January 2007

The Second Time Around


Finlay Enterprises, the largest U.S. operator of jewelry departments in department stores, will buy privately owned Congress Jewelers. Finlay executed a stock purchase agreement for the acquisition. Congress Jewelers has five jewelry stores in Florida, with annual sales of about $23 million. Canadian miner Aber Diamond Corp. is now the sole owner of Harry Winston.…

Robert Crowningshield Dies

robert crowningshield, a legend of gemology revered for his pioneering work in many areas of gemological research, died after a long illness at the age of 87. crowningshield was a former vice president of the gemological institute of america and one of the two founding leaders of the gia laboratory in new york, which was established in 1948.

Dateline: New Delhi

in another sign that india is becoming a jewelry giant, reed exhibitions launches a jewelry trade fair in new delhi. the inaugural edition of the jck show ~ new delhi took place sept. 28–30, 2006, in new delhi, india, and featured more than 132 domestic and 66 international exhibitors. it attracted more than 3,000 domestic and 90 international buyers.

Sixth Edition GEMS: A Review

for decades, gems has been a standard reference book for gemologists worldwide. the third, fourth, and fifth editions all had terrific indexes where most everything, common and uncommon, was listed and referenced. the sixth edition, edited by michael o’donoghue, has many excellent additions, especially in the organics and pearls sections, but it doesn’t list basic historical references, such …

Costantini Rediscovers Neglected Gem

if you’ve ever picked up a standard gemological text on the subject of opals, you probably learned that they were discovered in czechoslovakia. that was the sum total of information available on czech opal—until now. dr. luigi costantini, geologist and gemologist with the international gemological institute italy, has written the slovak opal: a rediscovery of the “queen of the gems…

Dateline: Idar-Oberstein

“intergem is not a fair like basel or tucson, with crowds of visitors,” says axel henn, of henn gmbh in idar-oberstein, germany. “those who come here are hard-core stone lovers, as there is very little here but stones, forest, and a few wineries. no nightlife, no world-class hotels, just a concentrated collection of very precious things.

Titanic Topaz

eldorado is a 31,000 ct. topaz that’s part of the special exhibition gems collection of the programa royal collections group, a european economic interest group founded in 1997 to create large-scale collections of gemology, art, and science. those collections are meant to serve as the basis for cultural tourism projects.

Black Orlov Sells at Christie’s

billed as “the world’s most famous black diamond,” the 67.50 ct. antique-cushion-cut black orlov sold for $350,000 at christie’s new york auction house oct. 11, 2006. the gem certification and assurance lab, which provided christie’s with authentication papers before its magnificent jewelry auction, noted the black diamond’s “alleged curse,” which includes the suicides o…

Tom Peters to Deliver Keynote at CEO Summit

business guru and author tom peters will deliver the wednesday keynote address at the second annual fine jewelry ceo summit, taking place feb. 20–22, 2007, in atlanta. the address is sponsored by collectors universe inc. companies gem certification & assurance lab and american gemological laboratories.

JCK Exclusive: Argyle Tender Offers the Pick of the Pinks

rio tinto’s argyle diamond mine is the world’s largest provider of champagne- and cognac-color diamonds. since 1983, the mine has averaged 30 million cts. of rough per year. in 2005, it produced 30.5 million cts. each year, that huge volume of brown (and sometimes near-colorless) rough includes a handful of very rare intense, vivid, deep, dark saturated pinks.

Fabrikant Goes Chapter 11

m. fabrikant & sons inc. and its domestic subsidiary, fabrikant-leer international, filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of the u.s. bankruptcy code. the company’s foreign and domestic affiliates aren’t included. in a statement, the family-owned and -operated company said chapter 11 proceedings “currently provide the best opportunity to maximize the value …

Leinart Named IceLink Spokesman

matt leinart, arizona cardinal quarterback and 2004 heisman award winner, has signed an exclusive, multiyear deal with icelink, a los angeles luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer. icelink’s use of leinart started with its first-ever national advertising campaign, titled “do you have the time,” launched in november.

Profile of an American Dream Fulfilled

anyone looking for an embodiment of the american dream need only shake hands with rodolfo “rudy” chavez, president of the swiss luxury watch brand baume & mercier north america since september 2005. his family’s story ranges from the prison cells of castro’s cuba to the halls of the white house.

Bramlett Retires From the American Gem Society Board

the american gem society has announced the retirement of longtime board member christopher bramlett. “chris bramlett has served the american gem society as a member of the board of directors for 15 years. it is with sadness, fond memories, and great respect that we announce his retirement,” said craig underwood, president of the american gem society board of directors.


Watchmaker Fossil Inc. has created a line of watches that integrate with cell phones. The analog/digital Caller ID watch ($250 retail, sold only through www.fossil.com) is the first to use Sony Ericsson Mobile Communication’s Bluetooth wireless technology and can link to most Bluetooth-enabled cell phones. The watch slightly vibrates and displays an icon on its…

Watches Remain Vital to U.S. Consumers

watches remain important to most u.s. adults, especially women, despite some indications that use of handheld devices—like cell phones and ipods—as time tellers may be growing, says a 2006 national survey by the jewelry consumer opinion council. most survey respondents, including young adults, own two or more watches, believe wristwatches are important as fashion accessories and fo…

Both Bédats Leave Bédat & Co

the founders of bédat & co., the swiss luxury watch brand, have resigned from it. christian bédat, creative director and chief executive officer, and his mother, simone, chairman of the board, left in mid-october. christian bédat’s departure was announced oct. 18 by the gucci group n.

New Congress Will Likely Boost Minimum Wage

one of the first actions of the new democratic majority in the u.s. house of representatives will directly affect u.s. businesses. increasing the minimum wage in the “first 100 hours” will be a priority when the 110th congress convenes this month, said california rep. nancy pelosi, who will become the house’s first female speaker.

A Watch Retailer’s Checklist

after what i hope was a successful holiday season, it’s time to plan for the upcoming year. i have outlined some important points to keep in mind while going through the planning procedure. the initial step in any forward-thinking process is to know your current position, which means conducting a comprehensive review of past yearly results.

Raymond Weil Debuts Sports Watch Line, New Campaign

luxury watchmaker raymond weil has launched rwsport, its first venture in performance sport timepieces, with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, titled “not a moment missed” and featuring espn sportscasters dan patrick, trey wingo, and steve levy instead of athletes. the new line and multimedia campaign were unveiled oct.

Court Rules for Franck Muller in Its ‘Gray Market’ Suit

franck muller usa, exclusive importer and distributor of the swiss luxury watch in the united states, canada, and the caribbean, has won a federal court ruling permanently barring several companies from “importing, selling, or otherwise distributing” any watch with the franck muller trademark in those areas.

Swiss Watch Groups Pledge $1.1M to OSU Training

a new agreement has been signed by several swiss luxury watch brands and groups to provide $1.1 million to the watchmaking program at oklahoma state university’s okmulgee campus. participating in the sept. 20 event at osu–okmulgee were representatives of luxury watchmakers audemars piguet, breitling, richemont group, and swatch group, plus osu university officials.

Swatch Group’s DYB Builds Jewelry-Making Center

swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, on oct. 20 laid the cornerstone for a three-story jewelry-making center for its dyb dress your body company. dyb, established in 2000, conceives, designs, and produces the jewelry and fashion accessories for swatch group watch brands breguet, ck, léon hatot, omega, and swatch.


Platinum Guild International USA has appointed Kevin Reilly manager of industry relations. Previously he served as vice president of sales and marketing for Taché USA, where he launched the luxury brand Nikos, the company’s first-ever brand devoted to men’s fine jewelry. Prior to Taché USA, Reilly served as director of new business development and customer…

DESIGN FOCUS: Selling Design, Service, and Expertise

joel and jennifer mcfadden’s chic design studio in red bank, n.j., reflects the character they always envisioned for their work environment. the atmosphere is relaxed yet filled with visual excitement, especially in the custom jewelry pieces displayed in the cases, on the walls, and on a monitor in the salon window.

On the Road in Kansas City

it’s known for blues, barbecue, and jazz; for its heartland values and laid-back lifestyle. it’s also a place with enough cosmopolitan flair to please even the most discriminating sophisticate. it’s greater kansas city, a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people that spans two cities, two states, and 18 counties.

Learning to Value an Undervalued Market

a full-figured woman spots a gorgeous necklace in your store window, walks in, and asks to try it on. you retrieve the necklace from the display and offer to help her. but the necklace is too small. there’s embarrassment all around. one way to handle that situation is to offer to make the necklace longer.

Building Commitment: Assume Less, Agree More

in past columns i have described selling behaviors that increase sales and profitability. but how do you motivate salespeople to discard old behaviors in order to adopt new ones that work better? over the years, i’ve learned that those who manage by agreement—rather than expectations or assumptions—are best able to encourage others and build their business through them.

Dollars and Scents

the buzzword for a decade or so has been “brand.” the industry has been drunk on the idea, but there has been some reconsideration lately. millions have been poured into branding efforts, but not one comes to mind as successful. local brands, yes. designer names, yes. but real brands, no.

Doing Co-Op—Without Being Co-Opted

in this day of declining margins, jewelers are hunting for bargains. and co-op advertising is, at least in theory, the biggest bargain of them all. co-op advertising puts your store’s name in front of the public for a price that’s often only 50 percent of the price you’d otherwise pay—typically, the brand and the retailer each foots half the bill.

Tomorrow Is Here: Rethinking the Web

every jewelry store with annual retail sales in excess of $250,000 needs a web site. if you already have one, congratulations. if not, take it in small steps—don’t charge out of the gate with a full-blown e-commerce site that rivals blue nile. think of your web site as a full-page yellow pages ad combined with a 90-second radio commercial.

Jewelry Television Celebrates 13 Years

it began 13 years ago as a small studio buying satellite airtime for few hours a day. today, jewelry television boasts 200,000 square feet of warehouses and training facilities and 2,100 staffers, including call-center operators who handle more than 10 million phone calls per year. sales in 2005 were $390 million, a 75-fold increase over its 1997 sales of $5.

American ORT Jewelry Industry Chapter Honors Andruskevich

jewelers, manufacturers, diamond dealers, and watch company exec- utives gathered sept. 21, 2006, at the marriott marquis hotel in manhattan to pay tribute to the president and chief executive officer of birks & mayors inc., thomas a. andruskevich, at a benefit in his honor sponsored by the jewelry industry chapter of american ort.

Selling Jewelry Based on Margins, Not Prices

it’s difficult, if not impossible, to cut prices on products or services and make it up in volume. it is possible, however, to raise your prices, lose some volume, and make far more money. that’s the key tenet behind how to sell at margins higher than your competitors, a newly revised edition of a classic business title from business consultants dr.


music artist jay-z’s seven-year-old fashion firm rocawear has unveiled a limited-edition fine-jewelry line in cooperation with lucas designs. the rocawear merchandise features 150 pieces of men’s and women’s styles in 14k and 18k yellow and white gold with diamonds. retail prices range from $500 to $10,000.

Meet Me: The Female Twentysomething

the female members of the 75 million–strong millennial generation are the focus of the recently released “the jane 20-something study 2006” by jane magazine. questions about life, values, self, and shopping were posed to women between the ages of 20 and 29 who revealed strong self images; aspirations to have it all, from the newest accessory to a great job; and lives filled wi…

Happy New Year!

the first issue of the year is a great moment to pause and project goals and ambitions for the year ahead. at the jck publishing group, our mission remains the same: to deliver peerless, high-quality editorial to the jewelry industry’s most influential leaders in retail, manufacturing, and wholesale.

The Second Time Around

when it comes to love and marriage, nicole kidman, ellen barkin, and pamela anderson aren’t much different from the rest of us. hollywood stars encounter the same relationship difficulties—divorce and remarriage—that many people endure, and they face the same dilemma: what to do with an old engagement ring and how to make sure the next one isn’t a reminder of the first.

LiveStrong and Sparkle

you see them everywhere: those bright yellow unisex rubber bracelets stamped livestrong that have become a standard accessory for everyone from preteens to retirees. you probably know they stand for support for cancer research, with proceeds benefiting the lance armstrong foundation (founded by the namesake cancer survivor and seven-time tour de france winner).

This Is Africa—or Is It?

with all the jewelry-industry angst and hollywood/ngo hype surrounding the release of blood diamond, one key fact was downplayed everywhere but in the movie itself: what went on in sierra leone is business as usual in much of africa. in the movie, danny archer, the mercenary played by leonardo dicaprio, tries to explain this to maddy bowen, the journalist played by jennifer connelly.

Gem Pricing Report

market in brief: the price trend in the colored stone market continues to be upward due to light production around the globe. supplies of high-end natural (unenhanced) ruby and sapphire are tight. dealers report strong demand for rubies in the 3.00 to 5.00 ct. range, with very little material available.

WDC Web Site Inspires Parody

the world diamond council’s diamondfacts.org web site has inspired another site—realdiamondfacts.org—that is as negative about the diamond industry as the wdc’s is positive. the site, which calls itself a parody and perfectly mimics the look and feel of the original, was created by diamonds for africa fund, an austin, texas, group that encourages people to donate th…

Dueling Cut Grades

the american gem society and the gemological institute of america are in a showdown over which organization has the best system for grading diamond cut. the latest shootout took place in august at the annual midyear conference of the national association of jewelry appraisers. in the opening session of a daylong program called “diamond dazzle or diamond daze,” ags director pet…


in the empire strikes back, episode 5 of the stars wars films, the jedi master yoda utters one of the great lines in the series to luke skywalker during luke’s training: “try not. do … or do not. there is no try.” on a similar note, in the rock sean connery puts down nicolas cage with this: “do your best? that’s what all the losers say.

Donna Baker Now Officially GIA’s President

donna baker, who was appointed acting president of the gemological institute of america after william e. boyajian resigned in may, will permanently hold that position. baker, only the fifth president in the organization’s 75-year history, was vice president and general counsel prior to her appointment, positions she had held since february 2001.

Banda Reelected DDC President

the diamond dealers club has reelected jacob banda as its president. banda, who ran unopposed, received 85 percent of the vote. this will be his fourth term as president, after a membership vote last year removed the prohibition against presidents serving more than three terms. david abraham was reelected vice president, sylvain ringer secretary, and elliot krischer treasurer.

Kimberley Process Meeting Makes Breakthroughs

both nongovernmental organizations and the diamond industry were happy after making progress at the recent kimberley process plenary, especially on whether to publish diamond statistics. among the big issues was the fate of ghana, which a recent united nations report called a conduit for conflict diamonds smuggled from ivory coast.

From the JCKonline.com Blogs

upping your store’s fun factor when i think of fun shopping, i think of target. that store has a vast array of colorful, well-designed items that i can afford. my ideal jewelry store has: a colorful interior, upbeat music, whimsically displayed merchandise (utilize cake platters, candy boxes, and cupcake liners to play up the idea of jewels as treats—jewelry is candy for adults), happy sa…

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