July 1, 2002

Adjusting the Contrast

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GIA: Cut System Coming Next Year

the new cut “classification system” that the gemological institute of america was planning to add to its reports this spring will be introduced next year instead. (see “gia to assess cut on reports,” jck, feb. 2002, p. 50.) gia president william e. boyajian says the change was made so gia could further take the trade’s opinion into account.

‘Queen Mum’ Buried Under Notorious Diamond

the coffin of britain’s queen mother was topped by a crown that included the famed koh-i-noor—a 108-ct. oval-cut diamond that carries controversy and an alleged curse. the diamond is said to carry a hindu curse that says only a woman can wear it with impunity. any male who wears it “will know its misfortunes.

Learning and Feeling Mark AGS Conclave

the 2002 american gem society conclave, held april 24-28 in vancouver, british columbia, was marked by two key differences from previous conclaves: the presence of de beers and diamond trading company executives, and a heightened emotional level. de beers chairman nicholas f. oppenheimer and key members of the diamond trading company, who are not permitted to enter the united states for busines…

Diamond Congress in Israel Postponed

the on-again, off-again 2002 world diamond congress is now off again. originally scheduled for may in israel, the congress was postponed because of security concerns. organizers now hope to hold it sometime in the fall. “israel’s diamond industry is committed to holding the congress here, and we will make every effort to make it a success,” said israel diamond exchange president shmuel schnitzer.

Swarovski Pin Benefits Rainforest Foundation

full-cut crystal manufacturer swarovski has announced its continuing support of the rainforest foundation-us. for the second year in a row, swarovski donated $25,000 to rf-us. in 1998, swarovski launched its first-ever limited-edition brooch trilogy, “celebrate the spirit,” and continues the annual tradition with the “garden of tranquility” trilogy.

Peridot

it’s time for retail jewelers to begin promoting the birthstone for august—peridot. while in the past it’s taken concentrated effort to sell this lime-green gem, today’s fashion flashback to the ’70s might make this the perfect time for peridot. but that doesn’t mean it will sell itself. even when it’s the featured gem, as in a magnificent antique necklace worn at this year’s academy awar…

Sierra Leone: One Man’s ‘Adventure’

polygon president jacques voorhees had no idea what to expect when he visited the west african country of sierra leone. he had heard about the role diamonds played in the now-settled civil war there and wanted to investigate for himself. “i was intrigued and felt it was important to learn more about the issue,” he says.

De Beers Touts ‘Statement Diamonds’

de beers is launching a new campaign for what it calls “statement diamonds”—solitaires of a half-carat or more. executives at j. walter thompson, the marketing agency for de beers’ diamond trading company, say the campaign was spurred by research showing that women want larger stones but are afraid to ask for them.

Unusual Twists at the Oscars

the usual array of diamonds and platinum, designer names, and arm candy decorated red carpets at the major entertainment industry awards this year, but while many of the stars swung toward the traditional in gowns, there was a nod toward the unusual in accessories. bvlgari took one of this year’s trends—the use of raw gemstones—to new heights and showcased it at hollywood’s biggest …

Jewelers’ Tales

when we asked the jck retail panel to tell us their favorite stories “from the trenches,” we got dozens of responses. space considerations prevent us from using them all, but the following memorable moments remind us that there’s more to selling jewelry than keystone and karats. jewelry and remembrance.

The More Things Change

the jck show ~ las vegas saw the return of many retailers with money to invest in new products. it also heard the lament of a few exhibitors who didn’t do satisfactory business during the show. but the next biggest buzz concerned the abrupt change in leadership at the american gem society. robert bridel, executive director of the ags, suddenly resigned one week before the show opened.

A Day in Denmark

the visit was supposed to be pure vacation, tacked onto a trip to a northern european jewelry show, but learning about danish jewelry beyond georg jensen proved irresistible. so after several days of taking in german-inspired jewelry designs at the tendence consumer goods fair in frankfurt, i headed north to copenhagen.

Part II: Pricing Custom Work

the late 1980s were a difficult time for former jeweler david geller. he declared bankruptcy on his atlanta, ga.-based store, had a lien on his house, and owed creditors $300,000 for a business that generated $800,0000 annually. “i was pricing my products the same way other jewelers do—keeping prices the same or less than those of competitors,” he says.

Students Smile for Golay Contest

the 17th prix golay, the design competition sponsored by golay buchel of switzerland, has once again uncovered talented and innovative students of jewelry design. to realize this year’s theme, participants created ornaments to “trigger a smile.” each student was allowed to create the piece with 13 keshi and freshwater pearls.

De Beers Raises Prices

de beers recently raised prices on its diamonds, in response to growing demand in the united states and price increases by competitors. as is its custom, the company did not provide specifics about the increase except to note that the biggest boost was 5%. most market observers expected the biggest jump to be in larger, better-quality diamonds, which have been in short supply but high demand.

Bashing the Bashers

i recently read a book titled living it up: our love affair with luxury, by james b. twitchell. i bought it anticipating groundbreaking new research into consumer buying habits—something we in the jewelry industry should be tracking on a constant basis. not so. the book was just another consumer-bashing tome by another would-be moralist pretending not to be.

Montblanc Honors Rosie O’Donnell

montblanc recently honored actress rosie o’donnell with the 2002 montblanc arts patronage award. as the self-appointed “spokesperson” for broadway and live theatre, o’donnell has raised awareness of “the great white way” by promoting it on her television show. she has also established the rosie’s for all kids foundation, which supports cultural, intellectual, and social development of at-risk a…

Tanzanite Task Force in Tanzania

the steering committee of the tucson tanzanite task force spent the first week of april in tanzania to check the status of the tucson tanzanite protocols. the committee visited the city of arusha and the mine site at mererani and said it was pleased to see that “substantial progress” already had been made.

AGS Executive Director Resigns

the american gem society recently announced the resignation of executive director and chief executive officer robert w. bridel. bridel said his resignation was for family reasons. until the ags board of directors selects a replacement for bridel, current controller and chief financial officer ruth batson will assume his duties.

Adjusting the Contrast

clothing designers have long known how to create beauty out of contrast with combinations like leather and fur, or satin and lace. this season, jewelry designers are following their example. designers at vicenza and basel as well as in the united states emphasized contrast by combining polished and matte finishes or by making novel use of pieces that were hammered, millgrained, granulated, mirr…

Black Forest Has New Distribution Center

black forest imports inc., a wholesaler of contemporary horological products based in yorba linda, calif., has opened a new warehouse distribution center in greensboro, n.c. black forest, which began operations in 1981, is known for cuckoo clocks, parts, and service. the company also has added hermle, kieninger, and urgos movements and parts as well as many quality tools.

Civil War in Madagascar Interrupts Gem Supply

in case you haven’t heard, there’s a civil war in madagascar, and it has shut down the supply of goods from that island nation. “i heard in march that a group of thais had gotten in, but they couldn’t get out of the capital city,” says tom cushman, an importer of madagascar gems based in sun valley, idaho.

Damiani Opens New Boutiques Worldwide

damiani recently announced that it has opened several boutiques in some of the most prestigious shopping areas in the world, including honolulu, dubai, portocervo, milan, and paris. the company has stated that it aims to open 10 boutiques this year. damiani, 100 park ave., suite 1600, new york, ny 10017, (212) 210-9247.

Same As It Ever Was

many independent jewelers originally looked at the internet with great expectations … and much dread. the optimism came from the promise that the internet would allow retailers to sell their products to anyone, anywhere, at any time of day. it would also offer another way to market their stores and a way to order products more efficiently.

Trade Silver: North America’s Jewelry Heritage

in the 1500s, european traders began arriving on the shores of north america, spurred by european fashion demands for fur pelts. fur was highly prized in europe and used in many clothing fashions, and pelts such as those of the black beaver—used in the manufacture of top hats—were particularly desirable.

Obituaries

christina martinez, 20, education services assistant at gemological institute of america, new york, was killed friday, may 17, when the car she was driving collided with a tractor-trailer. martinez was returning to new york city after picking up a friend who was attending college in albany. martinez’s friend, who was not identified, also died in the crash.

Color Craft to Certify Colored Gemstones

color craft of new york is introducing a new line of jewelry featuring only certified natural-color colored gemstones. each piece will be accompanied by a gemological report from the american gem trade association’s gem testing center. bill jobbins, general manager of color craft, says the program was created because of recent events within the colored-gem industry.

HPHT Heats Up

last november, jck first reported that gem labs were noticing increasing numbers of undisclosed high-pressure/high-temperature-treated (hpht) diamonds on the market, both near-colorless and fancy-colored. (see “the heat—and pressure—is on,” jck, november 2001, p. 102.) now the number is growing, and so are concerns.

Storm Over Sapphire

the controversy over the treated pink/orange “padparadscha-like” sapphire coming from thailand is becoming more complex as research gemologists in the major laboratories study the stone’s chemistry, trying to figure out what’s creating the color. in fact, the investigation is expanding to most color varieties, including mong hsu and songea ruby and blue-green, yellow, orange, and purple sapphires.

Hollywood Legend’s Dazzling Love Affair

her public life has featured love affairs that ranged from sweet to scandalous, but after decades in the limelight, elizabeth taylor is revealing her true lifelong passion—her jewels. this fall, three big names—publisher simon and schuster, instyle magazine, and christie’s auction house—are joining to recognize that passion in gala style.

Bvlgari Supports Virtuosi Awards

to give the 2002 gold virtuosi awards prominence in the jewelry and fashion worlds, renowned luxury house bvlgari created a special award of excellence to honor the most innovative talent among the finalists this year, as well as a gold medal to honor the winner. the medal depicts the virtuosi logotype on one side and the inscription “bvlgari award of excellence” on the reverse.

Geneva Fairs Spotlight Luxury Watch Trends

sihh sees ‘bright future’ the 12th salon international de la haute horlogerie (sihh), held april 8-15 at the palexpo center in geneva, switzerland, was one of the most successful to date. thanks to rising attendance, a growing stable of top brands, and pacts with the basel world watch and jewelry show and sihh’s landlord, show officials anticipate what one sihh report calls “a very bright future.

Discounter Sued

bj’s wholesale club inc., based in natick, mass., has been accused in a federal class action suit of selling movado and other “expensive watches” obtained from “gray market” sources. also named are 20 “john does” who may have, in the suit’s words, “conspired with or assisted bj’s” in selling the watches.

New Laser Inscription Technology

photoscribe technologies, a new york-based manufacturer of high-end laser systems for diamond marking, recently released a new series of laser inscription systems for diamond dealers and jewelers. the lms500 and lms550 were demonstrated at the jck show ~ las vegas in june. according to the company, these are the first affordably priced laser inscription systems made for permanently marking pol…

Protecting Your Prices

true story: a few years ago, when his market was hit hard by recession and discount competition, a southern upscale jeweler decided to fight fire with fire—he became a discount jeweler himself. within a year, the economic situation improved … but not for the jeweler. he couldn’t recoup his credibility with the customers he lost when he cut prices, and he found he had to carry lower-…

FBI Creates Task Force in Southeast

an fbi task force to combat south american jewelry theft gangs in the southeastern united states has been established in miami, reports john j. kennedy, president of the jewelers’ security alliance (jsa). the task force is composed of members of the fbi and south florida police departments. such a task force has been jsa’s no.

MJSA Meets With FAA

since sept. 11, many jewelers have been stopped for random checks by airport security personnel and asked to open their bags, sometimes exposing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. in april, manufacturing jewelers and suppliers of america president and ceo james f. marquart met with representatives of the federal aviation administration (faa) to advise it on the unique needs of traveling jew…

24 Karat Club Celebrates 28 Years

the 24 karat club, southeastern united states chapter, held its annual banquet at the swissotel in atlanta in march, with more than 260 members and guests in attendance. honored as the club’s 2002 jeweler of the year was douglas doggett of doug doggett jewelers in cullman, ala. the club’s bob foreman memorial scholarship was presented to cassandra moore of nabers jewelers, zephyrhills, fla.

Canadian Jeweler to Buy Mayor’s

mayor’s jewelers inc., sunrise, fla., announced on may 20 that it had reached an agreement in principle with henry birks & sons holdings inc., a leading designer, manufacturer, and retailer of fine jewelry in canada, to take control of mayor’s. under the agreement, birks will pay mayor’s $11.5 million for 58% of common stock and will have the option of purchasing an additional 10% of the co…

Appointments

doug robinson, formerly of alfieri & st. john, and craig rutman, formerly of chiampesan, have announced their new u.s./caribbean sales team affiliation with nanis s.r.l., of trissino (vicenza) italy. nanis is the newest member of the italian jewelry guild. manufacturing jewelers & suppliers of america (mjsa) recently hired yancy weinrich as membership development representative.

Gredinger Named Head of ‘Leading Jewelers’

jack gredinger has been appointed executive director of “leading jewelers of the world,” the planned network of some 300 upscale jewelers overseen by sightholder w.b. david. susan lebow has been appointed director of marketing for the program. gredinger will oversee a relaunch of the “leading jewelers” program.

CJA Presents Westover Scholorship

the california jewelers association has selected cynthia gilbert of gary hill jewelers, orange, calif., as the winner of the 2002 robert b. westover gia scholarship. cja established the scholarship to honor the longtime cja executive vice president, who retired in 1988. gilbert became a full-time employee at gary hill jewelers in 2001, but had her first taste of gemstones in high school lapidar…

Police Crack NYC Counterfeiting Ring

law enforcement officials have cracked a major luxury goods counterfeiting ring in new york and seized “piles” of fake high-end watches, handbags, wallets, and sunglasses as well as videos, computer games, dvds, and cds, with an estimated street value of $125 million, says the new york post and newsday.

Positive Outlook Pervades JCK Show

optimism—albeit tempered with caution—was the predominant feeling among buyers and exhibitors at the jck show ~ las vegas, held may 31 through june 4 at the sands expo and convention center there. most, though not all, exhibitors reported a strong show and solid orders. although some exhibitors said traffic seemed lighter than last year, the final tally of retail and wholesale buye…

24 Karat Club to Award Hudson

the board of directors of the jewelers 24 karat club of southern california has chosen laurie hudson, president of the platinum guild international usa jewelry, as the 2002 recipient of the club’s excellence in service award. the award is given to an individual who has made a significant improvement or had a significant impact on the jewelry industry.

NAG holds Education Awards Ceremony

the national association of goldsmiths held its annual education awards ceremony in historic goldsmiths hall, london, certifying more than 250 new jewelry professionals. the graduates received nag professional jewellers’ diplomas, nag gemstone diplomas, and nag management diplomas. rachel cullis, p.j.

Letters

jvc’s jbar standards it was with interest that i reviewed the appraisal standards released by the jewelers vigilance committee (jvc). their set of standards is not in the least comprehensive. in light of this, one would expect that with so few standards, there would not be a problem with them. after reading the standards for the fifth time, i was left with the impression that either a) none of …