to the pure gold in king tutankhamen’s burial mask. cleopatra wore ground-up lapis as eye shadow.

The Good, the Bad, and the Horological Eli Wallach’s Fascination With Watches

maybe it was that watch won in a card game on a crowded troop ship heading home to america at the end of world war ii.maybe it was on a movie set in post-war italy where a peddler sold him a watch from a worn suitcase.or maybe it was during one of his first visits to small, out-of-the way watch and jewelry shops during lulls in filming in the 1950s.

Tanzanite Troubles

gem and jewelry associations have challenged a wall street journal article linking tanzanite to the al qaeda terrorist network. meanwhile, a report on abc’s world news tonight also alleged a terrorist connection to the gemstone. “one needs better proof to build a story like the wsj and not to depend only on small miners’ rumors without specifying any name of buyers or sellers,” says…

Gemchecker Debuts Diamond Grading System

gemchecker, an australian manufacturer of gemological equipment, recently announced the introduction of its diamond grading system. (an announcement of the product last year was premature; only colored gemstone identification technology was released.) the system includes a “classification light box” and digital camera that stores digital images.

Check, please!

those government “refund” checks come in handy for paying bills, but $300-$600 won’t go far toward the purchase of a “luxury” item, according to a recent jck retail panel survey. just 17% of jewelers surveyed said they expected to get those refund checks through store promotions. marketing efforts from these jewelers made checks stretch a little further by:jewelers also noted other types …

LVMH Buys Majority of Fendi

the lvmh group is paying 295 million euros (us$259.2 million) for majority control of fendi, the well-known italian fashion house whose popular accessories include handbags and wristwatches.lvmh’s majority ownership was effective at the end of 2001, a company spokesman told jck . the announcement was made nov.

The Lady of the Rings

the lord of the rings, the blockbuster $270 million film version of j.r.r. tolkien’s epic about hobbits, elves, wizards, and battles between good and evil, had a cast and crew of thousands—but only one jewelry designer.her name is jasmine watson, and for this film trilogy (one released annually from 2001 through 2003) in which jewelry plays highly visible roles, her designs and crea…

Coping With Crisis

when asked what got his employees through the 1995 bombing in his city, oklahoma city jeweler gary gordon has a simple answer: meetings.in the weeks following the bombing, his store’s employees held powwows every other day—mostly to just talk. “we always claimed we ran the business like a family, and this was an opportunity to really put that into practice,” gordon says.

Holiday Report: No Complaints!

bracing for the worst, jewelers around the country were pleasantly surprised by christmas season sales. sales were late and lower-ticket compared with previous years, but christmas was not canceled, as many feared it would be in the wake of war and economic woe. as reported on jck’s web site dec.

New and Noteworthy: Envelove

just when it seems there is no way to reinvent the tradition of the locket, a wizard of a designer like barry potter comes along. the jeweler, of roba design, aventura, fla., has created the “envelove.” the design, a small precious envelope in 18k white or yellow gold with or without stones, is simple yet unique in functionality: within each envelope is a personalized message.

Destination: Your Store?

fine jewelry and leisure travel are competitors in the quest for consumers’ disposable income, and travel has the edge. if given an extra $10,000 of discretionary income, most consumers say they’d rather take a vacation than buy jewelry, according to nfo plog research of new brunswick, n.j.but recent events may be changing the score.

Kimberley Process Passes Control System

after a year of sometimes contentious deliberations, the 35 governments participating in the kimberley process agreed on a system to control conflict diamonds—but already some are slamming it as “too weak.”the system will certify every rough diamond before it enters and/or exits a country.

C.E.L. Renames Gematrat Emerald Filler

the name of the emerald filler known as arthur groom-gematrat is being changed to excel. the name change came after the product’s maker, clarity enhancement laboratory (c.e.l.) in new york, improved it.introduced in the united states in 1995 by arthur groom, president of arthur groom-gematrat and co-founder of c.

Men Demand Style

nearly 66% of jewelers surveyed in a recent jck retail panel survey carry a wider selection of men’s wedding bands today than they did five years ago. some 77% said they do so because men are requesting a better selection of bands. jewelers surveyed say men are more fashion conscious because of television (10%), magazines (16%), both television and magazines (56%), the influence of thei…

‘Warm Fuzzies’ Sell as Good as They Feel

in the wake of sept. 11, many americans have experienced a renewed sense of home, hearth, and community. just prior to the thanksgiving holiday, an article in newsweek magazine reported several significant indicators of americans’ changing priorities. not surprisingly, spirituality and patriotism were up and travel was down, with some dollars diverted from plane tickets to other categor…

Fortis Receives Space Award

swiss watchmaker fortis, known for its pilot’s watches and automatic chronographs used in space missions, received special recognition at the autumn 2001 international meeting of european space agencies at the european space agency headquarters in paris. russia’s “star of the blue planet” medal was presented to fortis chief executive officer peter peter for the watchmaker’s “exceptional .

10 Ways to Boost Impulse Buying Without Discounting

in a recent jck survey, 40% of jewelers said they weren’t “good” at encouraging customers to make impulse purchases. the 60% who claimed to be skilled at inspiring impulse purchases offered the following suggestions:

JA Does ‘Social Review’

as the trade reels from the controversies over conflict diamonds and terrorist ties to tanzanite, jewelers of america (ja) has hired consulting firm pricewaterhousecoopers to create a jewelry industry statement of social principles. the statement will help retailers identify and prepare for possible issues that may have an effect on their businesses, ja says.

All-American Romance

though concocted months prior to sept. 11, fashions for spring and summer seem, somehow, appropriate for the era. a folksy kind of romance—part summer of love hippie-style and part modern laura ingalls—was the most popular theme presented by designers, signifying a return to simpler times and a tribute to tradition.

Consumer Spending Rebounds After Recessions

research from the american association of advertising agencies, new york, shows that consumer spending increases—sometimes dramatically—after recessions. measuring from the recession’s peak to its bottom, spending rose .84% after the recession of 1960-1961, 12.28% after the 1974-75 recession, and 11.

Stellar CZ

a new cubic zirconia? quite possibly, according to david atlas, gemologist and owner of d. atlas & co., accredited gem appraisers, in downtown philadelphia. stellar gem, located in southern california, supplies this new cz—which it calls the “hearts and arrows simulated diamond”—and cuts it to ideal proportions.

Turbulent Times

if one word defines the current state of the watch business, especially in the united states, it is “revitalization.”now, more than any time in recent years, mid- and luxury-priced brands are rejuvenating themselves with revamped products, ads, and marketing; acquisitions; corporate reorganization; and redefined images.

Mail Sterilization ‘Enhances’ Gems

a system that the u.s. postal service will use to eliminate the threat of anthrax may produce color changes in gemstones. the technology, an electron-beam system from surebeam corp. of san diego, calif., “has been used to turn topaz from colorless to blue; to change tourmaline from pale pink to bright red; and to make smoky quartz from colorless quartz,” says michael stern, director of te…

S&P 500 May Forecast Recession’s End

the standard & poor’s 500 stock index is composed of leading and varied u.s. companies and industries and is generally seen as the standard measure of the u.s. market. it may also signal when the current recession is about to end, according to economic data from idex mutual funds in clearwater, fla.

When Disaster Strikes

preparing for a disaster used to be something only large organizations did. that changed after the sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the united states. now even small retailers are looking for ways to protect their businesses in the event of an emergency. “i don’t know if a lot of jewelers had a disaster plan in place, but i would suspect that was not the case,” says ron harder, president of …

WOSTEP Seeks Views on 800-Hour Program

the international watch industry—including schools, retailers, associations, swiss watch firms, importers, and suppliers—has been surveyed about a proposed 800-hour training program that would create a new type of watch service professional.the program was proposed by the watchmakers of switzerland training and education program (wostep), neuchâtel, switzerland.

The Power of Partnerships: Increase Your Sales With a Neighbor’s Help

partnering with local businesses that sell products complementary to your own—such as florists, restaurants, photographers, and clothing stores—could be an effective way to increase revenues. yet more than 60% of jewelers recently surveyed by jck don’t team up with local businesses to promote each other’s products.

Another Fashion Designer Dabbles in Jewelry

fashion leader ralph lauren has launched a new collection of fine jewelry for spring. the line—in 22k gold—will complement his signature contemporary classic clothes.lauren’s branded jewelry was designed by jewelry newcomer julie baker, a former model with ties to the fashion world.

What Would Audrey Wear?

a fashion crisis usually happens on mornings when you’ve already overslept or at midnight before a big event. you stand staring at your entire wardrobe piled on the bed—in my case, a six-foot mountain in 257 permutations of black—wondering why you seemingly have nothing to wear. in these moments, i almost always call upon my favorite sweater, a black wool turtleneck i bought i…

Meet Me at the Show

some 60% of jewelers who responded to a recent jck retail panel survey said that during the past six months some of their suppliers had asked them to attend jewelry industry trade shows to see new product lines. sixty-two percent of jewelers say they’ll accommodate those vendors, partly because they recognize the risks for traveling sales…

Back to Basics Again

a new year begins. the christmas season is behind us. the industry has weathered a tumultuous year. still, writing this column in november, i predict that the year-end numbers will again demonstrate that the real merchants produced increases in business. at the same time, you will hear the same complaints from those who ran scared in 2001: “business is bad.

New Zealand Fashion Befriends Jewelry

for its first fashion week, new zealand fully embraced the idea of fine jewelry as an integral part of fashion. central to the jewelry, meanwhile, was the country’s native blue pearl.eighteen designers created 30 unique pieces of jewelry for a special display that opened during the inaugural new zealand fashion week.

Rocket Jewelry Box Acquires Redbox Corp.

rocket jewelry box inc., bronx, n.y., has acquired redbox corp. of los angeles, a supplier specializing in diverse lines of packaging and stock and custom displays for both retailers and manufacturers. the four-generation rocket jewelry box is a leading suppliers of packaging for jewelry and watches, and redbox is noted for creative styles of jewelry packaging and display materials.

JCK Web Site Offers Lexis-Nexis

research powerhouse lexis-nexis, an internet news service, and jck magazine have joined forces to provide the jewelry industry with comprehensive global jewelry news coverage. lexis-nexis is free of charge and accessible to all viewers of the jck web site, www.jckgroup.com. included in the service are five different categories of news coverage: diamonds, gemstones and pearls, retail j…

Denim and Diamonds With Heart

more than 720 carats of diamonds were paired with denim and top-shelf celebrities at a charity gala for the g&p foundation, which supports research on cancer treatments. the event, hosted by denise rich (left), drew such names as ivana trump (center) and natalie cole. all wore diamonds by vivid collection, which sponsored the gala.

GIA to Assess Cut on Reports

they’re not calling it a cut grade, but the gemological institute of america will add a cut “classification system” to reports this spring, officials say.”it’s a big change, a huge leap forward for gia, for the industry, and for consumer protection,” says gia president william e. boyajian.at press time, boyajian did not yet have specifics on how the system will be derived or presentedr…

When You Don’t Have to Ask the Price …

here’s a diamond for you: robb report, a consumer magazine focused on the affluent lifestyle, showcased jewelry in its holiday 2001 “ultimate gift guide.” featured on the cover was the archduke joseph, a 76.45-ct., d/internally flawless diamond.offered for sale by al molina of molina fine jewelers in phoenix, ariz.

Diamond-Terrorism Link Disputed

antwerp’s diamond high council (hrd) says there is no “hard evidence” for claims by the washington post that local dealers are trading diamonds with osama bin laden’s al qaeda network.the post, quoting european and american intelligence sources, accused two second-cousin lebanese dealers—aziz nassur and sammy ossailly—of buying smuggled diamonds from sierra leone and al qaeda.

Familiarity, Tradition Mark Fashion Trend

forget fancy colors and rainbow hues: the hottest trend for spring has nothing to do with exotic origins. instead, it’s all about tradition and comfort—american patriotism and familiar precious gemstones.designers who just last year were mesmerized by the unusual—from green sapphires to black diamonds—have returned to the basics: rubies, sapphires, and diamonds.

GS and EightStar Sign R&D Agreement

the american gem society (ags) has signed a deal with richard von sternberg, president of eightstar diamond company, for exclusive use of eightstar’s technology to develop a cut grading system for fancy-shaped diamonds.”we strongly believe that a quantifiable cut grade for fancy-shaped diamonds is now within reach,” says robert w.

De Beers Testing ‘Forevermark’

de beers is testing whether the forevermark, the diamond-shaped emblem that caps its tv commercials, can be a brand. a new web site—www.forevermark.com—is touting the mark to buyers around the world … everywhere but the united states, that is.six stores in hong kong and japan now carry stones inscribed with the mark, part of a pilot test run through two asian sightholder…

N.Y. State Fines Underkaraters

eighteen new york state retailers and two distributors were recently fined for gold underkarating, says new york state attorney general eliot spitzer. the investigation centered on two manhattan distributors—alishaev brothers and j and i jewelry—both of whom, spitzer says, falsely described their products as 10k gold.

AGTA’s Spectrum Award Winners: Singing the Blues for 2002

singing the blues isn’t so bad—if you’re a jewelry designer with a penchant for color, that is! more than 90 entries in the 2002 american gem trade association spectrum awards competition—showcasing the country’s best-designed colored gemstone jewelry—featured blue as their primary gemstone color.

Dealer Indicted for Grand Larceny

new york diamond dealer ariel schonfeld was recently indicted on charges of “memo fraud.”schonfeld was indicted on one count of grand larceny in the first degree, nine counts of grand larceny in the second degree, and one count of grand larceny in the third degree as well as two charges of a scheme to defraud in the first degree, according to the office of manhattan district attorney robe…

Patek Philippe Opens New Museum

patek philippe has officially opened its own museum—housing more than 1,600 historic timepieces and a library devoted exclusively to horology—in geneva, switzerland. the idea of a museum was born in 1989, on the company’s 150th anniversary. the project has been active since 1997, but some of the collections were assembled up to 30 years ago.

AGTA Board Members Resign

arthur groom resigned on nov. 30 from his position on the board of directors of the american gem trade association as well as from the organization itself. the next day, dec. 1, nanette forester did the same.for the past two years, groom, who has a background in economics, was chairman of agta’s budget and finance committee.