February 2013

How Retailers Can Make the Most of Any Bridal Budget

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Oscar Massin’s Rare Peacock Feather Brooch Flies Off the Auction Block

Peacocks and their plumage represent good fortune, kindness, and nobility in various cultures and ­mythologies. But that doesn’t explain why this peacock feather pin fetched roughly four times its high estimate ($80,000) at Sotheby’s Dec. 5 Magnificent ­Jewels from the Collection of Mrs. Charles ­Wrightsman sale in New York City. Its rare pedigree does. Manufactured…

Pearls: It’s in the Baggins

A Winning Pair When Anil Maloo, president of Los Angeles–based Baggins, showed strands of South Sea pearls graduated in color and size at JCK Las Vegas, they quickly sold out, so he decided to extend the look to earrings. “I figured everyone who had a strand would want earrings for it,” says the jeweler. To…

Platinum: Tamir Jewels’ Tourmalines & More

Platinum in Peril? Ongoing labor unrest and closures in the platinum mining industry—­particularly in South Africa, where Anglo American Platinum has shuttered several mines, sparking strikes at others—have caused stock shares to drop and slowed production, leaving many U.S. retail ­jewelers wondering just how the events might affect them. Industry insiders familiar with the platinum…

Diamonds: Kimberley Process Progress & More

Foreign Exchange The Diamond Dealers Club recently hosted Israel Week, which brought more than 100 Israeli ­dealers to its New York City trading floor for three high-spirited days of selling and buying. The idea for the Dec. 3–5 event came when Israeli Diamond Exchange managing director Moti Besser was talking to DDC president Reuven Kaufman…

Gem Pricing Report: Cheap Thrills

Affordable colored stones abound in Tucson Buyers traveling to the Tucson gem shows this month should heed a few words of advice. Price trends over the past decade suggest that larger, fine-quality unenhanced gemstones have the strongest potential to increase and retain value during a relatively short period. By their very nature, venues like Tucson…

A Very Dear Pair of Dior “Opal Bouquet” Earrings

In the 1950s, Christian Dior accented his couture creations with extravagant costume jewels that made the fashion flock swoon. Six decades later, the house has released Dear Dior, a high jewelry collection of 20 pieces inspired by the faux baubles and the handcrafted fabrics used in the designer’s mid-century heyday.  Its hallmark: a mix of…

JCK 5: Don’t-Miss Designs From Germany’s Inhorgenta Fair

Known for showcasing inspiring, one-of-a-kind works, Germany’s Inhorgenta Munich fair runs Feb. 22–25. Don’t miss these designers: (Left)1. Ring in sterling silver with 8.3 ct. labradorite; $399; Bastian Inverun, North Kingstown, R.I.; 401-667-7279; bastian-inverun.com 2. Schneefrüchtchen ring in blackened silver with acrylic resin; €360 ($475); Sabine Müller, Schielo, Germany; 49-39-484-8346; sabine-mueller.com 3. Coral Dome ring…

Under the Tucson Sun

The AGTA GemFair shows its true colors The American Gem Trade Association has done more than apply a fresh coat of paint to its annual GemFair, coming to the Tucson Convention Center Feb. 5–10. Visitors can expect to find some big changes to this year’s gathering. For starters, the redesigned main show floor will house…

Roundtables: The Hot New Way for Retailers to Sell Colored Stones

Lois Wacholtz is considered by many to be the pioneer of roundtable sales. That’s because on a Saturday in September 1987, the co-owner of Christopher’s Fine Jewelry Design in Champaign, Ill., set up some card tables in her store and invited seven colored stone–loving clients to come in for an afternoon to indulge their passion.…

Luxury Retailers on Service With Style

Retailers who don’t sell jewelry know plenty about high-end sales strategies, personalized customer service, and, above all, making the experience memorable The definition of luxury is rapidly changing—not only in the jewelry and watch trade, but also across a variety of product categories and industries. JCK spoke to representatives from noncompeting luxury retailers—car companies, private…

Online Reputation Management: The New Retail Strategy

Does your business need some brand-aid? Here’s how to make sure your store’s name is as sparkling as the jewelry you sell. Let’s say you’re a customer. You’re thinking about shopping at your local jeweler. But you want more information. In the olden days—about a decade ago—you might turn to your trusty Yellow Pages, or…

JCK The Knot Bridal Smarts: 2013 Wedding Gown and Jewelry Trends

The Knot’s headquarters in Manhattan is ground zero for the bridal industry’s most significant reconnaissance effort. Nothing related to a couple’s impending nuptials goes unchecked by the site’s crack team of editors—least of all fashion. Fresh from viewing the spring 2013 bridal collections, fashion and beauty editor Jennie Ma spoke to JCK about the year’s…

How Retailers Can Make the Most of Any Bridal Budget

Bargain hunters or big spenders, brides are united on at least one point: They’re seeking service that makes them feel like a million bucks. When it comes to the $11 billion wedding jewelry industry, the truth is that not all customers are created equal: Some are swimming in cash, while others are barely staying afloat.…

Harry Winston’s Big Post-WWII Diamond Boom

In the Spartan days of World War II, American women went without diamonds. Even after the armistice, ladies wore jewels only when going out on the town. But Harry Winston had a different vision. In 1946, he fashioned 219 diamonds (26.18 cts. t.w.) into this giant Maltese cross brooch. The next year, Carol Channing was…

Kimberly McDonald, Force of Nature

Charting the designer’s rise from combing rocky driveways to making jewelry and home decor coveted by the celeb set All fashion talks about now—or seems to talk about—is social media: where it’s going, who’s doing it, and how. Not on board? Good luck with that. So it’s not surprising that jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald has…

Kidding Around Is the M.O. at Prospect Jewelers

Husband-and-wife retailers Rob Prince and Terry Chambers, owners of Prospect Jewelers since 2000, are active ­members of their local community. So much so, in fact, that Chambers has become the go-to Mrs. Claus at neighborhood events for the Prospect Area PlayReaders theater and the Salvation Army. When the Point Center shopping center asked the duo…

A.R.T.

249 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, Fla. Historic Worth Avenue is home to more than 50 jewelers, so standing out among the crowded Palm Beach luxury market—which includes such coveted brands as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co.—requires some unconventional thinking. In 2009, in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff affair and the…

Tapper’s, the Motor City’s Wheelers and Dealers

Fittingly, a car financed their first store. The Detroit-area chain has been cruising ever since. Although Tapper’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry is used to dealing in gold and platinum, it was another hunk of metal—Howard Tapper’s car—that put them in business 35 years ago. After working in the stockrooms and sales floors of jewelry stores…

Social Media: Now It’s Personal

You may want to rethink more than just your professional online networking strategy One of the better pieces of social media advice has always been to start personally, learn the lay of the land, make a few mistakes along the way, and then dive into the business opportunities that the social Web has to offer.…

Slow and Steady Wins the Marketing Race

Speed dating it’s not. Take time to woo customers and sales will follow. To many jewelers, marketing is all about generating the sale. And that’s understandable: Without sales, there is no business. But many retailers are guilty of seeking a sale before they’ve built a strong relationship with customers. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.…

Why This Michigan Man Is S’mitten With Jewelry

Give Bernie Ochs a hand. After 25 years, he’s still investing in his staff and community. 1. What was your single most successful promotion? About four to five years ago, we started sending out Christmas cards with $50 gift cards to 3,500 to 4,000 customers. The only stipulations attached to redeeming the gift cards are…

JCK 5: How Jewelers Can Make Shopping Fun for Men (Really!)

How can jewelers make ­engagement ring shopping as much fun for men as watching the Super Bowl? Here are five tips from Deb McShane of ­­Wimmer’s ­Diamonds in Fargo, N.D. 1. Take the pressure off them by offering a beverage and a chair. 2. Get them smiling/laughing as soon as possible. I usually say: “Finding…

Shopping for an Engagement Ring? Think Outside the (White Diamond) Box.

It’s often said that the bridal industry is evergreen. While the term generally is taken to mean perennially enduring, the colorful reference might be more literal than metaphorical in 2013. Although traditional white diamond engagement rings still make up a majority of the bridal jewelry sold in the United States, stores are seeing a shift…

Industry & People: February 2013

GIVING >>?Jewelers for Children has donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund to support recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy. >>?The Diamond Em­pow­er­ment Fund has donated $10,000 to the Flaviana Matata Foundation, which empowers young orphan girls through education, ­training, and micro-finance ­projects in Tanzania. COMINGS AND GOINGS Norman M. Miller >>?Niche Media…

Happy New Year! Publisher’s Letter, February 2013

I’ve just finished the four-day marathon of luncheons, dinners, board meetings, and galas that is the 24 Karat Club Weekend, here in New York City. If the energy and vibe of this year’s events are any indication, it’s going to be an exciting and upbeat year. First up was the second annual Diamond Empowerment Fund…

Ring in the New, Editor’s Letter, February 2013

Overheard at a clothing store in Brooklyn Heights last month: two women, about 30 years old, talking about rings, including a breathless anecdote about a mutual friend who’d just received a lovely style “that wasn’t too flashy.” The act of giving or receiving a ring to commemorate a betrothal is so commonplace in our culture…

10 Things Rocking the Industry: February

1. Colors For years, emerald was forsaken by all but the most conventional stylists. Designers considered it too classic, too expensive, too fussy. Then, a few years ago, the stone’s fortunes began to change. Perhaps it had to do with the growing appeal of the green movement. Some spectacular red-carpet and auction appearances didn’t hurt:…