July 1, 2006

Alternative Metals Roll Along

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NAJA Hosts Continuing Education Conference

the national association of jewelry appraisers will hold its 26th annual mid-year conference aug. 21–24 in san diego at the town and country resort. educational programs scheduled for aug. 21 include: “how to keep money flying into your bank account in good times and in bad,” presented by brian kathenes, isa-capp; “the business web site: if you build it, will they com…

WJA Professionals Hold Conference

the women’s jewelry association held its third “women in the know” conference, at the fashion institute of technology in new york city. the daylong event drew more than 200 attendees, a 37 percent increase over last year’s figures and a 138 percent spike from its inception. this year’s educators focused on life empowerment, difficult peers, branding, and more.

Phenomenal Sinkankas Symposium

in april this year, the san diego mineral and gem society, along with the gemological institute of america, hosted the fourth annual john sinkankas symposium. sinkankas (1915–2002), a renowned mineral collector, gemologist, and author of many works, including mineralogy for amateurs, three volumes of gemstones of north america, and gem cutting: a lapidary’s manual, is remembered by t…

Joan Parker Says Goodbye to De Beers

nearly 30 years of working for variations of the same company is a long time, and it can’t be easy saying good-bye, but that’s just what joan parker is doing as she resigns from de beers lv. for the last three years, parker has been the public relations director for de beers lv, the retail chain half-owned by the de beers group (and technically a separate company).

Zale, Signet Talks End

preliminary talks about a possible merger between the signet group and zale corp.—the world’s two largest jewelry retailer groups—ended june 12, a day after the talks were revealed by a london newspaper. “the preliminary discussions have been terminated,” walker boyd, signet group finance director, told jck.

Mad Loot

a group of 85 international designers gathered at new york’s museum of arts & design in late april for “loot! 2006,” an exhibition of contemporary jewelry that allowed visitors to learn about and then buy the pieces on display. the event was a three-day affair that included the show, lectures, and a workshop in which participants learned about materials and then made their…

Ice.com Buys Diamond.com

ice.com, a montreal-based, mostly mass-market internet jewelry site, has purchased diamond.com, the domain and site previously owned by odimo.com. ice purchased odimo’s rights to the domain name www.diamond.com and related trademarks for $7.5 million, and diamond and jewelry inventory and related packaging for another $2 million.

Moeller Wins Robert M. Shipley Award

minneapolis jeweler mark moeller won the american gem society’s highest award—the robert m. shipley award— at its recent conclave in orlando, fla. “receiving an award honoring robert shipley is an amazing accolade,” said moeller, president of r.f. moeller jewelers. “his vision created an institution steeped in tradition, education, and professionalism— a v…

Kassoy Acquired

kassoy, the venerable jewelry supply company, has been purchased by kenstan lock co. a new company, kassoy llc, will be a subsidiary of kenstan, headed by hans e.r. bosch, also managing director of kenstan. kassoy will maintain its new york city showroom facilities located on 47th street in manhattan but will move its headquarters into a new facility in plainview, n.

Mystery Clock by Graff

the leopard mysterieuse by laurence graff was recently auctioned off at antiquorum, the “world’s premier watch auctioneer” in geneva. pre-auction estimate ranged from $155,000 to $230,000. the mystery clock was created in the 1980s and is just one of many gem-set objets d’art pieces created by the renowned london jeweler.

Leon Wexler

native houstonian and longtime jeweler leon wexler passed away on march 16 after a lengthy illness. he was 88. wexler served in world war ii as a sergeant in company b of the second engineer battalion, was captured, and survived being a prisoner of war. after the war, he returned to houston where he resumed work at wexler jewelry, the store his father, james wexler, had opened in 1919.

Watch Trends 2006: Automatics Thrive, Complications Spread

among the most fascinating features of the annual swiss watch fairs in basel and geneva are the marvelous innovations unveiled there. many recent ones underscore the rejuvenation of mechanical watchmaking. following are some of this year’s advances. movements products featherweight materials manufacturers of fine watches began using stainless steel—in addition to the gold, silver,…

JCK Show’s 15th Anniversary Ends on High Note

the jck show ~ las vegas celebrated a successful 15th anniversary, with exhibitors, buyers, and show management all reporting strong business. a total of 2,989 vendors exhibited their products. at press time retail and wholesale buyer attendance figures had not been audited and were not ready for release, but show management estimates buyer traffic to be on par with last year’s count of 19,087.

Pigeons on a Rail

wal-mart recently announced a new upscale format to attract the attention of affluent consumers. they’ll sell $500 bottles of wine and $5,000 pieces of jewelry. i was surprised (amused?) to see a multipage wal-mart ad for women’s clothes in vogue. mass retailers are reaching for the top earners, the so-called luxury market.

Cutting for Color: What’s the Real Ideal?

can the color of a round fancy color diamond be improved by cutting it to ideal proportions? most cutters and gemologists say no, because cutting a fancy color diamond to an ideal increases brightness, thereby diluting body color. but others say that, in some cases, fancy color diamonds can be cut to ideal and not only keep their color but also improve their performance.

What a Show!

i’ve been back a week from the nine-day marathon that is luxury by jck and the jck show ~ las vegas, and while i’m just now starting to get my life back in order, i’ve been basking in the glow of friendship, compliments, fruitful business conversations, and fun times. i’m sure dave bonaparte and his team are feeling the same way.

Watch Trends 2006: Automatics Thrive, Complications Spread

three decades after being declared obsolete because of the quartz module revolution that changed watchmaking, the mechanical watch business is thriving. that was a clear trend at this year’s swiss watch fairs in basel and geneva. there are more affordable automatic (self-winding) watches, more of them for women, more upper-price brands with their own movements, and more watches—both…

Feldman Joins Hasenfeld-Stein

steve feldman, former publisher of lustre magazine, has joined the diamond firm hasenfeld-stein, a dtc sightholder, as director of sales and marketing. prior to his tenure at lustre, feldman was vice president of sales and marketing for san francisco–based chatham created gems, and before that he was publisher of national jeweler magazine.

DTC Releases Sightholder List

diamond trading company has finally put a formal list of its 93 sightholders on the web. it can be accessed at www.dtc.com/sightholder. the web site contains information about each sightholder, including a company description, the rough and polished goods they deal in, their involvement in end marketing initiatives, and any additional services they provide.

Bel-Oro Opens Office in Toronto

bel-oro international has announced that it’s opening an office in toronto. kent hoole and cameron gillies have joined bel-oro as the senior management team charged with managing the new canadian office. they will focus marketing efforts on revitalizing the newly developed town and country diamond jewelry line.

Former Antwerp Honcho Now Working for Dubai

peter meuss is now playing for the other team. meuss, the former managing director of hrd, the antwerp, belgium, promotional group, is working for antwerp’s most formidable rival—dubai, united arab emirates. he recently joined the dubai multi commodities centre, an initiative of the dubai government, as special advisor, diamonds.

DPS/JWT Kick Off ‘Journey’ Diamond Campaign in Vegas

the diamond promotion service expects “journey” diamond jewelry to be the next big sales opportunity for retailers and manufacturers. following on the heels of its successful “past, present, future” theme for three-stone diamond jewelry and the “raise your right hand” message associated with the right-hand ring, officials from dps and ad agency parent jwt sai…

The Case for Pearls

we spend a lot of time examining pearls because of their beauty, their variety, their popularity, and their potential for bigger profit margins. you will read about saltwaters (akoyas and south seas, including tahitians) versus chinese freshwaters. you will also read references to nacre thickness and the method of culturing (bead nucleation or tissue activation).

Guess Seeks ‘Faces’ in Worldwide Search

guess watches has launched its latest worldwide fashion model search, “faces to watch.” it’s a follow-up to last year’s successful “timeless beauty” campaign. “faces to watch” is a two-year global promotion to find one man and one woman with an original “look” to personify the guess brand.

‘Overpromise and Overdeliver’

to make it in retail today, a marketing guru says you should get “close enough to smell the customer’s breath.” the key in retail today is to define yourself as a brand experience, says rick barrera, noted author, marketing expert, and a keynote speaker at the ags conclave in orlando, fla.

LMHC Labs Agree on Glass-Filled Ruby

prior to treatment, much of the low-quality, highly fractured ruby that comes from madagascar is unusable. however, masking these fractures by introducing a glass filler during treatment with low heat results in a relatively transparent commercial gem product, which raises the question of value.

Supplier News

midwest conglomerate acquires southwest silver star the hoeweler group of cincinnati recently acquired shube’s manufacturing, a maker of handcrafted silver jewelry in albuquerque, n.m. shube’s manufacturing will now be known as shube’s inc. the hoeweler group owns and manages varied businesses including south dakota gold.

Eugen Schofer Buys Herbstrith

eugen schofer gmbh & co. k.g., pforzheim, germany, took over theodor wilhelm herbstrith gmbh, a gold jewelry manufacturer also based in pforzheim, on june 1. schofer is a leading manufacturer of chain. herbstrith is known for high-end, hand-worked jewelry and chains. both companies were founded in 1904.

India’s Open Door Policy

the decision earlier this year by the government of india to allow foreign direct investment in retailing marks a significant watershed for those in the jewelry business who have eyed, from distant shores, the promise that this market holds. to date, it is mainly foreign-made luxury watch brands that have been able to penetrate the red tape and retail fragmentation that characterizes the cu…

Meet the New Boss

donna baker has no shortage of degrees, including a law degree, an mba, and her g.g. she even spent 10 years as a nun. now, as acting president of the gemological institute of america, she’ll have a full plate as she attempts to clear up the mess left from the grading scandal. she’s considered personable and popular among the gia rank and file.

Objections: A Retailer’s Best Friend

losing a sale isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a retailer. the worst is failing to understand why it happened. understanding why clients buy or don’t buy higher-price merchandise depends on how well sales associates handle client questions and objections following a persuasive recommendation.

GIA Earthquake: Boyajian Steps Down, Baker New President

the 20-year career of bill boyajian as president of the gemological institute of america came to an abrupt end in may with his resignation after a meeting of the board of directors. boyajian is the most high-profile casualty of the diamond-grading scandal that has tarnished the image of the venerable grading laboratory.

Newswire

Lynn Diamond Leaves DPSS. Lynn Diamond is leaving the Diamond Promotion Service after 10 years as executive director to join law firm White and Case. Diamond made the announcement at the DPS breakfast at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas. She recently graduated from Brooklyn Law School. DPS is the trade outreach arm for the…

Appointments

Adam Graham has joined Harmon Group as vice president, business development. He will be responsible for building key partnerships for the Harmon Group throughout the United States. Prior to joining the Harmon Group, Graham served as director of marketing for American Gem Society and vice president, Rapaport USA for the Rapaport Group. Stanley Zale has…

Dubai Diamond Trade Topped $3 Billion Last Year

trade in rough diamonds in dubai, united arab emirates, grew by a record 46.25 percent in 2005, according to figures from the dubai diamond exchange. exports totaled $3.73 billion, up from $2.55 billion in 2004. imports for the same period were $1.48 billion. almost 37 million carats of rough diamonds were imported in 2005, with exports totaling more than 34 million carats, bringing the total d…

Israel Exports Rise in March, Fall in April

net polished diamond exports from israel rose 6.4 percent in march 2006, reaching $672 million, compared with $631.6 million in march 2005, according to statistics released by the israel ministry of industry, trade & labor’s diamond controller, shmuel mordechai. but in april, net polished exports decreased by 22.

Trade Launches Campaign to Counter Blood Diamond Movie

faced with another slew of bad publicity stemming from the planned christmas release of the leonardo dicaprio movie the blood diamond, the diamond trade has launched a campaign to educate jewelers on how to respond to consumer concerns and present its side of the story. the movie tells the story of a diamond trader involved in sierra leone’s horrific civil war in the late 1990s.

CRJP Joins CIBJO

cibjo, a founding member of the council of responsible jewellery practices, the group created to handle social and political issues in the supply chain, quit last year after cibjo head gaetano cavalieri said what it was asking was achievable only by bigger companies. but the two groups buried the hatchet during a press conference on june 4 at the jck show ~ las vegas.

Of Ostriches and Eagles

everybody knows the jck show ~ las vegas is a great place to see both new product and old friends, but it’s also a great place to take the pulse of the jewelry industry as a whole. this year’s edition turned up some interesting readings, so to speak. i caught an underlying sense of change—vague, but undeniable—coming to the jewelry marketplace.

DDC Celebrates 75th Anniversary

the diamond dealers club celebrated its 75th anniversary in style with a swanky party at new york’s rainbow room. music was provided by vito & the salutations, a ’60s doo-wop group that features ddc security director rick pettigano. antwerp, belgium’s hrd also presented jewelry from its awards competition.

Lessons From Gasoline Pricing

the run-up of precious- metals prices and the subsequent falloff cause no end of trouble for jewelry businesses. most manufacturers have models to adjust prices as the price of gold fluctuates, but the retail world doesn’t move so fast. in contrast, the hated producers and refiners of oil know there is great value in adjusting prices quickly.

How Do I Handle an Upset Customer?

first, remember customer service rule 1: “the customer is always right.” second, remember customer service rule 2: “when the customer is wrong, refer to rule 1.” most people are not out to take advantage of retailers. if the customer believes he or she has a legitimate complaint, it is a legitimate complaint.

JEC Focuses on Education and Networking

approximately 150 jewelers from 14 midwestern states converged on the doubletree hotel in overland park, kan., for two days of educational seminars, networking, and a chance to see products and services from about 50 vendors during the jewelry executives conference. the fifth biennial regional conference for owners and managers of independent jewelry stores, held this past april 1 and 2, is t…

South of the Border Style Gets Sexy

though designer daniel espinosa hails from the mexican town of taxco, home to the silversmith studio founded by william spratling, you wouldn’t know it by looking at his jewelry: espinosa’s oversize and sexy styles for women in silver, gold, and colored stones depart from spratling’s chunky silver pieces featuring animal and plant forms.

PGI, Bench Media Offer Advanced Bench Seminars

platinum guild international and bench media are collaborating to offer a one-day advanced seminar for bench jewelers. this master-level seminar is presented by master bench jewelers jurgen maerz and brad simon. maerz begins the day with his platinum bench techniques presentation; simon follows with advanced fabrication.

Swatch Group Opens Cité du Temps

the swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker in april opened the cité du temps (“city of time”) a 1,000-square-meter exhibition center in the heart of geneva, traditional home of luxury watchmaking. the center will host a wide range of exhibitions and activities focused on time, timekeeping, and watchmaking.

JCK Remembers Dr. Pough

dr. frederick pough, (pronounced poe) mineralogist, museum curator, and former gemstone editor for jck magazine, died april 7 in rochester, n.y. pough suffered a fatal heart attack while attending the 33rd annual rochester mineralogical symposium near his home in pittsford, n.y. he was 99. pough earned his undergraduate degree, m.

DTC to Increase Advertising Support for Market This Year

the diamond trading company, de beers’ marketing arm, will boost its u.s. marketing budget by 17 percent over its proposed plan for 2006. the company declined to provide an exact number for its marketing budget, which has been its policy for the last several years. it all adds up to “probably the largest program we have ever run,” says richard lennox, director in charge of…

Movado Group Enters Global Agreement With Lacoste

the movado group has entered into a long-term worldwide license pact with lifestyle brand lacoste s.a. to design, produce, market, and distribute a collection of men’s and women’s timepieces, effective jan. 1, 2007. financial terms weren’t disclosed. the new collection will feature “stylish timepieces with a contemporary sport elegant feel,” said a movado stateme…

And the Winner Is … A. Lange & Söhne

it may be early, but 2006’s watch of the year has been chosen—in europe, anyway—and it’s not one, but two timepieces. fine watches are especially popular with european consumers, so much so that the international german-language newspaper welt am sonntag and the magazine armband uhren annually poll readers for their choices for watch of the year.

Rethinking Gold

now that gold has broken the $675 an ounce barrier for the first time since 1980, you should reassess the role gold jewelry plays in your merchandising mix, and make sure you understand gold’s brand characteristics. “gold” is not a singular concept in the consumer’s mind; it assumes different attributes based on karatage, sales environment, advertising, and customers’ incomes.

AWCI Creates Two Job Titles to Counter Loss of Watchmakers

the american watchmakers-clockmakers institute, aided by retail jewelry and watch trade advisors, is creating two new watch job categories to meet rising demand by consumers, jewelers, and watch brands for people able to service fine watches, and to lessen the impact from the loss in trained u.s. watchmakers.

Alternative Metals Roll Along

by william george shuster, senior editor ready for an explosion of nontraditional white metals in jewelry? that’s how a number of industry experts describe the expanding number of jewelry lines using precious-metal palladium and other white metals—stainless steel, titanium, and tungsten—as alternatives to platinum, silver, and white gold.

DDC Celebrates Diamond Jubilee: An Oral History

for an institution that turns the grand old age of 75 this year, the diamond dealers club of new york had an inauspicious beginning. its founder, harry sigman, wanted a bourse in new york that replicated the diamond exchanges in europe, because—according to legend—he found a diamond in his pants one night and wanted a place to trade it safely and securely.

A Milestone Marriage: Tiffany and Frank Gehry

after months of hype, tiffany unveiled its new frank gehry collection in april. tiffany threw a gehry debut bash at its beverly hills, calif., store, rather than its landmark location on fifth avenue in new york. that move was motivated by the architect—gehry lives on the left coast—and strategy: “we hoped it would be a little bit unexpected,” says linda buckley, spokes…

Dear Customer

gary hill believes communication is the key to business and personal success. and one of the most effective ways for retail jewelers to retain the loyalty of their customers is through one of the simplest and least costly forms of communication: the letter. hill, president and owner of leo hamel & co.

Carroll’s Jewelers

steve moorman is president of carroll’s jewelers, a fourth-generation guild store that has served coral gables, fla., from the same location since 1946. it was founded by moorman’s grandfather, carroll seghers, in cincinnati in 1937. it’s the oldest and largest jewelry store on coral gables’ famous miracle mile.

Gem Pricing Report

market in brief: the conference board reports that its consumer confidence index fell almost seven points in may, to 103.2, from a revised reading of 109.8 in april. lynn franco, director of the conference board consumer research center, stated, “apprehension about the short-term outlook for the economy, the labor market, and consumers’ earning potential has driven the expectations …

‘Jacob the Jeweler’ Indicted on Money Laundering Charges

jacob arabo, founder of jacob & co., was one of 16 persons charged with violating federal drug laws including conspiracy to distribute more than 476 kilograms of cocaine and laundering more than $270 million, federal prosecutors in detroit announced june 15. arabo, 41, also known as “jacob the jeweler,” whose real name is jacob arabov, is a high-end retailer and jewelry designer…