January 2009

Spectrum Awards 2009

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India Jewelry Industry Adjusts to U.S. Economic Woes

when an economic downturn disrupts the buying habits of the world’s largest consumer economy, its effects ripple far and wide. india’s jewelry market has been hit especially hard. sanjay kothari, former chairman of the gem & jewellery export promotion council, said that jewelry exports from seepz (the special economic zone in mumbai that promotes rapid economic growth using tax and business…

Approach With Care: Getting Help for ‘May I Help You?’

no phrase in retail has more enemies among sales trainers than “can i help you?” “it’s almost a useless thing to say,” says blogger seth godin. “if you want to end a conversation with a teenager, just ask, ‘how was school today?’ if you want to end a conversation with a customer, just ask if you can help.

Let White Gold Wear a White Hat

in the united states, white metals such as silver, white gold, and platinum have enjoyed a boom in popularity over the last three decades. this is a function of fashion trends and red carpet events, as well as advertising by platinum guild international, diamond trading company commercials, national tv spots by the big chain stores, and aspirational print ad campaigns from upscale jewelry desig…

Color Evolution: The Spectrum Awards at 25

few factors in the environment influence people’s emotions more than color. temperature and humidity affect comfort, and smell is a powerful memory trigger, but only color has the power to energize, soothe, cheer, or subdue a mood. ironically, however, diamond jewelry—without color—is far more frequently marketed on the basis of emotion than color gemstone jewelry.

Cavalcade of Color

jim fiebig, owner of www.sellmorecolor.com, believes most retailers are more comfortable selling diamonds because they’re easier to sell. “it’s been so easy for retailers to sell diamonds, simply because people come in and ask for them,” says fiebig, the u.s. representative for zultanite, the change-of-color diaspore, and a former retailer.

Diamond Industry Members Experience Mumbai Terror

members of the diamond industry staying at the taj mahal and oberoi hotels were among those in danger during the nov. 26 terrorist attacks in mumbai, india, that left at least 172 dead and hundreds more injured. no industry member was known to be killed or hurt in the attacks. according to stephanie piper, spokesperson for london-based h.

Swirk Jewelers

swirk jewelers has been a fixture in kansas city, mo., since 1910, but only in the past 15 years has the swirk family taken advantage of its surname in advertising. “we just knew it would work,” says owner brian swirk. he tested the concept of using the name creatively with the tagline “swirk of art,” and customers noticed.

Gem Pricing Report

at press time consumers were cautious about spending for the holidays, and the season for many retail jewelers season started slow and faded from there. neighborhood-based independents appeared to be seeing more traffic than their mall-based chain competitors. many jewelers adapted to the climate by stone and metal substitution.

Rebecca

la bella figura is an italian expression that has no english counterpart. while the exact translation is “beautiful figure,” it more accurately sums up an italian cultural imperative: paying meticulous attention to the details of one’s appearance. to be well dressed and well groomed—even for a quick run to the corner grocer—is to show respect for others with whom you interact or do …

Thriving in Troubled Times: With a Little Help From My Friends

“no man is an island,” wrote john donne, the great english poet, and that’s also true for businesses. active involvement, say many jewelers, in a group of fellow jewelers or other businesspeople is important to their businesses and to them personally. a recent jck poll of hundreds of independent jewelers finds two in five are in a business group of three or more jewelers (excluding national tra…

Ralph Destino Retires from GIA

gemological institute of america chairman ralph destino, who took over amid the gia’s certifigate scandal, has retired. current president donna baker will be president and chief executive officer. gia also appointed susan jacques, president and ceo of borsheims, as chair of the board of governors. anna martin, of standard chartered bank, was elected vice chairwoman.

‘Responsible Jewellery’ Group Releases Ethical Code

the council for responsible jewellery practices has released an extensive list of ethical, social, and environmental practices its members must comply with. all members of the group, now called the responsible jewellery council, will be audited by third parties to verify compliancewith the code, which can beseen on the group’s web site, www.

‘Diamonds Do Not Sell Themselves’

success leads to arrogance and arrogance to failure.” devotees of trout and reis’s work know this line comes from their book the 22 immutable laws of marketing. those unfamiliar with their work should pick up a copy, and while you’re at your favorite bookseller’s shop, pick up their other books as well.

Signet Ends Rough Sourcing Initiative

signet group has ended the rough sourcing initiative that many once saw as a harbinger of the industry’s vertically integrated future. to source and manufacture rough diamonds, signet had opened an office in antwerp, belgium, obtained factory space in india, and applied for a diamond trading company sight, which it didn’t get.

Finlay Refinances Amid Liquidity Concerns

amid speculation about its future, finlay enterprises announced a new deal with its bondholders, who have injected another $20 million into the company and are allowing it to defer some $5.5 million in interest payments. as a result, standard & poor’s ratings lowered its corporate credit rating on finlay to sd (selective default) from cc.

India Stops Rough Imports

in an unprecedented step, india’s gems & jewellery export promotion council asked its members to cease rough diamond imports for a month. the interruption began nov. 25 and ran through the last week in december. the measure sends a signal to jewelry industry banks that the indian industry will not increase its indebtedness at a time when its clients are able to meet consumer demand, a gjepc…

The JCK 2009 It List

big looks for not-so-big prices given the economy and the continuing trend toward fashion-conscious jewelry, look for more use of inexpensive colored stones that add a big on-trend look without the big price tag. similarly, more companies are incorporating lower-quality diamonds in fashion-conscious pieces that call for small-stone accents.

Zale Fights Viral E-mail

a recent viral e-mail about gift cards—which suggested that piercing pagoda is closing all its stores and zale is closing 105 stores “after january”—is wrong, zale says. snopes, the web site that tracks viral e-mails, calls it “a mixture of accurate, inaccurate, and outdated information.” for instance, it correctly notes that whitehall and several other retailers are liquidating.

Q3 Stats

the u.s. bureau of economic analysis said in december that the u.s. economy declined in the third quarter of 2008, according to preliminary estimates. bea said real gross domestic product decreased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the third quarter after increasing 2.8 percent in the second quarter.

Elephant Hunting

this year jck observes its 140th anniversary. to celebrate, we will be mining our substantial archives to find items of interest—some serious, some humorous, some illustrating how far we’ve come in 140 years, and some that show how little has changed in that time. for our first look back, see page 44.

Shock and Awe

when bombs start to fall, people run for a shelter. in our industry, it seems that people are in the shelter, mentally, when there’s still time to prevent the bombing. i recently attended the rapaport-sponsored conference in new york. it seems to be the only occasion during the year when people gather to discuss diamond issues for a day.

Employment Trends Down

the conference board reported in december that its employment trends index declined in november to 102.9, down 1.6 percent from the october revised figure of 104.5, and down over 13 percent from a year ago. the conference board cited the loss of 1.9 million jobs and speculated that job losses could surpass 3 million by the middle of this year.

Our 140th Year!

in 1869, a new business journal for the jewelry and watch industry, the horological review, was launched in the heart of new york city’s jewelry district, then located near wall street on maiden lane. one hundred forty years later, that book survives as jck. over the years, we have merged with a competitor (the horological review with jewelers’ circular), absorbed other publications (including …

Buying Your Customer’s Jewelry: Profit Center or Added Risk?

given the market realities today, customers are increasingly asking jewelers to buy their jewelry. consumers are looking to use their unwanted pieces to acquire some ready cash or put it toward the purchase of new jewelry. what should a jeweler consider in this area to avoid liability and risk? first, a jeweler should be aware that if purchases from the public and subsequent sale of precious me…

JBT: Some Bright Spots

the most recent statistics from the jewelers’ board of trade shows far fewer retail bankruptcies than one might imagine from the rash of gloomy conversations about the industry. huge percentage increases make headlines, but the actual numbers are small. for example, november 2008 saw six retail bankruptcies compared with four in november 2007.

The Next-Best Question

in sales, there is always a next-best question. follow the railroad track of next-best questions. your ability to communicate through asking questions will have a direct relationship on your success in sales. customers will tell you everything you need to know to make the sale, add on to the sale, and develop a relationship based on the emotional information they want to share—if you ask …

Spectrum Awards 2009

judging for the 25th edition of the american gem trade association’s spectrum awards took place oct. 25—26 in new york. criteria were overall beauty and wearability, innovative design, effective use of materials, quality of gemstones, quality of workmanship, broad-base consumer appeal, and potential to generate positive publicity for natural colored gemstones.