January 2008

Bridal by the Numbers

Argyle Pink Prices Skyrocket

the 23rd annual rio tinto diamonds argyle pink diamond tender held last september in hong kong, new york, and perth, australia, was, as usual, exciting and unpredictable. sixty-five diamonds—64 saturated pinks and reds and one violet—were sold to 17 successful bidders at record-breaking prices.

Breitling USA Has New President

breitling usa, the luxury swiss watch brand best known for its pilot’s watches, has had a change at the top. longtime president marie bodman is returning to breitling’s world headquarters in grenchen, switzerland, says the company, “to support sales growth globally.” replacing her is philippe bonay, a watch industry veteran who spent the last five and a half years as president of panerai usa.

Gem Pricing Report

while record per-carat gem prices are being paid in east asia, the u.s. market remains cautious because of concerns about an economic slowdown. the weakened u.s. dollar is contributing to the higher prices u.s. buyers are finding overseas. in general, however, the gem market is growing. because some foreign currencies are strengthening against the dollar, many dealers expect a significant incre…

11,052 Votes!

we are thrilled with the response to our first annual jck jewelers choice awards! as you may know, the awards were launched to celebrate design and create retailer awareness of participants’ pieces. the competition drew 430 entries and 11,052 votes, and, frankly, we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm! finalists were announced online in late december.

Candidates Questioned About Diamonds

at the democratic candidate debate in las vegas, the closing question came from a young woman who asked senator hillary clinton: “do you prefer diamonds or pearls?” clinton replied: “now, i know i’m sometimes accused of not being able to make a choice. i want both.” to which sen. joe biden quickly added, “diamonds!” on a more serious note, former sen.

Aber, Now Harry Winston, Interested in Canadian Mine

with rumors rampant that canada’s diavik mine will be sold as a result of the possible rio tinto-bhp merger, the mine’s junior partner says it’s interested in buying the whole thing. “if it were for sale, yes, of course we would [buy it],” robert gannicott, the chief executive officer of harry winston, told reuters.

For a Good Cause

jewelry designer diana vincent recently donated two custom-made brooches, including an 18k gold, diamond, and pink tourmaline piece, to agencies that assist victims of breast cancer. benefactors include the comprehensive breast care institute at diversified specialty institutes, bensalem, pa., which provides financial assistance for counseling, postoperative items, and more to breast cancer pat…

India Woos the U.S.

it was overwhelming: the spicy food, the poverty, the crowded cities, the splendor of the taj mahal. it was also exhausting, enlightening, and, for many, the trip of a lifetime. but for the team of retailers that was flown (business class, all expenses paid) to the u.s.-indo business development conference in mumbai, india, the real reason they were there was the jewelry.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

running a jewelry business is not unlike tending a garden. it’s a work in progress, and you’ll face many challenges as you labor to make it a thing of beauty. it takes years to bring a garden to resplendent glory, and so too with a jewelry business. some years produce bumper crops, while others are less productive.

Four Ways to Boost Business

retailers across the country should ask themselves two questions: “how can i increase my transaction amount?” and “how can i drive more traffic into my store?” there are a multitude of answers to these questions, and four ways to influence overall business: extended warranties, customer financing, accessories, and store events.

De Beers Sells Cullinan Mine

de beers recently sold its cullinan diamond mine in south africa to the petra diamonds cullinan consortium for $150 million. named after sir thomas cullinan, who discovered the kimberlite deposit in 1898, the cullinan kimberlite pipe is the largest known pipe in south africa. it has been mined for nearly a century and has resources for at least 40 more years of production at current production …

Swatch Group and Tiffany Form New Watch Company

the swatch group and tiffany & co. have formed a watch company to “further the development, production, and worldwide distribution of tiffany brand watches.” the 20-year strategic alliance (renewable for another 10), in talks for over a year, was announced in december. this is “a path-breaking strategic move,” said nicolas g.

‘Wall Street Journal’ Auction Story Called ‘Misleading’

a wall street journal article’s allegations of collusion between some luxury watchmakers and antiquorum auctioneers to boost the brands’ auction prices, prestige, and consumer demand are unfounded and misleading, say those named in the story. antiquorum founder osvaldo patrizzi, who left the company in august, said, “there has never been any collusion between antiquorum and any watch manufacturer.

Buffett Bags Prime Time

the richline group, owned by warren buffett’s holding company berkshire hathaway, recently acquired gold jewelry company prime time. it was richline’s second acquisition in a matter of weeks, following its purchase of another gold jewelry company, alarama. “with the price of gold at near-record levels, this particular category in fine jewelry will become, strategically, even more important than…

New Jewelry Collections to Covet

leslie’s is now the exclusive u.s. distributor for italian jewelry maker zoccai. pieces from zoccai’s line were well received by attendees of the 2007 luxury by jck show held in las vegas. zoccai is known for its bold styles, many featuring geometric shapes. zoccai for leslie’s, greenwich, conn.; (800) 221-2628; www.

Valentine’s Day Tips

valentine’s day is next month, which means it’s time to prepare your special events and promotions. below, courtesy of the jck retail panel, are 15 tips and ideas to help your customers honor their valentines.

Strengthen Your Brand to Increase Traffic and Sales

what would it mean to your business if your customers always thought about your store first whenever they considered buying jewelry? growth in competition—together with declines in customer loyalty—make always unlikely. however, you can significantly increase the likelihood that customers will think about your store by building a strong brand.

The Cultured Club

in 2003, wired magazine heralded “the new diamond age,” noting that factories now can produce diamonds that are chemically identical to those produced in nature. it crowed that the stones soon would be as cheap as $5 per carat. “if you give a woman a choice between a 2.00 ct. stone and a 1.00 ct. stone and everything else is the same, including the price, what’s she gonna choose?” asked gemesis…

JA’s Talking Points

here is how jewelers of america recommends handling consumer queries about the de beers class-action settlement: customer: i saw in some magazine that i might be eligible to get cash back on my diamond jewelry purchases because of a class-action suit against de beers. what’s that all about? jeweler: there has been a proposed settlement on a class-action suit against de beers—and consumers…

Botswana Adds 16 Sightholders

dtc botswana’s list of domestic sightholders includes 16 clients. every client that set up a factory in the world’s largest diamond-producing nation had its application approved, in contrast to the situation in neighboring namibia, where seven clients didn’t make the cut. the clients are: ascot (steinmetz), dalumi botswana, dda of botswana (dd manufacturing), diamond manufacturing botswana (sta…

950 Palladium: A Seamless Operation for Bridal Products

These wedding bands were created by Guertin Bros., a division of Nordt. They are seamless and made from 950 palladium extruded tubing that has been alloyed with ruthenium, another platinum group metal. The extrusion process forms pipes of metal with a fine-grain structure and increased Vickers hardness. For consumers this translates into longer wear over…

How Can I Motivate My Staff?

it’s unlikely that a staff will ever care as much or work as hard as the owner or manager. that’s why you have to create an environment in which people can have their own “business” within your business. that will encourage them to think like an owner. people do not accept a position wanting to fail.

Gitanjali Group Acquires Rogers Jewelers

indian sightholder gitanjali group recently acquired rogers jewelers, one of the oldest family-run jewelry chains in the united states. the company purchased samuels jewelers last year. rogers operates 46 stores in 11 states, with current revenues of $80.6 million. gitanjali paid $20 million for a 100 percent stake in the retailer and plans to invest an additional $15 million to $20 million.

The Real Cost of $800

with the price of gold over $800 an ounce, and platinum topping $1,000 an ounce, it’s no surprise the jewelry industry fears the sky is falling. after all, few in the industry can say “1981” without a shudder. but this isn’t 1981, and $800 isn’t as much money as it used to be. according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics’ inflation calculator, $800 in 1981 dollars is $1,838.

De Beers Settlement Could Mean Consumer Queries

jewelers could be hit with questions stemming from the de beers class-action settlement, jewelers of america said recently. the suit will return money to any consumer who bought a diamond between jan. 1, 1994, and march 31, 2006. the claim forms were due to be released dec. 21, 2007. advertisements for the settlement will appear in the first quarter of this year on tv and radio and in magazines…

Get to Know … Ileana Makri

athens, greece—based ileana makri makes jewelry that people immediately understand. for example, superstitious inhabitants of mediterranean countries recognize the evil eye as a symbol that wards off negative energy. replicas of sandals and skateboards bring to mind carefree times and leisure activities, while guns and hinged hand grenades that open represent societal paranoia and fear of…

Arthur Gleim Dies

famed california jeweler arthur gleim, of palo alto, calif., died nov. 26, 2007. he was 91. gleim, whose father frederick founded gleim the jeweler in 1931, was a well-known fixture in the jewelry industry, just as his business—comprising three stores—is a fixture in palo alto. he gave generously of his time to the industry and served as president of the american gem society, califo…

The JCK 2008 It List

fashion crossover we’ve been talking and talking (and talking) about the merging of fine jewelry into the fashion world, and recent developments show that movement is continuing to grow. watch for new competition from a breed of boutique retailers who mix fine-jewelry selections with other high-end fashion accessories, and even more big fashion brands launching their own fine-jewelry lines.

GIA Investigation—Closed?

the gemological institute of america bribery scandal, which consumed the trade for a year and led to a change in the institute’s top management, may no longer be under investigation by federal authorities, according to a report in women’s wear daily. according to an item on the publication’s blog, lev leviev, a former partner in vivid collection, whose lawsuit brought the scandal to light, told…

Unintended Consequences

the recent decision of jewelers of america, tiffany, cartier, and others in the jewelry community to urge a ban on importation of rubies from myanmar (burma) brings back an interesting point-counterpoint discussion that took place last year at the gemological institute of america symposium when this subject was raised.

Sotheby’s Sets Records

sotheby’s magnificent jewels sale on dec. 4, 2007, generated $49.8 million, 32 percent more than the high estimate of $37.4 million and the highest total ever for a jewelry sale at sotheby’s new york. “we are thrilled,” says gary schuler, senior vice president, director of jewelry, for the new york auction house.

The Mental State of the Industry

many jewelers i talk to are burned out, fed up, and frustrated with the jewelry business. i predict an explosion of store closings in the next few years, not because of shrinking margins, not because of the internet, and not because of wal-mart or jareds, but because many lack a positive mental attitude and action plan in the face of difficult and changing times.

IDI Inks Deals With Liberia

the israel diamond institute recently signed a memorandum of understanding (mou) with liberia at a ceremony in tel aviv, israel. the mou says that in “establishing a firm and stable diamond infrastructure in liberia, the israeli diamond industry is prepared to offer the … government of liberia the services of its top diamond specialists in conducting a full-scale and in-depth survey of the li…

Bridal by the Numbers

this year’s analysis of the u.s. bridal jewelry business offers a snapshot of sales, brand recognition, non-diamond engagement ring (nder) alternatives, and more. jck surveyed its nationwide panel of jewelry industry members, 100 percent of whom carry bridal jewelry. some 430 bridal jewelry retailers answered e-mail surveys in october 2007.

Timex Group Names Hoejsgaard New President

timex group b.v. has named hans-kristian hoejsgaard president and chief executive officer, effective feb. 11. he replaces joe santana, who had been president and ceo since 1999 and left, said the company, for “personal and family reasons.” hoejsgaard had been president and ceo of georg jensen and before that president of lancaster group worldwide, paris, a division of coty inc.

Branding: Where to Now?

there is little doubt that the diamond trading company has given up pushing marketing as the central theme of its supplier of choice program. that caused too much pain among its clients. it’s hard enough to create a brand under the best of circumstances, never mind trying to do it with one component of a product and in an industry lacking large profit margins.

Rough Importers Must Fax Extra Cert

importers of rough diamonds now must fax to the u.s. census bureau a copy of the kimberley process certificate that arrives with the imported diamonds, jewelers vigilance committee says. jvc notes that the census bureau is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing import and export statistics for the united states.

Tiffany-EBay Case Goes to Court

the tiffany vs. ebay counterfeit suit has gone to trial, and if ebay loses it could open the door for more suits and possibly hurt ebay as a business, some experts say. tiffany is suing the auction site for hosting counterfeit merchandise. it says when it conducted a test buy, it found that 73 percent of the products listed as “tiffany” were counterfeit.

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