July 1, 1998

Is Business Good? Ask These 18,000 Enthusiastic Buyers

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Gem Notes

jewelry designs transform nature working with “alternative” or ornamental gemstones allows a california designer to transport nature into the highly artificial world of jewelry fashion. craig marinovich, ceo of gem shapes in sausalito, uses materials like fossilized dinosaur bone, mammoth ivory, boulder opal, bloodstone, and gold, copper, and silver embedded in quartz to project col…

Is Business Good? Ask These 18,000 Enthusiastic Buyers

the 7th annual jck show in las vegas last month was the biggest yet, with 17,862 buyers crowding the aisles at the giant sands expo and convention center. that represented a stunning 25% jump over the 1997 attendance of 14,226. there was also a 30% increase in the number of retail outlets sending buyers.

CounterPoint

new approaches to security issues if there is one aspect of the jewelry business that hasn’t had a new thought in 50 years, security for traveling sales personnel is it. the problem, which seems to get worse every year, should be addressed from a new point of view. in jck’s april “notebook” column, jim cory related the upsetting tale of a salesperson who had a fear-fille…

Associations

promotion at gia the gemological institute of america (gia) has promoted jim littman to the newly created position of chief development officer. littman previously was director of development for the carlsbad, calif., nonprofit institute. since 1994, he has spearheaded gia’s fund-raising campaigns, which have raised more than $20 million.

Contests

golay buchel fêtes winners in basel the 14th annual prix golay buchel, the top award for young swiss goldsmiths, was presented during gala festivities at the 1998 world watch, clock and jewellery fair in basel. the prizes were awarded for creations on the theme of “wedding and partner rings” and were presented to three fourth-year apprentice goldsmiths and two previous prix gol…

COLORADO DIAMONDS: TOO LITTLE OF A GOOD THING

colorado consumers love diamonds mined at the kelsey lake facility on the state’s border with wyoming. trouble is, the mine closed last september, pending sale by its majority owner, and supplies are rapidly dwindling. “our goods were incredibly well received,” says mine director howard coopersmith, who discovered the remote site 8,000 feet up in the rocky mountains.

UpFront

jvc names new executive director after a long search, the jewelers vigilance committee has chosen cecilia l. gardner, a tough-minded former prosecuting attorney, as its new executive director and general counsel. gardner began her career in 1977 as an examining attorney with the new york city department of investigation, successfully prosecuting a ring of jewelry store thieves and new york&#821…

Asian Crisis Buyers’ Market

early this year a group of korean retailers helped organize a series of “patriotic diamond and gold buyback” drives to help their country’s beleaguered economy recoup some precious foreign exchange. before the first quarter was out, korean consumers sold back more than $50 million worth of diamonds through israeli and antwerp diamond dealers who had backed the local retailers&…

How Much Are Jewelers Marking Up Diamonds?

it’s impossible to make a profit selling diamonds. that seems to be the relentless mantra we hear from one end of the diamond world to the other these days. but, believe it or not, there still are american jewelers selling $10,000 loose diamonds for $25,000 and $10,000 pieces of diamond jewelry for $30,000.

Selling Beautiful Gems with Ugly Names

salespeople know that gemstones with names like bixbite, diaspore, and paraíba tourmaline can be tough sells – not because the gems lack appeal, but because their names stop customers cold. “what’s in a name?” william shakespeare asked in romeo and juliet. “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Martin Rapaport: One man’s destruction of our industry

why is the diamond industry beset by uncertainty and decay? one very important reason is the commoditization of diamonds. the beauty and romance once inherent in a diamond and in the diamond-buying experience have been replaced by the certification process and price lists. another factor is the retailer’s willingness to sacrifice profit to make a sale.

CAN THE INTERNET REDUCE JEWELRY THEFT?

when randy jones, co-owner of global gems in the atlanta suburb of chamblee, ga., put an 8-ct. emerald in his display case, he had no idea it would potentially lead to sharing a $1 million reward for his role in the arrest of a notorious jewelry thief. he also had no idea he would become embroiled in the first use of the internet to recover stolen jewelry.

Good Times Are Ticking for Watches

the time is right for selling watches. according to an informal jck survey, independent jewelers throughout the united states are pleased with their watch business this year. the view from behind the counter is that timepieces increase customer traffic and store profits, and that high-end name brands add prestige.

THE SILVER BOOM: WHILE JEWELERS BENEFIT, SUPPLIERS WORRY

silver was once called “the restless metal” because of its price volatility. it deserves that name again, thanks to its recent performance in both market pricing and jewelry sales. after years of stability, the metal’s price rose from $4.21 an ounce in july 1997 to a decade high of $7.

PUTTING BUSINESS BACK IN A FAMILY BUSINESS

revelations happen where you least expect them. for jewelers bill and kathy sustachek, it was at a cocktail reception at the 1994 american gem society conclave. a jeweler chatting about his successful store caught their ear. “he was in business for less time than we were, and yet was more successful,” recalls bill.

How to Make It Like Christmas in May

it was any retailer’s fantasy come true: customers six deep at the counters clamoring for expensive jewelry. and it was only may. the scene was at borsheim’s, the omaha, neb., jeweler, and what a scene it was. more than 5,500 people showed up sunday, may 3, to shop, and there wasn’t even a sale.

A COLORED STONE INVENTORY THAT MOVES

you may already have an established colored stone business and routinely purchase these gems from suppliers or at trade shows. or you may be just venturing into this arena, hoping to build the colored stone inventory in a new or existing store. either way, you probably could stand to improve your colored stone buying skills.

Stop Crying, Start Listening

when is the diamond industry going to stop crying? no profits, no profits, no profits! how many times have we got to hear the lament? if business is that bad, why not try another career? why not sell something else? or, better yet, why not see what you can do to make business better? a few people have thrown in the towel, whether by choice or because of financial pressure.

JCK Business Report

employee departures are costly what’s the cost to a company when employees leave, voluntarily or involuntarily? a recent telephone survey of 206 employers conducted by new york-based william m. mercer inc. shows that the expense can be considerable – more than $10,000 per position for 45% of respondents.

FINDING THE STAFFER WITH THE RIGHT STUFF

retail jewelers tend to base hiring decisions on a candidate’s experience or personality. with this approach, you end up with salespeople who may be very pleasant or seasoned but relatively unproductive. the key to building a team of high-achieving associates lies in understanding what makes a career retailer tick and screening for those who are truly cut out for the job.

Fashion Facets

finds from basel’s designer halls today, a major jewelry fair would not be complete without a special exhibit or hall dedicated to designer jewelry. these displays showcase everything from award-winning “classics of tomorrow” to truly avant-garde pieces meant to teach and inspire rather than to be worn.

Watch Watch

seiko: déjà vu all over again? what’s going on at seiko? quite a lot. strong product praise. futuristic technology. management changes. upscale imaging. seiko is on the tip of the tongue these days in terms of what’s in and what’s out. what’s in? two years running, the brand has won rave reviews for its avant-garde products.

Your Turn

in this column, members of the jewelry industry can state their views, wax poetic or otherwise pen their thoughts in slightly longer form than the traditional letter to the editor. we welcome your submissions. please send them to p.j. donahue, jck, one chilton way, radnor, pa 19089; fax (610) 964-4481, e-mail pdonahue@chilton.

The Bright Future for Retailers

what does the future hold for the retail jewelry business? who better to ask than sam arnstein, a 50-year veteran of the industry who now consults with jewelers throughout the country, passing along his formidable expertise in sales training, marketing, merchandising, and store management. jewelry is arnstein’s life.

Retiring — Maybe

mary barr, certified gemologist appraiser, sits at the desk in her small back-room office. bifocals and a loupe for appraising gems are slung on separate chains from her neck. it’s an hour from closing, el niño has drenched the los angeles area all day, and there are still customers in the store.