February 2011

Strictly Bridal Business

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Cartier Pearl Brooch Fetches Nearly $500,000

An ancient Chinese legend holds that the moon has the power to create pearls, bestowing upon them its celestial glow and mystery. Yet in a market flooded with literally tons of cultured pearls, some of which sell for less than $30 a strand, rare is the pearl that possesses such supernatural charm. That’s one way…

Diamonds: Gemesis’ Lab-Grown Stones, Reese Witherspoon’s Ashoka Ring

The Name Game In the wake of Gemesis’ late November announcement that it will sell lab-grown colorless diamonds to consumers via its website, new arguments are erupting over what to call the stones. Stephen Lux, president and CEO of the Sarasota, Fla.–based company, says synthetic creates “tremendous confusion” among buyers, who believe it indicates something…

Platinum: AGTA Spectrum Winners & More

Eight Platinum Greats For the 12th year, Platinum Guild International honored a selection of entrants in the American Gem Trade Association’s 2011 Spectrum Awards (the 27th year of the awards). Of 74 entries in the platinum categories, eight designs earned recognition; there were two winners in the Platinum Innovation category, which highlighted price-point-sensitive styles (under…

From Stone to Store: Bulgari’s Italian Connection

It’s no surprise that Nicola Bulgari, vice chairman of the Bulgari Group, gets a little carried away when describing this gold, diamond, and colored-stone necklace from the brand’s newest high jewelry collection: “The gemstones remind me of soft raindrops falling gently onto a window pane.” (With nearly 400 cts. t.w. of gemstones, that’s quite a…

Next Stop Tucson!

How to make the most out of the year’s biggest gem show As far as the American Gem Trade Association is concerned, this winter will be anything but white. That’s because the organization’s annual Tucson GemFair 2011 is right around the corner. Held at the convention center in ­Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 1–6, the annual colored…

JCK 5: More Shows to Shop in Tucson

1. Centurion Jewelry Held at the Westin La Paloma Resort, this invitation-only event kicks off Tucson’s gem week. (Jan. 30–Feb. 1) 2. Gem and Jewelry Exchange Located across the parking lot from the Tucson Convention Center, GJX hosts 700 dealers with a range of rocks, from fine rubies and tourmaline cabochons (pictured) to funky pietra…

Colored Stone Age

From potent pinks to pietra dura, the season’s most sought-after stones are popping up in some unexpected places. Starting with the ring finger… Here Comes the Bride Marry her in one of these splashy center stones (Clockwise from far left) Platinum ring with  2.59 ct. sapphire and 0.92 ct. t.w. diamonds, $20,000, Designs by Ashok…

JCK 5: Gems to Grab in Tucson

1. Two 110 ct. faceted tanzanite drops with an estimated retail value of up to $300,000. Also look for pairs of 10–60 ct. stones and perfectly matched emerald ­layouts. A G Color, New York City; 212-207-3905; agcolor.com 2. Black and brown diamond bead strands of varying lengths (3 mm–3.5 mm, $400; 2.5 mm–3 mm, $350).…

Color Primer

Gem week may come and go in February, but consumers will be clamoring for gemstones all year round. Thanks to recently engaged princess-to-be Kate Middleton and actress Jessica Simpson—now donning sapphire and ruby engagement rings, respectively—2010 was a banner year for color. And with Middleton’s royal wedding to Britain’s Prince William scheduled to take place…

JCK 5: The Secondhand Hit Parade

Every period of the 20th century has its hallmarks 1. Art Nouveau: A stylized celebration of Mother Earth symbolism—foliage, birds, animals, and the undulating curves of the female body—Art Nouveau design flourished from 1890 to 1910. (Unsigned brooch) Courtesy of Siegelson 2. Edwardian and Belle Epoque: The white-on-white look of diamonds on platinum is the…

How Retailers Can Cash in on Estate Jewelry

Whether you call them vintage, estate, or period, secondhand jewels ­constitute one of the fastest-growing profit ­centers for retailers. How does a newbie capitalize on this exceedingly pretty, parallel world? The saying that “everything old is new again” couldn’t be more apt when it comes to the jewelry market. National brands like Zales and Ross-Simons…

JCK 5: Ways to Boost Bridal

1. Follow Up: “It’s called top of mind,” says the Gemological Institute of America’s ­Russell Shor, who advocates doing ­something as simple as sending an ­anniversary card. 2. Don’t Undersell: “Unfortunately, often in this industry we sell down. We don’t sell up,” says Platinum Guild International’s Huw Daniel. “We are almost apologetic about the cost…

Strictly Bridal Business

How to wring every last ­dollar out of the wedding biz. Hint: It has nothing to do with the four Cs. Styling by Brooke Magnaghi; Hair by Tyler Laswell for Tresemmé/ContactNYC. Makeup by Elisa Flowers at Ba-Reps.com for Dior Cosmetics. Lela Rose Gown: Available at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier, New York City A man climbs…

State of Grace

What a looker! And Grace Kelly ain’t so bad either… This 12 ct. t.w. diamond ring had its close-up in 1956’s High Society and even prompted a line of dialogue. Glimpsing the stunner, Bing Crosby teasingly asks co-star Kelly, “Some stone. Did you mine it yourself?” The jewel was, in fact, Kelly’s own—her second engagement…

JCK Asks…Padma Lakshmi

The Top Chef host/designer is a “very lucky girl” For spring fashion, it’s all about the 1970s, and Padma Lakshmi’s line for her 2-year-old Padma Collection is right on for the decade that was dyno-mite. With her trademark beading and fringe, Lakshmi uses materials such as solar quartz and pink opals to create pieces that…

Cuff Luck: Jessica Alba in David Webb

Add a sleek touch to any ensemble by stealing a starlet’s vintage style Jessica Alba At the Dec. 15 New York City premiere of Little Fockers, the weather outside was frightful, but Alba’s ensemble was beyond delightful: a feathery strapless Valentino mini and two highly coveted bracelets designed by society jeweler David Webb. You may…

JCK 5: Amazing Lace

Amidst the romantic pastel colors and sheer fabrics of spring fashion, lace commands no small degree of influence. Airy webs of symmetrical patterns are as prominent in jewelry as they are in couture. While clothing designers stitch up the season’s latest looks, goldsmiths are casting, laser cutting, and seemingly sewing together spools of karat gold…

3 Golden Rules for Creating Online Content

Social media rewards those who have a way with words (and pictures) As some of the buzz around social media begins to wane, conversation among marketers is moving toward quality content. Many of us spent 2010 getting “social.” We got on Facebook, started tweeting, and (if we were really adventurous) even began blogging. We put…

Innovative Retailer: Scott Slobotkin of David Jay Jewelers

A Pennsylvania store owner raises the bar for PR-seeking jewelers everywhere To call David Jay Jewelers president Scott Slobotkin “media savvy” is certainly a compliment, but it’s also a bit of an understatement. Take, for example, the recent gift-card exchange he hosted at his Warrington, Pa., store: During the holiday season, Slobotkin took a page…

Hot Rock Jewelry

337 S. Cedros Ave., Suite D, Solana Beach, Calif. If you think North County San Diego is solely a laid-back surf haven, you probably haven’t yet discovered the myriad aesthetic pleasures of Solana Beach’s Cedros Avenue Design District. Some 85 businesses—from antique shops and art galleries to interior-decor and architecture studios to fashion boutiques and…

It’s All Relative: Northeastern Fine Jewelry

After college, Ray Bleser committed to working in his father’s pharmacy for at least one year. He lasted all of one day. So in 1980, Bleser took over an aging coin dealer’s shop, rode out the volatile precious-metals market, and eventually transformed the business into a full-fledged jewelry store. The first Northeastern Fine Jewelry was…

JCK 5: Diamond Gallery of Naperville

When not chasing down postmasters, Kevin and Jackie Lydon run a low-stress operation 1. What was your most memorable sale? Two years before our No. 1 customer’s 50th birthday, we began working with her to find an awesome yellow diamond ring. She was a breast cancer survivor and had a new outlook on life. During…

Sweet Valentine’s Day Deals

Q: What’s the best way to drive more traffic to your store on Valentine’s Day? —Christine Ferdinand, co-owner, Ferdinand Jewelers, New Providence, N.J. A: “We’re going to do our dozen roses giveaway again this year. For the last two years I’ve hired a retired florist to specially create hundreds of Valentine’s Day bouquets to hand…

6 Steps for Jewelers to Achieve Marketing Success

An easy-to-follow marketing program to bring more traffic to your store Many jewelry retailers lack a coordinated and focused marketing program—often because they don’t know what to do or where they should start. Every store, however, can benefit from an effective marketing campaign. Just be sure to follow these six steps: 1. Define your objectives.…

Augmented Reality Check

Augmented reality…sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi novel. But this virtual technology—which overlays graphics on real-world images to create contextually rich scenes—is rapidly working its way into the industry. On Dec. 9, Tacori made industry history as the first American jewelry company to hold a consumer AR event. Tacori teamed with Holi­tion, a…

JCK 5: New Year’s Resolutions

1. “I’m not taking any more checks, and I’m going to start charging for simple services like polishing watches.” —Aaron Capdeboscq, owner, De Boscq Jewelry, Mandeville, La. 2. “Offer a good inventory mix with enough new products.” —Matthew Rosenheim, president, Tiny Jewel Box, Washington, D.C. 3. “We want to have more direct contact with customers…

February’s Birthstone: Amethyst

Since its discovery around 3000 B.C., the deep purples of the amethyst, February’s birthstone, have symbolized royalty. Catherine the Great and Egyptian rulers favored the gem as an emblem of wealth and luxury. Once thought to be a token of Christian love and sacrifice, the amethyst was used by medieval ­clergymen to promote divine revelations…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Freddy J. Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the umbrella organization for the city’s diamond industry, retired Dec. 31. Former deputy CEO Ari Epstein took over the role Jan. 1. >>?In January, Jim Gowans became managing director of Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government. Since…

Sterling & JCPenney Tussle Over Seymour Line

Sterling Jewelers recently sent JCPenney a pair of letters asking the retailer to stop selling items it claims are similar to Sterling’s Jane Seymour collection. “JCPenney Corporation Inc. is copying, reproducing, and/or distributing jewelry that is substantially similar to the Jane Seymour Designs,” said a Nov. 16 letter signed by attorney John J. Cunniff. The…

Diamond Cables WikiLeaked

Three U.S. State Department cables discussing Zimbabwe’s diamond industry were published in December by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The communications portray a chaotic, violent atmosphere in the Marange diamond fields after Zimbabwe military tried to wrest control of the area from illegal diggers in 2008. A January 2009 cable quotes a tribal chief telling U.S.…

Zale Selling Piercing Pagoda?

Zale Corp. is exploring the sale of its Piercing Pagoda division, according to a Dec. 23 report in Bloomberg, citing sources close to the deliberations. The news service listed Apollo Global Management as a ­possible buyer. Apollo had submitted a bid to take control of Zale last year. In December, Piercing Pagoda was singled out…

FTC Demands More Platinum Disclosure

Companies must disclose if their platinum contains a large percentage of base metal alloys, the Federal Trade Commission ruled on Dec. 16. The new rule was one of a number of revisions the FTC made to the platinum section of its Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metal, and Pewter Industries. The new rules say:  •…

What’s in Store for Breitling, Hardy

Two noted brands recently opened their first retail outlets. Breitling’s first retail store opened on East 57th Street in New York City on Dec. 26. Located across from Tiffany & Co.’s flagship, it will carry 900 Breitling timepieces. The New York store will be followed by outlets overseas in Buenos Aires, ­Argentina, and Saint-Tropez, France.…

Holiday 2010: Mood Up, but Not Prices

The 2010 holiday season saw high spirits but low price points, jewelers and analysts tell JCK. Even so, after three downbeat selling periods in a row, many hailed it as the industry’s best holiday in years. MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks sales nationally, estimated jewelry sales rose an impressive 8.4 percent. Quite a few retailers…

JCK 5: Holiday 2010 Sales Trends

1. Beads and Charms: Still Strong At Decker Diamond Jewelers in Ebensburg, Pa., Pandora “helped us move shoppers to the normal, non-beaded jewelry in the store,” says co-owner Daniel P. Decker. 2. Good Time for Men’s Watches “We picked up Rolex last year,” says Doug Toone, chairman and founder of Jewelry Design Center in Spokane,…

Wishing You a Wonderful 2011!

The new year has just begun, but thanks to the busy calendar of events surrounding the 24 Karat Club’s annual black-tie gala in early January, it has been wall-to-wall ­jewelry biz around here! First up was our annual JCK Industry Fund grant meeting. This is the gathering where we decide which worthy jewelry industry organizations…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Sales Not many people are griping about the 2010 holiday ­season. ­Comments from ­retailers (see “Holiday 2010: Mood Up, But Not Prices”), plus ­jewelry sales reports from SpendingPulse—showing gains of up to 8.4 percent—paint a pretty picture. The economy seems to be on the mend, but that’s not the only reason sales are up.…