July 2008

The JCK-Harrison Group Consumer Jewelry Study

Studio Jewelry Time

marian willard wrote those words in a 1941 press release for calder jewelry, an exhibit in her midtown gallery. long before robert lee morris’s dramatic, hammered jewelry made its first appearance in the manhattan jewelry and fashion world, alexander calder made a splash there with his own hammered ornaments.

Jewelry TV Gets Heat Over Andesine Sales

the associated press reports that a california woman has filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against jewelry television, of knoxville, tenn., accusing the home-shopping network and internet retailer of false advertising. marliese weed claims in the lawsuit filed may 23 that jewelry television sold gemstones described as rare and expensive red or green andesine labradorites, ap reports.

The Importance of Shows in Tough Times

why should an independent retailer attend trade shows during slow economic times? wouldn’t it be better to tend to business in the store and not spend significant dollars on travel and entertainment? isn’t it better not to be tempted to add inventory? the answer is a resounding no! for retailers who sell luxury watches, there are two important reasons for attending shows.

‘We Can’t Afford to Lose One Customer’

these are troubled times for retailers. rising costs, consumer caution, and a weak and uncertain economy today are putting unprecedented pressures on jewelry retailers. to help independent jewelers not only survive but also thrive during these challenging days, jck asked a number of experts what advice they would give them.

Red, White and Black Define 2008’s Watches

timepieces for 2008 are sophisticated in all black, sparkle with diamonds, and glisten in red gold. another trend this year is more use of high-tech materials, especially ceramics and carbon fiber. diamonds—and crystals providing a diamond look—sparkle everywhere this year, from popular to high-price watches, providing touches of elegance, style, and luxury.


the unity marketing luxury consumption index dropped 9.1 points at the close of the first quarter of 2008, according to the stevens, pa.–based market research firm. “the lci started to measure flagging consumer confidence among the affluent about a year ago at the end of march, but their spending on luxury didn’t begin to retreat until a little later in the year,” says pamela…

A Tale of Two Jewelers

the current version of jimmy carter’s malaise got me thinking about changes in the retail jewelry business over the past 30 years. my wife and i were discussing the current economic slowdown when she related a story about our daughter’s recent shopping experience in two different jewelry stores near her home.


BIDZ Wins LID Auction Former sightholder L.I.D. Ltd., which folded after months in Chapter 11, auctioned off its diamond and jewelry inventory in April for almost $69 million. Christopher Ellis of Consensus Advisors, Boston, who conducted the auction in his capacity as chief restructuring officer, said the winning bidders were a group composed of Internet…

High Times for the High End

the state of the luxury market in today’s global economic climate was spotlighted repeatedly at baselworld 2008 by show officials, exhibitors, and speakers, and their conclusion was—it’s in good shape, even in the weak u.s. economy. “the sub-prime crisis will last for some time, with implications for our business [and] further complex problems in its wake,” said jacques j.

Flying in Style

pan american airways pioneered commercial air travel in the 1920s and helped transform it into a glamorous mode of transportation. pan am also launched the era of jet travel with its boeing 707 service on the north atlantic, the first pure-jet service by a u.s. airline. with a longer fuselage, bigger wings, higher-powered engines, and increased fuel capacity, the 707 could travel farther and mo…

Gem Pricing Report

the past few years have seen tremendous growth in commodities like gold, iron ore, and other minerals. as a result, many mining companies are curbing diamond mining in favor of these more profitable products. looking at growth across sector lines it’s easy to see why. a recent wall street journal article (“diamond mining loses momentum, june 16, 2008) noted that wyndham’s polished prices …

Lata K Designs

while designers everywhere transform precious metals and gems into their own unique interpretations of beauty, that’s not enough for lata sasson, owner of lata k designs. her pieces need to be multifunctional as well as beautiful. this additional element makes the job especially challenging, but sasson embraces the challenge.

How Green Is My Pasture?

we’re experiencing a perfect retail storm in the u.s. jewelry business: soft economy, weak dollar, pricey gasoline, dismal housing market, tight credit, and sharply rising prices for precious metals. the weak dollar makes foreign-produced jewelry more expensive, and costly metals may boost the prices of some jewelry beyond the reach of today’s “average” consumer.

Alternative Metals Show Their Mettle

it’s clear these are good times for alternative metals. it’s also clear that not everyone likes that term. “i prefer contemporary metals,” says ed rosenberg, the founder of spectore corp., in deerfield beach, fla. “the industry’s presented these metals wrong. they called them alternative.

The Grape Soda Test

this month’s cover story highlights some of the findings of jck’s exclusive new consumer study, done jointly with the harrison group, a leading market research firm with extensive experience in both the affluent market and the jewelry space. the survey was conducted online and, with 77 questions, yielded a mind-boggling amount of information.

AGS Gets Down to Business

the american gem society may have built its reputation on ethics and education, but at its latest annual conclave in seattle, it wanted people to know it was equally about business. buttons worn by ags executives proclaimed: “it’s all about the bottom line.” the major speakers were predominantly business focused, and the group launched its most extensive sales training program ever.

Rap Price Increases Throw Trade Into Tizzy

recent dramatic changes to the widely used rapaport diamond report price list caused considerable consternation at the jck show ~ las vegas. the biggest changes include boosts of 25 percent. there also were smaller increases in some listings, and decreases in others. in a note sent out a few days after the increases, rapaport advised the trade not to raise prices in response to his actions.

Positive Self-Regard and Leadership

the management of one’s self is critical. without it, leaders do much more harm than good. if the leader is the rule breaker, he or she cannot expect staff to follow rules. the creative deployment of self makes leadership a deeply personal business. this deployment i will call positive self-regard. the meaning of this phrase comes from the answer to the question, what are my strengths and weakn…

The JCK-Harrison Group Consumer Jewelry Study

which brand of jewelry has the most name recognition among consumers? would you believe, none? that’s right—zero. when asked the open-ended question, thinking about fine jewelry, what brand or company that makes and/or sells jewelry comes to mind first? respondents to the jck–harrison group consumer jewelry study named zales—a retailer—as the no.

Return to Monochrome

in the 1930s and ’40s, movie stars were glamorous in black and white. now the stars are franchises and celebrities are brands, in your face all the time, in high-resolution, high-definition technicolor splendor. but when in your face gets out of control, a return to black and white can soothe the eyes and restore a sense of easy elegance.

JSA: Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud and Bad Checks

it’s important for retail jewelers to offer their customers a range of payment options as a matter of service and convenience, but options like credit cards, personal checks, and money orders have potential for fraud if a jeweler isn’t careful. john kennedy, president of jewelers’ security alliance, spoke with jck about some of the risks jewelers face when accepting credit cards, personal check…

A Great Show

i’m just back from the jck ~ las vegas, luxury by jck, and premiere shows, and i’m happy to report they were far more successful than most had imagined they’d be. it’s no secret that the economy continues to struggle, gas prices are shattering records, and the dollar cannot seem to find its low point.


Tanzanite Miners Killed by Floods Torrential rains on March 28 at the Merelani Hills in Tanzania turned the tanzanite mining pits and tunnels in Block B—which is mined by locals with hand tools and has minimal safety regulations—into a mass grave, killing at least 57 miners, with 17 still missing at press time. TanzaniteOne, which…

To Bank or Not to Bank, That Is the Question

as even bankers sometimes will admit, banks are fair-weather friends. the weather these days is not too good. besides some unsavory actions banks discovered among their clients and besides some high-visibility bankruptcies, closings, and mergers among many others, banks face some genuine issues. credit levels are too high, partly because of big mining companies force-feeding sights.

Look in the Mirror!

the finest salespeople look at their careers as an opportunity to build a business within a business. a commissioned jewelry salesperson has the opportunity to make as much money as he or she wants or as little as a minimum-wage earner. a salesperson can choose to be average, below average, or exceptional.

Report from Las Vegas 2008

after waiting nervously for the jck show ~ las vegas, jewelry vendors breathed a sigh of relief when the reality proved far better than the anticipation. while foot traffic was down from previous events, the retailers who came were serious about buying. some suppliers—lafayette, la.–based stuller was one—reported their best show ever.

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