February 1, 2006

Color Rising: Women, Fashion, and the Gemstone Jewelry Market

DeBeers Bends the Pipeline

when it launched supplier of choice, de beers listed eight criteria for becoming a sightholder. among them was manufacturing skills. to many this was a no-brainer: if you’re going to pick candidates for the premier position in diamond manufacturing, of course they’d have to be skilled manufacturers.

Big Diamonds Sold on ‘Net

consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping on the internet, as evidenced by the growth in sales of big-ticket diamonds. in november, internet jewelry retailer bluenile.com sold a $170,000 5 ct. diamond solitaire, and on “cyber monday,”—the monday following thanksgiving weekend—it sold a $114,000 3 ct.

Lessons (Still) To Be Learned

i’m pleased to begin my new monthly column for jck in this issue. my column will be a commentary on some of the macro issues our industry is confronting these days. there are certainly enough of them. my goal is to help you take a new view of the sea changes occurring; suggest where it all may be going; and offer ideas about how to adapt, wherever one is in the value chain.

Holidays: Diamonds Perform Well

market in brief: jan. 3, 2005 . . . preliminary holiday sales results indicate that the season was as expected—a winner for apparel and discount electronics stores but mediocre for retail jewelers. diamonds performed well, but retailers report tight margins. competition was strong, and retail prices were influenced by nontraditional sources.

Counterfeit GIA Reports Spotted in Antwerp

two counterfeit grading reports recently were discovered in antwerp, belgium, the gemological institute of america said. the two reports were purportedly for d flawless stones. the buyer became suspicious and had one of the diamonds tested. “it turned out to be a high-pressure, high-temperature annealed,” said tom moses, senior vice president of the gia laboratory and research.

Indian Exports, Imports Post Double-Digit Increases

the value of cut and polished diamonds exported from india rose 18.67 percent from approximately $6.8 billion in the april to november period of 2004, to just over $8.1 billion from april to november 2005. gemstone (non-diamond) jewelry exports rose 16.35 percent during the same period, while gold jewelry exports rose 2.

Is Sterling Angling for a Sight?

signet, owner of sterling jewelers, the nation’s no. 2 chain, has retained noted diamond broker i. hennig in an effort to attain more direct rough diamond sourcing—which many took as a sign it was going for a de beers sight. spokesman david bouffard would not comment on whether the chain wanted a dtc sight but said it was looking for “all appropriate” sources.

Industry Ad Agency Goes ‘Out of Africa’

rla creative inc., a cresskill, n.j., advertising agency serving the jewelry industry, recently went halfway around the world—literally—for one of its clients. south african diamonds (distributed in the united states by sa gems inc.) charged rla with the task of demonstrating that diamonds can be branded with points of difference and sound consumer benefits.

Helene Fortunoff Becomes New Chair of GIA Board

helene fortunoff has been appointed chairwoman of the gemological institute of america’s board of governors. she replaces former board of governors chairman ralph destino, who was recently appointed chairman of gia. fortunoff, a principal of jewelry store chain fortunoff, based in westbury, n.y.

Chicago Store Sued for ‘Cyber-squatting’

jewelry store chicago diamonds has been sued by the illinois attorney general for “cybersquatting.” the lawsuit charges chicago diamonds registered several web addresses that were almost identical to its competitors’, a practice known as “typosquatting.” so, for example, customers looking for laronjewelers.

Fly Like a Gemstone

erik martinez, a gem artist from the lion’s den in salmon, idaho, sent us some flying gem objects before winging his way to tucson, ariz., where he’ll exhibit at the gjx (gem & jewelry exchange) hotel arizona and the riverpark inn tent. art deco amethyst. looking like a flying wing, this carved amethyst measures 21 mm wide × 27.

Recovering From Disaster

at the 2005 florida jewelers association convention in october, speaker jeff mills, vice president of claims for jewelers mutual insurance, asked how many attendees had a living will. almost 80 percent raised their hands. when he asked how many have business continuity plans, less than 10 percent did—despite that state’s high risk for hurricanes.

Holiday Jewelry Sales Get Mixed Reviews

for many jewelers, holiday 2005 was a merry time, but for others, it was disappointing. at press time, a jck survey of retailers produced reports ranging from moderate to overwhelming holiday sales increases in the south and midwest to disappointing returns in the mid-atlantic and northeast. some retailers cited consumer optimism correlating with the local economy as a prime indicator of their …

Variquoise Veins

christopher rose at high desert gems and minerals teamed up with helen constantine-shull and richard shull from out of our mines to uncover what they believe to be a historic lode of turquoise, variscite, chalcosiderite, faustite, and variquoise from the prince mine in the candelaria hills of mineral county, nev.

At What Cost?

there’s a joke being circulated among those of us d’un certain age, showing how by today’s standards, anyone over age 35 should rightfully be dead. after all, our mothers smoked and drank while they were pregnant, we rode bikes without wearing helmets, rode in cars without seat belts or car seats, climbed out of wooden-slatted cribs, and played outdoors unsupervised, all day, until the five…

Friedman’s Exits Chapter 11

less than a year after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, jewelry retailer friedman’s has emerged as a private company two-thirds its former size. the new chain will have 424 stores. some 51 underperforming units were slated to close after the holiday season. when friedman’s first filed for chapter 11, it had 652 stores.

Tulips and Tourmalines

gem artist stephen avery of lakewood, colo., offers a glimpse at what he’ll be taking to tucson, ariz., in february. of note are his signature tulips, a pair of gem leaf designs, created for the imaginative jewelry designer. avery is an award-winning faceter and has created a number of designs utilizing a curved girdle.

Planning Your Marketing Budget

this month we focus on budgeting, timing, and prioritization of your marketing. to build a functional marketing budget, look at several key statistical elements. you need to quantify your prior 12 month’s gross sales and know your gross margin return on investment (gmroi). the worksheet that will enable you to do this is available in ja’s annual cost of doing business survey.

Get to Know … MaeVona

maeve gillies has an unusual way of introducing herself and her jewelry. designers’ press kits usually come in a folder with photographs, but hers came in a square white cardboard box that plays music of her own composition, performed by the artist herself on the ancient scottish harp, or clarsach.

Catalogs That Teach

the second volume of “the stuller & paspaley pearl book” offers more than an order form. the catalog highlights not only stuller’s relationship with australian south sea pearl grower paspaley pearling co. but also provides pearl-grading information that can be used during a pearl purchase, sale, or appraisal.

The Colibri Group Gets New Chief Executive Officer

there has been a major management change at the colibri group. thomas bendheim has been appointed colibri’s president and chief executive officer. frederick n. levinger, who built the company into one of the most successful and best-known u.s. suppliers to independent and chain jewelers, remains as nonexecutive chairman.

Taking Care of Business

with a passion for people and for nurturing professionals willing to share their business and personal success stories, charlotte preston is perfectly suited for her job as education conference consultant. preston is the president and founder of charlotte preston catalysts, white bear lake, minn., which provides practical, education-oriented programming for jewelry industry groups.

De Beers Settles Some Suits, Still Has Others

de beers recently agreed to pay $250 million to settle a group of consumer-driven class-action antitrust lawsuits. in the suits, a group of consumers alleged that de beers owed them money for keeping diamond prices high in violation of american antitrust laws. that means that, in theory, this settlement is owed to every consumer who purchased a diamond from jan.

India Show Changes Dates

the india international jewellery show has announced a date change for the 2006 event. it will be held may 4 to may 8, 2006, in mumbai, india—three days later than its original dates of april 27 to may 1. the show remains at the nse grounds at goregaon in mumbai. bahkul mehta, chairman of the gem & jewellery export promotion council of india said the change was made in response to req…

This New Year …

i’m writing this letter while on holiday break (publishing timelines being what they are), so the year ahead is looming large. 2006 will be a year of challenge, opportunity, and, hopefully, success. this year will see the launch of our newest publication, jck style, a twice-annual look at the intersection of the jewelry and fashion businesses.

And the Stone Is …

november’s gemological quiz elicited a number of responses. (see “bright gem, big question,” jck, november 2005, p. 50.) the quiz was based on a situation that happened to bob wiener of worldwide diamond co., los angeles, when he was presented with a ring set with a mystery stone, a blue pear shape surrounded by diamond accents.

DTC Appoints New Marketing Director

de beers’ diamond trading company has named david lamb, currently a director for de beers’ ad agency j. walter thompson, as its new worldwide marketing director. lamb has developed many dtc marketing campaigns, including the widely hailed “three-stone ring” (“past, present, future”) campaign.

Going Platinum

becoming engaged isn’t a single moment in time, but rather one part of a series of moments that make up a couple’s relationship. so says recent consumer research conducted by platinum guild international. this research, combined with a desire to encourage couples to start thinking sooner about their wedding-band purchases, is the backbone of pgi’s new global consumer advertising campaign, break…

6 Ways to Handle Objections

there are two kinds of objections: stalls, which may or may not be true, and specifics, which probably are true. if you get a specific objection, ask more questions and then demonstrate again and re-close. a price objection may be to the perceived value or might be a budget issue. handle price objections and stalls with the following steps.

Jeweler Doubles as Deejay

dave rogoway lives a double life. during the week, he’s one of the owners of a three-store oregon jewelry chain, la rog jewelers. but every weekend he morphs into dave stone, jive-spouting, oldie-spinning deejay on local station kicn. the split personality is not surprising—rogoway always had jewelry in his family, but radio was in his soul.

Whitehall Board Urges Rejection of Takeover Offer

the directors of chicago-based whitehall jewellers are urging shareholders to reject a takeover offer from one of its shareholders, newcastle partners, for all of the outstanding shares of the company’s common stock for $1.20 per share. the company had previously signed a deal with prentice capital management that would provide up to 87 percent of its equity to prentice in exchange for an infl…

Color Rising: Women, Fashion, and the Gemstone Jewelry Market

“it used to be all about one color,” says laurie harris, fine jewelry buyer for tapper’s diamonds and fine jewelry in west bloomfield, mich. “but women today love color the way they love clothing.” “it’s all about fashion, and women know fashion,” says john anthony jr.

Dyber Captures Honors in Idar Competition

michael dyber, famed gem artist from rumney, n.h., took honorable mention in the 36th german award for jewellery and precious stones idar-oberstein 2005 competition. it’s the fourth time dyber has won at idar. the theme for this year’s competition was “with all senses.” gemstone design had first priority.

Media Take Notice of GIA Problems

as many feared, the gia money-for-grades scandal finally made it to the consumer press in december—with stories in the new york post, new york times, and wall street journal. the wall street journal ran back-to-back articles over two days, on the scandal and reaction from consumers, and the newspaper’s coverage was considered perhaps the most damaging.

Argyle Mine Will Stay Open

the argyle mine in australia will not shut down, which is good news for the indian diamond industry and companies that sell small diamonds. rio tinto announced plans to develop a $760 million underground project at argyle, enabling it to stay open through 2018. the company had weighed closing the mine for good, which would have been devastating to the world’s supply of “near gem” …

Good News, Bad News

it was only a matter of time before the national media picked up the gia lab story. first, the new york times broke the story, and then the wall street journal followed up, in its dec. 20, 2005, issue. the fact that both stories appeared a few days before christmas is indeed unfortunate, but it could have been worse.

Gold Expressions’ Third Collection Debuts

gold expressions, the product development initiative launched in 2004 by the world gold council and the vicenza fair, has a new twist this year that aims to bring high-end italian design concepts to a broader audience. the gold expressions project was originally conceived as a way to stimulate desire for italian gold jewelry.

Theft Fear Closes London Exhibit

it was billed as the largest exhibition of famous diamonds ever and featured such blockbuster rocks as the 203 ct. d flawless de beers millennium star and the 407.48 ct. incomparable. but after police warned that criminals could be planning a violent robbery, the natural history museum in london decided to close the exhibit—three months early.

Dream Suite Wins AGTA “Best in Show”

presenting the winners of the annual agta spectrum awards for colored gemstone jewelry. “best in show” usually conjures up images of perfectly fluffed and blow-dried pooches prancing around a judging ring, but for designer and private jewler samuel getz of coral gables, fla., there are no sweeter words.

Patek Philippe Timepieces Set

records in two auctions world records were set by swiss watchmaker patek philippe in two different year-end watch auctions, both held in geneva, switzerland. also noteworthy at antiquorum’s auction: a 1900 diamond-set pocket watch (1,150 diamonds, with the largest weighing 14.50 cts.) with seven complications, attributed to henri grandjean & cie, switzerland, and owned by the sixth nizam o…

New Organization Aims to Promote Luxury Watches

three leaders in swiss luxury watchmaking—the brands audemars piguet and girard perregaux and the richemont luxury goods group—have formed an organization to boost global awareness and sales of luxury timepieces, unify the fine-watch business, and fight counterfeits. the fondation de la haute horlogerie, launched nov.

Swiss Watch by JCK Adds Advisory Board

organizers of the fourth annual swiss watch by jck 2006 luxury trade fair announced in late 2005 that its slots for vendors is sold out. the appointment-only event takes place june 3–7 at the venetian hotel in las vegas. participating brands include baume & mercier, bulgari, corum, concord, christian dior, ebel, dunhill, girard perregaux, hermes, iwc, mont blanc, omega, porsche design…

Movado Will Make Juicy Couture Watch Lines

the movado group in november announced it has an exclusive long-term, worldwide licensing agreement with juicy couture to design, produce, and market a collection of watches under the juicy couture and couture couture brand names. financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. juicy couture watches will launch this fall and be sold at select high-end retail outlets, initially in the unite…

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